Varney the Vampire eBook

Thomas Peckett Prest
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,239 pages of information about Varney the Vampire.

They did, for the three walked as fast as the nature of the soil would permit them, and the darkness of the night.




We left the Hungarian nobleman swimming down the stream; he swam slowly, and used but little exertion in doing so.  He appeared to use his hands only as a means of assistance.

The stream carried him onwards, and he aided himself so far that he kept the middle of the stream, and floated along.

Where the stream was broad and shallow, it sometimes left him a moment or two, without being strong enough to carry him onwards; then he would pause, as if gaining strength, and finally he would, when he had rested, and the water came a little faster, and lifted him, make a desperate plunge, and swim forward, until he again came in deep water, and then he went slowly along with the stream, as he supported himself.

It was strange thus to see a man going down slowly, and without any effort whatever, passing through shade and through moonlight—­now lost in the shadow of the tall trees, and now emerging into that part of the stream which ran through meadows and cornfields, until the stream widened, and then, at length, a ferry-house was to be seen in the distance.

Then came the ferryman out of his hut, to look upon the beautiful moonlight scene.  It was cold, but pure, and brilliantly light.  The chaste moon was sailing through the heavens, and the stars diminished in their lustre by the power of the luminous goddess of night.

There was a small cottage—­true, it was somewhat larger than was generally supposed by any casual observer who might look at it.  The place was rambling, and built chiefly of wood; but in it lived the ferryman, his wife, and family; among these was a young girl about seventeen years of age, but, at the same time, very beautiful.

They had been preparing their supper, and the ferryman himself walked out to look at the river and the shadows of the tall trees that stood on the hill opposite.

While thus employed, he heard a plashing in the water, and on turning towards the quarter whence the sound proceeded for a few yards, he came to the spot where he saw the stranger struggling in the stream.

“Good God!” he muttered to himself, as he saw the struggle continued; “good God! he will sink and drown.”

As he spoke, he jumped into his boat and pushed it off, for the purpose of stopping the descent of the body down the stream, and in a moment or two it came near to him.  He muttered,—­

“Come, come—­he tries to swim; life is not gone yet—­he will do now, if I can catch hold of him.  Swimming with one’s face under the stream doesn’t say much for his skill, though it may account for the fact that he don’t cry out.”

As the drowning man neared, the ferryman held on by the boat-hook, and stooping down, he seized the drowning man by the hair of the head, and then paused.

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Varney the Vampire from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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