“So you may think, stranger, and, at times, so it is; but when food runs short, it is a long while to daylight, before any more money can be had. To be sure, we have fish in the river, and we have what we can grow in the garden; but these are not all the wants that we feel, and those others are sometimes pinching. However, we are thankful for what we have, and complain but little when we can get no more; but sometimes we do repine—though I cannot say we ought—but I am merely relating the fact, whether it be right or wrong.”
“Exactly. How old is your daughter?”
“She is seventeen come Allhallow’s eve.”
“That is not far hence,” said the stranger. “I hope I may be in this part of the country—and I think I shall—I will on that eve pay you a visit; not one on which I shall be a burden to you, but one more useful to you, and more consonant to my character.”
“The future will tell us all about that,” said the ferryman; “at present we will see what we can do, without complaining, or taxing anybody.”
The stranger and the ferryman sat conversing for some time before the fire, and then the latter pointed out to him which was his bed—one made up near the fire, for the sake of its warmth; and then the ferryman retired to the next room, a place which was merely divided by an imperfect partition.
However, they all fell soundly asleep. The hours on that day had been longer than usual; there was not that buoyancy of spirit; when they retired, they fell off into a heavy, deep slumber.
From this they were suddenly aroused by loud cries and piercing screams from one of the family.
So loud and shrill were the cries, that they all started up, terrified and bewildered beyond measure, unable to apply their faculties to any one object.
“Help—help, father!—help!” shrieked the voice of the young girl whom we have before noticed.
The ferryman jumped up, and rushed to the spot where his daughter lay.
“Fanny,” he said—“Fanny, what ails thee—what ails thee? Tell me, my dear child.”
“Oh!” she exclaimed, almost choked—“oh, father! are we all alone? I am terrified.”
“What ails thee—what ails thee? Tell me what caused you to scream out in such a manner?”
“I—I—that is I, father, thought—but no, I am sure it was reality. Where is the stranger?”
“A light—a light!” shouted the fisherman.
In another moment a light was brought him, and he discovered the stranger reclining in his bed, but awake, and looking around him, as if in the utmost amazement.
“What has happened?” he said—“what has happened?”
“That is more than I know as yet,” the man replied. “Come, Fanny,” he added, “tell me what it is you fear. What caused you to scream out in that dreadful manner?”
“Oh, father—the vampyre!”
“Great God! what do you mean, Fanny, by that?”