“I hardly know, father. I was fast asleep, when I thought I felt something at my threat; but being very sound asleep, I did not immediately awake. Presently I felt the sharp pang of teeth being driven into the flesh of my neck—I awoke, and found the vampyre at his repast. Oh, God! oh, God! what shall I do?”
“Stay, my child, let us examine the wound,” said the fisherman, and he held the candle to the spot where the vampyre’s teeth had been applied. There, sure enough, were teeth marks, such as a human being’s would make were they applied, but no blood had been drawn therefrom.
“Come, come, Fanny; so far, by divine Providence, you are not injured; another moment, and the mischief would have been done entire and complete, and you would have been his victim.”
Then turning to the stranger, he said,—
“You have had some hand in this. No human being but you could come into this place. The cottage door is secured. You must be the vampyre.”
“Yes; who else could?”
“I!—As Heaven’s my judge—but there, it’s useless to speak of it; I have not been out of my bed. In this place, dark as it is, and less used to darkness than you, I could not even find my way about.—It is impossible.”
“Get out of your bed, and let me feel,” said the ferryman, peremptorily—“get out, and I will soon tell.”
The stranger arose, and began to dress himself, and the ferryman immediately felt the bed on which he had been lying; but it was ice cold—so cold that he started upon his legs in an instant, exclaiming with vehemence,—
“It is you, vile wretch! that has attempted to steal into the cottage of the poor man, and then to rob him of his only child, and that child of her heart’s blood, base ingrate!”
“My friend, you are wrong, entirely wrong. I am not the creature you believe me. I have slept, and slept soundly, and awoke not until your daughter screamed.”
“Scoundrel!—liar!—base wretch! you shall not remain alive to injure those who have but one life to lose.”
As he spoke, the ferryman made a desperate rush at the vampyre, and seized him by the throat, and a violent struggle ensued, in which the superior strength of the ferryman prevailed, and he brought his antagonist to the earth, at the same time bestowing upon him some desperate blows.
“Thou shall go to the same element from which I took thee,” said the ferryman, “and there swim or sink as thou wilt until some one shall drag thee ashore, and when they do, may they have a better return than I.”
As he spoke, he dragged along the stranger by main force until they came to the bank of the river, and then pausing, to observe the deepest part, he said,—
“Here, then, you shall go.”
The vampyre struggled, and endeavoured to speak, but he could not; the grasp at his throat prevented all attempts at speech; and then, with a sudden exertion of his strength, the ferryman lifted the stranger up, and heaved him some distance into the river.