“It has been my home from infancy,” returned Henry, “and being also the residence of my ancestors for centuries, it is natural that I should be so.”
“The house, no doubt, has suffered much,” said Henry, “within the last hundred years.”
“No doubt it has. A hundred years is a tolerable long space of time, you know.”
“It is, indeed. Oh, how any human life which is spun out to such an extent, must lose its charms, by losing all its fondest and dearest associations.”
“Ah, how true,” said Sir Francis Varney. He had some minutes previously touched a bell, and at this moment a servant brought in on a tray some wine and refreshments.
Henry’s agreement with sir Francis Varney.—The sudden arrival at the hall.—Flora’s alarm.
On the tray which the servant brought into the room, were refreshments of different kinds, including wine, and after waving his hand for the domestic to retire, Sir Francis Varney said,—
“You will be better, Mr. Bannerworth, for a glass of wine after your walk, and you too, sir. I am ashamed to say, I have quite forgotten your name.”
“Mr. Marchdale. Ay, Marchdale. Pray, sir, help yourself.”
“You take nothing yourself?” said Henry.
“I am under a strict regimen,” replied Varney. “The simplest diet alone does for me, and I have accustomed myself to long abstinence.”
“He will not eat or drink,” muttered Henry, abstractedly.
“Will you sell me the Hall?” said Sir Francis Varney.
Henry looked in his face again, from which he had only momentarily withdrawn his eyes, and he was then more struck than ever with the resemblance between him and the portrait on the panel of what had been Flora’s chamber. What made that resemblance, too, one about which there could scarcely be two opinions, was the mark or cicatrix of a wound in the forehead, which the painter had slightly indented in the portrait, but which was much more plainly visible on the forehead of Sir Francis Varney. Now that Henry observed this distinctive mark, which he had not done before, he could feel no doubt, and a sickening sensation came over him at the thought that he was actually now in the presence of one of those terrible creatures, vampyres.
“You do not drink,” said Varney. “Most young men are not so modest with a decanter of unimpeachable wine before them. I pray you help yourself.”
Henry rose as he spoke, and turning to Marchdale, he said, in addition,—
“Will you come away?”
“If you please,” said Marchdale, rising.
“But you have not, my dear sir,” said Varney, “given me yet any answer about the Hall?”