The two good friends parted with a handshake, enforced by the young man a unique ceremonial which filled the small breast of Thomas with a conflict of strange emotions; and Varney, having dispatched a telegram to Mr. O'Hara, and another to Mrs. Marie Duval, who had the home with no boys in it on 117th Street, had at once turned his face back to the yacht.
Thus Peter was free to fling himself on that violently swaying mass which he knew held Varney. Even those on the further side knew precisely the moment he struck it. The whole body quivered with the shock of that impact. Those nearer that chair leg and that equally terrible fist had more personal testimony to his presence. There was no resisting either.
Varney is certainly the personification of consummate villainy; and in the delineation of his dark and profoundly artful mind, Scott exhibits a wonderful knowledge of human nature, as well as a surprising skill in embodying his perceptions, so as to enable others to become participators in that knowledge."
"Varney, the vampyre!" added the voice, and then both the doctor and his companion recognised it, and saw the strange, haggard features, that now they knew so well, confronting them. There was a pause of surprise, for a moment or two, on the part of the doctor, and then he said, "Sir Francis Varney, what brings you here?
Then, turning towards the window of the turret-chamber in which Madame Dalibard reposed, and seeing it still closed, he muttered an impatient oath; but even while he did so, the shutters were slowly opened, and a footman, stepping from the porch, approached Varney with a message that Madame Dalibard would see him in five minutes, if he would then have the goodness to ascend to her room.
"It is well, my lord, you are so satisfied," answered Varney, with his usual sardonic smile, which even respect to his patron could not at all times subdue; "you will have time enough to enjoy undisturbed the society of one so gracious and beautiful that is, so soon as such confinement in the Tower be over as may correspond to the crime of deceiving the affections of Elizabeth Tudor.
"My son Varney," said the alchemist, "the unbelief, gathered around thee like a frost-fog, hath dimmed thine acute perception to that which is a stumbling-block to the wise, and which yet, to him who seeketh knowledge with humility, extends a lesson so clear that he who runs may read.
Here a new halt was made: new people surrounded him; more hand-shakings and back-slappings took place; and everything seemed merry as a marriage-bell. But Peter, coming out of the hall a moment after Varney had left, saw hovering about this intimate circle an elderly man of a faded exterior and shabby clothes, who wore a black felt hat pulled down over wary-looking eyes.
By looking about me and keeping my eyes and ears open at all hours, I have found you just the thing." "New and interesting?" "There are men in this town who would run themselves to death trying to get in it on the ground floor." Maginnis shook his head. "I have done everything in this world," he said almost sadly, "except, I may say, the felonies." "But this," said Varney, "is a felony."
No, please don't go out with me, Mr. Varney. Don't let anybody see that you are here." "Certainly not," said he, struggling for a poise which he could not quite recapture. "Then will you be good enough to convey my gratitude to Mr. Higginson and say that I hope to have the opportunity of thanking him personally to-morrow?" "Yes, of course. Good-night once more and good luck!"