"He wants a dollop of blood from somebody": Varney the Vampyre and the Angry Mob, Parkour Edition

Previously on: a mysterious Hungarian nobleman WHO IS OBVIOUSLY A VAMPYRE falls afoul of the local angry mob and, when resurrected by the moonlight, swims off down a stream; our heroes don’t actually do anything of interest; Varney is Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Chapter.

We pick up with Charles and Henry at the Cottage of Undisclosed Location, discussing whether they should try to locate gainful employment rather than continue to mooch off the admiral’s hard-earned cash. Henry has brought a box of Random Shit from Bannerworth Hall which he now proposes to go through and determine if they can sell any of it, in the process of which he discovers an old pocket-book belonging to Marma-B which contains Exciting Clues such as a card and some notes:

Charles took up the card, and read upon it the name of Count Barrare.

"That name," he said, "seems familiar to me. Ah! now I recollect, I have read of such a man. He flourished some twenty, or five-and-twenty years ago, and was considered a roue of the first water—a finished gamester; and, in a sort of brief memoir I read once of him, it said that he disappeared suddenly one day, and was never again heard of."

"Indeed! I'm not puzzled to think how his card came into my father's pocket-book. They met at some gaming-house; and, if some old pocket-book of the Count Barrare's were shaken, there might fall from it a card, with the name of Mr. Marmaduke Bannerworth upon it."

"Is there nothing further in the pocket-book—no memoranda?"

"I will look. Stay! here is something upon one of the leaves—let me see—'Mem., twenty-five thousand pounds! He who robs the robber, steals little; it was not meant to kill him: but it will be unsafe to use the money for a time—my brain seems on fire—the remotest hiding-place in the house is behind the picture."

So now we know the name of Some Guy who won Varney and Marma-B’s gambling winnings off of them and subsequently got himself skewered. Charles knows that end of the story but, due to the fact that he promised not to tell anyone but Flora, cannot very well say so. They ask Chillingworth what he thinks, and he refuses to tell them anything useful and walks off with the evidence. Charles resolves to go coax Varney into allowing him to share the story with the full group.

Cut to the town, where the urchin who had promised to guide the Hungarian to Varney’s hiding place is understandably ticked off by that worthy’s failure to appear with the agreed-upon half-crowns, and decides to cause some trouble by telling people where the vampyre is to be found ("It's a fact," said the boy. "I saw him go in, and he looks thinner and more horrid than ever. I am sure he wants a dollop of blood from somebody.")

This, of course, results in Angry Mob Number I’ve Lost Count heading Varneywards with pitchfork and torch in hand. He’s chilling out on the rooftop, like you do:

The old mansion in which Sir Francis Varney had taken refuge, stood empty and solitary; it seemed as though it were not associated with the others by which it was surrounded. It was gloomy, and in the moonlight it reminded one of things long gone by, existences that had once been, but now no longer of this present time—a mere memento of the past.

Sir Francis Varney reclined upon the house-top; he gazed upon the sky, and upon the earth; he saw the calm tranquillity that reigned around, and could not but admire what he saw; he sighed, he seemed to sigh, from a pleasure he felt in the fact of his security; he could repose there without fear, and breathe the balmy air that fanned his cheek.

Except here comes the angry mob again.

The knock which came so loud and so hard upon the door caused Sir Francis to start visibly, for it seemed his own knell. Then, as if the mob were satisfied with their knowledge of his presence, and of their victory, and of his inability to escape them, they sent up a loud shout that filled the whole neighbourhood with its sound.

It seemed to come from below and around the house; it rose from all sides, and that told Sir Francis Varney that the house was surrounded and all escape was cut off; there was no chance of his being able to rush through such a multitude of men as that which now encircled him.

With the calmest despair, Sir Francis Varney lay still and motionless on the house-top, and listened to the sounds that proceeded from below. Shout after shout arose on the still, calm air of the night; knock after knock came upon the stout old door, which awakened responsive echoes throughout the house that had for many years lain dormant, and which now seemed disturbed, and resounded in hollow murmurs to the voices from without.

They break in and there is some rollicking action with Varney laying about himself with a stout ash-staff before a chase scene across the rooftops, which — okay, the house was just described as being solitary, not right next to a bunch of other houses, so how the hell are they running across the rooftops come on now Rymer/Prest, keep up with your own goddamn book.

The hoots and shouts of the mob above had now attracted those below to the spot where Sir Francis Varney was trying to escape, but he had not gone far before the loud yells of those behind him told him that he was again pursued.

Half dead, and almost wholly spent, unarmed, and defenceless, he scarce knew what to do; whether to fly, or to turn round and die as a refuge from the greater evil of endeavouring to prolong a struggle which seemed hopeless. Instinct, however, urged him on, at all risks, and though he could not go very far, or fast, yet on he went, with the crowd after him.

"Down with the vampyre!—seize him—hold him—burn him! he must be down presently, he can't stand!"

The chase scene goes on for long enough that we are about as glad as Varney when it finally ends— he’s in moderately poor shape, having fallen off various roofs and taken a couple of half-bricks to the head while parkouring for his life — and wouldn’t you know it, he winds up in exactly the wrong house:

Then came a great shout upon his ears, as though they had found out he had left the wood. This caused him to redouble his speed, and, fearful lest he should be seen in the moonlight, he leaped over the first fence that he came to, with almost the last effort he could make, and then staggered in at an open door—through a passage—into a front parlour, and there fell, faint, and utterly spent and speechless, at the feet of Flora Bannerworth.

TIME FOR SOME HURT/COMFORT :D :D :D Varney’s like omg please spare my life they want to murder me a whole lot, you wouldn’t let that happen would you and she’s like well duh of course not and apparently Varney didn’t hear that the first time:

"Save me! Miss Flora Bannerworth, save me!" he again said, raising himself on his hands. "I am beset, hunted like a wild beast—they seek my life—they have pursued me from one spot to another, and I have unwittingly intruded upon you. You will save me: I am sure your kindness and goodness of heart will never permit me to be turned out among such a crew of blood-thirsty butchers as those who pursue me are."

"Rise, Sir Francis Varney," said Flora, after a moment's hesitation; "in such an extremity as that which you are in, it would be inhuman indeed to thrust you out among your enemies."

"Oh! it would," said Varney. "I had thought, until now, I could have faced such a mob, until I was in this extremity; and then, disarmed and thrown down, bruised, beaten, and incapable of stemming such a torrent, I fled from one place to another, till hunted from each, and then instinct alone urged me to greater exertion than before, and here I am—this is now my last and only hope."

"Rise, Sir Francis."

"You will not let me be torn out and slaughtered like an ox. I am sure you will not."

"Sir Francis, we are incapable of such conduct; you have sought refuge here, and shall find it as far as we are able to afford it to you."

The others arrive and they’re nice to him and he doesn’t know what to do with that. After tidying himself up a bit he proceeds to (as is fairly standard for this book) recap what just happened:

"Your escape was very narrow indeed," said Flora; "it makes me shudder to think of the dangers you have gone through; it is really terrible to think of it."

"You," said Sir Francis, "are young and susceptible, and generous in your disposition, You can feel for me, and do; but how little I could have expected it, it is impossible to say; but your sympathy sinks into my mind and causes such emotions as never can be erased from my soul.

“She loved me for the dangers I had passed, and I loved her that she did pity them.”

"But to proceed. You may guess how dreadful was my position, by the fact that the first man who attempted to get over tore the ivy away and fell, striking me in his fall; he was killed, and I thrown down and stunned. I then made for the wood, closely pursued and got into it; then I baffled them: they searched the wood, and I went through it. I then ran across the country to these houses here; I got over the fence, and in at the back door."

Now that we’re all caught up, Varney is put to bed in a spare room and is not woken even once by angry mobs, which must be something of a novelty. He spends the next day hanging out with the Bannerworths, and tells Charles and Flora that he will finish the spine-tingling autobiography he’d begun to relate in one week. Way to tease, dude. That night all is well until it isn’t, and we are treated to another of Rymer/Prest’s inadvertently hilarious conversations:

"Hurrah!—hurrah!—hurrah!" shouted the mob, which had silently collected around the cottage of the Bannerworths.

"Curses!" muttered Sir Francis, as he again sank in his chair, and struck his head with his hand. "I am hunted to death—they will not leave me until my body has graced a cross-road."

"Hurrah!—down with the vampyre—pull him out!"

Then came an instant knocking at the doors, and the people on the outside made so great a din, that it seemed as though they contemplated knocking the house down at once, without warning the inmates that they waited there.

There was a cessation for about a minute, when one of the family hastened to the door, and inquired what was wanted.

"Varney, the vampyre," was the reply.

"You must seek him elsewhere."

"We will search this place before we go further," replied a man.

"But he is not here."

"We have reason to believe otherwise. Open the door, and let us in—no one shall be hurt, or one single object in the house; but we must come in, and search for the vampyre."

"Come to-morrow, then."

"That will not do," said the voice; "open, or we force our way in without more notice."

So in they force, and Varney’s like “well, shit, I’m done for, the only place in the world they won’t look is FLORA’S ROOM”:

"Miss Bannerworth—" began Varney.

"Sir Francis!"

"Yes, it is indeed I, Miss Bannerworth; hear me, for one moment."

"What is the matter?"

"I am again in peril—in more imminent peril than before; my life is not worth a minute's purchase, unless you save me. You, and you alone, can now save me. Oh! Miss Bannerworth, if ever pity touched your heart, save me from those only whom I now fear. I could meet death in any shape but that in which they will inflict it upon me. Hear their execrations below!"

"Death to the vampyre! death to Varney! burn him! run a stake through his body!"

She’s like “uh what do you expect ME to do” and he says “can i hide in ur room no hanky-panky i promise pinky swear,” and it works, of course. When the mob is gone he proceeds to have the vapors and, prompted by Charles Holland, removes the embargo on retelling of his story — and for once Rymer/Prest don’t actually have the entire narrative written out in the text, simply saying that Charles Tells Everyone What He Knows:

Thus empowered by the mysterious being, Charles Holland related briefly what Varney had already told him, and then concluded by saying,—

"That is all that I have myself as yet been made aware of, and I now call upon Sir Francis Varney to finish his narration."

"I am weak," said Varney, "and scarcely equal to the task; but yet I will not shrink from the promise that I have made. You have been the preservers of my life, and more particularly to you, Flora Bannerworth, am I indebted for an existence, which otherwise must have been sacrificed upon the altar of superstition."

"But you will recollect, Master Varney," said the admiral, who had sat looking on for some time in silent wonder, "you must recollect, Master Varney, that the people are, after all, not so much to blame for their superstition, because, whether you are a vampyre or not, and I don't pretend to come to a positive opinion now, you took good care to persuade them you were."


"I did," said Varney, with a shudder; "but why did I?"


"Well, you know best."

"It was, then, because I did believe, and do believe, that there is something more than natural about my strangely protracted existence; but we will waive that point, and, before my failing strength, for it appears to me to be failing, completely prevents me from doing so, let me relate to you the continued particulars of the circumstances that made me what I am."

Which he proceeds to do at extremely great length, so I will leave that recap for next time :D