The Lair of the White Worm
6. Hawk And Pigeon
At breakfast-time next morning Sir Nathaniel and Mr. Salton were seated when Adam
came hurriedly into the room.
"Any news?" asked his uncle mechanically.
"Four what?" asked Sir Nathaniel.
"Snakes," said Adam, helping himself to a grilled kidney.
"Four snakes. I don't understand."
"Mongoose," said Adam, and then added explanatorily: "I was out with the mongoose
just after three."
"Four snakes in one morning! Why, I didn't know there were so many on the Brow"--the
local name for the western cliff. "I hope that wasn't the consequence of our talk of last
"It was, sir. But not directly."
"But, God bless my soul, you didn't expect to get a snake like the Lambton worm, did
you? Why, a mongoose, to tackle a monster like that--if there were one--would have to be
bigger than a haystack."
"These were ordinary snakes, about as big as a walking-stick."
"Well, it's pleasant to be rid of them, big or little. That is a good mongoose, I am sure;
he'll clear out all such vermin round here," said Mr. Salton.
Adam went quietly on with his breakfast. Killing a few snakes in a morning was no new
experience to him. He left the room the moment breakfast was finished and went to the
study that his uncle had arranged for him. Both Sir Nathaniel and Mr. Salton took it that
he wanted to be by himself, so as to avoid any questioning or talk of the visit that he was
to make that afternoon. They saw nothing further of him till about half-an-hour before
dinner-time. Then he came quietly into the smoking-room, where Mr. Salton and Sir
Nathaniel were sitting together, ready dressed.
"I suppose there is no use waiting. We had better get it over at once," remarked Adam.
His uncle, thinking to make things easier for him, said: "Get what over?"