The Lair of the White Worm HTML version
2. The Caswalls Of Castra Regis
Mr. Salton had all his life been an early riser, and necessarily an early waker. But early as
he woke on the next morning--and although there was an excuse for not prolonging sleep
in the constant whirr and rattle of the "donkey" engine winches of the great ship--he met
the eyes of Adam fixed on him from his berth. His grand-nephew had given him the sofa,
occupying the lower berth himself. The old man, despite his great strength and normal
activity, was somewhat tired by his long journey of the day before, and the prolonged and
exciting interview which followed it. So he was glad to lie still and rest his body, whilst
his mind was actively exercised in taking in all he could of his strange surroundings.
Adam, too, after the pastoral habit to which he had been bred, woke with the dawn, and
was ready to enter on the experiences of the new day whenever it might suit his elder
companion. It was little wonder, then, that, so soon as each realised the other's readiness,
they simultaneously jumped up and began to dress. The steward had by previous
instructions early breakfast prepared, and it was not long before they went down the
gangway on shore in search of the carriage.
They found Mr. Salton's bailiff looking out for them on the dock, and he brought them at
once to where the carriage was waiting in the street. Richard Salton pointed out with
pride to his young companion the suitability of the vehicle for every need of travel. To it
were harnessed four useful horses, with a postillion to each pair.
"See," said the old man proudly, "how it has all the luxuries of useful travel--silence and
isolation as well as speed. There is nothing to obstruct the view of those travelling and no
one to overhear what they may say. I have used that trap for a quarter of a century, and I
never saw one more suitable for travel. You shall test it shortly. We are going to drive
through the heart of England; and as we go I'll tell you what I was speaking of last night.
Our route is to be by Salisbury, Bath, Bristol, Cheltenham, Worcester, Stafford; and so
Adam remained silent a few minutes, during which he seemed all eyes, for he perpetually
ranged the whole circle of the horizon.
"Has our journey to-day, sir," he asked, "any special relation to what you said last night
that you wanted to tell me?"
"Not directly; but indirectly, everything."
"Won't you tell me now--I see we cannot be overheard--and if anything strikes you as we
go along, just run it in. I shall understand."
So old Salton spoke: