I turned from him with a feeling of contempt which I did not seek to
"As you please," said he. "You've been a prig in life; a prig you'll die."
And with that he sat down in a chair, a rifle over his knee, and amused
himself with snapping the lock; but I could see that his ebullition of light
spirits (the only one I ever knew him to display) had already come to an
end, and was succeeded by a sullen, scowling humour.
All this time our assailants might have been entering the house, and
we been none the wiser; we had in truth almost forgotten the danger that
so imminently overhung our days. But just then Mr. Huddlestone
uttered a cry, and leaped from the bed.
I asked him what was wrong.
"Fire!" he cried. "They have set the house on fire!"
Northmour was on his feet in an instant, and he and I ran through the
door of communication with the study. The room was illuminated by a
red and angry light. Almost at the moment of our entrance, a tower of
flame arose in front of the window, and, with a tingling report, a pane
fell inwards on the carpet. They had set fire to the lean-to outhouse,
where Northmour used to nurse his negatives.
"Hot work," said Northmour. "Let us try in your old room."
We ran thither in a breath, threw up the casement, and looked forth.
Along the whole back wall of the pavilion piles of fuel had been arranged Romantic Flower
and kindled; and it is probable they had been drenched with
mineral oil, for, in spite of the morning's rain, they all burned bravely. Paisley Boots
The fire had taken a firm hold already on the outhouse, which blazed
higher and higher every moment; the back door was in the centre of a
red-hot bonfire; the eaves we could see, as we looked upward, were
already smouldering, for the roof overhung, and was supported by considerable
beams of wood. At the same time, hot, pungent, and choking
volumes of smoke began to fill the house. There was not a human being
to be seen to right or left.
"Ah, well!" said Northmour, "here's the end, thank God."