Previously in Varney the Vampire: The prisoner returns but does not stay for nearly long enough.
Okay, I've been putting this chapter off for too long. It isn't bad, I just needed to get my thoughts together.
Chapter 45 (THE OPEN GRAVES. -- THE DEAD BODIES. -- A SCENE OF TERROR.) begins right where Chapter 44 left off, with the mob trying to dig up a grave. There's an interesting little passage where JMR once again pounds in the idea that the mob--not vampires--are the evil ones:
"Sons of darkness; you're all vampyres, and are continually sucking the life-blood from each other. No wonder that the evil one has power over you all. You're as men who walk in the darkness when the sunlight invites you, and you listen often to the words of humanity when those of a diviner origin are offered to your acceptance."And then they dig up Miles the butcher. The coffin is empty, save for a brick.
As I mentioned in the previous chapter, I don't get the sense of a mindless, faceless mob that JMR wants us to have. They are acting impulsively and without hard evidence, certainly, but at least they are acting like there is actually a vampire in the story.
Compare this scene to the one where Our Heroes open Varney's coffin and find it empty. There's the same sort of pointless waffling to pad out the chapter, to be sure; but entire tone of the scene is different. Our Heroes, being the fine upstanding gentlemen they are, have no sense of urgency or panic. They spend most of the rest of the chapter, and too many chapters after that, arguing and angsting over how it cannot be a vampire because that would be Most Illogical.
The mob is real and human, and their reactions make me feel like I'm actually in a vampire story, rather than some bizarre alien parody of human emotion. So mostly I'm just still perplexed that JMR wants us to see the mob as the bad guys, since they (as an amalgam, since they don't really have individual characters yet) are the ones I have identified with throughout the last several chapters.
Chapter 46: In Which the Bannerworths Decide to Move (Again)