Robur the Conqueror
Chapter 6. The President And Secretary Suspend
A bandage over the eyes, a gag in the mouth, a cord round the wrists, a cord
round the ankles, unable to see, to speak, or to move, Uncle Prudent, Phil
Evans, and Frycollin were anything but pleased with their position. Knowing not
who had seized them, nor in what they had been thrown like parcels in a goods
wagon, nor where they were, nor what was reserved for them--it was enough to
exasperate even the most patient of the ovine race, and we know that the
members of the Weldon Institute were not precisely sheep as far as patience
went. With his violence of character we can easily imagine how Uncle Prudent
felt. One thing was evident, that Phil Evans and he would find it difficult to attend
the club next evening.
As to Frycollin, with his eyes shut and his mouth closed, it was impossible for him
to think of anything. He was more dead than alive.
For an hour the position of the prisoners remained unchanged. No one came to
visit, them, or to give them that liberty of movement and speech of which they lay
in such need. They were reduced to stifled sighs, to grunts emitted over and
under their gags, to everything that betrayed anger kept dumb and fury
imprisoned, or rather bound down. Then after many fruitless efforts they
remained for some time as though lifeless. Then as the sense of sight was
denied them they tried by their sense of hearing to obtain some indication of the
nature of this disquieting state of things. But in vain did they seek for any other
sound than an interminable and inexplicable f-r-r-r which seemed to envelop
them in a quivering atmosphere.
At last something happened. Phil Evans, regaining his coolness, managed to
slacken the cord which bound his wrists. Little by little the knot slipped, his
fingers slipped over each other, and his hands regained their usual freedom.
A vigorous rubbing restored the circulation. A moment after he had slipped off the
bandage which bound his eyes, taken the gag out of his mouth, and cut the cords
round his ankles with his knife. An American who has not a bowie-knife in his
pocket is no longer an American.
But if Phil Evans had regained the power of moving and speaking, that was all.
His eyes were useless to him--at present at any rate. The prison was quite dark,
though about six feet above him a feeble gleam of light came in through a kind of
As may be imagined, Phil Evans did not hesitate to at once set free his rival. A
few cuts with the bowie settled the knots which bound him foot and hand.
Immediately Uncle Prudent rose to his knees and snatched away his bandage
"Thanks," said he, in stifled voice.
"Here we are no longer the president and secretary of the Weldon Institute. We
are adversaries no more."