The Vanished Messenger
Mr. John P. Dunster opened his eyes upon strange surroundings. He found himself lying
upon a bed deliciously soft, with lace-edged sheets and lavender-perfumed bed hangings.
Through the discreetly opened upper window came a pleasant and ozone-laden breeze.
The furniture in the room was mostly of an old-fashioned type, some of it of oak,
curiously carved, and most of it surmounted with a coat of arms. The apartment was lofty
and of almost palatial proportions. The whole atmosphere of the place breathed comfort
and refinement. The only thing of which he did not wholly approve was the face of the
nurse who rose silently to her feet at his murmured question:
"Where am I?"
She felt his forehead, altered a bandage for a moment, and took his wrist between her
"You have been ill," she said. "There was a railway accident. You are to lie quite still and
not say a word. I am going to fetch the doctor now. He wished to see you directly you
Mr. Dunster dozed again for several moments. When he reopened his eyes, a man was
standing by his bedside, a short man with a black beard and gold-rimmed glasses. Mr.
Dunster, in this first stage of his convalescence, was perhaps difficult to please, for he did
not like the look of the doctor, either.
"Please tell me where I am?" he begged.
"You have been in a railway accident," the doctor told him, "and you were brought here
"In a railway accident," Mr. Dunster repeated. "Ah, yes, I remember! I took a special to
Harwich - I remember now. Where is my dressing-bag?"
"It is here by the side of your bed."
"And my pocket-book?"
"It is on your dressing-table."
"Have any of my things been looked at?"
"Only so far as was necessary to discover your identity," the doctor assured him. "Don't
talk too much. The nurse is bringing you some beef tea."
"When," Mr. Dunster enquired, " shall I be able to continue my journey?"
"That depends upon many things," the doctor replied.
Mr. Dunster drank his beef tea and felt considerably stronger. His head still ached, but his
memory was returning.
"There was a young man in the carriage with me," he asked presently. "Mr. Gerald
something or other I think he said his name was?"