The Vanished Messenger HTML version

Chapter 14
Mr. Fentolin, on leaving the dining-room, steered his chair with great precision through
the open, wrought-iron doors of a small lift at the further end of the hall, which Doctor
Sarson, who stepped in with him, promptly directed to the second floor. Here they made
their way to the room in which Mr. Dunster was lying. Doctor Sarson opened the door
and looked in. Almost immediately he stood at one side, out of sight of Mr. Dunster, and
nodded to Mr. Fentolin.
"If there is any trouble," he whispered, "send for me. I am better away, for the present.
My presence only excites him."
Mr. Fentolin nodded.
"You are right," he said. "Go down into the dining-room. I am not sure about that fellow
Hamel, and Gerald is in a queer temper. Stay with them. See that they are not alone."
The doctor silently withdrew, and Mr. Fentolin promptly glided past him into the room.
Mr. John P. Dunster, in his night clothes, was sitting on the side of the bed. Standing
within a few feet of him, watching him all the time with the subtle intentness of a cat
watching a mouse, stood Meekins. Mr. Dunster's head was still bound, although the
bandage had slipped a little, apparently in some struggle. His face was chalklike, and he
was breathing quickly.
"So you've come at last!" he exclaimed, a little truculently. "Are you Mr. Fentolin?"
Mr. Fentolin gravely admitted his identity. His eyes rested upon his guest with an air of
tender interest. His face was almost beautiful.
"You are the owner of this house - I am underneath your roof - is that so?"
"This is certainly St. David's Hall," Mr. Fentolin replied. "It really appears as though your
conclusions were correct."
"Then will you tell me why I am kept a prisoner here?"
Mr. Fentolin's expression was for a moment clouded. He seemed hurt.
"A prisoner," he repeated softly. "My dear Mr. Dunster, you have surely forgotten the
circumstances which procured for me the pleasure of this visit; the condition in which
you arrived here - only, after all, a very few hours ago?"
"The circumstances," Mr. Dunster declared drily, "are to me still inexplicable. At
Liverpool Street Station I was accosted by a young man who informed me that his name
was Gerald Fentolin, and that he was on his way to The Hague to play in a golf
tournament. His story seemed entirely probable, and I permitted him a seat in the special
train I had chartered for Harwich. There was an accident and I received this blow to my
head - only a trifling affair, after all. I come to my senses to find myself here. I do not
know exactly what part of the world you call this, but from the fact that I can see the sea
from my window, it must be some considerable distance from the scene of the accident. I
find that my dressing-case has been opened, my pocket-book examined, and I am
apparently a prisoner. I ask you, Mr. Fentolin, for an explanation."