Impelled by a natural curiosity, he examined attentively the room in which he was seated. There was a plain carpet on the floor, and the other furniture was that of an ordinary bed chamber. The most conspicuous ornament was a large full-length portrait against the side of the wall. It represented an unknown man, not particularly striking in his appearance. There was, besides, a small table with two or three books upon it.
Jack waited patiently for twenty minutes.
“Perhaps Ida may be out,” he reflected. “Still, even if she is, Mrs. Hardwick ought to come and let me know. It’s dull work staying here alone.”
Another fifteen minutes passed, and still no Ida appeared.
“This is rather singular,” thought Jack. “She can’t have told Ida I am here, or I am sure she would rush up at once to see her brother Jack.”
At length, tired of waiting, Jack walked to the door and attempted to open it.
There was a greater resistance than he anticipated.
“Good heavens!” thought Jack, in consternation, as the real state of the case flashed upon him, “is it possible that I am locked in?”
He employed all his strength, but the door still resisted. He could no longer doubt that it was locked.
He rushed to the windows. They were two in number, and looked out upon a yard in the rear of the house. There was no hope of drawing the attention of passersby to his situation.
Confounded by this discovery, Jack sank into his chair in no very enviable state of mind.
“Well,” thought he, “this is a pretty situation for me to be in. I wonder what father would say if he knew that I had managed to get locked up like this? I am ashamed to think I let that treacherous woman, Mrs. Hardwick, lead me so quietly into a snare. Aunt Rachel was about right when she said I wasn’t fit to come alone. I hope she’ll never find out about this adventure of mine. If she did, I should never hear the last of it.”
Time passed. Every hour seemed to poor Jack to contain at least double the number of minutes. Moreover, he was getting hungry.
A horrible suspicion flashed across his mind.
“The wretches can’t mean to starve me, can they?” he asked himself. Despite his constitutional courage he could not help shuddering at the idea.
He was unexpectedly answered by the opening of the door, and the appearance of the old man.
“Are you getting hungry, my dear sir?” he inquired, with a disagreeable smile upon his features.
“Why am I confined here?” demanded Jack, angrily.
“Why are you confined? Really, one would think you didn’t find your quarters comfortable.”
“I am so far from finding them agreeable, that I insist upon leaving them immediately,” returned Jack.
“Then all you have got to do is to walk through that door.”