“You have locked it.”
“Why, so I have,” said the old man, with a leer.
“I insist upon your opening it.”
“I shall do so when I get ready to go out, myself.”
“I shall go with you.”
“I think not.”
“Who’s to prevent me?” said Jack, defiantly.
“Who’s to prevent you?”
“Yes; you’d better not attempt it. I should be sorry to hurt you, but I mean to go out. If you attempt to stop me, you must take the consequences.”
“I am afraid you are a violent young man. But I’ve got a man who is a match for two like you.”
The old man opened the door.
“Samuel, show yourself,” he said.
A brawny negro, six feet in height, and evidently very powerful, came to the entrance.
“If this young man attempts to escape, Samuel, what will you do?”
“Tie him hand and foot,” answered the negro.
“That’ll do, Samuel. Stay where you are.”
He closed the door and looked triumphantly at our hero.
Jack threw himself sullenly into a chair.
“Where is the woman that brought me here?” he asked.
“Peg? Oh, she couldn’t stay. She had important business to transact, my young friend, and so she has gone. She commended you to our particular attention, and you will be just as well treated as if she were here.”
This assurance was not calculated to comfort Jack.
“How long are you going to keep me cooped up here?” he asked, desperately, wishing to learn the worst at once.
“Really, my young friend, I couldn’t say. I don’t know how long it will be before you are cured.”
“Cured?” repeated Jack, puzzled.
The old man tapped his forehead.
“You’re a little affected here, you know, but under my treatment I hope soon to restore you to your friends.”
“What!” ejaculated our hero, terror-stricken, “you don’t mean to say you think I’m crazy?”
“To be sure you are,” said the old man, “but—”
“But I tell you it’s a lie,” exclaimed Jack, energetically. “Who told you so?”
“Yes, Mrs. Hardwick. She brought you here to be treated for insanity.”
“It’s a base lie,” said Jack, hotly. “That woman is no more my aunt than you are. She’s an impostor. She carried off my sister Ida, and this is only a plot to get rid of me. She told me she was going to take me to see Ida.”
The old man shrugged his shoulders.
“My young friend,” he said, “she told me all about it—that you had a delusion about some supposed sister, whom you accused her of carrying off.”
“This is outrageous,” said Jack, hotly.
“That’s what all my patients say.”
“And you are a mad-doctor?”
“Then you know by my looks that I am not crazy.”
“Pardon me, my young friend; that doesn’t follow. There is a peculiar appearance about your eyes which I cannot mistake. There’s no mistake about it, my good sir. Your mind has gone astray, but if you’ll be quiet, and won’t excite yourself, you’ll soon be well.”