“Well, two or three months.”
“Two or three months! You don’t mean to say you want to confine me here two or three months?”
“I hope I can release you sooner.”
“You can’t understand your business very well, or you would see at once that I am not insane.”
“That’s what all my patients say. They won’t any of them own that their minds are affected.”
“Will you supply me with some writing materials?”
“Yes; Samuel shall bring them here.”
“I suppose you will excuse my suggesting also that it is dinner time?”
“He shall bring you some dinner at the same time.”
The old man retired, but in fifteen minutes a plate of meat and vegetables was brought to the room.
“I’ll bring the pen and ink afterward,” said the negro.
In spite of his extraordinary situation and uncertain prospects, Jack ate with his usual appetite.
Then he penned a letter to his uncle, briefly detailing the circumstances of his present situation.
“I am afraid,” the letter concluded, “that while I am shut up here, Mrs. Hardwick will carry Ida out of the city, where it will be more difficult for us to get on her track. She is evidently a dangerous woman.”
Two days passed and no notice was taken of the letter.
JACK BEGINS TO REALIZE HIS SITUATION
“It’s very strange,” thought Jack, “that Uncle Abel doesn’t take any notice of my letter.”
In fact, our hero felt rather indignant, as well as surprised, and on the next visit of Dr. Robinson, he asked: “Hasn’t my uncle been here to ask about me?”
“Yes,” said the old man, unexpectedly.
“Why didn’t you bring him up here to see me?”
“He just inquired how you were, and said he thought you were better off with us than you would be at home.”
Jack looked fixedly in the face of the pretended doctor, and was convinced that he had been deceived.
“I don’t believe it,” he said.
“Oh! do as you like about believing it.”
“I don’t believe you mailed my letter to my uncle.”
“Have it your own way, my young friend. Of course I can’t argue with a maniac.”
“Don’t call me a maniac, you old humbug! You ought to be in jail for this outrage.”
“Ho, ho! How very amusing you are, my young friend!” said the old man. “You’d make a first-class tragedian, you really would.”
“I might do something tragic, if I had a weapon,” said Jack, significantly. “Are you going to let me out?”
“Positively, I can’t part with you. You are too good company,” said Dr. Robinson, mockingly. “You’ll thank me for my care of you when you are quite cured.”
“That’s all rubbish,” said Jack, boldly. “I’m no more crazy than you are, and you know it. Will you answer me a question?”