‘You have brought me back, then, by my uncle’s orders?’
‘Did I say so?’
’No; but what you have said can have no other meaning, though I can’t believe it. And why have I been brought here? What is the object of all this duplicity and trick. I will know. It is not possible that my uncle, a gentleman and a kinsman, can be privy to so disreputable a manouvre.’
’First you will eat your breakfast, dear Maud; next you can tell your story to your uncle, Monsieur Ruthyn; and then you shall hear what he thinks of my so terrible misconduct. What nonsense, cheaile! Can you not think how many things may ’appen to change a your uncle’s plans? Is he not in danger to be arrest? Bah! You are cheaile still; you cannot have intelligence more than a cheaile. Dress yourself, and I will order breakfast.’
I could not comprehend the strategy which had been practised on me. Why had I been so shamelessly deceived? If it were decided that I should remain here, for what imaginable reason had I been sent so far on my journey to France? Why had I been conveyed back with such mystery? Why was I removed to this uncomfortable and desolate room, on the same floor with the apartment in which Charke had met his death, and with no window commanding the front of the house, and no view but the deep and weed-choked court, that looked like a deserted churchyard in a city?
‘I suppose I may go to my own room?’ I said.
’Not to-day, my dear cheaile, for it was all disarrange when we go ’way; ‘twill be ready again in two three days.’
‘Where is Mary Quince?’ I asked.
‘Mary Quince!—she has follow us to France,’ said Madame, making what in Ireland they call a bull.
’They are not sure where they will go or what will do for day or two more. I will go and get breakfast. Adieu for a moment.’
Madame was out of the door as she said this, and I thought I heard the key turn in the lock.
A WELL-KNOWN FACE LOOKS IN
You who have never experienced it can have no idea how angry and frightened you become under the sinister insult of being locked into a room, as on trying the door I found I was.
The key was in the lock; I could see it through the hole. I called after Madame, I shook at the solid oak-door, beat upon it with my hands, kicked it—but all to no purpose.
I rushed into the next room, forgetting—if indeed I had observed it, that there was no door from it upon the gallery. I turned round in an angry and dismayed perplexity, and, like prisoners in romances, examined the windows.
I was shocked and affrighted on discovering in reality what they occasionally find—a series of iron bars crossing the window! They were firmly secured in the oak woodwork of the window-frame, and each window was, besides, so compactly screwed down that it could not open. This bedroom was converted into a prison. A momentary hope flashed on me—perhaps all the windows were secured alike! But it was no such thing: these gaol-like precautions were confined to the windows to which I had access.