Mr. Fentolin pointed out of the window. Gerald followed his finger. Three men were at work upon the towering spars.
“You see,” Mr. Fentolin continued tolerantly, “that I am keeping my word to Lieutenant Godfrey. You are suffering from a little too much imagination, I am afraid. It is really quite a good fault. By-the-by, how do you get on with our friend Mr. Hamel?”
“Very well,” the boy replied. “I haven’t seen much of him.”
“He and Esther are together a great deal, eh?” Mr. Fentolin asked quickly.
“They seem to be quite friendly.”
“It isn’t Mr. Hamel, by any chance, who has been putting these ideas into your head?”
“No one has been putting any ideas into my head,” Gerald answered hotly. “It’s simply what I’ve seen and overheard. It’s simply what I feel around, the whole atmosphere of the place, the whole atmosphere you seem to create around you with these brutes Sarson and Meekins; and those white-faced, smooth-tongued Marconi men of yours, who can’t talk decent English; and the post-office man, who can’t look you in the face; and Miss Price, who looks as though she were one of the creatures, too, of your torture chamber. That’s all.”
Mr. Fentolin waited until he had finished. Then he waved him away.
“Go and take a long walk, Gerald,” he advised. “Fresh air is what you need, fresh air and a little vigorous exercise. Run along now and send Miss Price to me.”
Gerald overtook Hamel upon the stairs.
“By this time,” the latter remarked, “I suppose that our friend Mr. Dunster is upon the sea.”
Gerald nodded silently. They passed along the corridor. The door of the room which Mr. Dunster had occupied was ajar. As though by common consent, they both stopped and looked in. The windows were all wide open, the bed freshly made. The nurse was busy collecting some medicine bottles and fragments of lint. She looked at them in surprise.
“Mr. Dunster has left, sir,” she told them.
“We saw him go,” Gerald replied.
“Rather a quick recovery, wasn’t it, nurse?” Hamel asked.
“It wasn’t a recovery at all, sir,”
the woman declared sharply.
“He’d no right to have been taken away. It’s my opinion Doctor
Sarson ought to be ashamed of himself to have permitted it.”
“They couldn’t exactly make a prison of the place, could they?” Hamel pointed out. “The man, after all, was only a guest.”
“That’s as it may be, sir,” the nurse replied. “All the same, those that won’t obey their doctors aren’t fit to be allowed about alone. That’s the way I look at it.”
Mrs. Fentolin was passing along the corridor as they issued from the room. She started a little as she saw them.
“What have you two been doing in there?” she asked quickly.
“We were just passing,” Hamel explained. “We stopped for a moment to speak to the nurse.”