Mr. Fentolin studied the canvas himself for a moment.
“A clever man, Sarson,” he remarked coolly, “but no courtier. Never mind, my work pleases me. It gives me a passing sensation of happiness. Now, what about our patient?”
“He recovers,” the doctor pronounced. “From my short examination, I should say that he had the constitution of an ox. I have told him that he will be up in three days. As a matter of fact, he will be able, if he wants to, to walk out of the house to-morrow.”
Mr. Fentolin shook his head.
“We cannot spare him quite so soon,” he declared. “We must avail ourselves of this wonderful chance afforded us by my brilliant young nephew. We must keep him with us for a little time. What is it that you have in your hands, Doctor? Telegrams, I think. Let me look at them.”
The doctor held them out. Mr. Fentolin took them eagerly between his thin, delicate fingers. Suddenly his face darkened, and became like the face of a spoilt and angry child.
“Cipher!” he exclaimed furiously. “A cipher which he knows so well as to remember it, too! Never mind, it will be easy to decode. It will amuse me during the afternoon. Very good, Sarson. I will take charge of these.”
“You do not wish anything dispatched?”
“Nothing at present,” Mr. Fentolin sighed. “It will be well, I think, for the poor man to remain undisturbed by any communications from his friends. Is he restless at all?”
“He wants to get on with his journey.”
“We shall see,” Mr. Fentolin remarked. “Now feel my pulse, Sarson. How am I this morning?”
The doctor held the thin wrist for a moment between his fingers, and let it go.
“In perfect health, as usual,” he announced grimly.
“Ah, but you cannot be sure!” Mr. Fentolin protested. “My tongue, if you please.”
He put it out.
“We must make quite certain,” Mr. Fentolin continued. “There are so many people who would miss me. My place in the world would not be easily filed. Undo my waistcoat, Sarson. Feel my heart, please. Feel carefully. I can see the end of your stethoscope in your pocket. Don’t scamp it. I fancied this morning, when I was lying here alone, that there was something almost like a palpitation—a quicker beat. Be very careful, Sarson. Now.”
The doctor made his examination with impassive face. Then he stepped back.
“There is no change in your condition, Mr. Fentolin,” he announced. “The palpitation you spoke of is a mistake. You are in perfect health.”
Mr. Fentolin sighed gently.
“Then,” he said, “I will now amuse myself by a gentle ride down to the Tower. You are entirely satisfied, Sarson? You are keeping nothing back from me?”
The doctor looked at him with grim, impassive face. “There is nothing to keep back,” he declared. “You have the constitution of a cowboy. There is no reason why you should not live for another thirty years.”