Mr. Fentolin raised the little gold whistle to his lips and blew it very softly. Meekins at once entered, closing the door behind him. He moved silently to the side of the man who had risen now from the bed, and who was standing with his hand grasping the post and his eyes fixed upon Mr. Fentolin, as though awaiting his answer.
“Our conversation,” the latter said calmly, “has reached a point, Mr. Dunster, at which I think we may leave it for the moment. You have told me some very surprising things. I perceive that you are a more interesting visitor even than I had thought.”
He raised his left hand, and Meekins, who seemed to have been waiting for some signal of the sort, suddenly, with a movement of his knee and right arm, flung Dunster hack upon the bed. The man opened his mouth to shout, but already, with lightning-like dexterity, his assailant had inserted a gag between his teeth. Treating his struggles as the struggles of a baby, Meekins next proceeded to secure his wrists with handcuffs. He then held his feet together while he quietly wound a coil of cord around them. Mr. Fentolin watched the proceedings from his chair with an air of pleased and critical interest.
“Very well done, Meekins—very neatly done, indeed!” he exclaimed. “As I was saying, Mr. Dunster,” he continued, turning his chair, “our conversation has reached a point at which I think we may safely leave it for a time. We will discuss these matters again. Your pretext of a political mission is, of course, an absurd one, but fortunately you have fallen into good hands. Take good care of Mr. Dunster, Meekins. I can see that he is a very important personage. We must be careful not to lose sight of him.”
Mr. Fentolin steered his chair to the door, opened it, and passed out. On the landing he blew his whistle; the lift almost immediately ascended. A moment or two later he glided into the dining-room. The three men were still seated around the table. A decanter of wine, almost empty, was before Doctor Sarson, whose pallid cheeks, however, were as yet unflushed.
“At last, my dear guest,” Mr. Fentolin exclaimed, turning to Hamel, “I am able to return to you. If you will drink no more wine, let us have our coffee in the library, you and I. I want to talk to you about the Tower.”
Mr. Fentolin led the way to a delightful little corner of his library, where before the open grate, recently piled with hissing logs, an easy chair had been drawn. He wheeled himself up to the other side of the hearthrug and leaned back with a little air of exhaustion. The butler, who seemed to have appeared unsummoned from somewhere among the shadows, served coffee and poured some old brandy into large and wonderfully thin glasses.
“Why my house should be turned into an asylum to gratify the hospitable instincts of my young nephew, I cannot imagine,” Mr. Fentolin grumbled. “A most extraordinary person, our visitor, I can assure you. Quite violent, too, he was at first.”