“Have you had any outside advice about his condition?” Hamel inquired.
Mr. Fentolin glanced across those few feet of space and looked at Hamel with swift suspicion.
“Why should I?” he asked. “Doctor Sarson is fully qualified, and the case seems to present no unusual characteristics.”
Hamel sipped his brandy thoughtfully.
“I don’t know why I suggested it,” he admitted. “I only thought that an outside doctor might help you to get rid of the fellow.”
Mr. Fentolin shrugged his shoulders.
“After all,” he said, “the matter is of no real consequence. Doctor Sarson assures me that we shall be able to send him on his way very shortly. In the meantime, Mr. Hamel, what about the Tower?”
“What about it?” Hamel asked, selecting a cigar from the box which had been pushed to his side. “I am sure I haven’t any wish to inconvenience you.”
“I will be quite frank,” Mr. Fentolin declared. “I do not dispute your right for a moment. On the other hand, my few hours daily down there have become a habit with me. I do not wish to give them up. Stay here with us, Mr. Hamel. You will be doing us a great kindness. My nephew and niece have too little congenial society. Make up your mind to give us a fortnight of your time, and I can assure you that we will do our best to make yours a pleasant stay.”
Hamel was a little taken aback.
“Mr. Fentolin,” he said, “I couldn’t think of accepting your hospitality to such an extent. My idea in coming here was simply to fulfil an old promise to my father and to rough it at the Tower for a week or so, and when that was over, I don’t suppose I should ever be likely to come back again. You had better let me carry out that plan, and afterwards the place shall be entirely at your disposal.”
“You don’t quite understand,” Mr. Fentolin persisted, a little irritably. “I sit there every morning. I want, for instance, to be there to-morrow morning, and the next morning, and the morning afterwards, to finish a little seascape I have commenced. Nowhere else will do. Call it a whim or what you will I have begun the picture, and I want to finish it.”
“Well, you can sit there all right,” Hamel assured him. “I shall be out playing golf or fishing. I shall do nothing but sleep there.”
“And very uncomfortable you will be,” Mr. Fentolin pointed out. “You have no servant, I understand, and there is no one in the village fit to look after you. Think of my thirty-nine empty rooms, my books here, my gardens, my motor-cars, my young people, entirely at your service. You can have a suite to yourself. You can disappear when you like. To all effects and purposes you will be the master of St. David’s Hall. Be reasonable. Don’t you think, now, that you can spend a fortnight more pleasantly under such circumstances than by playing the misanthrope down at the Tower?”