"Have done with this fooling, then," said Alfred sharply; "the person I came to see is not here; good morning."
The short man instantly stepped to the door, and put his back to it. The other said calmly, " No, Mr. Hardie, you cannot leave the house at present."
"Can't I? Why not, pray?" said Alfred, drawing his breath hard: and his eyes began to glitter dangerously.
"We are responsible for your safety: we have force at hand if necessary; pray do not compel us to summon it."
"Why, where am I?" said Alfred, panting now; "is this a prison?"
"No, no," said Mrs. Archbold soothingly: "it is a place where you will be cured of your headaches and your delusions, and subjected to no unnecessary pain nor restraint."
"Oh, bother," said the short snob brutally. "Why make two bites of a cherry? You are in my asylum, young gentleman, and a devilish lucky thing for you."
At this fatal word, "asylum," Alfred uttered a cry of horror and despair, and his eyes roved wildly round the room in search of escape. But the windows of the room, though outside the house they seemed to come as low as those of the drawing-room, were partly bricked-up within, and made just too high to be reached without a chair. And his captors read that wild glance directly, and the doctor whipped one chair away, while Mrs. Archbold, with more tact, sat quietly down on the other. They all three blew their whistles shrilly.