Page:Guy Boothby--A Bid for Fortune.djvu/227

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ribly mortified and angry. Mr. Draper, you had an easy victim.'

"Mr. Draper said nothing, but Dr. Nikola dropped into a chair and spoke for him.

"'You must not blame my old friend Draper,' he said suavely. 'We have been wondering for the last twenty-four hours how we might best get hold of you, and the means we have employed so successfully seemed the only possible way. Have no fear, my lord, you shall not be hurt. In less than twenty-four hours you will enjoy the society of your energetic friend Mr. Hatteras again.'

"'What is your reason for abducting me like this?' I asked. 'You are foolish to do so, for Mr. Hatteras will leave no stone unturned to find me.'

'"I do not doubt that at all,' said Dr. Nikola quietly; 'but I think Mr. Hatteras will find he will have all his work cut out for him this time.'

"'If you imagine that your plans are not known in Sydney you are mistaken,' I cried. 'The farce you are playing at Government House is detected, and Mr. Hatteras, directly he finds I am lost, will go to Lord Amberley and reveal everything.'

"'I have not the slightest objection,' returned Dr. Nikola quietly. 'By the time Mr. Hatteras can take those steps—indeed, by the time he discovers your absence at all, we shall be beyond the reach of his vengeance.'

"I could not follow his meaning, of course, but while he had been speaking I had been looking stealthily round me for a means of escape. The only way out of the room was of course by the door, but both Nikola and his ally were between me and that. Then a big stone hatchet hanging on the wall near me caught my eye.