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"It's very strange," thought Jack, "that Uncle Abel doesn't take any notice of my letter."
In fact, our hero felt rather indignant, as well as surprised, and on the next visit of Dr. Robinson, he asked: "Hasn't my uncle been here to ask about me?"
"Yes," said the old man, unexpectedly.
"Why didn't you bring him up here to see me?"
"He just inquired how you were, and said he thought you were better off with us than you would be at home."
Jack looked fixedly in the face of the pretended doctor, and was convinced that he had been deceived.
"I don't believe it," he said.
"Oh! do as you like about believing it."
"I don't believe you mailed my letter to my uncle."
"Have it your own way, my young friend. Of course I can't argue with a maniac."
"Don't call me a maniac, you old humbug! You ought to be in jail for this outrage."
"Ho, ho! How very amusing you are, my young friend!" said the old man. "You'd make a first-class tragedian, you really would."
"I might do something tragic, if I had a weapon," said Jack, significantly. "Are you going to let me out?"
"Positively, I can't part with you. You are too good company," said Dr. Robinson, mockingly. "You'll thank me for my care of you when you are quite cured."
"That's all rubbish," said Jack, boldly. "I'm no more crazy than you are, and you know it. Will you answer me a question?"
"It depends on what it is," said the old man, cautiously.
"Has Mrs. Hardwick been here to ask about me?"
"Certainly. She takes a great deal of interest in you."
"Was there a little girl with her?"
"I believe so. I really don't remember."
"If she calls again, either with or without Ida, will you ask her to come up here? I want to see her."
"Yes, I'll tell her. Now, my young friend, I must really leave you. Business before pleasure, you know."
Jack looked about the room for something to read. He found among other books a small volume, purporting to contain "The Adventures of Baron Trenck."
It may be that the reader has never encountered a copy of this singular book. Baron Trenck was several times imprisoned for political offenses, and this book contains an account of the manner in which he succeeded, after years of labor, in escaping from his dungeon.
Jack read the book with intense interest and wondered, looking about the room, if he could not find some similar plan of escape.
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