A Bid for Fortune by Guy Boothby

A Bid for Fortune by Guy Boothby

Author:Guy Boothby
Language: eng
Format: azw3, epub
Tags: Detective and mystery stories, Fiction
Publisher: Standard Ebooks
Published: 2019-07-23T23:35:34+00:00


IX Dr. Nikola Permits Us a Free Passage

The old say­ing, “Don’t count your chick­ens be­fore they’re hatched,” is as good a warn­ing as any I know. Cer­tainly it proved so in our case. For if we had not been so com­pletely oc­cu­pied fil­ing through the staples of our col­lars we should not have omit­ted to take into con­sid­er­a­tion the fact that, even when we should have re­moved the chains that bound us, we would still be pris­on­ers in the room. I’m very much afraid, how­ever, even had we re­membered this point, we should only have con­sidered it of minor im­port­ance and one to be eas­ily over­come. As it was, the un­wel­come fact re­mained that the door was locked, and, what was worse, that the lock it­self had, for se­cur­ity’s sake, been placed on the out­side, so that there was no chance of our be­ing able to pick it, even had our ac­com­plish­ments lain in that dir­ec­tion. “Try the win­dow,” whispered Beck­en­ham, in an­swer to the heavy sigh which fol­lowed my last dis­cov­ery.

Ac­cord­ingly we crossed the room, and I put my hands upon one of the boards and pulled. But I might as well have tried to tow a troop­ship with a piece of cot­ton, for all the sat­is­fact­ory res­ult I got; the planks were trebly screwed to the win­dow frame, and each in turn de­fied me. When I was tired Beck­en­ham put his strength to it, but even our united ef­forts were of no avail, and, pant­ing and ex­hausted, we were at length ob­liged to give it up as hope­less.

“This is a pretty fix we’ve got ourselves into,” I said as soon as I had re­covered suf­fi­cient breath to speak. “We can’t re­main here, and yet how on earth are we to es­cape?”

“I can’t say, un­less we man­age to burst that door open and fight our way out. I won­der if that could be done.”

“First, let’s look at the door.”

We crossed the room again, and I ex­amined the door care­fully with my fin­gers. It was not a very strong one; but I was suf­fi­cient of a car­penter to know that it would with­stand a good deal of pres­sure be­fore it would give way.

“I’ve a good mind to try it,” I said; “but in that case, re­mem­ber, it will prob­ably mean a hand-to-hand fight on the other side, and, un­armed and weak as we are, we shall be pretty sure to get the worst of it.”

“Never mind that,” my in­trepid com­pan­ion replied, with a con­fid­ence in his voice that I was very far from feel­ing. “In for a penny, in for a pound; even if we’re killed it couldn’t be worse than be­ing bur­ied alive in here.”

“That’s so, and if fight­ing’s your idea, I’m your man,” I answered. “Let me first take my bear­ings, and then I’ll see what I can do against it. You get out of the way, but be sure to stand by to rush the pas­sage dir­ectly the door goes.”

Again I felt the door and wall in or­der that I might be sure where it lay, and hav­ing done so crossed the room.



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