He raised his head and looked round the room. The curtains had not been drawn and enough light came into the room from the outside to enable him to distinguish the outlines of the furniture. It was a bedroom, furnished in rather a massive style, with some kind of thick, soft carpet into, which the feet sank.
Desmond tested his bonds. He was very skillfully tied up. He fancied that with a little manipulation he might contrive to loosen the rope round his right arm, for one of the knots had caught in the folds of his coat. The thongs round his left arm and two legs were, however, so tight that he thought he had but little chance of ridding himself of them, even should he get his right arm free; for the knots were tied at the back under the seat of the chair in such a way that he could not reach them.
He, therefore, resigned himself to conducting operations in the highly ridiculous posture in which he found himself, that is to say, with a large arm-chair attached to him, rather like a snail with its house on its back. After a certain amount of maneuvering he discovered that, by means of a kind of slow, lumbering crawl, he was able to move across the ground. It might have proved a noisy business on a parquet floor; but Desmond moved only a foot or two at a time and the pile carpet deadened the sound.
They had deposited him in his chair in the centre of the room near the big brass bedstead. After ten minutes' painful crawling he had reached the toilet table which stood in front of the window with a couple of electric candles on either side of the mirror. He moved the toilet table to one side, then bumped steadily across the carpet until he had reached the window. And then he gave a little gasp of surprise.
He found himself looking straight at the window of his own bedroom at Mrs. Viljohn-Smythe's. There was no mistaking it. The electric light was burning and the curtains had not yet been drawn. He could see the black and pink eiderdown on his bed and the black lining of the chintz curtains. Then he remembered the slope of the hill. He must be in the room from which he had seen Bellward looking out.
The sight of the natty bedroom across the way moved Desmond strangely. It seemed to bring home to him for the first time the extraordinary position in which he found himself, a prisoner in a perfectly respectable suburban house in a perfectly respectable quarter of London, in imminent danger of a violent death.
He wouldn't give in without a struggle. Safety stared him in the face, separated only by a hundred yards of grass and shrub and wall. He instinctively gripped the arms of the chair to raise himself to get a better view from the window, forgetting he was bound. The ropes cut his arms cruelly and brought him back to earth.
He tested again the thongs fastening his right arm. Yes! they were undoubtedly looser than the others. He pulled and tugged and writhed and strained. Once in his struggles he crashed into the toilet table and all but upset one of the electric candles which slid to the table's very brink and was saved, as by a miracle, from falling to the floor. He resumed his efforts, but with less violence. It was in vain. Though the ropes about his right arm were fairly loose, the wrist was solidly fastened to the chair, and do what he would, he could not wrest it free. He clawed desperately with his fingers and thumb, but all in vain.