"Have I done what?" Gilet de Sauvinage asked with irritation.
"Why," Alice said, her tone suggesting that he ought to have know exactly what she meant, "I meant exactly that. Have you sent a ransom request to my family?"
De Sauvinage blenched at her inquiry. "How can you ask such a question?" he asked, his voice losing all trace of Gallic sanguinity.
"I ask because I must know," Alice responded with more than a little forceful disapproval. As unaccustomed as she was to finding herself in a position of some authority, Alice nonetheless deciphered that there had been a kind of shift in the balance of power between the two of them. Invigorated by the story of the poor young woman's travails, Alice found herself determined not to give in to the same fate.
"Have you sent a ransom note to my family?" Alice reiterated. "Tell me now!"
Gilet de Sauvinage quailed. Visibly, this was apparent.
It was not, Alice was certain, in the nature of villains to quail before heroines. She was somewhat disappointed to find that this was the calibre of villain she had attracted. Somehow it seemed a poor reflection on her.
If I were a better heroine, I would have attracted a more accomplished villain, Alice thought sadly.
"I have had some delay," de Sauvinage began.
"Why?" Alice demanded.
"I do not have a normal household staff, for one thing," de Sauvinage blustered. "If you knew what kind of efforts were required to keep a situation like this running smoothly, you would be surprised to say the least, Miss – er, Miss."
Alice shrugged with a nigh on Gallic casualness. "As the kidnapped person, I have no responsibility for those details. However, as the kidnapped person, I am horrified to find that you have done nothing toward securing my eventual rescue and ransoming. It is too shocking, too shocking by half," Alice said with more than a touch of her mother's oft-exercised sense of high dudgeon.
"Do you know how long it takes to make porridge?" de Sauvinage asked with more than a touch of bitterness.
Alice raised an eyebrow in a gesture that would have made her sensible cousin Lizzie nod with approval. "It is not my concern to know what porridge requires. You must ransom me or let me go."
De Sauvinage looked more than a tad perturbed at her suggestion. "Let you go? When it took me so long to acquire you? I do not think so." He shook his head, but Alice was not yet daunted.
"Then ransom me," she reiterated. "My family will be grateful to have me returned to them, I am certain. I wish to be free."
"I'm not sure that can be arranged," de Sauvinage said with ominous intent.