And Burton, perforce, made his way across the room—and at the door Jimmie Dale joined him and led him down the short flight of stairs. At the bottom, he opened the door leading into the rear of the pawnshop itself, and, bidding Burton follow, entered.
“We can’t risk even a match; it could be seen from the street,” he said brusquely, as he fumbled around for a moment in the darkness. “Ah—here it is!” He lifted a telephone receiver from its hook, and gave a number.
Burton caught him quickly by the arm.
“Good Lord, man, what are you doing?” he protested anxiously. “That’s Mr. Maddon’s house!”
“So I believe,” said Jimmie Dale complacently. “Hello! Is Mr. Maddon there? . . . I beg pardon? . . . Personally, yes, if you please.”
There was a moment’s wait. Burton’s hand was still nervously clutching at Jimmie Dale’s sleeve. Then:
“Mr. Maddon?” asked Jimmie Dale pleasantly. “Yes? . . . I am very sorry to trouble you, but I called you up to inquire if you were aware that your rubies, and among them your Aracon, had been stolen? . . . I beg pardon! . . . Rubies—yes. . . . You weren’t. . . . Oh, no, I am quite in my right mind; if you will take the trouble to open your safe you will find they are gone—shall I hold the line while you investigate? . . . What? . . . Don’t shout, please—and stand a little farther away from the mouthpiece.” Jimmie Dale’s tone was one of insolent composure now. “There is really no use in getting excited. . . . I beg pardon? . . . Certainly, this is the Gray Seal speaking. . . . What?” Jimmie Dale’s voice grew plaintive, “I really can’t make out a word when you yell like that. . . . Yes. . . . I had occasion to use them this afternoon, and I took the liberty of borrowing them temporarily—are you still there, Mr. Maddon? . . . Oh, quite so! Yes, I hear you now. . . . No, that is all, only I am returning them through your private secretary, a very estimable young man, though I fear somewhat excitable and shaky, who is on his way to you with them now. . . . What’s that you say? You repeat that,” snapped Jimmie Dale suddenly, icily, “and I’ll take them from under your nose again before morning! . . . Ah! That is better! Good-night—Mr. Maddon.”
Jimmie Dale hung up the receiver and shoved Burton toward the door.
“Now then, Burton, we’ll get out of her—and the sooner you reach Fifth Avenue and Mr. Maddon’s house the better. No; not that way!” They had reached the hall, and Burton had turned toward the side door that opened on the alleyway. “Whoever they were who settled their last account with Isaac may still be watching. They’ve nothing against any one else, but they know some one was in here at the time, and, if the police are clever enough ever to get on their track, they might find it very convenient to be able to say who was in the room when Isaac was murdered—there’s nothing to show,