They passed the door of Isaac’s den, turned down a narrow corridor that led to the rear of the house—Jimmie Dale guiding unerringly, working from the mental map of the house that the Tocsin had drawn for him—descended another short flight of stairs that gave on the kitchen, crossed the kitchen, and Jimmie Dale opened a back door. He paused here for a moment to listen; then, cautioning Burton to be silent, moved on again across a small back yard and through a gate into a lane that ran at right angles to the alleyway by which both had entered the house—and, a minute later, they were crouched against a building, a half block away, where the lane intersected the cross street.
Here Jimmie Dale peered out cautiously. There was no one in sight. He touched Burton’s shoulder, and pointed down the street.
“That’s your way, Burton—mine’s the other. Hurry while you’ve got the chance. Good-night.”
Burton’s hand reached out, caught Jimmie Dale’s, and wrung it.
“God bless you!” he said huskily. “I—”
And Jimmie Dale pushed him out on to the street.
Burton’s steps receded down the sidewalk. Jimmie Dale still crouched against the wall. The steps grew fainter in the distance and died finally away. Jimmie Dale straightened up, slipped the mask from his face to his pocket, stepped out on the street—and five minutes later was passing through the noisy bedlam of the Hungarian restaurant on his way to the front door and his car.
“Sonnez le Tocsin,” Jimmie Dale was saying softly to himself. “I wonder what she’ll do when she finds I’ve got the ring?”
THE MAN HIGHER UP
The Tocsin! By neither act, sign, nor word had she evidenced the slightest interest in that ring—and yet she must know, she certainly must know that it was now in his possession. Jimmie Dale was disappointed. Somehow, he had counted more than he had cared to admit on developments from that ring.
He pulled a little viciously at his cigarette, as he stared out of the St. James Club window. That was how long ago? Ten days? Yes; this would be the eleventh. Eleven days now and no word from her—eleven days since that night at old Isaac’s, since she had last called him, the Gray Seal, to arms. It was a long while—so long a while even that what had come to be his prerogative in the newspapers, the front page with three-inch type recounting some new exploit of that mysterious criminal the Gray Seal, was being usurped. The papers were howling now about what they, for the lack of a better term, were pleased to call a wave of crime that had inundated New York, and of which, for once, the Gray Seal was not the storm centre, but rather, for the moment, forgotten.