When he recovered his senses he was lying on a couch in a plainly furnished room, and a man, a stranger, red, jovial-faced, farmerish looking, was bending over him.
“Where am I?” he demanded finally, propping himself up on his elbow.
“You’re all right,” replied the man. “She said you’d come around in a little while.”
“Who said so?” inquired Jimmie Dale.
“She did. The woman who brought you here about five minutes ago. She said she ran you down with her car.”
“Oh!” said Jimmie Dale. He felt his head—it was bandaged, and it was bandaged, he was quite sure, with a piece of torn underskirt. He looked at the man again. “You haven’t told me yet where I am.”
“Long Island,” the other answered. “My name’s Hanson. I keep a bit of a truck garden here.”
“Oh,” said Jimmie Dale again.
The man crossed the room, picked up an envelope from the table, and came back to Jimmie Dale.
“She said to give you this as soon as you got your senses, and asked us to put you up for a while, as long as you wanted to stay, and paid us for it, too. She’s all right, she is. You don’t want to hold the accident up against her, she was mighty sorry about it. And now I’ll go and see if the old lady’s got your room ready while you’re readin’ your letter.”
The man left the room.
Jimmie Dale sat up on the couch, and tore the envelope open. The note, scrawled in pencil, began abruptly:
“You were quite a problem. I couldn’t take you home—could I? I couldn’t take you to what you call the Sanctuary could I? I couldn’t take you to a hospital, nor call in a doctor—the stain you use wouldn’t stand it. But, thank God! I know it’s only a flesh wound, and you are all right where you are for the day or two that you must keep quiet and take care of yourself. By the time you read this the paper will be on the way to the proper hands, and by morning the four where they should be. There were a few articles in your clothes I thought it better to take charge of in case—well, in case of accident.”
Jimmie Dale tore the note up, and smiled wryly at the door. He felt in his pockets. Mask, revolver, burglar’s tools, and the thin metal insignia case were gone.
“And I had the sublime optimism,” murmured Jimmie Dale, “to spend months trying to find her as Larry the Bat!”
TWO CROOKS AND A KNAVE
The bullet wound along the side of his head and just above his ear would have been a very awkward thing indeed, in more ways than one, for Jimmie Dale, the millionaire, to have explained at his club, in his social set, or even to his servants, and of these latter to Jason the Solicitous in particular; but for Jimmie Dale as Larry the Bat it was a matter of little moment. There was none to question Larry the Bat, save in a most casual and indifferent way;