The darkness but served to increase the panic, not allay it. With a savage snap of his jaws, Jimmie Dale swung from his table in the corner with the intention of making his way out by a side door behind him—it was a case of the police again, and the patrolman outside would probably be pulling a riot call by now. And the police—He stopped suddenly, as though he had been struck. An envelope, thrust there out of the darkness, was in his hand; and her voice, hers, the Tocsin’s, was sounding in his ears:
“Jimmie! Jimmie! I’ve been trying all evening to catch you! Quick! Get to the Sanctuary and change your clothes. There’s not an instant to lose! It’s for my sake to-night!”
And then a surging mob was around him on every side, and, pushing, jostling, half lifting him at times from his feet, carried him forward with its rush, and with him in its midst burst through the door and out into the street.
THE CALL TO ARMS
Not a sound as the key turned in the lock; not a sound as the door swung back on its carefully oiled hinges; not a sound as Larry the Bat slipped like a shadow into the blackness of the room, closing the door behind him again. With a tread as noiseless as a cat’s, he was across the room to satisfy himself that the shutters were tightly closed; and then the single gas jet flared up, murky, yellow, illuminating the miserable, squalid room—the Sanctuary—the home of Larry the Bat. There was need for silence, need for caution. In five minutes, ten at the outside, he must emerge again—as Jimmie Dale.
With a smile on his lips that mingled curiously chagrin and self-commiseration, he took the letter from his pocket and tore it open. It was she, then, who had been following him all evening, and, like a blundering idiot, he had wasted precious, perhaps irreparable, hours! What had she meant by “It’s for my sake to-night”? The words had been ringing in his ears since the moment she had whispered them in that panic-stricken crowd. Was it not always for her sake that he answered these calls to arms? Was it not always for her sake that he, as the Gray Seal, was—The mental soliloquy came to an abrupt end. He had subconsciously read the first sentence of the letter, and now, with sudden feverish eagerness and excitement, he was reading it to the last word.
“Dear philanthropic crook: In an hour after you receive this, if all goes well, you shall know everything—everything. Who I am—yes, and my name. It has been more than three years now, hasn’t it? It has been incomprehensible to you, but there has been no other way. I dared not take the chance of discovery by any one; I dared not expose you to the risk of being known by me. Your life would not have been worth a moment’s purchase. Oh, Jimmie, am I only making the mystery more mystifying? But to-night, I think, I hope, I pray that it is all