“Listen, then, Jimmie: Be at the northeast corner of Sixth Avenue and Waverly Place at exactly half-past ten. A taxicab will drive up, as though you had signalled it in passing, and the chauffeur will say: ’I’ve another fare, in half an hour, sir, but I can get you most anywhere in that time.’ You will be smoking a cigarette. Toss it out into the street, make any reply you like, and get into the cab. Give the chauffeur that little ring of mine with the crest of the bell and belfry and the motto, ‘Sonnez le Tocsin,’ that you found the night old Isaac Pelina was murdered, and the chauffeur will give you in exchange a sealed packet of papers. He will drive you to your home, and I will telephone to you there.
“I need not tell you to destroy this. Keep the appointment in your proper person—as Jimmie Dale. Carry nothing that might identify you as the Gray Seal if any accident should happen. And, lastly, trust the pseudo chauffeur absolutely.”
There was no signature. Her letters were never signed. He stood for a moment staring at the closely written sheets in his hand, a heightened colour in his cheeks, his lips pressed tightly together—and then his fingers automatically began to tear the letter into pieces, and the pieces again into little shreds. To-night! It was to be to-night, the end of all this mystery. To-night was to see the end of this dual life of his, with its constant peril! To-night the Gray Seal was to exit from the stage forever! To-night, a wonderful climax of the years, he was to see her!
His blood was quickened now, his heart pounding in a faster beat; a mad elation, a fierce uplift was upon him. He thrust the torn bits of paper into his pocket hurriedly, stepped across the room to the corner, rolled back the oilcloth, and lifted up the loose plank in the flooring, so innocently dustladen, as, more than once, to have eluded the eyes of inquisitive visitors in the shape of police and plain clothes men from headquarters.