“Watch! Watch!” cried the chauffeur.
There was no word between them for a moment; then Jimmie Dale spoke crisply:
“It’s turned the corner! It’s coming this way!”
The taxicab was rocking violently with the speed; silent, empty, Lower Broadway stretched away ahead. Apart from an occasional street car, probably there would be nothing between them and the Battery. Jimmie Dale glanced at his companion’s face as a light, flashing by, threw it into relief. It was set and stern, even a little haggard; but, too, there was something else there, something that appealed instantly to Jimmie Dale—a sort of bulldog grit that dominated it.
“If he holds our speed, we’ll know!” the chauffeur was shouting now to make himself heard over the roar of the car. “Look again! Where is it now?”
Once more Jimmie Dale looked through the little rear window. The cab had been a block behind them when it had turned the corner, and he watched it now in a sort of grim fascination. There was no possible doubt of it! The two bobbing, bouncing headlights were creeping steadily nearer. And then a sort of unnatural calm settled upon Jimmie Dale, and his hand went mechanically to his pocket to feel his automatic there, as he turned again to the chauffeur.
“If you’ve got any more speed, you’d better use it!” he said significantly.
The man shot a quick look at him.
“They are following us? You are sure?”
“Yes,” said Jimmie Dale.
The chauffeur laughed again in that mirthless, savage way.
“Lean over here, where I can talk to you!” he rasped out. “The game’s up, as far as I am concerned, I guess! But there’s a chance for you. They don’t know you in this.”
“Give her more speed—or dodge into a cross street!” suggested Jimmie Dale coolly. “They haven’t got us yet, by a long way!”
The other shook his head.
“It’s not only that cab behind,” he answered, through set lips. “You don’t know what we’re up against. If they’re really after us, there’s a trap laid in every section of this city—the devils! It’s the package they want. Thank God for the presentiment that made me leave it behind! I was going back for it, you understand, if I was satisfied that we weren’t followed. Listen! There’s a chance for you—there’s none for me. That package—remember this!—no one else knows where it is, and it’s life and death to the one who sent you here. It’s in Box 428 at—My God, look! Look there!” he yelled, and, with a wrench at the wheel, sent the taxi lurching and staggering for the car tracks in the centre of the street.
The scene, fast as thought itself, was photographing itself in every detail upon Jimmie Dale’s brain. From the cross street ahead, one from each corner, two motor cars had nosed out into Broadway, blocking the road on both sides. And now the car on the left-hand side was moving forward across the tracks to counteract the chauffeur’s move, deliberately insuring a collision. There was no chance, no further room to turn, no time to stop—the man driving the other car jumped for safety—they would be into it in an instant.