He got up impulsively from his chair, and, in the blackness, began to pace the room. The next move was clear, pitifully clear; it had been clear from the first, it had been clear even in that ride in the car—it was so clear that it seemed veritably to mock him as he prodded his brains for some means of putting it into execution. He must get to the Sanctuary, become Larry the Bat—but how? How! The question seemed at last to become resonant, to ring through the room with the weight of doom upon it.
Schemes, plans, ideas came, bringing a momentary uplift—only to be discarded the next instant with a sort of bitter, desperate regret. These men were not men of mere ordinary intelligence; their cleverness, their power, the amazing scope of their organisation, all bore grim witness to the fact that they would be blinded not at all by any paltry ruse.
He could walk out of the house in the morning as Jimmie Dale without apparent hindrance—that was obvious enough. And so long as he pursued the usual avocations of Jimmie Dale, he would not be interfered with—only watched. It was useless to consider that plan for a moment. It would not help him to reach the Sanctuary—without leading them there behind him! True, there was always the chance that he might shake them off his trail, but he could hardly hope to accomplish anything like that without their knowing that it was done deliberately—and that he dared not risk. The strongest weapon in his hands now was his secret knowledge that he was being watched.
That telephone there, for instance, that most curiously kept on insisting in his mind that it, and it alone was the way out, was the last thing he could place in jeopardy. Besides, there was another reason why such a plan would not do; for, granting even that he succeeded in eluding them on the way, and managed to reach the Sanctuary, his freedom of action would be so restricted and limited as to be practically worthless—he would have to return to his home here again within a reasonable time as Jimmie Dale, within a few hours at most—or again they would be in possession of the fact that he had discovered their surveillance.
That, it was true, had been his original plan when he had entered the house half an hour previously, but it was an entirely different matter now. Then, he had counted on getting away without their knowing it, before they, as he had fondly thought, would have had a chance to establish their espionage, and when they would have had no reason to suspect, for a time at least, that he was not still within the house, when they would have been watching, as it were, an empty cage.