THE TOCSIN’S STORY
LaSalle! The old French name! That old French inscription on the ring: “Sonnez le Tocsin!” Yes; he began to understand now. She was Marie LaSalle! He began to remember more clearly.
Marie LaSalle! They had said she was one of the most beautiful girls who had ever made her entree into New York society. But he had never met her—as Marie LaSalle; never met her—until now, as the Tocsin, in this bare, destitute, squalid hovel, here at bay, both of them, for their lives.
He had been away when she had come with her father to New York; and on his return there had only been the father’s brother in the father’s place—and she was gone. He remembered the furor her disappearance had caused; the enormous rewards her uncle had offered in an effort to trace her; the thousand and one speculations as to what had become of her; and that then, gradually, as even the most startling and mystifying of events and happenings always do, the affair had dropped into oblivion and had been forgotten by the public at least. He began to count back. Yes, it must have been nearly five years ago; two years before she, as the Tocsin, and he, as the Gray Seal, had formed their amazing and singular partnership, that—he started suddenly, as she spoke.
“I want to tell you in as few words as I can,” she said abruptly, breaking the silence. “Listen, then, Jimmie. My mother died ten years ago. I was little more than a child then. Shortly after her death, father made a business trip to New York, and, on the advice of some supposed friends, he had a new will drawn up by a lawyer whom they recommended, and to whom they introduced him. I do not know who those men were. The lawyer’s name was Travers, Hilton Travers.” She glanced curiously at Jimmie Dale, and added quickly: “He was the chauffeur—the man who was killed last night.”
“You mean,” Jimmie Dale burst out, “you mean that he was—but, first, the will! What was in the will?”
“It was a very simple will,” she answered. “And from the nature of it, it was not at all strange that my father should have been willing to have had it drawn by a comparative stranger, if that is what you are thinking. Summarised in a few words, the will left everything to me, and appointed my Uncle Henry as my guardian and the sole executor of the estate until I should have reached my twenty-fifth birthday. It provided for a certain sum each year to be paid to my uncle for his services as executor; and at the expiration of the trust period—that is, when I was twenty-five—bequeathed to him the sum of one hundred thousand dollars.”
Jimmie Dale nodded. “Go on!” he prompted.