She flung out her hands suddenly toward Jimmie Dale. “Oh, Jimmie, Jimmie, I’ve—I’ve fought so long alone! Jimmie, what are we to do?”
He came slowly to his feet. She had fought so long—alone. But now—now it was his turn to fight—for her. But how? She had not told him all—surely she had not told him all, for everything depended upon that package. There had been so much to tell that she had not thought of all, and she had not told him the details about that.
“That box—No. 428!” he cried quickly. “What is that? What does it mean?”
She shook her head.
“I do not know,” she answered.
“Then who is this John Johansson?”
“I do not know,” she said again.
“Nor where the Crime Club is?”
He stared at her for a moment in a dazed way.
“My God!” Jimmie Dale murmured.
And then she turned away her head.
“It’s—it’s pretty bad, isn’t it, Jimmie? I—I told you that we did not hold many trumps.”
There was silence between them. Minute after minute passed. Neither spoke.
Jimmie Dale dropped back into his chair again, and stared abstractedly before him. “We do not hold many trumps, Jimmie—we do not hold many trumps”—her words were repeating themselves over and over in his mind. They seemed to challenge him mockingly to deny what was so obviously a fact, and because he could not deny it to taunt and jeer at him—to jeer at him, when all that was held at stake hung literally upon his next move!
He looked up mechanically as the Tocsin walked to a broken mirror at the rear of the miserable room; nodded mechanically in approval as she began deftly to retouch the make-up on her face where the tears had left their traces—and resumed his abstracted gaze before him.
Box number four-two-eight—John Johansson—the Crime Club—the identity of the man who was posing as Henry LaSalle! If only he could hit upon a clew to the solution of a single one of those things, or a single phase of one of them—if only he could glimpse a ray of light that would at least prompt action, when every moment of inaction was multiplying the odds against them!
There were the men who were watching his house at that moment on Riverside Drive—he, as Larry the Bat, might in turn keep watch on them. He had though of that. In time, perhaps, he might, by so doing, discover the whereabouts of the Crime Club. In time! It was just that—he had no time! Forty-eight hours, the Tocsin insisted, was all the time that he could count upon before they would become suspicious of Jimmie Dale’s “illness,” before they would discover that they were watching an empty house!
He might—though this was even more hazardous—make an attempt to trace the wires that tapped those of his telephone through the basement window that gave on the garage driveway. And what then? True, they could not lead very far away; but, even if successful, what then? They would not lead him to the Crime Club, but simply to some confederate, to some man or woman playing the part of a servant, perhaps, in the house next door, who, in turn, would have to be shadowed and watched.