Spider Jack re-entered the room, carrying what looked like a large, bulky, manila envelope, heavily sealed, in his hand. He tossed it on the table.
“There you are, Travers!” he said.
“I wonder,” suggested the leader pleasantly, “if, now that we’re here, Travers, your friend would mind letting us have this room for a few minutes to ourselves to clean up the business?”
“Sure!” agreed Spider Jack cordially. “You’re welcome to it! I’ll wait out here in the store until you say the word.”
He went out, closing the door after him. The leader picked up the package.
“We’ll take no chances with this,” he said grimly. “It’s been too close a call. After we’ve had a look at it, we’ll put it out of harm’s way on the spot, here, while we’ve got it—before we leave!”
He ripped the package open, and disclosed perhaps a dozen official-looking documents, besides a miscellaneous number of others. He took up the first of the papers, glanced through it hurriedly, then tossed it to the pseudo chauffeur.
“Tear it up, and tear it up—small!” he ordered tersely. The next, after examining it as he had the first, he tossed to the other man. “Go ahead!”—curtly. “Work fast! From the looks of these, Travers had us cold! There’s proof enough here of LaSalle’s murder to send us all to the chair!”
He went on glancing through the documents; and then suddenly, joining the others in their work, began to rip and tear at the papers himself.
A sort of cold horror had settled upon Jimmie Dale, and his forehead was clammy wet. The inhuman irony of it! That he should stand there and watch, impotent to prevent it, the destruction of what he would have given his life to secure! And then slowly, a grim, hard, merciless smile came to his lips. He had recognised the leader’s voice—now he would recognise the leader’s face. At least, that was left to him—perhaps the master trump of all. It would not be very hard to find the Crime Club now—with that man to lead the way!
The scraps of paper, tiny shreds, mounted into a heap on the table—and with the last of the contents of the package destroyed, the leader stood up.
“Put these pieces in your pockets; we don’t want to leave them here,” he directed quietly. “And then let’s get out.”
In scarcely a moment, the last scrap of paper had vanished. The three men walked to the door, passed through it, and joined Spider Jack in the store—and Jimmie Dale, slipping out from behind the curtain, gained the door of the rear room, crept through it, reached the stoop, and then, darting like the wind across the yard, was over the fence in a second, and in another was out of the alleyway and on the street.