She did not cry. She lay there in his arms quite still—like a weary child.
The minutes passed. When Jimmie Dale spoke again it was irrelevantly—and his face was very white:
“Marie, describe the upper floor of that house over there for me.”
She roused herself with a start.
“The upper floor?” she repeated slowly. “Why—why do you ask that?”
“Have you forgotten in turn?” he said, with a steady smile. “That money in the safe—it’s yours—we can at least save that out of the wreck. You only drew the basement plan and the first floor for the Magpie—the more I know about the house the better, of course, in case anything goes wrong. Now, see, try and be brave—and tell me quickly, for I must get through before the Magpie comes, and I have barely half an hour.”
“No, Jimmie—no!” She slipped out of his arms. “Let it alone! I am afraid. Something—I—I have a feeling that something will happen.”
“It is the only way.” He said it involuntarily, more to himself than to her.
“Jimmie, let it alone!” she said again.
“No,” he said. “I am going—so tell me quickly. Every minute that we wait is one that counts against us.”
She hesitated an instant—and then, speaking rapidly, made a verbal sketch of the upper portion of the house for him.
“It’s a very large house, isn’t it?” he commented innocently—to pave the way for the question, above all others, that he had to ask. “Which is your uncle’s, I mean that man’s room?”
“The first on the right, at the head of the landing,” she answered. “Only, Jimmie, don’t—don’t go!”
He drew her close to him again.
“Now, listen,” he said quietly. “When the Magpie comes and finds I am not here, lead him to think that the money he gave me was too much for me; that I am probably in some den, doped with drug—and hold him as long as you can on the pretext that there is always the possibility I may, after all, show up before he goes in there. You understand? And now about yourself—you must do exactly as I say. On no account allow yourself to be seen by any one except the Magpie. I would tell you to go now, only, unless it is vitally necessary, we cannot afford to arouse the Magpie’s suspicions—he’d have every crook in the underworld snarling at our heels. But you are not to wait, even for him, if you detect the slightest disturbance in that house before he comes. And, equally, after he has gone in, whether I have come out or not, at the first indication of anything unusual you are to get away at once. You understand—Marie?”
“Yes,” she said. “But—but, Jimmie, you—”
“Just one thing more.” He smiled at her reassuringly. “Did the Magpie say anything about how he intended to get in?”
“Yes—by the side away from the corner of the street,” she said tremulously. “You see, there’s quite a space between the house and the one next door; and, besides, the house next door is closed up, there’s nobody there, the family has gone away for the summer. The library window there is low enough to reach from the ground.”