He moved along now straight ahead of him, his hand on the wall, feeling for the door—and with every step his bewilderment increased. Surely there must be some mistake—perhaps he had misunderstood! He had come fully twice the distance that one would expect—and yet there was no door. Ah, what was that? His fingers closed on soft, heavy velvet hangings. These could hardly be in front of a door, and yet—what else could it be? He drew the hangings warily apart, and felt behind them. It was a window; but it was shuttered in some way evidently, for he could not see out.
Jimmie Dale stood motionless there for fully a minute. It seemed absurd, preposterous, the conviction that was being forced home upon him—that there were no rooms on the right-hand side of the corridor at all! But that was not like the Tocsin, accurate always in the most minute details. The room must be still farther along. He was tempted to use his flashlight—but that, as long as he could feel his way, was an unnecessary risk. A flashlight upstairs, where a sleeping-room door might be ajar, or even wide open, where some one wakeful, that man himself, perhaps, might see it, was quite another matter than a flashlight in the closed and deserted library below!
He went on once more, still guiding himself by a light finger touch upon the wall, passed another portiere similar to the first, and, after that, another—and finally stopped by bringing up abruptly against the end wall of the house. It was certainly very strange! There were no rooms on the right-hand side of the corridor. And here, hanging across the end wall, was another of those ubiquitous velvet portieres. He parted it, and, a little to his surprise, found a window that was not shuttered, but that, instead, was heavily barred by an ornamental grille work. He could see out, however, and found that he was looking directly out from the rear of the house. A lamp from the side street threw what was undoubtedly the garage into shadowy outline, and he made out below him a short stretch of yard between the garage and the house. He remembered that now—she had described all that to the Magpie. There was no driveway between the front and the rear. The house being on the corner, the entrance to the garage was directly from the side street. Yes, she had described all that exactly as it was, but—he dropped the portiere and faced around, carrying his hand in a nonplused way to his eyes—but here, upstairs, within the house, it was not as she had said it was at all! What did it mean? She could not have blundered so egregiously as that, unless—he caught his breath suddenly—unless she had done so intentionally! Was that it? Had she surmised, formed a suspicion of what was in his mind, of what he meant to do—and taken this means of defeating it? If so—well, it was too late for that now! There was one way—only one way! Whatever the cost, whatever it might mean for him—there was only one way out for her.