And now the window! He ran to it, closed it, and locked it; then, laying the revolver he had taken from the leader down beside the man, he stepped across the room again and drew the body of “Henry LaSalle” closer to the table—as though the man had fallen there when the telephone had dropped from his hand.
It was done now! On the floor beside him lay each man’s weapon—and both of the revolvers had been discharged several times. Jimmie Dale paused on the library threshold for a final survey of the room. It was done! The way was clear—for her. And now if he could only save himself! There was no chance for Larry the Bat! Could he save—Jimmie Dale!
He crossed the hall, a queer, half-grim, half-wistful smile on his lips, unlocked the front door, stepped out, locked it behind him—and in another moment, doubling around the corner, was running along like a hare along the side street.
“Death to the gray seal!”
On Jimmie Dale ran. Across on Fourth Avenue he swung on a car that took him to Astor Place. Then striking east once more, making a detour to avoid the Bowery, he ran on at top speed again. To reach the Sanctuary, not before the Magpie should have spread the alarm, that was impossible, but to reach it before the underworld should have had time to recover its breath, as it were, before the underworld should have had time to act—that was his only chance! The Magpie had, at the outside, a start of fifteen minutes; but he, Jimmie Dale, had probably retrieved five minutes of that in the time he had made in getting downtown. That left the Magpie ten to the good. How long would it take the Magpie to bring the underworld swarming like hornets around the Sanctuary?
On Larry the Bat ran. At the Sanctuary were the clothes, the belongings of Jimmie Dale. Could he save Jimmie Dale! If he could get there, change, and get out again, the way was clear for him—as clear as for the Tocsin now. In a few hours the police would have every member of the Crime Club in the trap; there would be no watch any more around his house on Riverside Drive; and he would be free to return there and resume his normal life as Jimmie Dale again if he could make the Sanctuary in time! But let the Magpie get there first, let the underworld tear the place to pieces in its fury as it would do, let them discover that hiding place under the flooring, for instance, and the Gray Seal would not be merely Larry the Bat, but Jimmie Dale as well, and—a cry escaped him even as he ran—it meant ruin, the disgrace of an honoured name, death, crimes without number at his door. Crimes! The Gray Seal had never committed a crime! But the crimes attributed to the Gray Seal he could not disprove, not one of them! He had meant them to appear as crimes—and he had succeeded so well that the Gray Seal’s name, execrated, was a synonym for the most callous, dangerous, and unscrupulous criminal of the age!