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The Case and the Girl eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 194 pages of information about The Case and the Girl.

CHAPTER XIX

THE COMING OF A MESSAGE

The situation once realized, West worked rapidly.  If this bound man was Sexton, the quicker he could be released the better.  Hobart had already revealed his plans, and might appear at any moment for the purpose of executing them.  If escape was to be achieved, it must be accomplished at once.  In the darkness his fingers could do nothing with the knot, but the sharp blade of a knife quickly severed the twisted cloth, and the gag was instantly removed from between the clinched teeth.  The man moaned, breathing heavily, but made no other sound while West slashed at the cords lashing his limbs, finally freeing them entirely.  Not until this had been accomplished did he pause long enough to ask questions.

“There; that’s the last.  Now who are you—­Sexton?”

“Yes, sir,” weakly, and in a mere whisper, “an’ I know yer voice, sir.  Thank God, yer found me, sir.”

“It was a bit of luck; but we’ll talk that over later.  Now we’ve got to get out of here.  Can you walk?”

“I don’t know, sir; after a fashion, maybe.  I’m mighty stiff and numb, sir.  Oh, Lord, but that hurts; give me a hand, an’ perhaps I can make it.”

“Take it easy; work your legs up and down like that; good, that will restore the circulation.  How long have you been lying here?”

“I don’t know, sir,” his voice strengthening.  “I must have been hit, the way my head aches.  The first thing I knew after I went into that room with you, I was lyin’ here in the dark.  I couldn’t move or speak, sir, an’ it was so black, I kind of got it into my head maybe I was dead and buried.  If it hadn’t been for my hearing things—­voices talking, and all that—­I guess I would have gone clear batty.  Maybe I didn’t get everything straight, sir, but one o’ them fellows was Hobart, wasn’t he?”

“Yes; we walked right into his trap.  The fellow who came over to the table and talked to us was Jim Hobart.  He knew me at first sight it seems, and easily guessed what we were there for.”

“And was Miss Coolidge here too, sir?”

“Yes, she was; I had a talk with her that has mixed me all up, Sexton.  She seems to be hand in glove with these fellows.  But how did you suspect she was here?”

“I heard her voice, sir; up there somewhere, sir, soon after I come to my senses.  She and some man went along outside.  Sounded like he was makin’ her go with him.  I couldn’t get much of what was said, but he sure talked awful rough, an’ she seemed to be pleadin’ with him.  They wasn’t there but just a minute, an’ then, a little later, I heard an automobile start up.”

“You have no idea how long ago this was?”

“No, I ain’t, sir.  I been lyin’ here about half dead, I guess, an’ I don’t seem to have known anything after that, until those fellows come down here with the lantern.  Were they hunting after you?”

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