“The law getting hold of him? What is his name?”
For some minutes John Steele did not speak; he stood motionless. On the street before the house a barrel-organ began to play; its tones, broken, wheezy, appealed, nevertheless, to the sodden senses of those at the bar:
“Down with the Liberals,
Parties of all degree.”
Dandy Joe smiled, beat time with his hand.
“You can give me,” John Steele spoke bruskly, taking from his pocket a note-book, “this Tom Rogers’ address.”
Joe looked at the other, seemed about to speak on the impulse, but did not; then his hand slowly ceased its motion.
“I, sir—you see, I can’t quite do that—for Tom’s laying low, you understand. But if you would let him call around quiet-like, on you—”
John Steele replaced the note-book. “On me?” He spoke slowly; Dandy Joe regarded him with small crafty eyes. “I hardly think the case will prove sufficiently attractive.”
The other made no answer; looked away thoughtfully; at the same moment the proprietor stepped in. Steele took the change that was laid on the table, leaving a half-crown, which he indicated that Dandy Joe could appropriate.
“Better not think of going now, sir,” the proprietor said to John Steele. “Never saw anything like it the way the fog has thickened; a man couldn’t get across London to-night to save his neck.”
“Couldn’t he?” Dandy Joe stepped toward the door. “I’m going to have a try.”
A mist blew in; Dandy Joe went out. John Steele waited a moment, then with a perfunctory nod, walked quietly to the front door. The man had not exaggerated the situation; the fog lay before him like a thick yellow blanket. He looked in the direction his late companion had turned; his figure was just discernible; in a moment it would have been swallowed by the fog, when quickly John Steele walked after him.
* * * * *
THROUGH THE FOG
The dense veil overhanging the city, while favorable to John Steele in some respects, lessening for the time his own danger, made more difficult the task to which he now set himself. He dared not too closely approach the figure before him, lest he should be seen and his purpose divined; once or twice Dandy Joe looked around, more, perhaps, from habit than any suspicion that he was followed. Then the other, slackening his steps, sometimes held back too far and through caution imperiled his plan by nearly losing sight of Dandy Joe altogether. As they went on with varying pace, the shuffling form ahead seemed to find the way by instinct; crossed unhesitatingly many intersecting thoroughfares; paused only on the verge of a great one.