“Fine!” granted Lane, with a smile.
“When the ambulance comes you get out of sight until we pack these fellows out. I’ll leave the door open—so if there’s any reason you want to come back—why—”
Chief Bell half averted his face, seemingly not embarrassed, but rather pondering in thought. “Thanks, Chief. You understand me perfectly,” responded Lane. “I’ll appear at police headquarters in half an hour.”
The officer laughed, and returning to the injured men he knelt beside them. Swann sat up moaning. Blood had blinded his sight. He did not see Lane pass. Sounds of an ambulance bell had caught Lane’s quick ear. Finding the washroom, he went in and, locking the door, leaned there to wait. In a very few moments the injured Swann and Thesel had been carried out. Lane waited five minutes after the sound of wheels had died away. Then he hurried out and opened the door of the closet.
Lorna almost fell over him in her eagerness. If she had been frightened, she had recovered. Gail staggered out, pale and sick looking.
“Oh, Daren, can you get us out?” whispered Lorna, breathlessly.
“Hurry, and don’t talk,” replied Lane.
He led them out into the hall and down to the stairway where he had taken Bessy. As before, all appeared quiet below.
“I guess it’s safe.... Girls, let this be a lesson to you.”
“Never any more for mine,” whimpered Gail.
But Lorna was of more tempered metal.
“Believe me, Daren, I’m glad you knocked the lamps out of those swell boobs,” she whispered, passionately. “Dick Swann used me like dirt. The next guy like him who tries to get gay with me will have some fall, I’ll tell the world.... Me for Harry! There’s nothing in this q-t stuff.... And say, what do you know about Bessy Bell? She came here to save us.... Hot dog, but she’s a peach!”
Lane admonished the girls to hurry and watched them until they reached the street and turned the corner out of sight.
The reaction from that night landed Lane in the hospital, where, during long weeks when he did have a lucid interval, he saw that his life was despaired of and felt that he was glad of it.
But he did not die. As before, the weak places in his lungs healed over and he began to mend, and gradually his periods of rationality increased until he wholly gained his mental poise. It was, however, a long time before he was strong enough to leave the hospital.
During the worst of his illness his mother came often to see him; after he grew better she came but seldom. Blair and Colonel Pepper were the only others who visited Lane. And as soon as his memory returned and interest revived he learned much peculiarly significant to him.