The Adventures of Jimmie Dale

The Adventures of Jimmie Dale
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第100章

"Of course!" he ejaculated."Naturally!""Listen, then, Jimmie!" She was speaking quickly now."It is a strange story.This Luther Doyle was already over fifty, when, some eight or nine years ago, his parents died within a few months of each other, and he inherited somewhere in the neighbourhood of a hundred thousand dollars; but the man, though harmless enough, was mildly insane, half-witted, queer, and the old couple, on account of their son's mental defects, took care to leave the money securely invested, and so that he could only touch the interest.During these eight or nine years he has lived by himself in the same old family house where he had lived with his parents, in a lonely spot near Pelham.And he has lived in a most frugal, even miserly, manner.His income could not have been less than six thousand dollars a year, and his expenditures could not have been more than six hundred.His dementia, ironically enough from the day that he came into his fortune, took the form of a most pitiable and abject fear that he would die in poverty, misery, and want; and so, year after year, cashing his checks as fast as he got them, never trusting the bank with a penny, he kept hiding away somewhere in his house every cent he could scrape and save from his income--which to-day must amount, at a minimum calculation, to fifty thousand dollars.""And," observed Jimmie Dale quietly."Connie Myers robbed him of it, and--""No!" Her voice was quivering with passion, as she caught up his words."Twice in the last month Connie Myers TRIED to rob him, but the money was too securely hidden.Twice he broke into Doyle's house when the old man was out, but on both occasions was unsuccessful in his search, and was interrupted and forced to make his escape on account of Doyle's return.To-night, an hour ago, in an empty room on the second floor of that tenement, in the room facing the landing, old Luther Doyle was MURDERED!"There was silence for an instant.Her hand had closed in a tight pressure on his arm.The darkness seemed to add a sort of ghastly significance to her words.

"In God's name, how do you know all this?" he demanded wildly."How do you know all these things?

"Does that matter now?" she answered tensely."You will know that when you know the rest.Oh, don't you understand, Jimmie, there is not a moment to lose now? It was easy to lure a half-witted creature like that anywhere; it was Connie Myers who lured him to the tenement and murdered him there--but from that point, Jimmie, Iam not sure of our ground.I do not know whether Connie Myers is alone in this or not; but I do know that he is going to Doyle's house again to-night to make another search for the money.There is no question but that old Doyle was murdered to give Connie Myers and his accomplices, if there are any, a chance to tear the house inside out to find the money, to give them the whole night to work in without interruption if necessary--but Doyle dead in his own house could have interfered no more with them than Doyle dead in that tenement! Why was he lured to the tenement by Connie Myers when he could much more easily have been put out of the way in his own house? Jimmie, there is something behind this, something more that you must find out.There may be others in this besides Connie Myers, I do not know; but there is something here that I am afraid of.Jimmie, you must get that man, you must get the others if there are others, and you must stop them from getting the money in that house to-night! Do you understand now why I have come here? Icould not explain in a letter; I do not quite seem to be explaining now.It would seem as though there were no need for the Gray Seal--that simply the police should be notified.But I KNOW, Jimmie, call it intuition, what you will, I know that there is need for us, for you to-night--that behind all this is a tragedy, deeper, blacker, than even the brutal, cold-blooded murder that is already done."Her voice, in its passionate earnestness, died away; and an anger, cold, grim, remorseless, settled upon Jimmie Dale--settled as it always settled upon him at her call to arms.His brain was already at work in its quick, instant way, probing, sifting, planning.She was right! It was strange, it was more than strange that, with the added risk, the danger, the difficulty, the man should have been brought miles to be done away with in that tenement! Why? Connie Myers took form before him--the coarse features, the tawny hair that straggled across the low forehead, the shifty eyes that were an indeterminate colour between brown and gray, the thin lips that seemed to draw in and give the jaw a protruding, belligerent effect.

And Connie Myers knew him as Jimmie Dale--it would have to be then as Larry the Bat that the Gray Seal must work.That meant time--to go to the Sanctuary and change.

"The police," he asked suddenly, aloud, "they have not yet discovered the body?""Not yet," she replied hurriedly."And that is still another reason for haste--there is no telling when they will.See--here!" She thrust a paper into his hand."Here is a plan of old Doyle's house, and directions for finding it.You must get Connie Myers red-handed, you must make him convict himself, for the evidence through which I know him to be guilty can never be used against him.And, Jimmie, be careful--I know I am not wrong, that there is still something more behind all this.And now go, Jimmie, go! There is no time to lose!" She was pushing him across the room toward the door.

Go! The word seemed suddenly to bring dismay.It was she again who was dominant now in his mind.Who knew if to-night, when he was taking his life in his hands again, would not be the last! And she was here now, here beside him--where she might never be again!

She seemed to divine his thoughts, for she spoke again, a strange new note of tenderness in her voice that thrilled him.

"You must never let them get you, Jimmie--for my sake.It will not last much longer--it is near the end--and I shall keep my promise.

But go, now, Jimmie--go!"

Frank Lucius Packard

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