The Adventures of Jimmie Dale
I.6. Devil's Work
A white-gloved arm, a voice, and a silvery laugh! "Just that--no more! Jimmie
Dale, in his favourite seat, an aisle seat some seven or eight rows back from the
orchestra, stared at the stage, to all outward appearances absorbed in the last
act of the play; inwardly, quite oblivious to the fact that even a play was going on.
A white-gloved arm, a voice, and a silvery laugh! The words had formed
themselves into a sort of singsong refrain that, for the last few days, had been
running through his head. A strange enough guiding star to mould and dictate
every action in his life! And that was all he had ever seen of her, all that he had
ever heard of her--except those letters, of course, each of which had outlined the
details of some affair for the Gray Seal to execute.
Indeed, it seemed a great length of time now since he had heard from her even
in that way, though it was not so many days ago, after all. Perhaps it was the
calm, as it were, that, by contrast, had given place to the strenuous months and
weeks just past. The storm raised by the newspapers at the theft of Old Luddy's
diamonds had subsided into sporadic diatribes aimed at the police; Kline, of the
secret service, had finally admitted defeat, and a shadow no longer skulked day
and night at the entrance to the Sanctuary--and Larry the Bat bore the
government indorsement, so to speak, of being no more suspicious a character
than that of a disreputable, but harmless, dope fiend of the underworld.
Larry the Bat! The Gray Seal! Jimmie Dale the millionaire! What if it were ever
known that that strange three were one! What if-- Jimmie Dale smiled
whimsically. A burst of applause echoed through the house, the orchestra was
playing, the lights were on, seats banged, there was the bustle of the rising
audience, the play was at an end--and for the life of him he could not have
remembered a single line of the last act!