The Sign Of The Bat
But Dale could bear it no longer. The sight of her lover, beaten, submissive, his head
bowed, waiting obediently like a common criminal for the detective to lock his wrists in
steel broke down her last defenses. She rushed into the center of the room, between
Bailey and the detective, her eyes wild with terror, her words stumbling over each other
in her eagerness to get them out.
"Oh, no! I can't stand it! I'll tell you everything!" she cried frenziedly. "He got to the foot
of the stair-case - Richard Fleming, I mean," she was facing the detective now, "and he
had the blue-print you've been talking about. I had told him Jack Bailey was here as the
gardener and he said if I screamed he would tell that. I was desperate. I threatened him
with the revolver but he took it from me. Then when I tore the blue-print from him - he
was shot - from the stairs - "
"By Bailey!" interjected Beresford angrily.
"I didn't even know he was in the house!" Bailey's answer was as instant as it was hot.
Meanwhile, the Doctor had entered the room, hardly noticed, in the middle of Dale's
confession, and now stood watching the scene intently from a post by the door.
"What did you do with the blue-print?" The detective's voice beat at Dale like a whip.
"I put it first in the neck of my dress - " she faltered. "Then, when I found you were
watching me, I hid it somewhere else."
Her eyes fell on the Doctor. She saw his hand steal out toward the knob of the door. Was
he going to run away on some pretext before she could finish her story? She gave a sigh
of relief when Billy, re-entering with the key to the front door, blocked any such attempt
Mechanically she watched Billy cross to the table, lay the key upon it, and return to the
hall without so much as a glance at the tense, suspicious circle of faces focused upon
herself and her lover.
"I put it - somewhere else," she repeated, her eyes going back to the Doctor.
"Did you give it to Bailey?"
"No - I hid it - and then I told where it was - to the Doctor - " Dale swayed on her feet.
All turned surprisedly toward the Doctor. Miss Cornelia rose from her chair.
The Doctor bore the battery of eyes unflinchingly. "That's rather inaccurate," he said,
with a tight little smile. "You told me where you had placed it, but when I went to look
for it, it was gone."