The Adventures of Jimmie Dale HTML version

I.7. The Thief
Choosing between the snowy napery, the sparkling glass and silver, the cozy,
shaded table-lamps, the famous French chef of the ultra- exclusive St. James
Club, his own home on Riverside Drive where a dinner fit for an epicure and
served by Jason, that most perfect of butlers, awaited him, and Marlianne's,
Jimmie Dale, driving in alone in his touring car from an afternoon's golf, had
chosen-- Marlianne's.
Marlianne's, if such a thing as Bohemianism, or, rather, a concrete expression of
it exists, was Bohemian. A two-piece string orchestra played valiantly to the
accompaniment of a hoarse-throated piano; and between courses the diners took
up the refrain--and, as it was always between courses with some one, the place
was a bedlam of noisy riot. Nevertheless, it was Marlianne's--and Jimmie Dale
liked Marlianne's. He had dined there many times before, as he had just dined in
the person of Jimmie Dale, the millionaire, his high- priced imported car at the
curb of the shabby street outside--and he had dined there, disreputable in attire,
seedy in appearance, with the police yelping at his heels, as Larry the Bat. In
either character Marlianne's had welcomed him with equal courtesy to its spotted
linen and most excellent table-d'hote with VIN ORDINAIRE-- for fifty cents.
And now, in the act of reaching into his pocket for the change to pay his bill,
Jimmie Dale seemed suddenly to experience some difficulty in finding what he
sought, and his fingers went fumbling from one pocket to another. Two men at
the table in front of him were talking--their voices, over a momentary lull in violin
squeaks, talk, laughter, singing, and the clatter of dishes, reached him:
"Carling commit suicide! Not on your life! No; of course he didn't! It was that
cursed Gray Seal croaked him, just as sure as you sit in that chair!"
The other grunted. "Yes; but what'd the Gray Seal want to pinch a hundred
thousand out of the bank for, and then give it back again the next morning?"