The Adventures of Jimmie Dale HTML version

II.2. The Call To Arms
Not a sound as the key turned in the lock; not a sound as the door swung back
on its carefully oiled hinges; not a sound as Larry the Bat slipped like a shadow
into the blackness of the room, closing the door behind him again. With a tread
as noiseless as a cat's, he was across the room to satisfy himself that the
shutters were tightly closed; and then the single gas jet flared up, murky, yellow,
illuminating the miserable, squalid room--the Sanctuary--the home of Larry the
Bat. There was need for silence, need for caution. In five minutes, ten at the
outside, he must emerge again-- as Jimmie Dale.
With a smile on his lips that mingled curiously chagrin and self- commiseration,
he took the letter from his pocket and tore it open. It was she, then, who had
been following him all evening, and, like a blundering idiot, he had wasted
precious, perhaps irreparable, hours! What had she meant by "It's for my sake to-
night"? The words had been ringing in his ears since the moment she had
whispered them in that panic-stricken crowd. Was it not always for her sake that
he answered these calls to arms? Was it not always for her sake that he, as the
Gray Seal, was-- The mental soliloquy came to an abrupt end. He had
subconsciously read the first sentence of the letter, and now, with sudden
feverish eagerness and excitement, he was reading it to the last word.
"DEAR PHILANTHROPIC CROOK: In an hour after you receive this, if all goes
well, you shall know everything--everything. Who I am-- yes, and my name. It has
been more than three years now, hasn't it? It has been incomprehensible to you,
but there has been no other way. I dared not take the chance of discovery by any
one; I dared not expose you to the risk of being known by me. Your life would not
have been worth a moment's purchase. Oh, Jimmie, am I only making the
mystery more mystifying? But to-night, I think, I hope, I pray that it is all at an
end: though against me, and against you to-night when you go to help me, is the
most powerful and pitiless organisation of criminals that the world has ever
known; and the stake we are playing for is a fortune of millions--and my life. And
yet somehow I am afraid now, just because the end is so near, and the victory