The Adventures of Jimmie Dale HTML version
II.8. The Tocsin
It was only a little way back along the street from the Sanctuary to the corner on
the Bowery where as Jimmie Dale he had left her, where as Larry the Bat now he
was going to meet her again; it would take only a moment or so, even at Larry
the Bat's habitual, characteristic, slouching, gait--but it seemed that was all too
slow, that he must throw discretion to the winds and run the distance. His blood
was tingling; there was elation upon him, coupled with an almost childlike dread
that she might be gone.
"The Tocsin! The Tocsin!" he kept saying to himself.
Yes; she was still there, still whiningly imploring those who passed to buy her
miserable pencils--and then, with a quick-flung whisper to him to follow as he
slouched up close to her, she had started slowly down the street.
"The Tocsin! The Tocsin! The Tocsin!"--his brain seemed to be ringing with the
words, ringing with them in a note clear as a silver bell. The Tocsin--at last! The
woman who so strangely, so wonderfully, so mysteriously had entered into his
life, and possessed it, and filled it with a love and yearning that had come to mold
and sway and actuate his very existence--the woman for whom he had fought;
for whom he had risked, and gladly risked, his wealth, his name, his honour--
everything; the woman for whose sake he, the Gray Seal, was sought and
hounded as the most notorious criminal of the age; she whose cleverness,
whose resourcefulness, whose amazing intimacy with the hidden things of the
underworld had seemed, indeed, to border on the supernatural; she, the Tocsin--
the woman whose face he had never seen before! The woman whose face he
had never seen before--and who now was that wretched hag that hobbled along
the street before him, begging, whining, and importuning the passers-by to
purchase of her pitiful wares!
He laughed a little--buoyantly. He had never pictured a first meeting such as this!
A hag? Yes! And one as disreputable in appearance as he himself, as Larry the