The Adventures of Jimmie Dale HTML version

II.13. The Only Way
It was a horrible thing--and it grew upon him. In a blind, mechanical way, his
brain receptive to nothing else, Jimmie Dale walked on along the street. To kill a
man! Death he had faced himself a hundred times, witnessed it a hundred times
in its most violent forms, had seen murder done before his eyes, had been in
straits where, to save his own life, it had seemed the one last desperate chance--
and yet his hands were still clean! To kill a man in fair fight, in struggle, when the
blood was hot, was terrible enough, a possibility that was always before him, the
one thing from which he shrank, the one thing that, as the Gray Seal, he had
always feared; but to kill a man deliberately, to creep upon his victim with
hideous, cold-blooded premeditation--he shivered a little, and his hand shook as
he drew it nervously across his eyes.
But there was no other way! Again and again, insidiously grappling with his
revulsion, with the horror that the impulse to murder inspired, came that other
thought--there was no other way. If the man who posed as Henry LaSalle were
DEAD! If he were dead! If he were dead! See, now, what would happen if that
man were dead! How clear his brain was on that point! The whole plot would
tumble like a house of cards about the heads of the Crime Club. The courts
would require an auditing of the estate by a trustee of the courts' own appointing,
who would continue to administer it until the Tocsin's twenty-fifth birthday, or until
there was tangible evidence of her death--but the Tocsin, automatically with her
pseudo uncle's death, could publicly appear again. Her death could no longer
benefit the Crime Club, since it, the Crime Club, with the supposed uncle dead,
could not profit through the false Henry LaSalle inheriting as next of kin! It was
the weak link, the vulnerable point in the stupendous scheme of murder and
crime with which these hell fiends had played for and won, so far, the stake of
eleven millions. Not that they had overlooked or been blind to this, they were too
clever, too cunning for that--it was only that they had planned to accomplish the
Tocsin's death, as they had her father's and uncle's, and ESTABLISH the false
Henry LaSalle in undisputed possession and ownership of the estate--and had