The Adventures of Jimmie Dale HTML version

II.15. Retribution
His brain seemed to whirl, staggered as by some gigantic, ghastly mockery. The
Crime Club! HERE! He had thought to creep upon that man--and he had run
blindly into the very heart and centre of these hell fiends' nest!
Silently he stood there, holding his breath as he listened now, motionless as a
statue, forcing his mind to THINK. He remembered that last night his impression
of the place had been that it was more like some great private mansion than
anything else. Well, he had been right, it seemed! He could have laughed aloud--
sardonically, hysterically. It was not so strange now that there were no rooms on
the right-hand side of the corridor! And what could have suited their purpose
better, what, by its very location, its unimpeachable character, could be a more
ideal lair for them than this house! And how grimly simple it was now, the
explanation! In the five years that the false Henry LaSalle had been in
possession, they had cunningly remodelled the upper floor--that was all! It was
quite clear now why the man never entertained--why he had never been caught
or found or known to be in communication with his fellow conspirators! It was no
longer curious that one might watch the door of the house for months at a stretch
and go unrewarded for one's pains, as the Tocsin had done, when access to the
house by those who frequented it was so easy through the garage on the side
street--and from the garage, if their work there was in keeping with their clever
contrivances within the house, by an underground connection into, say, the cellar
or basement!
Again Jimmie Dale checked that nervous, unnatural inclination to laugh aloud.
Was there anything, any single incident, any single detail of all that had
transpired, that was not explained, borne out, as it could be explained and borne
out in no other way save that the Crime Club should be no other than this very
house itself? It was the exposition of that favourite theory of his--it was so
obvious that therein lay its security. He had mocked at the Magpie not many
moments before on that score--and now it was the beam in his own eye! It was