Jimmy Dale flung himself back on the seat of the big touring car. It was an address, the Palace Saloon on the Bowery, that he had often given Benson before—the nearest point to which Benson, trusted as Benson was, had ever been permitted to approach the Sanctuary itself. The night air, the sweep of the wind was grateful, as the machine sped forward. He did not reason, he could not reason—his mind was in turmoil still. Only two things were clear, distinct, rising dominant out of that turmoil—that he had heard her voice, her voice that he had never thought to hear again; and that there was need, a desperate need for haste now, because he must reach the Sanctuary without an instant’s loss of time.

And then gradually his brain began to clear, to adjust itself, to function normally; and when finally the car drew up at a corner on the Bowery, it was a Jimmie Dale, keen, self-possessed and alert, who sprang briskly to the pavement.

“Will you need me any further, sir?” Benson asked.

Jimmie Dale was lighting a cigarette deliberately—it was the same question that he was pondering in his own mind, but the answer was dependent upon the contents of that note which was waiting for him in the Sanctuary.

“I am not quite sure, Benson,” he replied. “In any case, you had better wait here for twenty, minutes. If I am not back in that time, you may go home. Don’t wait any longer.”

“Very good, sir,” Benson answered.

It was only a short distance to the Sanctuary—down the cross street, a turn into another only to emerge again on one that paralleled the first, and then Jimmie Dale, walking slowly now, was sauntering along an ill-lighted thoroughfare flanked on either side with a miscellany of small shops and tenements of the cheaper class. There were but few pedestrians in sight; but, as he neared the tenement that made the corner of the lane ahead, Jimmie Dale’s pace became still more leisurely. A man and a woman were strolling up the street toward him. They passed. Jimmie Dale, at the corner of the lane now, glanced behind him. The two were self-absorbed. And then, like a shadow merging with the darkness of the lane, Jimmie Dale had disappeared.

In an instant, he had gained the loose board in the high fence; and in another, pressing close to the rear wall of the tenement, he had reached the little French window that gave on the dingy courtyard. There was an almost inaudible sound, a faint metallic snip, as, kneeling, his fingers loosened the hidden catch beneath the sill—and the window on well-oiled hinges swung silently inward, and closed as silently again behind Jimmie Dale as he entered.

The top-light, high up near the ceiling, threw a misty ray of moonlight along the greasy, threadbare carpet, and threw into relief a folded piece of dark-coloured paper at Jimmie Dale’s feet. He stooped and picked it up—and then moving close to the window again, his fingers, in the darkness, felt over the dilapidated roller shade to assure himself that the rents were securely pinned together against the possibility of prying eyes. He stepped quickly then across the room, tested the door lock; and then the single gas-jet, air-choked, hissing spitefully, illuminated the room with a wavering meagre yellow flame.

Under the light, Jimmie Dale unfolded the paper, his face hardening suddenly. It was not like any note she had ever written him before—there was no white envelope here, no paper of fine and delicate texture, no ink-written message carefully penned; instead, evidence enough of her desperate haste, the desperate circumstances probably under which she had written it, the message was on a torn piece of brown wrapping paper, and the words, in pencil, were scrawled in hurried, broken sentences. And standing there, fighting for a grip upon himself, Jimmie Dale read the message——almost illegible! in places—and then, as though a strange incredulity, a strange inability to grasp and understand its import fully, were prompting him, he read it again, murmuring snatches of it aloud.

“... I did not mean to bring you into the shadows... but there is another life, not mine, at stake ... I have no right to do anything else ... if I intervened, or gave warning, the evidence that will convict Clarke’s agent, and will convict Clarke through the agent, is lost... that is why, in spite of all, I am writing this ... do you understand? ... for three nights he disappeared, and somehow, I do not yet know how, evaded me in the daytime ... no trace, just as I believed I had the man through whom Clarke is working trapped ... dared not take the chance of giving up watch for an instant ... did not know about this afternoon until an hour ago ... too late ... Jathan Lane’s murder at the bank ... Klanner, the janitor of the bank ... very fair hair, scar on left cheek bone ... worked at night ... under passage from private office ... blackjack with which murder was done, document and money in Klanner’s room ... unmarried ... lives in rear room, first floor of tenement at ... you must get the evidence ... unto Caesar!.. ship chandler’s store, junk shop ... Larens, Joe Larens, the hunchback ... Clarke’s agent ... another murder to cover up their tracks ... must get Clarke through Hunchback Joe ... will squeal if he sees no way of escape ... Klanner’s room at once ... Klanner with Kid Greer will be at Baldy Jack’s at ten o’clock ... will stop at nothing ... innocent bystander ... document of international importance, ... gold and details ... Federal authorities, not the police ... will see that Secret Service men get tip where to raid at midnight ... under the sail cloth in left corner ...”

Jimmie Dale was tearing the paper into little shreds. His brain, eagerly now, was leaping from premise to conclusion, fitting the strange, complex parts of her story, seemingly so utterly at variance one with another, into a single, concrete whole. Yes, he understood why, in spite of herself, she had been forced to bring him within those shadows at the last—to save another’s life, which she could not do alone without forfeiting the opportunity of securing the evidence that would condemn those actually guilty, and reach, through the lesser lights, the man higher up—Marre, alias Clarke. Yes, he understood, too, that this was the end—if all went well! A grim smile came and flickered across Jimmie Dale’s lips. She believed that Hunchback Joe, if caught and trapped, would squeal to the police. The grim smile deepened. Hunchback Joe might, or might not, squeal to the police—but in any case Hunchback Joe would tell his story! He, Jimmie Dale, would see to that—whatever the cost, whatever the consequences, if he had to choke and wring it from the man’s lips. It was a surer way than trusting to the police—it was the only sure way of reaching the end. The cost! The risk! What did it matter? What was cost, or risk! Her life was in the balance!

He glanced quickly around him. Would it be as Smarlinghue to-night? He shook his head. No, if it were really the end, if he won through to-night, this would be the last time he would ever stand here in the Sanctuary, and to leave the clothes of Jimmie Dale here, even in so secure a hiding place as behind that movable section of the base-board, would impose upon him the necessity of returning—was but to hamper himself, and, indeed, as likely as not, if hard pressed, to court disaster.

His glance, strangely whimsical, strangely wistful now, travelled again over the room. If it was the end to-night, this was his good-by to Smarlinghue, to Larry the Bat—and the Gray Seal. This was his exit from the sordid stage of the underworld—forever. Yes, in time, suspicious of Smarlinghue’s continued absence, they would investigate and search the Sanctuary here; they might even discover that hiding place in the wall—but what did it matter? They would find only the trappings of a character that had passed out of existence; and out of that fact the police and the underworld would be privileged to make what capital they could! No, it would not be as Smarlinghue that he would work to-night—he was well enough as he was. He had not worn evening clothes since that letter came, for the nights had been spent in constant toil, and the dark suit of tweeds he wore now was not conspicuous. Nor need he even have recourse to that hiding place again—what he required was already in his pockets—for days now, in whatever role he had played, he had been prepared for any emergency.

Jimmie Dale looked at his watch—it was ten minutes after nine—and, reaching up, turned out the light. A minute more and the French window was silently opened and closed again, and Jimmie Dale was once more on the street. Here, walking quickly, but keeping to the less frequented streets, he headed deeper into the East Side. He would have no need of Benson, and Benson without further ado at the expiration of the allotted twenty minutes would obey orders literally and go home. No, he would have no further need of Benson and the car—Jimmie Dale smiled curiously, his mind absorbed now in the immediate problem that confronted him—they worked on a carefully prepared and methodical schedule, these minions of Clarke or Marre, allowing ample time in each successive step in their plans that there might be neither confusion nor mistake in what they did. Well, what was ample time for them, was ample time for him! It was not far from the tenement where the Tocsin had said Klanner lived to Baldy Jack’s—and Klanner was not due at Baldy Jack’s until ten o’clock.

Under the slouch hat, pulled far down over his eyes, Jimmie Dale’s brows knitted into a frown. It was true then, and his intuition had not been at fault! It was Clarke who had planned the murder and robbery at the bank that afternoon—and Hunchback Joe, Clarke’s familiar, and his accomplices who had carried it out. Yes, it had been clever enough—but difficult enough too! Yet of two alternatives they had chosen the easiest. The document, containing the secret international arrangements for gold shipments into the United States, embracing European commitments, and including transportation details, was always, except when in the banker’s personal possession, carefully locked away in the bank’s vaults. In the daytime then, it was impossible for a stranger to reach those vaults; and at night time to attempt to force the strongest vaults in the City of New York, with their intricate electric-alarm system, was a task from which even Clarke might shrink!

The Tocsin had made it very clear. The document, or documents, never left the bank’s premises; it never left the bank’s vaults except when in the possession of the bank’s president in the latter’s private office. Clarke had therefore chosen the line of least resistance—the bank president’s office! And that accounted, he, Jimmie Dale, understood now, for the sudden failure of the Tocsin’s plans three nights ago, since it accounted evidently for the sudden disappearance of Hunchback Joe, which had checkmated her on that night and on subsequent nights—for it had taken those three nights to perfect their plans in the bank, and the work there had evidently been done under the personal supervision of Hunchback Joe.

The plan’s cleverness and cunning lay in its devilish simplicity—it required only long, painstaking and laborious preparation. There were, according to the newspapers, two entrances to the banker’s private office; the customers’ entrance from the main rotunda of the bank, and a rear entrance leading in behind the cages to the working quarters of the staff, which was separated from the general offices by a short, narrow, enclosed passage with a second door at the extreme end. The president’s office, as befitted his position, was richly furnished, and the passage, being in reality but an adjunct to the office itself, had not been overlooked—it was carpeted with a long Persian rug. That portion of the basement directly beneath the president’s office and the passage had been partitioned off into a storeroom for old files and books, and was consequently rarely visited. For the rest, the method was fairly obvious. The storeroom was ceiled in with wood, which, when carefully cut away, could be replaced during the daytime, and so hide all traces of what was going on should any one enter the place. It required, then, simply a certain number of nights’ work—and it had taken three. An opening had been cut through the flooring into the passage, and the surface flooring of the passage over the aperture refitted into place, so that, covered by the rug, there was no indication that anything was wrong.

The minor details the Tocsin had passed over—but to supply them required but little effort of the imagination. The president customarily devoted a certain amount of time each afternoon to the matter in question, and immediately on his return from lunch always took the papers from the vault and carried them to his private office. It became, then, simply necessary that the man, or men, hiding in the basement should know when the president was alone; but this would hardly be a very difficult matter, for, with nothing but the upper skin of the flooring left, one had only to post himself in the opening and he could hear as well, almost, as though he were in the private office itself. The entrance could then be effected in the security of the little passage; the rear door of the passage would be silently locked against interruption; the door leading into the president’s office, where the president sat with his back to the door, would be silently opened—then a quick leap, soundless on the heavy carpet—the blow of a blackjack—the limp body caught and lowered to the floor—the documents secured—the escape.

The escape! Jimmie Dale had turned suddenly into a pitch-black areaway, and, cautiously now, was making his way to the rear of a three-story tenement of the poorer class. The escape had naturally been accomplished in exactly the same way—the rear door unlocked again to obviate any immediate attention being paid to the passage—the murderer lowering himself through the aperture, and, as he replaced the flooring, manipulating the rug so that it would drop innocently back into place—and the exit from the basement would of course already have been provided for. Jimmie Dale’s face was hard. The newspapers, going to press almost at the moment the murder was discovered, though giving a general description of the bank’s premises, had had no opportunity to furnish details of the ensuing police investigation; but that the police would eventually discover the hole in the flooring was obvious; that they would also discover it without much delay was equally obvious—and it had been intended that they should. Clarke’s object, acting through Hunchback Joe, had been to provide only for the immediate escape—and after that, with callous deviltry, he proposed to utilise this very means of escape to cover up the tracks of the tools who were doing his work, and, backed with another murder, to put the crime upon another’s shoulders!

Jimmie Dale had halted now to survey his surroundings, and, his eyes grown accustomed to the darkness, he could make out a door opening on the small yard in which he stood, and to the right of the door an unlighted and closed window. That was Klanner’s window. He did not know Klanner, the bank’s janitor—except that he knew him as an innocent man, as the proposed victim of as foul and black and pitiless a conspiracy as had ever been hatched in a human brain! Nor did he know Hunchback Joe—save by reputation. The man was a comparative newcomer in the underworld. He had bought out a small ship-chandler’s business, a rickety, out-at-the-heels place on an equally rickety old wharf on the East River; and it was generally understood that he was a “fence” of a sort, making a speciality of, and catering to, a certain extensive and vicious class of thieves, the wharf rats, who infested the city’s shipping—his ostensible business of a ship-chandler enabling him to handle and dispose of that class of stolen property with comparative immunity.

Jimmie Dale was crouching at the door, a little steel picklock in his fingers. It was fairly evident now that the underworld in general had but an extremely superficial acquaintance with Hunchback Joe; that Hunchback Joe’s minor depredations against the law were but a cloak to—the mental soliloquy ended abruptly. Jimmie Dale drew suddenly back from the door, and, retreating along the wall of the building, crouched down in the darkness beneath the window. What was that? It came again——a step, stealthy, cautious, from the areaway—and now another step—there were two men there.

The picklock was back in his pocket, and, in its place, his fingers closed around the stock of his automatic. A shadow showed around the corner of the building, a queer, twisted, misshapen shadow—it was followed by another. Jimmie Dale drew in his breath softly. Hunchback Joe! He had rather expected that the man would already have come and gone, that this initial act of the brutal drama staged for the night’s work would already have been performed. Well, it did not matter! There was still time—time to wait while Hunchback Joe did his work here, time in turn to do his own and still reach Baldy Jack’s before ten o’clock.

From somewhere in the distance came the roar and rattle of an elevated train; from a neighbouring tenement came the strains of a wheezy phonograph. The figures were at the rear door of the tenement now. A minute passed; the door opened, closed, the two figures had disappeared—and then, in a flash, Jimmie Dale had straightened up, and a steel jimmy was working with deft, silent speed at the window sash. He had the time it would take Hunchback Joe to reach and open Klanner’s door from the hall inside—no more. And if he could watch Hunchback Joe at work it would simplify to a very large extent his own task when Hunchback Joe was through; there would be no necessity for a search, and—ah! The window gave. He raised it noiselessly, reached inside and pulled down the roller shade to within an inch of the sill, and pulled the window down again to a little below the level of the shade. The opening left was unnoticeable—but he could now both see and hear.

There came a faint sound from within—the creak of a slowly opening door, a step across the floor, then the flare of a match, and the light in the room went on.

Jimmie Dale was drawn back now against the wall at one corner of the window, his eyes on a level with the sill. He had made no mistake about that misshapen, twisted shadow—it was Hunchback Joe. Jimmie Dale’s eyes travelled to the hunchback’s companion—and narrowed as he recognised the other. The man was well enough known in the underworld, a hanger-on for the most part, a confirmed hop-fighter, though when not under the influence of the drug he was counted one of the cleverest second-story workers and lock-pickers in the Bad Lands—Hoppy Meggs, they called him. Again Jimmie Dale’s eyes shifted—to Hunchback Joe once more. Like some abnormal and repulsive toad the man looked. His shoulders were thrust upward until they seemed to merge with the head itself, the body was crooked and bent forward, due to the ugly deformity of the man’s back, while the face was carried at an upward tilt, as though tardily to rectify the curvature of the spine, and out of the sinister, bearded face, the beard tawny and ill-kempt, little black eyes from under protruding brows blinked ceaselessly.

A sudden fury, an anger hot and passionate seized upon Jimmie Dale; and there came an impulse almost overpowering to play another role, a deadlier, grimmer role than that of spectator! A toad, he had called the man. He was wrong—the man was a devil in human guise. He crushed back the impulse, a cold smile on his lips. He could afford to wait! It was not time yet. There was still the game to play out. He would have an opportunity to give full sway to impulse before the night was out, before the Tocsin should have set the Secret Service men upon the other’s trail—before midnight came.

Hunchback Joe was speaking now.

“Go on, Hoppy; get busy!” he ordered sharply, jerking his hand toward a trunk that stood at the foot of the cheap iron bedstead. “Get that opened. Hurry up! And see that you don’t leave any scratches on it, or—you understand!” He leaned forward, leering with sudden savagery at his companion.

Hoppy Meggs moved forward, dropped on his knees in front of the trunk, examined the lock for an instant—and grunted in contempt.

“Aw, it’s a cinch! Say, I could do it wid a hairpin!” he grinned—and a moment later threw back the lid.

Hunchback Joe drew a short, ugly blackjack, a packet of papers, and a large roll of bills from his pocket, and tossed the articles into the trunk.

“Lock it again!” he instructed tersely.

Hoppy Meggs hesitated—he was staring into the trunk.

“Say, youse don’t mean dat—do youse?” he demanded heavily. “Not dem papers dat—”

Hunchback Joe’s smile was not pleasant.

“Lock the trunk!” he said curtly. And then, as Hoppy Meggs closed down the lid: “I didn’t bring you here to offer any advice; but as I don’t want you to labour under the impression that, not having any brains of your own, there aren’t, therefore, any brains at all to stand between you and the police, I’ll tell you. If they recover the original document, besides fixing the crime on Klanner, they’ll figure they’ve got it back before any harm has been done, and before it has been passed on to whoever had paid down the little cash advance to Klanner for the job in the shape of that roll there—eh? And figuring that way they won’t change any of the plans or details as they stand now in those papers—eh? And meanwhile a copy is just as good to the man who is coughing up to you and me and the rest of us for this, isn’t it?”

“My Gawd!” said Hoppy Meggs in fervent admiration, as he locked the trunk.

“Yes,” said Hunchback Joe—and the snarl was back in his voice. “And now you see to it that you’ve got the rest of what you’ve got to do straight. It won’t pay you to make any mistakes! Let the Mole’s crowd start something before you pull the lights—it’s got to look like a drunken row where the bystander, with nobody but himself to blame for being in such a place as that, accidentally gets his! And you tip the Kid off again to leave Klanner by his lonesome at the table before the trouble starts, or he’ll get in bad himself. The Kid can pull a fake play to make up with some moll across the room. Klanner’s no friend of his, he never saw the man before—you understand?—just ran into him outside the dance hall, if any questions are asked. But I don’t want any questions, and there won’t be any if he plays his hand right. Tell him I said his job’s over once he has Klanner inside—and to stand from under. Get me?”

“Sure!” said Hoppy Meggs.

“Well, we’ll beat it, then,” snapped Hunchback Joe.

The room was in darkness again. Jimmie Dale crouched further back along the wall. The rear door opened, two shadows emerged, passed around the corner of the tenement—and disappeared.

The minutes passed, five of them, and then Jimmie Dale, too, was making his way softly along the areaway to the street—but in Jimmie Dale’s pockets were the short leaden blackjack, ugly for the stain on its leathern covering, the packet of papers, and the roll of banknotes that had been in Klanner’s trunk. He gained the street, paused under the nearest street lamp to consult his watch, and swung briskly along again. It was a matter of only two blocks to Baldy Jack’s, one of the most infamous dance halls in the Bad Lands, but it was already ten minutes to ten.

And now a curious metamorphosis came to Jimmie Dale’s appearance. The neat, well-fitting Fifth Avenue tweeds did not fit quite so perfectly—the coat bunched a little at the shoulders, the trousers were drawn a little higher until they lost their “set.” His hat was pulled still farther over his eyes, but at a more rakish angle, and his tie, tucked into his shirt bosom just below the collar, exposed blatantly a diamond shirt stud. But on Jimmie Dale’s lips there was an ominous smile not wholly in keeping with the somewhat jaunty swagger he had assumed, and the lines at the corners of his mouth were drawn down hard and sharp. It was miserable work, the work of a hound and cur! Who, better than the janitor of the bank, would have had the opportunity to carry on that work there! And so they had selected Klanner as their victim. But Klanner, if allowed to talk, might be able to defend himself—therefore Klanner would not be allowed to talk. There was only one way to prevent that effectively—by killing Klanner. But, again, Klanner’s death must not appear in any way to be consequent to the murder at the bank—therefore it was to bear every evidence of having been purely inadvertent, and, in a way, an accident. Yes, it was crafty enough, hideous enough to be fully worthy even of the fiendish brain that had planned it! Kid Greer, having probably struck up an acquaintance with Klanner during the past few days, had inveigled Klanner to-night into Baldy Jack’s, ostensibly, no doubt, for an innocent and casual glass of beer, and in a general row and melee in the dance hall—not an uncommon occurrence in a place like Baldy Jack’s—Klanner would be shot and killed. The rest was obvious. The man’s effects would naturally be examined, and the evidence of his “guilt” found in his trunk. It was an open and shut game against a dead man! Even his previous good record would smash on the rock of a presumed double life. The fact that Klanner had voluntarily been in a place like Baldy Jack’s was damning in itself!

Jimmie Dale, approaching the garishly lighted exterior of the dance hall now, lit a cigarette. The plan, if successful, placed the guilt without question or cavil upon Klanner, but that was not all—strong as that motive might be, Clarke had had still another in view, and one that perhaps took precedence over the first. Hunchback Joe had defined it clearly enough. The documents would have been valueless to Clarke, either to sell, or to put to any use himself, if the plans and arrangements they contained were subsequently altered or changed. But it was obvious that a man in Klanner’s station could have no personal interest in them; it was obvious, as evidenced by the money, that he was working for some one else, and therefore the documents appearing in his trunk would logically appear to have been recovered before he had been able to hand them over to his principal, and before any vital harm had been done that would necessitate any change in the details they contained.

Jimmie Dale pushed the door of the dance hall open, and stepped nonchalantly inside. It was the usual scene, there was the usual hilarious uproar, the usual close, almost fetid atmosphere that mingled the odours of stale beer and tobacco. Baldy Jack’s was always popular, and the place, even for that early hour, was already doing a thriving business. Jimmie Dale’s eyes, from a dozen couples swirling in the throes of the bunny-hug on the polished section of the floor in the centre of the hall, strayed over the little tables that were ranged three and four deep around the walls. At the upper end of the room a man, fair-haired and neatly dressed, though his clothes were evidently not those of one in over-affluent circumstances, sat alone at one of the tables. It might, or might not, be Klanner. Jimmie Dale strolled forward up the hall, and, as though deliberating over his selection of a seat, paused by the table. The man looked up. There was a long, jagged scar on the other’s right cheek bone. It was Klanner. Jimmie Dale pulled out a chair at a vacant table directly behind the other, and sat down. A waiter, in beer-spotted apron and balancing a dripping tray, came for his order.

“Suds!” said Jimmie Dale laconically.

Again Jimmie Dale’s eyes made a circuit of the place, failed to identify the person of one Kid Greer, and, giving up the attempt, rested speculatively instead on Klanner’s back. Yes, he could quite fully understand why the Tocsin could not have warned Klanner to beware, for instance, of Kid Greer. Such a warning, apart from keeping Hunchback Joe from planting the evidence, would even have defeated its own end—for, even to save Klanner, the game had to be played out as Hunchback Joe had planned it. They meant to “get” Klanner, and if not here at Baldy Jack’s, then somewhere else. She knew what they meant to do here—she might not know when, or how, or where they would make the attempt if they had been forced to change their plans.

Jimmie Dale tossed a coin on the table, as the waiter set down a glass of beer in front of him—and then, over the top of the glass, Jimmie Dale resumed his scrutiny of the hall. Directly behind him was a back entrance that opened on a lane at the rear of the building; and between himself and the entrance was only one table, which was unoccupied. Jimmie Dale, playing with his match box, as he lighted another cigarette, dropped the box, stooped to pick it up—and drew his chair unostentatiously nearer to Klanner.

It was ten o’clock now, time that—yes, the game was on—now! A man, that he recognised as one of the Mole’s gunmen, had dropped into a seat a couple of tables away from Klanner, where there was a clear space between the two men. There was a sudden jostling among the dancers on the floor—then an oath, rising high above the riot of talk and laughter—a swirl of figures—a medley of shouts and women’s screams, drowning out the squeak of the musicians’ violins and the thump of the tinny piano.

Jimmie Dale’s jaws locked hard together. There was a struggling, Furious mob at the lower end of the hall—but his eyes now never left the gunman two tables away. Klanner, in dazed amazement, had half risen from his seat, as though uncertain what to do. The screams, shouts, oaths and yells grew louder—came the roar of a revolver shot—another—pandemonium was reigning now. It seemed an hour, a great period of time since the first shout had rung through the hall—it had been but a matter of seconds. Jimmie Dale was crouched a little forward in his chair now, tense, motionless. What was holding Hoppy Meggs! This was Hoppy Meggs’ cue, wasn’t it?—those shots there, aimed at the floor, had only been to create the panic—there was to be another shot that—

The hall was in sudden darkness. With a spring, quick on the instant, Jimmie Dale was upon Klanner’s back, hurling the man to the floor. The tongue-flame of a revolver split the black over his head; there was the deafening roar of a revolver shot almost in his ears that blotted out for an instant all other sounds—and then came the shouts and cries again in an access of terror and now the rush of feet—a blind stampede in the darkness for the exits. Another shot from the gunman, as though to make his work doubly sure, followed the first—but now some of the fear-stricken crowd had come between them, plunging, falling, tripping over tables and chairs, seeking the rear exit.

“Quick!” Jimmie Dale breathed in Klanner’s ear. He was half lifting, half dragging the man along. “Quick—get your feet, man!”

There was a surging mob around them now, pushing, fighting madly to reach the door; and, as Klanner regained his feet, they were both swept forward, and, lunging through the door, were precipitated out into the lane. And here, wary of a riot call that had probably already been rung in by the patrolman on the beat, the crowd was taking to its heels and dispersing in both directions along the lane.

“Quick!” said Jimmie Dale again—and, with his hand on Klanner’s arm, broke into a run.

Those running in the same direction turned off from the lane at the first cross street; but Jimmie Dale held to the lane, and it was three blocks away from Baldy Jack’s before he stopped.

Klanner was panting from his exertions.

“My God—what’s it mean!” he gasped. “I—I thought I saw a revolver in that man’s hand, the fellow next to me, just as the lights went out.”

“You probably did,” said Jimmie Dale grimly.

“Well——what’s it mean?” repeated Klanner heavily.

It was a moment before Jimmie Dale answered. For the man’s own sake, the less that Klanner knew the better, probably—and yet the man must be kept out of harm’s way for the rest of the night. Having failed at Baldy Jack’s, it was certain, since Clarke’s whole plan hinged on Klanner’s death, that they would try again. After to-night—if all went well—it did not matter, for Klanner then would be no longer a factor to Clarke or Hunchback Joe!

“It means,” said Jimmie Dale gravely, “that there’s been some sort of a gangster’s fight pulled off, and that probably there’s been dirty work—murder—in there. The police will go the limit to round up everybody they can find who was in Baldy Jack’s. There’s only one thing to do—keep your mouth shut and lie low to-night. You can’t take any chances of getting into this—you look like a man who’s got a decent job he doesn’t want to lose, and you don’t look like a man who is entitled to be saddled with a reputation for hanging around that sort of place. Do you live near here?”

“Yes,” said Klanner, a little dully.

“Well then,” said Jimmie Dale quietly, “get out of this neighbourhood for the night. Don’t risk recognition while the chase is hot. Go uptown somewhere to any hotel you like, and stay there in your room. You can go to work just as well from there in the morning. Got any money?”

“Yes,” said Klanner slowly. “Yes, I got some money—and I guess you’re right. Say, who are you anyway? You seem to have a line on this sort of thing, and I guess I owe you a whole skin. If you hadn’t—”

“I’m a man in a hurry,” said Jimmie Dale whimsically—and then the grim note crept back into his voice. “I am giving you a straight tip. Take it—and take that street car that’s coming along there.” He held out his hand.

“Sure!” said Klanner. “And I—”

“Good-night,” said Jimmie Dale, and started abruptly across the street, entering the lane on the other side again—but here, in the shadows, he paused for a moment, watching until Klanner boarded the uptown car.

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