To better understand the current location of all the people in the bank, it would perhaps help to go back slightly to all that occurred just as Angel left the first time, alone, to report to Robin. At this point in time, all three children were under the bench, some more so than others, Jack was still kneeling in front of it, Mary Poppins sat on the bench at his side and Michael, still miraculously unnoticed, was sitting just outside the fireplace.
The upset of the nanny intruder left several people wondering if they should not be changing their locations. Michael, for one, knew perfectly well he was in a very precarious position, but could not quite decide what to do about it. Going back into the chimney felt impossible, his limbs utterly exhausted, his gunshot wound burning. Moving seemed dangerous. Annabel and John, meanwhile, felt like the world had flipped in their favor and nothing could harm any of them now, and were wondering if the shouldn't stop cowering under the bench and climb on top of it.
Jack was still half convinced he dreamed, even as Mary sat down on the bench at his side, then offered him her hand.
"Do come up here, Jack," she said, and so reasonable was her suggestion that not one of the people holding guns on them thought to suggest all the hostages were meant to be sitting on the ground as she helped him off his knees to take a seat. Nor did they order silence when Jack answered her.
"Mary Poppins as I live and breathe." His voice sounded just as awed and dazed as his expression. Her response was part fond, part admonishing, and part entirely serious.
"Yes, Jack. Do keep doing that." He blinked at her in response, taking just the slightest bit too long to understand her response. That was when she frowned, not at Jack but at the men surrounding them with guns, though her eyes did not leave him. "Some water and a cloth, if you please," she insisted in her primmest, most disapproving tones.
"Here now," said Little, not helpfully but as a complaint, "We give the orders. You'll be wanting a tea party next!"
"A tea party?" asked Mary Poppins, incredulous, "At this time of morning? Certainly not. Be sure the cloth is clean."
This apparently befuddled Little enough that when Jimmy rushed over with a bowl of water and three handkerchiefs (the other hostages contributed those, luckily, as Jimmy did not have one on him, at least not a clean one), Little did nothing further to protest.
Jack should really have understood more quickly what the water and cloths were for before Mary began to clean the blood off his face, but then, he hadn't really noticed that he was bleeding. So it was actually quite startling when the gentle touch awoke a sudden sting.
"We are sorry about this, Mary," Jimmy said, wringing his hands nervously, like a boy brought before the headmaster. "We didn't mean to hurt anyone."
It was probably rather lucky that Jack at that moment really began to notice he hurt, and was startled enough by this information to inadvertently flinch away from Mary's touch while saying, "Ow!" because Michael was so incredulous at that statement coming from the lips of the man who had shot him that he also inadvertently made a noise from sheer disbelief.
It did not feel like luck to Jack, but then, his ears were still ringing and he had no idea Michael was even in the room. He was instead rather preoccupied by the discovery that almost being shot actually hurt quite a lot. More than seemed reasonable considering the bullet itself had missed.
This, in turn, was probably why Annabel decided to crawl out from under the bench. It was lucky that John was not immediately in position to follow, though he did not think it luck either, being stuck behind Jack's legs. Georgie also did not feel it luck to be further stuck behind John.
"Is he alright?" Annabel asked as she came up, her eyes widening at the rather macabre sight of a very red tinted bowl of water, and quite a bit more red soaking into the cloth at Jack's neck, though the graze at his cheek was mostly cleaned.
"Listen here, miss," growled Little, not appreciating in the least the way his hostages seemed to be willfully ignoring instructions to stay put and stay quiet. "Just where do you think you're off to?"
"You hurt Jack!" she answered back, somewhat less cowed than she probably should have been, but it was harder to be intimidated with Mary Poppins about, and at any rate she was not a naturally meek child.
Things could have become very unfortunate very quickly, particularly as Michael, seeing his child threatened, was gearing up to do something quite brave and extremely stupid. Oddly enough, what saved them was not magical in any obvious sense. It was Little himself, by saying his next sentence.
"You two kiddies just better mind yourselves, or you'll see how I punish naughtiness, and I can tell you it won't be sitting in a corner."
"Two?!" answered John, somewhat unwisely out loud, as he managed to slide his way out from behind Jack's legs. Then, when all eyes were on him, John stuttered out, "I wasn't doing anything."
This in turn caused Little to sneer at him in disgust. Georgie, quite naturally, went to follow his siblings, only to have both John and Jack pushing back at him with their feet. Mary Poppins did no such thing. She sat primly and properly, with her dress's skirt spread wide, and incidentally hiding the underside of the bench from anyone who might have tried for a better look.
Georgie pushed harder. John squirmed in response. The entire bench lurched, and blood stained water spilled across the floor.
"And what are you squirming about for?" Little demanded, marching over with furious intensity.
"I…I…" said John. The only good thing about the situation was that Georgie, seeing the shoes again, finally stopped moving.
"We need to use the water closet," said Annabel, in her haughtiest tones. This probably was not the best tone to take with bank robbers, but then, it was hard not to imitate Mary Poppins when she was so successful using such tones.
"Oh, do you?" said Little.
"I'll take them," said Jimmy. Little gave him a slightly incredulous look, a look that was getting a lot of practice in the past five minutes. Jimmy just shrugged, and added, "They're just kids."
A plan was working. Whose plan, it is hard to say. Jack and Michael, for instance, were pleased with the idea of John and Annabel leaving the room full of gun wielding thugs, though Michael was less keen for them to go with the man who had shot him. Jack, not knowing this detail, and still feeling slightly friendly towards Jimmy, felt the children safer in his hands. John and Annabel, meanwhile, had not actually planned for their own escape; they had said whatever they had to say to be sure that no one noticed Georgie was there. If no one knew he was there, he was safer. And if he later escaped, no one would know to raise the alarm. Most of the bank robbers felt their plan was going fairly well; the hostages were contained, the bank was locked down, and, random nannies aside, they were in charge. Jimmy's plan was slightly different, as seeing first Jack and then Mary Poppins had caused him to question his life choices. He wanted to please Mary, in fact, and had yet to quite work out whether she was actually against the robbing of banks or merely against robbing banks by pulling guns on those she cared about. At any rate, it was rather late for Jimmy to change things. What he failed to note, while having this internal crisis, was that he had seen three children, rather than two, at the beginning of the entire affair.
Georgie had a very different plan from his siblings that centered on one piece of knowledge they were currently ignorant of. Georgie had a very poor view of the room. What he mostly saw were feet and the backside of his siblings. One aspect of the floor he did have a semi-clear view of, from the side of the bench and with his siblings no longer in the way, was the fireplace.
What Mary Poppins might have planned, only Mary Poppins knew.
While Jimmy took the children to the restroom, and subsequently got locked out, Mary Poppins and Jack had a short but very interesting conversation that all the robbers entirely failed to put a stop to.
"It is good to see you, Mary," Jack said as she returned to her ministrations, attempting to clean away more of the blood. The cut at his neck was still bleeding, not so much that Jack was likely to pass out or die, but enough to be concerning.
"I would rather not see you like this, Jack," Mary Poppins answered, some real concern held in her tone.
"It will all come out aright," Jack answered, trying to grin but offering more of a grimace because her attempts to stop the bleeding were far from comfortable. She frowned, perhaps at the wound, perhaps at Jack's words. Then, slowly, as though tasting each word before she said it, she spoke again.
"Jack…I think I need to tell you something important…about today."
"You know how my cousin has her turtle days?"
"That is the way with all my relations. We all have our…our turtle day. When everything goes contrary."
"I am practically perfect in every way."
"Today is my turtle day, Jack."
"But not to worry. I am sure we can make our own luck today. Sweeps are lucky. Very lucky. It is amazing how much luck a person can get by crawling up a chimney."
And then she stood up in great alarm while Jack cried "Ow!" quite loudly, and she cried, "Oh! I need more cloths, more cloths, before he bleeds to death! Is there no doctor here?!"
"Oh, oh, it hurts!" Jack moaned, clutching dramatically at his neck (and incidentally, being truly startled at the amount of blood that quickly covered his hand; despite the bloody cloths and the pain he still hadn't fully realized how deep the cut at his neck really was).
The end result was three hostages and two bank robbers offering five handkerchiefs and a scarf to the cause. Mary Poppins made use of these by pushing the cleanest of the handkerchiefs very firmly into Jack's neck and then tying it in place with the scarf. This only half worked, as she could not actually tighten it around his neck without strangling him, but not tightening it did little to hold anything in place.
By the time she figured out a method, there were two less people in the room than before. No one noticed. They mostly hadn't known the two had been in the room in the first place.
Then Angel returned and demanded that Jack and Mary follow her.
Outside the bank, a woman sobbed dramatically, practically draping herself across a policeman's arms.
"There, there, keep back, keep back," the policeman confusedly managed to say, alternatively to the woman in his arms and to the crowd of gawkers trying to push in closer to the bank. Normally, a second officer would be helping out, but he was already somewhat occupied by a young man who kept insisting he had business at the bank and he needed to get through right then, and seemed to not understand in the slightest that this was not possible.
"I have banked at this bank for years!" he shouted, "And I tell you, they won't refuse my business, let me through!"
Had these officers been less distracted, they might have noted a young woman going determinedly where the officers had been tasked to keep people from going. If they had been less distracted, they might even have noted that the hysterical woman and the determined young man both had similar bits of paper tucked about their persons, the first sticking out of her handbag and the second from his briefcase, and that these flyers all were headed by the word SPRUCE in large letters. The officers noted none of this.
Nor did they note the young woman's climb. There was not, in fact, much to note. Within moments of reaching a short wall, she was over its side and out of sight.
The thing to note about the bank was that it was not quite impregnable. The architect had cleverly thought about entry points like chimneys and windows, and had designed ways around this. Likewise, the sewers would have been a poor choice. The architect rather thought the job was well done and the bank was quite secure. But then, the architect had never been a small child who had a father who worked at the bank. More to the point, the architect had not had a father who had waited until his daughter was half grown before having a change in heart concerning taking his children to work, and in so doing assured that said daughter, in her curious explorations, might note a sort of doorway just her size.
It was around the side of the bank. The front of the bank was all impressive steps and pillars competing with the cathedral for impressiveness, but such efforts rarely stretch around dark corners. There, in the half-lit world, was not a world of pillars and marble. It was the world of coal shuttles and dirty water and soot covered brushes. The bankers had their doors but banks needed more than bankers; they needed cleaners and guards and sweeps and newsboys and messengers and tea trolleys. For these purposes there were other doors into and out of the bank. Of course there was still security. It was a bank, after all. But the security needed to guard, say, a break room for tired maids was not quite as extreme as the bolts to the front door. In fact, the fancy locks at the front were as much to show the public 'see, we are secure' as to actually act as security, as much a facade as the marble steps or pillars. It is the vaults that needed the real heavy duty locks, not the servant's entrance.
Once there had been a coal chute, a relic from a time when the entire bank more or less ran on coal, and all the lights were gas or oil, and everyone got around by horse and cart. The chute was gone now. The space where it used to be remained.
Jane was not as small as she used to be. Also, and she was quite certain of this, whatever happened next she could not be scolded for dirtying her clothes. She was not entirely sure whether this fact was a relief or a disappointment.
There was a sort of space at the side of the bank. At one point, there had been a small wall with a gate and stairs going down to a small door, all of which were generally locked. There had also been the coal chute, a sort of slide to young Jane's mind. Michael had gone down first, because he was still quite young, and a boy, and so he could get away with doing such things with barely a scolding in response. And Jane, of course, was forced to go after her brother.
They told no one about the broken latch that resulted from their adventure. Children do not think in terms of possible consequences to actions, like an unsecured latch leading to a robber running off with the bank's money. They have the imaginations enough to fit a universe inside, but when it comes to consequences, they think small, and generally only about themselves. Telling would mean getting into trouble.
The chute was gone, but the small wall and gate were there. The sort of door where the chute once connected was still there. It was not a perfect way in. The stairs did not go to where the chute once entered, they went under it. The door they led to was shut and locked. The little door halfway up the wall looked just as barred and locked. Small children can be very ingenious indeed when attempting to keep themselves out of trouble.
It should not have worked. Too much time had passed since that adventure. Someone, at some point, should have noticed. At any rate, once the chute was shut down for good, the little door should have been boarded over or welded shut.
Jane was not a little girl anymore. Standing on her toes, she could just about reach the edge of the little door. It did not move at her first attempt. But then, it wouldn't. There was a trick to it. One had to push on one corner while pushing down at the top bit (this had once been done using their feet), and it would pop open.
The old chute would have come in very handy right then. Luckily, Jane did not need it. She was not a child anymore, and she thought about consequences and she also thought about possible future needs.
She had Jack's ladder from off his bike.
Climbing it was somewhat trickier than Jack made it seem, but she had on sensible shoes and a determined spirit. Even as her brother dragged himself up into a dark chimney after his son, his sister clambered through an ancient door, down a dark tunnel, and into the light.