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N IeK eARTER WEEKLY. Entered accordina to Ad of Oongreu in the year 1901, by Sl1eet ci Smith, in the Ojftce of th e Lib rarian o f Oon (Jf'flll Wash011glon, D. 0. Enterttltu BtcOIItl class Mattei' at the N e w Ymk, N. Y,, Post Ojftce Juued weekly. price, $2.50 pe1 yea1 .April 13, 1901. No. 224. STREET & SMITH, Pnhllebere. NEW YORK. 2i8 William St., N.Y. 5 C e nts. A YOUN6 D ETECTIVE'S AIR ROUTE; OR, 'I'he Great Hi: 1 :1doo By the Author of 11 NICK CARTER." CHAPTER I. A'f BAY. "Whoop!" "We've got him." "Roll her along!" ''Here we are-stop!'' The excited cries rang out echoingly in front of the house, or r ather detective school, of America's greatest crimina l catcher-Nick Carter. Down the middle of the street, so strange a procession that pedestrians, truckmen, even the patrolmen on duty s tood petrified, gaping a motley, pu shing, yel1ing, rushing crew pres sed forward a t fire -brigade speed. It looked as if the pick and flower of N ew York's riff-raff newsb oy and bo o t black humanity were trying to make all the noise po s sible, while prt:!senting a s pectacle that w a s not only a novelty but a puzzler. As many as ten ragged urchins were urging forward a large-sized handcart. Tied to it was a g ood stout chicken coop, and inside of this was a man, like wise tied, whose shrill cries and wild added to the babel of the occa swn. Ahead of the proc e ssion, a short cudgel in his g rasp, flourished constantly to clear the w ay a sort of drum major in vivid acti on-ra n a certain bright and shining jewel of metropolitan gamin life, kn o wn famili a rl y to ev e ry habitue of Newspaph Row a s Buff Hutchinson. King of the new s boys, he was a m o narch C0111l) ]ete in the presedl t wild d as h . for In s sh arp o rders of "Turn "To tl: left!" "Faster!" were obeyed as if a trained b attery of artillery was under his control behind him. Straight in fr?nt of Nick Carter's h?me, crowd and vehtcle rattled, to halt wtth a shock, s tock-still, at the rapid words: ,''Here we are-stop '' The b o y Buff reached the sidewalk in a jump, cros sed it in a s lide, was up the steps three at a time, and his grimy hand gave the bell -handle a pull that nearly tore i t from its sockets. Open came the door, and out glared the face of Nick Carter's veteran manservant. "What's t his ? he demanded. "We've go t him!" "Got who? See here, wh a t kind o f a lark are you up to, anyway, in a respecta bl e neighborhood--'' "Yes, what is it-oh! 'it's Buff
2 "SICK CARTER WEEKLY The newsboy king edged his way half past the servant, to get nearer to a person whose magnificent physique and magnetic face loomed up beyond him at that moment. "Mr. Carter!" the excited Buff. "You know-you remember? Told me to keep a watchout around Guffey's tenements for a fellow'?' "Yes," nodded Nick-" the Hindoo. '' "I've got him." Nick looked a trifle surprised. "Quick work, Buff." "Ten dollars don't float our way every day, Mr. Carter. There he is!'' "Where?" "Had to get help-he fought like a wildcat. Cornered him in a backyardcoop, ropes-we've run all the way--" "Buff! Buff! this really won't do!" spoke Nick quickly, with a somewhat disconcerted glance at the commotion without. "No other way." "A little too demonstrative. Down the steps with you back to the area, dump the coop and dispe.rse that mob before the neighborhood is scandalizen." The amateur detective looked a little at so sharp a criticjsm of his methods, but he reached the curb in a jump. Keen, well-trained, one word sent his helpers into' action, across the walk the cart flew. The coop was instantly released. W+th quick dexterity Buff got it through a doorway out of sight. "Scoot!" came his sharp mandate. Like magic cart and crowd swung away from the bouse. In thirty every vestige of the recent commotion )tad faded as if it bad never existed. Nick Carter had been interrupted in a conversation with three of his pupils by that sharp ring at the door bell. As he hurried down the hall now he stuck his head into the gymnasium. "Bob ferret!" he called out. Nick's pet graduate, the boy who had done some of the slickest work of the group, was i a reaching distance in a flash, while his companions, Jack Burton and Aleck White, looked expectant and interested at the detective's animated movements. "They've got him," spoke Nick. "Who?" p r oje ct ed Bob "The Hindoo. That newsboy fellow, Buff, did it. Incidentally, knowing he had the ins and outs of Guffey's tenements at his finger's tips, but scarcely dreaming that our man would come there, I offered him ten dollars. He's earned 'it.'' "The man is here?" "I will have him up stairs in a few minutes. Make your play, Bob, and coach the others. I am satisfied this means a definite starting point in what has been nothing heretofore save guess work and theory.'' Nick Carter went down stairs to receive the strange consignment that fate had sent across his path. Bob Ferret re-entered the gymnasium that was a favorite haunt in Nick Carter's detective school, to startle his companions with the information just imparted to 1lilll. Then as the dt>or opened Bob glided into a sort of a cabinet where disguises were kept, whence he could peer and listen without being observed. Nick Carter entered the room halfholding, half-pushing before him as singular a looking being as ever invaded the detective's headquarters. In everything but dress the newcomer was distinctiYely East Indian, Hindoo characteristics being most powerfully dis played. Tall, lithe, sinister, quick as a flash in every movement, armed with eyes that shot out glances keen, piercing, terrifying by tnrns, the newcomer glared about him like a restive animal in a trap. Instantly Jack Burton took up his position at one door leading from the room. Noiselessly but significantly Aleck White made guatd at its other exit. "Sit down," ordered Nick Carter, and he pushed the stranger to a chair. The latter having devoured the apart ment with looks [hat took in every possibility of escape, now turned his burning glance upon his captor. Nick met his eye calmly, firmly, unflinchingly. He read power, alertness, depth in the Hindoo's saffron face, and he knew that. in a wordy contest, as in a
.. NIOK OARTER 3 battle of nerve, he bad no ordinary adver-sternly "you know why I have brought sary to deal with. you here-to demand an explanation of "You are Djalma, the Hindoo ?" he your peculiar movements. What have spoke interrogatively. you to say?" Quick as lightning the Hindoo flared ",A few words and then I am silent," up. A superb disdain came into his eyes, at last spoke the Hindoo. "At most men, his lips curved, he drew erect, looking even your great police chief, I would almost kingly in the proud defiant pose of snap n'ly fingers. The trail of the snake his head. in the grass, the flight of the eagle aloft" By what right do you make yourself find them if you can! But to you, king my judge?" he demanded. of man hunters, to whom they say jungle "The law." and eeyrie are alike open books, I have "Bah I" heard of you, and to you--" The Hindoo, made an unutterable ges"Well, what?" demanded Nick, tmture of contempt and confidence com-patiently. bined, "My last word-! am mute!" "You have placed yourself under its "You don't intend to talk, elf?" suspicion, if not within its pale." Nick Carter measured the Hindoo "Prove it!" hissed the man. "Is this with a pretty portentious glance. The Russia that I, a stranger, am made the man sat dumb as a Sphynx, rigid as a football of a Jot of wild boys? Is this-statue. m is hallah aqon !" The transfixed eyes of Nick Carter's The speaker checked himself with young assistants read the oracle quickly. some native ejaculation so fierce and ex-The Hindoo, making the discovery pressive that it shook hi:s very frame. that his captor was the famous detec-In an instant his manner changed. tive, squarely met the issue by Hthrowing From contemptuous defianc...e his dusky up both hands," but refusing to speak features relaxed to breathless alarm, to one added word. positive fright. "We shall see!" remarked Nick, and He moved a trembling finger toward a he walked to a cabinet, unlocked it, took magnificent portrait on the wall that he up a graduated glass, mixed something had just noticed for the first time, as if in it from several bottles, placed it on a tracing the autograph signature beneath stand, and striding straight up to tb e it-" Nick. Carter. watching but emotionless Hindoo, said : "That-that," he quavered "is you?" "My .friend two weeks a g o y ou stol e "I am called Nick Carter, yes," an-your \;Vay into the grotm d s of the retired swered the detective simply. railway magnate, Edward Spencer, on th e It seemed as if the discove r y of his Hudson. host's identity was cru shing the Hindoo. "Feigning t o be a travelling peddler of A ghastly streak of yellowish-white came oriental curio s y ou managed to se e and across his twitching lips. reach the grands on, onl y heir and favorit e He looked about llim hopele s sly, a lo s t of the gentleman in question-Rolfe expression dimmed the ferocity of his Spencer. eyes. "Upon the.back of his right hand you Then his hand groped in the loose silk impressed a mark, a .symbol of your scarf he wore as a belt, came out, and a native language in indelible ink. black globule held between thumb and "That mark Mr. Spencer has since forefinger shot into his mouth. come across in the papers of his dead son, Nick was impressed by a movement he the boy's father, and presumes it has could not analyze-mystified, yet warned. some mystic import. 1 He sprang toward the man and seized "We know it is a menace, for twice his wrist. since attempts have been made to kidnap "What have you done?" he demanded. the boy. The Hindoo's face hardened grimly-a "The Spencer place is now so guarded dull, resigned l ook haunted it now. by watchmen that there is little fear of "Do y ou hea r me?" urged Nick, very your succeeding in this.
NICK CAH'l'ER WEF.KLY. "Mr. Spencer, however, was deter mined to find you. After a week's search accident has placed you in our hands. "We do not know your colleagues, the men, the natives back of you, butthis you must now tell." Nick took up the liquid he had just prepared. The Hindoo's face quivered the merest trifle. "It is not a question of your will against mine," continued the detective, "but of your complete helplessness under the spell of science-of a chemical that once administered unloosens lips however tightly sealed." The H.indoo started. His wall of re serve went down like a paper castle. He arose to his feet. "Hold I" he spoke, "and hear you me. What am 1-a mere atom in the whole. Remove me, a score spring up to fill my place. "Listen, you-the great, the only searcher of true detective science-! fear you. When I heard that name, Nick Carter, I surrender, I give up. "But only I. You shall not make me speak, your chemical is vain. The pellet under my-tongue is beyond your reach. "Even now what trifle I have'absorbed affects me. I drop out of the case, a case involving that of which you little dream. "Wise as you are, cunning as you are, it is like fighting regiments to combat the real power back of that symbol on the hand of young Rolfe Spencer." Every accent the Hindoo employed bore the tinge of truth. "In eighty seconds do you know what will have occurred?" he went on. "To aUintents and purposes I shall be dead. You have caged me. I seal my lips. Try your vaunted powers against the physical faculties paralzyed by the -*!lost powerful drug in the world! Part of a machine, I have done that which was apportioned to me. I am content.'' The man swallowed the pellet-Nick could it by the movements of his lips. His eyes fixed on vacancy-they glowed -glazed, Then a lump of lead, a clod, rigid as bone, colorless, inert, the Hindoo slid to the floor and lay to all seeming dead. The faces of the detective's two young assistants became pictures of consterna tion. They had never seen Nick Carter baffied before. "Mr. Carter," spoke Jack Burton anxiously, "what has this man done?" "All he replied the detective gravely. '"l'hese Hindoos are drug ex perts. He is no ordinary pe+son-this is no ordinary case To all intents and pur poses, as he truly said, he is dead. It may be days before he revives. He has, in deed, blocked the game by sealing his lips on the Spencer case. My young friends, yon will have to seek the clue to the mystery of the warning symbol on young Rolfe Spencer's hand in other q narters. A form stepped from the disguise cabinet in rather a sensational way, al though that was not in its owner's thoughts. Made up for a shadow so that his own friends would scarcely have known him had they met him on the streets, Bob Ferret approached the detective. "Mr. Carter," he said simply, "I think I know where to make my start." CHAPTER II. A WRONG MOVE. "Go ahead!" "Here's the back yard?" "Of Guffey's tenements, yes," spoke Bob Ferret. "There's where we caught the Hindoo." Buff, the newsboy, pointed at a door coming out under a rear stairway. 'Caged him in the corner," he went on. "By the way, owner wants a dollar for the coop." "Nick Carter will pay it," prom ised Bob. "And we busted a wheel on the cart fetching it home-seventy-five cents tor that.'' "Present yotir bill. Now, then, where is the room the Hindoo occupied?" It was just after the sensational collapse of the Hindoo at Nick Carter's house, and Bob Perrett had done the best thing in view toward getting a new start in the Spencer case-because the only thing in view-had come direct to the
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. spot where the Hindoo had been captured. What Nick had told was positively all that either. the veteran or his young protege knew of this singular affair. A wealthy magnate fancied all o f impending evils, because a mysterious symbol had been secretly impressed upon the hand of his grandson and heir. When a railroad president he had often engaged Nick to help him with his active detective experience, and had come to him now, imploring him to locate the Hindoo who had visited his home in the guise of a peddler to learn what those strange symbols meant. They meant something deep, sinster, tragic-from the start Nick was satisfied on that point. He learned the Hindoo's name, a little about his being a travelling juggler, but that was all. In this information Bob, Jack and Aleck had pursued various lines of inquiry, but a casual direction given by Nick to the clever-witted newsboy, Buff, had alone resulted in any tangible discovery. Buff had executed many little missions for the detective in the past, and was mightily proud to earn the ten dollars, and, incidentally, Nick Carter's good word of praise He was prouder still when Bob-knowing that the Hindoo had defied inquiry by drugging himself into a state of permanent catalepsy, and determined to get a clue to the Spencer case on exterior merits-had sought him out. "Take me straight to the place where the Hindoo lived," Bob had ordered, and they had arrived at the scene of the day's capture. "He didn't live here," explained Buff, as he pointed at a locked door opening on a gloomy hallway. "He just came there once in a while -slunk in like a snake, flitted away like a shadow. This is his first appearance for days and days." "Is it?" murmured Bob. "Now, then, Buff, that will do. Don't mention to anybody I'm here-forget all about the Hindoo. '' Buff Iooked crestfallen. "Sure I can't do anvthing more to help you?" he queried "Very sure." "Wish I could," declared Buff ardent" ly. "I tell you, it's the life for me, this detecting-all bustle and excitement. And I can follow a man like a shadow! I've done it for Mr. Carter-hung under cabs, gone over roois, once lay in a distillery vat all night. Say-let me bel p you!" "Well, of all the coa:x;ing, ardent aspirants!" commented Bob. "No, Buff, I'm on a lone trail just now, but some other time you shall have a show. Of course, if you found out anythil]g more about this Hindoo--" -"Yes, yes," pressed Buff eagerly. "Follow it up, and report to Mr. Carter." The newsboy king vanished with a smile as proud as if he had been given a11 official commission from New York detec tive headquarters. Bob tried the door before him, inserted a wire, turned the lock catch, entered, resJid the tumblers and lit his dark lantern. It was the barest room he had ever seen. It held a chair, a table, a wardrob e In the latter Bob came across a bundle incased in a worn, frayed strip of velvet, hanging from a hook. It appeared to hold some tools or trinkets. About to open it, Bob shot his lantern slide abruptly. Some one tried the door. Then there was a fumbling under it, and plainly visible in the contrast with the grimy floor there stole through the threshold crack a letter. "Luck!" pronounced Bob Ferret oracularly, and held his breath. A letter-a letter for the lessee of this room, and who was that but Djalma, the Hindoo! Into his pocket Bob thrust the parce 1 found in the wardorbe. Eagerly l1e picked up the missive. The envelope bore no superscription. A great black splotch of wax disfigured its bac:k. Bob tore it open unceremoniously: focussed the bull 's eye upon it, "P'st !" He was badly disappointed. A glance was enough. Into his pocket, crumpled, went the letter, after it halted the lantern,
6 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. and Bob was out of the room and at the front of the house in a jiffy. "Ought to have slid out right after the fellow who brought the letter," decided Bob. "But can't think of everything. He's gone, now. Here is what Nick Carter may well call a bad break. Now what?" Bob fumbled the crumpled missive thoughtfully. The street lamps had just been lit. He got in range of one and in spected the letter again. '' Hindoo jargon,'' he soliloquized-'' I know that from what I've run across in this Spencer case. Tells something, though. What? The thing is to find out." Bob started forward briskly. The hunt for the Hindoo during the past week had led him directly across the track of many persons of that nationality in New York city. Bob, Jack and Aleck had run down all kinds of fakirs, jugglers, students, busi ness men and sailors in the hunt for Djalma. Among them Bob suddenly remem e bered a Hindoo described as "an agent" and his place was less than a mile away. He occupied a house so closely shut up that Bob had never been able to see him. Each time he had called, a cunningfaced servant had avowed he was away, nego tiating for the sale of some menagerie animals. "I'll stop there, anyway," decided Bob. "I'll hire him to translate the letter. They say he's an interpreter. furnisher of talent for conjuring troups, and all that, so this will be in his line. Bob arrived in front of a gloomy f:ouse in a gloomy side street, and operated its ancient knocker. The same servant he had met before admitted him, asking his business. Bob told that he had a letter in Hindoo which he wanted translated, the servant bowed, led the way up some stairs, and ushered him into a room hung with many oriental draperies. The apartment was filled with curios, and the air was dense with incense burn ing in a filagree censer. As Bob was taking in his surroundings, a curtain parted and a great athletic fellow attired in a costume half-barbaric viewed him questioningly, almost suspiciously. "What is it?" he asked. "I have a letter I wish translatedonly a moment's work. You do such tasks?" "Yes. Let me see it." If a serpent had bit the agent, he could not. have started more violently than he did as Bob handed him, open, the missive be had just found in the Hindoo's room Instantly, however, the s"tartled face became a wily one. He threw out one arm in a stretchy way, and muttered: "Those twinges of pain! They always affect me before a rain-the bite of a cobra some years ago Ah, yes! Hindoo! Bu t the Northern dialect. My friend, this will take me some time to decipher. Will you accompany me to my stu<'ly." Bob tried to guess how much was real and how much was sham in the man's evasive manner. He was shrewd enough to <'liscern that the letter had startled the man, but Bob knew no such thing as fear. He followed the agent through several rooms. They came to one less elaborately furnished than the others. It had a table on which several opium pipes rested-its sides were sealed, in one corner was a sink and a hydrant, and near it a high cupboard. In this were hung a variety of garments that looked to sharp-eyed Bob amazingly like disguises or stage dresses. Altogether, there was an air about the apartment suggestive of the secret con clave room, the laboratory, the 14lir of men who wanted to be isolated when oc casion required. The agent shut and locked ... the open cupboard door, muttering something about the carelessness of his servant, seated himself at one end of the table, and beckoned Bob to a chair opposite. A cup-like contrivance hung by a string from the ceiling, and in this was a candle, affording the only light in the room. The agent held the letter toward it, but his eyes were not fixed on the letter. Bob caught them fastened on his face as if piercing him through and through. "You wish this letter translated, do you?'' interrogated the agent, and there
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. '1 was a certain sinister undertone of expression in his voice. "Yes," answered Bob promptly. "Why?" "Why?" repeated Bob in surprise. "Because I want to know what it means." "Ah, yes!" purred the agent, stroking his chin slowly thoughtfully. "The letter was written to you, I presume?" "No, and say-what has that got to do with it?" appended Bob in a practical, business-like way. "Just this: You may have no right to know the contents of this letter." "But I have-every right 111 the world!" "I think not!" There was a lurking menace in the man's tones as he spoke these words. He arose-with them, to his feet. Bob fancied he purposely struck a little silver bell at his side with his sleeve, but he could not tell for certain. At any rate, his suspicions were in stantly set on guard. "Give me back my letter!" he de manded, extending one hand. "When I hire people I do not care to gu into details that is none of their concern.'' "No!" spoke the agent, definitely. "You won't?" "Hardly." "Why? Is this the kind of business you do!" "It is, when I am personally con cerned.'' "Personally concerned?" repeated Bob, getting irritated. "Exactly. I will not give you back that letter until you tell me how it came in your possession." "I'll soon see about that! What business is it of yours--" "All in the world." "Indeed!" "Yes," answered the agent, fixing a baleful, dangerous look on Bob, "for I wrote that letter myself less than an hour ago !1 CHAPTER lll. H 0 T A N D H E A V Y. "In a trap!" muttered Bob Ferret under his breath. He needed neither time nor a magnify-ing glass to plainly read the situation so alarmingly presented to his view-he had placed his head in the lion's mouth! Trying to run the Hindoo down, he had run right into the man who was probably an active coadjutator, possibly the head of the whole plot, certainly the friend and confidante of Djalma. "You understand?" hissed the agent menacingly between his set teeth. "I reckon I do?" answered Bob, back ing out of grasp, sliding one hand to his weapon pocket, and h'ying to appear as cool as be could.'' "And now, who are you?" Bob did not reply. "How came you by that letter?" Bob fancied explanations entirely out of the question. "What interest have you 111 our affairs?'' It was fight, now, to get out of the muddle faster than he had got into it, Bob saw thi.s. "Three times and out!" grated "the agent. "No answer? Very well!" That "very well!" was ominous. Bob expected an onslaught and got ready to fight. The agent, however, never made an offensive move. He simply glared at Bob. Whirret! An indescribable whistling sound cut the air. Thug! Bob threw up both arms with a spas modic suddenness. From behind a slim but strong cord with a heavy pendant had shot about his head like a swift circling butterfly. Twenty times around his throat it wound, each fold growing tighter and tighter, and then the loaded end struck the side of the neck in a deadening, dazing way. Choking, Bob whirled about in helpless agony and fell to the floor. In an instant a lithe form was upon him. One knee on his breast to hold 11im down, the servant who had admitted him un"lound the suffocating cord, but not until he hac! deftly, swiftly bound hands and feet securely. "It is silence, master?" he asked, look ing up inquiringly at the agent.
8 NICK CARTEll WEEKLY. "It is silence. "I say! You scoundrels," voiced Bob, struggling. Flop! A plaster came across his mouth, close fitting as an air-tight jar cover. With his foot the agent s purned Bob, and h i s as sistant dragged him ov e r near the sink and dropped him, Bob's head being saved from a sound knock by land ing on an old mantle lying wadded up on the flo or "Now, come!" The agent directed a glance at the h e l p les s pro strate Bob that le ft little promis e of near rel e ase or s a tisf a ction. As he and his servant closed the door of the next room, Bob heard a final word: ':This means danger of the worst sort! Word mu s t be sent out immediately." "Struck the very nest of the plot!" Boated convincin g l y through Bob's mind, "but-laid out at the very first step!" The agent and his servant must have gone to the remote part of the house where Bob had been admitted, for the latter heard several doors slam. Then he starte d a trifle A h e avy chain rattled near, and a gruff. growling sound ec 110ed va gu el y "Animals? Some of the menagerie he's negotiating for," mused Bob. "I suppose all kinds of horrors exist under this roof. Wonder wh a t they'll do with me?'' Bob felt n either comfortable nor con fident. He blamed himse lf, too, for his pres ent unfortunate environment. "I acted a trifle too precipitate,, he refl e cted, self-chidingly. "Bnt who in the world would fancy a ca s ual inquiry would land a fellow slap up aga in s t the very pers on who wrote that letter to the Hindo o! Well, now, what' s that?" Bob, from studying g loomil y the Bickering, swinging candle, fixed his g aze abruptly upon the cupboard h e had noticed, and the open doo1 of which the ag ent had closed and locked when he had first entered the room. That door was shaking-beyond it was a great rustling. Bob grew bigger-eyed as he continued to peer. "Hope none of the grewsome pets these people fancy about them, like the cobra that bit the agent, is i11 there," rum m ated Bob. "Something is. Well!'' The cupboard quivered under some heavy pr es sure Then a good, sound, solid kick made the door creak and strain. It had a stout lock, however, and was made of some close-grained Indian wood !lard as hickory. There was a brief cessation in the rust ling and jamming about insi de the recep tacle that was b eginning to assume in Bob's puzzl e d mind something of the characte r of a spirit cabinet. Then this id e a rnshed with still !n-eater force through Bob s amazed for, muffled but distinctly audible, there through the strained crack where the top of the d o or had been sprung b y pressure, two word s-a name. "Bob Ferrit." "Gracious!" voicelessly commente d Bob. "It's me." Bob wond e r e d who. Too vigorons and boyishly human w a s the quick call to emanate from spirits "You know-Buff." ((Preposterous!" gurg led m Bob's throat. Rattle-shake-quiver-once more the cupboard bega n to echo with animated sounds. ((Buff?" co g it a ted the wondering Bob. ((It isn't possible, and yet it is. Buff! I can't credit it. Buff! and he's coming!" Coming he was-not out, but over, and in a way threatening a menace that made Bob cnrdle. Jt seemed as if the occupant of the cup board, finding pressme, lev.:ra!:!;e, kicks and blows ineffectual in his circumscribed quarters had taken to throwing his whole w e i ght against the door as an ex periment. The result was immediate. The door did not give, but the entire cupboard did. It lifted, tilted. Bob shivered as he saw it topple. Then over with a tremendous crash it landed, gra?.ing Bob's feet, missing his head bv less than half an inch. Darkness intervened. The top of the descending cupboard had struck the string-pendant, censer-cased candle, and
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 9 had swept the primitive chandelier before It illumined the room momentarily it as if it was chaff. as well, and Bob directed a swift glance The cupboard had landed with dt:strucat the wrecked cupboard. tive force. Bob could no longer see plain"Helpless!" ly, but he had heard boards crack and Bob's last hope sank with the discovery splinter--in fact, several pieces of wood before his eyes. had struck the wall beyond him. The cupboard had split open. Half He listened eagerly for some demon-held under it, head and shoulders alone stracion from Buff. free, where the side had bu-rst out, lay Bob's heart sank as a low, murmuring Buff. groan issued from the wreck of the cup-The newsboy king had a cruel mark board. over one teR1ple. The newsboy had sustained a fq]] or a His sunny, tangled hair was matted blow that had stu11ned him-Bob could where it rested across a jagged splinter of reason out no other solution to the inwood. tense silence that now supervened. There was not much smoke in the Had the sound of the crash startled the room-Bob noticed this with renewed other occupants of the house-how soon alarm. would they arrive to discover anci r e nder Tl!e crash of the cupboard had brought helpless a new intruder who, had he reno one to investigate-unless the smoke tained his senses and strength, would have carried a warning promptly, the conmade short work of Bob's captivity. ditions promised a holacnust. "How he ever got in here is a mys-The fiercest kind of a fii-e was pent in tery," reflected the worried Bob. "The the cased tlp sink box candle!" When it did burst forth, its fury ,,ould Bob could hun his head, that was be uncontrollable. abollt all the freedom the stout bonds All Bob could do was to lie still and allowed him. quiver. He co uld not reach Buff, he He turned it now with an animated could not even hope to arouse him from jerk and a quick expansion of eyes his fatal lethargy by calling out to him. startled and terrified. Bob's cheek nearest to the fire, and not The candle had not gone out. six inches from the shrivelling outside It had rolled under the bottom of the wood of the sink, began to l:!urn and blissink box. ter with the fervent heat. Bob thrilled as he realized what had Snap-hiss-flare-at last the impris-taken place. oned monster had burst its bonds. A His companion insensible, himself sizzling dart of forked flames shot across gagged to utter silence and bound to Bob's face. helplessness, neither could cry out or Pop-swish-splash-what was this strike out for deliverance from a direful, new contending sel'ies of sounds, quite as impending catastrophe. startling and almost simultaneous? The candle had ignited some oil-soaked "Melterl !" rags under the sink. Bob's voiceless comments carne In Bob could smell them. monosyllabic chunks. It had caught the wood-work, also, for Intense-thankfulness and relief let his this now began to crackle. nerves down from a tension that had All wood-floor, sides, ceiling-Bob been fairly rlistracting. Ferret could vividly realize that within The worst was over-the best had hapthe space of five minutes that room would pened. be a roaring mass of flames. In a word, the fervent heat had melted ---the lead water pipe. CHAPTER IV.. To a conflagration succeeded a deluge"F IN DING ouT." to the sharp sputter of licked up splinters A sharp tongue of flame shot through ensued the dull, sullen hiss of drenched a crack in the side of the sink box and out embers. crisped Bob's hair. A steamy vapor began to fill the room,
10 NICK CAR'fER WEEKLY. but the flare lowered, flickered, reddened, lowed up by the man who lives here, and quivered, died out completely. hid -in the cupboard." Bob lay still, letting time brace up "You should have left the letter affair nerves scarcely ever before so severely for me to follow up, Buff." tried. "Say I you'd be in a pretty fix if I had, Then his senses gave a swift response now wouldu 't you?" to the sound of a low utterance, the dis-Buff's logic was irresistible. Bob rose lodgment of various pieces of the wrecked to his feet and shook some of the stiffness cupboard. out of his joints. "Ugh!" He lit his dark lantern, flashed its rays Bob, tracing movements by sounds over Buff to ascertain that he was not solely, guessed that a shooting spray of seriously bruised, and approached the one water had driven Buff back to consciousdoor of entrance and exit which the room ness and to his feet. afforded. "Who am I, anyway? Feel as if I'd "Have you found out anything?" in-never reorganize myself again I" he heard quired Buff in a whisper. Buff mutter. "What do you mean?" rejoined Bob. Snap-flash-up flared a lucifer. "About the Hindoo ?" "Hello!" voiced the newsboy, giving "Of course. That's what you're after, Bob a good, hard stare. isn't it?" He was down on his knees beside the "Surely. I have learned next to noth-latter instantly. Bob felt his bonds drop ing, except that the men here seem to asunder under the influence of a few know him." groping knife-cuts. "Off she. comes!" "Well, when I came here, the way I declared Buff, giving the mouth plaster a got in was because some one was going pull at one edge. out," explained Buff But "off she did not come I" Buff "Is that so?" bad to make a deft insertion with his "The fellow who lassoed you was the knife and leave Bob to work the rest of one who brought that letter to the the gag loose at his leisure. Hinduo. He had come into the house, "Sticks like tar," answered Buff. and the one who lives here--" "Now, then, what is it?" "The agent?" "Buff," were Bob's first words, and he "Call him such-the agent-was saytried to make them stern, bnt failed, ing good-by to a man. I was sneaking "Who told you to come here?" close to the door. They passed me, going "You." down a step or two. In through the door"Eh ?" way I slipped. I lingered for a minute. "Didn t you?" Says the man who was leaving--" "No. "Was he a Hindoo?" "Short but wrong. 'You said if I could "No, a white man. I couldn't see his find out anything further about that face, but he was rather stout, and the Hindoo, to do so." agent called him Major." "Yes." "Go ahead, Buff.'' "And report to Mr. Carter?" "Says' the man, Major, two things." "Well?" "What were they?" "I was on my way." "First, 'We must act at once. Spoil "To Mr. Carter?" the phiz!'" "No, to finding out something first. "Eh ?" propounded Bob, in mystifica-What was the use of going to Mr. Carter tion. 'Spoil the phiz?' till I had, and how was I going to find "Uh-huh !" anything out if I didn't start to do it? A "You heard him say that?" fellow drops a letter under the Hindoo's "Don't I tell you so?" door at Guffey's tenements. I saw him "What did he mean?" do it. I followed him. Why not? That "I don't know, and there's a worse seemed in the line of orders. He came half of the Chinese puzzle to come yet.'' hcua. I sneaked in, then I backed in, fol"Indeed?"
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 11 "You'll say so when you hear it." ''Proceed. '' "Says the man next, 'There's only one route that leaves no trail, and we will take it at once and end this affair-the air route.' ''He said that?'' "Just those words." Bob's thoughts scurried fast, but he could make neither head nor tail out of the two s1ngular statements. That, in the light of facts as yet con cealed from him they were vitally signifi cant and important, he was doubly cer tain. "Good for you, Buff," he commended. "If you haven't struck the keynotes to the mysteries of this Hindoo case I've missed my guess." 'Spoil the phiz?' "That means something." 'Take the air route?' "And that everything." "What, do you think?" "I'll tell you when we get out of th1s den.'' "That's what you're after?" "Quick as quick can be. The agent must be investigated, nailed, before the alar1n of my coming with that letter drives him to hide his trail. Come on." "Say!" demurred Buff, looking sensi bly important, "what do you say to my staying here?'' "Why, what for?" said Bob, in sur prise. "What tor-to find out something more of course. You don't know, much, do you? You get out, you work the outside end of affairs and let me snook around the inside. I'll bet all I'm worth I'll run down some ideas for vou before morning!" . "I have no doubt but what you would, Buff," adm1tted Bob indulgently; "there's no lack of pluck in you, but the trail lies beyond here now. What you tell me about the man, Major, convinces me that some scheme is about to be put in action away from this place. It is, furthermore, dangerous to stay here, for as soon as the agent finds I have escaped he will start the hottest kind of a search. The evening has been a lucky hit so far, the way things have come out-I don't want to spoil prospects by any imprudent risks.'' Buff rubbed his head dubiously. He muttered something about "supposing a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush," but ''not knowing much about real detective science, of course," and silently followed Bob. The mask lantern showing the way, the two boys passed through one room, half crossed another, and paused sum marily. "Voices!" wllispered Buff, and grabbed up a stick with a brass cap and projecting hook on it standing .in the corner nearest him. "Coming this way, too!" muttered Bob. Like a miniature searchlight the bull 's eye went shooting about the apartment. "We've got to go back, guess," began Bob. "No, we haven't!" "Any other way?" "How's that?" Buff grasped Bob's hand and directed the focussed glare across something Bob in a hasty, superficial glance had quite passed over. What had once done serviee as a pla-;t stand rested against one wall of the room. Everything about it indicated that it was in daily use as a means of ascent and descent. About two feet above its top a broad board seemed to swing in on hinges. "Where do you suppose it leads to?" murmured Bob. "Don't know, but it's easy to find out," declared Buff, making a dive to ward it. "They're right on us," breathed Bob, following. He shot the lantern slide instantly. The knob of the door was turning. "I can't make it out-board pushes in, and it's a drop beyond," spoke Buff at the top of the steps. '' Dwp, then-no other way,'' com-manded Bob, sharply. "Drop it is!" "Me after you t'' Pell-mell both boys slid past the swaying board, eight feet, ten feet, and landed. "Say!" voiced Buff in a gasp.
12 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. Bob clutched his arm, and both gained their feet pulsating with an ominous, brooding sense of peril. They could not see a foot before their faces, they could hear. Distractingiy present in the awesome silence of the place, heavy breathing was audible-the slow, certain velvety movement of some lithe but ponderous creature cut the darkness, approaching them, they felt it, they knew it. "Bob! 11 whispered Buff, and his voice was a trifle unsteady, "flare the,lantern. 11 Click-there was a low, purring whine. Flash-a roar filled the place with thunder echoes. "Buff !11 gasped Bob, retreating and pulling his companion back with him, "it's a tiger!" CHAPTER V. A GANTLET OF Facing the most formidable danger that had yet confronted them in the peril.guarded house of the Hindoo agent, Bob and Buff forgot that which might hoverin the room above they had had so summarily and blindly left. A dozen enem1es might be at that .swinging board space overhead-they dared not look up to see. Focussed in the bright rays of the mask lantern their new opponent fasci nated them, held their glance-a magnificent specimen of the royal Bengal breed. During recent probings among things Hindooish, Bob had learned of quite a large recent New York consignment of these ferocious brutes. It was only natura1 that the agent in his usual province of business should have secured one or more of these dangerous man-eaters. The boys had unwittingly dropped down into the animal den of the agent's quarters through the space where food was thrown to its occupants. "Flare him!" whispered Buff, and his shoulders hunched into the pose of a resolute boy, cornered, but fight and mettle to the core. "What do yon mean?" asked Bob. "Keep flashing the light into his eyes. They say it dazzles them.'' "It don't dazzle this one!" Not a bit of it! The tiger was secured by a long, bright-linked chain to a central post. In th i s the chain was riveted, and a glance showed Bob that its slack admitted of the brute reaching to the farthest corners of the apartme11t. The tiger stood bristling, glaring fero ciom;ly, for a moment. Then its elastic neck elongated. Growling ominously, it half-crouched on its forefeet as if poising for a spring. It did not heed the blinding light in the least. "Leave it to me," spoke Buff, hastily. "Get back, I say! Leave it to me, I'm armed." "Armed!" Buff was a young whirlwind of strength and positiveness when in ardent action. He pressed Bob back perforce, and he grasped the hooked stick he had carried from the room above as if he meant to stanchly utilize it for every vestige of merit 1t contained. "Keep the light on the tiger-that's all," he directed, sharply. Buff had pushed Bob back into the far corner of the room, as steadily the tiger kept advancing upon them. Suddenly it made a spring. There was a terrific snort, a shrill jangle of the chain, a whistling descent of the weapon iu Buff's hand, and the animal fell back, a long line of red streaking its face where the huok .had scraped. "Now then-don't move-only the lantern Come on, puss'" Bob could not withhold a cry of alarm, but he was too late to intercept Buff. Around the room, keeping to its closest edge, ran the nimble-footed newsboy king. After him, straining furiously at its chain, progressed the tiger, gliding, leap ing, and Bob, though his hand trembled with suspense, moved the lantern as directed. "Two laps-three, keep it up!" The daring Buff bounded by the engrossed Boh as l1igh-spirited as if he was indulging in an ordinary foot race, and then Bob awakened to his scheme. Each lap Buff was narrowing his course-each circling flight the deluded tiger was winding itself up! Round and round and faster and faster flew boy and tiger. Whack! every time
NICK CAUTER WEEKLY. 13 he would get in a blow Buff let drive the hooked cudgel, evidently an appurtenance of menagerie training. ''Wound up!" With the breathless words Buff ran up to Bob, as with a jerk and a growl the baffled, bewildered tiger came to a halt at the end of its chain, slam! against the centre post. It stood there glaring, snarling, straining out toward the two boys, seemingly too eager to keep them within its lurid glance to venture a backward movement toward regaining its lost territory of action. Buff had snatched the lantern from Bob's hand, and was inspecting the walls of the place. "Look there!" he directed, indicating a ventilating window. "We can reach that." "Why not the board space?" suggested Bob. "And get back into what you wanted to get away from?'' demanded Buff. ''I don't believe those fe l lows know we are in here-mus t have pas s ed through the room Look here-oh, don't be afraid of the tiger It's a dead issue." "Is it?" "Up we go!" Clever Buff utilized the strong stick for a new purpose. He reached up and fastened its l1ook end into the sill of the ventilating window. Nimble as a steeple climber, he lifted himself along it, perched into the broad embrasure, held the lantern to illuMinate the course for Bob, and sang out softly: "Come up!" ''Buff, you're a genius,'' declared the admiring Bob. "Am I?" "And I had a revolver all the time!" "Might as well try a bean-blower on that tough-hided animal, besides bringing the fellows we've escaped from down on us." "Think we've e::;caped, do you?" inquired Bob. "Here's a slanting roof." The boys took a last look back at the tiger. Grinding its great jaws together, it glared and growled in baffled, imeotent rage. Then they viewed their new envuon ment. Rising directly up from the window where they were was a sharp-angled roof -it came down to the side of the building they were in, below walls front and back. No windows were in reach. To get out of the place they must either venture or progn:ss ahead. "We'll see what the prospect is be yond the tip of the roof," spoke Bob. "Come on." "Go slow-it's terribly shaky," announced Buff. "Is it ?-rather. There goes one foot through!" "I sa y!" "Well?" "It's paper." "Never!" "It i -tarred building paper, and rotten as p nk. Take care. We're falling. Well!" A somewhat startling thing had happened. As Buff had declared, the roof was constructed of building paper. This, laid on light stringers, was lath-cleated here and there. Now a broad section perhaps six feet square had torn bodily loose, bent, creased, crumbkd, and the climbers slid slowly downward. Something stopped them, eight feet ac complished-an aerial platform. Bob landed squarely on it, Buff nearly went over its edge, but Bob caught him and dragged him up. A dim light shone below, and the two refugees gazed curious ly down. The debris from the roof rained past them, and then by the aid of a lantern on a hook way over at one side, they were enabled a good view of their surroundings. "'What kind of a joint is this?" ejaculated Buff, staring. It was a building about forty feet square and fully as high. Below the floor was saw dusted. At one end were turning bars, punching bags, an outfit of contortionists' spheres. About twenty feet over from them and lower down were two trapezes, attached
NICK CAll.'rER WEEKLY. to the other and tion of the roof. seemingly stouter secBuff was headed squarely for a double In fact, all kinds of acrobatic equipment littered the floor, and Bob was not slow in surmising what the great barn of a place comprised. "It's the practicing room of the agent's outfit," he explained-"a sort of gymna sium." "That's just it!" assented the enlightened Buff. "I say, though, there's a lantern down there, and somebody may come in at any moment." ''Yes, we will lose no time in getting out of this." "Bnt how?" The roof course was blocked to them, judging from past experience-they might not be so lucky as to fall on a platform the next time. Even this platform, secured by light bars to the stringers overhead, ad seen its last days, for it shook whenever they moved. "We've got to go down to get away, that's certain," calculated Bob. "It's a twelve-yards drop, if a foot," declared Buff. "Say, I'll fix it." "Will you?" "Sure!" "How?" "See me do it! I'll throw you up a rope inside of ten seconds. Here goes!" Bob had heard before of Buff's accomplishments as an all-around amateur acrobat, but he was scarcely prepared for the boldness and dispatch of his companion's next movement. Buff gave a little run along the diving board, and Bob saw that he was aimed for the nearest trapeze. The slant was a fair one, and Buff had calculated closely. His hands struck the \rapeze bar squarely, but just then something not anticipated took place. The bar, rotten, unused. for mo11J;hs perhaps, snapped directly in two. With a slight interjection of annoyance, Buff went whilring ahead, about as sure of his final landing place as a per so tumbling down an elevator shaft. Bob uttered a cry of vivid alarm, how ever. Stationary, he was en a bled to see with clearer vision a possible landing place ladder, such as is employed by profess ional sword-walkers. Every ring was a scimeter, and upon their keen, glittering edges, it seemed certain that the daring, reckless Buff 1 must land. CHAPTER VI. OUT OF A LABYRIN'tH. Bob was not the boy to ever be frightened into helplessness, no matter what menaced. He gave a yell that rang like a clarion note. "Look out!" He saw the speeding Buff duck his head, he fancied a cry of dismay answered his own. At all events, Buff's supple form described a quick, a remarkable maneuvre. Buff did credit at that critical moment to his proud reputation as a gymnast. All the palpitating Bob saw was a human frm doubling into a wad, like an India-rubbe r ball. The next instant, by one of those extraordinary evolutions gained only by powerful practiced control of the muscles, the expert Buff threw a double somersault. It br0ke his fall, and it enabled him to evade the gleaming battery of scimeters, waiting thirstily to drink his life blood. "Superb!" Bob voiced the enthusiastic encomium more like a critic viewing a first ni ght performance from a private box, than a boy air-Crusoed aloft not knowing l10w he was going to get back to terra firma, and likely at any moment to see any number of aroused enemies coming in at the door of the amphitheatre. "Landed!" Buff p1ped the call cheerily, but he mllst have had no easy landing, for he looked a little jarred, and stood feeling of his limbs cautiously before he started into action again. Bob saw him grope in among a lot of miscellaneous pi under, whence his hand emerged bearing a rope. "Want to try the other trapeze?" he grinned up audaciously to Bob. on this occasion!" "Come off the perch, then!"
NICK CAR'lER WEEKLY. 15 With the dexterity of a cowboy, Buff hurled a coil aloft. "That was an ordeal!" commented Bob, affixing the rope and sliding down it to the ground. "Yes, and maybe a lot more to go through,, observed Buff. "There's doors enough to get out at., They advanced toward one that looked rearward from the house fronting the street, as most likely, to prove the safest avenue of exit. Just nearing it, Buff gave Bob a nudge that carried him completely off his feet. With him he fell, plunged, tumbled directly behinc'l a massed up pile of tent canvas. "S-st!" he warned. "You're not forcible or anything!" whispered Bob. "Had to be. Lay very low., up?" Bob had his answer as he peered cau tiously. In at the door came the ser vant who had admitted him to the agent's house in front, and who had later nearly strangled him to death. The fellow took a look all around. Apparently, from his hurried, peering manner, he was there for the purpose of looking_ for somebody. He glanced aloft, saw the broken roof, the still quivering rope, and planted him self squarely, head thrown back, staring up, and evidently trying to make out if some one had just gone up or down the rope. Buff crept softly away from Bob. Near the door was a wire form dum my, employed doubtless to exhibit cos tumes. Soft as a eat's tread was Buff's footfall as he seized his. His intended victim turned just as Buff got directly up behind him, but he was too late. The wire device came over his head like a net. He was undersized, and it pressed him flat. "Holler, and I'll fill you with sawdust!'' declared Buff, laying all over the cage-like contrivance to keep his prisoner helpless. "Or lead!" supplemented Bob, de cisively, springing forward with leveled weapon. Buff ran from the cage and began dragging two heavy tent poles forward These he crossed so as to press down the cage effectually. "Now then," spoke Bob, "which is the easiest way out of here?" The dnsky prisoner looked murderously sullen. "Better speak!, advised Buff, kicking a pound or two of the fine sawdust throngh the wire strands into the fellow's face and eyes. The agent's servant strangled, shook with rage, and pointed at the door through which he had just entered the place. "Come on,, c'lirected Bob. "What's this, first?" Buff made a dive with one hand. He reached through the wires of tr.e cage. A fearful cry of alarm rang from its inmate's lips as Buff triumphantly pock eted a folded paper. ''Mine-give it back!" raved the fel low. "Out, before he's raised an alarm!" directed Buff. The agent's servant, yelling, scram bling, was wildly endeavoring to free himself. Bob bolted for the door, Buff by his side. "Ah! he told the truth for once," ob served the former. With gfatification and relief Bob saw just ahead of them a paved court. Over its centre hung an electric lamp, and this showed several streets diverging from this little waste piece of land be yond their intersection. "We're out of it!" piped Buff. "Halt!" "It's the agent!" Bob came to a stop. From some shad owy angle of the place the agent stepped forth. He had a revolver in his hand. This he leveled so menacingly, that Bob did not dare to draw his own weapon. "Back where you came from!" he hissed out. Not a person was in view. Bob fal tered. "See here, mister--" began Buff. "Silence!" grated the man. "Listen, both of you l Do as I say-go back:
16 NICK CARTER WEF.KLY. whence you came, a dead shot. '' or I fire-twice! I am spell after escaping the leveled revolver under the electric lamp. "I won't!" declared Buff, flatly. "Be warned!" Bob began to slowly retreat toward street. The minute he inspected the paper that Buff had snatched from the pocket of the the agent's servant they had caged in the ampitheatre, it seemed to furnish the "One!" "Dodge-he cati't hit both," whispered Buff. ''Two!'' "Tin--" A yell of pain, howled forth in sudden agony, completed the last numeral. On the sill of some upper window came the tapping of some one emptying a pipe of tobacco, instantly followed by the fall of its burning refuse. This landed, red-hot, on the band that held the revolver. With a clang, the weapon dropped to the pavement, its owner driven off guard by the excruciating pain caused by the torturing, fiery mass. "Run!" directed Bob. "Hand in hand!" It was a dart, a slide out of the court, into the public street, off into a side lane, and into a doorway at a safe distance Bob and Buff glided to catch their breath. "Safe!" panted Nick Carter's youngest detective. "We've run the gantlet at last. clear, impelling motive to further action. He simply asked one question: Did Buff wish to help him out a little further on the case in grasp? Did he !-Buff's eloquent face and eager eyes flashed an unmistakable reply. Then straight for the West Shore Railroad depot Bob put, and now, one hour before midnight, after a lonely walk from a little railroad station, the two lone trailers found themselves in the vicinity of a magnificent country home. It was just here, lurking in some shrubbery, about twenty feet from a high brick wall surrounding the grounds like a prison, that Buff avowed that Bob's quick dash from city to suburb, and his rapid and vivid explanations, auguries and directions made his head resemble a top. "Say it again," he spoke. "No, let me say it. When you blow that silver whistle twice, sharp, I'm to find youcome to you?'' "Whew!" panted Buff. done pretty well.'' "Yes, ass en ted for a starter.'' ''Starter?'' "Inside the place here, if I need you, yes," responded Bob. "I say! we've "On the tap. And if you don't whistle, I'm to lay low right here. No matter Bob, "it's a bot one who comes, what happens, I'm to stay "Certainly. It's only eight o'clock. Why, Buff, I call this just fairly begin ning a good night's work!" CHAPTER VII. ON HAND! quiet?'' "Just that." ' All right.'' "I want to explain something to you, Buff for you deserve to know it," pr.onounced Bob. "We are trying to run down the plot that began with the Hindoo you and your crowd captured in the ccYou make my head spin!" said Hutchinson, the newsboy. Buff chicken-coop to-day." "Make your feet spin when the signal comes-look to that!" responded Bob Ferret, detective. Three hours bad elapsed since, after running the most terrifying gantlet of his life, Nick Carter's apt pupil and his chance assistant, Buff, had emerged safely from the den of the Hindoo agent in New York City. They were now many miles away from there. Bob had barely taken a breathing ''I guessed that. '' "He's a dead issue for the present, but the agent, his servant, the man, Major, you told me about, are probably the other active end of the schelne." "That's easy, too." "Well, what they are after, evidently, is a boy in yonder house.'' "Sho I'' ejaculated the imaginative Buff, disappointedly-" just a boy! Not burglary, or counterfeiters, or a murder __ ,.
NICK CARTER W.E.EKLY. 17 "No, a plain, simple mystery." "Oh! it's a mystery-? Well, that's bet ter.'' "On the hand of the boy living in that house, Rolfe Spencer, the Hindoo hac; put an indellible sign-some kind of a Hindoo symbol.'' "Marked for life!" "Twice they had tried to kidnap him." "What for?" "'J'hat's the mystery." "Oh, 1 see!" muttered Buff, perplexedly. "The paper you snatched from the pocket of the agent's servant this evening is a rough plan of this place." "Is it, now?" "You heard the man, Major, say to the agent two very startling things this evening.'' "Spoil the phiz?" "Yes." "Take the air route?" "Exactly. What do tl10se strange ex pressions mean?" "A break for the boy, I guess." ''That's how I read it-prompt pro gress, anyway. Thinking it all over, I concluded that this is ta be the center of action, if auy place," explained Bob. "Why didn't you have the agent arrested?" "\Vhat for?" "That's so, what for? What he did to us was our own concern, in sneakittg in on him. But why don't you say something to the people in the house here?'' "And alarm them unnecessarily, and have them raise all kinds of commotion and sc;re away the people we're after? No, Bilft, the only way to find out the real merits of this affair is to catch the Hindoo's assistants red-handed. I believe they are going to come here to-night. That's why I'm here. Lay low. For your life! Look there. They're here already!" Bob pulled his companion down among the bushes. The night was moonless, but his eyes had become somewhat accustomed to the darkness. Very plainly he could make out a form advancing-its outlines, its 111ovements. It was that of a man clad in the same tight-fitting under garb the agent back in ,the city had worn. "A Hindoo," murmured Bob-"a new actor in the play." Bob was deeply impressed with the sudden appearance. The new-comer moved like a phantom-not the rustling of a leaf nor the crackling of a twig attended his swift progress. "Lie still-move only on signal," whispered Bob to his gaping comrade, and started to follow the man who was fast flashing out of sight. The spot was dense with overgrown bushes, saplings, high grass and tree StUlllJ?S. The new-comer passed by and among these without a trip, stumble or eve n seeming contact, but Bob had to proceerl more slowly. He managed, however, to keep the mau in sight, and as the latter halted he dropped flat. A peculiar call like that of a night bird rang out after the lapse of perhaps sixty seconds. This was followed by a spell of silence lasting over five minutes. The Hindoo had taken up an easy, negligent waiting position against a tree stump, and, arms folded over his breast, seemed content to wait patiently for what was to come. "Machines, the last one of them!" commented Bob. "This fellow acts just like the one captured to-day-runs his spurt, and wai tc; for the next move like an au tom a ton. Heavy footsteps, disturbmg grass and weeds heedlessly, suddenly broke the spell of silence. Bob saw a rather stocky form loom up, and coming forward peer into the Hindoo's impassive face squarely, with the words: "From Djalma ?" "You know it," voiced the Hindoo. ''There was a token?" The new-comer flashed some kind of a nng. "It is enough," nodded the Hindoo. "I am to call you Major?" "Correct, and now to business!" "The man Buff saw at the agent's house," murmured Bob. All business, brisk, loud-toned as if he was running an auction sale instead of taking part in a sinister and secret
18 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. mission, the man called Major put out his hand. Into it the Hindoo delivered a packet. "It is the money," he explained. "Correct. Now then, brisk's the word, my friend! Let's start the programme." "The house yonder is guarded." HI understood so." "I shall go, as I said. I will reach the picture." "It's your concern." "I shall get all ready. "And send me the silken cord?" ''As agreed.'' "It will take me some time to get my traps in shape,'' remarked Major. "Ont of sight, out of reach, we have till morning, if we wish., "Good! and when I am ready?" "I deliver." "The goods-and I am to redeliver to your friends.'' "Yon will not fail?" "With double what yon gave me just now waiti .ng me back in New York city? Hardly! Wait. I want to send a word to the agent. You will see him?" "When I am 'through here." "Very well." The man called Major lit a cigarette. The Hindoo uttered an ejaculation of alarm, and blew out the match he flared before he was fairly through with it. "That is not our way!" he said, seri ously. "Oh! they're all asleep in the house yonder,'' nonchalantly observe<'! Major. By the aid of the bright end of the cigarette he began writing on the. back of a card he had taken from his pocket. Then he tore it in half, cast it aside, took out another card, and after scrawl. ing a few lines, handed it to the waiting Hindoo. "There yon are," he spoke. "Just give that to the agent-a word about when I'll see him, and where, on my return.'' "It is well. "Start in." "You will proceed cautiously?" "Oh! I'll get there, never fear." Major threw away his cigarette. The Hindoo, uncoiling a knitted cord from his waist, started to skirt the wall of the Spencer grounds. Bob was not at all clear as to what these two men were up to. The great contrast between the twain struck him forcibly-one was all caution, the other careless, eager only, it seemed, to hurry through with a programme in which he was to handle "the goods" for a money consideration. Major turned on his heel and ceeded into a little patch of bushes. Bob fancied that he saw there a heap of stuff that looked like tumbled tent canvas and other like belongings. He did not wait to investigate, however. He felt that the Hindoo was the vital centre of the night's operations, and he put after him. First, l10wever, Bob crawled forward a few yards, and picked up the card Major had torn in two. He tried to scan the printed surface, but it was too dark. Then, cautiously lining the wall, he followed it. The Hindoo, quite a little in advance, turned a sharp angle of the wall. As Bob reached this, he paused. Some kind of a garden building came up to the nail-studded top of the wall. Along its centre ran an ornamental iron cap. The Hindoo. arranged the coiled cord he had unwound from his waist, and made a superb throw aloft. The looped end caught across one of the centre points of the roof ornament. Nimble as a monkey, he went up the cord, reached the roof apex, and disappeared beyond it. "Great action!" commented Bob. "What am I to do-follow?" Bob re flected a minute or two. Then he drew from his pocket a pair of adjustable rubber soles, attached them to his shoes, but toned his coat tight, and gliding up to the end of the cord dangling down the wall felt of it. About to seize it and begin an ascent, Boh realized that he had retained in his palm the two pieces of card Major had thrown away. "I'm sort of curious to know what line that fellow is in," soliloquized Bob. "Maybe it wuuld be a valuable pointer." He faced in to a sheltered corner of the wall, and to momentarily flash
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 19 his lighted mask lantern upon the frag ments of pa s teboard. "Well, here'.s a puzzler," muttered Bob emphatically, as he read the chroni cle they bore: "William Major, Rainmaker." \ CHAPTER VIII. DARK WORK. "They're a queer iot !"murmured Bob, pocketing the torn card for future refer ence, as he noted an ad-:'ress on it. He voted the last acce s sion to the ranks of the Hindoo conspiracy to be the stran gest of the crowd so far in sight. "A rainmaker! I wouldn't wonder at snake charmers, contortionists, sword swallowers, lion tamers-that's the natu ral trend of these fellows-but a rain maker-what's his act going to be, anyhow?" An important one, of that Bob was as sured. Bob was hungry for developments, and his zest for getting deeper into the dense, hovering mystery of the night urged him promptly forward. He went up the rope as the Hindoo had done, perhaps not quite so nimbly, still, Bob was a practiced climber, and be reached the apex of the roof without bungling. The other side led to a few feet from the ground by a gentle, gradual descent. Bob took a shrewd glance all about be fore he ventured down. He made out the object of his shadow, just gliding past the corner of the great mansion, a hundred feet away, among some bushes. Bob slid to the ground, to the same point and halted just past the spot where the Hindoo had disappeared. "Where has he gone to?" questioned Bob. "Ah, I !" Bob discerned the man with his back to him, crouching close to the house. He was watching somebody or some thing out of Bob's range of vision. A row of bushes ran straight out from the house for over fifty feet at this point, forming an almost unbroken hed
20 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. This he rolled into a ball and set it be t w een his teeth. Applying h1s mouth to the hole in the pane, he ejected an aspira ti o n that Bob, even at the distance he w a s, could plainly catch. "I say!" Bab started now. The man had shot something from his mouth that struck the picture, direct. There was the faintest snap, the dimmest flare in the world. The face of the portrait seemed to writhe-little streaks of phosphorescent luminosity ran across it, and it shriveled up like a piece of scorched paper. 'Spoil the phiz !'-I understand now," gulped the engrossed and startled Bob. "That Hindoo is prepa red for anything. These fellows have probably learned that the portrait is the only one of Rolfe Spencer, and want to destroy it so no photographs will be scattered over the countty to block them when they g e t the boy awa y Shrewd workers-I think!'.' Bob was sure that he had guessed cor rectly the solution of the first section of the man Major's expressive programme -"Spoil the phiz!" The Hindoo, at all events, seemed through with the initial stage of his night's work. He drew away from the window, glared over toward the two recumbent forms in the hammocks as if he would like to drug them, too, and then running an nary line from the post of inspe ction across the bouse, and evidently considering that they were so placed as to be all right for his plans, he lined back the building till he came to a corner where a water spout ran up. Without an instant's hesitation, as if he thoroughly knew his ground, and un derstood his own powers completely, the nimble gymnast seized this and went up it clear to the roof like a cat. "I can't do that!" decided Bob, in dismay. It did, indeed, look a difficult task, but even as Bob studied the pipe, the angle where it ran, down came uncoiling a light ladder. Why dropped, why left in place, Bob not comprehend jnst then, but he guessed that it, like the cord hanging from the garden house roof, had been put in place to facilitate escape if forced in a hurry, or to leave an easy course for "William Major, Rainmaker,,, to pursue, if it was intended that he should later come immediately upon the SC(Jne. Bob glanced up the dangling ladder and regarded it admiringly. Light as paper, it was most exquisitely constructed. Fine, soft silken strands wound round tiny links of the strongest steel. Weighing not more than sixty ounces, the ladder was probably capable of sustaining a full ton pressure. Bob looked up and hesitated. "It's trust to luck, he decided finally. "That fellow's no idl e r. He isn't sitting on the roofwhistling to the birds or looking at the stars. No, he's at h i s work, whatever it next is, and probably too busy to notice me, if I get aloft when he 't looking.'' Bob went up the silken ladder. Eyes level with the roof, he took a cautions squint. "Why, where is he?" There was a flat roof before Bob, broken only by chimney s and a skylight in the centre, and he could scan it pretty thoroughly. Nowhere across the surface of the roof, however, was the Hindoo visible. A veritable steeple-jack, had he come up here simply for amusement, and gone down on the other side? "Hardly;he's too much business for that, and he's working hard and quick," ruminated Bob. "The skylight's open. I declare! if the daring fellow hasn't got into the house l So convinced was Bob that the Hindoo had disdained burglar-alarm-guarded windows and double-bolted portals, pas s ing them over to gain an entrance never suspected by the inmates of the house, that he ventured to crawl out upon the roof. He approac:1ed the open skylight tim orously. Conjecture was made certainty as he gained its side. A light hinge-jointed rod held it open about two feet, and tied to the chimney near by and running down over the edge of the skylight frame was another of those
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 21 ubiquitous cords with which the Hindoo seemed illimitably provided. Bob peered down. The shaft ran clear to the lower floor. Windows of various rooms fronted into it for ventilation and light. From one about fifteen feet down the dim light of a turned down lamp pene trated the shaft There, halted by a dexterous knee-loop of the cord and a solid purchase against the back wall of the shaft, was the Hin doo. He resembled some hovering of prey-a veritable vampire, as his ser pentine fingers roved over a window frame, and Bob saw him softly lift the sash. CHAPTER IX. QUEER. PROCEEDINGS. Bob called a halt on himself, and took stpck on environment and prospects. "What is the Hindoo up to, any way?" he cogitated. Was this "the air route that left no trace?" Then where did the rainmaker come in? "I could nab the outfit in a jiffy,'' declared Bob. "There's Buff, a host in a tussle, the watchmen beiow, the people in the house. Flop! with the skylight, clip! with the rope, and one man's caged, but what good would that do? We catch the men, but we know no more about the motive underlying all schemes than we did before. No, I'm not doing police work-cutting out clues with an axI'm trying the finest strain of detective science, to gaip a creditable showing, as Nick Carter calls it. I'd better let things ripen a bit longer." Bob crouched by the skylight, and peered down like a cat watching for a mouse to come out. Then he craned his neck interestedly. A dim shadow-play began on the white wall of the light shaft just opposite the window opening into it. He could trace a sinuous form moving about in a furtive, gliding way. It seemed to be flaunting that inevitable silken scarf again, hovering over some object. There was the sound of drawers cau-tiously opened. Then a l1ead came out into the shaft, that of the Hindoo. "He's coming up again," decided Bob. What should he do? where should he hide? Bob selected a chimney on the far side of the house, ran to it, and crouched behind it. The Hindoo came up quickly. What he had accomplished below Bob could only guess-presumably he had drugged the occupant of the room he had entered. Bob watched him curiously and nar row.ly. The fellow was in vivid action a gam. He seemed never to pause in a carefully marked out course; he worked like a piece of well-regulated machinery, every movement timed and prompted by some intricate but shrewdly devised system. "What's be at now?" muttered the peering Bob. The man was adjusting to two lengths of cord a three foot sqnare piece of stout cloth, which he l1ad brought out folded in small compass from some hidden pocket. His task completed, he had a ham mock-like contrivance that would readil y rest around one person s shoulders, wbile sustaining another at the back. This he threw to the roof. Then h e drew a long flute-like tube from his belt. He applied th1s to his lips. Next he produced a reel of the finest string. Yard after yard l1e unwound at l1i s feet, till he reached a nubbin at its enrl. This he inserted ir. the pipe, mov e d about till he f a ced the point where he had left the man Major, and gave a quick, sharp puff. Bob could not see what he had done, for the fineness of the string, but he guessed that the Hindoo had laid a min ute cable from the roof of the Spencer mansion to the point in the brush outside where the rainmaker lingered. The Hindoo hejd one end of the string, it seemed, like a doctor with his finger on a sympathetic nerve. His sensitive form vibrated as there appeared to come a jerk. He waited again. Then he began to pull in. Slowly, steadily there came into view a stouter cord, then a thin rope, and then two glittering wires of largest piano size. When these reached the Hindoo's
22 NICK CAR'fER WEEKLY. hands he separated them, wound one ruund and round the nearest chimney several times, knotted it, gave a signal pull on the other wire, and both instantly stretched out taut. "That man, Major, at the other end," coCYitated Bob. "He's tied it to some tr:e. What for? Is he coming up here aloft that way? Is that the. mysterious 'air route?' A silent telegraphic code of pulls and jerks appeared to guide the Hindoo now whole attitude was that of a person paying strict attention to signals from a distance. He finally began pulling in the loose wire in his hand. Bob fixed his eyes down the strange slanting cable. Along it came a dark, bulky object. It crossed above the garden wall, above the garden, straight up to the Hindoo. Tent canvas or rubber coverihg of some kind it certainly was, but so tied that Bob could only make out a bundled up mass. Bob now saw that it had been hooked to a loose ring along the fixed wire. The loose wire the Hindoo pulled in on was attached to one side of this ring, and a wire operated from beyond was fastened to its other side, so that the man in the brush and the man on the roof could pull to and fro. Back went the moving wire. In ten minutes a second load came over, in twenty a tbird load. Bob began to stare. "This beats me!" he ejaculated, per-plexedly It looked as if the Hindoo and his distant accomplice were massing on the wof of the Spencer residence the paraphernalia of some circus troupe. A great basket-shaped affair, swathed in cheese-cloth, was landed next; then a couple of fibre ware tubs, strapped to gether. Bob rubbed his eyes. His brief detective career had involved some pretty strong situations, but nothing, he de cided, approximating the present one in novelty and mystification. "I can't guess what they're up to-I can't think out the slightest excuse for ali this business,'' he confessed, blankly. "Ah! there's the end of the air ship ments, I reckon." A big can came swinging to the Hindoo's hand, and, unhooking this, he dropped the wire and stood back against the chimney like a statue, arms folded, in a pose of dumb patience. Perhaps half an hour went by. The Hindoo pricked up his ears suddenly, advanced to the edge of the roof where the silk ladder ran down, and glanced over. Into view a minute later came the great blustering face of the rainmaker. He puffed like a porpoise, and he looked out of sorts, apparel disordered and shaken up generally. "Better provide wings, next time!" he muttered gruffly. "Not so loud, I pray yon!" remonstrated the Hindoo. "Well, I'm a skimmer by profession, but I'm to heavy to scale all kinds of impossible roofs. Got the plunder safe?" "It is all here," replied the Hindoo. ''Very good. You've done your share.'' "All but the--" "Exactly the goods?" "Your burden is read y when needed." "And no trouble?" demanded Major. "No more than a lump of clay." "That's the way I like it! Oh, by the way-I dropped a can of chemicals from the ladder. Will you go down after it?" "W11lingly." Over the edge of the roof the Hindoo dropped. Tl1e rainmaker turned his back to Bob as he stood and watched the descent and ascent gf his confrere. Bob rustled. He was trying to do some pretty heavy and thinking, but he gave it up. As to what these fellows were about, he could not gain the remotest inkling. What a "skimmer" was, why a rainmaker was brought into service, were puzzlers that fairly racked his brain. One thing, however, Bob Ferret did know-every occurrence of the night was a link in a chain leading straight to young Rolfe Spencer. The final end to which these two con spirators were reaching, was the kidnaping of the grandson and heir of the wealthy magnate. "Am I due below-oughtn't I to know what tbe room that the Hindoo
' NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 23 visited contains?" inquired Bob. "If so, now's my chance." Bob acted on an impulse. He glided from the chimney ancl reached the open skylight. He was over its edge just in time. As his head went down the shaft, the Hindoo's came up over the roof. Bob swung and slid to the window that he had seen the Hindoo enter. He got over its sill without any difficulty and dropped the cord. "A new chapter in this strangest of all strange cases!" murmured Bob Ferret, as he gazed curiously and keenly about the room. CHAPTER X. A DARING RESOLVE. A turned-down lamp burned on a stand in one corner of the apartment. Its rays were dim, and even the bed in the centre of the room was in vague shadow, yet the instant Bob glanced thither he guessed who the person sleep ing there might be. "The boy-Rolfe Spencer," he solilo quized. The slumberer had his face partly buried in a pillow, but Bob knew he was the ori ginal of the portrait destroyed by the Hindoo in the library below. At a glance he saw that be was in a sodden sleep, and detected its cause in a aead heavy taint in the oppressive air. "Drugged b y the Hindoo," decided Bob. "What's this? A suit of clothes laid out to carry away with him? That shows they're going to take him, and that-ah !" Bob came to a dead halt, stud'lous and attentive. One hand, the right hanq of the sleep er, w a s extendecl from the coverlet. Across its white, shapely back was a deep bronze mark-a combination of two strange symbols. "That's the mark Mr. Spencer told Nick Carter about," decared Bob. He had seen the symbol that had been the cause of all the present complications twice before. A copy of it had been brought by the ex-railway president to Nick's headquarters, and all the detective's pupils were familiar with it. The second time Bob had seen it was barely three hours before. On the train from the city with Buff, he had taken occasion to open the pa ckage he had found hanging in the ward robe in the room formerly occupied by Djalma, the Hindoo. It contained two articles-a long strip of velvet covered with gems worked into various mystic sym bois, and an ivory de vice resembling a watch charm. Chancing to press this on a piece of paper, Bob had ascertained that the end was a curvec stamp with an invisible supply of ink or stain. In fact, the contrivance was the brand with which the present symbol on the hand of the sleeping boy had been imprinted. Bob stood regarding the sleeper with mingled emotions. He rather liked the expression of what of his face he saw, and his helplessness appealed powerfully to every instinct of both humane and professional sympathy. "They're going to kidnap him, that is certain," calculated Bob. "Now then, what shall I do? I can carry him into some other r o om, and they would find an empty nest when they came. I could nab them red-handed. What then? The menace is not remov e d Djalma boasted that many are in this plot, that others will spring up as some drop out. The same efforts to get the bo y will be continued. No, to call a halt 11ow, even with the agent, his servant, the Hindoo on the roof, the rainmake r all cornered, would scarcel y sati sfy me. Djalma has shown how one of the se fanatic s can keep his lips sealed. As to :.vtajor, he would undoubtedly fall back on the declaration that he was simply hired to take the boy away, that he knows nothing of the real motives underlying the crime." Bob figured up the case in all its bear ings. The essential point was to probe the motive that led to his extraordinary determination to abduct Rolfe Spencer. "I can't make it-out, and there's only one way to make it out!" he declared. Another spell of thinking-Bob's earnest face working actively the meantime. "And that way-I'll do it!" When Bob Ferret made up his mind t o
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. do a thing, it meant action, prompt and positive. He had made up his mind to something daring, so rash, that even Nick Carter, with all his superb disregard of perilous consequences, so that he scored a point, might have held him back had he been on hand to advise. Bob's lips compressed grimly. He stopped thinking and wenf to acting. The first thing he did was to softly open a door at the side of the apartment. Peering in he made o u t that the next room was not occupied. "Sort of reading den for this young fellow," soliloquized Bob. "There's a couch in it, too. Just the thing. Here we go!" He leaned over the bed, lifted Rolfe Spencer in his strong arms, carried him into the next room, placed him on the couch there, returned to the sleeping apartment, locked the door he had just opened, and threw the key under the bed. A bureau drawer was open which the Hindoo had apparently ransacked to secure apparel for Rolfe Spencer. Bob found a night garment ready to hand. In sixty seconds l:e was out of his own clothes, in sixty more into the night robe. Ransacking his discarding garments to stow in an inside pocket of his shirt a few loose articles of personal possession, Bob bad barely time to get to the bed, into it and under the clothes, when he heard a vague voice coming dowa the shaft. "Get the goods," spoke the accents of the rainmaker. "The Hindoo is coming down. Pshaw I" muttered Bob. "There's my revolver, my money I only had time to grab these." "These" were the jeweled strip of velvet and the ivory stamp Bob had found in Djalma's city apartment. He stowed away both hurriedly, but not until, pressing the latter down across his right hand, he counterfeited there in plain, 1i vid semblance the symbols that had made Rolfe Spencer a marked boy. HI'nt in for .it now-make or break, sink or swim, I've taken the step, and-I'll go through with it I" declared Bob, grimly. Bob Ferret had decided to take the place of Rolfe Spencer. What the Hindoo conspirators intended to do with that boy he had no means of knowing, but he did not believe from their actions that it extended to bodily injmy. Had this been true they would have simply put him out of the way by some of their numerous secret arts that could never be traced. Revenge, hatred certainly did not lurk beneath the intentions of the plotters. Bob reasoned that Djalma had seen and singled out Rolfe Spencer, had attached the brand, and by that mark his accomplices would be able to identify the boy at all times. 1'he light was turned low, and Bob held his face in deep shadow, but made sure to extend that tell-tale right hand. In the urgency of his removal the Hi11-doo wuld not detect the substitution, reasoned Bob, and the rainmaker was going to convey him away alone. He would probably be delivered to parties who had never personally met the real Rolfe Spencer. At all events, all the uncertainties and possibilities of a daring imposture Bob was about to face. More than once he was half-minrled to make a dive for his clothes and secme the contents of their pockets. Every time he moved to place this plan in execution however, it seemed to him that tbose voices aloft sounded nearer and nearer to the light shaft. A qnick flare came down the haft, but died out as quickly. A hissing sound followed-the dragging of heavy objects across the roof. Then again Bob heard the rainmaker's voice: "Bring him up." Bob, posed fur his part, managed to keep a half-closed eye on the window of the room. Down the cord came the Hindoo, stepped into the apartment, and for a moment or two was busy adjusting the rope harness of the cloth piece Bob had watched him make on the roof. Bob saw what this was intended for at
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. once-a medium for carryJilg him aloft like a papoose. The Hindoo took in the marked hand with an advanci11g glance. Then Bob was lifted. A blanket was wrapped him, and he was deftly swung across the clothcarrying contrivance. He held his breath as the Hindoo got up on the window sill, )Je counted the seconds-till the roof was reached, for so frail was his balance, so terrifying the numerous jerks and jolts of the climber as he struggled up the cord, that a crash to the bottom of the light shaft seemed imminent at every moment. Panting w1th his extraorclinary exer tion, as he got over the edge of the light shaft, the Hindoo rolled Bob up in the blanket and laid him flat on the roof. "All is ready?" Bob heard him ask. A flapping, fluttering sound struck Bob's hearing, and then the echo as of metal catches snapped, as of the jangling and straining of some mechanism. "Yes," responded the rainmaker. Bob dared not move. The Hiudoo stood directly beside him. Cased like a mummy, Bob could not see out a particle-couJd barely hear audibly, except by straining his senses to their utmost. "Got his clothes?" ''I forgot.'' There was a few moment's respite, but only that brief, for the Hincloo was down the shaft and up it in a twinkling. "Toss them in," continued Major's VOICe. Into what? Bob would have giVen a dollar for one single peep. "Now the boy." Bob was lifted. He rested in something that swayed. The sensation was an ominous one-but Bob was not frightenecl, only curious. "Got your knife ready?" demanded the rainmaker, and Bob felt him wedge into the same receptacle in which he now lay. "Yes," came the Hincloo's voice. "One word-you will not fail?" "To deliver the boy?" "As you promised." "That's what I'm running all this risk and discomfort for, isn't it?" "My brothers are in waiting." "I will gladden their eyes soon. Now then, 8he's straining. All ready?" "Yes." "Cut loose!" Bob could stand the curiosity, the suspense, no longer. The mystery, the uncertainty of the moment drove him fairly frantic. He boldly movecl aside the blanket. At that instant he was carried upward with a sudde11 jerk. Then a strange buoyant sensation he had never experienced before pervaded every nerve. He poked out his head. Of jts own volition it popped back, under the influence of the start, the shock of Bob Ferret's life. "Why!" gasperl the electrified Bob, "we're in a balloon!" CHAPTER XI. THE CRITICAL MOMENT. Bob Ferret was "up in a balloon!" The unexpected discovery, the ominous unreality of a kind of progress new to him so completely unnerved the young detective that he lay still enough now, in all reason Bob felt as if every energy was para lvzed. The terrifically umque methods of the Hindoo conspirators had nothing approximate in the whole realm of detective lore that he had ever heard of or read about. Then Bob suddenly that sterling axiom of Nick Carter's-"Never get rattled till you're hurt !"-and tried to trace his present peculiar position to natmal causes. He slowly drew his head out of the blanket again. He lay in the bottom of the basket contrhance he had seen landed on the roof he had just left. Beside him was the rainmaker, turning a device that looked like the handle of a rudder. At one side fom light paddles were whirling in the wind, and overhead were the two tubs, on top of which sa.t some kind of a little tin lamp, well shaded, and evidently converting the chemical contents of the tubs into gas which sup plied the narrow but high and bulging
26 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. bag overhead, and to which all this equip-phase, and the future was completely ob-ment was attached by ropes. scured. "Rainmaker!" breathed Bob, in an For two mortal hours Bob lay in the enlightened way. "I can see now why position in which he had been placed. he was called in." Finally Major moved about the limited This was the boasted "air route"-and space of the basket more generally. it indeed left no trail! He took to looking over its edge; by Unwilling to risk an abduction through touching some mechanism he slackened the ordinary exits of a house well the speed of the balloon. guarded, the Hindoos liad gone to this Bob could guess they were descending past grand-master in ballooning science There were a good' many jerks and jolts, -probably some former circus aeronaut. quite a bang that rattled his teeth, a Bob had once witnessed the perform-bounding slam or two, a sharp hiss, and ance of one of these men with their rain-as Major leaped out the bag above the making balloons down at Coney Island basket began to sway to and fro, and set -had seen the dexterity with which the tle down slowly as the gas ran out, cov exploding globes shot the clouds, the ering Bob completely. ease with which ordinary balloon ascen-If he was minded to escape Bob felt sions were accomplished. that here was his opportunity, but he let For a brief rise and a short run on a the chance slip by. windless night, the small air bags used He feigned his former inertness as the by this craft were just of that handy kind bag was dragged aside. which could be !llanipulated at any place Through his partly closed eyelids he with a very brief preparation. made out that four men had seized him At all events here was the situati ou, quite gently. and less alarmingly Bob now accepted ,They lifted him out of the basket and it as quite a novel and pleasing episode, were bearing him toward the open door as he saw Major standing at the mechan-of what looked like a deserted mill on the ism as unconcerned as an engineer run-edge of a little stream. ning a slow freight engine. Bob was carr1ed down some stone steps, Bob got quieted down and braced up into a room with a lantern swinging very promptly. There was really no from a bare rafter, and placed on the skin cause for alarm, he saw that. of some animal spread upon the floor. "I started to 20 where this fellow His four carriers squatted bow-legged in a circle about him. thinks he is taking Rolfe Spencer," soliloquized Bob, "so what matter the Not a word was spoken. Bob's nerves route that brings me there?" were more tried by the grim, unwaver !ng cynosure of those eight keen, Bob lay perfectly still. He wondered 111g eyes than by any o"rdeal he had yet what the real Rolfe Spencer would think passed through. when he awoke, what would come to poor, waiting Buff. He knew enough of He decided to precipitate a climax. He the pertinacious character of the newsboy had come here to find out something, and he was in a boyish hurry to do so. to belit;ve he would stick at his post through thick and thin. Bob opened his eyes, sat up, rubbed them, stare<'! at his four grim watchers in morning comes he'll go back affected astonishment and alarm, and to the c1ty, though-that's sure," calcu-started to his feet. lated Bob. "He'll tell Mr. Carter. Nick n d J k At this the quartette arose also. Oue WI sen ac' or Aleck to hunt me up, of them had brought in the bundle of there will be explanations at the Spencer mansion, the boys will fignre out what's Rolfe Spencer's clothing.' happened, and--" He tendered it to Bob with some gutteral ejaculations, <.nd Bob took it. Bob paused there, come to a dead stop The minute he was dressed two of the of the most pronounced kind. Hinrloos t0ok each an arm, and, the On the track of a deep mystery, he was others leading the way Bob was ushered plunging personally into its densest into another room.
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 27 He gave a start of real interest as he crossed its threshold. Another Hindoo sat on a stool. At his feet played a small leopard. It snarled and bristled at the entrance of a stranger, but a word from the man caused it to slink behind a roll of matting across which resteo a wicker screen. Just beyond the man Bob observed a hole. It looked like a grave, an.d his senses crept a trifle as he saw that it was deep and freshly dug. The man arose from the stool. Then all five of them eagerly scanned the sym bols impressed on the back of Bob's right hand. The man they had intruded upon was, to Bob's way of thinking, a kind of a leader of the crowd. "I am the only one here who speaks your tongue," he said. "My friend, a g-lorious careet a"\\
2 8 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. or rather on top of the thick fold after fold of matting that encased him. It began to move about all over him, and then to began to scratch-scratchscrateh again. "The leopard!" Bob guessed it with a thrill-gttessed as well all about his environment. Over it the wicker grating had been placed as a g nard. The leopard he had seen in the room above, hiding or lurking, had scented a victim of prey, and, beyond its master's present control, in trying to push aside the screen had broken through it, and was now pawing Bob over, trying to get at him. The scratching efforts of the animal now partook more of a. tearing, rending character. Bob could hear its claws tear loose the thin we aves. He could imagine these cut through, separated like wrapping after wt;apping of paper around a parcel. "I've got to brace up or I'm lost," re flected Bob. ''I never so weak, dizzy-headed, knocked out in my life, but here's its crowning struggle, if I don't mistake. Nearer dug the leopard, greater grew the pressme on Bob, but looser became the mass of coverings. With a rip of its active paws the leopard tore along the final laps of matting with such force and velocity that Bob felt one of the animals claws catch into his clothing as well. The covering fell away from him. Bob drew up his arms. They were so cramped that they scarce ly had any feeling in them. As he moved, the lithe leopard sprang back. With tt tremendous effort Bob struggled to his feet, kicking free the mass of dis ordered matting. He nerved himself for a clutch at the top of the hole. It required a spring. He made it, got aloft and started for the door of the pla<;e. Instantly he went flat. The leopard, following him out of the hole, had landed on his shoulders. As Bob went down the animal slid be yond him, one paw tearing across Bob's scalp like a buzz saw. Bob reached out for the stool just at hand. Bob got to his feet, staggering. Whack! Down the stool came, squarely meeting the leopard's hard skull. "I've stunned it," commented Bob, and put for the door It was broad daylight-about noon, Bob guessed, as he came outside the place. He started ahead blindly, for his eyes were yet dazed, and he went none too steadily, for his feet were half-asleep. There was a slight rise in front of the mill, and up it Bob ran. Gaining its edge, he saw that it looked squarely down twenty-five feet to a roadway. "After me Bob looked for a commotion had suddenly sounded out. Coming through the cioor over the threshold he had just passed was the leopard. Running toward him from the rear o f the house were two Hindoos. Bob started up at his full speed. He had no weapon, he saw that in a race he would be overtaken within thirty secouds. Roui1ding some high bushes, he made a dart for the edge of the rise, determined to jump to the road below. Recklessly leaving terra-firma, Bob's eyes expanded. "Luck!" he breathed, ardently. An immense load of hay was just pass ing below. In front sat the driver, n oelding. Plump into the middle of the soft yielding mass Bob landed, sank clear ont of view and snuggled there. He fancied he heard'challenging shouts from the Hindoos, he imagined the driYer checkeci the vehicle for an instant, but as it proceeded forward at its old j og. Bob made n o effort to peer from his covert, content to feel safely hidden. He rested, for he needed rest, and he must ha,e nodded, for he aroused with a start at last to find the wagon at a stand sti 11. Burrowing his way out of the hay B o b saw that the vehicle was standing in the market of a bustling little country town. He slid to the ground and made in stantly for a n;ilroad depot near by. A 1
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 2!1 few inqniries, an investigatiou of a purse fouud in a pocket of Rolfe Spencer's borrowed clothes, a brief wait; and Bob was springing on a train for New York city. The clocks were striking seven when Bob ran up the steps of Nick Carter'3 home, let himself in with a latch key, and eagerly crossed the portals of the detective's library to find his patron engaged in earnest conversation with Jack Burton and Aleck White. "Hello!" gasped the latter. Nick scanned his protege keenly. Bob's strange attire anr1 general appear ance told the shrewd veteran that a story lay behind them of more than ordinary import. "Well, Bob?" he insinuated simply: "I've run down the motive in the Rolfe Spencer mystery," announced Bob with definiteness. "()h, indeed?" murmnred Nick. "Yes, I 111ade a bold bid for i nfonna. tion wanted, Mr. Carter. I've some large things to tell you and to tell him, and I think we had better get to the Speucer home and let the ex-railway president know how matters stand. You see, I took his grandson's place, probably SaYed his life by cloing so, and want to explain to him--" "You won't be able to explain to him, Bob;" interrupted the detective. "Eh! Whynot?" "Because Rolfe Spencer has mysteri. ously disappeared!" CHAPTER XIII. TRACKED. "Mr. William Major." "Not in, sir." Bob Ferret asked the question-Bob the tireless, tht! invincible. It was only three hours after his return to report to Nick Carter the most event ful exploit in his detective career, and yet Bob was once more ou active duty. That very morning the exrailroad president bad come tearing up to Nick's home in a carriage, frantic over the mysterious disappearance of his grandson. Bob asked a few rapid questions, Bob learned that his abandoned suit of clothes had disappeared with Rolfe Spencer, set tled on a theory, and announced to Nick that he was going to find out what had become of the magnate's grandson. He asked about Buff. Not a word had been received from Bob's newsboy atly, however, and this mystified Bob most of all. Bob went straight from Nick Carter's house to that of the rainmaker. He remembered the address given on the torn card. When he reached it, he fonnd it to be a third-rate boarding house. An inquiry brought out the infornJa tion that Major was not at home. Bob put her through a rapid course of questions. Had Major been home that day? Yes, early in the morning. And went away? Before daylight. A laue? The girl hesitated, but finally answered "yes." On foot? The girl got flustered, and finally said "no." Bob read something under the surface. He came up closer to the girl. "Young lady," he spoke in his most winning tones, and the politic courtesy caught the girl all a-flutter, "you are hiding something from me. Now this is dead wrong. Major is in trouble, serious trouble. I don't mind telling you that. If you conceal facts you '11 share his trouble, and if you let them out now, to me, while its some use, you'll have the price of a new go wn as soon as I rurt across him." The girl heitated, reflected. Then she blurted out: ""He didn't go away alone, then, and he went in a carriage." "Ah !" muttered Bob, "who was with him?" "A boy. About your size, and say!" exclaimed the girl, with a start, "the boy had just such a birthmark on his hand as you've got." "Did, eh ?" interrogated Bob, with brightening face. ''Yes. The boy came here just as I got up this morning, and just after Major had come in. He had a card of Mr. Major's torn in two. He asked me if he could see that man. I sent him up to Major's room. Soon Major comes out, excited-like, and sends me for a cab. Soon it comes up, and he was half-leading, half-carrying the boy to it, and drove off ''
ao NICK CARTER WE KLY. "Where?" demanded. Bob, ::;harply. ''How do I know? But maybe to his place down on Staten Island.'' ''What place?'' "Where he has been making his ex periments in rain-making." "Got the trail, first innings!" Bob only needed the stimulation of a promising clue to_ revive all his vim and ardor. He left the rain-maker's lodgings en tirely enlightened. "Clear as daylight," declared Bob. "It's_ find Major and I've cornered the last point. I see how it is-Rolfe Spencer woke up in a maze and got to investigating. He found his own clothe::; gone, and mine in their place. He saw the open window, the skylight, the ropes. He looked to me just plucky enough to be tired of being a lay figure surrounded with watchmen and mystery, and decided to take a hand in affairs himself. What did he do? Put on my clothes, followed t.he mystifying cord to the roof, the lad der to the ground, and wire to the brush. It all puzzles him, and he goes farther. All he finds in my pocket to guide him is the plan of the grounds and Major's card. He comes to the rain-maker for explanation. Major drugs him and spirits him away, and-it's a quick run before he gets him beyond rea.ch !" Bob had got very clear directions as to the location of the rain-maker's quarters on Staten Isla ncl. It was long after midnight when he reached the low shed, isolated, near an inlet. It had a half basement, probably Major's work-room, and one large apart ment only on its main floor-littered up with kegs, boxes, jars of chemicals, rocket sticks, and all the paraphernalia likely to accrue to a man in Major's line. Bob crept up cautiously and peered in. No one was in view. Then observing pen, ink and a half written sheet on the table, and l;aking a risk he had no business to venture, Bob stole across the floor. "Hello!" he ejaculated, and became instantly interested.-in an uncompleted scrawL It was addressed to the railroad mag-nate, Edward Spencer. '-" ''Your grandson will be a thousand miles away when you get this," ran the first sentence. "It will take one hundred thousand dollars in cold cash, paid within ten days, to get him back. If not paid, and any row made--'' ended the second sen tence. "A h I see muttered Bob. "Major found out that he took the wrong Rolfe Spencer to the Hindoos, and with the right one dropped into his power, he is going to leave the Hindoos to their own deviees and hold the magnate's grandson for ransom. I wonder how he theorizes out my part in it--" Slam!" Across the 1table, dashed flat by a powerful hand, went Bob. Click! Over his wrists snapped a pair of handcuffs. Around his feet went a dozen strands of wire. He was lifted, thrown -upon a heap of stuff resembling a col lapsed balloon, and, staring up amazed, was confronted by the rain-maker. Major was glaring down at him, and Bob saw that the branded right hand held his glance. "How did you get here?" demanded the rain-maker, his brow set in a fero cious scow I. "You think you have seen me before?" remarked Bob. "I know it. Don't attempt to bandy words with me. Time is worth gold dol lars. I know from that mark, from the clothes you wear, that you are the boy whom I took from a certain place in a balloon early yesterday morning. 1 got word two hours since that you escaped. I say, who are you-what are you med dling in this affair for?" "You guess it!" "Yes, I will gness it!" cried Major, becoming fearfully enraged-"you are helping out the detective the Spencers employed." ,,Maybe." "Nick Carter? I am right. I can see it by your face. Well warned!" The man moved away. A great barrel stood at one side of the room. He approachea it. Picking up a tool from a bench he pried out its bung.
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 31 From a draw.er he brought out a lot of fuses, such as he em}Jloyed in making his cloud-exploding rockets. He inserted one of these into the hole in the barrel and lighted its trailing end. "Hold on," began Bob. The man turned on him, grim, mur derous -looking, determined. "You know too much!" he ground out. "If you are one of Nick Carter's crowd, good-by to safety for me in New York ever again! I know just enough, from what the real Rolfe Spencer blurted out, to guess you're deep in this case. It's you are one hundred thousand dol lars. I'll take the cash." "Don't be too certain!" "Bah! Know what's in that barrel? Twenty gallons of my rain-exploding chemical. In three minutes the fuse will reach it. In two I shall be afloat with my hostage worth a fortune, making a sloop, Bermnda bound. You meddled. Take t:lle consequences." The man hurried ly picked up some trifles from a l1eap in the table drawer. A fierce splntter of the fuse caused him to hasten to the door. He closed it, locked it. Bob Ferret was left alone, secured hand and foot, staring helplessly at the creeping trail of fire that, according to schedule, was to ignite the explosive chemical in the barrel within iixty seconds and blow the shed and all it contained to atoms. CHAPTER XIV. PROMOTED. One minute-sixty seconds---Bob's nerves were trained ones, but he turned cold all over. He stood in the way of the rai1i-maker's hundred thousand dollars, and the penalty was about to be paid. Not a sound broke the intense stillness of the place except a slight scratching noise under the floor and a trickle below -rats and dripping water, Bob estimated. His heart throbs time<'l the secondsthe fuse flared over the rim of the barrel, toward the bung hole-into it. Bob shriveled. "I say!" Instead of the expected explosion come a cheery, familiar hail. "I'm dreaming!" gulped Bob. ''Here--'' Tap-tap! ''See?'' Up through a break between two boards in the flooring the tips of humal!l fingers. vigorouly wriggled. "Who?" shot out Bob. "Buff!" floated up boisterously. "Never!" "Always! Ugh! Whew! Up she goes!'' Slam! A trap door lifted and weut bangi11g back. Into full view, grinning, chuckling, radiant, stepped the newsboy king. "It's like a play!" he said. "How did vou ever--" "Got tired of waiting for you near the Spencer place,'' rattled 011 Buff; ''weut to investigating. Broad daylight. I put.'' "Where for?" "Here. That was my only point. Why? Because I had found a tag that had come off some canvas stuff one of those fellows near Spencer's had. It directed me here. Got in the cellar here . Hin. Been watching since last evening." "But the barrel, the fuse--" "Heard the old villain-cellar full of tools-auger, bored, emptied the chem ical-no bust-11p. Saved! How's that for quick work and a climax?" Off came the wire loops enclosing his feet, but to get the handcuffs loose Buff had to employ hammer and chisel. "Now, then, after that man!" directed Bob. ''Yes, he carried a boy from here half. an-hour ago, to a boat, I guess,'' spoke They ran out of the shed, Buff belligerently waving the hammer, vvhich he had retaine<;l in his grasp. 1'he water was about a hundred yards distant. Following its gleam as a guide, they came upon a boat. At its stern was a lantern, and its rays showed a form lying in the bow and a man just getting ready to push off. ''It's the rain...tnaker,'' murmured Bob The sound of their swift feet skithcring over the sand struck Major's hearing. He ma<'le a dive for the boat, grasped up a pistol lying in it, and turned.
NICK CARTER WEEKLY. "Rush right on him," ordered Bob. "Better way!" Crack! Through the air a formidable projec tile, aimed true as a trivet, the hammer went flying from Buff's hand. "Champion quoit thrower of the 'Steentb, you know!" he commented. The rain-maker, about to fire, threw up both hands and sunk a lifeless lump to the sand. 'I'wo hours later a cab deposited a queer load at the door of Nick Carter's head quarters. Securely tied, a groaning, half-sensible burden of humanity, Major, the rainmaker, was lifted up the steps. A little dazed, but gradually recoveritJg from the effects of the drug administered to him, Rolfe Spencer followed. Nick Carter had retired, but a word brought him down-stairs like a fireman signalled into service by the alarm gong. Jack Burton and Aleck White filled in the picture a second later, and Bob was ready for busi u ess. The veteran detective listened closely to Bob's exciting narrative. "You'll not do much rain-making for a few years to come, my man, re marked Nick, significantly to Major. The latter only groaned. Buff's blow with tl1e hammer was troubling lnm most just now. "I will be back in a moment," and Nick left the room and returned shortly leading in, glum. and sullen-faced, the Hindoo whom Buff and his newsboy contingent had captured in the chicken-coop. "He has j nst come out from the in flueuce of the drug he too 1.: to thwart us,'' explained Nick to Bob. "Now, my man, 1 is ten." Nick made B0b tell his story again. "You see, we have your schemes unde r pretty clear cynosure," spoke Nick. "We can send you and yonr friends to a good lung term of imprisonment, if we wish." "Let me ask yon a question," inte r jected Bob. "Yotir friends referrecl to this hoy Rolfe Spencer as the son of Mark Spencer of India." ''It is true-his son, and also the son of the princess--" "Look here!" interrupted Rolfe Speu cer with a start, "that's a mistake." The Hindoo looked up interested now. "You are not?" he asked. "Certainly not. It was my uncle who was named Mark. I am the son of Robert Spencer.'' "It is simple," announced Bob. "Djalma, you and your friends have been running down the wrong person.'' "Yes, my uncle and his Indian wife and their son are all dead, years ago. '' The Hindoo's face expressed couvic tion, but it fell with disappointme11t and chagrin. "Is it possible?" he murmured. "Yon shall be entirely convinced of it," announced Rolfe Spencer. "Then, Bob, uot ouly have yon penetrated the mystery suirouuding this strange case," spoke Nick Carter, "but you have dissipated the menace that hung over the Spencer household as well.'' Rolfe Spencer reached forward impulsively and grasped Bob's h a nd. He begau to thank him effusively-to place at his command the wealth, the influence of the Spencer family for his noble work in their behalf "I want nothing hut Mr. Carter's com mending word," said Bob. "You have that-never more emphatically!' declared the veteran detective. "And something for Buff," continued Bob. "Don't bring me in-I didnothiug!" stammered Buff, so modest and embarrassed that he looked positively scared. "Did nothing?" repeated Bob Ferret, with animation. "Mr. Carter, this boy is a jewel! He's got the pluck of a hero, the patience of a true soldier, the grit of an Indian fighter, and I ask a favor for him.'' "What is that?" insinuated Nick. 11 Promotion." 11 Promotion?'' "Yes, from being an occasional mes senger for Nick Carter, to what l know his ardent heart craves most 011 earth-a pupil of Nick Carter's Detective School." THF. F.ND. The next number of the Nick Carter \Veekly will contain, 11Doue with a Click; or, The Mystery of the Painted Arm,'' by the author of Ni'ck Carter."
The Shield Weekly TRUE DETECTIVE STORIES Are stranger than fiction THE SHIELD WEEJhed many of the old style, where the de t ective passes throu g h a series of m a rvelo u s and hairbreadth escapes and finally secures his quJrry. THE SHIELD WEEKLY will, however, be atl IWW d eparture. Each and every number of the weekly will contain a hi s tory of a comp l e t e and intricate crime, the solution of which ts worked out by the skill and ability o f t h e detec t iv es. THESE ARE TRUE STORIES absolute chapters of experience taken from the note books of the greatest and most noted Chi efs of Police in the larges t cities of America 41 T heir fund of knowledge upon this subject has been drawn upon by sp ecia l arratzg e ment. We to demonstrate t o the reading public of Amerka through the SHIELD WEEKLY th;.t the true hist ories of real crimes conlaitt as much and mor e of rom ance than do the imaginative tales whic h have beeu const111ete d iu the past by the writers of d e tective stori e s We feel that the tim e is ripe t or the presentatio n of this abso lutely new class of The first numbers in this series will consis t of manuscripts from records in the archives of the Boston police, as repre sent e d hv INSPECTOR WI\TTS who is well known thro u g h out the New England States in fact, thr oughout America. as one of the shrewdest atld most clev e t Secret Service Offic ia l s in th1 world. The grea t inspectors of other l arge cities of the country will figure in due course. 41 --* 1-Sheridan Keene, Detective; or, The Chief at the Tomb; or, Sherid an Kee, ne Insp ecto r s Bt!st M an on a Curious Case 2-Silho uett e or Shadow ; or A Question of 1 J-ln Bad Hands ; or, Sheridan Keene 's Help Evidence to Some Country Visitors )-Ins pect o r Watts' Great Capture ; or, The 14The Myst e rious Signal ; or, Sheridan Keene Case of Alvord the Embezzler o n the Water Front. 4-Cornere d by Inches ; or, A Curious RobI)-Behind th e Asylu m B ars ; or, Turned in H igh Life Down as a Hop e l ess Case 5Tht! Man and the Hour; or, Sh eridan 16-A Paper G old Mine; or, S heridan Keene Keen e 's Clever Artific e After M oney Order Book 2409 6-Who Was the Modd? or, Missing a Beau17-Found Guilty ; or, Steve M anley Against tiful Heiress Court and Jury 7-Under Seal; or, The H and of the Guilty 18-Called Down; o r Steve Manley in a Des-8-A Lion Among Wolves; or, Sh e rid a n perate Strait K eene's Identity 19-A Skin G ame; or St eve Manl ey Among 9-A Double Play; or,TwoMysteriesin One Net the Tanners l'rozen Clue; or,TheCol dStorage Myst ery 2o--The H ead Hunt er ; or, St e ve Manl ey's 11-Under The Knife; or, The Cloak of Guilt Secret Mission THE SHIELD WEEKLY TRUE DETECTIVE STORIES WITH REAL PLOTS I It is Issued every week o n Wednesday. CENTS If. Try one. We kno w y o u It can be found on sale at all Newsdealers. -_, PER C OPY Jl will like lt. + STREET & SMITH, Publishers, 238 wtmam st. 8 NEW YORK i;