Nick Carter's newsboy friend; or, The great Sandoval mystery

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Nick Carter's newsboy friend; or, The great Sandoval mystery

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Title:
Nick Carter's newsboy friend; or, The great Sandoval mystery
Series Title:
Nick Carter weekly
Creator:
Carter, Nicholas
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 online resource (32 p.) 25 cm.: ;

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Subjects / Keywords:
Detective and mystery stories. ( lcsh )
Dime novels. ( lcsh )
Genre:
serial ( sobekcm )

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Source Institution:
University of South Florida
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
030779572 ( ALEPH )
17906638 ( OCLC )
C36-00016 ( USFLDC DOI )
c36.16 ( USFLDC Handle )

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serial

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TOM BEING HELD A CAPTIVE UNDER THE MASS OF LOGS COULD PLAINLY SEE THE DYNAMITE BElliNNING TO GO OF'

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NieK eARTER WEEKLY. 11t etu l accol'ding t o Ac t of O ongl'CSS i n the y e a t 1897. by Stt e et ipti on price $2. 5 0 p e l yeat Novembel' 27, 1897. STRI:J>'f & S)II'fll, Publishers. NEW YORK. 2 9 R ose S t N. Y 5 Cents ICK CARTER'S NEWSBOY FRIEND ; OR, THE GREAT SANDOVAL MYSTER Y B y the Author of "NICK CARTER." CHAPTER I. "BRIGHT AS A DOLLAR., 'The othe r foot, sir!" ick C arter put up "his other foot." he great detective had broken a stroll ough the City H a ll Park of New York seating himself in a bootblack's chair. is surroundings-the temples of law, e r and justice, the frequent flitting refrom of uniformed policemen and nformed detectives-were suggestive whole train of past experience with criminal classe s h e t.::sult was that Nick had fallen inreverie that had brought up a vi v id oram a of cases of counterfeiting, forgand fraud in which he had acted a cip a l p art in hunting down the p e r ator s and h e was scarcely con scious 1 here he was until the bri sk, chatte r bootbl ac k his f ee t tapped his polsho e s h Hply jick put up his other foot, and then ll y he fixed his "other eye" speculativ e studious, ever-observant e ye of his-on the active brush-r the first moment he noticed him hat more than casually, for the boy had m a de a remark that interested him. 'Ha v e I gone to shining for a living?'' the bootbl ack was demanding of two urchins who stood watching him-"bave I given up literature and taken to leather? N o, I haven't "It lool
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2 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. dollar is to us? Say, I was mad. I just got up and stormed. I got inquiring around till I had a perfect description of that big, thieving loafer. He's got his lead dollar back now and a piece of my inind. It took me forty-eight hours to run him down, but:-I got there!" Nick Carter's eye gave a pleasec twinkle. He could recognize a spark of gPnius even under the blackest grime. He be stowed a commending glance upon the plucky little amateur man-hunter at his feet. "How did you do it, Tom?" inquired 'his two chums in a breath. "See that?" inquired Tom, holding up one arm and showing half the coat sleeve gone. "And that?" tilting his cap so as to disclose a lump big as an egg. "And that?" exhibiting a whole row of skinned left-hand knuckles. "Mementoes." "Of following your man?" "Exactly. I got him, I lost him, I tackled hi in, he slipped me. One place he was leaving a store. My coat caught in a hinge and I left part of it there. Tumble(! into a newly-dug drain and nigh banged my senses out just as I was overhauling him. At last I cornered him. Had to hang sixty feet above nothing on an old broken shutter to swing into his room and say, 'Mister, you'll give me back a silver dollar for a lead one, or I'll give you into charge!' he did?" "Did he! My knuckles were just smarting enough where I'd knocked them along the bricks to fire me up to pitching into him and mak\ng him. I wasn't afraid.'' "Tom, you never was afraid of any-thing.'' "Not where I'm right." Tap-tap. Tom's task was completed, and he rapped the second polished boot to tell Nick so. The latter did not arise, however. The boy's story had jnterested him. Not that it was remarkable, but the determination, the courage, the stick-at-it principle re vealed had caught the.detective's fancy. On a sma11 scale, Tom Dawson was what Nick had been on a big one, and he recognized the persevering tactics of the boy with genuine admiration. "How much?" inquired Nick, feeling in his pocket. xpr Just then a passing newsboy with a noisy hail to Tom and a stare ali Tl around. he" ''It's usually five cents," vouchsafe<{lw Tom, "but that's a dime job if ever therEteds was one. You see, I'm out for all I ca1-enaiJ make to-day--'' He "Well, do we call it a dime then ?'lldge smiled Nick. :10vi1 "Yes-no-say! it's nothing to you-ffect' not a red cent. N e' "Eh lease Nick looked askance at Tom. A littlon o by-play had escaped even his shrewd noim c tice. apoJ The boy who had just come up hat "T whispered a quick word in To"''n's ear. You "Know who you're shining?" m t "No," said Tom. N icl ''Nick Carter." lea "What!" gulped Tom, under hi"N breath, and with a stare of awe. "Nothing to me?" spoke Nick. is that?" Tom took off his cap, looking excite can rather than em barrased. Then he sai" W with the dignity of some naval co1qere, mander welcoming a royal notabiHJishi 1 aboard ship. ay "I'll just tell you, Mr. Carter . In t)ys." first place, it's an honor to shineNick famous man like you and brings Ju in the next place, I've beard of you-OJched I don't mean in the paper and thngh 1 we thought of it ever since," cried sings pulsive Tom, two grateful tears starti'd rat to his eyes like radiant jewels. "Cha Unite you? Why, it's an honor to have yotentlv s in that _chair!'' ick w Nick Carter was used to controllingirer. Tom,"

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, feelin NICK CARTER 3 xpression of his face, but it glowed mo y halte entarily and he could not help it. stare al The great detective had stood in court, :he victor in some wonderful contents of ruchsafe w against crime, the cynosure of hun-ver ther reds of eyes, and had preserved his counf all 1 ca nance as if it were a mask. He had listened to the ardent praise of re then?' dge and jurist time and again, without oving a muscle to indicate that he was r to you_Jffected. Never, however, had he felt more !leased than by the mute, honest admira. A littl on of the four grimed faces regarding shrewd n m devoutly, as if he was some modern a pol eon. re up ha "That's all right," he said, lightly. 'sear. You tell little Blind Billy so, and give this for me." Jick extended a bank-note and started leave the chair. under h "No, you don't!" dissented Tom, we. ennously, putting his hands bel1ind pck. "Ho m-"don't you go to spoil our-our I easure with offering pay for anything king excit can do for you.'' hen he sai ''Well, I declare!" muttered Nick. naval co ere's diamonds in the rough worth al notabili lishing. Thank you, Tom. I shall find way to see little Billy again in a few arter. In t\ys. to sl1ine Nick started off, swallowing a trouble custotble Jump in his throat. He was deeply f d of you-o ched, and did not try to hide the fact [Per and th m himself. 've em plov ed one. of those deft backlittle Bil_ly.' d glances of his tQ take in unsuspected :ic.k, coterie of four, standing like statues, m, all aqtn'erentially gazing after him. Then with emember ab art he halted, and with a sharp ques-front of a
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NICK CAR'rER and homeless, and having secured board and lodging for his charge in safer and surer quarters, Tom had sewed up his ragged sleeve, had mended his tattered cap, had brushed and sponged, had scrubbed face and hands, and polished his gaping shoes till all three shone. Nick's approving glance told that he noticed this characteristic of neatness in his new protege. In two minutes he had Tom completely at his ease. "Don't look scared, Tom," he advised indulgently. "This is business, square and simple-so much work for so much money.'' This practical statement, however, did not one whit take the glamour of anticipated detective experience out of Tom's ardent mind. "And don't look worried," continued Nick. "I've picked you out for work you are just qualified to do, and which you will do well just for that reason.''"Thank you," murmured the gratified -Tom. "You are young, but you have in a way seen more of life than the majority of men double your age," pursued Nick. "I would trust to your guess on a man's face, I would rely on your covering ground quick and thorough in case of a surgency, I would bank on your native shrewdness, caution and energy every time, as against that of some of the so called professional students of humanity who skim the surface and never guess what lies beneath." "Lots does. "Correct, and your knowledge of the shady ways of shady men is going to prove an invaluable guide to you. Tom; I am going to put you on a case." If Nick had told Tom he was going to put him on the directory board of a bank, Tom could no have looked prouder. "It will take a month oi your time, and I shall give you in advance half your month's salary. With that, get yonr little blind charge safely bestowed somewhere." "I've done that already," prompted Tom, quickly. "On what I told you? You have considerable faith in me." "Who hasn't?" challenged Nick's yonng champion. "Get everything off your mind, so you can work unhampered. I shall give Y' a plain, simple duty. "Yes, sir," fluttered Tom. "One orcier, which is the Alpha a the Omega, the beginning and the en the start and the finish, the essence shadowing and the incentive to nabbi the game in sight.'' "What's that, sir?" 'Watch that man!' Nick was enunciating a broad princi of detective scie!1ce only, but he sp with such impressiveness that Tom around in a startled wa y "I don't see any man--" he beg "Oh, he isn't here; I am simply si 1 ing a few necessary facts into your mi The man in reality I shall show later.'' "And I am to watch him?" "You are to follow him." "Wherever he goes?" "From morning till night you at1 be his shadow, his second self. "r 11 try to. "More than that, you must watch tl with whom he comes in contactwho seem to suspiciously follow him. fact, at stated intervals I want you b prepared to report to me, hour by t and step by what this man da< the smallest detail." Tom looked eager, interested, pressed. "Do you think you can do that?" a; Nick. "I will do it declared Tom, tively. "Very well. Now, listen closely.' Nick paused for a moment, as if he mentally arranging a series of facts he wished to make very plain t< young pupil. These facts he proceeded to ar; with a simplicity and clearness t child could take in. "The man you are to watch," l gan, "is not a criminal." "Oh !" murmured Tom, and he a trifle disappointed. "He is, rather, a victim. It is a liar case. What lies under it I ( know, he does not know. What particular interest to the affair, this man is a king.'' "A what!" cried Tom, incredul

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 5 ''A king.'' "A real, genuine--" "Monarch, ruler, whatever you care to call him," asserted Nick. "There is a little island off the coast of South America called Norona. This man, Sandoval, is tts king Tom looked as if he thought he was getting into great company. He made no further comment, however, but li s tened intently. ''About a year ago Sandoval went to Rio Janeiro. There he fell in love with an actress named Maude Rankin. They were married. In six months time they learned that they had made a mistake. They were totally uncongenial. They s eparated. Tlie wife returued to her parents' home in Rochester, New York, s ick of her bargain. This was two months ago.'' "Did her husband-did the king g o with her?'' "He did. He was a g entleman, weak iu some things, but still a man with a fine sense of honor. He took her to her parents. They had a pleasant understanding e 1 a I at i He placed ten thousand dollars in bank for her, and bade her good-by forever, leaving her to get a divorce when she liked.'' "It's like a play," murmured the rapt Tom. "Even her brother, Delos Rankin, seemed to consider that Sandoval had acted nobly. He showed him around Rochester, and for a week Sandoval says he was in a revel of excitement-cards and wine from morning till night. He says that week is a perfect blank to him. The last thing he rem em hers is his brother-in-law, Rankin, putting him on the train and sending him to New York." "He wasn't robbed or anything?' queried Tom. "Not at all. Except for the effects of his wild revel, he had apparently been treated fairly and friendly by all hands concerned. "Sandoval took up his quarter<> at a retired hotel here. In a day or two he got bad news from his kingdom. "An insurrection had taken place, and he was advised not to start homeward until certain specific reports were for warded to him. ''Everything could be arranged all right, he was told, if he would be patient. Now comes the queer part of the story." "It's pretty queer even so far," declared Tom. "Well," put'sued Nick, "Sandoval has a distant relative in New York, a dealer in fine fruits. He came to me with the case to-day. He told me all I ltave told you. He also told me something additional. A week ago Sandoval came home to his hotel as usual, a trifle under the influ et1ce of liqur, r, and with two wounds from bullets in his chest." "Well!" "They were not dangerous. Ques tioned, he stupidly declared that he had been under the influe nce of liquor the night previous, and could not remember how he was wounded-thought somebody fired at him on the street. "Last night he came home in a similar condition. He was stabbed twice in the neck, and one of the cuts missed a vital cord by just an inch." "How singular]'' "His relative hints at attempted suicide.'' "It don't look it." "Sandoval again asserts some one must have attacked him, but he cannot remember." Tom looked thoughtful. There was just enough of an air of mystery in the case to interest him. "Now, then," proceeded ick, "I am going to point this man out to you." "The king?" "Yes. I will be ready to go with you in five minutes.'' Nick left the room. He had not been gone two minutes before a couple of boys entered. Tom had heard of Nick Carter's detec tive school that afternoon-of how the veteran thief-taker was selecting matenal out of which to make future trail-s.hadow ers and mvstery-expounilers, and guessed that the twain must be members of his household. "Hello!" hailed one, with an amused stare at Tom. "You're the fellow Mr. Carter told us about. Going on a case?" "I hope so." "Good disguise. Say, it's great!" Tom flushed up a trifle.

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6 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. "What's great? who's disguised?" he demanded. "All right for a watchman, though," railed the other, unheedingly a spice of malicious mischief in his make-up. Tom did not like the word. Watchman! Humph! That was too much of a let-down from his high aspirations for him to endure silently. "Say!" he spoke, flaring up a little, "call it watchman if it pleases you, but I'll bet before I get through with it Nick Carter, who can do anything he likes with people, they say, can make a detective of me. Seeif he don't,andseeif !don't help him do it!" At that moment Nick re-entered the room. He beckoned to Tom, and they were soon on the street. During a rapid walk of nearly a mile, he talked confidentially to his new protege, and Tom drank in the points with the avidity of a student anxious and willing to learn. Opposite a large store stocked with une imported fruits the detective halted. "I am going into that place,'' he spoke, "and shall not see nor speak to you again till yon come to report to me." "All right, sir." "This is the store of King Sandoval's -relative I told you about." Tom nodded understandingly. "Sandoval himself is there. Yes, I see him. I will engage him in conversation; I will mana?e to bring him to the door." Tom talhed off his instructions with eag er, intelligent snaps of his bright eyes. "When I do," pursued Nick, "note him closely." "I shall do so, sir." "1 expect you to fjnd out what is the mystery of the shots and stabs 1 told you about. From the minute I leave the store your work begins, I deliver King San doval into your chrage. That work is comprehended in one broad sentence." "Yes, sir." "Watch that man!" CHAPTER III. TOM'S FIRST "SHADOW." Bang! Within the hearing of startled hundreds, in the very heart of the thriving, bustling metropolis, the sound, ominous and peculiar, rang out. To the momentarily halted onlookers the crashing echo signified an every-day accident, to the person nearest to its source, "a narrow graze," but to a boy on the opposite side of the street, Tom Dawson, it annonnced clearly, unmistak ably "the first shot" in his first detective case. This is what had happened: Sandoval, king of Norona, and victim of some mysterious menace, leaving the store where Nick Carter had placed Tom on guard, had proceeded toward his hotel. The route he took must have been a customary one, for, passing a high partly occupied builning, there suddenly hurtled from its fourth story a missile, a projectile, a descending mass surely intended to crush out his life at one dread blow. To passers -by glancing n p after the thing was over, it looked as if a large iron box filled with dirt and planted with vines had broken away from the rusted wires holding 1t in place on some window sill. r The minute, however, that Tom's quick eyes caught sight of the descending object, he caught as well a flashing view of the hand that had started it on its tragic JOUrney. The box came whirling down with frightful velocity. It so closely grazed the petrified Sandoval that his hat was blown from his head. It crashed to fragments so nea-r to him that one piece of the thin, brittle metal shied obliqt'lely, grazed his hand and tore a deep gash clear across his fingers. A woman screamed, another fainted, a policeman ran up. In twenty seconds Sandoval was the. centre of a gaping, questioning throng. What had happened? Was he burt? How did the box come to fall? "I don't know," voiced Sandoval, pale and shaking. "Officer, I am quite-qnite unnerved. Will yon kindly call a cab?" "I will. Your address first, sir. Card? Thank yon. Necessary in case-those careless people up above get too independent, and won't agree to be more careful. May have to prosecute them. Hey, cabby!" Whoa! Flip! Slam !-quicker than he 1

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 7 had counted, Tom saw Sandoval en-gether to crush the life out of another felconced in a cab, and whirled :.}Way before low creature. he could make a trlove. "Why?" he interrogated himself, and He could not "hitch behind" with a then he added, quickly: "It's no time to gaping crowd surrounding. He braced dawdle asking idle questions. My duty is himself for a keen run. Then Tom paused. to see that Sandoval comes to no harm-He rapidly went over Nick Carter's ex-the present point what is best for me to plicit instructions-to not only watch this do just now?" man, Sandoval, but as well to keep track Tom rubbed his head thoughtfully. of those who followed or menaced him. He fancied he must be a pretty poor The policeman was expatiating on the apology for a detective, for he wavered perils of housewives using window sills irresolutely between a notion of scouring for storerooms, was taking down the the building whence the box had fallen, number of the building preparatory to a informing the officer of what l1e had seen report and later tardy investigation. and having the place surrounded, and ''We'll make a warning case of this trying to catch up with the cab which here accident," he stated, oracularly. was just gliding around a corner three "It was no accident!" murmured Tom, squares away. impressively. "Shot at two nights ago, "It's too much for me," !-Je declared, stabbed the next night-1t's attempted starting forward. "'I'd have to be in three assassination, and this time is Sandoval's or four places at once to do what comes naqowest shave. That box was pushed-to me to do. I can't follow the woman I saw it done. A woman pushed it. I saw and the man, too. She's vanished, he's her. The intention was to crush the life at the hotel where he lives, so I guess the out of the man I'm watching." nearest I can come to Mr. Carter's idea f' There was Tom's conclusion in a nut-would be to go there and look out for the shell, and Tom had facts to substantiate next attempt to kill him." the theory. Tom gave a longing look back at the For in that swift upward glance o"f his building. Somehow the fascinating end he had seen an open window, and at it a of the affair seemed to lure him in that woman. direction solely. The pose of her body showed that she Then, setting feet and .eyes directly had just exerted some unusual force, the contrary, he made a sharp sprint, lessened gleam of her dark eyes, eager, malicious, it to a dragging gait, pricked up his proved that she was timing the fall of the ears. box with breathless hope. "Keep always on the lookout for sus-And then as it landed, missing her in-picious and mysterious happenings around tendeci prey, her white teeth clinched, she a place where action centres," Nick Car l drew back, Tom saw her dart across the ter bad laid down to Tom as one of his empty room she was in, and knew that most valuable rules that afternoon. "You \ with ready avenues for a prompt disap-don't know when a whisper, a touch, a a prepared beforehand, it would look may be the key-note to the biggest s be difficult to follow her. kind of a clew." r ' ? le te , se n-11. :y, he ( "Trap planted, trick fails, and no dan-And of just this injunction Tom was ger but what the woman's safe to get suddenly reminded, as something de away," muttered Tom. "How's this for cidedly uncommon attracted his attention. a starter, anyway? l tell you, it's seri-At the corner of the street a large sign ous !" projected from a doorway. Serious enough to convince Tom that Half concealed behind it stood a man, detective business was not all rush, dash tall, active, well-dressed. and empty clatter--Tom realized that If he bad not peered sharply more forcibly now than ever. down the street and directly at the buildBoy as he was, unskilled in "the pro-ing whenc e the box had dropped, up and fession," a certain solemn awe overcame down its front, at the throng gathered him as he considered that heartless hu-near it, Tom would not have particularly man beings were undoubtedly leagued to-noticed him.

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8 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. But this he did, and more than this. After going about three squares, the As if some definite point was settled in man began: to get nearer the inner edge his mind by the inspection he had made, of the sidewalk. he now did a strange, and unusual_ thing. Suddenly he whirled, shot a piercing He carried a cane in his hand. This he glance back of him, describing a sudden suddenly revetsed. movement w1th his cane in front of him, Its lower ferrule was a hollow steel cap. and-vanished. Taking from his pocket a thin round Tom was some distance from him as he pie..:e of chalk, he exactly fitted it into executed these maneuvres; several pedesthe tube so that an inch or two projected. tri-ans, too, blocked a perfect vif'w. Reversing his cane, with another keen ''Where 's he got to so suddenly?'' pro-look down the street, he started briskly jected Tom. away. Then he saw a great chalk mark crossed "What's he up to, anyway?" reflected a high door-gate guarding a private en-Tom, puzzled. trance to a place with the sign, "Cafe," "What's he doing that for?" followed on its front. a prompt second curious query. "That's where he went-through that Keeping to the extreme edge of the doorway," declared Tom. "Then he's sidewalk, the man carried his cane like waiting for somebody, I'll bet. And then any other promenader-swung it, brought again, mayLe not. Through to another it occasionally down on the smooth pavestreet, for all I know. I'll find out. Here, meut. Chuck! give me them all." Only, every time he did this, his hand After a quick glance along the street, described a swift, deft twirl. Tom darted ahead to where a little And every time he its chalk-loaded urchin was calling out an evening newspoint, the wondering Torn saw that he paper. had made a definite, uniform mark. Too much of an expert was Tom not "Say!" blurted Tom, and that was the to estimate at a glance the number the best way he could express his emotions. little fellow carried under his arm. Here was something directly in line with "Hello, Tom--" began the newsboy. what Nick arter had described as "sus-"Mum it is! There's a quarter. Follow picious and mysterious." your nose and don't look at me. Ex-try! Had it any connection with the San-Here's your ex-try-full account ofdoval case? If the man's look down the rumity-tumity-disaster--clicketty-clack-street told anything-possibly. etty people killed!" On such slight encouragement had Tom grabbeo the papers from the star-Tom any business to turn from the tled newsboy's one hand, planked the straight clear task of watching Sandoval? coin in his other, and darted squarely for Perhaps-the latter was safe, for the pres-the door with the chalk mark on it. ent, at least, at his hotel. He was the hustling irrepressible "I'll see what comes of it," decided gamin complete-not afraid to penetrate Tom. "That man is not making those anywhere with his sense-exciting scare-a] marks for fun. There's too many of them voice and breathless manner. r a for that." Back went the door with a slam, and Tom started after him. He could have down four steps went Tom, seemingly t h followed the man without even looking at only a daring paper-seller, but his eyes him, for every twenty feet at least was a bored into every crack and corner like clear chalk mark. gimlets. tl It comprised half circle, cut with a There were not many. A straight ta broad slash. At the first crossing street boarded-up space ran to an open side door this slash was elongated, and the direcof the cafe. do tion it ran in Tom found was the direc-The man with the chalk cane was no-op tion the man pursued. where in sight. "Clear as crystals!" mused the inter"Is he in the cafe? I'm going to know. th ested trailer. "He's blazing a course for Extry! full account-paper, sir?" sc1 some one to follow. Who, I wonder?" Through the open side door of the m

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e I I e he NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 9 place, into a dark rear room, Tom dove boldly. His glance took in every object in sight -a huge ice-box, chairs, tables, and seated at a shuttered window, looking as if he was impatiently awaiting some one, was the man he was after, just as he had guessed. "Get out of here!" roared the aproned keeper of the place as Tom made a hurri cane dash clear to the street. In a flash, once there, he whipped the papers into the gutter.'rhrough that gate-door just swung to after him, Tom dove. A daring plan had come into his head. Under the spur of the excitement of the moment he put it into instant execution. The man in the cafe was waiting to meet somebody, and it could be no ordin ary appointment that he put that some body on his trail like Indians do their fel lows in the wild West, theorized the ex cited Tom. That "somebody" would sooner or later appear, would join the man in the rear room of the cafe. Of course they would talk, and to over hear' them, Tom was satisfied, would surely be to something sinister and interesting. Way down in Tom's mind, too, there was a hope, a bare hope, that this some thing might have some connection with the box that had dropped so near to San doval. For the man with the cane had in spected the building whence it had hurtled with no casual interest. "If I can only make it!" breathed Tom, and he crept cautiously, but swiftly along the passageway down which he just ran. He got to the side door. He knews just the point he was making for-a safe hid ing-place. Swift as had been Tom's dash through the place, those shrewd eyes of his had taken in every detail of the room. He had noti::-ed the big ice-box. The door of one of its compjlrtment was open. He had, furthermore, discerned inside the ice-box a small ventilating aperture, screened with fine wire, which came with in two feet of the table at which the man with the chalk cane sat. His back was to Tom now. "Can I make it?" fluttered Tom. "Got to!'' he concluded, with a start, and glided f.orward. At that moment the street gate slammed. The man at the table bent his ear eagerly. Light, rapid footsteps echoed down the passageway walk. There was but one thing for Tom to do, and he did it. He made a shadow-like dive. Through the ice-box rear door he went. A clammy chill cooled down his ardor a trifle as he found himself in a zinc-lined apartment. He half drew the door shut after him. Then he wormed his way to the little aperture covered with wire netting. He could see through it against the light, he was directly at the elbow of the man he had so cleverly shadowed hither. Tom gave a low chuckle of satisfaction. He was immensely pleased with the suc cess of his first detective exploit. Then he bent his ear to listen-to lis ten to a conversation that was destined to fairly make his hair rise. CHAPTER IV. "ATCHION !" "Burr-rr !" The minute Tom got quieted down he made a discovery of discomfort that caused him to hope the interview about to take place would be a short one. It was cold in the icebox. The com partment he was in held nothing but sev eral rows of bottles on a metal shelf over head, but little gratings let in frigid blasts from the real ice cham hers. Violent exercise had warmed him up considerably, and he felt the sudden change of some forty degrees of temperahue most vividly. "Door open, netting hole right at my nose-guess I won't quite freeze,'' decided Tom. "Oh, my! oh, my! oh, my!" All this Tom said to himself, but so fervently that every nerve in his body wriggled. To use a common saying, he was "nearly tickled to death," as what boy in his place woukl not be! For just then there was an arrival. The

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10 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. man at the table got up to welcome the same. Then he sat down again, and there sat down with him the visitor who had lo cated him through the chalk marks. "It's her!" Tom gasped, in one tre mendous triumphant gulp. "Run down the first crack out of the box!" What would Nick Carter say to thisthe person who had attempted the life of Sandoval located by his new assistant within one hour after he had started him on the case? Tom peered through the little wire netting with starting eyes. He recognized the woman in a flash. Her face from whch she threw a thick veil, dark and tragic, he had only seen at a distance, but the eyes, the dress, the ringed hand-he could swear positively that this was the woman who had pushed the box from the window sill which had so narrowly escaped making an end of Sandoval. "Now then!" muttered Tom, bestowing himself as comfortably as he could, and preparing to listen to whatever might be spoken between the two at the table not three feet away. But neither spoke. Their glances met. The woman looked sullen, the man an gry. Then the latter arose, went to the front of the cafe, and shortly returned. "Certainly no one shall interrupt you," spoke the approved owner of the establishment, bustling after him. "I'll fix that." He unloosed the curtains screening the ... connec6ng archway. Then he closed and f locked the rear door, and then, inciden-tally passing the ice-box, he did some '"., thing else that took Tom's breath away. t Noticing this open door, the man gave i this a careless kick. Bang! it went shut -click! went a snap, and Tom experif enced a dawning sensation of dismay. J "Caged? I guess," he ruminated. "Well, we'll attend to getting out when the time comes." The keeper of the place retired to the front again. Left alone, the two at the table got dowu to business. "Well?" propounded the man. "Missed "Bungled, you mean." "Take care!" flared np the woman, her dangerous eyes snapping. "Wasn't it?" "Try it yourself, next time." "Me? oh,dear,nol I can hire too many," <'lerided the man, with a shrug of his shoulders. "See here," spoke the woman, rapidly and forcibly, "I have tried to help you, I have blindly followed your directions, but 1 do so no longer if I am to be sneered at.'' "You have had three chances." "Yes, shot twice. Try it on the public streets, you, and see how quick a crowd gathers! I barely escaped." ''And tr1e knife thrusts?'' "Stupid as he was, Sandoval shouted. I had to fly. As to the box-was it not a clever scheme? I knew he passed that way nightly. Well, I failed again. What have you to say next?'' The man bent his brows in an ugly, knitted frown. Then he looked up, and Tom fancied he had never seen a more ferocious face. "I say," he announced-"it must be done!" "That means try again?" "Not try, but do it!" ''Oh, there shall be no failure this time!" laughed the woman. uconfident, eh ?" "]am. So far, you have restricted me. This Sandoval was to die an accidental death." "It was necessary to my scheme." "How would a mysterious death do?" "You mean poison? No, that would not do. I want no post-mortems, no inves tigation. '' "There will be none. Rankin, I can put this man out of the way to-night, as he sleeps in his room, so quickly, so surely, that all the doctors and detectives in Christendom would never guess what killed him.'' f "What's that!" muttered Tom, with a vivid start. "Rankin? Why--" He became lost in conjecture. Rankin !o That was the family name of the Sandoval had married. Heretofore, Tom's theory about the at tempts on Sandoval's life had bec:n con fined to the suspicion that some enemp from his kingdom, some emissary of thm new insurrectionary party now in poweti there, was bent on putting him out of th

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. U way so as to make their strong. position doubly "Why, then your task was ended, and a lt e e lS n e tal es-But now he kuew better. The minute he heard the man with the chalk cane called Delos Rankin, that minute he guessed out a new set of motives for the attempts on Sandoval's life. "He's the brother of Sandoval's wife," theorized Tom, and he soon learned that he was correct in the surmise. The n1an the woman had called Rankin regarded him intently. "You are promising a good deal," he remarked. "I can execute as well." "Will you?" "Yes." "Good!" ''Provided--'' Rankin's face drew down. "Provided that you answer me a question. '' "That's easy." "You may not find it so when I come to tell vou what it is. Let us understand each other. I "For years you have known me-clairvoyant, mystic, fortune-teller, with all the grewsome accompaniments of owls snakes and charms. \Vhenever you want. ed help in your gambling schemes, I was on hand.'' "And I paid you well." "I have no complaint on that-score." "Then--" "But this is a different affair," per sisted the woman. 'How?'' "Plainly-murder!" e los The man trembled slightly. His glance the shifted. Then he set his bard lips harder. "Go ahead," he said, simply. "There's a risk. Do I mind that? No. so tors ould You promised me ten thousand dollars for putting this man, Sandoval, out of the th a way." "And will pay it promptly on delivery of the goods. '' "I don't doubt that, but-in a case like this, I won't work in the dark.'' eat"What's that!" con-I "No, I've been thinking it over. Sup emy pose the bullets struck right, the knife the. went two inches farther, the box was oower j timed a tenth of a second closer?" o f the\ you were a rich woman.'' "And if I was caught?" Rankin simply shrugged his shoulders, as if that was her affair solely. "Exactly!" spoke the woman, rightly interpreting the movement-"! could save myself as best I might. Could I implicate you? Why! with your precautions, you could laugh at me.'' "But you are too shrewd a woman to be caught.'' "I can be "Oh !" ''The next time. '' "Good!" ''But there will be no next time. I shall drop the case, here and now at once, unless I know the ins and outs of thi-s entire matter. In an affair of such moment, I have a right to your confidence. Give it to me, or I drop the case. I have spoken.'' The man glared at her. The listening Tom was wriggling like a weasel drinking in every word. "Go ahead," growled Rankin, biting his lips wr.athfully. "What do you want to know?'' "Why do you wish this man, this king, Sandoval, dead?'' "Short and sweet, it's one hundred thousand dollars in my pocket.'' "How?" The woman was persistent, and the watching Tom admired her for it. "Well, it is, that's all." "Is your sister, his wife, inciting you to it?" "Bless you, no!" cried Ranin, forci bly. "Her? Why, he treated her like a prince. Gave her ten thousand dollars. They parted the best of friends.'' ''Are you after more money he has?'' "He has none. Comparatively speaking, he is now a poor man.'' "Then you expect his widow to become heiress to his kingdom?'' "Wrong again-he has no kingdom. It is in a state of revolt. Even if he gets back to the throne, the country is so in debt he couldn't raise a dollar. No, no. I depend on no such broken reed as that. My hundred thousand comes from the soundest, surest sources in New

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12 NICK CAR'fER WEEKLY. York, on the tap, cash down, the minute King Sandoval passes in his checks!" "Tell me how. Come, you have ex cited my curiosity!" ''Isn't a sure ten thousand good enough for you?'' "Prove to me it's sure." "I'll do it! You're a clever woman, a true helper, a good friend,'' cried Rankin, in a burst of confidence. "Jf I do, Viola, Sandoval dies to-night?" "Yes." "Sure?" "As fate." ''Secretly--'' .'Silently. His death can never be traced to you, to me.'' "Very well, I will tell you." Tom could hardly keep still. He was on such pins and needles of suspense, that he crowded up close to the minute wire netting panel. There was about to be pronounced the mystery of an apparent paradox. How, by compassing the der;,h of a comparatively poor man, Raukm e x pected to become an extremely rich one. It was a secret worth k.wwing-it would give to Nick Carter the' key to the whole dense mystery surroundilJg King Sandoval. Rankin bestowed an impressive look on his companion and began. "I am going to tell you, Viola. How I come to get one hundred thousand dollars the minute King Sandoval dies, is--" He did not conclude. It was Tom himself who interrupted, spoiled;silenced that vital revelation. And he oid it witha sudden, helpless, resounding: "Atchion !" CHAPTER V. CAGED. "Atchion !" The sound rang out startlingly, and the more so because Tom's face was right up to the peep-hole that had stood him in such good service dur.ing the past halfhour. Atchion !-not once, not twice, but three, four, five, six, eight, ten, twelvea round dozen times! Tom had loaded up with cold air, and the result was unavoidable. No human being could have r e pressed those violent sneezes. He tried to smother them, h e s tuffed his handkerchief against his face, he strangled himself with both hands, but it was too late. The alarm was given. Both Rankin and his companion started to their feet. The former looked puzzled, the latter angry, at an interruption at a vital climax. "What in the world is that?" cried r' Rankin. "Oh! a cat, I suppose, or some other t animal," petulantly responded Viola. I "No, it was a person s neez1ng. Brown!" "Yes, sir," called out the proprietor of the place, appearing past the curtained archway. "What you got in that ice-box?" "Oho! Thirsty, eh ?" "No, no. I am not joking. We heard some one there.'' "Some one where?" "Inside of it." 10 ''A person, you mean?'' t "I do." 1e "Nonsense! Why, look for yourself," and the man opened the main glass door ot of the refrigerator. Tom had stopped L sneezing. Now he began again. f "Not in that part behind here," corj rected Rankin. "Hear that! and that!" 0 "Goodness'" oogaled the man. "That's ., ., w so." H Tom struggled to his hands and knees With one shoulder he butted the closed e metal-sheeted door. , Held with catch and bar on the outside, I'l it defied his efforts. W "Got to get outsomeway! I'm spotted,ye sure," he breathed, excitedly. "It can' in be built so awful strong," and he straigh n. tened up. o His head struck something as he di o so, and he instantly guessed what it wa50111 -the bottle-loaded shelf, chin-high. 1 t o There was a frightful clatter. Hq: guessed that the man and woman, judg.vir ing from outside sounds, were hurryin& n< away in alarm. The owner of the plac!Bx: with startled ejaculations, was tugging tp]] ope n the refrigerator door. 1in It gave. For the way to freedom opene 0 Tom made a bolt.

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 13 'olent uffed he ut it an kin feet. latter vital cried other la. ezing. he aperture, however, was too small dmlt of very much progress. Describ a kind of a dive, 'l'om landed against bewildered outsider, drove him back, bled in a heap to the floor, and before could gain his feet and run was bbed by a powerful arm. 'Let me go!" cried Tom, vigorously. 'Yes, I will. What you doing in there, way?'' 'I was-resting.'' 'Blue blizzards! Look at that!" he man caught a flashing glimpse of ttered bottles and trickling contents. e gave Tom a shake. Then he looked in. Then he dragged him toward the :>r, and Tom was a mere feather in the ietor of rtained f.p of a giant. vidently, in his first wrathful outst, the man was minded to deliver p1 up to the nearest policeman. Just ring the archway, however, a voice :ted him: e heard Brown!'' rhe man turned, and the helpless Tom ced backward, too. urself," ass door stopped e," cor d that\" "That's l nd knees the closed t the side door, quite pale and dised looking, was Rankin. Who is he?'' was projected sus ously. Looks like a wharf rat, acts like a f. Planted there in the ice-box to rob I suppose, after I'd shut up." Oh! do you-you don't suppose he watching, listening?" Him? Not much! Says he was 'rest' Fine place to sleep! Must have e before you did. Think of that dam-, e outside, I'll pay that." Why--" ru spotted, Yes, I will," insisted Rankin. "Say, "lt in a hurry just now, but I'll be here stra1gh 11. Don't give that boy in charge." No?" as he did Not yet, at least. Can't you lock him hat it wa mewhere-keep him safe till I have high. to see-to see--'' [ atter. H understand," nodded the man, man, ju?g ingly. "You want to find out if he's e burrym nosing around in your business?'' f the place xactlv." f tugging t '11 keep him safe and sound till ing." dom opene o so. I'll make it all ngbt with "Come on, you young sneak thief!" Tom had given up active resistance. He saw that it was useless, and only made his captor's iron fingers twine more cruelly, but he watched out for a cl1ance to trip up, slide or slip. 'rhe opportunity for any such maneuvre, however, was not allowed him. To a door the man dragged hiin, opened it, pushed him before him down some steps, and Tom found himself in a close cellar about twenty feet square. It had shelves for furniture only, and these were loaded with row after row of cobwebbed bottles. "You cool off there, you destructive rascal! You 'rest' where I'll find vou when I want you,'' observed the man: He locked the door as he retired. Tom was up those steps in a flash. For a few minutes he pried with his fingers, peeped through the cracks. "Double lock, bolt and chain,, he finally guessed. "Well, if there's no win dow below, I reckon I'm booked for a free all-uight berth.'' Tom groped around the dark cellar. Except for two four-inch ventilating grat iugs, there was not a break in the solid stone wall. He sat down to reflect. The most tormenting question was what Nick Carter would say to his taking an independent course in following Rankin, and thereby getting into his present trouble. There was a prospect of Tom remaining a prisoner until morning, and by that time the plot against King Sandoval would have succeeded. "It's terrible to thirk of!" murmured Tom. "All the same, if I hadn't got clutched by that bruiser overhead, and had got to Mr. Carter and warned San doval, what a howling success I'd have been, orders or no orders! I reckon it's success only that counts, no matter how accidental it comes. Oh, drat it! Cooped up like a rat, and no help for it! I'll dis cover away!" Tom was aroused, for he was conscious that all his clever work of the past hour would count for nothing in the face of final disaster. He comprehended, further, that every l10ur he was inert meant sixty minutes I

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14 NICK CARTER WEEKL'!. surer approach to death for the menaced Sandoval. And then, as he realized that he was the only persou in the world, probably, who could help the beleaguered king, he felt that he must do something, if it was only to keep from thinking. "I was foolish not to fight, kick, yell, draw a crowd up stairs there,'' he de clared. "I could show up all right to people or police. The man, Brown, couldn't, for he's in with Rankin, in a way, sure. Wish I was up stairs again! Why, say! I'll get there!" Tom's eyes snapped confidently, and he chuckled. He moved over to a row of bottles, ancl, groping, began to pile dozen or more across one arm. "It comes high, but we can't stop at costliness!" he gloated. "My place is in a police station if I've done wrong, not cooped up in a private cellar. It's an infringement of tyranny, so here goes! I'll bring that Junky giant do$n among hjs dusty treasures, or know the reason why.'' Tom drew back, poised a bottle in his free hand, took blind aim, and let it drive. Whack-bang! It struck the door at the head of the stairs. Back came a shower of glass. Trickle-drip-drop echoed the mellow gurgle of wine. Whack-bang! The cobwebbed recesses of the close cellar gave back a hundred startling echoes. Footsteps, heavy, hurried, sounded overhead, a frantic groan, approaching a roar, told Tom that he had succeeded in arousing the lion at last. The door opened at the top of the stairs. Tom had light now to direct his aim. He took sight at a tempting row of bottles on a shelf. They went down like tenpins, tipped over twenty others with anot deft throw. "See here, mister," he called up, the man reached back of him and grabbr up a heavy club, t'don't you come at lo 'with that. I'll give you the next you do!" "Then stop!" "I'll stop when I get out of before.'' "Get out of here? Yes, yes, Come here!'' The man descended three steps. he made a spring. a It was Tom's intention to attemptn dodge past him, but the man was 1 quick for him. ,0 He fairly swooped on Tom, him to the ground and falling on top him. r Then he struck at him wildly, jabbi.t his head back on the hard stone beating his heavy fists into Tom's eye slamming him, banging him, in a trap port of the wildest fury. A Tom was wholly stunned for a mirr by the fierce onslaught, for he afterwill had no recollection of being carriel:l1 h v t e statrs. ; His senses only partly returned asH opened his eyes and saw that he was the main floor again, but he had not l1 strength to call out as be had planned.jt A bruised, wavering plaything in hands of his powerful captor, Tom o;m shuddered as he observed that near ice-box the man had lifted a tn:rp-doo A dark hole yawned. Into it the tpe savagely flung Tom, with the words: rd "You couldn't leave well enough al
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s with anot NICK CAR 'lER WEEKLY. 16 'Jt was fully half an hour before Tom called up,'und himself in any shape to move about. 111 and grabbThe man had give n him a dreadful beat ou come at tg, and his tumble into this vile coal =next bottle,le had not brightene d him up any. _;\s musclPs, wits and emotions got back normal, however, Tom displayed the t of -here-nual vim of a genuine New York gamin -he got mad as a hatter. yes, you sha, "I'll be even with that fellow if it &kes a year!" he muttered, "and I'll nip :e steps. T s scheme of holding me for that villain nkin, to pump, if nerve and energy do it." man was Tom's hopes went down a degree or o, however, as he proceeded to closely Tom, tltng pect his new quarters. 1lling on to The place was lighter than the cellar, it had a window. This was about two wildly, jabb t square, but provided with bars placed rd stone fi ry three inches apart, and sunk into t_o T?m 's e l1eaviest kind of hard wood planking, nm, m a tra and bottom. At the end of half an hour Tom made for a mwthis mind pretty conclusively that he he afte_rw ld hope to accomplish very little in the e111g earned y of getting out of his prison place th onl y a broken-bladed pocket-knife. returned as He was strona but he could not budoe I h "'' "' t Jat e was bars. A white washed windowless he had not 11 faced him ten feet a way. There was had ittle yard space between. The man >laythmg 10 o ran the cafe probably used this, and tptor, Tom o decided that shouting would only :d that near nghis brutal jailer down upon him. d a All his conclusions were justified by the Into 1t the earance of the big burly ruffian in the the words: d a few minute s later. :11 enough al e draaaed a stool besil\le a log drew :e those quar 1e pine slabs from a pile Tom's range of vision, and began to p these up into kindling. "You like your new quarters better?" srieered, taunti.1gly, to Tom, who, sping the bars of the window, was peer :>lace in the 011t at him. "Hungry? You can dungeon ge on lemon peel. Thirsty? I'm going VI. EAK. ay for a spell, but I'll tell my young wck on wha n to drop a pail of water on you once 1l. Through awhj]e to keep you cooled down. had been in u 're a fiery one, you are, but I'll take his refuse, ;, beer dregs 1e place and n 1e more of it out of your hide in the rning, if some one don't pay me for 1r new damage." om responded not a word. He tched the man at his work from the window dolefully enough, acknowledging that he held the upper hand just now. "You keep quiet if you're wise," ad vised the man, making an armful of the kindling and moving away. "Good!" Tom bolted o ,ut the word, and his heart surged with sudden hope. With glowing eye he noted the spot where the man had just sat. The kindling cutter had left behind him the short-handled ax he had been using. Inasmuch as it was some fifteen feet away from Tom, and inasmuch as it was not only completely out of reach, but with blade sunk inch deep in the cutting log, a careless observer might have won dered at the stimulation its presence gave to Tom's heart every time he regarded iL He listened intently. Would the man return for it? Yes, he was coming. No, only closing some door. Then his foot steps sounded at the front of the place. 'To work!" cheered Tom, aglow with delight. I see a way out." He began selecting, doubling and tying together sever a l of the numerous pieces of string lying among the refuse until he had a stout cord over twenty feet long. Of the lead foil caps of bottles he made a ball weighing several ounces. Of the wire that had encased the neck of a pop bottle he constructed a rigid hook. Then Tom was ready for business. He made several throws through the bars. It took infinite skill and patience to lasso the ax; it requred some d,elicate manipulation to loosen it from the chopping log. At last l1e accomplished this. Then the real expert angling began. Inch by inch Tom looped and dragged the ax across the fifteen-foot yard space. How his fingers thrilled as he drew it right np to the window, reached through the bars and seized it! "Blade good steel, handle solid oak," jubilated Tom. "She comes. Ah, I knew I would make it'" Tom employed the ax simply as a pry. Once he got the blade edge under the low er plank in which the bars were imbedded, and it began to give, he knew he was as good as free.

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16 NICK CAUTER WEEKLY. At last he had it lifted. Under it the only the natural temper of an bars were barely tipped into mortar and nature. She had not seeu him at there lead. One vi-gorous jerk bent the entire he was sure of this. structure out of plum b. Her glance revealed that she took 10 It was just dusk when Tom crawled in carelessly as an ordinary street gaf'I out into the yard. He was drippiug from and Tom presumed on this suppositic head to foot with perspiration. He did a very bold thing. w He made his way by a devious course "Madam," he said, humbly, "w1i to the street-over a shed, up into one you let a poor fellow earn a nickel cau buildipg, down through another, and two ing your hand-bag f o r you?" squares away from the cafe he sat down ___ 1e on the curb to cool off. "Made it!" he piped, cheerily, "so what's the odds? It all counts as experience. Now then, to get back to the track and make no more mistakes. Mistakes? Who's made one? Why, I've got the whole scheme and the parties cinched clean. I'll go stratght to Mr. Carter, report, and see what he says." Tom started faithfully enough for head quarters, but it was not .fated that he should reach them. Haif a mile further on, leisurely and thoughtfully trudging along, he eyed a form in advance speculatively; then w ith a fancied tinge of recoguition and then with an eager interest that set all il't petuous nature agog on a new track of procedure at once. "It's her!" breathed Tom. So certainly was 1t the woman he had seen with Rankin three hours previous, that Tom was enabled to compare a dozen familiar points in her attire with memory pictures of what he had noted when in the ice-box. The woman was veiled, and was walking like a person not exactly in a hurry, but still like one on business rather than pleasure bent. She carried a hand-bag of large size. Tom noticed that it bulged as if well packed. "It's her!" he retold himself. "Where's she bound? For Sandoval? Why not? She said 'to-night.' Say, I don'f dare lose sight of her!" In his trepidation and excitement, Tom followed so closely at the woman's heels that as she had to momentarily pause to allow a baby carriage to pass, he stumbled fairly upon her. "What do you want?" she demanded, sharply. Tom saw no recognition in her eyes, CHAPTER VII. :ol ROOM 156. 'J Tom had offered to carry the wo hand-bag more to hide his embar ment than anything else. nd 'l'o his surprise she gave him a ser keen glance, and said: "Very well, if you need will let yon earn it. 11 "Thank you, ma'am," mumbled 'lin He puckered his lips to a specuh B silent whistle as the hand-bag in que:o was delivered into his keeping. )W Here was a bold stroke, indeedti resolute facing of the enemy, a dl invasion of tabooed territory. )t What would Nick Carter say to ad wondered Tom, and how was it like, h turn out? e d One thing Tom was positive abo" the woman, with all her heartlessrm was perhaps spasmodically impulsivee generous, and had simply takeu his seemingly forlorn condition. (_ One thing Tom was worried a!:Jo suppose she led him straight to r street corner or doorway where R was waiting for her? 1 Rankin had seen 'l'om, and wonldA b ognize him. More than that, finst Tom fret! when he supposed him end up, Rankin would at once take the 2' and get himself and his colleague oTo reach. ''Wish I knew her programme-'\\' H knew what I interrupted Rankin t<{t her in the cafe," mused Tom. "If I' had that point, I'd know the moti'g I the wholt! game, and the case wonlirh ended. Wonder what she's got irlw. hand-bag? I'm almost tempted to bt a bolt with that. It might tell a 'A thing.'' na Tom "changed hands." For a k 1

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NICK CARTER WE.El{LY. 17 ptacle, the hand-bag was certainly noticeable. "Weighty? I should say! Thirty nds if an onuce,'' ruminated Tom. Think it was gold, or lead." Tom's curiosity was aroused. He deftly ng the bag so that he could hold it th one hand and feel across its bulging rface with the other. "Fat as a drover's purse," he comented. "Something soft and flabby inside. lid? I guess! What is it, anyway?'' Tom dented in the leather exterior with dozen finger pokes. Then the ends of those fingers tingled d thrilled. "The dickens!" he muttered. He had made a sudden, a startling dis very. Whatever te woman's hand-bag con ined, it was-alive! He had disturbed something, and it had felt it, he could feel it for the bag vibrated as at the slight ifting of its contents. a da l Tom got terribly excited. He could t help it. Viola was a sinister woman, y to d that nameless, mysterious something like her hand-bag -predicted a sinister proding. e abo "What is it?" he puz:ded his brain ntically, and was fingering the clasp of uls1'-: e bag preparatory to taking a sly peep, n p1 en the woman's voice distmbed him. B a!J to e R ne square, two squares she had pro d grimly silent, and Tom had been in ldng so hard, was so engrossed in the n r' -bag that he had not noticed particul v the course she had taken. would Abruptly pausing under a flaring brackt, fi street lamp, the woman held out her im c nd. the "That will do," she spoke. o 0111 reluctantly delivered up the hand-e"Here's your nickel, boy." kin t t was a
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I ., ' NICK CARTER WEEKLY. The boy unpalmed a two-dollar bill, half turned away, his mission apparently executed, and then came back abruptly. "Wants ISS" "Hel1o !" jerked out Tom. "Eh ?" ejaculated the clerk. "Oh! probably directed by some old customer who knows our best rooms. Can't haye it. Taken.'' "Then she says IS7 will do." "Hello!" Tom, still m6re forcibly. "Let's see. All right. Front!" and another boy came forward. "Take key and show lady in parlor to IS7" Tom's face was working with sentient thoughts. All the suspicions he had entertained for the past few moments were positive certainties now. The woman Rankin had sent hither to kill King Sandoval had managed to 5et a directly next to him. Thoroughly posted, she had arrived on the scene and had got in the best possible position to carry out her deadly plans, without obstacle or ilelay interfering. Tom had sense. He knew that the average police office r in his present position, having both victim and plotter un der the same roof, and positive proof of their mutual relations, would simply call assistance, apprehend the woman redhanded, and settle affairs at one easy stroke. But Tom had enthusiasm, extravagant ideas of "fine work," a craving for brilliant action, and all that. The way be had read it, real smart de tectives like to play with their game like a cat with a to unwind the reel of mystery clear to the end. "I won't make any bad break. There's no hurry. She's only getting placed, and will begin her work later,'' theorized Torn. "Let me see? It's about eight o'clock. She ilon't know, and I don't know if Sandoval is in his room at allmaybe not even in the hotel. The ques tion to deci,de is, shall I hurry and report to Mr. Carter first, or find 011t and warn Sandoval first?'' Tom saw framed .and hung on the side of the clerk's high desk a plan of the hotel. There were five floors. He studied them for a moment, and located Room I 56. It was four flights up at the side of the hotel, and, according, to the pl:nd three windows back from the sidew:Tll frontpg c ''Pretty near find that in the clarkne murmured Tom. 1 "Here, youngster, take a slide!" ew The hotel officer discovered Tom r'To here, and nudged him wamingly. :c ''Got business,'' declared Tart prompted to dispatch it under urgencjt "Get through with it, then." s s Tom approached the clerk's ilesk. !U_B "I wish to see Mr. Sandoval, Ro, IS6,, he said. '\.s "Not to be disturbed. Come in bt morning. Quite ill," chopped off s. clerk, with a careless glance at Tlll question faced. to Next door was a two-story frame closed for the night. The upper flo( the hotel loomed above this. "One, two, three"-Tom connte windows from the front. "That'! room next-lighted. Inside blinds but there's chinks of light. Wish 1ga at short range! What's the matter a going up the fire-escape?" ltb Such a contrivance ran from thetas the hotel to the roof of the next That roof, therefore, was Tom's finla1 jecti ve paint of ascent. hat It was not a difficult task to waled way around to the rear. Within ter

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 19 Tom was on the roof in question, his bit rapidly manipulated the bright steel on the first bar of the iron ladder. tool. side of the hotel where it ran was Suddenly they paused. From her comparative shadow from the bright movements Tom could guess that the bit er electric lights, it was far enough had pierced the first board, was probing from the street to be out of near in the empty space between it and the ewalk range. one three inches distant which fitted to went up the fire-escape till" he the floor of Sandoval's room. e d its little grated platform in the The clairvoyant simply got a start on tJ1 story. the invisible board. Then she arose. t ran between two windows, and he Tom followed her every movement, sure one of these was in Room 157, fascinated. pied by the clairvoyant, the other in She first drew from her pocket a little occupied by Sandoval. instrument resembing a flute. be had before noticed, 157 had a This she placed on the floor near the inside-rs6 was shrouded in dark-hole she had made in the base board. An guessed that Sandoval, w1th badly shaken up by his latest re t encounter, had retired to rest. leaned cautiously toward the win of the lighted room. There was no -hole in the lower sash blinds. here the upper set swung to, how there was a crack perhaps half an wide this Tom applied his eye. The in of the apartment was in plain view woman he did not see at first. Her and \"eil and jacket lay on the bed, handbag < ;>n the table. inally, twisting himself a little Tom got a more complete view e rear wa.Jl of the room. here she is, sitting down on the At wor-k, anct of all the queer in this queer world, what in the le of goodness is she doing?" w e might well ask! roo m had arrived on the scene jm:t in to view as strange, as mystifying a eeding as any he had ever witnessed. CHAPTER VIII. BAFFLED. e clairvoyant sat on the floor right gainst the wall of rs6, Sandoval's and she had an auger in her hand, ith this she was boring a hole through ase boards. bui 'm staggered!" confessed Tom, peer fir lank! y. at was the woman's intention? Her ed hands flashed as they noiseiessly aperture, Tom estimated, with the auger withdrawn, to be about the size of a sil ver dollar. Next she produce a fine steel saw. This, too, found itself in place alongside the base board, evidently to be used in enlarging the hole. Then she lifted the hand-bag, placed it carefully on the floor in the same spot, and--Turned out tlie light. "Oh, confound it!" shot out Tom. 1t was an unexpected, a disappoint ing climax to a most engross1ng and promising spectacle, and Tom was of a sudden "all rattled to pieces." "It's guess work now,' he declared. "Just as it was getting interesting, too!" Still, Tom was a good guesser, and, in his rough and ready way, in two minutes' time had summed np the and decided what to do. The woman was not boring a hole in the wall for nothing. Wbat she was doing it for there was only one way to find it out-to get into the next room, and watch developments when that auger point came through. "I've got to protect Sandoval, I've got to fasten attempted assassination on her," mused Tom. "I can do it in the next hour, if I'm not disturbed." Tom started out on a daring plan in stantly. The window of Room rs6 was just as nea r to his perch on the fire.-escape as was Room IS7 Tom found the window of Sandoval's apartment open about an inch a.t the bottom; he discovered, too, that the blinds were simply closed to without locking.

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r ,. 20 NICK 01\RTER WEEliLY. He set at work. That work ended very shortly in a suppressed sigh, but one of tremendous satishction and relief. He was in Sandoval's room, ceasing to wonder any longer that porch-clim hers and window sneak thieves were so com mon. He pushed the blinds t? as they had been. 'rhen he stood still n dismay. The window had begun to descend of its own weigh. It stopped short of the sill, however, and there was no crash. '"rom tried to accustom his eyes to the darkness. Over in one corner was a bed with a streen before it. Sandoval undoubtedly lay there asleep. Tom planned and planned and planned. He was like enthusiastic and excited. He would wait till the clairvoy_ant had developed her scheme to such an extent that proofs of its existence Wt!re undeni .ably apparent. 'rhen he would wake up Sandoval, arouse the house, capture the womat1, and, incidentally, all the glory of a brilliant success in his first detecthe case! He sat down noiselessly on the floor, about five feet away from the spot wherJ: he estimated the woman was at work at the other side of the partition, as eager, as nerved up as a hound watching for the appearance of its quarry. There was the faintest glint of light in the world in the room, proceeding from some distant apartment facing on the hotel hall attd reflecting dimly through the transom. "It's coming!" announced Tom, after a spell of watchfulness. Burrow-pfft !-it was the auger pushing out the last thread of wood. A dull, even cutting sound ensued. The woman was enlarging the hole with a saw well-greased, for it did its work almost noiselessly. "What next?" Tom's i1hves were a thrill now. \iVhat was to come through that hole-in what guise would the menace appear that was to rob K;ing Sandoval of his life? There was a distinct rustle in the next room, then a cautious snapping. Tom guessed the woman was opening the hand-bag. And then wonder on wonder! like a far distant aeolian strain, faint, soothin -so smooth and gentle as to be -the low mmmur of musical notes fol lowed. The woman was certainly playin r on the flute that Tom had seen in th next apartment. I. Tom began to grow uneasy. The sit ation brooded ominously. Things we11 so unreal as it puzzle him. 1 The music ceased. There was a secor c rtt. tle at the hole. Low, coaxing toua purred vaguely. Tom now had sight and soul center h raptly on the aperture. rt Outlines only lte saw. Somethi1 l blocked it, he could make that out. Something came through. Horrors! at He gave a start' that unnerved him e that he became cold and weak all over A sluggish, wavy object blackened tia floor sinuously, with two spots bright' fire where its head moved about. "A snake!" gurgled the appalled T way down in his throat. t The flash of conviction, the rapid meh ory of the clairvoyant's reference f grewsome pets, back at the cafe, toen Tom's breath away. t This woman, this siren, this snar d . C-C charmer, was sen mg a pOisonous serpt to do her deadly work. And before Tom could move to of the way, before he could comma.Y ffi . l th lS votce su ctent to rmse an a arm, e r tile, making for nearest human prey, upon him. It crossed his feet, it wriggled its h1 upright with a frightful hiss. \ Paralyzed as he was with terror, e a never could u nder.stand later what supn power of will and energy spurred himto make a fearful struggle for life. Like one inspired, he was on his instantly, and the snake, big, slimy, ing, wriggling, was in his nearest or tail nearest, he did not kno-o he was too desperate to care. In a frenzied, frightened way l1e tg swinging snake around his head-lf:l fast, faster. >e He let go. Crash! lC Squarely for the transom he ait wi squarely it shot for the mark. I Through it the wriggling mass 11

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 21 .nt amid a shower of glass in the the hole. I will whisper to you, but no e: side. one else must hear." t ol Tolll stood like a statue, rigid. "Yes! yes!" inht seemed to have ceased beating All eagerness, Tom bent down to the tl' the terrible ordeal he had gone aperture. He waited for tl10se life-taps to Too late he realized that at the acme e gall this time he had not uttered had not made the slighest noise. t1 crash, however, so near, so clear, n ave alarmed the woman in the m. lteard her low, purring voice at rture. it he saw come through it, beckon-r r. tering brilliant jewels, as if to atencourage her silent ally, a white, ud. each!" he uttered, in one fervent t ade a noiseless spring. Out shot t 1 sinewy fingers, true and sure as clutch. 0 d the woman he could not see by t firmly. te ttered a frightened cry and tried 1 free. to en!" spoke 'fom. "I know you the clairvoyant. Listep! I know a ccomplice, Rankin. Listen! I f> our purpose-to kill the man. in this room-Sandoval'' y, fright, rage, mingled in a flut!11 iss from the woman's lips. r ggle, and I yell,'' pursued Tom. t you. If your hand was red-hot, h n't let go. : -who are you?" T tective !" voiced Tom, proudly, as right! r b m -you are a oy--aps, but I had a man's work to I've done it. See here; I give ance. Bad as you are, you are a h. It's the main guy we want. truthfully where he is to be ow, right here-what is he put g Sandoval out of the way for, be light on yon.'' felt the woman's arm shivere or dread, he could not distinich. will?" she voiced, feebly. I will," promised Tom. nearer. Get your face close to of positive triumph there had come permanent disaster. The woman had deftly reached through her other hand. Up into Tom's face flew some subtle liquid. It dizzied sight, it robbed him of strength, it deadened sense. With a groan he relaxed his hold on the fair white wrist. CHAPTER IX. A HOT CHASE. "Help!" Tom fancied he uttered that word in an appalling scream, loud enough to reach the farthest corners of the hotel. In reality it was a weak, choked whis per, exaggerated by his distorted senses. His brain only was active. His body held in thrall by the deadly liquid the clairvoyant had thrown into his face, Tom was like a person in a nightmare. "Mercy!" A second deluge of the volatile stuffburning, stinging, blinding-struck him. This time Tom went back with a thud. The action helped him, however. It took him out of further reach of the woman who seemed to be prepared to kill or deaden to order. "Some poison-it will reach Sandoavl, it will end both of us!" gasped Torn. The powerful drug was diffusing itself through the room. Had it not been for the shattered transom and the slightly raised window, Tom would have probably dropped inert at once. As it was, he could just hitch himself along on one hand and one knee, like a person grievously wounded. The movement took him out of range of the woman, but that was not entirely what Tom was after. He wished to reach Sandoval on the bed, to arouse, to warn him ere the dead ly poison did its work. Tom kept mumbling chokingly. Cry out he could not. His tongue was like a

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.32 NICK C AR'rER WEEKLY. cinder, the vocal channels seemed clogged up, paralyzed. At last he reached the screen . He tipped it over in rounding it; at last he touched the bed. "Kingyour majesty Sandoval called Tom, huskily. There was no response. "Dangerkill. Arouse yourself! There's-no-one-there P That announced Tom's discover y The bed was tenantless. It had not even been slept in. For a second, rather stunned at the rev elation that he had been risking life to aid a man not at all in peril or even in present evidence, Tom almost collased. Then he : ealized his own danger. He must fight the deadly fumes hovering about him. Tom reached the door. No key. He feebly fingered the 'knob, but he did not possess sufficient strength to raise himself by i{ Pressing his lips close to the crack under the door, be got enough clea r air to shout. This he did, once, twice, as loud as he could. He heard an utterance of dismay in the next room, the sound of a hastily opened door. It closed with a slam; a dress swished, footsteps echoed down the ball. "She's going, she's gone!" almost wailed Tom. "Help! Fire! Police! Oh, she's going to give me the slip!" No one responded to Tom's cries. A thought of the escaping woman aroused him. He bad not strength to force the door, but there was the winclow. Slowly, painfully, he reached it-one breath of the pure cool air coming in at the bottom went through him like an electric shock. He had the sash up in a jiffy. He got out on the fire-escape platform. 'rhere Tom clung for a minute or two, recovering from the effects of the drug that bad so nearly overcome him. All through the ordeal his brain had }Xeserved its normal functions to the full est degree-now it became doubly active. ''Don't dare venture into that room again," Tom told himself. "By this time the clairvoyant has reached the street. She has fled-there is no doub Left tha t snake behind. Won't 1 1 a sensation! And Sandoval room at all!'' 1 All the manifold details of t;s tion tumbled incoherently over 11 1 other in Tom's mind. i The main issue, however, rose? crystal before him-he must sight of the clairvoyant. Tom went down the fire-e scap \ faster than be had come up it, f < the flat roof of the two s tor y fram ing next adjoining, ran to its fr 1 peered over the cornice. n "In time!" he fluttered, starin Viola, the claivoyant, had jus private entrance to the hotel. u She flitted down the pavementr range of vision with rapid, nervo Suddenly she paused, turned h caught sight of a cab coming down the street, and glided to t\a holding up her finger. "Quick!" she said, simply The driver onl y half halted hi j "Cab?" he queried. 1 "Yes-double fare, but qui ck !1t "Got a load, ma' am. Wait one half a m .inttte; deli yer just ar1 corner. Then at your senice.". "Hurry!" breathed Vi o la, 1 Tom understood her anxiebf feared pursuit from the hotel a ment. 1 He saw his opportunity all tht, too, he fancied, because he knevoj man. 1 On whirled the conveyance, thf keeping on down the sidewalk It as quickly as possible "hen it r11e One swift, comprehensive glll! took of his roof environment. t He had a task to perform, ap lieved himself able to execute, the next street and interview th\ j before the woman met him. e It was a fearful rush and tuml roofs were unequal some s lant t were broken or littered, but '! dauntless. .v He nearly broke his neck as b the corner structure, and drop sign, thence to a sidewalk, and it the cab just as it had delivered i 0

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I doub l NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 23 Von't !"he panted. wasn' lo!" ejculated cabby, with a stare Tom!" of th s. Listen. Keep driving," and over lted to the seat beside the aston1 rose ust an waiting--'' just hailed me. How do you -esc.ap Where did you come from?" upf It, fs. Chasing her. Bill, old ram,, its fr bet!" n listen. Just take her in. Let ere. I must shadow that woman ad JUS el. up!" ement rged up his horse . Tom grabbed nervo robe and enveloped himself in it rned as unrecognizab:e. oming s barely in time, for the clairto t arne bolting around the corner r of hurry just then. ply. bst a quick glance back of her, lted h1 ing out into the street opened oor for herself. R_uick! 't stop! Fly!" she ordered, ait one orse never halted. It's driver wheels spin till they had gone uares. definite order as to destination from inside. at muffied like a mummy, but like a Trojan. ssed that the woman would eithim to her home or some place nkln was. friend the cabm::1n turned into t the woman had just named, ed toward h1m. he whispered. tion !" came the prompt, low onse. you leave me--" I leave you-where?'' e the woman lan. ds, of course.'' to Nick Carter's." Are you on that lay?" bolted onderingly. 'ck ash Can you remember something -(1 drop k, and 'twas writ." vered i Tell Mr. Carter to find and oval till he hears from me." "Tell Mr. Carter--" and Bill went over the message word for word twice in succession like a chil9 memorizing a les son. "That's it. Don't forget Sandovaldon't mix the names. Here we are.'' At a word from the woman the cab cir ded to the curb in front of a grim, shuttered two story house. It was detached, and as Viola, tossing a bank-note to the cab driver, alighted, ran up somes steps, unlocked a door, and let herself in, Tom dropped from the seat, and, with a wave of the hand to Bill, glided into the dark side passageway. He heard the cab rattle away, and he chuckled. Nick Carter would temporarily take King Sandoval off his ha,nds. The king would be safe till Tom found time to personally report to the detective. 1I've run the woman to her den-the rest is easy," decided Tom. He crouched between the two buildings and listened. He could plainly hear some one inside the house ascend a pair of stairs. Then a window over his head was flung open, and a blaze of light struck the opposite wall. Some one passed in the street-a man seemed to enter the house, and Tom fairly wriggled, as a minute later, overhead he. p:ainly distinguished the sound of VOICeS. "The clairvoyant-Rankin," he murmured. "He mt1st have been on the watch for her re.turn near by. Hope he didn't see me dodge in here! I'll lay mortal quiet for a spell." Tom devoted his energies principally to listening, but he could catch no intelligible words from overhead, and suddenly, even the hum of voices died away. He was debatil!g what he should next do, when, cl1ancing to look up at that broad square of light, reflected on the op posite brick wall, he caught the outlines of active shadows. He moved to get up and look up direct. As he did so, as he rose, a fluttering cry of dismay escaped his lips. Something shadowed in a human hand, shot down, and he ducked involuntarily, he knew not why. The movement did not save him, how ever. Qyer his head coiled a rope.

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II 2i NICK CARTER WEEKLY. It caught him about the waist, imprisoning his arms. There was a sharp jerk, and up aloft went Tom. He had nothing to catch at, and he went up between the two brick walls with many a scrape .nd knock. He was dragged through. the lighted window space just as he expected. Looking ttp, like a hooked fish wnggling at the end of a line, he met the hard fierce glances of Rankin and the just as he had anticipated. The man' slammed down he window, pulled the shade, and his lips grew stern. The woman glared at Tom piercingly, and in the depths of her dark eyes Tom read hatred and cruelty. ''You were right, Rankin,'' she "It is the boy who carried my baud-bag, therefore, the one I dosed i n Sandoval's room." "And the boy we discovered in the icebox at the cafe, and whom I supposed to be in safe keeping there yet. Lucky I saw him dodoe from the cab. Lucky you las soed Now then, )llY young friend, . ,, you sit there and answer He lifted Tom and fauly threw him into a chair. Tom tried to look saucy and act independent. "Oh I don't know he remarked. have no time to trifle," spoke the man, rapidly, and with vigor. "Yo? will answer one question promptly Without evasion or we \vill make a short shrift for you: Who put you up to shadowing us?', "I'll answer nothing--" began Tom. "The crystal room-no time for fooling, Rankin!" cried Viola. These people meant every word they said-Tom learned that the next moment. The man seized him; the woman tore open a door. Into a room an we are not safe here.>i: the boy so he can't ever take thrn stand, and get out of the cou c Nick Carter knows the whole v he'll never rest till we're plac we won't trouble Sandoval for scor to come." n The woman's teeth clicked 111, Tom could hear them. It mol lighted up his anxiety, and uncen hear this wholesome praise of m' detective. t, "No!" answered Rankin, de 11 "No, what?" m "Leaving the country, gettin y abandoning a good hundred tho nc Iars, more nearl)" in our grasp t "You don't mean it, Rankin n "I do." ''Why--'' vt ''Listen. I am satisfied thalln Nick Carter is in this case, that boy in the next room has not o 1 cated to him his suspicions, ,vhatever he may 1ac "He never shall, then!"g. woman. 1y "I leave that to you. You Vt: not come out from under their his medicine for several hours. y him ever. You attend to 1 will see to the other end of tht:Jin< "You have found a way to ten your designs regarding Sando..,. c "Have I!"

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 2b then I slip up on my ten thouJars!" muttered Viola, disappoint-bit of it. Listen." was 'stenecl, too, with a1l his might, w me nearer to listen. 1kin up on what felt like a mattress. es o ff it. en was a window-open. These eless plotters! No, they had hi nded too fully on their drugs. ro g down ten feet, Tom saw a wer ding attached to a light wagon. I'm good as free!': fluttered. : thi e neared the part1tJon beyond dmi e voices sounded, came up against ve door, glued his eye to a crack, this ed himself the luckiesl boy that oh! to become a detective. Car repeated Rankin. "This pok to be one of that drove of med !lere. ils Nick Carter is letting loose t e t mmtmity." cou of them have done some pretty holt! work, all the same,'' muttered pla de ne won't. It's three o'clock in ng now. Before this hour ar n, King Sandoval will have requietus. '' re sure?" now, at this moment, speeding t, so surely to .his death, that ut a miracle can save him." man uttered an impressive sigh y and suspense. Tom thrilled nons announcement. "pursued Rankin, "when you night I said four times and ve your reproach," murmured n, bitterly, "but I did my o fault I found. I learned that frightened by the flower-box ad not gone to his room at the 1. y work would have been fruitven if this boy had not inter. I decided on a bold move. I t he had bribed hotel clerk ing about his leav ng, but h.ad ters at another hotel near by." counted on that," breathed "Then," continued Rankin, "I re solved on a daring move-to risk all. Heretofore I had kept strictly in the background. I formulated my plan, I made sure where Sandoval was, I pre pared my game, and I went to see him." "Well!" ''He was glad to meet me again. I led the conversation promptly to the attempts on his life. I told him that knowledge of the same had brought me from Rochester, post haste, to his side-! persuaded him that the attempts on his life were being made by hired of the insurgents of his home kingdom of Norona." "A clever play," commented the clairvoyant. ''I told him that a messenger from his kingdom, friendly to him, had come to the home of my sister, expecting to find him with her. He brought some impor tant papers. How I arranged the details, never mind, but I succeeded in convincing Sandoval that he must be at a certain remote place with that box of papers at a certain hour to-day, to meet the messenger, who dared not show himself in New York. With that box of papers closely sealed, I saw Sandoval take the two o'clock train on the Midland Central for Doversville, forty miles west of here." "Why! what was your object?" "He will reach Doversville at four o'clock. I enjoined him to speak to no one, to evade being seen, to cling to that box, to stop nowhere. Alighting at Dov ersville he will start along the track of a branch railroad on foot, which I de scribed to him. There is not a station for twenty miles, and that is Martinsburg. I told him to reach that place, at about ten o'clock in the morning. He would find his friend there." "Rankin," interrupted the clairvoyant, "what can all this circumlocution mean?" "Success . "How?" "Our man will never reach Martinsburg.'' "Ah!" "No. At exactly eight o'clock, at some lonely stretch of roadbedJ King Sandoval w111 meet his doom.'' "You arouse my curiosity."

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2G NICK CARTER WEEKLY. "The box of papers is not a box of papers.'' ''Then:___,' "But," continued Rankin, impressive ly, "a box of dynamite, supplied with a clockwork fuse, timed to strike fire at just eight o'clock this morning!" "Clever!" "Horrible!" The listening Tom broke into a cold perspiration. He almost fell against the ramshackly door. His breath came in painful gasps. The cool heartlessness of these plotters, the sure, direful danger menacing King San doval, appalled him. ''In other words," concluded Rankin, lifting from his pocket a long envelope and waving it triumphantly, "by noon to-day the telegraph will announce that enough of an unfortunate being has been picked up along the tracks near Martins burg to be identified as the remains of Sandoval, king of Norona. "Before a week, on the strength of that identification, I shall present this to the proper parties, and draw my well-earned reward-one hundred thousand do ;Jars.'' In indescribable agitation, Nick Car ter's newsboy friend wavered where he stood. He noted the official-looking envelope, he observed on the table where the two plotters sat, at Rankin's elbow, a revolver -he took in every detail
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it! the NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 1'1 said, sharply, "this is Toot-toot! the ro and?'' open w '' t to get to Doversville. '' ter him. t place, my son." life aft soon?'' Tom knew something about the interior mechanism of a locomotive, but not sufficient to start up without a jerk that sent his cap spinning, and the wheels of the engine plowing the polished rails own. hours first train out stx with a rippetty-rip whir that brought the ill, a be below. cle had :when do we arrive?" inquired bionslv. local.:__eight-forty-five." 't wait!" answered Tom, vehe-o, I reckon. No other road runs -yon see that engne ?'' asked pointing to the one steamed men about the railroad shanty to their feet in consternation. He was off with a thrill, and one glance ahead, showing the main track set with clear signals. He gave the wJlistle rope a triumphant jerk. Then Tom subsided to the cushioned seat of the engineer, trembling from head to foot, his hopefu 1 yet apprehensive heart going like a trip hammer. "I've done it! There's no backing out now," he breathed. "Fifteen minutes after four." 'nodded Tom. her-twenty-three. She takes oversville accommodation." treated to the fence. On a pile sat down Tom read the time on the 1ittle cab clock, and reckoned a s far as he could the w ith uncertainty1 chances of his arriving safely at his pro-posed de s t ination. King SandovalUnti l clear out of the city, he passed oment was preci ous. A t eight onr brief hours ahead-the of dynamite would go off. ph? The local offices were not sten to the police? A vital d be lost. engine ingly morn in y, with s terns a om picture cros s ed Tom's mind stant, and made him almost at of the man he had been tch by Nick Carter-innocent, nsusplclous King S andovalthe lonely railroad tracks, Martinsbmg and-doom. reach him, I will reach him!" springing to his feet like ht-errant spurred to mighty direful, vital exigency. ye was glowing with a mad, roic resolve. one glance at the shanty, one ug locomotive. made a sharp run for the eninto the cab, grasped the open the throttle and-they CHAPTER XI. CRITICAL MOMENT. r l" sch ief! Is he crazy!" only a dozen persons-two were watchmen, the others railroa d employees g "oing t o their work. 'rhey simply stared a fter the scudding "special," which they supposed it to be. Where there were a lot of switches, a man in the signal tower made some frantic gesticulations from its window. Not understanding them, Tom could not heed them. It was fortunate that he had done what no regular engineer had ever dared to do-cross the tracks of two other sy s tems without stopping-at an early hour when trains were few. "Seven miles," read Tom from a flying mile post. "How long has it taken? Sixteen minutes. At this rate I shall be at Doversville before six o'clocki I dare go faster now." Tom grew calmer as moments and miles sped away. There were two sets of rails, few switches, and he ventured to increase speed slowly. He passed the depot of quite a large town. There was some stir about it, and he pulled the lever another notch, for he feared the train crew might telegraph ahead to stop him, and he hoped to reach his destination before local operators got to their duties. He piled in some coal and manipulated

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-.. 28 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. the steam valves haphazard. Everything seemed to be going all right. A slight qualm of fear oppressed Tom as he fancied the results of his wild es capade. He had blocked a system, disturbed its schedule-he might wind up in damage and disaster. "Can't help it," piped Tom. "What's forty railroads to one human life? Let her go I My!" Tom held his breath as he turned a curvt::. A locomotive ahead seemed bear ing directly down on him, but as it came nearer it passed safely on the other track. His joy knew no bounds as he flashed past a little station bearing the indication that it was thirty miles from the city. It was just twenty-five minutes of six. "I shall be in time, sure-a full two hours to put after Sandoval," calculated Tom. "What's this ?-what's this?" Tom, of course, had no means of know ing that No. 23 here left the train, re versed, and got headed right for a return to the city after running up to Dovers ville, so before he knew it he wa:, off on a spur track and headed for a turntable. '1'om turned pale as he snatched at the lever and throttle. He turned paler as the locomotive halted with a jerk, two wheels off the rails, and tilted dangerous ly for the turntable pit, which it had nar rowly escaped going into. He tried to gt::t it back on the track, but made matters worse instead. "Stuck!" he muttered, grimly-" now whatever am I to do?" There seemed nothing for it but to foot it the remaining ten miles. Tom was a good runner, and in shape for a fair sprint, but. he doubted very much if he could overtake Sandoval be fore eight o'clock now. He buckled manfully down to his task, however. Back the spur track he ran, headed down the main road bed, and just passing the little dep0t building, halted with a cheery cry. Tilted up against the structure was the railroad agent's bicycle. Tom's eyes danced. No one was in view, and he had iron the rails in a twinkling. "Great!" he voiced, as he got the hang of the contrivance, and whirled ahead at the rate of twenty miles an hour. Doversville! 1'here was the was his destination at la s t. Tom ditched the bicycle, r}I depot pump, took a deep draugl' e d I J sa 111g water, an g anceo 111 at t d nn W1n OW. l "Just five minutes after si1<,11 mured. "Oh, say! is this tl M b .... ,, Ill. runmng to artms urg r ) A man passing in a loaded fa. v nodded assentingly in reply to tion, and Tom started down a see] bed leading into the timber. A d R k' '111 ccor mg to an n s was the ronte Sandoval wour r He must have got pretty near tl d burg by this time," Tom decid,e "There's just one thing r 1nated-"between here and M1se I shall find him. There's only, to do-count on running twent" d two hours, if necessary and eye out sharp so I don't pass 5 way." After proceeding what he jlj,dt about twelve miles1 Tom cited than flustered as he sat, heap of railroad ties to rest. "I shall catch Sandoval be k'' o'clock," he told himself, o1 1 "I've run the first twelve mile,'' over an hour. It was a sp'e won't he beat! I'll take a Io11 and forge ahead.'' 1 a Tom climbed to the top of ties. It was loose, it was wor1 e got a secure foothold at its apt Shading his eyes with hi, P took a good look down the 0 "No one in sight," he rep 0 re doval's got a good lead ontd sure '' T d 'f h 1Vit om wonaere 1 e m1g ra passed Sandoval, and he tl .Ire wardly. > tl But as he swept the rugg5or stretch lining the railroad l. a sured, for no sane being fi such a difficult course wheu W m nch smoother route of tl trackways. l Just completing this Tom checked his glance at thirty feet from the tracks, se

PAGE 30

NICK CARTER WEEKIJY. tl red closer yet, anct gave utterance to a 'aS te s tied: 'I declare '' r e was very greatly surpirsed at what P. rautg aw-so much so that it took him a 111 a nte or two to realize fully what he discovered. after si tl tl 'It's my man, it's Sandoval,'' breathed u. "Lucky? oh, just!" r d d f ver near a lot of straggly bushes, lyf a f t a fiat on the ground, apparently sonnd Y 0 ep, was the kingly personage in whom a 1 had taken so powerful an interest r 1 er. t t ing the past twenty-four hours. 111 s s a ot a bit royal looking, however, was y al wout ruler of Norona. His attire 'vas disor t y near r d 'd d, his features were flushed and swoleel and by his side was a token that he l ing sure, ruled by a IJ1onarch stronger far than and M self. Two kings," mused Tom-" King n g doval and King Alcohol, and the last ry an s the winninghand at present. Too t pass Mr. Carter says he drinks to drown troubles. He's been dousing them at he Jtl d since daybreak then for there's a 1 1 I om was rt bottle, and it's empty. he sat d .1 . S t om reasone out t 1e s1tuatJon. an'.l res 1 b al, afler being put aboard the train by uova e k' h d d h 1' lf m, a secure t e 1quor 1n some 1 se '.1 had solaced his lonely walk from ve ml e ersville with frequent potations, had bled off the course and had dropped a sodden heap. Box and all," continued Tom. "Say, e top of ink of it! Fifty masked deaths in that t 't e box, and -he's got it under his head a 1 s al? pillow!" l11s . the st urn thnlled and h1s fingers tw1tched. gingerly would he remove that box ow speedily' hurl it rods away from e, into that pool of water he saw at tie distance ith something like the irrepressible ah-wave of the miner who calls reka !" or the venturesome explorer thrills the air with an echoing "Ex-'or!" on some far mountain top, Tom a slight cheer as he made a dash for firma. Whew!" was jolted forcibly out of e slid instead of leaped; he fell, d, fur the second time that day felt senses deserting him, rallied them after a momentary blur, and then-knew the worst. It was the very worst. In a word, he had dislodged the loose logs forming the heap of ties, and they had borne him down, imprisoning him. Tom did not mind the bruises and scratches he experienced, the terrific blow on the head that had so nearly stunned h1m, the excruciating pain of one limb uow held as in a vise way back in the topsy-turvy heap. It was his utter helplessness that con foun9ed him. In a frenzied way Tom re alized that he was a captive, held so close, so firmly, that to move meant to bring down upon him a score of crushing logs, that, unaiaed, he could never hope to es cape. It was singular how, without breaking every bone in his body, the mass held both feet from the knees down in a clasp as neat as if artifirially produced. Tom looked about him in despair. "I can't get out without help, I may as well make my mind up to that," he muttered, grimly, at last. "What time is it? Pretty near half-past seven. I must wake Sandoval up, arouse him to his danger, dispose of the dynamite and get him to help me out of this fix." Tom fancied that an easy task, but he found out his mistake after ten minutes' effort. He shouted at Sandoval, he whistled., he screamed. The man might be deaf, stone dead, for all the attention he paid. "This is serious!" muttered Tom. "Why, if I shouldn't be able to arouse him--" Tom's heart stood still, and he shud dered as he thought out the balance of that dread sentence. Sandoval was some twenty feet from him, and the bushes screened him slightly. Tom reached out for all the missiles in view. They were not numerous-a few little pieces of gravel and fragments of bark. He began to shy these at the sleeper. Some fell short of their mark from sheer lightness, others grazed with no effect. Those that struck the slumberer's fea tures only made him stir slightly, as might a fly walking across his face.

PAGE 31

ao NICK CARTER WE KLY. "HAe's dead gone, and we're both gone up!" decided Tom, gloomily, after half an hour of futile shouting and fusilading. "It's drawing near the hour. It's pretty close up to-oh, what's that!" It was a low, ominous, whirring sound. It came directly from inside the box that pillowed the head of the sleeping King Sandoval, but it neve1 ruffied his sodden wits. "We're a goner!" pronounced Tom, in an awed, lots whisper. ''Tlre dynamite is beginning to go off!" CHAPTER XII. THE SECRET OUT. Tom counted the seconds and held his breath. "It'll soon be over," he choked up. "I've done my duty and Nick Carter will say so!'' It was hard to give up life at the threshold of a great victory but Tom faced that whirring dynamite box bravely. Real de(ectives l1ave pluck. Tom h a d lots of it, and he never winced as he real ized that he could scarcely escape the fa t e that menaceo the sodden-sleeping Sando val. Tom had set his lips firmly, had half closed his eyes. He opened them ab. ruptly. "The secret!" he murmured. "Won der what it was, after all? That wretch Rankin will get his hundred thousand dollars. What for? Have I time to find out? 'l'he deuce!" From his coat pocket Tom drew forth the paper he had snatched from Rankin's hand. He barely scanned it. One glance was sufficient to enlighten him. It was an insurance policy-the secret was out! "King Sandoval's life is insured for one hundred thousand dollars in favor of his brother-in-law, Delos Rankin!" cried the startled Tom. "The week he was in Rochester he must have filled the king with drugs and' liquor, had him examined, passed, without knowing it, and-what a scheme!" Whir-snap! chilled Tom's heart, and the paper so precious an hour since, so rg useless to him in his present predica1 v: fluttered to the ground. h::: The souncls he had just heard told:m: that the fuse inside the box of dyn; s c had probably been lighted. h a Tom's fingers closed about t1 e re\")ic he had taken from his pocket witpaper-the weapon with which he c cowed its owner, Rankin. .ro He fired a shot in the air, and watched Sandoval. te The latter never moved. It seento if a cannon fired at his ear would arouse him, so profound was his s le i Then Tom up his ears ree Another sound, a louder sound, drQn, out all those clicking, whirring don strations from the box under Sandvn head. le "A train!" he breathed. "I htfl I see it. The headlight, the c a b. 1s Hey! Help! help! help!" an Tom screamed like a eyes started from their sockets, he one hand frantically ha "They must stop!" he cried, Bang-bang-bang-bang! n What guided his hand but frenzi pulse Tom could not tell, bnt eve o told on the windows uf the cab. ir Toot l toot! down brakes; hiss tn the train came to a stop. k "This way !-oh, this way!" sitl Tom. ::>tl "What's this? Who fired? Trai S bers ?" demanded the engineer, st01t, up to the spot, an iron bar in his hath "No, say-quick! See that Y asleep?'' or "See him ? I should say--',. 1 "The box under his head-o te mercy's sake! No delay, no qu o Get it. That's it. Throw it far m o can!" po "Burr-rr-r!" t's If the quick pistol shots and the "'a ing panes iu the cab had startled tdu gineer, the frightful, awful exploed the dynamite box, hurled into tbeve, pool just in time, fairly scared him lee his wits. Rnnning for his life back to motive, his clothing riddled with tng fired like bullets, drenched with aick like a waterspout, he was screantryJ affright like a maniac.

PAGE 32

NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 31 g Sandoval woke up at last. He dica vaguely about him. hat was that?'' be maundered. 3 tol ur death-warrant!" pronounced d y solemn! y. hat do yon say ided by a supersedeas from Nick arrived just in time!" conductor of the train, supported owd of passengers, came hurrying ed to the ten minutes life was an incoherent o every person in the vicinity. uld y even made Tom tell his story f sle ice before they consented to set he was helped to the train, g d nderful thing he had done began n on the throng, and he was a ear to the next station. I h was in bad shape for walking 1b. is bruised limbs, but he had the 11d courage to immediately impress graph into his service. Carter got a very complete idea of ad happened, and who had caused ppen, within the next hour. and Sandoval were directed by ective to return to New York on n train. i r reception at the city depot was in ure of an ovation. and several of his students formed !coming party, a grotlj of reportther. Sandoval case was public property because, through Tom's direche arrest of both Rankin and the yan.t, Viola, had bP.en consUJ.nmated 0!11111 g. was a happy boy when, an honest in the detective's house that on, Nick Carter told him tl;at ove he made in the Sandoval case ositive stroke of genius. 's protege, Blind Billy, was presandoval had been inquiring into during the past hour, and he had d to put the little fellow, as well e, loyal Tom, beyond all ilanger ect before he returned to his king-at's the 'full account of' they're ng outside, Tom?" asked Billy, as ck ears caught the turbulent calls rying newsboys. Tom blushed, too modest to tell. 0 It'S' about this young hero, Billy," said Sandoval, placing a grateful hand on Tum's shoulder-"it's about the wonderful exploits of Nick Carter's Newsboy Friend.'' "Right!" nodded the detective himself. "Full account of a boy wh is able to give a most excellent account of himself, as the central figure in elncidating the ins and outs of the Great Sandoval Mystery." ['tHE END.] The next number of the Nick Carter Weekly will contain "Nick Carter's Pur suit; or, The Trick of an Escaped Con vict," by the author of "Nick Ca1ter." Nick Carter Weekly BINDERS. 3 5 Cents. This binder will keep your papers always clean and smooth. No more missing numbers. Handy to refer to and ornamental as well as useful. Sent post-paid to any address on receipt of price, fifty cents. Address, STREET & SMITH, NEW YORK CITY.

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32 NICK OA.RTER WEEKLY. Cadet School Stories. ''The Monarch of juvenile Publications. A Weekly Publication . OF ... Forty-eight Pages and Illuminated Cover. PRICE, FIVE CENTS. Subscription, ----$2 50 Per Year. Fun and Adventures Among West Point and Annapolis Cadets. TWO COMPLETE STORIES EACH WEEK, DESCRIBING IN FAS CINATING DETAIL LIFE AT THE FAMBUS GOVERNMENT ACADEMIES. These stories, written by graduates of the academies, are true in every particular, and show vividly how the military and naval cadets enjoy life while learning to become officers in the Government military and naval serv1ce. ARMY AND NAVY is the OT}ly.weekly published devoted to stories of school cadet life at West Point and Anna polis. PRICE, FIVE CENTS ___ FOR SALE BY ALL NEWSDEALERS. STREET & SMITH, Publishers 238 William St.-, New York City. Write for Free Sample Copies.

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r .\ Nick earter Weeki Thirty=two Pages. Price, 5 Cents. Illuminated Cover ... THE BEST LIBRARY OF DETECTIVE STORIES. 111111111111111111111111 Back Numbers always on hand. Price, post-paid, Five cents each. 111111111111111111111111 5--Trim .Among the Bushmen; or, Searching for a Lost Gold Mine in .Australia. 6-Trim's Double Header; or, Snaring S:uma,n Game with Decoys. 7Trim on the Safety Valve; or, Taking Long Uhances with Death. 8--Trim's Troublesome Tiger; or, How His Pris oner Escaped the Gallows ; 9-Ttim in Uape Town; or, The., Man with a Strange Limp. 10-Trim in the Diamond Fields of Kimberly 11-Trim in the Wiltls; or, Hunting a Criminal on the Dark Continent. 12-Trim Changes Cars; or, Taking Big Cbances for a Quick Capture 13-Trim in the Main Shaft; or, Hunting

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