Nick Carter's missing detective; or, A warning by telephone

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Nick Carter's missing detective; or, A warning by telephone

Material Information

Title:
Nick Carter's missing detective; or, A warning by telephone
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.: ;

Subjects

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:
030707304 ( ALEPH )
17902301 ( OCLC )
C36-00021 ( USFLDC DOI )
c36.21 ( USFLDC Handle )

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serial

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t ..... hlr ,..n HtCAco NieK eARTER WEEKLY. nte1ed acco1ding to Act of Congress in the yea1 1898 b11 Sl>eet & Slllilh, in the Office of the Librmian of Cong1ess, TI' uslli11gtou, D. 0. Enle1etl cts seconll class ctt the New Ymlc. N. Y., Post Office. ss1te
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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. the school combined, because always blundering at the wrong time and yet invaFiably coming out right side up through some extraordinary luck, tum bled over a chair looking flustered, but eager to do something brilliant., Buff Hutchinson, ex-king of the news boys, acrobatic rough-and-tumble mar vel, with \vits sharp as a raz o r, eyes like an eagle, a heart that absolutely knew no fear-to whom Nick Carter was 3. hero, .and detective service the highest attain able honor-fixed a devouring glance on the telephone as if it was an oracle. The last member of the throng was ..... Paul Elliott. Bob Ferret, the youngest but shrewdest pupil of the school, the star boy detective of New York, had saved Paul's life in Chicago, while down ing plotters who had songht to secure his fortune, and Paul h a d become a stanch friend of Nick's favorite and a constant visitor to the school. These were the five boys who, in a quiet corner of New York that wild, tempestuous ni ght, were suddenly aroused to the most tremendous excitement by a mysterious cry coming in a mysterious way through Nick Carter's telephone. Instantly Jack Burton sprang to the in strument, caught up the receiver, and propelled a sharp inquiry. "Who is it?" r :Bob-hel-11-p !" The startling appeal died down a far away disappearing cry-a quiver se emed to cross the wite as if a rough hand jangled it. "Hello!" No respon se. "Hello! hello! hello!" Still no answer. Jack's face was working with vivid ex citement. Four startled pairs of eyes met his own as he turned. "Switched off," he spoke, simply. "It was Bob-Bob Ferret?" quavered Buff. "It was certainly Bob.'' "And he called 'Help?' "Yes." "Boys, when Bob Ferret calls 'help,' it means something!" "Something is up-what?" propounded Paul Elliott, sharply. 1'hey looked into one another's faces I seeking a solution, a grand panoram reviewal of daring Bob Ferret's paste ploits rushing through each mind, eac thinker knew what to expect. "Bob is in trouble," voiced A lee. definitely. "Worse than that," declared Jad "At a telephoue, suddenly hushed up. I "A boy with the grit of a grin, stone--'' began Paul. "And the go of a gun," put in Buff "Don't signal headquarters with a fa! alarm on such a night as this," add Jack. "On with your togs! This means sharp run.'' "Where to?" propounded Alec k. "That's so," muttered Jack, blank! "Where to?" "One mtnnte !" Quick-witted Paul Elliott brushed Ja aside from the teiephone, and rang t bell vigorously. "Central?" "Yes." "This is Nick Carter's. Party just our wire-want him again." "Broke off. No-can't get him. W l ou t of condition." "It wasn't out of condition a seco ago." "Can't help that-tt is now. May the storm.'' "Who was it-who? Four what? A Thanks. Good-by. 11 -------:-1 Paul dropped the receiver and tl]ad e dive for the directory. 'I:ie had got a number, he sought address. Like lightning his nimble fingers r over,the pages of the book watched wi interes t by his anxious co l p a niohs. J "Got it?" inquired Jack, as Paul the book quickly. "Yes.,' "Where is it?" "Room twenty, Wayne Block." "Off we go!" ordered Jack. "Not of you. Aleck, some one must stay h -let it be you and Larry." "Make it us if you like," said "I shall be terribly anxious till we h what's up," commented Paul, look dreadfully disappointed at the idea being l e ft behind. He realized, howe that he was not an active mem her of

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NICK CARTER 3 panoran, ool and in the haste and excitement t ' re e the moment Jack passed him over. mind, ea 'Twenty, Wayne Block," memorized latter, hurriedly. "Quick's the word teed Alec this is a hurry call, Buff!" as he ticecl the latter diving into a wardrobe. JaclsJaml the front door-down the steps 1shed up: 111 d out into the night like sprinting of a gnn(lantoms swept the prompt pair. Slam 1 the door of a carriage-whirling It 1_11 Buff. ostily by in the lightning's flare, v,;tth a fa l iled, loaded in a flash, and sent shooting add ead again with an address shouted out, bts means d Jack's incisive order. "Fl\'!" "K1;ow where we're going?" was blankl.Jted ont of Jack as the vehicle tore ross the echoing paving stones. 1'Yes," nodded Bt1ff. "Building off the rushed J acbwery-tongh district-regular nest of rang tl 'me. It was Bob?" "No mistake." "What can have happened?" 11 Can't guess." arty just o 11 I can," declared Buff. The ex-newsboy's eyes were burning him. W!!'th excitement and suspense. Bob in ouble meant the other daring' half of [ n a seconfi111self in trouble, for in a late ca s e here both had grazed some hair-breadth Mayb capes Buff bad done his full share. "Go ahead," directed Jack. rhat? Ah "Bob told me to-day that a friend had a-t for him." nd n)ade ''On a case?'' "Bank case." sought a "Ah!" "Didn't have time to talk-said he'd fingers ra home to-nght and would certainly "Yant t:hed wit u help." xwus com, "He gave no hint?" "Said it was the puzzler of his life, and Paul shut e was groping till he got the rights of t-the cleverest game of crime he had i\ler read, heard or dreamed about." ''It makes me curious,'' admitted k '' ack. "Not al l "I'm only anxious," sighed Buff. "I t stay you, it isn't like Bob to waste any 'd Al k ; me he's hurt, till he's got to l ec l1e very last ditch." we h_eax "That's no dream," muttered Jack. started in on his bank c8se, what-1 ea 0 ver it is, he's run up against something ,bhowever articnlarly hard to beat-but if he had er of th me to get to a telephone--': "He didn't have time to say his say," observed Buff, "and that's w hat worries me. "Whoa!" from outside. "Here we are. "Now, then, we'll take our bearings before we rush into a trap," spoke Jack, 5harp1y. Deposited on the pavement, from the carriage across its slippery surface the two young detectives darted to the doorway of a rickety building. Third-rate was written all over it, and it was nested in between a dance hall and a modest blinded structnre that most brazenly thus advertised itself as a gambling resort. Not a light was visible in the bnilding except where its halls cut through into those adjoining. It seemed given over, according to the signs below, to offices for fakirs' novelties, clairvoyants and the like, but as the boys ascended the stairs they guessed that not one room out of five was occupied. "Third floor for twenty," dhected Buff, scanning the numbers on the second "There's twenty," pointed Jack. It was no wonder that both of t hem pressed forward precipitately and with anxiety-that room probably held beyond its portals either the key or the quietus __ to the mystery of Bob Ferret's fate. "The door's open," whispered Buff, in a tremendou::, Butter. "It's been a broker's office," spoke Jack. "No furniture." ''Vacant.'' They had entered the apartment. Lights from buildings across a court, the reflection from street lamps, the al!nost incessant glare of the lightning enablecl a pretty clear investigation of the place. ''Hello!" exclaimed Jack. "What is it?" queried Buff, hurrying eagerly to Jack's side. "Look." "A telephone?" "Busted. Why, it's been smashed out with a single blow, wires torn clear away, kindling wood. Here's the hatchet that did it." "Down-back!" uttered Buff, sharply. ''Some one coming?'' ''Yes.''

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NIC K CARTER WEF.KLY. There was an alcove with a washstand in a shadowed corner. Into it the boys c rowded. They had heard hurried though halting steps iu the hall outside. These now approached. A man came into view, and straight into t h e room where the boys crouched. They noticed that his step was slightl y limping as he looked all about the floor near the telephone. They saw him pick up some cloth object. ''Jack," whispered Buff, positively, 11it's Bob's cap." "Are you stl!e ?" "Dead certain. The man's picking up a little wad of paper, too-removing traces. He's gmng. I'll take that." Buff had no orders he simiJly acted on impulse. In a swinging jump he was fairly upon the intruder. He wrested cap and paper fragment from the grasp of the astonished fellow. The latter uttered a startled cry and made a run for the door. Buff grabbed at him, missed, and stumbled flat a3 the man, reaching the threshold, gave the door a pull shut. He was nearly out in the :1all, but in some way one leg got caught betwd:-11 door and its jamb. That limb Buff grabbed, holding on ;-,_.......-with the tenacity of a vise. The man wriggled, squirmed. Buff's fingers clinched his foot like set pincers. "Qnck, Jack, quick!" he spoke. "He's drawing a weapon. Tear open the doorget him down. My stars!" Bumpetty-bump-tngging at the foot to prevent its owner from slipping away, bac;,k went Buff all of a sudden. The dour went slam shut. There must have been a key in it, for it was locked, too. Buff looked at the spot where the man l1ad been and now was not. He stared at that part of him that he had left behind. Never more startled in his life, Buff realized that his active antagonist had "come apart. His leg had come off! With a queer kind of a thri11 Buff stared at it vagnely. "He's 11l ipped us, Jack!" he gasped, quickly-" he's slipped us by leavi n g frie hind h im hi s cork leg!" ms, ch t CHAPTER II. THE CORK LEG. Bang-bang! 'vVe 'Ca 'Wh 'Th Immediatel y through the door pa'Set c ame two crashing. bullets. A wl Buff sprang to his feet and of range. His com pan ion crowded clo\ co the alcove. 'vVl "He's a hot one!" muttered "What you got?" for Buff had held Ol'Ye1 the queer personal belonging left by the late intruder. "His cork lea ,. "Never!" "Isn't it-just. Listen to that!" A perfect babel of whistles and sh<,ff's rang out beyond the door. ;'An "He's signaling some one." aerl "We must get out of this room, clared Jack. "You see-Bob has been here." ')ack "Of course he has. Is that his c;e P Yes And the little wad of paper?" "Looks like a crumpled card. No to look at it now." le "We're in for it!" reported Jack. trd. He had run to the two windows of Th room and then to a side door, and he e now running hack to the alcove. 1 Y "What's the matter, Jack?" als:: "Windows barred the whole ''And the door?'' .p1 : "Bolted on the other side, I Anvway, solid as rock Some one els't Hear that!'' "U: The listened intently. A new spoke out. It hailed the man who I B1 "T. lost his leg. "What's up, Tyrell?" )tar "Two in there." 1ck. "Two what?" "\"\' "Spies, meddlers-got my leg." 1 th "Eh ?" "Ir "You know who number one was ?111ild i ''Ferret. '' n "One of Carter's best." e "Well, he's caged safe enough. v "With two more of the same kind after us! I tell you, Wolcott, they'retck. there, I tell yon they've gotmy leg! P."Y to let it go or get nabbed." < "That deuced telephone!" Th "Yes, number one got a messageck.

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 5 s by sure. We were not in time, it ns, to preveot him. Who knows how II. LEG. ch they know-what he's told them?" 'We've got to cut for it, then." 'Can't." 'Why not?" ''They've settled it." the door pa!'Settled what?" d d d A whispered word was spoken. A dis n d 0d gleqncerted shout rang from the lips of the row e c ost comer. -tt d J 'What!" he cried, in an excess of pro-u ere d d. , '"x'l t 1, b d h ld n 1smay. vv 1a i a 1 fet b 01 'Yes, it was in my cork leg for safe >'1ng e e p111g. 'What's that?" muttered Buff, prickup his ears sharply. "I h' h k 1 t tl t 1 t, somet 1ng, was 111 t e cor eg. l t0l Ia d 1 )Wn into the hollow of the false limb s es an s lC Iff's qUick fingers groped. r HAnything there?" whispered Jack, e: t...erly. 1s room I 'Yes-can't make out what it is. S e e, r here package big as your fis t. Feels soft, th at his c e paper. Jack, we've bagged something p a p er?" portant. Hear the new fellow rave ., 'fk c a rd No t out 1t. a e care. 'l'bey heard the knob of the door grind t e d J ack. ud. The new-comer had jumped up o n wind o w s of I or a nd he The transom over the door was pushed dily out, and fell to the floor, crashing k ? ' ss and frame. 1ole I e nt>tt A..Je ird, probing arm came in, fired at "' twice, drew out, and its owner si de I auJoppe d to the hallway with a slam of me ; l slth feet. "Unlock that door he ordered his A new v mpanion. an who } "But--" "They're caged, aren't they? They're ot armed. If they were, they would fire "We'll have the force dowu on us with j l this uoise!" "In this howling storm-in this empty one was?" 1ilding? Unlock the door, I say. It's No more to cage, it's that to get back, if e have to wade through blood to get it!" 1ough." "Whatever we here for without p am e kind ing armed, I don't know," muttered 'tt, they're ck. 1y leg. 11 t my leg! H "You 1ltlrried me so, I never thought of explained Buff. There was a noisy fumbling at the "Let us make a bold run," suggested Buff. "What for?" "That side door. Both together-slam against it with all your force. One, two, three-go!" It was "go!" for ooth boys and door The door was bolted on the other side, but the massed human catapult took it by storm. In it went, off its top hinges, and across its tilting surfqce the two frieuds slid, bnding in a heap on the floor be yond. Buff had dropped the cork leg. The package it contained, however, he stowed in his pocket. The glare of a light across the court illumined the apartment so they could see that it was finished as a bed chamber, but it l1eld no occupant. Buff's sharp eyes scanned every object in the room. He found no we apon, but he
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( 6 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. ''Yes.'' "Take jt out." "Got it," reported Jack. ''Stow it safe. Now then nm to the bed." "I say--" ''Jack, if yon delay it may mean everything. For once let me have my way." "A good way thus far, so I'm all here for orders!'' "Is there a mattress on the bed? Wait a minute.'' Crash!" The m.an in the hall had poked in his l1ead and fired, having discovered by tins tlme where the fugitiv es were lodged. "k\11 right," tranquilly resumed Buff. "He's gone back for repairs acrain." "There's a thick hair on the bed." "Off with it." "If I only knew." "Do as I say. Can you hold it in front of yon?'' "Lift it and walk, you mean?" "J nst that." "Yes, see?" "Unlock the door, hold the mattress as a shield. Get across the ha11 to the stairs and slide down those banisters for street as if your life depended on it.'' "See here, Buff--" "No,. see there. That packet may be the all-1mportant clue in this case. We can't risk that. Get it safe] v somewhere -that's the vital point just ;1ow." "And yon ?" "Oh, I'll hold the fort till you cret help. Go. Throw back the door. Ma;'ch out.'' Bang-bang! The minute the movincr mattress shield . "' came mto v1ew, two revolvers blazed at it from the door not thirty feet distant. Crash-crash! As the two hurried eagerly for ward-the cnppled fellow by huacrincr the wall on his dismantle d side let drive those terrible glass halls more. One of them struck one of the men squarely in the forehead. Amid a de lucre of chemicals and glass splinters he backward whirling and spluttering. CHAPTER III. "THE LONG GREEN." lin g "Good!" voiced Buff, exultantly. still Jack had crossed the hall in safety_ha dropped the mattress. Then Buff sa\\:age slide the bannisters in a flash and t e w that he and the package frdm the:sm leg was safe. =e a He poised the last of the crrenad'ff f h?d in hand as he saw the si l11s weapon. sc Buff to?k a g ood aim, but if abruptly distracted. The cripple fire le n bullet struck the grenade. ,me "Phew!" choked Buff, half bli f t wholl y rattled, and he stacrcrered bacle t to the room and shut and fo""cked the \cr o He planned to instantly. secure a he s u p pl y of the grenades and hold th, c t emy at bay till Jack retmned with jnd but this opportunity was not afforded 'de The door he had locked went open with a crash, and at it stood the:'m legged man, while at the one he and ere had forced, the other man as sudG fu s appeared. mu "After -me hot and heavy!" mutlhe}' Buff, grimly. s h He dared not risk making for anr A section of the pipe had come lck } H e dropped with it, being slamBu: agamst a lower section ten feet down.1se Fortunately, the stout metal onh

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NIOK CARTER WEEKLY. 7 III. wayed for a moment as on a swing}REEN. '' tinge, caught at the portion of the exultantly. still intact, and reached the ground 1all in safety hands pretty badly cut up. 'hen Buff sa\ aged!" flash and e word surged to his lips with no lit fro'm the smay as he took a scurry and a keen e around the place. the arenad ff found himself in a blind court. the y single lower window was screen wire the thickness of his lim, but i r. e cripple fire e next story windows he might reach me vigorous climbing, but the last ff, half bli f these was provided with bars. aggered hac Je third story windows of the build j locked tl1e cross the court were a blaze of light, tlysecure a he sound of clinking glasses and gay nd hold th c told that a riotous crowd was withrued with ]nd these sounds would drown out any 10t afforded ide cry amid the fierce battling of the d went sudcJents. it s tood thel'm pmned in like a rat in a trap," one he and ered Buff. "They've began." an as sud fusilacle instantly started in. Desper murderous fellows were those aloft, avy !" mut bey began peppering away at Buff as .s life was no more to them than that ing for an fly. tting for sh tiT's only chance of safety seemed to a bullet s n keeping in constant motion. e dodged, ducked and dove, and then ping across one of the slate slabs with -the court was paved, made a diseked? No. ry, and proceeded to nWize it. sash a slid 1e slab rocked; it was loose. It was and easily lifted. 'n a jiffy. T tting a purchase, Buff wedged its th a grue ng side directly toward the upper lows, held it on a safe incline with d, despera strong shoulder, and soliloquized tran" ly. darNow then, fire-you can't hit me if f 1ng tty. Hello! Gone. Coming down ;h of hght after me? No. Some one else? tin a wall alo'" water pipe. two bullets pattered Qll the sid; of His hand cltt's unique fortress. followed some vivid ejaculations, ward. window held up came down with a Buff, in fer 1. Peering cautiously and recognizing orm at the other, Buff called up a had come 1 k hail. eing slam Buff?" came the eager challenging refeet down. 1se in Jack's quick voice. eta] only bYes-those fellows? Just left." ''The police are after them. Come up.'' "Throw me a lifeline." Buff ran up the basemeut wire screen like a born gymnast, and clutched the first story window sill, but at the top of its barred window frame he halted per force. Jack lowered a sheet, and his spry com rade shortly stood by his side. They put out promptly into the hall. Three police officers, looking in their dripping raiu coats as if they were mailed, were darting hither and thither,_ opening doors, peering into rooms, flashing dark lanterns into all coal bins, scurrying from corridor to corridor. A man wearing a roundsman 's uniform came abruptly through one of the arches cut into the next building. "You've lost your game," he announced to Jack. "That so?" murmured the latter, disappointedly. "Seems it. I suppose you know that this building has been the favorite manyexit place for all kinds of sharpers for a long time?" "I d idn't know it, but I see it's au excellent place for a confidence man to leave a victim at the bottom of the street entrance, to wait till he runs up stairs to 'cash a check.' "And he'd wait till doomsday, exactly. The lay of the land is just this: Those fellows might run to a dozen coverts. It's a labyrinth, the next building. I've heard there's tunnels between some of the gambling places, saloons, thieves' boozing kens and the like that mostly take up this square.'' "And our men are thoroughly familiar with the territory?" "Oh! that, sure." "Then we know where to look for them later. Come on, Buff." "Going to give up the search?" ob jected Buff. "Do you think it good policy to penetrate a spot where those fellows would recognize us at once, without preparation?'' "Oh, you're coming back?" "Slightly!" Jack had told the officers he had summoned who he was. He thanked them now, got to the curb

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8 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. with Buff, and both were soon whirling homeward in the carriage. "Bob?, was the first inquiry of his th.ree anxious friends, as the boys entered N1ck Carter's library jus t hour after they had left it. "\Ve haven't found Bob, but we're golllg to,'' reported Buff. "Yes," nodded Jack, "we're forced to take things in their order. We've found Bob's cap, we know who nabbed him-a fellow with a cork leg--" "Named Tyrell," put in Buff. "\Ve have probably, further," contin tled Jack, "got hold of something that Bob was after-an important clue to his proceedings What you aot Buff?" ((01 "' 1! the httle wad of paper? Here it IS. 11 Bob produced and opened a crumpled piece of thin pasteboard. (( (Egbert Wadhams, assistant payina teller, Traders' )..Iercantile Bank read. "I'll bet Bob dropped that.'" ( ( \Ve've struck his starter that's sure declared Jack, convincedly.' in the package I gave you?" 1nquned Buff in turn. "Found in the cork leg? Here it is." Jack br?ught to a parce l done up smoothly 111 a small sdk handkerchief. It was knotted at the corne rs. A curi ous, eager gronp circled him as he laid back flap after flap of the coverina. ((1'1 1 b 1e ong green!" remarked Larry who liked always to be "technical. ( ( '!'ref Buff ran tl1e steps and rang the bell. A servant answered its

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 9 [ r. Wadhams was at home. She led clown the hall, rapped at a door, 1ed it, and Nick Carter' s detective nee of il fonud himself in the presence of a of pacing the floor nervously. 1ve schoo here wa.s a worried, gloomy challenge wa is tired eyes as he questioningly sur-to urge ed his visitor. night, to Are yon Mr. Egbert Wadhams, teller apperta the Traders' Bank?" inquired Buff, Jsappear mptly. st_enous I was," answered the man with a sigh nJtecl_ S 'until yesterday." rely 1n 1 'Oh !"muttered Buff, understandiugly, them U ] then he plunged at once into his sub e seyere t. "Mr. Wadhams, I am from Kick rter's. One of his pupils sent in a mys ious call for help two hours ago. We ot the lowed it up, to find in a room where he under d evidently been overpowered, your esente d." "It was Ferret!" projected the bank e-squ ler ea
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10 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. thousand, that the ink on the first check would fade out before one o'clock." "Fade out!" cried the startled Buff. "Mr. Wadhams, I have heard of invisible writing that under the development of fJre comes out clear, of so-called sympathetic ink that changes color under a chemical test, but of ink that shows up black, clear, perfect one bonr, and leaves no trace the next--" "Absolutely not!" half groaned the teller. "The strongest magnifying glass fails to show the slightest abrasion of the fibre of the paper. No, these clever men have discovered a new combi11ation in chemicals that does just what has been done here.'' "Clever, indeed," murmured Buff. "Ferret says they have a power in their grasp that will enable them to commit the most glaring forgeries and defy the presentation of a single proof. He says that to run them down, to callture their de vice, would be to save the commercial world from one of the most dangerous menaces it has ever known." "Whew!" half whistled the ast(" Jd l Buff. HBob was right wJ1en he c;;aid had struck a puzzler.'' "Ferret went at. once to 11otel. The man was gone, traps and everything." "And that is all!" questioned Bnff. "Except that I have been counting the minutes til1 I should hear from my young detective friend, and now yon tell me he has run into some unknown peril in my behalf--" "Don't look so serious, Mr. Wadhams. If running into peril, as you ca11 it, wqs not necessary, there would be 110 such thing as detectives. I have a question to ask." "Yes?" "Do yon think that is the money you paid out on Wolcott's first check." Buff here produced the package he had found in the cork leg. "The same, the very same, I am positive! Why, what is this? The bills are cnt in two!" ''As you see.'' "Only half of them are here!" "Yes." The perplexing discovery dazed the bank teller as if he had been dealt J t den blow. Buff instantly related every detail c case up to date. ;o "My friend," voiced the teller, dis 1 edly, almost pleadingly, "my poslh my honor, the little home I posses!;l family's welfare, all-all depends O!b recovering the other half of those notes!" i "That's what we're helping B reach,'' observed Buff. t "Those alone are worthless, nnred able. If yon can find the rest of th oh, if you only can!" "The outlook is clear, that's one faction," remarked Buff. "We kno"' men. It is true that with that blank c' you have not an iota of proof ag them, bt1t we shall nail them." 11 I fervently Jiope so. Their wondt fading ink--" "Is not half as much of one other thing," said Buff. ''And that is?'' "Why those treasury notes in. two.'' CHAPTER V. IIAWK EYE BILL. Buff went back to Nick Carter's he with the complete "r1ghts of the cas hand" very clearly settled in 1J1s mind, to his own way of thinking. There was deft and delicate work a h There were points in the affair strongly appealed to his keen professi zest aml instinct, outside of anxiety his 111issing friend, Bob Ferret. Except for this abduction phase of matter, not even the police had a rigl distmb Wolcott__ and his one-limuec complice. There was no proof in existence \Volcott had drawn more than what longed to him, and until his aetna] session of a fading ont ink was settle jnry, like the bank, would be very s tical of the teller's remarkable claim. "It's getting next to those two 1 Wolcott and Tyrell, that is the first' in view," planned Bnff-"it's get 11ext to them and keeping next to t for a spell, and how am I going to it?" For, arriviqg at Nick's home,

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 11 Jeen dealt a1 that Jack, taking Paul Elliott and with him, had returned to the scene ery detail stirring events of the earlier even-o reconuoi tre. teller, dis 11 ri
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12 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. "That's it," proceeded the customer, volubly. "Paper, board or cork, says my friend, provided it fits out." "\Ve do not keep any supplies." "No?" "' "No." The customer scratched his frowsy head dubiously. "I suppose I couldn't get one anywhere near you know of?" he interrogated. "Why, yes, I do-Slade & Hemphill." "Is that far?n ''Just two squares down the street.'' The customer made a wry grimace, as if for some personal reason a public appearance along that distance meant the risk of his life. "Couldn't-couldn't you send for it?" he inquired, anxiously. "Boy away-alone in the store. It's only a step. The customer took many a look down the street before he ventured ou his errand. He finally started ahead as if 1 w:..:;' going to a fire, and Buff had to ,, e tall walking to keep him in sight. For Buff had startet1 up as if elee:rfied the instant tl1e fellow had made his pecu liar wants known. "After a false leg?" he soliloquized. "It's easy to guess who it's for. Scared to death to show his nose for fear of being nabbed. Here's a rare layout of luck, but how am I going to utilize it to my own advantage? Hello!" Buff stared. Just as the fellow ahead of him pnssed a dark doorway, out stepped a slim, spruce fellow right on his trail. He lifted his hand with a quick gesture, as from a like covert across the street a second brisk individual started into view, keeping pace with his signaller, the width of the street between them. "What's this, now?" muttered Buff. The fellow after the artificial limb bolted into the drug store he hacl been directed to. Then the two men who had shadowed him met in front of it, exchanged some quick words, and glided one each alongside the shadow of its two large door posts. ''Detectives,'' guessed the interested Buff. "That's what-and how wiJltep ba affect my plans.'' "!red R Buff loitered slowly up to the
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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 13 how will tep back a little, and I'll tell you," red Buff. to the < drew his captor to one side. Buff bas if wai nly to whisper a magic name in the tive's ear to instantly have his he decla eous attention-Nick Carter. 1e fellow f d then, pointing to the crestfallen r the door keye Bill, Buff outlined a scheme ndle uncle would have done entire credit to ad found Carter himself. een sent wont, on hrust out CHAPTER VI. A HOT TRAIL. vie_w. 1ere were two things that Buff could Blll !" o perfection; make up to represt.ut safe bore haracter and mimic like a ventrilo e astouis arched 1 siillply told the city detective that s to Nick Carter's interest in a case he crestfa yet ripe for public attention that he ld take up Hawkeye Bill's career d the mar e the young burglar had laid it l!ave wai n, to receive his he;;trty co-operation. nng out, twenty minutes after he had been .who eel in a cell, Bill wore Buff's clothes, e c1ty, the latter tried to feel the c.h:uacter you was ad resolved to act under what might out to be peculiarly risky circumive me ces. streperous ill was loyal to his friends. He must a had a suspicion as to the imposi <, '1 for no amount of persua against <..vUJd induce him to tell anything 1t the hauut he had just left nor his ak." tions with the person who had sent as its 1i for the cork leg. years.'' ?'' inqui the artific It's a blind break," said one of tl1e ctives to Buff. I know it is, but I've got to get to man this cork leg is intended for," tate, gent ared Buff. 'Say," observed the other officer, ou '11 be taken in for the real Bill, if ng Hawke of our precinct men run across you." on, and h l\Iade up well?" ff, who h 'Famous!" Pit conver 'Have I got the voice down fine: ted one anuii'1g n ou ?" manded v, fellies, I'm innocent. See?' he appreciative laughter of the two ctives satisfied Buff that he had ght Hawkeye Bill's accent and man isms completely. oner's ar uff went back to the vicinity of the ing that bling place preparing himself for all ible tests of his genuineness that might be made, by guessing out what snags might lay in his course. He went up the narrow stairway down whi.::h Hawkeye Bill had come an hour previous with a bold swagger, and knocked at the door at the top. "What's the word?" came promptly with the shooting back of the wicket. "Word, nothing:" growled Buff. "This'll do for a passport, I guess." "What will?" "Tyrell's leg. Didn't he send me out after it, I'd like to know! Keep a fellow lwre all night! That's right! Get me jugged. Mighty nigh it, running all over the city." The door opened like magic. Buff had made an audacious break, but it settled the fact in his mind that Tyrell was a power in the establishment. He found himself in a little anteroom. Beyond a cmtained doorway he could make out card tables, and the click of ivory chips told that games were in active progress. "Where's Tyrell?" demanded Buff, coolly. "Where yon left him, of course, in that room, and piping hot crutching it, when there's some fresh birds to pick in yonder.'' "In vonder" was of course the main apartment, and as there was only one other <}oor visible, Buff decided that it must opeu iuto "that room." "Well, you're a good one, I don't think!" hailed him the minute he crossed the threshold of an apartment where two a men sat. Buff braced up, for he knew both in a flash. One was the cripple whom he had divested of his cork leg, the other his companion in the onslaught ou the room with the telephone in it-Wolcott. "Couldn't help it," growled Buff, slouching up and handing over the pack age he had taken from Hawkeye Bill. "Couldn't help it!" sr.apped Tyrell, irritably. Does it take an hom to go across the street.'' "They didn't keep any legs across the street. I had to go farther.'' "How much was it?" This was a stumper! Buff was in a quandary. This phase of the had not presented itself to him before.

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.. 14 NICK CAU'I'EH. WEEKL'::. At the station Hawkeye Bill's money, "You do this job squarely, thorougd jewelry, and other personal belongings secretly, and it won't be any miserly 1 had been takeu in charge by the lock-np hundred dollars." r keepers. "Won't it, now?" o "All you gave me," blurted out Bnff "Double. k desperately. "Say! you 're generous, seeing an "What!" fairly shouted the incredulous won't take long." :r Tyrell-"seventyfive dollars for a cheap, "No, of course it mustn't take looct papier-mache contrivance tl1at don't half retorted Wolcott, and Buff was squels< fit and looks second-hand! See here--" in his effort to draw outtE "Oh, let it go," luckily broke in \Vol-hberal emplorer he had just cott just here. "I suppose the f e llow is "We gnarantee to get you out of like the rest of us-on the makt:-a city so no prying cop will spot yc1 off for his risk, that's all." went on Wolcott. "Meantime, sm! "You're right, governor," assented snooze, drink here at your will. No' Buff with a jerky nod that was a stroke will intrude on you." t< of genius. "Oh, I'll be busy getting the kits "Waste no time on the trifle of a few order, you know." 3 odd dollars,'' went on Wolcott, "when ''Yes, that's it. Better lock the(' there's two green ones in the next room after me so no one will ready to pluck." you." 1 "Who are they?" qu-estioned Tyrell. ''All right." "Oh, some fellows who fairly broke Buff gave a chuckle the minute he I thei r way in-one a young sport who alone. don'tknowonecard fromanotherandis "Made it!" he gloated; "not c throwing his money away as if it wa s ma t-:e it, but neck 2nd heels right in matches, and the other a ga\"k of a > these two fellows. Never struck a f bumpkin. See here, Bill." note or made a wrong break. Oh, I "On hand, governor!" replied Buff. H awkeye Bill to the end of the cl1a1 While Tyrell was adjusting _the new w1th Tyrell and Wolcott! The btm substitute for his missing limb, Wolcott though, the 'kit,' tile 'job'! What's: crossed over to a door, opened it, and pected of me? I'd better find tnat beckoned Buff to follow. before I begin to crow." Buff lifted the bundle. It w.1 He shook it. It rattled. The new apartment held the ordinary furniture of a sleeping-room, but upon a table was a good-sized bundle done up in heavy mauilla paper. "Came while you were away, announced Wolcott, touching tht! bundle with his hand. "Ah ?" mum bled Buff, cautiously. "Yes, I got just what you listed." "That's right. "And now you're pro\'ided for, I sup pose ?'' ''Sure.'' "Get your kit in order then. I don't say we'll start right away, but I want you to be prepared at a minute's notice.'' "I'll be ready on the tap of the bell!" declared Buff, energetically. the way to talk. You know what I told you this afternoon?'' Buff began to flounder. "We11, what of it?" he veutnred, audaciously. He opened it. A dozen or more sma parcels rolled out upon the table. Buff uudid the largest of the Several pieces of steel were revealed. Buff gave a prodigious start. u : 01 in it deep," he breathed. ':l\li have guessed it, though. Here's a jin -a burglar's sectional jimmy-and 1 a brace and bit, and this-cold pincers. Oh, it's a 'kit', sure enoug and I'm expected to use them Buff sat down to cast up the situat On the whole, it rather pleased him. It was one of the most novel he ever encountered. He had been right in guessing that mere securing of the twenty dollars from the Traders' Mercantile B was only a step in some broader sche In this, if luck favored, he was to 1 an acti\"e part, and he saw along the

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NICK OAR'lER WEEKLY. 16 rely, thorou inds of possibilities of learning why any miserl} bank notes had been cut in two, re their other half was, anc!, most ortant of all, what had become of k Carter's missing detective, Bob s, seeing a r et. approached the door he had just tn 't take l.ot!fed, and listened. Then he ventured ff was squel oftly turn the key and open the door to draw out ere crack. ust discovere yrell and Wolcott had left the roomt out of undoubtedly gone into the main wtll. spot y 1 bling apartment to pluck "the birds" ntuue, jatter had told abo11t. 1r will. 'I'll take a peep beyond the curtain cler to see how the layout looks," ing the ki sed Buff. "No, I won't. Whew!" 3uff gave a tremendous aspiration, and lock the ea1endous start accompanied it. happt>n in 'rom the main gambling room just n arose a reckless, hilarious cry: 'One hundred dollars a side!" hat was Paul Elliot's vo1ce, unmis ably. 'Whoop it up! We've got money to ls right in rn !" r struck a f l'hose were the toues of Jack Burton. reak. Oh uff's eyes opened to the fell reafi:,:aof the d an exciting fact. The bun Two other members of Nick' Carter's 1 \Vhat's tective circle had struck the hot trail find til at well as himself! CHAPTER VII. r more smal AT BAY. table. "The deuce!" muttered Buff in some t of the 1 maY. revealed. He was so startled to find a sudden tart. mphcation arise in his smooth-sailing athed. "Mi ans, t!Jat he ventured across the inter1, ere's a jim ning apartment and peered past its limy-and t tntains. chise "They're there, sure enough," breathed sure enougl uff. "What can they !10pe to find out?" em!" At a table sat fonr persons-Wolcott Hl 'l'yrell, Paul Elliot and Jack Burton. "ased hun. The latter was made up in one of the novel he I st disguises in the Carter wardrobe. From head to foot he was the typical that ggling, big-mouthed country bumpkin enty thous "siting the city for the first time with ercantile Ba ent'y of money to spare. oader sche1 Just as carefully disguised, only at the he was to ta her extreme-the sma-t, self-<:ouceited :doug the Ji 1eap sport-Paul Elliot was doing his best to sustain a character, costly, but bound to make him a welcome visitor to this den of vice. Bob Ferret had saved to Paul a fortune and his good name, and Buff instantly guessed that it would not be a question of hundreds or even thousands with Paul when it came to getting any kind of a footingthat would put him on the track of his missing comrade. "A hundred a side!" he beard repeat, and Jack, playing aptly the city dazzled enthusiast, pulled out a great wallet that made Tyrell's eyes glisten with covetous expectancy, boisterously exclaiming: "Whoop it up! We've got money to burn!'' The cards were dealt, two schemers of course being partners. There was a quick run through the pasteboards, and at every hand, because they did not understand them or pur posely, Paul made some mistake or Jack some fool-break. Tyrell drew in the stakes with a pleased smile and touched a bell. A nimble darky shot forward from the alcoved sideboard at the end of the room. Tyrell ordered a cigar. The others re fused. As the cripple took a match from the server he stared hard at the waiter. ''Hello!'' he exclaimed. ''Who are you?" "Me, sah-why, sah, l'se de gemman as runs de boofey, it seems to me.'' "Great goodness!" ejaculated Buff. "N um her three!" There was nothing familiar in the sable attendant but his voice, and that voice belonged to Lany Moore. "Oh, you're 'the gemman,' you!" sneered Tyrell. "Whe;:e's Dan, the regu lar?'' "Reg'lar done out to-night, sah," came the prompt explanation. "Spelled him, sah, spell him till mawnin ', sa h." "Oh, that's it? Your deal, Wolcott." Buff studied the disappearing form of the pretended darky thoughtfully. How Larry had got appointed substi tute for the regular waiter he could only guess-bribery, a bold and clever assump tion-there were many ways. So far Larry was making a great pla};, but Buff trt:mbled, as he recalled past

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16 NIUK CARTER WEEELY. experiences in which the well-intentioned but heedless amateur had blundered at the wrong time. He d rew back as Larry, who had been loitering about from spot to spot arrc.ug ing chairs, putting aside cards, dusting off uilused tables, approached the very apartment where he lurked. Buff retreated to the next room, nearly closing its door. He was not unwilling to have a word with Larry, to get an inkling of the intentions of his three friends, but he did not wish to startle him by too suddeu a revelation. Larry shook out the curtains bi1sily. Buff saw him glance keenly into the large room, and then as if sure no one was watching he made a swift glide across the smaller one. Two overcoats hung on hooks, they belonged to Wolcott and Tyrell. Over them slid the nimble fingers of the disguised Larry, paused at a pocket, dove into it, and his hand came out with a jerk and he barely suppressed a cry of delight. "The other half of the banknotcs !' breathed the staring, startled Buff, himself thrown completely off h_is ba lance. He caug_ht a flash of "the long green," he marked indisputably the san1c keencut edges, the same bulk, the same shape and form as of the other half he carried in an inside pocket. At that moment, as Larry stood quivering with animation and Buff was about to reveal himself, there came a sharp hail from the next room. "Hey! Dan, Cuff, whoever you arecigars!" sah! yes, sah !" answered Larry, thrusting the package into his pocket and gliding past Buff's \iew. "He's got them," soliloquized Buff he's got the banknotes-he's been nosing around everywhere with a purpose I saw him fumbling among the coats near the side board, ransacking its drawers. Larry, your bull-headed mascot luck has counted you another score!" Buff came back to the curtains. Cards and money were flying at the table where his two other friends sat. Buff's glance passed beyond then to where Larry had stationed himself. He stood near tJ.e sideboard, and keen observing Bnff trnced su bel ued excitement even under his sable mask. He saw Larry tear a strip from the blank edge of a newspaper lying there, pencil on it, fold the sera p and start for ward. "What's he up to?" 111 uttered the watchful Buff. Larry hovered about the table where Jack and Paul sat. As the latter dropped a card Larry bent to pick it up. Buff imagined he slid the note he had written into Paul's hand, for Larry instantly sauntered away. The next moment he learned his mistake, and his pulses quickened as he saw a lowbrow-ed hanger-on of the place, who was watching the game, lean forwar t It was to pick up the wad o, parJcr, read it, look slightly puzzled, and then with a suspicious expression of face arise and walk behind the chair iu Tyrell sat. He deftly whispered in Tyrell's ear, and placed the outspread paper across his knee. Tyrell looked surprised. Then he gave a vivid start. His face grew red, then white, his eye flared. and throwi11g down his cards to the amazement of the others at the table he called out harshly. "Hey, you darky! come I .._r, ''Yes, sah! yes, sah!'' assented L,dlLJ > ambling up promptly. He might been wan1ed by the look in Tyrell's eye. Still, he advanced without a trewor, straight up to the cripple. Just as he got within arm's reach, Tyrell made a grab. It was to pull Larry's head tnomentarjly under his ann, as suddenly some design accomplished, to throw him forcibly back. The staring Buff felt that a critical moment had arrived. Tyrell had rubbed the lampblack off one cheek of the pretended darky Tyrell had pulled off forcibly the kinky wig he wore. Unmasked to the most casual glance, panting slightly, Larry stood waiting for the next development. "Who are you?"

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NICK CARTEH WEEKLY. 17 In a malevolent hiss Tnell drove out the words. Jack and Paul sprang up. Buff saw them make a movement that placed them between Larry and Tyrell. The latter gave a spring forward. Quick as a flash he had drawn out a longbladed knife. "Stand back!" he ordered to Jack, who was most in his path. "Thelte's something wrong here." "No!" voiced Jack, sharply, and one hand went to his hip pocket. "Ah! you're armed this time, are you?" shouted Tyrell in a gibe of hissing fury. "What do you mean by 'this time'?" nemanded Jack, cool as a cucumber. ,Jean-up! the last one of you!" cried Tyrell, taking in every person in the room in a flashing glance-"Nick Carter's spies are in your midst!" "What's that!" cried a dozen voices ln Un1S011. "Wolcott," continued the cripple, wavi11g the scrap of paper in his hand "a message from that pretended darky to these pretended greenhorns! Listeu: 'Have got the other half of the long green. Shall I signal the police?' "Confusion!" fairly yelled Wolcott. Click-a chorus of sharp, ominous SOl' 1 ,_menacingly from all parts of room. A slow approaching circle began to draw a deathline about the three devoted detective friends. Buff's breath came quick. The culminating moment of a great trisis impended. He looked about for some weapon in a frenzied way. A cane lay against a pipe that, with a little wheel attached to it, ran out from the wall. "What does that message mean?" Tyrell's snarling voice rang out wondrously clear. "Find out!" Brave as a lion, Jack Burton shot forth the bold defiance. Buff reached for the cane but passed it by as he guessed the mission of the wheel and pipe. Click! in the outside room-three seconds might mean three precious lives. Snap! at the side of the ex-king of the newsboys of New York. Buff had turned the wf1eel that con trolled the gas supply, and in one swift second the entire place was plunged in to darkness. CHAPTER VIII. BEATEN BACK. The wildest confusion instantly prevailed. "Make safe for home with what you've got!" Buff heard Jack's incisive voice direct to Larry. The roar, rush and clatter that precedes an anticipated police descent rang through the main gambling room. Chairs banged over, tables jarred, and bodies came in contact and footsteps scurried and stumbled. If the room had not been so closelv blinded the outside street lights would have afforded some illumination. As it was, the sudden transition made the place appear as dark as the bottom of some shut-in pit. Buff could not remain inactive. He took a half-glide, half-slide across the floor, aimed directly for the spot where he had last seen Jack ana Paul standing. He bolted up against some one-he ventured a guess. "Jack," he spoke quickly, but with cat1tion. "Jack Burton." "Buff!" "S-st! Take my hand, bring the others. Follow softly." He began to pull Jack gently along. He could o .nly hope that his other two comrades were in Jack's tow. Getting past the curtains, however, Buff soon learned by reaching out that Jack alone was with him. "The others?" "They'll take care of themselves. It's all arranged. "But--" Kipetty-snap! Buff gave J a pull past the curtains. Some one in the room had just thought of casting light on the scene by springing up a shade. Buff took a hurried glimpse through the main apartment. So far as he could make out from vague

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1 8 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. outlines, Paul and Larry were not among A long, perilous venture lay before the groping, jostling mob. him. There was no point to be made in "You must get out," spoke Buff, hur-retaining possession of them, rather a riedly. personal risk. "That's what I want to
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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 19 'What was consuming Buff's very soul with anxiety and suspense more than all else, however, was an added torture he could scarcely eudure. Jack had not caught the dropped bundle of the cut-in-two bank bills. In full v iew, just below, lay that precious parcel that had been wrested from the cork leg. Buff's eyes w e re glued upon it. Jack haci miss ed it, Jack in the scurry of es cape had not understood Buff's directions when he dropped the package. Buff dared not descend. He would be seen, he would come suspiciously in full view of Wolcott and the others. Then something happened that dashed his very last hopes-confusion, sudden not, in the paved space below Wolcott and his cohorts, actiug on some hastily arranged plan, made a dodging forward movement. They did not fire at Jack-tliey did not s eem to want to alarm the street outsidebut they kept their weapons in menacing play, and were practically surrounding him. Jack backed out of the conrt slowly. He held his weapon directed straight in front of him. His enemies gained a few inches at every !'tep, but dared not risk too sudden ;:)uclden ly, like a ph an tom cleaving space, a dark fignt e shot down from the direction of the street. It was Larry. He looked heroic, even with his streaked face, his ruffied hair, his incon gnwus disordered attire. He reached the fire plug, and there he stopped. Buff saw his hand whirl the wreuc h handle around like lightning, once, twice, three times. There was a splutter, a bursting hiss. Buff saw him spring to the nozzled end of the hose. Up it came. "Run!'' That one word Larry hurled at Jack. Then he prepared to cover his escape. Directing the terrific spurt of water that now gushed forth squarely at Wolcott and the others, Larry stood undaunted as some fireman on the edge of a crumbiing roof. Raining forth a distracting, confusing deluge, a force blinding, breath-depriving sense-bewildering, Larry toppled over two men outright, drove another slam against the building as if pushed, made the others run for cover. Down went the hoze. Like a sprite Larry put back for the street. Before Wolcott could recover his w i t the space was empty-both boys had d s appeared. "After them!" snarled a rageful voice just under the window where Buff stood watching palpitatingly, and out came Tyrell. "They're gone, safe enough," retorted Wolcott. "It's a run, boys,'' to those about him. "The police will probably be down on us inside of five minutes.'' "Ha !" Buff's heart sank like lead. Tyrell had discovered what he feared he wou1d discover, for it lay directly in his path. With an eager start the cripple made out the package of cut-in-two banknotes. With a great, gloating cFy he seized i t Buff groaned in spirit. The precious package that had been the reward of so much peril and adven ture was once more back in the possession of his enemies. CHAPTER IX. BUFF, THE BURGLAR. Buff closed another chapter in the his tory of the muti:ated treasury notes by gently closing down the window. He turned the key in the lock of the door threw himself on the bed, rolled up in a blanket, and prepared to await fur ther developments. Soon they came. The sharp, snarliiJ g voice of the cripple sounded in the ne. t room: "Who t'..lrned off the gas-that's whnt I want to know!" "Another of tl1e detective crowd, of course-who else?'' answered Wolcott's tones. "Has he got away, too?" "It looks so!" "Why, the place must have been fu l : of them." "W.e want to slide, prompt. Hey' you wake up!"

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20 NICK CA.RTER WEEKLY. Wolcott opened the door of the room Buff wr.s in, lit the gas, and gave the figure on the bed a shake. "On hand, governor!" growled Buff. "Pack up your kit." "Pack it is." "There's trouble afloat-no time for snoozing. Plenty of that when we arrive!" ''Where?'' "Where I told you__:_w.here your ser vices are needed, of course. Be brisk, now!" Buff started in to make as compact a parcel as possible out of the tools on the table. He had got them into quite a portable bulk when Wolcott r e appeared. "Follow," he said, simply. Only one jet burned in the main room, and this was turned low The place was now entire l y desert e d except for themselves, and the shades were once more pulled clear down. Wolcott and Tyrell proc ee ded straight to the sideboard, whirled one ca s t o r e d end out from the wall, slid a s e c ret paut:J, pa s sed through, and Buff f o llowin g h i m, found himself in complete darkness The end of a cane was pre s s e d into his hand, and he was told to keep tight hold of it. It was blind progress and guesswork for Buff for the next five minutes. They advanced cautiously from one room to another under Wolcott's guid. ance, up a flight of stairs, dow n a second, and through a narrow cellar. Buff had no doubt but that they had passed through one of thos e tunnel exits with which the policeman had claimed the square was honeycombed. "Stop a bit," spoke Wolcott. There was the jangle of a bunch of keys. Then a lock rattled. A dour swung back, was closed and re locked, and Buff s tared curiously around as a candle was lighted. It was a boarded-up cellar room of some kind, held two benches and a t a ble, and as at some distance the sounds of clinking glasses and noisy voices could be traced. Buff decided that this was some saloon annex that was a hidirig haunt. "I'll go and see what arrangements I can make," spoke Wolcott. "Make them sure," directed T y rell, anxiously. "Half a doz e n of Nick Carter's infernal spies on onr trail in as many hours !-that means we won't leave the square safely by a ny ordinary route." "Oh, I'll fix it all right," d e clared Wolcott. The minute he left the place Buff thre w himself on a b e nch, turned his f ace to the wall with a yawn, and was soon imi tating a snore. He had no fancy to leave the w ay open for a conversation with the alert and sus picious cripple. Tyrell, however, paid no attentio n t o him. Buff heard him rustling o ve r w h a t sounded like papers, and muttering to himself. ..-He was thus engaged, when sud de nl y the door through which Wolcott h ad de parted reopened, and that individual ste p ped into. the r oom. ''All r e ady for us in half an hourhello! what you got there?" he de m a nded, sh arply interrupting himself. My cut bills? Lucky the se fellows -droppe d them a ft e r stealing the m from my coat." "Wolcott, they're not your bills." "Eh ?" "I say not your bills. I su p po se d they were, but, see-the left half, aren' t they? Those were mine." ..__,_ "Yes, so they are. What does th1 mean?'' "That those fellows got away with your half.'' "That's sure." "That the y dropped accidentally the half they got out of the c ork leg earlier in the evening, and tha t prove s that they're one and the same crowd. ' "It c an't b e anv other way." ''Do I keep these?'' "You 1nay. See here, Tyre ll, squ are' s square with me. Here was the agreement: When you drew tha t twenty thousand d o llars, we cut them in two; I k ept half, y ou kept half. When the job we re headed for, the grand final play wa s con I was to give y ou what I held only as security for your f aithful performance of the contract." 1 Yes, that was the way of it,'' grow led Tyrell-"a crazy way, too, as I said at the start, but you're a wilful man and

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NICK CARTER WEEl{LY. 21 re's no withstanding you, only-how es it bring me out?" 'How do you mean?" 'Nick Carter's crowd have got the er half of these bills?" 'I'm afraid so." ('These are worth just so much waste per, then, alone. We'll never get tire rer half back., j'No, Tyrell," assented Wolcott, "I'll mit we may never get them back, but e Carter crowd will turn what they've [over to Wadhams, the bank teller and 11 be in the same boat as yourself.'' 'Well?" 1 'Do you imagine he won't put up mething handsome to buy your half? n 't worry, I'll do the negotiating. It's fortunate, this unforsee11 block, but u shan't lose anything by it." 1 'You promise that?'' "I do. Let us get the job we're now aded for settled, and I'll guarantee you n 't lose a penny you calculated on." "It's a go!" declared Tyrell, bracing wonderfully. "You say we leave in If an hour?'' ''Yes.'' "How?" ''There we are!'' exclaimed Wolcott, a whistle sounded beyond the door. Wake up that Bill." Bufl roused promptly at Tyrell's prodg, stuffed his bundle under his arm, d slouched to the door. "One at a time," directed Wolcott, and k Buff At the end of a passageway leading in-a little back yard stood a common milk agon. in," ordered Wolcott, lifting the ver of the front box where milk cans re nsnally kept. Buff stowed himself and his bundle as rected. He heard Wolcott come back th Tyrell. There was the sound of stling about in the space behind the iver's seat. "Don't stop for anything," sounded olcott's tones. "No," responded the driver of the :hicle they had impressed into service. Buff did some vivid thinking after the agon had started up, despite its sharp >lting occasioned by constant turns. To what was his present adventure leading him? He had taken Hawkeye Bill's place. How would he meet the oc casion when called upon to show up the burglar's professional skill? As the vehicle slowed up a little, he heard Wolcott's cautious voice. "No one following?" "No," came the reply. "They're dizzy-headed if they arethat was a roundabout dash! Now then, direct for thepoint I told you.'' "Yes." Buff dared not venture t.:> lift the cover of his hiding-place to peer out the least particle, for its lid faced the driver squarely. They proceeded quite a distance farther. Then the vehicle turned from the road crossed a soft, loamy surface and came to a halt. "Get some air, if you want it," ordered Wolcott, lifting the lid of the front box. Buff followed the speaker and Tyrell down from the wagon. They were in the midst of a fenced-in lot somewhere at the upper end of the city. Looming directly before them was a structure with windows closely boarded up, apparently the unfinished wing of somF. residence. Up its steps Wolcott proceeded, and Tyrell following him, they began to pry from place one of the boards covering up the front entrance. They got it ont of place and stepped through he aperture. Buff had lifted his bundle to the lower stone step and sat down beside it. "Hi!" softly hailed Wolcott, sticking his head back through the aperture and beckoning to the driver. "Li. ft out my overcoat and come up here. I want to talk with you." "In a minute." The horse gave a jump just then. It gave another and another, and Buff opened his eyes wide as he saw a myste rious piece of interesting side play. Evidently the driver of the milk wagon did not crave an interview with his em ployer, Wolcott. As well he did not seem to care whether Wolcott got his overcoat or not. for he might have thrown it out readily, as it lay on the seat directly beside him.

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22 NICK CA.R'fER WEEKLY. Why Buff guessed this, was because the driver slyly, secretly, was prodding the horse with the whip against the ribs on the far side, as if to incite it to restive ness. In this he succeeded. 'fhe animal broke from a jump to a run. Buff watched horse and wagon fly across the lot and 'through the break in the fence. They struck the road. The minute they did so, out came bounding the driver. He still retained the whip in his hand Witn it he gave the horse a fearful slash that sent it tearing down the road like mad. Then gliding toward the nearest tree box, be was lost beyond Buff s range of vision. "Done on purpose!" breathed Buff; "the runaway, the jump-who is he?" Out came Wolcott at that moment, looking startled at the absence of the wagon. "Where is he?" instantly from his lips. "Who?" "The driver-the wagon." "Horse ran away," Buff thought it best to report. "What's that?'' "Yes. Hear that clatter? two squar e s down the road now.'' "And my coat? Tyrell, come here." The cripple came out promptly. "You wait here," directed Wol cott. "The horse ran away. When the f e llow comes back, get my overcoat. We're making a nice racket 1 You, Bill.'' "All right," nodded Buff. "Pick up your bundle." "Yes, governor." "And follow me." Beyond the doorway Wolcott took up a lighted lantern. He led the way up an unfinisher1 stairway. Everything w as dusty old and neglected, every outside window was boarded up tigbt. After proceeding throngh several apartments Wolcott halted where a blank stone wall separated the wing from some structme beyond. In it was set an iron door, with an iron frame around it and a lock big as that of a jail. "There' s your work,'' spoke Wolcott. "That door?" murmured Biff, in a little dismay." "Exactly." "What do you expect me to do?" "Why, crack it, of course!" came Wolcott's prompt reply. "That's what you're here for, isn't it?" CHAPTER X. SLICK AND QUICK. Buff sized up the iron door, his kit of tools, and then the situation. "It's a queer go," he ruminated, curi. ously. "How am I going to get out of this fix?'' Wolcott watched him interestedly as he ran his hand across the stanch barrier. "Suppose I can bust that lock, eh ?" spoke Buff, to gain time to think how he should set about making the pretense of a start. "Suppose?" ejaculated Wolcott, forci bly. "I expect, after all the brag about your crack reputation!" "It's got a steel-plated box qase like a safe.''. "Bore it. "And bolts like crowbars." "Saw them." "Give me time, governor-give me a show to sort of take in the layout._ insinuated Buff, in his sharp irritation ilf Hawkeye Bill's manner and tone. "I'll be back soon," returned \Volcott. "Now, my friend, just one _warning. There's people living beyond this wall." "Let 'em live, I won't disturb 'em." "See that you don't. They're not di rectly on the other side of that door, bul near enough to be attracted by any un necessary racket. Be slick and be quick -your money's waiting for you." "Just to open that cloor ?" "That's all.'' "All right." Buff made a brisk ado untying his bundle until he heard the far echo of Wolcott's footsteps. Then he slid the lanteru's rrys all across the door.' "Simply couldn't cut out one screw, let alone budge half a ton. I doubt if Hawkeye Bill could, either," he de clared. Buff k11ew enough about vault doors to

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 23 1derstand that far whatever pnrpose this 1e had been set in place-to shut out or shut them in-it answered its upose admirably. He noticed a little grating just above Besides that there was not a break in hat seemed to be solid stone two feet 1ick. Buff spread out the tools so as to make great show, and l1e kept up a great 1inking for the next ten or fifteen min : es. It would be an easy thing to break off 1e edge of a chisel, to disable the brace :rew, to hurt his hand, to insist on some :her auxiliary to the outfit that it would ke time to secure. He might even get out of the building JW unseen, summon his friends from ick Carter's, surround and capture the :hemers, but all this would prevent a of their "big job" about bich Buff was so anxious to learn some llng. Before he could make up his mind e finitely to some plan of action, there as the sound of footsteps, and he heard 'yrell 's voice saying: "He's gone back to the den?" "Wagon and all." "It looks so," returned Wolcott. I takes care of my overcoat." ...5-'0f conrse he will. Seems to me on 're mighty careless of your valuables." "Why so? Who supposed ontsiddrs 'ere coming in to dive for that money ackage in the pocket the first thing?'' "And now you've lefttl1ehottleinit?" "The bottle of facEng ink, yes." "That is invaluable, because the fellow 1ho sold it to you has back to apan, and you can't get any more." "With the thousand dollars 1 paid him )r it. Oh! it's safe, though-of conrse re'll get it back at the den. No particu li use for it till we get abroad, anyway. 'hen the bank check scheme we've : sted here with such success w111 keep s in pin money in the g-ay European apitals. Here's our big stroke of work, rst. Nearly twoo'clock"-therewas the nap of a watch case-"well ?" The two men had come up to.the iron oor and Buff. The had sprang into industrious ction when he first heard them approach-ing, aud was probing in the keyhole of the lock with a pick. "This is a tough graft, governor," he announced. "You don't mean to say you can't fetch it!" exclaimed Wolcott. "Fetch it? Of comse he can fetch it. Hawkeye Bill, who went through three sets of safe doors in the Farmers' National as if they were tissue paper, fazed at a common door lock! He could do this aslt::ep," declared Tyrell. "That's why I got him. Give him time, Wolcott." "How much time does he want? We must be beyond that door by two o'clock." "Do you hear?" spoke Tyrell to Buff. The pretended Hawkeye Bill nodded assentingly. "We'll go duwn again and keep a lookout for intruders," continued Tyrell. "Remember, Bill, in twenty minutes." "T,venty minutes," muttered Buff. "If they said twenty homs it would be more like it. The game's up for me." H e fumbled about the lock in an aimless way with this tool and that, reflecting that when his employers returned there would be something of a row. His inability to do what Hawkeye Bill was famous for would either arouse sus picions or lead to his prompt banishment fro111 the place
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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. He bounded to the aperture and peered from its threshold. It was too dark to see ahead, but he fancied he heard retreating footstpes. "Sone one unlocked this door,'' solilo quized the mystified Buff. "Who? What for? One of the boys!" He just chanced to ratch a glimpse of the reverse side of the door in a hasty glance past it as he heard Wolcott and Tyrell returning. Near the lock was a mark in chalktwo of them. They formed a familiar symbol known to every member of Nick Carter's juvenile detective corps. It was one of those understood marks which Nick's pupils employed on a trail to indicate to their fellows that they had "been around"-a sign, a guide. "Whoever opened that door marked the sign," exclaimed Buff, in more than ordinary excitement. "I'm stumped for once! Who did it? Which one?" He quickly erased the chalk inscription and sprang back into the ot1Je1 room Hurriedly pulling the door shut, he flung himself down in an easy attitude of indolence just as Tyrell and Wolcott ap proached. "Hello!" ejaculated the latter, with a sharp frown. "You're either loitering or sleeping half the time-you must have been born tired!" "Yes, this won't do, Bill!" sut in Tyrell, irritably. "Get back to your work.'' "Work done, governor." "Eh ?" "Door opened-that's what you wanted, wasn't it?" "Yes, but--" "Door's all right." ''It's--'' "Opens, I say. Try it." "Good for you!" Wolcott swung the door open and gave Buff a hearty slap of appreciation on the shoulder. "I told you he was a good one," commented Tyrell. "And never even scratched the lock. Say! this is magic," pursued Wolcott. "Now then?" insinuated Tyrell. "Yes, now then! Bring along a screwdriver, Bill, you won't need anythir heavier for the rest of your job." Buff's face fell as he realized at this a nouncement that he was not past the da ger line yet. 'Volcott had taken up the lantern, Bt following, was led into a large, bare, ha: like apartment. He noticed wl1at his companions we not looking for-freshly disturbed dm where some person had recently the room-the person, he guessed, wl had helped him ont of his dilemma l unlocking the iron door. The footsteps led up to a plain oak doc before which Wolcott set down the la tern. "Quietly, now, for we're nearer game," he half whispered. "You're to spring the lock in t door," directed Tyrell. Buff inspected it, and breathed m relievedly. Here was something not beyond powers-he saw tl1at at a glance. He had turned many a lock mu stronger with a si m pie piece of wire. There was just such among the kit the other room. "I'll get something to fix that i minute," he promised, and sped back the next apartment. B.uff had to grope among the tools find what he was after. Then he hurried back over the thr hold of the iron-cased doorway with a tie preciptation, for he imagined heard a rustle behind him. It was all shaQoW and gloom exc within the direct halo of the lantern. Toward this Buff put forward, bu trifle startled. ''I declare, some one followed me o the threshold of that door-! am s some new-comer is in this room!'' muttered. "Hurry up, Bill," spoke Wolcott. "Here I am," announce
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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 2o floor stock still in stupefaction and dis may. There were two Hawkeye Bills on the scene And the last one to arrive -was-the real one! CHAPTER XI. ON TIME. Wolcott gave a prodigious start-Tyrell hunched back with a quick,. suspicious snarl. "What's this?" he sh6t. ont, sharply. "It's me, Bill," pronounced the newcomer, and it was Bill. "The question is, what's that?" His bullet-shaperl head somewhat in _fhe pose of an ugly bull pup bracing for a fight, his leery eyes fixed on Buff, his tongue lolling like that of an enraged tiger, as he took in the individual who wore his recent attire, disguise and all, Hawkeye Bill began to pugnaciously roll up the sleeves of l1is coat_:.Buff's coat. Buff turned. It was a clash or nothing now. In the face of the sudden, ttnexpected climax that hovered he felt that this was no place for him. In a bound Bill was after him. In a slide he crossed his path, put out a foot, and was on top of Buff as the latter triped_ EP, coming down upon the dusty ..Jlo.t5r w1th a slam. "Bring the lantern," directed Tyrell qmckly. Bull was strong as an ox. He had Buff face upward and was fairly astrine of him as Wolcott came forward with the light. "Now then, what's the rights of this tangle?" demanded the cripple, excitedly. "Here's the wroug of it!" criecl Bill. He ripped the patches of false whiskers from Buff's cheeks and gathered off the goggles in a crush. Buff shrank a trifle from the glowinO', . "' s1mster eyes of T y rell, for as his real features came more and more iuto view, of. t_he cripple assumed an expres SlOI' po s 1hvel y murderous. Then thev flamed into sudden reco()'ni-tion, and hissed out: "' "Wolcott, who is he!" "How should I know?" "Look ag a in. In the room where they broke the door down..:_two of is the fellow who fired the band gren ades.'' "What! It is-one of the Nick Carter crowd!" "Just. "He's in with the police, I know that," declared Hawkeye Bill. "Listen, coveys: He's a good one if he fooled you all this time-he's a better one if he opened that triple lock yonder." ''He did," affirmed Walcott. "He ought to be a professional, then, for it's a marker, I tell you!" "But his taking your place?" "Taking it? Gathering it up free gratis for nothing-falling right into his hands," observed >Bill, emphatically: "I was nabbed. He just makes a model of me, and prays it soft on you. I owe him Qne! H,e probably had me pinched." Bi11 gritted his teeth, and brought one brawny fist down squarely aimed for Buff's face. It missed, because Buff saw it coming and dodged his head aside . The mean-spirited impulse of a blow directed at a helpless, trebly outnumbered cgptive made Buff mad. Quick as lightning he shot up one agile fist. It met Bill's chin and sent it back cracking. "Why! 1'11-I'll mash him!" howled Bill. "You'll do nothing of tl1e sort," inter fered Wolcott. "Let up that noise. Do you want to spoil everythiJJg. Stow him, silence him!" "How? where?" demanded Bill. Into the wall fronting them was sunk a vault, and its door showed half-open. looks safe enough for a Sam son,'' said Tyrell. "It will do for him, for a spell," remarked Bill. He wrestled Buff across the threshold of the vault, and giving him a push, dragged the door shut. Buff heard its iock shoot close. "I'm getting fairly superstitious at the way that crowd bobs np and bobs down. It will be Ferret next!'' Buff indistinctly heard Wolcott's voice speak ont-side. "Oh! I'll guarantee his safety," put in Tyrell. "I saw to his case person ally."

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26 NICK CAUTER WEEKLY. be back to finish up that fellow as soo n as I'm through duty," observed Bill. Buff heard him proceed to t e ll the others in a boastful sort of way how his captors had forgotten when they locked him up in a station house cell with pipe stem barred windows, that he had twice cut his way out of the strongest penitentiary in the country. "Came here when I found you gone at the den," exclaimed Bill. "How did you know about this place?" inquired Wolcott, quickly. "Overheard you tell Tyrell about it." "You did?" .What's wrong about that?" "Nothing, only you're pretty observant." "I'm anxious to make a stake and get out of New York city," put 111 Bill. "Come, what you want?" "That door yonder opened, and I want it clone quickly. Tyrell, I'm getting rattled! Suppose some one else of that crowd is around-suppose we do onr work, to step out cf here into the hands of the police, set on us by this medd!i1I g Nick Carter brood!" "It isn't probable. Let Bill open the door yonder and then go and watch below." "All right. Now then, cautious, Billno more noise than possible.'' "I'll work as if my fingers were velvet!" promised the burglar expert. Buff heard nothing further in the way of conversation. He groped about in the darkness, trying to esfimate the size of his prison place. ''Downed right on the very verge of success," he t old himself; "too bad!" He could imagine the schemers llloving forward on the final step of a plan now fre ed of its la s t obstacle. They would accomplish their purpose in this place and escape, while hewas shnt up helpless at the most critical juncture of the case in hand. They would not only get away with the new bo oty they were after, but one cut-in-two half of the two hundred one hnndred dollar treasury notes would disappear with them. Worse than that-with the m might vanish al l trace as to th e whereabouts or fate of brave Bob Ferret. "Maybe not!'' Buff made the forcible comment, as against these gloomy conjectures he set the prospects of a possibility that stimul ated him to just the reverse extreme. Who had unlocke d the door for him? The secret chalk marks said: Some member of Nick Carter's detective school That meant a friend, an a11y in action Some one else jus t as shrewd and inter ested as himself would take up the case where he had been forced to lay it down. Buff tried to convince himself, on this course of reasoning, that he was philo sophically content. Suddenly, just relapsing into more of an interested and less of an anxious straining of his se nses to catch and ana lyze sounds vaguely audible from the vicinity of the door, Hawkeye Bill was forcing, Buff s niffed uneasily. "Don't like tliat," he declared sharply. What Buff did not like was the air of the vault, growing closer and denser every moment. He soon made out something that added to both discomfort and danger. 1'here was a small gas leak in the vault, aud while this would be barely noticeable with the door open, confined, it threatened to soo n overcharge th e cir cumscribed atmosphere. Buff tried to locate it, but could not do so accurately, and although l1e found a pipe he had no means of repairing it. In five minutes he was gasping for breath, in ten his head was whirling like a top. He lay flat on the floor and pressed his lips clo se to the slight crack under the vault door. This had admitted the sound of voices, but it did not so easi ly carry,away the increasing volume of gas. "If Hawkey_e Bill would only come after me, 'finish m e up' in any style he likes bnt this!" exclaimed Buff. I'm going under!" No, he was "coming out!" ""Mercy "Hist!" Buff reeled forward to meet what by comparison with the fetid air of the vault

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 27 seemed a cyclone rush of a most ilelicious ly fresh breeze. A door had opened at the other end of the vault. Unfinished, like the remainder of that portion of the structure, it had been built to comprise two vaults, to he divided in the centre with a steel partition not yet put in place. A form met Buff. He staggered against lt. A hand gripped his arm firmly. He heard a slight jangling of keys. "Who is it-who are you?" "S-st!" There was manifested only a warning in'junction from the mysterious personage who seemed to know everytbing about Buff's peril always in the nick of time. Twice this mysterious presence had saved him. during the hour-once from discovery, now from hovering death. Buff was so dizzy-headed he was glad enough of the SUJ.?port of the stollt arm that led him along he knew n o t whither. He brushed a half-open door, pres sed it back. Across a room, through some drapery of 'light material there came a dim radiance. Vague as jt was, dazed by his recent distress as Buff still felt, his glance \\as eager, starting, as he turned it now upon his preserver. A finger uplifted in challenging warning re.wessed a cry, that, uttered, would .;,..<.:ave rang out in fervent amazement. Buff's .guide and rescuer was Nick Carter's missing detective-Bob Ferret! CHAPTER XII. IN DOUBLE HARNESS. Buff knew enough about Bob Fe;rret to unders.tanq that a signal to silence meant all it conveyed. A score of anxious inquiries were on his lips, but he was to curb them. Bob had evidently escaped frmn the ;mprisonment that TY.:ell had "personal ly superintended," ju!"t as he had escaped times without number before in a like predicament by some clever exercise of in genuity and vigilance. He was nnd.oubtedly the driver of the milk wag
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28 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. pocketed a cocked revolver and took up a folded paper lying there, removed a key from a door, proceeded to the table, took from it an ink stand and a pen, placed these on the little stand, and drawing a chair to side of the bed, sank into it. For a minute or more Wolcott silently watched the face of the sleeper. Then drawing out a pistol he levelled it squarely at the man's head. Buff started with a thrill-Bob's quick hand pressed him back. Cold-blooded murder was not Wolcott's intention-his next movement showed this. With his other hand he touched and shook. the slumberer. There was a faint sigh. The man turued over. With a gasp he came squarely face to face with the revolver. "One cry, and I fire!" Tragically distinct, the threat floated on the still air of the apartment. The old man's face grew to the color of bleached parcbment. He seemed to shrivel up. "It's you!" he articulated in a tremor. "How did you get i11 here?" "It is I, your graceless, disowned nephew, indeed! How clid I get in here? -easily, Gregory Stone." "I forbade them to give you admittance, ordered your arrest on sight. They are prepared for you, day or night.'' "No, you don't!" The old man made a dive for the alarm instrument, saw the detached wire, and sank back with a groan. "Try that again, and you hasten your quietus," declared Wolcott. "Listen to me, and I will be brief. You are a dyi11g man." "And you will hasten my death-mur-derer!" "As you like. You disinherited me. You made your estate over to your measly-faced cousin, a miserly timeserver. The will endowing her is here. I found out you kept it always by yon. For fear I would bribe the lawyers, eh ?'' The invalid uttered a frantic cry as Wolcott fluttered the paper he had taken fr om the stand. "Give it to me!" panted the old man. "If I should die and that should be de stroyed--'' "Your fortune would revert to you brother's family, wholll you most ardent ly hate, more than you do me!" raile Wolcott. "Ah I I have touched a sor spot, have I? Then buy it back." "How? how?" panted the tremblin Stone. "I have a paper here," and Wolcot drew out a document. "It transfers t me, or rather to a legal friend of mine who wil) act for me, certain interests yo own in Bolton. Sign this paper." "Never-give you fully half I own?" "And I return the will." "I will not-no, though I die, I wil not!" vociferated the frantic old man. "Then yon shall die. Listen, Gregor Stone: I am about to leave the country I am a reckless, desperate man. I swear if you do not do exactly as I wish, I wil kill you, here, now, this minute!" 'J'he revolver glinted dangerously Bn:ff felt his companion's arm quiver. "With you dead, I will destroy thi will-your property goes, all of it, t those you despise. Sign that paper, and return the will.'' "I-I want time to think of your pro posal. 11 "Take it-two minutes." Watch in hand, Wolcott turned hi back on the invalid as if to give hiw fair chance for thought. "Don't make a move!" Bob whispered the words into Buff's ea and pushing the screen aside he began tc creep past the draperies. Between them and the bed was a four foot space. It lay in shadow, yet unti. Bob was well under the bed Buff held hi! breath for suspense. What was Bob up to? Buff's fears al' took fire again as he saw reach np to the little stand a cautious human hand. What Bob did Buff could not discern for just then the old man sat up in bee and shut out the view Whatever Bob had started to do, how ever, was apparently executed, for Bu f saw him draw back again under the be e and lay there listening. "Well?" spoke Wolcott, snappinJ shut the watch with which he had timec Stone.

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NIOK OARTER WEEKLY. 29 1-I'll agree." Buff fancied he traced w crafty light in the old man's eyes. 7olcott seemed to notice it, too, for he ied him keenly. :e spread out the paper be had pro:d on the stand, I shall want a witness-ob! once that it' s sure and safe, don't count mything else, Gregory Stone. !l No, no! Let rr.e sign, give me the depart quickly, that is all I ask," rishly proclaimed the old man. /olcott gave utterance to a low, clear stle. 1stantly, Tyrell came into the room. regory Stone took up the pen Wolcott lered hilll, dipped it in the ink, and 1 trembling fingers affixed his signa, to the document. J turn Tyrell appended his own name witnes s. volcott coolly pocketed the paper. The will?'' demanded the old man, ::rly. V'alcott tossed it to him. Go, now-such excitement is danger to me," pleaded the old man, "you vou would.'' In a minute, my esteemed relative." Volcott went to the table, picked up a ;s, dropped the contents of a little er into it-a white powder-poured in 1e w ater, and returned to the bed. J;:Igld_his head. Don't let him utte r a he ordered, sharply and suddenly ryrell. :efore the startled Stone could realize 1t was being done, Tyrell had obeyed lcott's mandate, and the latter had : e d the contents of the tumbler down throat. 'he old man groaned spasmodically l e r the continued pressure of Tyrell's :ers, ready to choke to silence the first :1 cry. You are a clever man, Mr. Gregory ne," railed Wolcott, "but I have out ted you! I saw the crafty thought in r eyes-to get rid of me at any cost, as soon as I was gone summon 'help invalidate this document by getting ther to Bolton ahead of it, but I am shrewd for you, and--" Volcott paused. Tyrell had drawn k from the beri. 'Quieted," he announced simply. ''Sure?'' "Good for a sound twelve hours' sleep, if there ever was one.'' "Take it." From his pocket Wolcott drew the paper Stone had just signed, and handed it to Tyrell. "And this." He produced a roll of banknotes. ''You know your task?'' "To spare neither time nor money to reach the registry office at Bolton and record this paper,'' spoke Tyrell. "Precisely," nodded Wolcott. "Then come back to me for your reward. The job is done! We have a stake now, that, with the fading ink, will make us Rothschilds inside of a year. Fly!" CHAPTER XIII. BROUGHT TO BOOK. "Don't lose sight of those two men for a single instant!" Bob Ferret spoke forcibly to his com panion, Buff. Step by step, from the room where the re was nothing mote for them to do, N i 6k Carter's two bright young detec tives h a d followed Wolcott and Tyrell. B a ck through the door the burglar h::1d forced, past the vault where Buff had so ne arly lost his life, into the unfinished wing and to its doorway they shadowed the p air whose daring schemes they at last comprehended perfectly. Bob peered through the aperture formed by the removed board. Tyrell had started instantly away on a run. Wolcott had halted, hailed by Hawk eye Bill who had, it seemed, been on guard. "I say, governor, going?" demanded the latter. "We're through." "What about the fellow we shut in the vault upstairs?'' "Confound it! yes. You and I have got to go back. No, I can't be hampered with him.'' "He'll starve." "Don't fear. There'll be such a scurry ing around these old barracks to-morrow that will soon bring him to light." 11Then let him soak," advised Bill, pointedly.

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20 NICK CARTER WE KLY. "So say I. In four hours, at the out side, Tyrell will be back. "Back where?" "To the .place where we're to meet him. "Not the old pen-I don't dare risk that now." "Never fear, I'll stow yon safe." "And the cash, governor?" ''Soon as the opens. When Tyrell reports that document recorded, all the Nick Carters in creation won't worry me -I'm rich!" The twain started away. It was then that Bob had uttered the quick order: "Don't lose sight of those two men." 'Two? You mean three,'' corrected his companion. "Not at all." "Tyrell?" "He's gone." "We can catch him up." "Not without making a snsp1c10us break past the otbers, and it's not necessary." Buff stared marvelingly at his com-pan ion. "Not necessary!" "Not at all." "Why! he is the central figure now. I He's got that paper--" ''Yes. "He'll record it." "Let him. "Let him? I say, Bob! do you under stand--'' ''Everything.'' "Oh! only i t seems t o me sort of queer -I declare -I don't see-" "See here, Buff," spoke Bob, a iittle sharply. ''There's no time for gossip. I say that paper Tyrell has i s all right." "You know best, I suppose, only he has half of the cutin two bank notes, too .'' ''He'll come back with them.'' "That's so -shadow it is! I'll take t h e left hand side of the street.'' Shadowing was a science with Nick Carter's pupils, and Buff felt perfectly easy in mind as to running down Wolcott and Hawkeye Bill to cover. He was by no means, howev e r, so comfortable as to Bob's arrant indiff e r ence toward Tyre ll. "I can't tmderstand it!" murmure< Buff. "That paper is the pivot of the whole busii1ess What does nob knov that I don't know? A h. well! he's neve wrong-it is through him 1 got into Nicl Carter's detective school, and-blin< faith, old boy! Bob knows what he' about." Wolcott and his burglar companion walked briskly ahead for over a mile. When they halted it was to Enter cheap hotel a square from the river. Bob waited till had secured room, strolled into the place, looked O\'e the register, and without exciting an: suspicion on the poinL. of the sleepy eyec clerk, secured the adjoining apartment t c that apportioned to the late arrivals. Bon and Buff went up stairs at oncf' c.n entered their room. In the next they coul hear the voices of the two men.they ba been trailing. This seemed to settle affairs for Bob He whispered to Bnff: "No li g hts, no noise. Those men ar safe to remain here for four hours, mayb all day. At all events, I have spmethin to attend to and will be gone for a spell.' "And I a m to watch?" "No, to wait. The case is over, Bu and yo11 've clone your share nobly." "Say! I'm worse mystified at some your manoe uvres, now, than at the start. "Yon won't be, when th-at .e llo Tyrell gets back," declared Bob, t: .. phatically. He left with the words. Buff had dreary wait of it till daytight, past da light, well on toward seven o'clock. He could imagine Tyrell reachin Bolton. He could fancy him bribing the regi trar ont of his bed to record the docume that made the scheming scoundrel, W cott, a rich man. All this bothered him greatly, and tin passed drearily enough, for the two peop in the next room seemed to have gone sleep. It was a little after seven o'clock wh Bob reappeared. He was tidied np as to his attire, a looked bright as a dollar. A ]most on his heels there came hmri foot steps up the stairs and to the door the next rooin.

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NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 31 Wolcott! Wolcott!" spoke an excited e. Just getting up. That you Tyrell'?" Yes. For mercy's sake, let me in-got news!'' he door opened an<'l closed. Buff got e to the connecting door of the two s. Ne're iooled !" he heard Tyrell say. e're what?" demanded Wolcott's p tones. hat document?" Well?" No good." What are you talking about? It was n up the strongest a keen lawyer N how." 'I'he signatures!" blurted Tyrell. What about them?" Fadea out I" Are you crazy?" aded out-gone I I opened it to to th registrar, and-the signatures blank!'' Incredible!"' here was a lapse of silence. Then keye Bill's voice was heard: Governor, that don't affect my fee, know?" I have no time to bother with you," ped Wolcott. "Tyrell, what trickery oat?" Don't ask me, I'm-crushecl !" .It's ruin! It was my last And all I've got to depend on is that die of rags!'' omething thudded, and evidently the oncerted Tyrell had angrily thrown n his half of the cut-in-two bank s. Come!" whispered Bob to Buff. Where?" Follow me.'' ob went out into the corridor, ran n the first :flight, reappeared with two whom Buff instinctively recognized etectives, and approaching the door the next room with them, knocked n the panels. was opened a crack cautiously. Bob ed it clear open. Ferret!'' ne surprise had unnerved Wolcott al y. This last sent him, white and chless, into a chair. "Yes, Mr. Wolcott," nodded Bob, "these two gentlemen are here to take you and your colleague yonder, Tyrell, in to custody for burglariously entering the residence of Mr. Gregory Stone and in timidating him for purposes of black mail.'' ':He'll never prosecute the case," muttered Wolcott . "Then the Traders' Mercantile Bank will-for fraud." "Can they prove it?" sneered Tyrell, who glared at Bob as if he would like to strike him dead. "I fancy!" "There's no record." "No, but I can prove the scheme." "Can you?" ''I can, by producing the very ink with which the job was done." "What's that!" cried Wolcott. "The very 1nk, which I found in your coat when I drove the milk wagon for you to Gregory Stone's home-the very ink, Mr. Percy Wolcott, which I substi tuted for the black ink with which yon fancied your uncle signed that document .... fhis'-mo.rning. '' "Zounds!" gasped Wolcott-" we are lost!'' "I'll thank yon, Mr. Tyrell," contin ued Bob, "for your half of the bank notes.'' "They're on the table," where I threw them," growled Tyrell. "They are not!" spoke Buff, pressing past the others and looking about. "Window open-fire escape! Bob, that fellow, Hawkeye Bill, took the alarm and has escaped with t11e banknotes !" Buff clio not lose a second. He ran down the stairs and out upon the street, peering up and down it far as he could see. "Too bad! Just as Bob gave me the surprise of my life about that ink, just as we bad every point in our handsthere he is!'' Buff hurried forward. Coming from a paintshop half a square distant, he saw his man. Bill had on a different hat-a painter's half nautical canvas slouch, and uucler one ann he carried two boards tied to gether. As he hurried along, he presented the

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t I I I l 32 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. appearance of an industrious paper hanger. "Trying to pass the police b y posing as a worker-he's bought or stolen that outfit," declared Buff "He sees me. Bill, glancing back, hurried his gait. 'fbe n, nearing the river, he made for its docks. As he passed some storage sheds he halted. The terror of Hawkeye Bill' s life-a couple of policemen-were lounging a hundred yards down the wharf. "What you want?" demanded Bill, making a stand. "Know me?" inquired Buff airily. "I'm an honest mechanic--" "Stow it, Bill. See here, you jus t lifte d a bundle of banknotes." "Me!" "No good to anybody, for they're cut in half. Toss them over.'' saw such. "Well, you've got my coat on, any way "Take it!" Buff was surprise d a t the readiness.-.1th which Bill jerked free the coat he wore. He threw it so that it went right into Buff's face. Only for a flashing second was B uff blinded, but that second was sufficient for crafty Bi l l. He m ad e a dash past Buff. The l atter in one spring reached him. Over the wharf went the board. Buff landed uppermost as both fell, got the advantage of a sturdy grip, and i1eld on. The two officers came running up. Buff b luntly told who he was. Then he searched Hawkey e Bill. The latter grinned malevolently. "No bank notes eh ?" he jibe d "Yo u had them." "Maybe." "Here's the f e ll ow's pasting board," announced one o f the officers, having fish ed it up from the water. "That!" c ommented Buff-a blind tha t didn't work. Hello!" He had given the boards a kick out of his path, the string came loo se, and the hinged device flopped open. "Go t me!" piped Bill. "T.here's yoJJr truck, where I stuffed it." There w as revealed the package c banknotes, snre et:ough, and in two mir. utes more Hawkeye BJ!l was on his wa back to a police station, and Buff wa headed for the hote l they had just left. The worst b affle d men in New Yor city that afternoon w e r e Wolcott an T y r e ll, who, after a preliminary hearin in court, w e r e remanded to answer t serious charges against the m. The happi es t m a n in New York Egbert Wadhams, assistant paying tell( of the Traders' Mercantile Bank:, whe b oth halves of the cut-in-two banknott were delivered to him, and h e knew their possession meant honor and positio r estore d The proudest b oyin New York ci was Buff Hutchinson, ex-king of newsb oys, as h e r e l a t ed to his veter patro n and hi s pupils the details of h share in t h e search for Nick Carte Missing D e tecti ve. [THE END. J The next number of the Nick Cart Weekly wi11 contain "Nick C arter's G D etective; or, What Became of the Cro Jewe ls,'' by the au tho r of "Nick Carter NltK Onr readers will be pleased that we have issned No. 3 o f Nick C t er's Quarterly, containing N os. 27 to of the Nick C arte r Weekl y bouwl one volume, with all the original c ore d illustrati o n s:-a splendid collect of good detective s t o ri es PRICE CENTS. For sal e by all newsdealers, or s postpaid by m a il on receipt of price STREET & SMITH, Publisher ew Yo

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I j Nick earl e Thirty=two Pages. Price, 5 Cents. Ilium ina THE BEST LffiRARY OF DETECTIVE STORIES. r Back Numbers always on hand. Price, pos t=paid, Five ceni ... -9-Trim in Cape Town; or, The Man with a 35Tl'im's Exchange Case; or,' Strange L1mp. Answered the Advertisemeut. 10-Trim in the Diamond Fields of Kimberly 36Nick Carter in a Tight Place; or, 1 11-Trim in the Wiltls; or, liunting a Criminal on Making the Dark Continent 37-Nick Carter does his Best; or, 12-'l'rim Changes Cars; or, Taking Big Chances the Ballace. for a Quick Captur e 38-Trim Behind the Footlights; or, 13-Trim in the Main or, Hunting ynmiuals at tbe'Casino. a Thousand Feet Under grouud. ..! 39-In Nick Carter's Hands; or, A 14-Trirn t>hoots the GraJIJ Chute; or A Surprise Money Soon Parted. Partv on Board the Fa1con. Catter's Detective School; o lfl-Trim's -Ronno-up in Detroit; or, A Long Ohase Reporter's First Case Euded inn Hurry. tlNick Carter at Headquartets; 16-Tl'im's ::::itring of Clews; All Tied by the Sn.nw the Tnsl>ector's Scrap Book. K110t. 1 7-Trim in Cincinnati; or, Following a Bogus Gase 42Nick Carter's Brightest Pnpil; 01 18-Trim's Sepret Mission; or, A Green Countryman Gounter1"eiting Case. in 'l'own 43Nick Garter Arrested by 19-Trim's Cold Bath; or, "Trapping a Man on the Window Sill. the Boy. Garter's Magic Hn.nu; 01, 'l 20-Tnm's Chase after a Murderer; Ol', in 'l'he ()hiuese Bighbinders. the Air. 45-Nick C!trter's Promi&-e; or, Miilio 21-Trim m the Cigar Store; or, A Lively \-\' ooden 46-'rhe Gold Wizard or Nick Ca Indian. Protege ' 22-Trim in Mexico; or, Breaking up a. So-Uarter in the Chinese Join ciety. gain in Crime. 23-Trim JJJ the Crescent Oity; or, A Break m the 48-Nick Carter's Xewsboy Frien

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