The crystal maze, or, An ocean island mystery


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The crystal maze, or, An ocean island mystery

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Title:
The crystal maze, or, An ocean island mystery
Series Title:
Nick Carter stories
Alternate title:
Nick Carter weekly
Creator:
Carter, Nick
Chickering Carter ( Editor )
Place of Publication:
New York
Publisher:
Street & Smith
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English
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1 online resource (32 p.) ;

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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
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The University of South Florida Libraries believes that the Item is in the Public Domain under the laws of the United States, but a determination was not made as to its copyright status under the copyright laws of other countries. The Item may not be in the Public Domain under the laws of other countries.
Resource Identifier:
028881576 ( ALEPH )
229450874 ( OCLC )
C36-00030 ( USFLDC DOI )
c36.30 ( USFLDC Handle )

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D Issued Weekly. Entered as Second class Matter at tlte New York Post Office, by STREET & SMITH, 79-89 Seventl: Ave., New Yor.t. Copyrigl:t, 19U, by STREET & SMITH. 0. G. Smith and G. C. Smith, Proprietors. Term s t o NIC K CA RTER STORIES Mall Subscribers. ( Pot
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2 NICK CARTER STORIES. gratified, and has beeri absolutely devoted to her home and family. She has received a great deal of attention from men, but she is u'nusually frank, and I am sure she has never been particularly impressed by any one. Therefore, she is just about the last girl who would be expectec to vanish in this fashion-at least, of her own accord, and with her own consent." "I see. Your reading of her character ought to be un usually valuable, Ida, since you are a woman, and, in addition, an exceptionally keen observer. You think she is being detained against her wilt, therefore, or that some, thing tragic has happened?" "She would not, under any condition, have given her family such unspeakable pain if she had had anything to say about it chief. Besides, there is direct evidence that she is being detained by force." "Indeed? Have her captors communicated with. the family?" but in a peculiar way. They have asked for and obtained a. ransom of twenty-five thousand tars." Nick whistled. "Rollins fell for it, then?" he asked, "But if that is the case--" "No, chief, it isn't all over by any means. Mr. : Rollin s decided, contrary to the advice of his lawyers, that twe_nty-!lve thousand was little enough to pay for Ger tnide's return and to escape the notoriety that was sure t-0 follow if the search went on. He therefore complied with the demand and he took the money in person to th e place This was last night, and he relied upon the anonymous promise that his daughter would rec turn home .at eight o'clock this morning if he paid tbe money and. die! not try to catch those responsible . In he received another note in the first mail this morn, irig, say ing that he had been even 'easier' than tqey had anticipated, thanking him sarcastically for the money, and -intimating that he could whistle for it-and for Ger trude, You can imagine his state of mind after that, and the is near!y crazy." 'That was certa inly r.ubbing it in," murmured the great '.'At this momeht I fail to recall any other instance of such flagrant double-dealing in such a con nection. 'It would be interesting to know what th;. tjv'e was. _It l ooks, as if there had never been any of restOring the girl to her family-or the temptation to eat their cake and have it too, proved strollg .to resist. But, whatever the explanation, the which Rollins has received may prove to be valuable clews." Ida looked extremely doubtful about thi 9 "They may be in your hands, chief," she admitted, "but I don't see how. I have seen them both, and they seem to me about as hopeless as anything well could pe. They are both written on plain bond typewriter paper, C. C. C. brand, .of which, as you know, there must be thousands of sheets sold every day in New York. And the en velopes are white stamped envelopes, with not even a printed return blank on them. They were postmarked at two different downtown the busiest arid most crowded in the city, and were; of course, merely dropped intO a slOt. The man who mailed them knew what he was doi1ig, and I shall be very much surprised if you find that he has betrayed himself 1n any way.' "You seem to have gone into it pretty thoroughly. I-da," said Nick. Probably y ou are right. .It doesn't sound easy. Were t\1ey typewritten?" "No; the addresses were 'printed' wi th a pen, and the letters themselves were in shorthand." "In shorthand!" Nick exclaimed, in surprise. "Exactly. You were not prepared for that, were you ? It is true, nevertheless The Pitman system was em ployed, and the characters are very carefully made in ink. But I've never heard yet of a handwriting expert who even claimed to be able to identify the writer of a given lot of stenographic notes.'' "And it will be some time before you do," remarked Nick. Tm afraid you 're right about the hopelessness of the letters as clews. You haven't told me yet, however, just under what circumstances Miss Rol!ins disappeared, and where she was seen last." "So I haven!t Yet that is one of the most interesting phases of the case. She vanished Monday night at Ocean Island.'' Again the detective gave a gesture Of surprise. "Ocean Island !" he echoed. "Isn't that a rather odd place for a girl such as you have described her to be? I should have thought that she and her family wo uld not be likely to swell the numbers at any such popular pleasure resort as that.'' Oh, the mos t unlikely persons go there for a lark once in a while, chief," replied Ida. "You do yourself for instance.'' "But i don't pretend to be 'in society,' my d ear girl." "That doesn't make any difference. Society' people very a .fte r all, and they like an e xcuse to un b end as yo, who know a,nd are looked up to by droves of. are perfectly w e ll aware Anyway, Gertrude wenf to Ocean Jsland that night with a party of young people und e r the chaperonage of a certain Mrs. Byron Wes t a v _a_ry sprightly, dashing young wicjow from California, who has made herself very popular in th e eighteen of her residence here. Mrs. W est and the pthe s 'in the party all agree .. in saying that Gertrude was missecj when they emerged from Legrand's Crystal Maze on Spray Avenue. I don't know that you remember It is the biggest of three Cir four of those lined labyrinths at Ocean Island in which you wan der through ail sorts of baffling passage s running into glasses at every turn and seeing yourself reflected in a places at once.'' "I know the kind, bu.t I'm not sure I remem er thi s one-unless it's the one next to the left .of The Garden of Eden." "That's the one." "Well, I shou ld say it is a good place to become lost in, but a poor place in which to stay hidden long. They searched for her, of course, and appealed to the man agement?" "Certain ly. They stayed ther. e for two hours: and did not reach town again until two in the morning. All they found out-or seemed to find out-indicated that Gertrude had disappeared of her own free will. It seems -that the Maze has a side exit-a little, mirror-covered door leading to a narrow p11ssag.eway between it and the next-attraction : to the left. When the manager and employees searched the place found that door slightly ajar, au.d decl ared th. eir belief that Gertrude had. found the knob by had slipped ;away impulsively, hiqing her-

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NICK CARTER STORIES. 3 self in the crowd that is always surging along Spray A venue. Here we are at the Rollins house, though, and I do hope you can put some heart into the poor father and mother !" CHAPTER II. IDA DISTRUSTS THE WIDOW WEST. The wealthy wholesaler's residence was a narrow brownstone house in the Nineties, next door to Fifth Avenue. Nick Carter and his fair assistant were admitted without parley, and Mr. and Mrs. Rollins soon entered the drawing-room, into which the two detectives had been ushered. Rollins was a florid, kindly faced man in his late fifties, of about medium height, slender and wiry. His wife was evidently several years his junior, and was s till beautiful in a plump way. The faces of I both plainly showed the strain which they were undergoing, and that of Mrs. Rollins showed traces of recent tears. Ida Jones introduced her chief, and the warm-hearted Nick quickly put the grieving pair at their ease, and made them understand that he could b<;_ trusted, not only in respect to his ability but his discretion as well. They did not need much encouragement to tell their story in their own way, and Nick let them do so, hoping that some new point might be brought out. They professed themselves as convinced that / their daughter had been more than ordinarily contented with her home, and without any of those romantic tendencies which most frequently result in such disappearances. :Moreover, they naturally held that the receipt of the anonymous demand for a ransom, together with the crush ing blow administered by the second letter, were suffi cient proof that Gertrude was not herself responsible. Finally they declared that they had already exhausted every possible of inquiry known to them, having repeatedly questioned their daughter's friends in the city and telegraphed to those in other places, all without avail. After Nick had questioned them for a while, he asked to see the letters which had been received. Rollins pro duced them at once, and passed them over. A hasty ex amination on Nick' s part was enough to convince him that Ida had been right. The anonymous communications had been prepared too skillfully to offer any real hope that their author could be traced through them. "I see," he remarked, "that this first letter names top of a mail box at the southeast corner of Fifth Avenue and Ninety-first Street as the place where you were to deposit the sum asked, which was to be done up in a package as if it were to be mailed. That's another clever device. Many persons persist in the hazardous custom of so disposing of mail matter that is too b ulky or oddly shaped to go into an ordinary box. Therefore, your ac tion would not attract attention. The hour appointed was probably one between the collection times at that box and consequently there was no danger of a postman com ing along and taking the money away before the schemer could claim it. As for its subsequent removal, that would have been as easy as your placing it there. The corner is a quiet one, and the man doubtless waited his chance, pretended to mail a letter or place another package on top of the box, and in doing so quietly removed your twenty-five thousand. All very simp l e and effective. It is exceedingly unfortunate, however, that you did not have the corner secretly watched, or its approaches searched. The fellow must have been where he could watch your movements all the time 'and if you could have caught him--" "I know, I know, Mr. Carter, but I did not dare I" the father replied vehemently. "The money was nothing to me if it could bring Gertrude back to us, no matter how. It never entered my head that they were merely playing with me, and would not keep the bargain. Even my lawyers did not once suggest that possibility, although they were violently opposed to my yielding. I wanted the sus pense over with, and I would have been willing to pay much more, without any attempt to have the rascals punished as they so richly deserve. Therefore, I simply could not think of doing anything that might influence them to go back on their word. Why, I did not look to the right or the left in approaching or leaving the box, because I was afraid they would think I was trying to spy on them. And not only that, the letter expressly stipulated that I should take the money alone. I couldn't have had anybody with me without violatin g their con ditions, and I could not see how anybody could be secreted beforehand in sight of the place without the possibility that they would find it out and cease negotiations-perhaps revenge themselves upon Gertrude in some way. Last of all, even if we had caught the man who was lurking about, waiting for the money, that would not have given Gertrude back to us. There isn't any likelihood that the fellow would have revealed her whereabouts, and it might have been impossible to trace her through him ." "That's all true enough-too true-Mr. Rollins," the detective admitted, "and I do not bl'ame you in the least. Your supreme interest was, of course, in getting your daughter back, and this first letter seemed to promise that." He turned to Mrs. Rollins and questioned her about the different members of the party that night. It turned out that the girl's escort had been a young man of unimpeachable character who had been a childhood play mate, and had been devoted to her in a more or less brotherly way ever since. He had been assisting in the s earch and seemed almost as broken-hearted over the -af fair as the parents themselves. Apparently, there was no possible ground for suspicion in that connection. As it happened, all of the other men in the party-except one young husband whose wife accompanied himwere escorting the girls to whom they were either en gaged, or to whom they were unusually attentive. Furthermore, none of them had ever showed any particular interest in Gertrude Rollins. That seemed to leave the chaperon, at whose sugges tion the trip to the reso,rt had been made, as the only one who was open to the l east suspicion. And, even in her case, such a possibility seemed of the remotest kind. She was a comparative stranger in New York, to be sure, and nothing very definite was known about her Califor nia antecedents, but that alone proved nothing. She had showed herself quite unconventional in some of her entertainments, and had displayed a tendency to lead her guests on in a rather free and undignified way, but nothing more. Mrs. Rollins ha-d not cared to have Ger trude associate with her to any marked extent, but had

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' NICK CARTER STORIES. never seen any reason to set her foot down sq uar ely and say that she should have nothing to do with her. The most significant aspect of the matter was that Ida Jones had taken occasion to call upon the popular wipow a day or two before, merely as a friend of th e missing girl's, and had been unfavorably impressed. Nick gave considerable weight to that verdict, for the very good reason that he had seldom known his pretty as sistant's judgment of persons, particularly of women, to be wrong. Nevertheless even if Mrs. Byron West was not altogether to be trusted, it did not follow that she knew anything about the distressing occurrence that the others did not know Ida ended her brief account of her call thus: "She declared that she had been very much worked up over the affair at first, and was so still, in so far a s her feeling of responsibility for Gertrude's presence there that night was concerned, but she gave it as her pri vate opinion that Gertrude had taken the opportunity t o disappear of her own accord. 'O ur littl e friend has prob ably eloped with some man,' was the way she expressed it; and then she had the audacity to add: 'You never can tell about these quiet girls-volcanoes sleep under snow lots of times, remember, until they get ready to erupt!' I could have scratched her eyes out for that, the cat ty thing! It was not what she said, though, that affected m e most disagreeably but the woman herself. Many women in her position would doubtless take a similar attitude, for we aren't very charitable to each other on the whole ; but I had the strangest feeling all the time that Mrs. .West wasn't in any particular what she seemed to be. I know she's popular, and I can understand why. She has a very magnetic way with her, but nothing could make me believe that s he isn't false to the core. She may not have had anything to do with Gertrude's disappearanceI'm not saying s h e did-but I'm convinced that she is capable of almost anything." "Well, we'll ke ep her in mind ," declar ed Nick. "Your intuitions may have led you aright for all we know at present, and I may decide to pay her a visit on my own account. However, the first thing seems to be a further trial at the Ocean Island end. I am lo ath to believe that those on duty at the Maze that night are as innocent as they claim to be. Miss Rollins may have left by that side door or she may not. If she did, it strikes me that she must have left und e r escort-to put it mildly. We have no reason to suppose that she was ever in the place before in her life. As I understand it, the trip to th e Island was und erta ken on the spur of the moment, at Mrs. West's suggestion, after her guests had been in her apartment for an hour or so. In that case the young lady would have had little time to plan such a disappearance and even if she had-unless she were far more familiar with the Maze than is believable-she would hardly have hit upon that unused door so readily. No, no l If she left by that door she probably left because she was compelled to; but we can't be certain that the door had anything to do with her disappearance One of the men connected with the place may have opened that door a little, and then called attention to it simply to divert the search into other channels." "You mean that you think some one employed there knows where poor Gertrude is?" Mrs. Rollins asked tremulously. "Not necessarily-reasoning from that alone. That trick might have been merely resorted to in an impul sive attempt to clear the management of any possible respon sibility, and to prevent a scandal that wou ld hurt business It might have been innocent enough. However, I am not prepared to acquit any of them, in my own mind, with out the most searching investigation-and I do not exclude Mrs. Byron West when I say that. Everything pos sib le will be done as speedily as it can be managed, Mrs. Rollins. None of my other cases at present involves such anxiety as that under which you and Mr. Rollins are l abo ring, and they w111 have to wait. I sha ll let Ida d o as much as she can properly handle, however, not only because she has the cas e well in hand already, but be cause it is one which a woman is peculiarly fitted to handle. If anything new comes up-even the slightest thing that might have a bearing-please let one of u s know immediately. We shall take the same course in re gard to you. Above all keep up your courage. I shall hope to have news for you soon, and I trust it will be good news." CHAPTER III. SOME CLE W S ARE RUN DOWN. About nine o'clock that night Nick Carter's car stopped on Spray Avenue Ocean I s l and, some littl e distance from Legrand's Crystal Maze, and from it alighted the de tective himself, Chick his first assistant, and Ida Jones. The detectives had not been idle during the hours since the interview with Mr. and Mrs Rollins. Nick had disguised him s elf with unusual care, and had ca lled upon Mrs. West in the guise of a mythical uncle of Gertrude Rollins-havin g first care that the family would bear out his claims in case the lady should be doubt ful of the relationship. He had found her at home, and had been admitted after considerab le delay. The California widow did not impress him much more favorably than she had Ida Jones. She expressed the u t most sympathy for the anxious family-in which the de tective felt insti nc tive l y that she was not s inc ere-but she did not attempt t<,> conceal the fact that she was "sic k and tired ," as she put it, of being questioned about the affair. And when N ick tried to draw her out further by tell ing her -of the ransom that had been paid in vain, she t riumphantly declared that that only bore out her theory, and that Gertrude's "friend" had taken the easiest way of getting money to start hon se k eeping on. The detective was naturally unwilling to take that view of the matt er, but h e did not s ucce ed in trapping the woman into making any damaging admissions, and was obliged to withhold final judgment in regard to her, for he realized s he might be of a naturally suspicious nature. After he and Ida had left the Rollins house that morn ing, the latter had gi e n Nick something new to think about. SGe had reminded him that Gertrude Rollins was the fifth young woman had strangely disappeared at Ocean Island that summer. Nick had not been con sulted in any of the other cases, but they had all been written up extensively in the papers. All of them had called forth a great deal of police activity, but in no in stance had satisfactory result s been obtained. Two of the girls-none of whom was soc ially prom iJ1ent-still remained unaccounted for. The body of one had been found washing back and forth on the beach

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NICK CARTER STORIES. 5. 5c1 cral weeks after her disappearance, and one had been found, after nearly two months, wandering the streets of Brooklyn. She had been recognized, and had been taken home in a dazed condition, but had never recovered sufficient clearness of mind to tell her story or to implica e any of her supposed captors. Ida had pointed o ut the possibility that those who had been responsible for these abductions might also have been instrumental in that of Gertrude, and the de tective had seen at once that there might be something in her suggest ion. It was well worth looking into, at any rate. Before doing so, however, Nick had contrived to see all of the others who had been in the party. He had called upon them, with the single exception of young Frank Lispenard, in the character of the s upposed uncle. That had been impossible in the case of the young fel low who had been Gertrude's escort, for he knew the family too intimately to be deceived by such a ruse. As a result, he had received a vi&it from the detective in the latter's own proper person. Nick was attracted to Lispenard at once, having found him a keen, frank, m anly young chap, who was evi dently genuinely concerned over his former p l aymate's disappearance. After the interview, there no longer remained the slightest possibility that he had borne any secret part in the affair. He declared that Gertrude had seemed in her usual spirits all the evening, and that soon after they had entered the Maze she had lau ghing ly run on ahead of him-they were already sep,arated from the r est of the party-and invited him to find her if he could. He was sure that she had had no motive for the act, other than a mere spirit of girlish mischief, called out by her novel surroundings. He had fo ll owed as soon as he had given her a littl e "sporting advantage" in the way of a start, but J1ad failed to find any trace of her. Just as he started he had thought he heard a s light scream or startled exclamation, but had not been sure and had never said anything about it. There were feminine exclamations of various sorts coming from all directions, some of them more or l ess hysterical, and it was hard to distinguish any one voice or to tell the exact nature of the emotion which produced the cry. The more he had thought about it, how ever, th e more certain he had become that it must have been Gertrude who had uttered the exclamation. The new point thus brought out was an int eresting one, but apparently of no great importance, s ince there was abundant evidence of other sorts that the girl had been seized and borne away. And the int erviews with the rest of the party did not even yield that much that was new. Chick had also taken a hand in the invest igation, and with a more striking result than was the case with either of the others. He had been sent to the Island to make inquiries about the reputation of Legrand's Crystal Maze and those con nected with it. He had found that there seemed to be quite a little surrounding Jules Legrand, the proprietor, who was incidentally found to be the chief owner of The Garden of Eden, adjoining, and also of another amusement p lace next to that. It appeared that little was known about the man, and (,!hat, although he frequently visited the Island, he lef t the active management of his attractions to others. Chick had not succeeded in getting very far along that line, but the very fact that there was something secret about Jules Legrand might prove an opening wedge. The young detective felt that he was making distinct progress, however, when he discovered, from the gossi p of the Island, that at l east two of the other girls who had disappeared there that summer had last been seen in or in the imm ed i ate v icinity of the Crystal Maze. And it was apparently the belief of many that the other two had vanished at the same point. He was told that the facts had been hushed up however. Here was, indeed, food for thought. But Chick's final discovery that afternoon had dwarfed even that. He had learned that Legrand was on the Island, and presently the man was pointed out to him. He was a strik ing-looking man, handsome, and very foi'eign in appearance, with a rather pale skin, and a jaunty, carefully waxed mustache, jet black in hue. The young detective had thought best not to enter the Maze it self that afternoon; therefore he had been about to leave the Island when he saw Legrand. An impulse seized him to follow the man and learn what he could about his haunts in the city. He had done so, and had been startled to find that Legrand's destination was none than Mrs. Byron West's apartment. Nick's assistant had s ub sequently hung around for nearly two hours, but had not been able to see the proprietor of the Crystal Maze emerge It was principally because of that astounding piece of evidence connecting the lively widow from California directly with Jules Legrand, which had led to the visit of the three detectives to the Island that night. Nick and Chick intended to play subordinate parts as long as. possible, how ever. It had been decided that Ida should take the lead and enter the Maze alone, in the hope that she might meet with some adventure similar in its beginnings to that which had befallen Gertrude Rollins and the other girl victims of the place, or, at least, might pave the way for a like experience later on. She was dressed very girlishly for the occasion, and was prepared to act the part of a rather clinging, unsu s picious young creature, not at all flirtatious, but suggest ing that she was easily influenc ed, and perhaps a little too fond of pretty clothes and good times. Gertrude had not been of that type, but the rest of the girls who had disappeared evidently had been more or l ess inclined that way. Other considerations had seeming ly entered into the Rollins girl's seizure, but Ida had practiced a part that would ordinarily bring an unprotected gir l a lot of undesirable attention, and she de sired nothing better than to be seized and carried off. There did not seem to be much chance that her wish would be gratified, but if it was, it might prove the sho rtest route to a knowledge of Gertrude's whereabouts. And the detective's woman assistant was well armed, and prepared to l et things go just as far a5 she thought necessary, but not a step farther-or so she believed, at any rate. Nick and Chick were not so sure about that, and had been reluctant to let her run the risks involved, but had finally yielded to her pleadings. Therefore, it was with more or le ss uneasiness that, from a little distance, the y saw her buy her ticket for a trip through Leirand's Cry-ita:l Maze.

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6 NICK CARTER SToRIES. CHAPTER IV. ANXIETY LEADS TO ACTION. Nick Carter and his assistant strolled about 111 the im mediate neighborhood of the Crystal Maze for a full hour, but Ida Jones did not reappear. At the end of that time they drew aside a little out of the crowd which thronged Spray Avenue, and held a consultation. It was obvious that Ida had met with some unusual adventure, otherwise she would long ago have emerged from the garishly lighted building, which, if reports were to be believed, had seemingly swallowed up so many girl s in the last two or three months. But it was equally clear that she did not wish help yet, and was determined to see the thing through unaided and in her ow.n way, as long as she could. For it had been carefully arranged that she should blow a police whistle if she needed immediate assistance. She had worn the whistle foside of her waist, suspended on a long s ilver chain; as if it were a locket. She had also carried a dainty parasol, inside of which had been placed a quantity of white powder. A small hole had been made in the silk cover of the closed parasol, close to the place where the cover joined the rod. This ho l e had been fixed so that it would not allow the powder to sift out until Ida was ready to have it, but when she was she could easily open the hole, thus leaving an inconspicuous but plain enough trail behind her, which her friends could follow, i f necessary. In addition to these precautions, she had been in s tructed, i n case she fo u nd herself in a particularly tight place, or in some secret nook which Nick and Chick would have difficulty in locating, to fire her automatic, if possible, and thus help them td reach her with the least delay practicable. They had heard neither whistle nor shot, and conse quently it was reasonab l e to suppose that the self-reliant Ida, wherever she was, still believed herself capable of handling the situation single-handed. She had evidently been far more successful in baiting her hook, or, at any rate, in finding something of decided interest about the 1Iaze, tha n any of them had really thought likely. Never the l ess, Nick and Ch i ck were by no means elated over the situation or the prospects They were qu i te willing to admit that Ida's plan had promised the quickest r esu l ts, and seemed to have achieved them, or to be in a fair way to do so; but they did not like the idea of her being in there a l one, armed and re sourceful though she was 1Ioreover, they could not be sure that she was still in the Crysta l Maze building at all For all they knew, she might, indeed, have been carried out of the side door which had been pointed out to Gertrude's friends, and might now be at some more or l ess distant point, from which she could not communi c ate with them, even if she were in the greatest danger. They had tried to keep an eye on the door in tion, but had not been able to do so all of the time, since they did not wish to attract attention by l oitering in one place too l ong. Therefore, their u n certainty and anxie ty grew until they decided that Chick-who was carefully disguised, as was Nick himself, for that matter sho ul d buy admission -to the Maz e a nd see i f he could te ll by Ida's powder trail I if she had left any, whither she had been taken. Nick, meanwhile, was to keep himself in reserve, so that his make-up would not become familiar to the employees of the place. Chick presently entered the Maze, in accordance with this arrangement. He was gone perhaps fifteen min utes, which dragged by tediously to Nick. At length he reappeared and strolled idly along Spray Avenue. The detective had been on the lookout for him, and followed. He overtook his assistant in front of The Garden of Eden. "What did you find?" he -asked guardedly, ranging alongside. "Ida's found all she was looking for, by this time, I imagine," replied soberly. "She left a trail, all right. It ends smack against one of the mirrors in a narrow corridor, seemingly somewhere in the middle of the Maze. There's no sign of a door or a knob. The panel of glass looks just like all the rest." "The trail doesn't lead to the side door, then?" "Nowhere near it." Could you identify that mirror without the trail of powder? They may notice that at any moment, you know, and sweep it up." "I thought of that, and I guarded against it. I hap pened to be wearing this little diamond scarfpin. I watched my chance, and scratched a little cross on the glass with it." "That's good! Well, Ida has her wish, but if she would only hurry up and call for reenforcements, I'd be a lot better satisfied." "Same here, chie{ I wish ..;,e hadn't given her her own way, but we can't help that now, and she would never forgive us if we horned in now and spoiled any of her plans. What can we do?" "Nothing, I'm afraid, except to stick around and wait for her to start something. I hope she rvon't wait too long. She must have been taken to some secret room. All those bewildering twists and turns of the mirror-lined passages offer unequaled opportunities for concealment, since they leave room for corresponding nooks and pas sages behind the mirrors. I can't imagine any more promising p l ace for mysterious disappearances than this Maze, and it looks now as if the rumors in regard to it have plenty of foundation. There's one comfort, the partitions which carry the mirrors are probably very thin. I should not be surprised to find that they consist largely of the big sheets of quicksilvered glass, set in frames. If that is the case, however, I wonder that they dare to carry on this sort of business behind them, for, unless they drug the girls at once, it would seem that their struggles would be heard by the people who are continu ally streaming through the public corridors." "By George! I hadn't thought of it in just that way before," muttered Chick. "Suppose they doped Ida right off the reel. If they did, no wonder we haven't heard a peep from her in all this time! This is getting con foun'dedly serious, chief! Don't you think we ought to follow her up without waiting any kmger? They may have disarmed her and taken her whistle away from her an hour ago, and here we have been loafing around as if we had all the time there is Ida is only a womah after all, and if she herself in a position in which her q uick wit couldn't do her any good, what could she

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NICI<: CARTER, : STORIES. d o against a huiking brute 6 a man-or maybe two or three : of them?" "Don't get excited, my boy cautioned the great de tective. "That won't help matters in the least. Ida knows her business, and has proved, time and again, that she can extricate herself from the mighty trying situations without the help of the rest of us. Don't forget, too, that she's a jujutsu expert, and has muscles under those pretty arms that many a man might well envy. Armed as she was, and with her eyes open, I don't believe it would be possible for any one to drug or tie her before she had summoned help in some way-unless she let them because she saw a way to snatch victory from defeat later on." "Maybe you're right. I certainly-.hope so, but this is about as little fun as anything could be. It's after ten now ;what if we don't> get any caHfromher by -eleven or twelve, when the place shuts up?" Then I'm afraid I shall be inconsisterrt enough to break in and take a hand myself," replied Nick. The minutes dragged by until half past eleven came, and :still no chan ge had occurred, and nothing had been heard or seen of the missing Jones . The crowds had thinned out greatly by that time, and it had become increasingly difficult, jf not impos&ible, for the. Jwo . detectives to remain near the Crytal Maie without arousing the; of those in char.ge. Moreover, it suddenly came to them that if they waited until the lights were put out in the plac e they might find it very difficult to find their way or to identify the mirror which Chick had marked. Therefore, they finally decided to enter the building and "put thefr fears to the test. Chick hurriedly sought a dark spot ; Close to the street, and mad e a. few slight but effective c11artges in his ap pearance, in the hope that the attendants would not rec ogni'ze him as having been in th e Ma z e once before that riight. Wh en that was done he rejoined his chief, and the two lost no time in buying their tickets afld entering. They were lold that the doors closed promptly at twelve, so''that they had twenty-five minutes or so, at least. .. Nick w11s not greatly surprised to find that the. po wder trail had vanished. It had probably been discovered and swept up as a matter of1 routine cleanliness, not because of.any clear idea of hciw it had come there. Nevertheless, Chick managed to find the scratched mirror after ter1 minutes of {lunti'ng. There was n o time to took for a secret spring for they might be inter : rupt'ed at any moment. Instead Nick deliberately pulled out one of his auto inatics and shot the mirror to piece s revealing as he had anticipated, a gaping space behind. The fat was certainly in the fire now, and whatever they did must be done openly, with all the swiftness and boldness of which they wi;ne capable. CHAPTER V. CHICK HOLDS THE FORT. gloomy, hole which appeared behind the broken mirror was plainly shallow, being not more ilian three or feet in depth. At the back of it was an other partition, showing the silvered back of ano ther great mirror. Nick Carter kicked out. the .. lower part of shattered glass and sprang through the jagged opening, smok ing revolver in hand. "Step inside and guard the opening here if you can for a while, Chick," he whispered swiftly. "Tliey'll be here on the run from the entrance in a moment. I'll see if I can find Ida. Come if I whistle.'' Right!" answered his assisfant, following him through the opening and then turning to cover his chief's opera tions as best he could. Of course, the flimsy glass partitions could be broken through in a sim ilar fashion at any point, and Chick could be surprised in the rear, and in the meanwhile he meant to do his utmost to keep the employees 'of the Maze occupied, and give Nick time for the necessary explorations. The level between the partitions was two and a half or three feet tOwer than the floor of the passage, so that the detectives had been obliged to jump down, and had found themselves on the beach itself. The structlir e had been built close to the ground. Conseq uerttly Chick was now standing on Yielding sand, ,i1ere and there with dead; trodden beach grass. To right and left, the ihner space or passageway ill' which 'he : was lurking in wait, was cro ssed at the fleor level by heavy beams, which, as he noted at once, were making N,ick's progress very difficult. Chick : had no opportunity to .take further stack of surround ing s because a uniformed attendant came along the corridor .. that juncture, caught sight of the broken glass, and gave a loud which' was instantly answered, two or three othff voices at least being distinguishable. '1\'.lrnost immediately two other .uniformed empfoy.ees appeaf'ed, and with them came the fnan who had been taking tickets in the little cage at the entrance. The others seemed to wait for him, as if he had more au thority than they but Chick who could see his reflection in one of the mirrors did ndt believe that he was I:e grand'!l-.manager: He looked too young for that. Besid es, 'if 'was probable that the prap'rietor or ilie manager had been personally' concerned in 'lda'.s disappearance. Perhaps both of them had, in fact, and if that' were true, it was likely that they were with: her now. The tieket 1 se ller started toward the sl:iattered mirr.or, with others behind him. Chick waited uritil hi wa s wjfuin half a dozen feet, then thrust his head around the '.edge of the openin g and showed his weapon. "That's far enough, fellows," he said with : menacing quietness. "It wouldn't be good for your h e a-tth to come any nearer." The fou r men started back at thiS apparition for thick liad taken care that his face should not be reflected in tbe mirror oppo'site. _._ .. Here, what are you doing there?" the ticke t n{an tle manded gruffly, as soon as he had recovered a ilttle from his momentary start. "Come out of. that!" As l}e spoke he whipped out a revolver, and uni formed men did likewise although they away farther than 'he and ; did not' iool
PAGE 9

8 NICK CARTER STORIES. the best of it," he called out deli beraiely; with the idea of delaying matters as long as he could. "Hadn't you better drop those popguns and take a snea\
PAGE 10

NIC:K CARTER STORIES. 9 through the ppening ab9ve his head, and one, poorl;: aimed, broke the next panel of glass. Watching his chance, Chick returned fire. Most of the ac;lvantage was his, so far, for he could knock to pieces the glass partition, behind which his enemies had taken shelter, whereas practically all of his body was hidden by the elevated flooring, which served as a sort of breast work. However, if any of the others should crawl under the floors and pepper away at his legs, the place would soon be too hot for him. But Chick did not let that worry him. He set to work to do what damage he could, and speedily wrecked the corner behind which his opponents had taken refuge. They were obliged to retreat precipitately, whereupon Chick decided that they were sufficiently impl'essed for t he moment, and that it might be well to go to Nick's assistance. He accordingly deserted the post he had held for some minutes, and, swinging himself to the nearest piece of timber, began jumping from one to another of the cross pieces. It was ticklish work in the faint light which shone into the place through the broken mirror, but it was quicker than to crawl underneath the timbers on his hands and knees. -llefore he had gone more than halfway toward the back of the building, however, he was obliged to jump down and continue by the slower !method, for the three IIJen. at whom he had been shooting had run to the open ing, and were leaning through and firing at him in the obscurity. Luc1dly none of the shots took effect, but they made Chick's progress somewhat exciting and hazardous. As soon as he got down on the ground he saw the opening made by the little door of which Nick had spoken. The door was standing ajar, doubtles s just as Nick had left it, and Chick did not believe that any further inter change of shots had taken plac e out s ide, uniess they had been drowned. by the firing within. Had his warning come in time? Was Nick safe, or had the ne wcom e r obtained the advantage before th e detective realized that there was any obstacle to his exit in that direction? Nick's assistant r ea ched the little door safely, and crouched just inside for a moment to listen, being car e ful not himsel_f against the faint light of the open'ng, for that would have given those behind him too good a . .. His heart stopped for a second as he heard a low groan from the beach behind the Maze, then his in stinctive fear vani s hed as he recognized familiar mingling with others some distance farther off. Unhesitatingly the young detective sprang through the low doorway and glanced rapidly about him. A large maii was lying on the san d, within a dozen feet of him, and tossing about as if in pain. "h must be the manager," thought Chick. For the form was n6f that of Jules Legrand, as Chick had seen him tliat afternoon. As he halted and looked about him, Chick saw his chief and three policem e n approaching from the direction of the: narrow passage fo erie side of the M -irze build Ing. One of th!! officers was iri the gray uniform of a special. "Hello, Chick! So you're all right, eh, after a11 that fusillade 1 heard? Thank Heaven Here is the man," he went on, turnin&" back to his companions. He came at m e around the corner here, just I qrinvling Gut of that little door, and I was to reply t(fl his shots. I hope I haven't wounded him very seriausly. I fired at his legs." "Better arrest those fellows inside before they can clear out," Chick put in hurriedly. "That's so!" exclaimed Nkk. "One of you men guard this opening and another cover the side door on the passage. We just passed it. The third man had better come with Chick and me, and enter at the front." They were in time, after all, to round all of the em ployees up-with the exception of the man who had been sent to help the manager, and the d;irky. Those who had been firing at Chick had just decided that it was tim!! to vanish, but were given no opportunity. The man who had been sent around the building by the ticket selier had heard the shots that had passed between Nick and the manager, and had bolted, without making any further investigation. The negro had also put as great. a dis tance as he could between himself and the scene of hostilities. Both of them were found and l ocked up before the night was over, however. A s soon as the lo t, those inside the building, h;i.sf been captured, a patrol wagon dq:>ve up and spiliiq. Gut ten or a dozen reserves from th!! island police station. Nick made himself and his assistant kmilwn to the lieutenant in charge, and, after a confon of blue coats was thrown around the ':milding, the three drew aside to confer. The detective did not bring Gertrude R0llins' name into it, but explained that they had been aftraoted Le grand's Crystal Maze while investigating the disappear ance of a young lady who had not been reported to the police as missing. He then described the way in which his own feminine as s istant, Ida Jones, had vanished three hours before, and how they had traced her to a certain mirror inside and had found her parasol on the ground underneath the building. The parasol was found, and brought iri proof of his statement. Lanterns were brought and the whole space behind and underneath the many twi s ting partitions of the Maze were gone over again with the utm0st care. Not the slightest evidence was found, however, that any one had ever been secreted there for any length of titne, or had even been bound or drugged there preparatory to removal fo soine other place. The mystery grew more and more baffling every mo ment, and Nick and Chick bitterly repented their action in yielding assent to Ida's unfortunate plan. Instead of bringing any nearer to a solution of the Qther puzzles which centered about the Crystal Maze, the re sult seemed to have beeri that the daring Ida had gone the way of the rest. She might still extricate herself from her difficulties, of course and 'return none the worse for her trying ex perience, but the detectives had little hope of that now. T hey had counted on being able to help her, but as it had turned out, they did not have an inkling of her whereabouts. She appeared to be hopelessly lost to them, whether she were near by or miles away. The only crumb of comfort they could find was the conditfon of the manager; who .Se name, it seemed, was Roger Pe'ttus. There was nothing to show that the pro. prietor had been at the Maze, or its vicinity, that night. Consequently, the detectives were inclined to reason that

PAGE 11

IO NICK: CARTER . STORIES. it was Pettus .who had carried Ida off. If so, he was no longer abie .. to fro uble her, being wounded and un9er rest. Under the circu!l'lstances, therefore, she might be irisufficien tly "guarded now, and if she had not been 4eavily
PAGE 12

NIGK CARTER STORIES. lT a miniature waterfall, a little lake grottoes, and tlie like. Thus, owing to the extensive and varied chatacter of the place, its search presented many difficulties. The officers who had been stationed at the different exits remained at their posts, while the rest, numbering about ten, inclusive of the detectives, went to the main entrance and demanded admittance: By that time a crowd of several hundred belated pleasure seekers and employees of the various places of amuse ment had gathered about. To them the affair was a welcome diversion, a free show, of which they had unexpectedly become witnesses. A small door beside the great gates was grudgingly opened, after a little delay, and the invaders poured in. Lieutenant Bentley ordered all of the lights in the park turned on, and presently most of the big inclosure was almost as brightly illuminated as in the daytime. The night force was then brought together, and its members closely questioned. They were \vell coached, and loyal to those who hired them, however, for they could not be induced in any way to admit that anythiJig out of the way had been going on there, that night, or earlier. They admitted that Pettus had been there when the disturbance broke out next door, but claimed that he had been in the office, talking with the manager of the Garden, who had since gone home, at his usual time-twelve o'clock. That story did not seem capable of holding water, at least so far as the departure of the other manager was concerned. In view of the excitement next door, and the fact that the Crystal Maze was under the same owner ship as the Garden, it was hardly credible that the active head of the latter would have left the Island until things quieted down. Yet he was certainly nowhere to be seen Perhaps he had taken Pettus' p l ace as Ida's jailer. The possibility was not an agreeable one to the de tectives, but it served to spur them on to greater speed and thoroughne ss in ransacking the Garden. The squad of police first scattered over the and poked into every nook and cranny without result. After that the buildings were subjected to the same process, one after another. Even the tower was searched from top to bottom. Up to that time nothing whatever of a suspicious nature had been discovered. In a room in the basement of the big tower, however, they came upon evidences of re cent feminine occupancy. There were a number of cots in the room, and lying in one corner, under one of the cots, was a woman's silk petticoat. Nick saw it first, and pounced upon it eagerly. "What is this doing here?" he demanded of the man who was in charge of the Garden for the night, and who ha<;l accompanied them on their rounds. The fellow looked at the skirt in a peculiar way for a few moments, then his face lighted up. "Oh, I know how that must have come here!" he said, at last. "We sometimes use this place as a sleeping room for some of the men, as you see by the cots here; but now and then it's used as a dressing room for some of the performers we hire from time to time for our free open-air performances. A woman tight-rope walker had it for a week a little while ago, and she must have left that thing behind. I don't believe the room has been occupied since, and we don) pretend tc;i take very good care of it down here, seeing that we only rin g it in when we're overcrowded." The explanation was plausible enough, but it did not satisfy Nick Carter. If he read the signs aright, the man was lying, and had trumped up the excuse on the spur of the moment. Besides, the place they were in was admirably adapted to the demands of a hiding place. As we have said, it was in the basement, so to speak, of the great tower. In other words, it was one of four rooms roughly paftitioned off in the space inclosed by the foundation walls. For a floor it had nothing but the sand of the beach, and instead of windows there was only a couple of round openings, covered with opaque glass, close to the ceiling. It might as well not have existed, therefore, so far as the general public were concerned. There were apparently only two ways of n:'1.ching or leaving this partitioned space, of some forty feet squar e in all. One was by a trapdoor in the floor above whic h opened on a short, steep flight of cellar stairs. The other was by a door in the rear wall of the tower itself, which was separated by only half a dozen feet from a similar opening in the back wall of the Garden, leading to the beach. It was easy enough, of course, to understand how Ida _:_and the other girls before her-could have been car ried from the rear door of the Crystal Maze to the rear door in the wall of the Garden, and so into the tower; but that implied that the thing had been done under the very eyes of hundreds of people on beach. It was theoretically possible if cleverly managed, but it did not seem that the risk would have been run. How ever, no other possible explanation had presented itself thus far. Despite the yarn they had just heard, the detect ive s felt morally certain that several girls had lately been detained in that obscure room. If so, why not Ida? But where was she now, and where were Gertrude Robbin s and the rest of those whom the Maze was supposed to have swa llowed up? Certainly no one 'Yould have dared to remove them, or any one of them, by way of the open beach, after the hue and cry had been raised, and it seemed equally cer tain that they were not in the park or the Maze. What sort of hide and seek was this that was being played at the detective's expense? Suddenly Nick Carter struck his open left palm with one doubled fist. I "By George!" he exclaimed. I've just thought of something! We've got to try some excavating!" "Excavating!" echoed his assistant. "What do you mean by that?" "Why couldn't I have thought of it before?" the de tective went on, unheeding. "Don't you see that the floor here and under the Maze are the same-the sand of the beach itself? And can't you understand how easy it would be to run a boarded-up tunnel from the Maze to this tower, and to conceal trapdoors at either end whenever necessary, by pawing sand over them?;' Chick whistled. "Great Scott I" he ejaculated. "I shouldn't wonder if you had hit the nail on the head. Sand would lend itself to that sort of thing better than almost anything else, for it could be shoveled around in such a way a$

PAGE 13

12 NICK CARTER STORIES. to leave no suspicious traces. Let's see if we can bring out any so und s here." But Nick was already striding about the room and s tamping his feet heavily. Chick looked quickly at the fellow who had so ingeniously explained th e presence of the petticoat, and noted a fleeting expression of alarm on his face Ah, just as I thought!" Nick cried, a few moments la er. Listen to this !" He stamped several times on a certain spot, and curi ously enough, the sand gave out an odd, hollow sound. The and Chick immediately dropped to their knees and began digging in the loose sand with their hands. But they had scooped up only a few handfuls when a peculiar, muffied that was none of their doing came up to them from beneath. "What's that? A police whistle, as sure as guns!" cried the lieutenant. CHAPTER VIII. THE GIRL DETECTIVE IS TRAPPED. When Ida Jones sauntered self-re liantly into Legrand's Crystal Maze that evening, h er heart was beating faster tha n usual under her thin, girlish dress; but no one would have known it from h e r manner. She carried herself to perfection, and she made a picture that was certain to attract all the attention she desired-and perhaps more, too. There was nothing bold about her, for that would never hav e done, at all. Her difficult part required that she sliould not only be beau -tiful-which was easy-but that she should give the im pression that she was ignorant and unaccu sto med to knocking about alone and yet, at the same time, that she was quite alone and determined to enjoy herself, in spite of that circumstance. She smiled demurely at the ticket seller, seemingly un. conscfous of the fact that he was staring at her more than his duties required. Having secured her ticket, she tripped in daintily, look ing all about with the air of one who had never seen s uch a wonderful place before. She passed a heavily built man who was lounging just inside the entrance, and gave him a veiled, slightly con fused look. As she passed in she felt certain that it was tlJe ticket seller's vqice she heard saying, in a hoarse whisper: Look at that peach, Mr. Pettus! Why wouldn't she dci ?" Almost any other girl would have been frightened half to death, but Ida Jones was made of diff erent stuff. The words she had caught were welcome to her ears, for they held out the hope that she was to have the adven ture she so longed for, as a means of finding her missing friend, and, if possible, the rest of the unfortunate girl s who had vanished from Ocean Island that summer. Ordinarily, she would not have been willing to put herself in such a position, and Nick had never asked her to assume such ri s ks as this. Now, however, she had done so of bet own free will, spur red on by her knowl edge of what Gertrude's parents were suffering, and she believed that she was quite capable of handling almost any situat ion that might develop. Besides, were not her chief and within call? Surely, nothini very ter-rible could happen to her, armed as she was, and with them so near at hand. Buoyed up by this thought she wandered leisurely through the maze of mirror-walled passages, her eyes big with assumed wonder, her red lips a little parted. About five minutes after her entrance, she drew back, with a little cry of surprise that was quite genuine. The big mirror which she had been passing had suddenly swung inward, revealing a dark hole behind the wall-a hole which seemed to have no floor. The big man whom she had passed in the entrance was crouching in the opening. He thrust his head out, took a quick look in either direction, and then, leaning out, caught Ida in his arms and whisked a small chamois skin sack over her head. She gave a muffied cry, and resisted, of course. That was a part of her performance, but, as a matter of fact, her resistance was partly real. She had not known what to expect, but she certainly had not counted upon being drugged at once. That experience had no place in her program. It was too late now to retreat. In spite of her furious st ruggles she was drawn into the secret opening and heard the panel swing to and click into place behind her. SJ:ie managed to hold her breath so as to retain con sc iousness as long as possible, and meanwhile she tried desperately to do something that would bring her friends to her rescue. She had left the little powder trail so they would know where to look for the hidden door. Now, if she could only whistle for them or manage to fire her automatic! She could not use the whistle with her head covered up in that fashion, however. As for her pistol, it was in a tiny holster strapped about right leg, just below the knee. No breath would be necessary to fire it if she could reach it. But all her efforts were in vain. The big man held her too cruelly fast. Before she knew it he had forced her to her knees, and was dragging her along on the yielding sand. She threw her head back, and it struck sharply against something hard just aboveo ne of the floor timbers which Nick and Chick were later to find so much in the way. The pain of the unexpected blow caused her to gasp, and her lungs filled with the fumes of the drug with which the bag had been charged She went limp, and knew no more for a time-how long she could not have told if her life had depended upon it. When she recovered consciousness she found herself, bound and gagged, lying face downward on a canvas cot. Her ankles were fast and her wrists were tied behind her back. When she opened her eyes, her gaze encoun tered a partition of matched boards behind the cot, not more than six inches away. Awkwardly she managed to turn her face so that she could survey her surroundings. She was in a good-sized room, perhaps twenty feet square. Two of the walls were of rough, thick concrete, while the other two were board partitions. In the former were several little cir c ular windows, like portholes, set high up and consisting of ground glass, which admitted only a subdued light and gave no view. Ida could see many shadows passing across them con tinually, however and could hear the shuffling of multi t udes of feet, the sound of happy voices, and strains of mu1ic.

PAGE 14

NICK CARTER STORIES. A s id e from herself, the room was untenanted, and it was bare, t oo. exce p t for s ome other cot s which s tood a bout on the sand floor. It came to Ida in a flash that she was no longer in the Crystal Maze, and that she could not know whether she w ere near or far from her friends. She was, of course, not in a position to place the building in the depths of which she was confined nor could she guess how, or by what route, she had been brought there. In short, she was completely bewildered, and as near to sheer terror as she had ever been in her life. To be sure, people seemed to be all about her basement prison but that was on e of the mo s t maddenin g aspects of her ituation. She was alon e and h e lpl ess in the v ery midst o f a crowd. Those hurrying, he e dless throngs of merrymakers might a s w e ll have been a hundred miles away fo r all the gooa t hey could do h e r situated as s h e was. Ida had not anticipat e d anything lik e this She had c ounted on being tl1e m aste r of any situation that might co m e about, and now, a t t he very outse t s he found h ers elf the v ictim. Nothing had turne d out as she h a d hoped and there did n o t appear to be any good rea s on for expecting a change of luck. She could still f ee l the weight o f h e r little automatic against her l e g and th e polic e whi s tl e was pressing uncomfortably into the fle sh o f her bosom a s s h e lay upon it Therefore, sh e had th e satis faction s uch a s it was o f knowing that sh e was s till arme d. But what servic e c ould these things r e nd e r to her in h e r present plight ? Wait! Perhaps sh e could g e t a t h e r pistol in spit e of h e r bond s At l eas t it was worth trying. Anything wo uld be b ette r than lying th e r e lik e a log and l etting h e r active imagination picture all sorts of impendin g fates. I If she could only draw h e r automatic, train it on one o f those littl e round wind o ws, and op e n fire. That ought t o bring help o f s ome kind quickly e nough But no! 1'.hat was out of the que stjon. In the first place, her bound wris t s w o uld hardly e nabl e her to aim t h e weapon, e ven if s h e c o uld r e ach it, which was very doubtful. And, besid es if sh e s h o t through the window t he chances were that she might wound, perhaps kill some on e-a woman o r a child p erhaps She wa s not willing to run that terrible ris k e v e n t o save, herself. But if s h e could manage to fir e se v e ral shot s in any directionint o the sand, for in stance-the y would surely b e h eard outsid e and ought to l ead to an inve s tigation She d e t e rmin e d to make the e ffort without further l oss o f time. She hitched al ong on the cot until her feet were off t h e edge the n s h e sat up unc e rtainly, finding it extremely d ifficult t o get h e r bal a nc e owin g to the awkward posi tion' of her arms. With her feet in the sand, she push e d the cot back by d eg r e es until it was against the partition. That g a ve her so mething s olid t o lean against. The n she curl e d h e r legs up o n th e c o t to the right, bringing her bound ankles a s close to her side a s s he could without the us e of her hands to pull them clo ser. That done, she b egan twisting her b o dy about to the left, reaching around to the right from behin,d a s far a s she could and straining her utmost to grasp the handle of her w e apon. At first it seemed impossible to do so, but by degrees her groping finger s crept nearer and nearer a'nd her supple body twisted ever farther. At last she touched the cool s teel, and, with a last convulsive jerk of torture d fr a me, s ucceeded in getting a firm hold on th e butt. Joy and relief surged through her from head to foot. She was not quite at the mercy of her captors after all! She had once more demonstrated her ability, woman though she was to find a way out of overwhelming diffi culties by her own unaided efforts She was just in the act of drawing the pistol from its miniature holster, when she heard sounds, which indicated that a trapdoor was being opened close by, followed by steps descending a flight of creaking stairs. Ida's heart stopped beating for a few seconds, and her t ense fingers froze to the handle of her automatic. Some body the man who had seized her, probably, judging by the weight on those complaining stairs-was coming, was almost in the room There was no time to use the pistol now, and if he saw it he would take it away from her. H e r fears did not even permit her to push the w e apon back a ll the way into it s h o lster. Indeed, she would hardly have had time to do so for she had only jerked her skirts over it and partially relaxed her strained muscl e s when the man entered the room. It was the man she had cause to remember-the man 'ager of the Maze. A cruel smile overspread his face as h e saw her sitting up. Well little one!" he said, coming toward her . "So you thougl;t you'd come back from th e Land of Dope, did you? That's right, but what are you squatting like that forall twisted up? You remind m e of the song J e fferson de Angelis or one of those other comic-opera chaps used to sing about the circus girl. Com e out of that position and be comfortable, he went on unceremoniously seizing Ida's ankle s and pulling them over the edge of the cot. The sudden motion dislodged the insecure automatic and it slipped from under her skirts and fell on the sand at the manager's feet. CHAPTER IX. IDA G ETS A NEW J A I L ER. Pettus looked at the little weapon in dumb amaze ment for a moment then s tooped and pic k e d it up "For the love of Mike!" he e x claim e d l o oking from it to Ida. "Where did you g e t this, girl? Anybody would think from this that you're one of tho s e skirts who ote the gangsters' guns for them nowadays so their gen tl e men friends won't get pinched for carrying concealed weapons. You certainly don't look like it though. I hope I haven't made any mistake in you my beauty he added, half to himself. "If I have, the m ain guy surely will j ump down my collar with both feet!" Ida, naturally could not reply on account of the gag in her mouth. She had no desire to anyway for it was bett e r that her captor should think of her in the light o f a gunman's girl than that he should get an inkling o f her true character. Moreover, she was thinking s wiftly. The manager's last words had been seiz e d upon eagerly. They seemed to imply that he had not c arried her off on his own account, but in the intere s t s of some one else the "main guy," as he had called him. The reference must be to Jules Legrand, who was e vidently n o t at the Island that night. If that were the case, she would

PAGE 15

14 NICK CART.ER STORIE"S. probably be left alone, fo r t he m os t part, until s he could be turned over to th e p roprietor, and if the latter did not come to the resort later that night-and it seemed un likely that he would-she ought to have a good many hours of grace before her The prospect gave her new courage; she hailed it as a condemned man hail s a reprieve. In a twinkling she had lost most of her fear of this man : If he were under orders, he would be careful to respect those or ders if nothing else for fear of getting into trouble with the man who paid him She r e asoned, therefore, that she was fairly safe for the time being. And then too, much might happen in a few hour s She knew, at least, that she was still on the Island. The catchy music and the crowds proved that. Furthermore she was beginning to suspect that she might be in on e of the buildings in The Garden of Eden inclosure. That seemed the most reasonable s uppo s ition, in view of Chick's discovery that Legrand also controlled the Garden If so, her friends could not b e far off, and might b e look ing for her at that very m o m e nt. Sure ly they would find her before long, if the y had to tear down every on e of Legrand' s building s to do it. \ These reflections work e d the greate s t po s sibl e change in Ida's spirit s but she contrived to conc e al the fact, and to act the part of fri g hten e d helples s ne ss, while inwardly s he w a s already s p e culating on the pos s ibility of yet learning some o f the thin gs s he had taken s o many risks to ascertain. As yet she had neither heard nor seen anything to give her,. a clew to th e ultimat e fate of Gertrude Rollin s and the other girl s w ho were missing. To be sure, they had doubtless been se i zed in th e sa m e w ay s h e had an d had probably b een brought to that room. How they had been brought s he could not s ay, any more than she could have told how she had b een trans ported from the Maze; but the cot s in the place s uggested former occupancy of a s imilar kind. Where were they now though? Ida had cot\)1ted on retaining her senses if se ized, and being able to tell the route u se d and th e location of th e plac e to which s he might be tak en. She had al s o imagin e d that she would probably be taken directly to the retre at chosen for h e r pre dece s sor s and would find them or s ome of th e m th e r e Then, wh e n s he had l e arned all tha t w a s necessary, s he had pictured herself a s summoning the chief and Chick. The reality had proved very different, but, now tha t her worst f ears for hers elf w ere temporarily in the background s h e b ega n to h o p e tha t Fate would be kind enough to her n ot to permit all of her dreams and plan s to fall short of r e ali z ation. She realized that it would have to be some action on the part of her captor not any effort of her own; but she clung to the pos s ibility, nevertheless. I>ettus slipped the weap o n into his pocket, looked her over speculatively, as if wondering if she could pos s ibly have any more such things concealed about her, and then reluctantly started for the door. He turned back, how e ver, and again approached her. Ida shrank back fearfully, although she no longer felt any particular H a nged if I know what this gun means, kid!" he said 'I ne ver would have expected to find such a thing on you. I had you booked as Innocence Abroad.' It don't I matter much though. You look g o od to me, and I guess you'll look good to-others. Anyway, here you are, and here you're going to stay. Just make up your mind to that, and don't try any tricks. They won't do you a bit of good, and they may bring what you won't like. See the point, girlie?" Ida bowed her head and burst out crying. She did it very realistically, too, and was still doing it when she was startled into silence by the s ound of muffled shots. Pettus, who had just opened his mouth with the ap parent intention of ordering the girl detective to s top her noise, became transfixed, and listened intently. They heard no more shots for a while, but those which had reached their ears elated Ida Jones. There might be some other explanation, of course, but she rightly con cluded that Nick and Chick had got to w b rk. As for the manager, he was plainly worried. He knew better than the girl did that th e reports had come from the direction of the Maze. Presently, without another word, he hurried out of the room and up the stair s A little later he returned in company with ano t her man Ida heard them talking while they were still on the stairs. "I don't know what's up next door," Pettus wa s say ing excitedly, "but I don't like the looks of things. I'll have to take a hand, and I want you to stay with thi s girl until I g e t back. She's alre ady sprung o ne surprise on me"-he lowered his v oice at that point, but Ida coul d s till clearly distinguish his word s-"and I'm afraid sh e may have some more up her sleeve. I'm s orry to s addl e you with this thing, but I simply can't help it. Here s he is!" The two men were in the doorway now, and Ida coul d see that the newcomer was s omewhat older and s ligh ter than the manager of the Maze. He wa s immaculatel y dre ssed, smooth-faced, and looked something like an actor. I'll have to run now," Pettus went on. "This ma y be a raid If it is, and they should turn the ir attentio n to the Garden afterward, don t let them catch you nap ping! Take the girl down into the subway at the fir st s ign of trouble, and s tay there until somebody t e ll s you it's safe to come up again." All right-but it can't be that, Roger! You're seein g things, that' s all: / If you s hould happen to be righ t though, what about the littl e dear s up above?" "Oh, they're all right where they are,'' was the hurried answer, as Pettus bolted for the stairs. "They couldn't be found in a hundred year s." And after that the trapdoor fell into place behind him. Ida had seen at a glance that h e r new jailer was mor e to be feared than Pettus, and that his loyalty to his em ployer was likely to wear rather thin in spots. She sus pected that he was older than he had seemed at first, and her opinion wa s confirmed when he removed his hat with a flourish of mock deference. His head was quite bald on top and what hair he had was turning gray. Ida took heart. This is too bad, child! he exclaimed hypocritically. "You wouldn't be here if I had had anything 'to do with it, and I'd let you go now if I dared, but would mean the loss of my own position. Been crying your pretty eyes out? Come, come, this won't do!" He put his hand on her shoulder and a nip from her pretty teeth for his pains.

PAGE 16

STORIES. 15 You little pevil !" he cries:!, starting back .in "Tha_t'.s. a nice .way to treat your friends, isn't : His:p_o. se .. of. injured innocence was into, how a h_urricane of sh ots from the direction of the Crystal Maze. He stiffened where he stood, still nursing his injured hand. By Jove, : th .is certainly does look serious!" he mut tered to himself. "It must be a raid, and Pettus is put ting. up a fight." . :He an. xiously for
PAGE 17

NICK CARTER STORIES. her best to make him think that she had changeq her attitude. She knew it was a dangerous experiment, but that could not be helped now. If she could get her hands loose on almost any pretext, or in return for almost any promise, she wou ld be in a much better position to defend herself, aside from the possibility that she might direct her rescuers. She was not surprised at the next question. Will you promise to behave yourself if I do?" There was a pause, after which Ida nodded her head ever so slightly. Just then however, her quick ear de tected faint sounds overhead Muffled, crunching sounds they were, as if a number of persons were walking on sand, and accompanying them were other blurred noises which suggested photograph records being played at a great distance. The girl detective trie!il to keep her attitude as limp and dejected as it had been all along during her silent plead ings, but her heart bounded. Her instinct told her that the room above was being searched. her jailer's hearing was not as good as hers, hl!lwever, for he gave no sign that he was aware of what was going on over his head. If he had been, he would hardly have released Ida, even to that slight extent. As it was, he chuckled expectantly as he cut the cords aJ;i1;mt her wrists. The girl felt them drop away. But Ida's free hands had sped to her nellk and grasped the chain which held the police whistle. Before -'the grinning captor realized what she was about, she had jerked the whistle from her bosom, torn the lQosened 1!11n;kerchief gag from her mouth, and blown the shrillest bfast &he ceuld" command: CHAPTER XI. THE TOWER YIELDS UP ITS SECRET. When he heard that peculiar subterranean whistle, the situation became as clear as day to Nick Carter. He sent Chick posthaste through the back door of the tower, with instructions to see that the policemen who had bt>en left on guard about the Maze did not allow Ida's captor or captors to escape from that end of the underground passage. After that precaution had been taken, the sand wa s attacked with a will by all hands. The trapdoor was uncovered in a couple of minutes, the ring in it laid hold of, and the opening revealed. Nick was the first one to jump down into the tunnel. An was dark, except for the light which found its way in from above. The detective quickly produced his electric flash lamp and lighted it. It was a dangerous proceeding, but Nick was in a reckless mood He gav J an exclamation of alarm as he saw a woman's body stretched out on the floor of the passage, not far from his feet. A second glance showed the clothing to be Ida's He ran to his girl assistant's side, stooped, and raised her body in his arms. One hand sought her heart, and his withheld breath was expelled in a sigh of relief as he felt it beating strongly. An ugly bruise on her white forehead, just between her eyes, told the story. She had been brutally struck down after blowing the police whistle, and had been rendered unconscious. The police had, in the meantime, dodged past the kil.eelini detective and run aloni the passaie. They found it empty, and open at the other end, but when they clambered through the trapdoor. under the Crystal Maze they had the satisfaction of seeing Ida's keeper in the hands of Chick and the others: He had tried to :escape and had blundered into tile arms of those who were waiting for him. Under the influence of Nick's restoratives, Ida soon recovered consciousness. Secure in the knowledge that she was once more safe and in the hands of friends, quickly threw off the nightmare effects of her experience and was ab'le to repeat, word for word, what she had overheard passing between Pettus and the manager of the Garden, Dawson. The hints they had incautiously dropped seemed to point to the likelihood that other girls-probably including Gertrude Rollins-were confined somewhe re in the tower. Dawson's reference to "the little dears up above" could have had no other meaning it appeared. Therefore, notwithstanding the fact that Nick thought the tower had already been se arched thoroughly, a new and even \ more minute quest was begun. Evidently the hitherto undiscovered retreat was of no ordinary character, otherwi s e Pettus would not have had any justification for his boast that it couldn't be found in a hundred years. Bearing that in mind, Nick ; Chick I and Ida began at the basement and worked upward s1owly at the head of a number of policemen. The tower wa s brilliantly lighted from top to bottom There was an elevator shaft in the middle of it, around which ran a squarely built instead of a circular stair way. The arrangement, in fact, was the same as that in the Washingtdn Monument at the national capital. Both the elevator and the stairway began at the ground floor the trapdoor leading down to the base ment being found to be under the first short flight of steps. There was obviously no place for a secret room on the ground floor because everything was open to the outer walls of the tower itself. The stairs were built against the walls, and just inside of the stairs, as the y continued around the four massive walls of concrete, was the elevator shaft. The same arrangement held good until the very top of the tower was reached. Therefore, the searchers felt absolutely certain that no nook had escaped them thus far. If they were right, the secret must await them at the summit of the climb. Extraordinary means must have been resorted to, however, to have had it escape the detective's keen eyes on their first tour of investiga tion. But in the light of their new suspicions, they looked at the arrangement of the plac e with new eyes. There were no windows at all on the level at which the elt>vator and stairs stopped. Instead, there were four doors, one on each side of the tower opening out on a narrow railed platform, from which visitors could get a splen did view of Ocean Island, the ocean, and the neighbor ing shore line. Thes'e doors were reached through passages six or eight feet long, and almo s t as narrow as the doors themse l ves. The walls of these passages were of concrete and the landin g on which they opened inwani was cor respondingly sma ll for the stairs narrowed very materi ally just before they reached the top the space inside the shaft being taken up by massive flying buttresses of con-\

PAGE 18

CARTER STORIES. crete:-or great structural de!ails, whjch seemed to answer that description more nearly than al}y other, On 1heir previous visit the detectives had naturally assumed that these buttresses, or whatever they might be called, were solid, and had been designed to add strength in some way to the tall structure. That supposition had appeared to be confirmed by the fact that, when viewed from the platform outside of the )Ow.er; the walls be tween the doors were not broken by any openings. The inside walls were similarly unbroken, although it was evident that there was a great deal of space to be ac counted for in case the buttresses were not solid con crete. Having failed to find th slightest evidence of a secret door inside, Nick, his two assistants, and the police went outside and made the circuit of the overhanging iron platform, or balcony, which was not more than four feet wide. Still no break in the walls was to be seen, save for the four deep doorways. But something else was noted at once. The walls con tinued up from the floor of the platform for a height of perhaps nine or ten feet, well over their' 1\eads. There they sto pped, except at the corners, where ornamental pinnacles soared severa l feet higher. The top of these main walls did not mark the top of the tower, however. The structure receded at that point for several feet, then rose again for some distance farther, a!Jd finally spread out into a fantastic roof or cap, suggestive of a Japanese temple, the overhanging eaves of which were almost over their heads, as they looked up from the platform. It did not take long to see that if the buttresses at their present level were hollow they formed good-sized rooms at each corner of the main walls, between the doors, and could also be reached easily from above by means of' sky lights in the recessed roof which intervened between the top of the main walls and the smaller square of walls which carried the tower to its final culmination. Moreover, these skylights, if th .ey existed, would furnish light and air to the hidden rooms beneath. N ick reasoned this out aloud, and Chick capped the climax by producing a short iron ladder, which he had noticed lashed to the railing of the platform. The ladder was quickly put in place against one of the main walls, and Nick mounted it. The recessed walls above consisted largely of glass, set in a steel frame, and forming a lantern" similar to that of a lighthouse, inside of which was a powerful electric light. This light was now burning almost blindingly, and enab l ed the detective to see everything with the utmost distinctness. Nick's head had hardly mounted above the outer walls before he turned and called down exictedly : "Come on! There are skylights p'artly open, and the roof is of opaque glass. We've found the secret!" He scramb l ed over the low parapet, formed by the tqp of the main wall on that side, and Chick and the rest hastily mounted after him. Suffice to say that they found three of the curious but tress rooms occupied. Gertrude Rollins was in one, and each of the others contained one of the girls who had previously been reported as missing. The two whose confinement had been longer, were in a pitiable condition of mind and body-in fact, they seeme d to be almost mental wrecks. .They were hysteri cal, and little could be learned from them. Gertrude, however, although weak and oveqvrought, gaye promise of quick It was from her they learned the conditions and pur poses of the unique and harrowing imprisonment of the girls. She had never been thrown into direct contact with any of the others, but it was reasonable to assume that her experiences had, on the whole, been more or le ss representative. Jules Legrand, it appeared, was a hypnotist, among other things, and was planning an elaborate and startling act for us
PAGE 19

18 NICK. CART.ER .STORIES. "You did," replied the boy; "you said I inustn't sing or that I mustn't have boys ui,:i here; that I must come at eight, and quit at five; that I was to keep up the fire, sweep out, run errands, and be civil; that I was to be careful and lock the door, scrape my feet on the mat, keep my knife away from the furniture, and not idle my time away. You told me all this, but you didn't say a word about my not pouring ink on the cock. roaches." .The Perfume of Madness. B y j KENILWORTH EGERT ON. CHAPTER I. On all the continent of Europe there is no busier man than Le Garde, the chief of the French secret police; but wl1ile his brain is charged with a mass of detail which would overwhelm a less disciplined organ, and his shoul ders carry a weight of responsibility under which many strong men would break, he is never so fully occupied a.s to be unable to find time to study new men or methods which may be of interest or value to him Within his own he is supreme and an autocrat; many of hi s most trusted and valued assistants are known only to himself,. and he directs every inquiry from the investiga .. tion of the most insignificant c rim e against individuals to the watching of conspi racies aimed to overthrow the state itself With such man if old cares and responsibilities, it speaks volumes for the charm and interest of my friend Mr. Thomas Williams' personality that Le Garde formed the habit of dropping in almost daily at the charming studio apartment which T ommy and I occupied together on the Boulevard Saint-Germain. On the present occasion the conversation had drifted to woman. "The queerest, but the most interesting c reatures on earth," Le Garde was saying as he appr e ciatively puffed a fragrant Egyptian cigarette from a box which did not bear the seal of the government monopoly, and watched Tommy preQare the equally fragrant cafe a la Turc. "Confound '.em, they're past all understanding!" ex claimed Tommy ungallantly as he removed the coffeepot from the brazier at the m o m e nt its bubbling content s threatened to boil over. Le Garde watched him with twinkling eyes as he d e ftly turned the foaming liquid into the eggshell cups. "I almost agree with you," said the Frenchman. lau g h ing. "In a long experience I have known many women and I have seen them under all circumstances; but never have I met two alike, nor never have I been able to predict from previous experience how one would behave _under given conditions. For instance, a case which was brought to my obse r vation to-day presents a phase of femininity which I am entirely at a loss to under s tand "That a past master is fallible should make a novice patient under many defeats, ackn ow ledged Tommy, un der the soothing influence of his favorite decoction "Is it possible for you to tell us the circumstances?" "When the morning papers appear they will be public property and, so far as I know, no crime has been com mitted; so there is no r eason for sec r ecy," answered Le Garde, after lighting a fresh cigarette. "It is a case of suicide, the victim a young wom
PAGE 20

NICK CARTER STORIES. b ut I could see no reason for it, for not a scrap fo her ha ndwriting can we find with which to compare it Tommy had picked up an enlarging glass, and, examin ing the paper closely, he suddenly raised it to his nose a 1d sniffed. "What a peculiar perfume!" he exclaimed. Le Garde looked at him approvingly "Evidently all of your senses are alert, Mr. Williams. Let me tell you an other curious point in that connection. That sheet of note paper-which you can see is unusual-corresponds exactly in tint, texture, size, and watermark with the blank paper in her writing case; but about the remainder there is not the slightest trace of perfume. Her sachets, toilet water, and perfume are all the same scent Parma Violet, but not another article about her person or effects has the perfume of this note which, as you say, is most peculiar. In fact, it is one with which I am entirely unfamiliar, although I have had occasion to make a more or less exhaustive study of perfumes. I have ordered that neither the body nor the chamber in which it was found should be disturbed-would it interest y o u to e xamine the scene and 1 body of the suicide? It is n o t far from here-in the Rue de l'Echelle "The 'Street of the Laddei:_'-perhaps one which leads to adventure," answered Tommy, as he placed his empty cup on the tray. "I should esteem it a privilege, for you have aroused my curiosity most effectually. The presence of a uniformed officer in the boxlike room ordinarily occupied by the concierge was the only indication that anything unusual had o ccurred in the quiet house on the narrow street leading off the Place de !' Opera, but a man in plain clothes was loitering on th e s tairway and he sho o k his head and expressively opened hi s hands to signify that they were empty when Le Garde a sked him if anything new had been discovered There was a twinkle in his eyes as he glanced from Tommy to me which made me look closely at him, and I recog nized the grinning face of the cabman who had been s o ubiquitous when Le Garde was watching us as suspicious characters The apartment to which we were admitted by another plain-clothes man was, as Le Garde had intimated, luxuri o usly furnished, and displayed evidence of taste and wealth; but there was an entire absence of photographs and the small personal things which give a place a dis tinctive and homelike atmosphere. No one has called, and I have discovered nothing new," reported the officer in charge lac onically, and Le Garde moti ned us to follow him int o the adjoining room It was a large bedchamber simply but tastefully fur nished, the dressing table covered with a profusion of the dainty articles which a woman finds u s e for in her toilet. On the bed, attired in a simple white evening gown and having all the of being in a peace ful sleep, lay the body of a woman, only the waxlike pallor of the face betraying that it was the sleep which knows no awakening, and a powder-blackened spot on the left side of the corsage suggesting t'he cause. Le Garde had not exaggerated her beauty; the straight nose, delicately chiseled lips, and high forehead, gave her the profile of a classic came and above the aristocratic face, as carefully dressed and arranged as if she had been going to a ball instead of the grave, was a mass of beautiful golden hair. Her ar.ms lay at her sides a small revolver loosely clasped in the palm of the right hand, the index finger still on the trigger. The left hand, beautifully shaped and exquisitely cared for, lay half open at the edge of the bed nearest to us, and Tommy, to whose artistic eye its beauty made strong appeal, stooped to look at it more closely. Suddenly he straight ened up and beckoned to Le Garde. "I think that one of your puzzles is solved," he said quietly. "I wondered why that writing seemed familiar, and here is the explanation." On the side of the second finger was a tiny ink stain from a soiled penholder. "It is not disguised writing; it presents only the pe culiarities common to the handwriting of all left-handed people Le Garde carefully examined the telltale ink stain, and then looked at Tommy inquiriogly. You are quite correct, Mr. Williams,'' he acknowledged frankly. "It does explain the peculiarity of the hand writing, but you solve one puzzle only to create a more serious one. Can you explain why a left-handed person should employ the right hand to hold a pistol?" The discovery of the tiny ink stain by Tommy's sharp e yes and the deductions drawn from it, and the pe c uliarity of the handwriting, changed the entire aspect of the ca .se. Le Garde's interest, which had been that of the s tudent of psychology in the problem of motives, sud denly becam.t_ that of the official whose duty it is to de tect crime, for a grave doubt was raised as to the prob ability of the wound being self-inflicted a doubt which he at once set himself to justify or disprove. He passed to the other side of the bed and bent over the hand which h eld the pist ol, carefully examining the p osition of the weapon; but when he up his expression in dic at e d even greater uncertainty. Perhaps the last puzzle is already answered; perhaps we are farther from a solution than before," he said d o ubtfully. "Until we have furt}Jer data, I am unwilling to s ay that this is not a case of suicide; but of one thing I am certain-this pistol was placed in the woman's hand after her death !" T o mmy and I both bent to examine the hanq in which the butt of the pistol loo s ely rested, but we could dis nothing which justified his conclusion. "You have often reminded me that I am but an ama teur, and I fear that I must acknowledge it, for I con fess that I am unable to follow you in that deduction," said Tommy incredulously. -r;e-Garde shrugged his shoulders. "My dear sir, my investigation of this case-until your significant discov ery put me on the right track-was unworthy even of a novice. This thing is so evident that I should have no ticed it at once, for the apparent conditions are absolutely irreconcilable I will demonstrate it to you He gently raised the right wrist, moving the hand as little as possible; but the pistol fell from it and clattered to the floor "This is the proof, if one knows how to read it,'' he continued, stooping to pick up the weapon. "Death from a bullet which goes through the heart or injures the great brain centers is generally instantaneous, as we measure time, but there is just that fraction of a second difference which in a case like this, for example, has a wonderful significance. Following the siege of faris and the Com mune, it was my unpleasant duty to be present at the execution of more than six hundred communards, and you may remember that they were led out in batches

PAGE 21

20 NICK CARTER STORIES. and shot. They invariably went down in one of two ways-either suddenly collapsing, as if their bones had been withdrawn from their bodies, or pitched forward or backward with uplifted arms and opened hands. Examination of the bodies afterward showed me that the manner of falling depended upon where the bullets struck them. Those who were shot in the head went down as does a bullock; while those whose death came from cardiac injury pitched forward or fell back. Many times the hands of the former were tightly clenched ; while the latter almost invariably clutched spasmodically at the grass for several seconds. I imagine that the rea son for my deduction is now clear to you?" "Perfectly-if that is an invariable rule," answered Tommy; and Le Garde smiled a t the qualification. "I hesitate to say that any rule is invariable, but the subsequent analysis of many hundreds of cases of sui cide has failed to show an exception," he said. "In sev eral cases where the pistol had been firmly held against the breast, it had been thrown so far away by the subs0 quent reflex gesture that its distance from the body raised grave doubts as to the wound being self-inflicted. In only one case was there apparent contradiction. The pistol was found f.rmly clasped in the hand of the victim; but a criminal who was shortly afterward executed another crime confessed to me that he bad held the fingers of the dead man-whom he had previously shotin position until rigor mortis developed.:' "A gruesome vigil!" exclaimed Tommy, with a shud der. "But not so gruesome as the one which the condemned man keeps until Monsieur de Paris calls him for his last toilet," answered Le Garde grimly. "A man will force himself to do much to avoid risk of that; but it must have been a harder task to place a pistol in this hand if a man had been guilty of causing the death of such a beautiful creature. I should have small compunction in send ing\ any one so heartless to the guillotine." "May I ask if your sympathy will lead to the observ ance of the poor girl's last requests?" inquired Tom)Tly. Le Garde's lips settled into stern lines which belied the sympathy in his eyes as he looked at her elaborately dressed mass of beautiful golden hair. "Inclination and official duty cannot always be recon ciled," he said regretfully. "It is imperative that there should be an autopsy, and I fear that the body must be sent to the morgue, unless identification is speedy and convincing. Your fortunate discovery has made a search ing investigation absolutely necessary." "Then I deeply regret that I ever entered this unfortunate room,''. answered Tommy dolefully. Le Garde looked at him curiously. "Mr. Williams, I once told you that we do not encourage the amateur in vestigator of crime; but except for the absence of official connection with the police, I hardly regard you in that light," he said significantly. "Perhaps you may be good enough to give me your assistance, and between us we may reach such a speedy solution that the routine may be avoided. Believe me, no association could be more agreeable to me nor more apt to lead to success." For a moment a gleam of gratification came to Tommy's eyes; but all personil elation died out of them when he looked at the beautiful dead face, and when he turned to Le Garde his own expression was very Mephistophelean. "Such assistance as it may be in my power to render is entirely at your service," he answered quietly, and Le Garde motioned to us to follow him into the adj,oining room CHAPTER II. The history of the case which we learned during the evening-first the bare outline from Le Garde, and then results of separate lines of inquiry from subordinates who had been detailed to work on it-was more interesting as an illustration of the French method of criminal in vestigation than enlightening as to the mystery surrounding the girl's death; for each report served to bring out a fresh complication. The house in which the tragedy had occurred was a dependance of a neighboring hotel patronized principally by transient Americans; while the dtipendance itself was usually occupied by strangers of other nationalities who made longer stay in the French capital. Such meals as were required by the guests in their apartments were served from the hotel restaurant; but otherwise the buildings were entirely distinct, and the dtipenda11ce had its own private entrance, concierge, and staff of servants. "Madame de Sauvigny" was the name by which the dead woman had been known at the hotel, and she had arrived there three days before; the apartment being previously reserved by telephone by the Count de Thonier, who was a frequent patron of ihe establishment She came to the hotel alone in a public cab, and during her brief stay there had received absolutely no visitors. Ac cording to the slip made out for the police, a formality required of all visitors to Paris, she was twenty-one years of age, a widow, and a resident of Geneva, Switzerland. Such meals as she had taken at home had been served in her apartment; but she had dined out each night, re turning about midnight. The concierge was unable to say whether she returned unescorted; for in answer to her ring he had opened the front door with the automatic connection from his room, but watching through the win dow into the hallway he had noted that she entered alone Two or three times each day she had been called to the telephone, and she had received several letters; but if she had ritten any letters she had herself carried them to the post. The discovery of her death had been made by the chambermaid, who, believing that the lady had as usual gone out for dinner, had entered the a'partment to prepare the bedchamber for the night. Tlie concierge was positive that she had received no v isitors that afternoon, for he had been constantly on duty, and only guests of the dependance had entered. None of the employees had seen strangers about the place, and the maids and valets were continually passing through the halls. On her arrival, the hotel proprietor had received her personally, and he was convinc1ed that she was a French woman, for her pronunciation was perfect and free from even the Swiss accent. The waiter who had served her meals was equally sure that she was a German, for that was his native language, and she had given her orders in it the only thing notice able being that she had the soft pronu;ciation of southern Germany. He had served her with tea at four that afternoon, and noticed nothing unusual in her manner He was, so far as any one knew, the last person who had seen her alive

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NICK CARTER STORIES. 2I "And you have reason to believe that the name is an assumed one?" asked Tommy, when Le Garde had fin ished his recital. "At any rate, it is unknown to the police of Geneva, who have, of course, a complete record of all their citi zens," he answered. "Further than that, the note which she left implied that it was not her own. Our first en deavor was to ascertain what the Count de Thonier knew about her; but he left Paris the day she arrived, sailing for South Africa from Marseilles the following day. It will be at least three weeks before we can communicate with him, even by cable. He is a great sportsman and explorer, has been all over the world, and spends more than half his time in travel." A knock on the door was followed by the entrance of a cabman escorted by a plain-clothes man, and he at once identified the body as that of a woman whom he had driven from the station on the arrival of the CalaisDover express three days b e fore. She had been accom panied to the cab by a gentleman who spoke with her for a few minutes in a language he could not understand, but which he was quite sure was not German. Le Garde smiled grimly when he had dismissed him. "Another piece of evidence that Madame de Sauvigny wished to cover her tracks," he said. "Her polke slip states that she came from Geneva via Basie. That train arrives at the same time as the Calais-Dover express, but at a station on the other side of the city. Now, Mr. Williams, here is our case. This woman has lived at the hotel for three days arriving, presumably, from England. She is recommended here by the Count de Thonier, who will be inaccessible for at least three weeks. There is nothing in her effects which gives the slightest clew to her identity, and we have no proof that any one but the hotel servants were in her room during her stay. On the other hand, w)len she is found dead from a bullet wound, the proof is convincing that the pistol which apparently caused her death was placed in her hand after iti had been discharged The presumption from her handwriting and the ink stain is that. she was left-handed, which seems to be the definite thing we know about her. The note that she left indicates that sh'e deliberately com mitted suicide; 'but the contradictory circumstantial evi dence suggests murder, or, at least, the fact that some one else was at the time of, or shortly after, her death. The requests in her farewell note are peculiar; but the most puzzling thing about it is the mysterious perfume which is entii:ely distinct from that of the Parma Violet, which she used in all of her toilet preparations You have all of the facts which I possess up to date, but I will tell you that I have a half dozen men trying to locate the cabmen who may have driven her during her s tay here, and practically any number of additional men are available if you can suggest any way i11 which they would be useful." "The circumstantial evidence presents a mass of contradictions; but before trying to reconcile them let us see if there is anything to be determined from the direct evidence," said Tommy cautiously, and I realized that he hesitated to give an opinion before Le Garde. "First, the Count de Thonier seems to be the most tangible person-bow much do you know about him?" "Practically no more than I have told you. He is a member of an old family, and his title is genuine. He is p'sessed of independent means and able to follow his own inclinations, which seem to lead him into exploring o ut-of-the-way corners of the world, and killing big game." "And his age?" "About thirty-two, I should judge," answered Le Garde. "His life here in Paris has, I believe, been discreet, and he has never been in any serious scrape that we know of." And are you convinced that it was he who engaged the apartment for this woman?" asked Tommy; and Le Garde shook his head. "There is no evidence to the contrary, for we know that three days ago he was in Paris; but all that we know positively is that his name was used. If he did vouch for her to that extent, it is ratbe{ curious that be should not have called upon her before bis departure." "Exactly," answered Tommy seriously. "It would be quite possible for any one to give bis name over the tele phone, and knowing that he was setting out almosr im mediately on a long sea voyage an impostor would have littJe fear of discovery. Of course, I can venture no opinion as to who is concerned with the girl's death; but it is safe to say that the voice which came over the tele phone, whether it belonged to Count de Thonier or some one else, could explain the things which seem so mysteri ous to us." "And I should like very much to have the owner of that voice under my thumb!" exclaimed Le Garde savagely, as bis eyes turned involuntarny to the door leading i!Jto the death chamber. "As that is, for the moment, im possible, let us consider the other circumstances." "Which naturally leads us to the note," continued Tommy. "Madame de Sauvigny was, judging from her appearance and surroundings, essentially dainty. It is im probable that the ink stain could have remained unnoticed on her finger for any length of time, and on her toilet table I noticed pumice and oxalic acid, which would have removed it easily. Therefore, it is probable that she used a pen shortly before her death, and the paper on which her farewell note was written corresponds exactly to the paper in her portfolio except that i\ is perfumed. If it were not for that mysterious scent, we might safely assume that her last epistle is the one which you have in your letter case "And, if I am not mistaken, this gentleman can solve the mystery of the perfume," said Le Garde, rising and shaking bands with a middle-aged Frenchman whom he introduced to us as Monsieur Duclos, chief chemist and manager for the Maison Poirrot, the famous manufac turers of perfumes. "Monsieur Duclos, I have come across a perfume which is entirely new to me, and, remembering the instructions you gave to me when I was engaged in the stolendocu ment investigation for the foreign office a few montha ago, I am again calling upon you for enlighfenment," he continued, taking his letter case from his pocket, but Duclos quickly put out his hand to restrain hitn, aad opened both of the windows. "Before you produce it, we must purify the said, sniffing, and I noticed that the edges of his quivered like those of a thoroughbred horse. "Iiero ii the perfume of tobacco, which is delightful in its proper place; the scent of Parma Violet, which is always deli cious; and"-after several audible sniffs-"! should say, the reek of gunpowder smoke, which is an abomination." "How admirable is the perfectly trained faculty I" ex

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22 NICK CARTER STORIES. claimed Le Garde; with a significant glance at Tommy; ted to us. It is a speci e s o f orchid which grows onl y in and Duclos complacently accepted his tribute one spot, so far as we know; and that spot is itself un-The fresh air quickly purified the atmosphere to his known to us." satisfaction, and he extended a fat pudgy hand for the "Tell us all about it-where you got the flowers and note. He was a good-natured, ruddy-faced man, with from whom," interrupted Le Garde, a little impatiently ; mild blue eyes which beamed benignantly through large, but Duclos looked at him placidly and refused to be gold-rimmed spectacles; but no sooner had he sniffed at hurried. \ the paper than he let it fall from his hands, the color "All in good time, my dear sir ; but it requires certain faded from his face, and his eyes became round with explanations /1 he said. "You must know that the Maison surprise and terror. Poirrot employs agents and collectors all over the world "The perfume of madness! he in horror. and they are constantly on the l oo kout for something new "What deviltry has it accomplished, that I find it in y our Is an unkn o wn flo wer disc o vered in an African jungle hands?" Le Garde picked up the note, and, after holding who will pay so well for it as the Maison Poirrot? No it to his nostrils for a minute carefully replaced it in his one I Should a prospector for gold in the Andes find a pocket blossom with a unique perfume, he is better rewarded "From your very evident disapproval I judge that it than if he were successful fn his original quest. Thereis not one of the preparations sold by your house?" he fore we-that is t o say the Maison Poirrot-control ex said interrogatively elusively the 'Ex t r act Himalaya distilled from flowers Duclos made a vi o lent gesture of protest. "The Maison which grow only o n a single square mile of all this earth' s Poirrot has a reputation!" he exclaimed excitedly. "No surface; the 'Parf111n des Incas ,' which comes originally other house can be allowed to possess secrets of which we fro m a Peruv ian jungle; and many other-!l which are are ignorant, and to us a new perfume may mean a forinimitable To gather the flo w e rs many men die each tune. In this we thought that we had discovered one y ear i n p e stil e ntial swamps, and others are killed by which w,ould surpass all others and until this mome n t I wild beasts and savages in Jungle and desert, that m y believed that we possessed the entire existing supply of .lady ma y charm the most susceptible of the sen s es b y the raw materials for its preparati o n ; but rather than allow fragrance which sh e exhales ." such a devilish thing to be sold the Maison Poirrot w o uld And incident ally that the pro priet o r s of the Mais on go down in defeat and failure Le Garde cl o s e d the P oirrot ma y accumulate riches ,' r e marked Le Garde windows, and, after telling the officer on duty in the hall dryly; a nd Duclct shrugge d hi s shoulders. tliat we were not to be disturbed, he turned to Duclos. I prefer t o think of it in another way, and to prove "1 suspect that deviltry has b e en ac c omplished," he said that we are n o t entir ely mercenary I shall tell you the sharply. "Now, Monsieur Duclo s, time is an object. history of our last faifure," he pro tested "It is now two Kindly tell us all that you know about this p erfume. y e ars since our agent s in Bombay s ent to us a couple of The chemist had, in a m e asure, r e c ov ered his equanim dried s pecim e ns and a small ca s k of fat containing, per ity, and he took the chair which L e Garde indicated by a J:iaps, tw o hundr e d bloo m s of a n orchid whi c h was un gesture and drew a small leather cas e fro m hi s pock et. kn own t o even the most enthu s ia s tic co lle c t ors of that It contained several small vials each holding, perhaps, a plant. F r o m th a t small ca s k w e di s tilled in our lab o rahalf ounce of liquid, and, selecting o n e of th e m he held t o ry a minut e d ro p o f e ssenc e wh ich wa s o f s u c h great it up to the light. The content s were of a pale amb e r p o wer s u c h p e netr a ting sweetne ss, and p o s s essed of such color, but seemed to glow and radiate a peculiar light lastin g prop e rties, that we antic i p a ted an o th e r triumph for which was not entirely due l to reflection. the Mai s on Poirrot. We immediately cabled for full par"Gentlemen, were I to drop thi s small flask on the ticulars, and o rd e red our a ge nt to purchase the entire floor and shatter it, allowing the co ntents t o v olatili z e in offe rin g ; but while he forwa rd e d to u s a considerable the confined atmosphere of thi s r oo m in fifty s,econd s qua ntity o f the bl os som s the particulars concerning their we should all be madmen, tearing at each oth e r ) throats, place of o rigin w ere most mea g er. He informed us that and controlled only by a lust for blood he said they w e re brought t o him by a native who himself prodramatically; and as I noted the clumsine s s of his stump y fessed t o be i gnorant o f wher e they grew and claimed t o fingers and the fragile glass held between them, I wished be acting as the co nfidential broker for some my s terious that Le Garde ha/;! left the windows open. "The c o n-firm The directi o n s as to picking the blooms and pack tents of this vial the ultimate products of dising them in the fatty medium suppli e d by our agent were tillation of many hundredweights of flowers, and would scrupulously carried out ; but the 'Only indication of the be sufficient to prepare thousands of gallons of perfume place wher e they grow is the fact that it required two more delicate than that of the note paper; but that permonths to deliver the flowers in Bombay after the order fume will never be made; for, as I t old you, it is the per was given and the casks supplied. Many thousands of fume of madness!" The dramatic instinct is inherent in francs were adv anced by the Maison P oirrot before the the Gallic race, and Duclos paused impressively that its unlucky day on which thos e precio us casks were deliv statement might have its full effect. \ ered to our laboratory. Ah! gentlemen, that a tragedy "I may say gentlemen, that this case contains my was averted is due to the good fortune which has always failures," he continued, replacing the vial. "Each o'f these followed us-the Maison P o irrot." small flasks contains an essence upon which we built "And ha v e you now arrived at the point of your story great hopes, and which, for one re a s o n or another, it has from which we may derive information which may be of been impossible for us to use; but none represents such value to us?" asked Le Garde sarcastically; and D uclos great disappointment and financial lo ss as the perfume of smiled. madness. The flowers from which it was distilled were All information it of value, if one knows how to use obtained at ireat expense after a sample had been submitit," h.e uswered ia,perturbably "For example, had I not

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NICK CARTER STORIES. kno\_Vn d;inger of the condition which js known as 'seei'ng red,' i rriight be fl. murderer. instead of a chemist Ot The perfume was so unique that I personally superintended every inade iil extracting it from the flowers during th e tedious _pror::ess of d istillation; and when, after infinite care and labor I succeeded in obtaining two drops of the concentrated perfume, I felt tha t the fortune of the Maison Poirrot was, indeed, assured. In the privacy of the innermost office I gathered the me._mbers of the to exhibit our new-found treasure, and I may say that of them is my dear friend. Cautiously I inhaled the perfume which represented so much to us and then prepared to pass the retort containing it to my senior. When I l o oked at him I could hardly be i.uy eyes, for a red veil seemed to be before them I realized the danger of inhaling the perfume from any concentrated extract, but never had any perfume produced s uch an e"!Iec't; for I was eonscious only of the spot in his throat where a tiny pulsation betrayed an arter.y, and became possessed by an almost uncontrollable desire to tear itop en. The glass retort fell to the floo r and shat tered; and the next_few minutes will always be tO me a nightmare which I should wish to forget. The respectable, sedate, and peaceful gentlemen who c ompose the firm suddenly becarrie demented; the office where so many peaceful measures for the extehsion of the business o f the Maison Poirrot have been planned wa s worse than the disturbed ward of a bedlam, and we bit; scratched and pummeled each other as we rolled, a st ruggling mass, o n the floor . We were saved from tragedy, gentlemen, only by the opportune interruption of our clerks, who, with rare presence of mind, broke open the windows and doors 't-0 come to our assistance and allowed the over powering vapor to be dissipated. That room has been useless since. It has been washed, scraped painted, and papered, but the perfume of madness lingers in it. We have experimented with such peaceful creatures as doves and rabbits, but under the in,fluence of the perfume of those devilish orchids they become mad and rend each other. The contents of this little flask represent the last portion of the distillation; there are no more of the flowers in France, and I can assure you that no more will lle imported by us-that is to say, the Maison Poirrot. it is well named the perfume of madness, and I am curious to know how you became possessed of it: ."Will you tell us first how mucli of the perfume it re quired to scent that note paper?" asked Tommy eagerly. Duclos smiled and made a gesture of helplessness "Figur.e. to yourself the most minute which would be revealed by the strongest magnifying glass, and divide it into a parts. Divide each of those again by a billion, and perhaps the resulting fraction would scent all of the note paper which has been manufactured for a hun dred years," he said; and Tommy smiled in return. I could hardly make those calculations without pencil and paper We will take it for granted that it is suffi ciently minute. Would it be po s sible to transmit the perfume directly from the flower, or would a chemical process be necessary?" get the perfect product which shall be lasting, science must assi s t nature; or we--that is to say, the 1faison Poirrot-would .find our occupation gone," an swered Ducl o s I may say, however, that the dried flowei:-s, of. this onlhi d retain their perfume to.: a.. quite unusual degr ee, and while its effect is not so marked as the concentrated extract obta ined by distillat_ion, it i s still s ufficiently powerful to excite the combative instipct, as I have demonstrated by careful experiments on meri and mals." "And would it be asking too much if I the loari of a blossom to confirm those experiments?" asked Tommy; but it was o nly at the earnest solicitation of te Garde that Duclos would listen to such a proposi tion. He finally gave a grudging assent, and promised to let him have it in the morning. "Now I am prepared to satisfy your curiosity,'" said Le Garde, again drawing the note from hi s pocket. "This paper contains what purports to be the farewell message bf a beautiful woman who committed suicide." D'i.iclos started violently from his chair and gave an ex-. clamation -0f horror. "Do not believe it!" he exclaimed. "Unless you have the evidence of your own eyes "that death was by her own hand, use all of your wonderful skill to track down her murderer, for the death of one person will not satisfy the blood-lust which is excited by the perf\lme of madness!" "Such skill as I may have will be used to solve the mystery, and I shall have the invaluable assistance of Mr. Williams,'' answered Le Garde, smiling; and Tommy, who was evidently wearied by the chemist's volubility, bowed his acknowledgment and offered his hand to him. "To a clear brain I must sleep," he said "I, shall be on hand in the morning, and, perhaps, we can find a connec tion betwe en the perfume arid the lady's death." TO BE CONTINUED. The Syndicate of Crime Or, King Nelson's Puzzling Quest. Sy IRVING HANCOCK, (This iuteresting story wu commenced in No. 88 of NICK C4RTE" STORIES. lf you have not rend the preceding chapten, iret back numbers from your news dealer or publfshers.) CHAPTER XLII. IS STAGGERED. As flesh is only human, and he had not breakfasted at all on that exciting day, King Nelson's first step was to have a bountiful meal served in the dining room. From there he went to his office, accompanied by the three men. For half an hour, cigars were indulged in, and the ca s e was not even r efe rred to by any one. At the end of that time, however, Nelson ordered that Robert Ford be brought into his office. Ford, as he entered, seemed to have aged by at least ten years. He was haggard, nervous, sullen, clearly on the verge of breakdown, now that his magnificent dream of criminality was u tterly shattered. Moreover, during a fifteen minutes' talk, King Nelson convinced him, lawyer as he was, that the case a$ainst him was so complete, thread by thread, that l1e could not hope to escape a long r esidence at Sing Sing. I am undone,'' sobbed Ford, breaking down at last.:: Yes, I might as well confess, since denial can do rne.nci

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NICK CARTER STORIES. I shall plead guilty when arraigned. But I do not yet understand h<;>w any human mind could be in genious enough to scent and unearth all this tangled mass of evidence." "Vance Malloy wishes to speak with you ; was the mes sage penciled on a slip of paper that one of the detective's young men handed to him. "Bring him in said the chief. Robert Ford sat with bowed head until the incoming of the ex-king of the green-goods men arou s ed him. "Malloy!" cried the lawyer, starting up. "It was you, then, who betrayed me." "Couldn't have done it if I wanted to rejoined Vance co olly. "You didn't trust me with enough of your plan s for me to be able to give you away. And until I knew that you were caught I held my tongue as to what little I did know. I believe these gentlemen will bear me out in saying that I have utterly refused to talk until now." "You may talk all you want to now," said Ford wretch edly. "The chain of evidence against me is complete. I have given up hope, and am a ruined man. I can only hope that I shall die during the first week that I wear prison garb I" "You are willing that I shall talk, then?" inquired Vance. "Tell all that you know about the case." "It won't.take me long declared Vance. Turning to King Nelson the ex-king of the green-goOds men went 'on: "Ford was my lawyer; had been for a number of years. I owned a villa over in a lonesome part of New Jersey. It was said added Vance with a qu ee r smile, that un de rneath the villa there were many subterranean passage s . If that is so, it must have been a useful sort of place for some purposes." "It used to be your country headquarters when you were running the green-goods game said King Nelson "How should I know wheth e r you s p e ak the truth or not?" replied the guarded Vance, with another smil e "Ford also want e d a useful woman, so I hunted up for him The Trorrtpett who u s ed to be my housekeep e r years ag<;>. There was but one other feature of my connection with Ford in this matter. You remember the young w-0tnan you saw out at my house? "Louise?'.' "Yes Ford hinted to me that might be worth fifty t\Jousand dollars to Louise if we could succeed in identi fying her as some one else. He didn't know for cer tain but the chance might come. Louise and I were about to be married at the time, but Ford obj e cted to that . H we w ere to use her for his purpose, it wou1d be best for h e r to be single at the time. So, as fifty dollar s would be a nice little p e nn y for Louise I consented Louise, by the way, is an orphan and do e sn't know who she is. She was no party to the scheme and didn't have to be. Under the circumstances, it would have been easy enough for two reasonably clever men to make h e r be lieve .that she was most "She was to impersonate Elsie Rockwell if necessary said King Nelson. "Now; Lawyer Ford, have. you anything more to say?" J "Nqthing,'' replied the lawyer sadly . "It would do me "no good." . 1'Take him to his quarters, ordered Nelson of the operative who had brou&"ht Malloy to the office. When the door.1 had closed upon the discomfited i;coundrel Nelson turned to Vance with: "Malloy I am going to let you go." "For which, thanks." "You have no need to be grateful. I do it simply be caus e I can't prove anything against you. For a while I was on the wrong track. i believed you to he the head of this syndicate of crime which has JUSt come to smash." "And you now know that I was .not?' ; I believ e you knew no more of the matter than you have admitt e d It is not the first tim e that I have been considerably in error at the beginning of a case. Now Vance I want to have another word to sa y to you You hav e at your house a young woman whom I believe to be good and pure. You have tired of evif life, and you want to wed her and try to be as d ecent as you can the rest of your life." . "It's going to be a hard ]ob for a fellow with a past like mine isn't it?" questioned Malloy with a meiar.icholy smile Yes it is unless you start right." But how start right, after my past?" There was a ring of the incredulous in voice as he looked burningly at the detective "Go to Louise tell her the who1e t ruth about yqurself Don't glo s s o v er a single item." She would discard me in a second if I did." Better that, then. You say you love her. If you do do you want to take the risk of ruining her me by concealing such a past as yours from her? Tell her a bide unquestioningly by her d e cision. If y ou do less than that y ou are not even a minor sort of a man bi:it an utt e r s coundrel." Though Van c e blanched at firs t, he soon replied steadily : You are right. Well it is going to be a hard and bit, ter s c e ne for me, but-but I beli eve I will take your a d vice. Y ou d e cline to tell me who you are?" I mus t unle s s y ou are satisfied to con s ider me a s a d e t e cti ve from headquarter s ." W e lt, your own b usiness b e l o ng s to y ou admitted Vance. B y th e way, I wi s h you would s end for that young woman whom you call e d Blanch e Strull "For what purpo se ?" "I ha v e som e thing of 'the greatest importance te> tell her.'1 Summoning one of his young men King N e lson gave the order. . 1t w a s not many minutes ere Blanche entered. "M r. Malloy has something to tell you,'' said Nelson : "Or something to a s k y ou perhaps would be the wa y to put it s upplemented Vanc 'e. My child I heard a Luk e Strull mentioned in connection with you. " Y e s My father'." Your own father? " I ha v e a l w ays thought so .;'; thi s Luke a river character?" I s uppo se he might be described that way._" Do y ou know anything of :youf mether ?" Not the lea st._ Father. looked. queer when I asked him about her. hid a very good I"eason for it ,' l w e nt .-On Vance. H e n e ver saw your tnother : I don't'beiie v e "he' even knew her name." Blanche reiarded the speaker with burnini' eyeii. I

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NICK CARTER STORIES. "If you know anything about my mother, sir, I beg you to teJl me." "Her was"-:Nelson:'.' i:epiled : Vance, "oi: I am mistaken." -" Good heavens!" uttered the starting to his ''.I your pardon,'' said 'vance, looking at him. "I beg yours for the iriferriiption. Go on, but be quick." "I o nce natl a _.man for me Devery," resumed Malloy. "He was a fellow who had been better off once. In those more prosperous days he knew a man named Nelson. He knew Nelson, too,.and fell in love with her." King Nelson was breathing heavily now. "He tried to get the woman to run off with him," con tinued Vance, "but it was no go. She told her husband. Nelson went to Devery and gave him one of the worst thrashin gs a inan ever had. Devery abducted the woman and her infant, drugged he r, and made the railway people believe she was ill. He got her as far as Virginia, but she had taken cold from exposure, and developed pneumonia. Devery had to take her from the train to a hotel. He took an assumed name, and passed Mrs. Nelson off as his wife. She never recov.e_ r ed consciousness from the drgs, qut died. Devery buried her as. his wife. Scared badly by what h acf happened, back to Y 01:kJ hunted up Strull, whom he knew, and -left the child with that old I your name is ... -. "And my daughter!" sobbed King Nelson, reeling to wh ere the astound .ed girl stood, and catching her in his arms . He kissed .her tenderly a dozen times. Blanche trie d to, speak but sops choked her utterance. "It was the effort to find my wife and child that first made a detective of me,'' explained King Nelson, as soon as he could go on speaking. "Until this moment I have ne:ver Jiad a trace of eitber of th em," tq have done you a service," said V.ance, without emotion . "Devery before he died put the statement in writing. I've got that statement at my house. It's yours time you want to come after it sir." Leading Blanche to a seat, King Nelson next strode up tq the ex-king of the green-goods men, clasping his hand warmly. "You have done me a greater service than you can ever Vance." "And no.w, if you've no opjection, I'll hurry home. I've affairs of my own to attend to> said Malloy, with a queer smile. You shalt go in a carriage. One of my young men will go from here with you said King Nelson. Vance departed. An hour later Ike, The .. Trompett ; and Lawyer Ford were saiely fodged in )alt -. ... Maria the meantime, had positively identified Elsie as her former charge A remembered birthmark put the question beyond qoubt. That night King Nelson slept the sound sleep of the happy and successful. CHAPTER XLIII. ""CRIME CAN NEVER 'Les sir, I.'d l*e first-rate to stay here and .one of. YRtir. s aid the day. It was noon. The ex-tramp had been downtown . The trip had resulted in a most marvelous change in his ex terior. Not a trace of the tramp was left. Sbaven, his hair ne _p.tly trimmed wearing a suit of excellent material, and immaculate linen, the one-time tramp was now as pre sentable a fellow as one would want to see. "I am n ot exactly going to ask for references," said King Nelson in whose office they were seated. I'd rather have my own opinion of a man than the average reference. But, since you've admitted there was a something in your past, I feel that _you ought to tell me a little something about yourself." "There isn't much to tell," said Reggy simply. "As a youngster, I led the life that the average youngster leads in England when his people are rich and well connected. But I had the bad luck to have an elder brother. My father was the third member of the family. For some reason he seemed to take a bigger fancy to me than he did to my brother Jack. That made Jack hate me. Besides, Jack, who was to be the heir to the estate, felt that the spent more of the estate's on me than he ought to. That made rather hard feelings between us. "About three years ago, some of the guv'nor's money -quite a bit-was missed from the desk where he had kept it. Brother Jack, with the help of the estate'.s steward and a couple of rascally servants managed to swear the thing against me. The guv'nor's love changed to hate for the son whom, he believed, had disgraced his name. He cursed me, drove me out of the house. Well," ad mitted Reggy "the guv' nor knows better by this ti"me, for he died th e year following. "I drifted over here Tried my hand at two or, three things, but found myself too slow to keep up with ican ways of doing things. Besides, I'd never been trained for any sort of employment. It'd be hard t?, say how it began but I began to roll downhill. With no one to care for and pride crushed, I suppose I got to the botto!ll pretty quick. You were the first man in America who ever really made me feel that I had a lost manhood that it was really worth while to try to get back again." "What is your real name?' asked King Nelson, without inflection. Reginald Shepstone." "Shepstone? Was your father Lord Broekhunt ?" de manded King Nelson, rising and lifting down from a shelf a the leaves of. which he rapidly began to turn. "Yes assente
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NICK CARTER STORIES. much I'll ;;o over and get all I can for the estates but I'll soon be back here, prepared to become an American!" "But I suppose," hinted the detective, with a smile, "that .you'll prefer to drop that idea now of entering my em ploy." "I'm not going to say another word about that until I return to New York," declared Reggy. "Well, if you feel like going downtown, I can present you to the lawyer who has been months trying to find you for the London solicitors." On the day following, the representative of a great dia mond house had finished his inventory of the recovered Norwell diamonds. "These were probably worth about eight millions at the time they were mined," he reported "but diamo nd s have gone up greatly within the last few years. I should the lot, in numbers, at fifteen millions." "I wouldn't recommend putting all these stones on the New York market," went on the expert. "It would be likely to cause a tremendous drop in the value of the stones. You would better let our house dispose of them i n various parts of the world. taking a year or so to do so. But, of course, whatever advances on their value Miss Rockwell desires will be promptly furnis hed by our house." When none but the detective, Doctor Rockwell Elsie, and himself were left in the room, Phil, whose face had been clouded for some minutes, rose and went and stood before Elsie. "The other day," he began, in a voice that trembled, "I asked you to be my wife. You gave me your dear prom is e. At that time I did not know how r-ich you were now that I have heard that wealth of yours greatly increased, I realize that I must release you from that promise." Elsie's face blanched, tears sprang to her eyes, though she fought them bravely back as she answered: "Have you, then, so soon tired of me?" "Tired of repeated Phil, with a gasp of anguish he looked at her. no, you should be the last to ask that question. But when I asked you to my wife, I did not know the great gulf of wealth that stood beus.'; "Why should it stand between us?" she asked softly. "Why, do you not understand that if you and I were to wed, the whole world would say that I was a fortune hunting ad, venturer? That I had mari ; ied you for the great wealth that you would bring to me?'' "If you care more for the world's opinion fhan.'for m ; .. came the half-defiant answer, "perhaps you do well to re lease me.'' "Espedally ,'' put in Doctor dryly, "if you are so little in tove with your promised wife that you shi:ink from the task of managing her fortune for her," "Spare me a little bit," pleaded Phil, looking piteously from one to the other. "Let me take a hand in this," interposed King Nelson. "Dan: ell, do you remember how I fairly ordered you fo propose to Miss Rockwell on a rush order?" "I shall never forget -it.'' ."I did that for the reason in the world," wept on the detective. "You are yourself a young man of mod" crate wealth, but I knew that once you got an inkling of the immense wealth of Miss Rockwell, you would shrink from declaring your love for her Yet I felt that, if you did not, both yourself and Miss Rockwell would be losers. So, as soon as my questioning of Maria Ramon gave me an idea of what wealth Miss Rockw ell was likely -ro in herit, I felt that the happiness of both you young people depended upon my giving you the peremptory advice that I did. Are you about to undo .my good work in the most foolish manner?" "Answer me a question," added Doctor Rockwell. "Do you love Elsie as you did when you asked her to be your wife?" "Heaven knows that I do," was Phil's fervent, yet wretched, answer. "I her, and I' value hei: love as the most priceless gift life coulJ give me. 'Life's richest jewel,' Nelson says-how truly I And I love her for her dear s elf alon e, better than all the wealth .. in the world -!'; "Then don't let me he;ir any of th is hedging talk You two saunter off by yourselv es and ta1k' it March !" . To such good pur.pose did they "talk it over," that. the subject was never again brought up. Very soon afterward wedding plans and arrangements for a long "honeymoon" changed the course of their thoughts At the famous criminal trial that J
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NICK CARTER STORIES. THE NEWS OF ALL NATIONS. Life Term for Feud Fighter. Kate Tolliver, who, despite his name is one of the most noted feud fighters Kentucky has ever known, was se ntenced to life imprisonment at Olive Hill, Ky., for killing Lafayette Fraley in an old feud. Convicts Go to Near-by Prisons to Play Ba!L Although prison baseball i s nothing new many of the penitentiaries in the United States having league s, which play weekly or semiweekly games, interprison games, as played at Leavenworth Kan., recently were an innova tion. In the morning a team from the Kansas State Peni tentiary went to the Federal prison, here and played a negro organi zation. In the afternoon the "Brown Sox,'' another Federal prison team, led by Danny Claire, a former Western League player, went to the Kansas peni tentiary and played the Methodist team there. Smith Keeps Bat& in Shade. Sid Smith, the beefy catcher of the Columbus Sena tors Uses bats that must be kept in the shade. Sid smears his bats with a sticky that preserves the wood. If the bats are exposed to the sun, the mixture comes out, making them mean to handle. Hence Sid always stores his bats in a shady spot instead of on the bat rack with the other players' sticks. Twelve Miles, One Night's Dancing. A university student, by attaching pedometers to his legs while executing the modern dances has discovered that a coupte travels twelve miles an evening at the dance of ordinary length. Experiments showed that the average for the tango was four-fifths of a mile per single dance and only one-eighth of a mile for the hesitation waltz. Circus Clown Now Preacher. The Reverend Frank Hawes, of Bellefontaine, Ohio, has been ordained at Urbana and will become pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Richmond, Ohio. After ex periences as grocery clerk, telegraph operator, professional high diver, clown and circus owner, Hawes chose the ministry. Autos Drive Out Liverymen. For the first time since it was founded Axtell, Kan., is without a livery stable. The general use of motor cycles and automobiles in that vicinity caused the owners of livery barns to sell their horses and vehicles and board up the doors and windows o( their empty stables. Un-American. Governor Te'uer was watching a baseball game recently, when Jim Thorpe, the InC!ian, made a particularly good play. That "reminded" the president of the National League of this story : The Carlisle Indian school team was playing an upState nine, for which a riewly landed Irishman was cover ing third base. One of the Indians batted out a threebagger, but dashed past the astonished player frotp the Emerald Isle for a home ? un. Whe n the cheers for the runner and the jeers for the third baseman had died out, the latter said, in language all the spectators coula hear: "These darned furriners are puttin' this game on the bum." One Ring for Nine Weddings. Miss Martha Suddath when she was at War rensburg, Mo., to Frank W. Deering, of Columbia, was wed with a ring that had been used by eight of her ma ternal ancestors, beginning with her great-great-great grandmother The ring has been handed down from one to another, each bride in turn wearing the ring until she has a daughter of her own to become a bride. Gives Own Life to Save Dog. "Jack" was yellow and stubby-tailed, and people called him a mongrel, but Charles B. Wilson, a farfuer, loved him and gave his life for him. Wilson was rowing on the river near Pittsburg, Kan. The dog, which had been his constant companion for years, swam behind. Suddenly Jack, tired out, sank. Wilson leaped from the boat to save the animal, and was drowned / 'Three Drown When Boats are Capsized. Three persons were drowned recently in Lake Wichita, near Wichita Falls Texas; two when their boat over turned, and the third while in swimming. D. J. Min nick and Frederick Scott were the men in the capsized boat ar{d Junius Froman was drowned while out with a swimming party. Small Necks Found in City. "Clevelan d, Ohio, is the home of small necks." This startling bit of information was compiled by a statistician and corroborated by the haberdashers, who sell millions of collars annuatry. The average Clevelander's neck is, size 13)1. Atmospheric conditions that tighten the cords and throat muscles are responsible physicians declare. Finds Lost Ring Inside Hog. A gold ring, lost by Mrs. Felix Arnold, of Three Brothers, Ark., two years ago, was found by John Lee inside a hog which he butche,red. The pig was purchased from the Arnold family. Hens Set on Golf Balls. Stanley Barrows, a banker, of Park Ridge, Ill., has sold the chickens from his farm near the golf links and has gone out of the poultry busines s altogether. Golf wrecked the chicken ranch. "I had to do it," explained Barrows, "because the hens got to interfering with golf. They always wanted to set, and I couldn't break them of the habit. They set on d19orknobs or anything that was white or round. We hid everything on the place, and then the hens got to over on the links. Half dozen of them would

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NICK CARTER STORIES. wait around the seventh green, anf when any one approached, they would chase the balls to set on them. By the time a person climbed the big hill, after driving a ball over it, some hen would have it covered. So I had to quit keeping chickens." Reads F atewell ;Letter; Die&. Afterreading a farewell letter from her husband, who was an inmate of the Greene County, Mo., jail, and under sentence of five years in the penitentiary, Mrs. Edward Hyder, living at Pearl, Mo., threw the letter in the fire and sank back in a chair, dying within a few moments. It is said she died of a broken heart. Two years ago Hyder attempted to shoot Walter Ab bott to satisfy a grudge. He was convicted of ielonious assault. The supreme court has just affirmed the sentence. Convicts Catch; Escaped Men. Two prispners, members of the disciplinary battalion under the honor ,System in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., who attempted an escape, were cap tured by fellow members of the battalion and returned to custody. The m mbers of the were angry at the breach of honor of the two, and, upon volunteering their services to return the men, a score were sent to search the surrounding country. Armless Man Good Stenographer. Though his arms were severed within three inches of the shoulder six years ago, David T. Jones, of Baltimore, Md., has become an expert stenographer. He began his study of stenography after an accident had mad e the amputation of both arms necessary. He learned the prin ciples of shorthand and, then with the aid of rubber bands to fasten a pencil to the stump of his right arm, he became able to write in an exceptionally neat manner. Chance Kick Saves Her Life. Mabel, nine-year-old daughter of Theodore Scott a wealthy farmer living near Noblesville, Ind., owes her life to the fact that she accidentally kicked off the spark plug on a gasoline engine after the machine had been started to pump water for live stock. Her dress was caught in the flywheel. While she was being whirl d around, her shoe accidentally hit the spark plug, knock ing it off. The girl was unconscious All her cloth ing, exc;ept a portion of a sleeve, was torn off. Her en tire scalp was scraped "off and she was badly cut and bruised in a number of places about the body. Proves '1 R. R!' is Her Long-lost Son. "J. R. R.'1 is home The "Man of Mystery," whose case has puzzled the en tire country, is now with his mother after seven years of wandering and suffering. He is Earl Pitkin, and it was his mother, Mrs. H. E, Pitkin, 655 Groveland Park, Chicago, who found him and identified him. Science had sought to restore his memory by an opera tion. But it failed and left him without the power of speech. It took a mother's love and a mother's recogni tion to bring back to the faded eyes the brightness that once was there. We have told of the many fruitless efforts that were made to discover the identity of "J. R. R." At firs t he was known as "J. C. R.," because those initials were o n his clothing when he was found unconscious on the rail road tracks near Waseca, Minn., in June, 1907. He was taken to the Minnesota State Hospital at Rochester, where he told a fragmentary story, by signs, of having been slugged and robbed in St. Paul. An operation was per formed on his head, and it was found that part of his brain was gone. His vocal chords were partly paralyzed and after the operation he could not speak. Investigation showed that the initials on the watch he was wearing were "J. R. R." and his "name" was changed accordingly. It is now learned that the watch had to his grand father, J. R. Rathbun. Shortly after the operation wa s performed the Man of Mystery de s pairing of success in the effort to ascertain his identity, fled from Rochester and came to Chicago. He was found wandering the streets and was taken to an infirmary at Oak Park. There he remained until identified by Mrs. Pitkin. And if any one had any doubt that "J. R. R." was Earl Pitkin, they should have seen the look of joy that came over his face when Mrs. Pitkin leaned forward and patting his cheek, said : "This is my son. He has come home at last, just as I always knew he would." "J. R. R." also identified by his brother and sister and also by a school-teacher, who knew him when he was sixteen years old. Before starting to explain the long chain of which she had accumul9ted to prove that she had found her son, Mrs. Pitkin said : "I am not through because I have found my son. I am going to learn how my son was robbed of the $5,000 with which he started home from Nevada. I am also going to find the doctor or' surgeon who experimented on my boy because he wanted to be famous." Mrs. Pitkin called out to the dining room: "When you have finished your breakfast, Earl, come into the parlor." "I have spent a fortune searching for my son," Mrs. Pit kin resumed. "I wanted to vindicate him. You know he was interested in a mine in Nevada and had caused many of his friends to invest in it. He went out there to get samples of the ore, and then he wrote me he was starting for home with the samples and with five thousand dollars. He never reached here. But he wrote he was coming, and my boy never broke his word. I knew he would come some time." Just then the tap of a cane on the floor was heard, and through th e parlor door there limped a small, spare man. His face was ruddy, as if tann e d by outdoor ex, posure. His hair was iron gray and he was slightly bald at the crown. He had a gray mustache. The strik ing thing about him was his bright, twinkling brown eyes. He was helped to a chair. "First," said Mrs. Pitkin, "I was going to show you the physical proof. Even before I had seen Earl out at Oak Park, I described every mark on his body to the doctor s There is a strawberry birth mark on his back. There is a cut on the inside of his left foot. Take off your shoe, Earl, and show the men." He exposed his bare foot. You se e that cut?" said Mrs. Pitkin, pointing to a scar about three inches long just back of the large toe "Well, that is where he cut himself with an ax when he was a boy. I sewed it up with a piece of violin string

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N I CK CARTER STOR I ES. 29 b ecau s e we lived on t he farm an d th e r e was no d o c to r features had so many wrinkles that it resemb l ed a washnear. woman's thumb. "Then you will see o n t h e seco nd finge r of his right Just before the ship sailed from Hongkong, its ent i re hand how th e end o f th e finger is cut off. That was crew des e rted between watche s, and Captain Grant was in a corn shell e r wh e n he wa s a small boy ." forced to sign m en, who according to the gallant captain, The Man of M y s t e ry nodded his head vigorously. All represent e d the scum of the Orient. Squared away to th e time he wa s li s tening intent l y Afte r showing a tattoo t h e s outhward the Brilliant becam e the theater for a mark on his left arm, which sh e said Earl had n\ade with s e rie s of frightfu l happ e nings that made s l eep a matter a vinegar cork and some n e edl es Mrs. Pitkin turned h i m of three winks at a time for the officers over to the interviewers. First of alt it turned out that most of the able se.l." Now you a s k h i m any qu e stions you want," she said. men" had never seen ahy more experience than is re" I will leave the room, so th e r e will b e no po s sibility of quired to man a rowboat on a creek. When most of th e any collusion." men were ly ing in th e ir bui1ks from s e asickness a big "What is your busineS'3 ?" he wa s aske d "Was it bankl asca r d e s erte d his post at the wheel and made for the ing ?" He shook his head. Railroading?" Again h e forward hatch like a streak of brown. Two seconds later shook his head. Mining?" A v igorous nod, accom p anied he came up from be l ow with the entire crew at h i s heels b y the ex. clamation, Aye, aye. Ill or well, they were in the rigging at one l eap, shriek" Ay e and he h e constitut e the man's vocabulary at ing and yelling as they directed the attention of Capp r ese nt. His tongu e a s we ll as hi s ri ght side, right arm, ; tain Grant t o several squ i rming objects on the deck. and right leg are paralyzed Four boxes filled with cobras and other po i sonous reptiles had broken loose from their fastenings. Two "Were you ev e r in the navy?" he wa s asked. It had bee n said that h e ha d given t he autho rities at the infirmary hundred snakes had been given the l iberty of the Brilliant. The Orienta l s would not go n ear the snakes a nd t o understand that li,e had formerly be e n a sailor. the captain and his officer s were compelled to k ill them But he s hook hi s head vigorou s l y with clubs Snak e s appeared from hiding p l aces, h o wMany othe r t es ts w e re mad e b e for e Mrs Pitkin reever, for three weeks after the boxes had been broken turned to the --ro om. All o f th e m wer e in favor of h i s and until the cr e w was sure that the l ast had been k ill ed being her son. And th e final o ne cam e when Mrs. Pitkin they per s isted in sleeping in the rigging. They had to tie st ood b e hind his chair and said: themse l ves fast with ropes but they prefe r red perche s You hav en't an y mother, h a v e y ou Earl?" to beds where they were l i ab l e to wake u p at any time The little man 's fac e brighten e d with a look of happit o find a terrible-faced cobra in the act of kissing them. ne s s that nothing but th e lov e b e tw e en a moth e r and When the boat approached the equator the five yaks on s on could bring and h e reach e d up hi s on e active hand, board b e gan showing signs of suffe r ing from the heat. and, gra sping an arm, pull e d h e r down and k i ssed her. As the days grew hotte r the anima l s we n t craz y one by one. H a u n ted by Mo t her s Ghos t, A v1s10n of hi s d e ad moth e r who point e d an accu s ing fing e r at him in his dream s, was r es pon s ibl e for Philip F Perna, e ight e en y ears o ld, surre nd e ring himself t o th e Denv e r, Col., police and c o nfessing to the forgery of hi s father's name on a ch e ck for $400. Perna claims t o be th e s on of a wealthy Philadelphia b uilding c ontracto r. H e e n te r e d police h e adquart e r s an d a sked to be locked up. He claims he forged the c heck last S e ptemb e r, and his con s ci e nc e ha s troubl e d him smce the deed throughout h i s s i x months' flight Two-hundred S nake s Ch a s e Cr ew int o R i gging. Two htlndr e d deadly East Indian snak e s o v er ru nning his vessel, fiv e heat-crazed yaks doing e verything but climbing aloft, and a crew of thirty-five la s cars Hindus, and Chin e s e threatening ev e ry minut e to cut one another's throats, mad e the combination which added ten years to the age of Captain Grant, of the Brilliant a four-masted B r itish bark. The Brilliant recently reached New York after a voyag e of IIS days from Hongkong. L i fe began to be jus t one continuous nightmare after anoth e r a l most b e for e Hongkong dropped be l ow th e hori z on and the excitement continued unabated until the Jersey coast was sight e d With their ves s e l safely secured to her pier, here Cap tain Grant and his officers h e a v ed a s i gh of relief which might have been heard a mi l e away, but wa s n't. The captain's hair had turned gray and his weat h er-beaten They co ul dn't do it in a bunch sa i d Captain Gr ant. They had to do it one a.t a time in o r der t o pro l ong ou r agony." The snakes and the heat-crazed yaks v ir tua ll y scared the crew out of their wits About the t ime the last yak had thrown a fit, been killed and cast overboard, the la s car s and Chinese engaged in a pitched bat tle. The Hiilds and others took sides in the argu ment Their fights were a dai l y featur e until New York was reached. Instead of trying to prev ent" tro u ble, know i ng that any interference wou l d be useless, Captain Grant a ll owed them to fight it out among themse l ves At t i mes, however the friction ass u med a serious turn, when some of them disp l ayed kn i ves and threatened to start carving each othe r s' features. It r equired t h e u tmos t d ipl o m acy on the pa r t of the offic ers to preve n t b loodshed. When the Brilliant made fast i n New York harbor Capta i n Grant set the crew ashore with t h e remark that they cou l d go as far as they l iked i n ma rri ng each other but that he would mak e the first one wa lk t h e p la n k w h o set foot on his vesse l again. Baby s First Teeth Cost Mother a Finger The exc i tement following the d i scove r y of their baby s fir s t teeth cost Ma r tin Stic kley $50 and h i s wife of Benville, Ark., one finger of her left h and. W hen Mrs. Stick l ey dis c overed two teet h i n her child's mout h she thrust her finger on them in a hasty exam i nat ion. She found that the infant knew what the teeth we r e for for the little fellow sank them into his mother's finger

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30 NICK CARTER STORIES. ( The slight wound was not given any serio u s considera tion until ten hours later, when Mrs. Stickley began to suffer great pain. A physieian was summoned He ampu tated the finger and left a bill of $so for the operation and trip. Hospital Holds Baby for Debt. How the officials of the German Hospita l at New York have kept for more than a year a baby born in the hos pital and have refused to give him up until the payment of a bill for $300 was revealed when Justice Crane, of the supreme court, ordered William M. Condon, super inte'\dent of the to give the child to its father. I Matthew McCord is the man who was deprived of the c4stody of his child. His wife died in the hospital May 25, 1913, two after the child was born. Find Body After Eleven Years. A mystery of eleven years' standing was solved at Pal mer, Mich., when the skeleton of Stephen Nichols was found in ihe woods by three men on their way to fight a forest fire. Lying near the bones were a watch, a knife, a leather belt, and a rifle, which were identified as the property of Tfie body was found but a short distance from the road and within two miles of a farmhouse. Palmer went deer hunting e lev en years ago last fall and never returned. It is believed that the young man lost his way and died from exposure. Many Players Get Start as Miners. There is perhaps little in the life of a miner to sug gest an athletic career yet many of the greatest players in baseball to-day started to dig out a living in underground tunnels. The world is always ready to give credit to the man who starts at the bottom and r eaches the top ; so, when a ball player begins several hundred feet below the bottom and makes a success of himself, he i s deserving of great praise. Surely the conditions of the coal miner and prospects for his bettering himself are anything but encouraging. Yet deep down in the dark and murky silence, where hid den danger lurks in every crevice, where the thick, shad owy atmosphere is one of despondency and gloom, the spirit and talent of baseball have found ins p iration Mordecai Brown manag e r of the St. Louis Federals and famous "three-fingered" pitcher, formerly of the Chicago Cubs, worked for six years in the coal fields of Terre Haute, Ind. at l ess nroney per month than he now receives in a day of the baseball season. Honus Wagner, the greatest short stop of all time was "breaker boy" deep down beneath the mining and smelter town of Carnegie, Pa., for three years. Honus, too, draws more money now by many times than he did in his mining days-in fact he gets more he modestly admits, than he ever knew was made when he drew a weekly pay check from the mine company. For eight years Jake Daubert labored in the black and remote interior of the mines at Shamokin, Pa. Now he is a member of the Brooklyn National League club and is considered by 111any critic s the best first baseman m the game. L rry Doyle captain and second baseman of the New York National League champions, earned his bread and butter for five ;years in the dreary coal mine s beneath the town of Breese Ill., before he was "found" by Dick Kinsella, owner of the Springfield, Ill., team. His rise to the major leagu e was rapid. Bobby Veach, hard-hitting outfielder o f the Detroit Tigers, and one of the fastest players on bases in the major l eag ues, was a coal miner near Herrin, Ill., when he 1vas discovered by Charles Stis, then manager of the Peoria, Ill., team. Veach had been in the mines four years. The famous Hughie Jennings, manager of the Detroit Tigers, and a great shortstop years ago was a coal miner at Pittston Pa., for eight years before he became a professional ball player. Now he is not only a great base ball leader but i s also a lawyer. He practices law in Baltimore Md., during the winter wonths. Dog Mothers Little Pig Instead of Peps. When Jason Osborn a farmer, of King City Mo., gave away the small pups belonging to a fox terrier, the mother consoled herself by adopting a young pig, nursing the little animal, and mothering it a s if it were her own. pig appears to be perfectly sa tisfied with its canine parent, and the two seem contented only when they are together. Expensive to Treat Friend. It costs money to treat a friend in Tacoma, Wash., saloons. The antitreating law, whi ch went into effect when A. A. Fawcett was mayor is again being enforced, and any person who buys a drink for a friend is liable to arrest and a fine. After an absence of three years Fawcett is again Tacoma's mayor and is insisting that violators of the antitreating law be punished. Throng Sees "Baby" Crushed. Hundreds who were waiting at the New Have n Rai'l road stat ion at Woodside, New Rochelle, N. Y., were startled when a bundle of white baby clo t hes fell from a car window and rolled under the train as it moved out or the station. Women fainted and men turned their head s. The trafo was stopped. A brakeman ran back, picked up the bundle and carried it to an excited man and woman who had jumped off the train. "I guess he's killed, all right," said the brakeman, a tremor in his voice. The man who was with the woman took the baby. The cloth es were torn to shreds. To the woman he said: "Why didn't you put that thing in its case?" The n he held the baby up to the brakeman and made it say "Thank you." The man was a ventriloquist and the baby his dummy. Flag and Scythe in Soldier's Tree. On the farm of J. A. Vreeland, two and one-half miles west of Waterloo, N. Y., stands a large tree, from which protrudes about eight inches of a scythe blade and over which floats a large American flag. This tree, with the scythe and tfag may be seen plainly from the many New York Central trains which pass by. The conductors have becri forced to tell the story of the lai1dmark more often of late, because a new flag is flying from the tree.

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NICK CARTER STORIES. 3 1 Back in 1861 there lived on the farm with his parents, Jame s W y man J o hn so n sixteen year s old. The tree w as at that. time but a mer e sapling. When the tiding s of t he Fort Sumter bom bardment and surrende r came, John s on was cutting und e rbru s h with a s cyth e 'His attention was called to the dis tant sound o f rolling drums. R e turning to the hou s e h e r e ma r k e d t o hi s parents, wh o were s tanding in the doorway: I left the scythe hang i ng in the sapling Let it h ang ther e unti l I return." H e s trolled off to th e v illage wh e re, under the excite ment of the war talk he enlisted as a private in Com pany G Eighty-fifth New York Volunteers-never to return. The youth fought in many of the imp ortant battles and, in April 185 4 was wlth his r e giment at Plymouth N C., under Gen eral John J. P eck In the e arly-morning hours of April 2 0 a fon;e of 7 ,000 Confederat e s mad e a sur prise attack on Plymouth taking 2,000 pri s on e r s John s on f ell during th e b attle mortally wound ed. His burial place nev e r was found Months pa s sed befor e hi s parents we re notified of his d e ath The n e w s cam e a s s uch a shock that f:ioth the father and mother died broken hearted The gre w and the snath of the scythe rotted th e bla d e firml y im be dded in the crot<;h. During the last days of h e r lif e the mother had kept the drap. ed in bl ac k. Since her d e ath member s of G A. R. placed a new flag over the blade each Decoration Day. B uys C offin, Dies th a t N ig h t. j o's eph F. Kuehne a wealthy r e tired of Jack Ill., a Santa Barbara, C al., undertaking c as k e t fill e d out hi s own death t ifica t e ; and hand e d th e und ertak e r a railroad ticket, comple'ti Q g all arrange m e n ts for the trans portation to his \ Illinois home. "I'm d y ing h ere, among strange rs, and I don't want to a ny work for them to do ," said Kue hne. He died during the night and the body was sent East. Commissi o n t o En d To settle th e Colorado strike by a commission to b e appoint e d by the p re sident i s th e obj ect of a joint resolu tion which has bee n 'f ramed and i s ready t o b e pre se nt e d in both houses p f Congress Accord ing to Repre s entativ e Keating,-. of Col oi;:ado, the r e solution the ide ntical plan emplo ye d in set tling th e great anthracite coal strike in Pennsylvania a f e w years ago. F ive Taken a s Mo o n shiners In one of the mo s t important moonshine raid s made in eastern Kentu cky in months, United States Detmty Col lector John N Franci s and a posse o f men of Whi t esburg, destro y ed s ev e n large moon s hin e outfit s with compl e t e paraphern a lia al o ng l o w e r R oc khou s e Cre ek and Carr' s Fork, west of h e r e One of the s tills wa s in an under ground chamb e r. The moon s hiner who opera ted the oufit was arrested, wi th four others Ball P layer Aba ndo1111 Motor Cycle. "No more motor c y cl e speeding or gay life for me," declared Rube Benton, left-handed pitcher of the Cin cinnati R e ds wh e n h e recover e d from a brok e n nose and o t her injuries which were su s tained when his cyde int o a street car. l The accident made a new man and a grea t baseball pitcher out of Benton. Last year he was known as a1t indifferent pitcher and a s econd Rube Wadd ell. Life to him meant only midnight carousals and fast ride s This s eason he has demonstrated that he is one of the bes t left-handed pitcher s in the game, and his work ha s kept Cincinnati well up in the Nationa l Leag u e pennant race. Prior to the colli s ion with the street car, Bento n had been warned to s top speeding and to take care of him self He needs no warnings now. He has l earned that it pays to b e sensib l e Buys Whole Town for Dolla r The town of Bu l ger, Col., founded th r ee years a go by Colonel Bulger, now awaiting trial at D enver, Col. for killing Lloyd Nicod e mus has been sold for $1. H. M. Ayle s worth the purcha ser, will plant oats in Ma i n Street and raze the on e hotel for the construction o f a c orral. Bulger deserted his municipa li ty beca u se the railro a d changed its right of way. Boy of F ourtee n S aves Third Life. Johnny Little, fourteen-year-old son of R obert L ittle of Des Moines, Iowa has proved himself a hero for the third time within thre e years. His third and l atest ex perience in life-saving occurred when he rescued A l bert McCann, nine years old from drowning. Young Little dived int9 the water and pulled McCann out after he had sunk fo r the' third time. Tlien by emergency treat ment he brought the boy back to consciousness. His other two experiences in saving lives were quite sim ila r. S h o wer Fis h er w ith Wo rms. S. B. Hill has been compelled to back up on his con tract to p urchase all the fish worms the boys of Marion Ind., would bring him. Hill who is an enthusia s t over fishing, has been fairly showered wit h worms sin c e h e announced he would buy all that were brought him. He has stored thousands in barrel s supplied with mo ist earth, and says he has enough to do him the remainder of the summer Stripped Nude by Robber s. Excel Banett of Youngstown, Ohio, was found sitt i ng in t he Mahoning River by people passing the Market Stree t v iaduct. He wa s nude and was too bashful to come out wher e people might s ee him. He said he had been attacked and robbed dur i ng the night by two men who undressed him and thre w him in t h e r i ver. He did not rec o v e r consciousness t ill morning when h e did not ca r e to show himself to his friends and neighbors. McKay Did as Was Commanded. Napoleon Lajoie has a favor i te that he tells c on c ern ing a youugster by the nam e of McKay who had a try out with W a shington some five o r six years ago "Joe Cantillon surl y and b luff, was the manager in the case ," according to Lajoie. A few days after McKa y reported there were a coup l e of on the bases and it happened to be the kid's turn at bat. McKay was a bit timid at act ing for himself in such a sit u ation, and before going to bat as k e d Cantillon what to do. "'Use your head ,' was the gruff rep l y of the Wash ing ton manage r

PAGE 33

32 N I CK CARTER ST O RIES. "McKay promi s ed to do as he wa s toid. On the v e ry first ball pitched which was thrown with great speed McKay stuck hi s head out, and th e c ontact was heard for a considerabl e distance. "As he trudged to first, smarting under the pain of the blow, Cantillon bellowed: 'You big rummy, what were you aiming at?' Shaking from head to foot fearful of further criticism, McKay managed to stutter: 'You told me to use my head-and I did it!'" A N o vel Ex perime nt. A novel experiment is being conducted at the Cincinnati zoo where a baby llama is having its front legs straight ened wi t h a pair of special braces. The llama is a South American animal of the camel family. T his va l uable little one was born knock-kneed. Every time it tried to walk, its front knees bumped to gether, and it was all but impos sib l e for it to get around, so the veterinary surgeons a Si)ecial pair of The braces are strapped onto the forelegs a little tighter each day, until the bones are gradually drawn straight. In the meantime the llama friskS about on its novel crutches following its mother up and down hills. B a ts P r e v ent M uch Mala ria Scientific research has proved that bats are deadly ene mies of mosquitoes and that where bats are to be found in great numbers, malarial fevers are unknown. Realizing the necessity of keeping the number of mosquitoes to a minimum, the city council of San Antonio, Texas, is preparing to pass an ordinance prohibiting the killing of Mts. Gets $50 000 for $50 She Loaned F ort'X Y ears Ago Mrs. Joseph Kampe, of Newburgh, N. Y., i s to receive $30,000 for $so she loaned to a youth forty years ago accord ing to a letter from Joseph Patton, the boy who borrowed the money. Some day I'll pay you a thousand dollars for every dollar of this said Patton, when he took the gift, and he now intends to make that promise good Mrs. Kampe is the widow of a tailor of this city who left consider a ble property. She met Patton at a New York hote l of which his father was the owner and loaned him the $50 to make a start in life. She re fu ses to te ll h i s whereabouts at this t i me. F inds Dia m ond in Hens Gi zza rd. Mis s L ill ian Tharp, of Parker City Ind. ha s recovered a diamond lost four months ago. The gem wa s found in the gi z zard of a hen, which had been k ill ed for use on the tab l e. Mistakes Diamond for Ice; Uses i t i n Drink. Ch arl es Ste l ph, formerly a of Los Angele s, Cal. who was charged with stea ling a diamond belonging to George Gordon claims he mistook the gem for a piec e of ice and used it in making a high ba!J.. That was hi s defense when he was arraigned here after be ing brought ba c k from E l Paso, Texas. Stelph declared he mu s t have d r opped the diamond in a drink an d some one swallowed it, as he did not know / what had become of the sto n e whic h was gi ven hi m by Gordon to be sold. "Stel ph talked so big about b u ying seve n ty-five-dolla r suits of clothes ,, that I thought he ow n ed the c a fe, arid 1 let him have the diamond to sell for me," Gordon ex plained to the court. "He never came ba c k w i th i t Will Stud y Mounds i n Iowa . To explore the ancient mounds and Indian buria l pla c es in Scott County Iowa, and vicinity a society o f Iow a scientists has been fo r med. I t will cooper a te wi th th e D avenport Aqdemy of Sciences, which has the l argest collection of mound builders' relics in the Mississippi Val ley. The new soc i ety expects to make import an."t dis coveries showing the stage of civilizat ion w hi c h b e en reached by the prehist_oric inhabitants of that r egion o f the country. Only a few of t h e Scott County m ou n d s have bee n opened. Must W e d W i th in Yea r to Save $J ,OOO He Bet. Unless he finds a wife with i n the next year, H C. Moore of Eldorado Okla., inust stand the expe n ses o f a trip to the Panama Pacific Exposition in San Franc i sco to be taken by his two married brothers An agreement was made by the three brothers e i ghteen months ago that the married members of the family should attend the exposition at the expense sing l e members, and the loca l boy i s the only one of the three yet unmarried. The expenses of the trip are estimated at $1,000. Doctor J. 'P. Moore of A ll good T e nn. was married severa l months ago and J. M. Moore, of Altus a second brother followed suit recently T he local man is worried about the predicament he is in. He is said to be fair l y wealthy and is unde r stood to be willing for some fair maid to lead him to the altar According to th e agreement if all three of the brothers are married b y next year each must pay his own expenses to the exp o siti o n. Boy of E l e v en i s Best Speller. William Bose l ager elev.en, of East St. Louis, completep a spelling match here in which he spelled 1 ,400 words without a miss The bee was limited to thirty-five boys and girls of the s ixth grade of the various schoo l s and lasted e l even hours. Boy P i tche r Can' t Jump Team. B abe" Ruth, the eighteen-yea rold pitching sens ati<;>n of the Baltimore International League te a m cann o t be. come a Federal Leaguer no matter how l arge a fo r t u ne is offered him to jump. J a ck Dunn manager of the Bal ti more club found the boy in an industria l schoo l and has been appoipted his guardian. Ruth can s i gn no contrac t s w ithout h i s guardian's consent. POST CARDS FROM EVERY\\'HERE Membership Exch a nge and copy Aur o r a Post Card Mag11.z!rie toe Coln. 3 Months 25c. E. L GAMBLE, Publisher EAST LIVERPOOL. O $ pay a. CASH pre m ium. on buJ\l:Jreds o t old coin! . 10 cents a.t on c e tor' New Illustrated C oin Va.lue Book 'X 7. It may mean YOUR. fortune. CLARK 8t CO. Coin Dealen, Boz 67, LeRo:r, N Y.


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