The mask of glass, or, Little Roxy in a double role

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The mask of glass, or, Little Roxy in a double role

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The mask of glass, or, Little Roxy in a double role
Series Title:
Nick Carter weekly
Carter, Nicholas
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New York
Street & Smith
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1 online resource (31 p.) 26 cm.: ;


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Detective and mystery stories. ( lcsh )
Dime novels. ( lcsh )
serial ( sobekcm )


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Volume 1, Number 68

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University of South Florida
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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.
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C36-00003 ( USFLDC DOI )
c36.3 ( USFLDC Handle )
024677252 ( Aleph )
63144849 ( OCLC )

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University of South Florida
Nick Carter Weekly

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No. 68. NEW YORK, April 16, 189a Price 5 Cents. "AS THII: HORSII: CAIII.II: TII:A.JUNG IIY, ROXY18 DAJtn'T J'ORII CLBAV1m 'I'Jfl: LI'&'J: THAT OJ' .A1V ACR0114T .Aln) IlHZ STRUCK THJC 8ADDLJC 'I'RUII: AND J'Illlt.


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NieK eARTER WEEKLY .Bu.Jet-ed auordi tag to of OOtlf1t'U i lha year l$98 by Sltut .t s ... ith, i n tha Otfke of the Librarian Q/ OotJ(/JWI, Wcuh.i ngl. April 16, 1898. N 0 68 B'CBI!BT & Publlal en. NEW YORK. 29 R oee St., N. Y 5 Cents THE., MlSK OR, LITTLE ROXY IN a DOUBLE ROLE. By the Author of "NICK CARTER." .------CHAPTER I. 'tHE RUNAWAY HORSE. "Look out!" "Whot !'' cc Stop that horse!-" t'Stop a whirlwind!" "With a clattering slide a riderless, coal black horse came to its knees, rebounded to its haunches, tuned, leaped and sped back the way it had come like a streak nf )ightniug. It was early morning, but both ends of the narrow short New York street were blocked by curious and excited humanity. At one end was a pursuing crowdfrom it the mettled a n imal had just fled. At the other it met four wondering, in terested and then interrupting personsthree boys and a girl. The former were Bob Jack Bur ton and Buff Hutchinson.....,..Nick Carter's young expert professionals. Their was that queen of little women detectives__:_Roxy, the flower air!. The sight of.a foaming, blood-flecked animal, fire in its eye, terror and tragedy suggested in its frenzied snorts and leaps, wo.!lld have cnecked and startled these ever-observant students of 1ife as it goes in a great city at afiy 'tiin.e. A Roxy,,. however-as the horse, blockaded, turned Ua ntically like an animal faiily trapped-einphazized the situation, and her three com pan ions glided to her side with additional sensa tional zest as if she were a seeress. "Bob!" "Well, Roxy?" "The horse l' "Nonsense I" "Roxy !" cried sturdy Jack, his eyes snapping, "you don't mean--" "The horse, I say. We're looking for a man?" "Yes." "I saw him at midnight--'' "And mounted, you claim." "He got away-we've been searching since, haven't we?" "With no result." -'Until now-wt!'ve lost him, but that is the horse l saw him ride." "You are sure?" spoke Bob hurriedly. "Very. 'fhe bridle rosettes, the carved &addle, the animal itself-1 reooember all distinctly," asserted the girl detective with positiveness. "Then--'' began Buff. "The animal must be stopped -it's


NICK CARTER WEEKLx'. home located," spoke Bob Ferret in that plucky "breaks," as Bob called them, intense tone of his that always meant that had made her record in the past. business. Perhaps the sglendid sttesgth and alm.: If the attention of the little gronp had ness of the mett:led horse re'iivefl a dlril been attracted because of a stining scene Jing memory of her cin:us practice,. when befor.e, now fervid intelligenct1 '\livid ex-an a\lat:icious uncle had tried to make her pectancy illumined each face. "the irriamt bareback rider phenomenon." In a flash every mind reviewed the case More prcrl!Jaobly, however, nettled at that had brought them d1ssppointd and missr11g a n1an t!lorey had shad dispirited to the end oi this. stleet two, ba PJ!ossesshonal "spunk" was minutes previous. aronsecT, and she determined 'to capture In a tw]g.kJing the realization that the. this gue clue fn sight-the horse horse was a tangibTe clue to what they -at ali hazard's. were after, electrified dormant energy like "Head him off-1'11 do the rest!" ormagic. dem Boh stancilly. Simply told, these apt pupils or Nick won.'U" said Carter's detective schooi were looking for "E'fl?"'t a man, unknown, who had stolen a She had edged up to his side, and she young girl from a female seminary in New gave him a peculiarly meaning glance. Haven. "Look!" she said, };l'}inting." "The His. description alone had been giTen horse bas turnesl." in a telegram to Nick Carter, imploring "Great goodness f" him to watch incoming trains and steam-Bob thrilled. exs, and apprehend a person whom the Tile ha-d been met by the on-anxious preceptress was certain had cr;o.wdiug pursuers at the far end of the ceived het:, in alleging that he bad been street. sent after the missing pupil, Elsie It could not break through that htnnan by father. wall, and it tnrned wlren. two men sy:r:ang The certainly located t4 before .it. man in a lodging house half a mile fmm One was swept flat with a fea.Iful C'..Iash, the spot, wht:re. they now were, about and lay white auJ still. midnight. The other had caurht tlR M.idle. ne:itL He had slipped them, however. An A lfik tOGk off his. fe:e..t,. a s.witm.g hour later Roxy had seen him, mounted, the reiu, 'he. r feJl. 'With a tear away in a trail of dust. groan, a hoof Since then it had been a tireless.,. urr-_ end to. profitable search-until now. / "The horse C'l!aZC:d, Instantly e-vety member of tbe ooterre spoke Roxy lmuniedlJf uDon1t risk hrlhy moved ptOd}l'pt, irtdependent ac:.til0n,. Boh!" i.f, to do, each kt)ew "W' d'o yotJ calf fol}y'1''' JUst how to do tt: Bob, bridling a trifle : Jack Burton p1cked up a ?oard Iy:mg at t o stop that cyclone offttt$f the curb and one snlewalk-Buff ordinary methnds. took the other s.tde of the sttet, arms u DO' yoo know any better ones ?"t outspread. u I d'o. Bob stood in mid-street-his pose sng--"What?" gesting readiness for a dive, a grab at the "Watch me and see!"'' tmi1rng bridle when the horse next rrea-rect "Look him. "Get aside-do yotrwantto Ro:cy was tfrrnkfng. Boys, ddtt't stop that it She wa-s a rosy, animated picture amid home, is fiudrrrg O'tlt' wheTe f:itrt' tnan the rosy hoes of ear1y daw n. started from." Her eyes never left the speed' norse stop bed"" breathed lack in a -she seemed cal.culating, guessing,, nerv-sl:rout of awe,. and' shn&r ered. ing herself, as if for one of those brilliant, TY1e bo;se Wai tearing back agai'a-


NICK CARTER WEEKL):. 3 twice as ia!rt, twice as frignte.ned and un manageable. Rox_y bad gwen "Bob a prrsh, for as he haH-guessed her ;rmrpose be put out a de taining hand. The nimble sprite slipped its touch as if she was.Jl van1Sb1ng snadow. Roxy 'flew Tatner t.ha11 ra11 to the ex treme edge of the sisank, it twice . Roxy fancied a fan was imminent, hct fifty yards progressed the animal tmned "Where a pla111ring sianted for a hig!, frame gate. 1t tuTned sharyly at fi-m11ng it sln1t. A sman nanow :pedestri-an ga:t:e-oway si, owed -11ev e r h!ttl n

4 NICK CARTER WEF.KLY. breath, climbed up on a broken shed roof, the horse he'll pay royally, for be and looked dawn into a stable yard. on velvet in a week. n There was a poled wagon directly be"That's all promises." neath her, piled hi with thin curly "Oh I he'll be square. Besides1 he shavings-Roxy drO"ptfed into this ingave me a fair starter.'' stantly, so she would not be observed. "What?" Horses were attached, as if the load "Order for some back money due him. was a8out to start out, but she did not Used to work in a shoe factory. I caD particularly notice this. collect that. It's in my pocket therd Her attention was centred on two men on--" in the stable yard, and among the light "Well, hustle the horse in. I4l.fix her shavings she burrowed and pushe<;J, and up best I know how." Y,; getting her face close up to theside she The two men hurried with t-fl : stee could both see lu!ar. toward the stable. Roxy strained 'fhe horse s1Je had ridden-reeking, shaving-dashed vision to make out thcd panting, tremb 11-g in every limb-had "pocket there" alluded to. come to a stop and had evidently arrived A._ coat hung over one of the extendin at home. poles of the wagon she was in. Roxy pushed the massed 'l;he two men had run up to it. They aside, burrowed, crowded, reached out ,a looked like hostlers. hand. "Hello-! didn't know Wild Nance was out!" spoke one of them. "Why, where's she been-what's all this, and who--" "S-sh !" interrupted the other, who was in his shirt sleeves, with a somewhat scared face. "Jim, help me out of a fix!" " kind of a fix?" "This horse--" "What's left of her-go on." "I let her _out at midnight." "Boss know it?" "No, and I want you to get her in her l!ltall before he comes, and back in trim.'' "In trim? Why, say! she's ruined: What fast riding hasn't done, cuts and have. Who had her?'' The man in his shirt sleeves looked dreadfully worried. "She may have run away," he mut tered-"the fellq_w who had her is ugly tempered may have abused her. He wanted to J!lake a run up north, and didn't want to trust to cars or cabs. I know him, and as he told me he was in a big money-making deal, and I was to share his prospects, I let the horse go., "The boss will raise an awful row." it from him, if you can." "Who's the fellow that had her?" "Well, he's keeping shady, and I have no right to mention names-he's a friend, that's all." "Lives around here?" "Did, but won't again. If be's injured In an inside pocket was a blank mem01 randmn book-all the coat contained. She noted several fo1ded papers in it, .but thrust it intq. own pocket quickly for some one came into view .. It was the driven:> the wagon she in, and the first thing he did was to reacli up the long-lashed whip he carried, move the coat, throw it on the ground an

NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 5 ''No hitching, do you hear?" Snap! came a lash crack-the driver bad "whipped behind." With a bellow one of the hitchers fell astern. "Drop, chumsey !" he yelled. "He's gbt a long whip." "In a m iiltl te. like a knife-the old snoozer! He'll see you--" "He'll see something else, purty soon!" was chuckled back. "Now, run 'arid hide, for there's going to be an ex'Cltement !" The_ driver did not "see," as predicted, at once-but Roxy did. Saw and heard both-saw a flash and beard a crackle, and knew that the great load of tindery shavings had been set on CHAPTER II. "EX-KING OF THE NEWSBOYS." Nick Carter's girl detective found her self in the midst of flames so suddenly 'that it made her head whirl. The driver's whip snap had cost him a t:load of horse bedding, for the match had been applied by the mischievous, malicious urchin, who, with his compan ion, had now fled. t "Hi, there! look-you're all ablaze!" R.oxy heard some one shout. "\Vhoa !" With a startled yell the driver halted is team, and Roxy heard his feet slam on the roadway..., "Put it out!"' "Turn in an alarm!" "Whoa-whoa-stop them!" A babel of vojces, a riotous c;:ommotion surrounded Roxy with startling suddenShe ceased tracing t'be course of events by the same as she faced critical peril ,directly at her elbow. Like dry prairie grass, the tindery shavings curled into streaks of vivid fire 'with appalling rapidity. A spark or the motion must have frightened the horses, for up they had started. "In a runaway-all ablaze!'' breathed Roxy in real concern-"why, I've got to get out!" It was easily said, hard to do-energy became desperation as Roxy realized the peculiarity of her environment. Burrow up she co .l}ld not-a clutch, a climb, only brought the shavings more compactly about her. She could not squeeze through the side poles-they were less than four inches apart. 1'11e wagon was rocking from side to side now-fanning the flames-and these were eating their way closer and closer to her. Roxy tore a clear space from the poles, seized one, began an ascent. "What's coming?" she fluttered. A tip had come-a crash, a graze, and she was flung across a blazing, outspread mass. Her clothing had got on fire. R9xy rolled, crept, staggered into the middle of the street from amid the upset wagon load. Then she made a bolt. It was a dive for deliverance near at hand, and she felt she could not utilize it toe, quickly. The runaway shavings wagon had col lided with a sprinkling cart-she was under its cascading back rim. in a flash. "Put out!" she shivered. "Drenched, but-better than roasting." Ro"l!J go_ t out of public view as speed,:11)7 as possible. ;}'}Jere was no point to be gained in re to be questioned, aud all she had gone tlrrough counted as natural incidents attending professional duty. She got out of immediate sight of the immediate viCinity, and made for the home of her aunt, where she lived. She was a new Roxy in attire and hopefulness as she started for Nick Car ter's home an hour later The memorandum book she had se{!Ured in the stable yard had given her the reward she counted on-the pay order the hostler had referred to. It was to the nf!.me signed to same that Roxy attributed considerable impor tance, and she believed that her expert patron and his pupils would deem it like wise of value. Roxy ran up the steps of the '\Zeteran detective's home with light feet and a light heart. A slight shade of anxiety left the


6 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. l:indly, inquiring face of Nick Carter as he greeted his famous little protegee. "Boys here?" was Roxy'.s first eager query. "Buff, Aleck and Larry only-the others, Bob and Jack, are trying to find out what became of yon. n "You see," smiled Roxy. "See what?" "That I'm back safe ana sound from my morning ride." "Tell us about it, Roxy." "Just a quick dash, Mr. Carter, that's an, and-l'esults-., "Ah !" "I've found out the name of the man we are after." "Nick's eyes expressed the liveliest satisfaction. uwho's that-Roxy? Whatt thatgot the man's name?" interrupted Bu:ff, just here bursting into the room. "Thatrs right," nodded the flower l P. :nob, Roxy! you're just scrumptious." ''If '"scrumptious' means finding out if we'Ve a to hunt up that miss ing girl, I am, dreadfully so,., confessed Ri>xy. "Yes, no time must be lost," insisted .Nick, with seriousness. "The case is a m.ystery at the start. I have received a Scee. girl, Elsie Deane, was de"Have murmured Roxy. "It urges prompt went on NTck. "The first message simply insintted that a man had appeared with an order ostensibly from Elsie Deane's father, a11d that later the pref'eptress sMpected all was not right." "And further?" insinuated Roxy. "I learn that the Deaae girl is some thing of a mystery in herself. It seems that ten years ago her father placed lNfr in the school, paid her tuition till she was twenty-one, and has never written nor visited her since." Roxy looked immensely interested. "Regular story-book case," commented Buff. "Compa,ring carefully the handwriting in the order the man brought with an old signature of the girl's father, and think-ing over the alleged messenger's hard ap pearance, the preceptress is sure crooked work bas been done. 1 "The later actions of the man sho\it sinister secrecy, that is sure," addd Roxy. "He has moved like a f!Jgitive, a : tifuf ter, certainly," mused Nick: "Well, we will find him first and trace out his scheme lateJ. Who is he Roxy ?" "Used to work in a shoe factory but has abandoned his former home and haunts." "Recently?" "Yes," and Roxy related what she bad overheard the hostler say. "He gave the hostler an order. It bears his name. It is on a shoe factory. I stopped there on the way here at'!'a made some He is a kind of a roving gypsy cha'raetet, and has been arrested several times." "What is his name, did you say'?" "I didn't say, but there it is," an .. swered Roxy, produeing the signed order. 'Jack Downey,' read the detectU! t;; "What's that I" BufL with a jump. "''Does it sound familiar?'' "I know man!" "TheJe may be mot;e than one Jaclt Downey?'' "My Downey worked in a shoe fac-tory." "That-tallies," said R,oxy. "And, come to think of it, he ans.,wers the description given of the kidnapper." "Where is he to b\ found?" asked Nick. "He never was an easy man to find," explained Buff. "I only saw him twice. He is Chpck: Downey's "And who's Chuck Downey?1 ' .'Used to be a newsboy." "And where is he?" "I don't know, but you can imagine it won't be hard 'for me to find out,'' an swered Buff. ''Scarcely. The of the New York newsboys ought to be a'?le to ttn .. earth that end of -the case." ""None better,,_.: nodded Roxy. "Find him right off, Buff. : He probably where his father is.'' "Shall we work to that end?" inquired Buff of his patron.


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 7 "Promptly." Buff left the room. Ro:xy and Niek, deep in a discussjon o.f the case in band, looked up as if at an as Bufi re entered the apartment ten minutes later. For a flashing second they were fairly deceived. "Buff," vouchsafed Nick, "you're make-up is inimitable!" "The best yet!" applauded Roxy, sineerely. "It's not a make-up, remember," urged Bnff-"natutal cbaracter, Mr. Car ter. Do remember 'the day yon took me out of the streets and started me in ?,, "I remember perfectly,, <>miled Nick. "I kept the old newsboy suit, you see. Am I the old Buff?" ,, if it was only yesterday, II mur mured Roxy. "Come on, then-you must come with Roxy.'' 1Must I, Buff?" "I thtnk you'd better. I've got all kinds of dens to go into, for Chuck Downey is a tough one When I lay my eyes on him you must spell me, for he'd suspect me in a flash if I tried to shadow him." 'LGet the trail quick as you can," ad vised Nick, as the twain started away. "This fellow, the elder Dm'Vney, may be to leave New York city.'' "Now, then, Roxy, understand your bearings," spoke Buff, as they stood in the vestibule. "!'11 go ahead." ''And I am simply to keep yon 10 fl.iew." "It may be a 'hard simply'." "Oh, PJJ stick.'' "I've nO' doubt of that, only we may have a long search. You see, this Chuck is a regular bully and bruiser ., "Is he?" ''I had to lay him out, once or twice, in the old days,to get solid with the ewsboys. '' "I see, Buff., "He did not see for a month 1" smiled Jluff, "and that will m_ ake him sore. He lrains with a crowd that never cared much for me, and that suggests that I will have to go among them eating humble pie. 11 Bufi explained Iully what he meant hy this, and gave Roxy explicit directions as to what she was expected to do. Roxy fancied she knew most of the queer turns and windings. of tbe great city, but two hours of Buff convinced her that the inner life of a great juvenile element was something she had never imagined. Buff knew where to find Chuck-if anywhere, in some of the loafing hatints of the idle, shiftless gamins who preyed on fellow workers and humauity in general. He visited half a dozen wharf shanties, barn lofts, and cellars of burned down and abando11ed bujldings. Finally Buff the debris littered area way of a building begun, but never finished. A l1ole in a brick +;faU led under the sidewalk. Just as there in the habitations of different cfassea gam bYers, so he knew the same system to -exist among street gamins. This had always becil a "boozing ken'' for the most idle. and vi'cionS' Buff realized that he was tatting tiie r1$'k. of some pretty hard knocks. in admittance. It had an oil stove, bunks, and tables-it was a liv_irij well as a loafing place. Half a dozen griwy as himself, looked up curiously and s.llspiciously as he aame into view. "Hello!'' grinned Buff. The crowd stared. "Say," slowly pronounced an incredulous tone-"if it aill't Buff i" "What's dat?" sotmded grutlly a voice from a bench. A big, hnnch-shottldered fellow slouched up in to view. . Buff's snapped-he had found his game. Tpe speaker was Chuck Then tliey veiied to shr. ewd watchful ness, for as the fellow loped forward, Buff instinctively realized that there was "blood in the air!" "'s dat?n repeated Chuck Downey, with a dreadful frown. "It's Bnff-Buff Hutchinson." "Our old king of the newsboys.--" "King of nit-nawtin'., see! ltr's youse,


8 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. is it?" gated the big btilly, fixing a con suming look on the intruder as if he would scorn him. "Yes, its me, nodded Buff-"onto his job" perfectly-in a meek, scared-seeming way. "Going to scrap!" went the rounds, whisperingly. "Stand up like a man, Buff!" encour aged a cheering voice. "Dat's it-stand up like a man I" growled Chuck Downey, knobbing his great fists belligerently, "stand up like a man, for I'm going to knock you down like an ox!" CHAPTER III. THE BLUE CHALK MARK. Buff, as has been said, was "onto his job." In other words, he looked entirely to the end to be reached, and he did not shrink from the unpleasant part he had to play. He had "licked" every fellow in the place-big, brawny Chuck Downey in cluded-in the old days when he had been forced to sustain his supremacy as king of the New York newsboys; Not as a fighter nor a king however, could Buff find any excuse for invading the present den. He had suspicions to allay, impressions to make, and he knew it would take both shrewd and humiliating tactics to carry his point. His face was a seeming map of misery, as he affected to shrink and shrivel be fore the fierce, blatant bully who was about to "knock him down like a ox." "You leave me be!" half whined Buff. "Whew!" whistled the fellow, who had told him to stand up like a man. "Say, gimme de hooks! but here's a sight to make a fader weep!" "I should say so!" piped a second. "Dis ain't Buff, a-crawfishin' like dat. Why! de Buff I onct knew would stand up afore a giant!" "Yaas, dis is Buff!" leered Chuck Downey, rolling UlJ his sleeves-"wid all de spirit gone outen him, see? Dat's wot comes of fly in' high an' train ill' wid does detective stiffs. I t'ought he'd come sneak in' back-puttin' on de frills as a Nick Carter fly cop, pinchin' guys wid de dignity of a inspector! Sa-ay, dey fired you, did dey?" Buff looked glum, and muttered something about "being sorry he rearned the trade.'' "Well, I've been a-longin' for you. Come up to de scratcli. Flip yer dukies, fer I'm goin' to pay off old scores. "I tell you to leave me be! l'tn-I'm sick," whimpered Buff. "Bah!" Chuck Downey made a swipe at Bujf. He missed, for Buff dodged. Then he clinched. It was a trifle sin gular, for while Chuck pawed struck out continually, notwithstanding the fact that Buff the coward com plete, the latter got the best of it. He blubberingly clung to his adver sary so he could not get in a single blow, he trod all over Chuck's toes, he tore his coat, and once when they (eil he landed on top of Chuck, as if by sheer clumsy accident, with a force that almost stunned his enemy. "Aw,, leave him be! Mebbe he is sick," suggested a voice. "He's a baby, see?" growled Chuck, mad and smarting. "If he won't stand up, I can't maul him, dat's all, but look here1 cully! when I come back to-night you make a sneak, or J'll lame you, sick or well." No one noticed it, but in the scrim mage Buff had effected something he par ticularly aimed at. He had drawn a short but pJain line in blue chalk across the back of Chuck Downey's coat. He watched the fellow's with veiled satisfaction-the more so as he heard Chuck inform a crony that he'd be back with a "wad," as he had an appointment "wid de old man." "If be's bound for his father" chuckled Buff, "and Roxy outsid$! w.a it ing to secretly escort. kil"ow, when he comes back." The crowd paid little attention to Buff the rest of the day. Vagabond usage admitted of his a harborage, but he was in humiliating disfavor. An u11throned monarch, Buff swal lowed some pretty bitter taunts, but he


NICK cARrER WEEKLY. 9 solaced himself with some reflections that wouid have startled the crowd had its members been able to scan the same. Buff put in a monotonous afternoon. He was sorry now that he had not ar ranged differently with Roxy, for the inactive wait galled him. About five o'clock, however, his ener gies took a vivid spur-Chuck Downey came back. He was jovial and airy. He wore a new necktie blazing as a poppy, smoked an immense cigar, and rattled his hands in his pockets to the accompaniment of a musical silvery chink. "Dat ain't coin, Downey?" grinned one of his cohorts. "Dat is coin. Fellies," announced Chuck, "me old man's struck a Klondike. Here, some one rush de mug," and he threw down a dollar. "Where's de prod?'' The uprodigal," as Chuck facetiously denominated Buff, was edging his head every way to get a look at the back of Chuck Downey's coat. "Good !" he commented, as be finally succeeded. Across the blue chalk 1111\rk was a red chalk mark-it meant that Roxy had done her share. Buff took a step toward the hole in the sidewalk. He bad finished his busi ness with Mr. Chuck Downey: "Dat'll do!" spoke the latter, inter rpptingly. "Yon go back and sit down. I want to have some fun wid you dis eve, see?" "Have it now." '"Hey!" Buff had come squarely upto his ad\'ersary. In profound surprise the gang crowded around-the last oneof them noticing the sudden remarkable change1n Buff's man-ner. "Have some fun with me now," went on Buff, briskly. "Pull m y nose-see, that way! Chuck my chin-here's the taper. Biff me-ba.t ha! one I two! three! Keep it up-and tlown you go!" "Crackey !" "Sa-ay, he's de old Buff, sureenough !" ''He was foolin'.'' "He's-he's-it was a stall! I see t'rottgh it. Stop him! He isn't fired from Nick Carter's all-he's been putting up a job on us of some kind. Mebbe he's after me old man, and-trun him down! trun him down!" -c'Anybody want to stop me?'' inquired Buff, blandly, as at the wild cry of their prostrate leader several started forward as if to intercept his assailant. "No? Thanks. Good-night!" Buff got out speedily. His face was a very eager one as he reached the street and looked up and down it. A dainty form stepped from a doorway, waved a quick signal, started on.. and Buff caught up. "Roxy," he said. "On hand." ''According to agreement. '' "You followed Chuck Downey?" "I followed the blue chalk mark, yef!," answered Roxy. "And he went--" "Straight to his father." "And his father?" "Has got the girl with him." "Good! and the girl with "I've seen her." "Glorious!" "And I've come back for you." "To take her away?" "No." Buff looked surprised. "See here, Roxy," he said, "it seems to me if you've found the gitl--" ''I She's scared to Poor thing! she don't what life means. For ten years she's lived among her schoolmates-knows no home, no parents, nothing but mystery and uncertainty." "And the fellow who got her?" "Claims that he is to take her to her father to-night." "Which you do.n't believe?" "Not a bit of it I" "So?" "I've got a scheme." "What, Roxy ?" "I want you to go and get Bob." "At Mr. Carter's." "If he's there-! want both of you to come with me." "Up to where the girl is?" "Exactly. I'll meet you at just seven o'clock." "Where?" Roxy mentioned a corner iQ the neigh borhood of Union Square.


10 NICK CARTER 'W'EEKLY. "Is it safe to leave the girl and Downey that long?" ventured Euff, dubiously. "I'll watch them, never fearl" "All right. Buff departed, but 'agudy dissatisfied. There was a queer, thoughtful expres-sion to Roxy 's eyes.,--a,. certain reserve in her manuer that mystified him. He had learned from experie11ce, however, that will-power was never perver!fity in Nick Carter's clever detective, and he guessed that Roxy knew fully what she was about, and would prove it at the seven o'clock meeting. CHAPTER IV. Bob Ferret did not come home till nearly half-past six, and Buff had to hurry him to keep the appoil!tment with RO"-Y She met them with ronsiderable excitement of manner. was instantly imparted to Buff, as ohe side of ber fa<:e, turned towatd a bright street light, came into full view. "Hello t" he began. "Why I hurt, Roxy"f" 'interrogated Bob, observing, too. "Hardiy1 11 smiled Roxy. t' That bru1se--,' "011! it's not a bruise, Bob." ''It's not?, "Look doser." Bob did look. The dark brown blur, on near turned out to be a maYk-smooth and natural as if ingrained with the flesh. "That's a biYthmark," announced "Never noticed it before," said Buff. ''Never needed it before,'' smiled Roxy. pertly. "Oh !" muttered Buff. "Do you now?" inquired Bob. "Very much. Boys, I've got something to tell you.,-"That was easy to guess a11 along," remarked Buff. "I've seen this girl, Elsie Deane," .said Roxy. "I've l1er." "Talked with .her?" repeated Bob, in some surprise. "Yes. She is so frightened I had a time winning her confidence." "Why was she stolen?" "She bas not the remotest idea. Downey has treated her civilly enough bnt she feels that some horrible plot is brooding. At about ten o'clock to-night he is goingto take her, he tells her, to her father., "And she wants to go ?I' "No, no 1--:tnd I intend that she shali not,, answered Roxy, with animation." I want you to come to the house where she :is, and Buff must take her to Mr. Carter, who will return her to her school or place her in other safe hands, as he thinks best, until I find out what game is up." "How are you going to fiud out, Roxy ?" inquired Buff. "Well, Buff, I am going to take this girPs place." "Whew I" commented Buff. "It's like you 1" ejaculated Bob. The cat was out of -at last. -"You see this :my <:heek ?11 when on Roxy. a copy of the one the girl has. You see this necklace with a funny old-fashioned charm? That's hers. I change clothes with her. I shall be. Elsie Deane, to all intents and "But--" "I shall keep as she keeps veiled. I shall only be ig Downey':;. hands tiH he delivers me father, and I am satisfied that tlie pre. tended father never saw Elsie Deane iii his life, and therefore won't know me from her.;, "And then, Roxy ?' inquired Eob, quite anxiously. "Stay with him till I find out what he's 11p to." "You may be wal)fing into a fearful trap I" "I shall risk it.'" "One of us should shadow your.lead." "'fhat's what I wanted you for, Bob." "Excellent l I approve," declared Bob, enthusiastically. "That puts a different phase on the mltter." ''Come.'' Roxy led her two companions to a tenement house on a qniet It was -dark now, and tl1ey stole up the stairs noiselessly and unseen.


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 11 Roxy unlocked the door of a vacant room, crossed it, and paused. "In that room," she whispered, point ing to one door, "Downey is sleeping. In this," pointing to the other, "is the girl, Elsie Deane. Let me go in alone.'' She fitted a key. There were low, rustling sounds. When she came out, the. dim light from the street penetrating the windows showed that she led a girl about her own h e ight. "You will go with these friends of ;tnine," she whispered t(} her trembling, timid companion. "They will put you in safe hands. N But you--" began a quavering, anxious voice fr.amed with signs of a sob bing outbrejlk. "Get her Bob!" directed Roxy, on the trail before ten o'clock,o.if you think it best. tl "Best? murmured Bob. "I wouldn't miss a hand in this superb mystery for a thousand dollars!" "' Across the room and out to the street in safety passed the two young detectives their charge. Into the captive's apartment, relocking the door, attired in the captive's garb, went Roxy. "Now, then, to wait," sue murmured. 11 I shall not feel safe till I get into this retended father's hands, and Downey out of the way of discovering the trans-position. t "Worked like a charm!" commented Nick girl detective three hours later. As she bad planned, it had happened. Downey had entered the room, gruffly bade her follow him, and Roxy was for the occasion. paid less attention to her than to the persons he passed on the street, as if watchful for enemies or the police. He led quite a long walk, and it ended under a lamp-post at the corner of two pJJorly tenanted streets. Here Downey stood for several min ltes, holding to Roxy 's arm. Finally a man approached--a short, dark-faced fellow with long tawny hair. "Downey?" he said, simply. "That's right, Vasa," nodded the "This is the girn" "Yes." "You shall hear from me. Come.'' Roxy breathed more freely. STle had passeo the ordeal of possible recognition. The called Vasa regarded her critically, and keeping close to her side started down the darkest diverging street. He turned into what Roxy took for an emigrant. inn from what she could see of it. Her guide and new guardian, ho:w ever, did not enter it. Instead, be turned into its broad stable yard, and went up to a large vehicle. It was ponderous as the biggest cage wagon, and steps came down from a rear door. This the man opened. "Get in," he ordered, uncivilly. obeyed. The man followed, striking a matcn. As he lighted a lamp Roxy saw by its gleams that she was in a regular house on wheels. It had two divided sleeping <;ompart ments, a cooking space, and in the front what looked like a Puuch and Judy otit fit. The man set her a stool. "Take off your things-let me have a look at you," he ordered, gruffiy. Roxy did not demur. She noticed the man's eyes keenly scanning tbe mock scar on her cheek and the necklace sl1e had taken from the real Elsie Deane. "You are my child, my daughter-do you understand projected the man, in decidedly unparental accents. ''I'm your father.'' "Are you?" murmured Roxy. "I am, and I want no trifling, sobs, hysterics. Downey tells me you are quiet enough, but no drivellings with me. Do you hear?" He her arm a cruel pinch as if to impress her with a due sense of fear. "Don't you do that again-you hurt me!" spoke Roxy, trying hard to keep her temper. ... "Ha! ha! Then know me. My board ing school miss, I've spent all the monev I to on you. It's bard knocks and strict obedience now-you mark me!"


12 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. "I will mark you I" muttered Roxy, under her breath. The 'iellow to

NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 13 aha Slbe promised herself to get even with him next time he was in a fix. "Have you business with me?" demanded Vasa, bluntly. "Dat's it." "Well?" "Dot girl knocked it oud of me." "Be brisk, now !" "I am a Chewish pettier." ''You don't need any signs. '' '' Ha! ha ferry goot! I am traveling -nort.'' that to me?" "You are going nort." "How do you know that?" queried :Vasa, with a quick look. ''.J heard de hotel gee per say it. '' "Well ? well?" "He toldt me you vas looking for a driver." "I've changed my mind." ''Dot you had a sore hand.'' "It's getting well," answered Vasa, moving into view a hand slightly ban daged. "You don't vant a driver, then?" "I don't." "Maybe you vould oxcept a bassinger for gompany ?" "Not "De girl may be." "Hey?" "Or get skeezic"ksy, flare up-she has a bad eye. She is bositively dangerous. Ouf you don't vant a driver, do you vant a guest, a poarder, a vatcher, a frent?" "You seem mighty anxious to go with me," insinuated Vasa. "Egsactly. Vy not? I hears you are oing mit your Bun ch and Chudy show port-slowly. Dot suits me. I vorks devil kges mit my goats ven you rest. It is heap. I can maybe vork out my poardhey?'' Vasa's eye regarded Bob keenly, anrl then he dropped it in a reflective way. "All right," he said, finally. "Vot vos all right, mein frent ?" in terrogated the disguised Bob. "You can come. "Goot !" "Be on hand at daylight." '' Egsellen t !'' ''If you know how to drive---" "Drive!-vyl I vance drove mools on de canal. Daylight? Yoq'll find me here." Vasa bundled his prospective employee out of the wagon. As he locked its door and tnrne<], Roxy observed that his face looked bothered. "See here, my girl," he growled, ':I want .110 trouble with you." "Then treat me like a lady." "If my smoking don't suit you, go to your own room-there it is. Do you want anything to eat?" "I'm not hungry." "All right." "Except for information." "What's that?" scowled Vasa, bridling. "I'd iike to know somethitlg." "I suppose you would!" jeered Vasa. "You'd like to know why you're taken from the delicacies of a fashionable boarding-school and booked onto a cheap Punch and Judy show, eh ?" "Yes, I would. "Well, behave yourself, and you may find out.'' "I always behave myself." "You didn't just now." "'rhat's a question of taste." "A father usually runs his own house." Roxy reflected a moment. Then she ventured a bold move to force issues, if poisible. ''Say," she said, plainly, "you're not my father." The man gave a prodigious start. "Eh? Oh! Ah-why not?" he pro jected, stammeringly. "Well, I don't believe you are." "I've got some papers that would prove it, all the same, and give me the power to you up if you try to run away from me. "They're easy." Roxy's unflinching au dacity made Vasa blink. He studied her keenly, and he looked disturbed. ''If I'm not your father," he said, finally, "why do you suppose I'm taking the trouble to cart you all over the country?" "I don't know." "I'll tell you.,. "Go ahead."


14 NICK WEEKLY. "Do you liok.e diamonds?" Roxy stared a little. "Why., yes," she admitted.. Vasa:"s eyes glittered with a siJaiaster glow as be be.nt toward he:r. 'tThen here's. my best word for the present," he said, mysteriously-" you stick to me. and yQU 'll wear them." He went out with the locking the door after bfm, lea v fng Raxy reflective. The little sprite lt.eak fast ?" inquired. Vasa_ "I guess," nodded :Roxy "Ours. wou't cook its.elf-Tiluttf1 .ere's lots of provender a board. Roxy's ready manipulatiGU ru c.ulia.aliy utilities rather put Vasa in .good hunHlt. Sh.e. ventured to engage. him in couversation. ''I thooght }l()tl was-g-ohng 1rQ that horrid peddler to drive YOilT! w.agoc 3"' she i nsi m.w t e. d. Vasa blinked cunningly. "No, no-no strange-Is for me 1" he chuck"lecl-' to get u.p <;:atrcl this yol!ll gave hilm the S&p ?'" "Just. "Have we ,one. "About t-wenty miles." "And when ati! yoa to. show?" inquired Roxy. "Eh ?" stared the man. "Punch Judy?"' "Oh! don't bother your head abont t 1m-:& m nQt gonm g ro give u y sill o-w at present t 4 Are:w:'t you. ''No.u " Just travel, eb 3'' Ro.x.y. "You tve got it_:_ just "How fn,. nlin" ?" Vasa fiaxed. a shrewcil on f1is loc.1:1.tor. gilil," he vo.uchsa.:d, "Do.wMy said you was-mi.Ik a.lilcl. Oh, yes! I don't know \\lhere yon got your e'ye. teet.h c.ut,. bldt tla.!) ;'rti! dear I can see. tbat. 'Vou can act,. and y0111 've got spirit. Unti'l I read you a ri.ttle better:, I don't think PIT make a confidant of you." "All right," retorted Roxy, indiffer ently, '!I'm willing." "Have to be:." "Keeping in view tT1at there's. t@ be diamoncil.s to wear at the end of it arr, :you know!" Roxy, sluewdfy.


NICK CAR'lER WEEKLY. 16 Vasa had four horses :to draw the wagon, and he let them rest -and attenaed to them up till noon. He m-ade no objection to Roxy sitting clJQwn and re-aoing under the trees, but as he went n1to the wagon he plac:ed hhn:;,-el'f so that he ronld keep track of ller movements with a mere turn olf b is bea-d. Against it:b-e side of the wagbl;'l Roxy had notfced wbat iike an oblong box. Placing a stool lleside tbis, RQxy saw Vasa p11l1 it -set a brace Tmdet it and transfer it into a very "Convenient desK. He unlm:ked its tlra.ver ana took out a long flat wa!let fmerl with pa:Jlers. For nearly -an hont be stndied over d1ese, eonsnlted a his watch, a road map of the mnntTy, and.;pnt the bac:k into the desk. for a P' 11mnnured Roxy, ha-d watc:hed Yaosa's move ment. The papers might or mi-gllt not -appertain to the present journey and Deane. however fancied th-at t'hey di-d. hAnd I'm going to find out 1"' she de Her Qpportnn1ty c-ame two honrs lat:!r. Vasa had hitched np t11e horses -and remounted t\1e driver's seat, after locking Roxy in seelt're1-y as 1I'SmiL She examined the box -desk the very first thing. It was not particn1ar1y stron,g, but she averse to creating suspidon by with it in any -way that would leave traces. "'I can badl: tbe iock p1ate v.'ith a knife, 1 believe," murmured Roxy. 'A sharp p11n wm fetcll 'it, Roxy woTke-d at the drawer fur u1early half an hanr. She got the lock loosened to satisfact1on. fhe two handles to the (hawer1 she gave it a batd, presSing, downw.ard pun. "It's--come!" she .breatbed, with a tumb\-e. The drawer badbut so suddenly and forcibly that it sent Roxy backward and the drawer np. It's contents went showering over her 1tead against the other side of tbe wagon.j .Roxy dropped the drawer quickly tc: recover them. A writing-pad, a pen holder, a book,! a brtl3h a comb -her eye casuallyj over these. "The wallet," she mnrmuroo, observ ing it...:..."ob, merey !" A joit jogg1erl her, and tbe. same joggieaj:he wanet. Towar.(l it Roxy made a frantic, less dive. lt lay dangerously near the e-dge of a litt!e open1ng in tbe floor of the wa,goq through whtch Vasa was wont to sweepittgs and coffee grtltrds. Roxy's hand -came with a slap toward the wallet-slipping, slipping. Her linger tips grazai it. it tmly, for tbe jolt just at that instant carried it through the hole, and it dropped into the rlu-sty out of reach and out of .sight. CHAPTER V1. Nil"k Carter's girl detective gave a brt!athless gasp. "l've dollie itl" she voiced, in vivid dismay. Roxy ran at the ba1!k

16 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. the wallet is gone-well, I'll have to face the stem to do so, and tiring of this he it through, some way." grumblingly set it on a flat rock at his Roxy replaced the drawer in the desk. side. She noticed, during the next hour or Roxy pretended to be but she two, that the wagon made a good many studied the man's face and movements as turns and windings. if both were part of an unfolding puzzle. Vasa, too, indulged in numerous inShe regretted that Bob had been put off quiries witJt people he passed. the trail, and she wondered if, singleRoxy traced these queries from generalhanded, she could cope with 1:he un-ization down to a narrowing point. known difficulties that might hedge the For instance, Vasa first sought informanext definite step in the plot all Vasa's tion as to a certain road. circumlocution certainly disguised. Apparently gaining this, his interest "Mein frent! mein frent !" seemed to centre on a specific branch of Roxy started up as joyous as if the same. one had given her a royal Scoring this point, he was progressively The familiar accents of the night presolicitous as to the location of a certain ceding were hopeful music to her ear. woods. "Safe, sure, Bob!" she murmured softly Just before they penetrated them, he to herself in a glow of animated admirastopped a farmer's boy to ask about a tion and satisfaction. famous oak tree that seemed to be a "W-what !" shouted Vasa, recognizing notable landmark of the district. the tones too, and springing to his feet, "Guess we're going to strike pay dirt pretty quick," reflected Roxy. "'l'he flower girl was sure that something of urge 1cy and importance was im pending when the wagon was driven half a mile through a stretch of timber away from a traversed road. his features drawn into a disgruntled scowl. Advancing from the nearest bushes, his face on a broad grin, his hand ex tended as if Vasa was his nearest of kin or tht! dearest friend in tpe world, the disguised Bob Ferret obtru8ed distmctly on Vasa's vision like a nightmare. "What sent you here--" began the latter ill-naturedly. Vasa was not only polite but attentive, as he unlocked the wagon door and Roxy to prepare supper. "Gontract-sagred gontract. I overhe slept meinself. I lost you but I followed. "Then we'il take a .stroll on foot," vouchsafed. "Will we?" murmured Roxv. "Yes." "Far." "Oh, no." "After anything?" I am here late, but on hand." "Confusion!" "Mein frent--" "Back-oh, drat your clumsiness '' M_ein gracious !'' "You've done it!" "Perhaps." "Those diamonds maybe!" Purposely or by accident, but acting you brag about, the effusive, bubbling-over comrade to "Ha! ha! Maybe. Who can tell?" Roxy bustled about and got the meal ready. Vasa was restless and anxious when it was concluded. He watched the disap pearing sun; he consulted his watch fre quently; he seetned to be consumed with impatience, as if not knowing huw to kill time. He sat down finally under a tree and tried to get a few comfortable whiffs from his pipe. He had to hold the battered bowl onto perfection, in approaching Vasa, Bob had stepped on the pipe lying on the rock. His foot squshed half a wreck to a wreck entire. "The girl made it so that it drew like a leaky chimney," grumbled Vasa. uNow you've fixed it, so I can't smoke at all!" "Smash me, mein frent !" implored Bob almost at the point of tears. "I am a plunderer-! deserve to be thrashed!" Vasa looked very leery. It was easy to see that Bob's arrival wa!' particularly unwelcome at the present moment. "When we come to the next town I


NICK CARTER W.E.EKLY. 17 "Vill puy you the costliest meerschaummit gold tipped, 11 promtsed Bob. den, meiu frent llellup yourself!" Bob extended a well-filled cigar case. It was evident that Vasa did not wish to truckle with him. The sight of the cigars and an ardent craving for a smoke proved, however an irresistible temptation. He selected a cigar, and he proceeded to light it, but he said uneasily: "I don't see how I can have you with me now." "Vy not, mein frent? vy not?" broke m sh.rewd Bob. "I can begin iu the mng--'' "Oh! in the morning?" breathed Vasa with fervent relief. ''You '11 report then will you?' "Surely. I can vork a town dis evening. I am going soon. In the morning I v1ll report." "That's it, that's all right," nodded Vasa, quite friendly and delighted at the prospect of getting rid of unwelcome m:mpany in the immediate present. He puffed in tranquil enjoyment at the ct.gar, and he came out of his shell far enough to laugh at one or two jokes Bob sprung. Roxy kept her eyes on the latter. It was good as a ylay, she voted. She was afraid of Bob overdoing it for he was animated and zestful now 'as a specialty star playing for applause. Then she saw that a well-planned de stgn had kept Bob chattering. In the .midd.le c;>f ridiculous story narrated 1n hts hvehest dialect Bob short, jerked his finger in the rechon of the male half of his audience IIHld said drolly: "We put him to sleep!" Roxy .took a long stare at Vasa. The ctgar had fallen from his lips, his llead had dropped to one side and his !tyes were closed. "Bot-!" fluttered Roxy, Jfalf in en ltghtenment, half in query. "Roxy I" chuckled her disguised col league. "That man--, "This cigar !'t-....projected Bob, picking lt up. "Loadeci ?" "Worse than that." "Doped!" "On the truest scientific principles!" "He won't wake up?" "Maybe at midnight,, responded Buff airily. ''Arid meantime?" "We'll bunk him in the wagon and proceed to business." "You mean?" "One thing at a time, Roxy," inter rupted Bob. "He stole a march on me and, I've ha.d a hard tramp tracing him. Let s get htm off our hands and then dis cuss the outlook." They got the fellow into the wagon. He was like a lump of lead . Bob the door, and glanced at hts watch wtth much the studious atten tion that Vasa himself had recently dis played. "Bob," ventured Roxy, "you're smart--" "Thanks, Roxy I" you couldn't have made up for lost ttme the way you have, but does it strike you that in dosing that man you've put the stalking hound off the scent?" "Not at all," smiled Bob tranquilly. "I don't see--" "I intend to take his place, just as you have taken Elsie Deane's place." "But he was aiming for some definite point to-night.' "So am I." "Probably going to show his entire hand." "I've only forced it." "If you are sure you guess enough about his intentions." "Guess?" repeated Bob, with vehem ence. "Why, Roxy, I positively know." 1'Yott have discovered something, then?'' "Slightly." "'What?" "This." Ther.e was the flash of a dark object .from Bob's pocket and a slap into his palm. Roxy stared. It was the wallet that she had lost through the hole in the floor of the wagon three hours previous.


NICK CAll."TER WEEKLY. CHAPTER VII. Bob bowed. "Tbjs is-tbe girU" "As you see. "And the papers?" u Here they are." Bob was Jew peddler in only. THE UASX OF GLAS& HTake-go-your work is done." "Is this the place, Bob?" Pressing sometbing into his band t ''According tc the papers lD that was crisp and paper.y, tbe man dism wa11et-ye9." Bob as if he was .a discharged servant. "The giant In a deft, quick, yet gentle way, R "That's what they call it." was passed from hand to hand away "I wonder what's coming?" Bob's side, and hurried on toward .a g "W.e'H soon know." grove u'f high bushes. "The papers in that wallet" had set ui don't know about this1" mut Bob F.erret's mind in au active whid. Bob. He haxy's aocidentaJ Ring had hurled He was ready and curious to ventu it, and it did not take the disguised into all kinds of unknown trailer of the Punch .and Judy van long tlte eoolness with whieh to guess tbat it belonged to Vasa. lowed a like intrepid comse aroused Now Vasa was asleep drugged in the keenest anxieties. wagon in .question, Bob, as.nrping his "What's 11e given me?" mn1'1mt1T ... .authority, was carrying out his pro-Bob, and be looked. gramme the best be knew bow. nlneredibld" be keathed, his g He was badly in the dark yet. Am9Ug growing to a stare. the papers were several documents provBob held in his banil a bank note of ing the identity of EJsje Deane. I.argest denomination ever issued by There was a map of this district, a Ulilited States Government. reference to the giant a direction Ten thousand dollarsl Wlder jt that "the girl" should be wrhe price of a secret !" pulsated brought thither on a. oertain day at a eerterribly worked up, 'ca11d it must tain hour. big one. price of a .life "That's just predsely this mcment," 1ife1-I can't let her go bliu pronounced Bob, consu1ting his watcJ1. This is too too too va "I wonder what it's all going to lead for me to allow her to take all the ri to]" murmured Roxy. Bob plunged onward with the ardorl "There's not a hint in the papers as a chivalrous to that, but-here come the persons who He dodged behind a tree and can probably tell answered Bob. as be lleal"d voices and made out two ''Now. then, you insist on posing proaclting forms. as Els1e Deane. "Tl .. "To the last I We can't back out now, re g.omg to un:: and "we can't find out what we want to vance. he calculatedthey ve c know without going straight ahead., back to block. me. No I" "Four impressive looking ;nen were Bob stared m a good deai of supn advancing. the ne wcomers did not belong to They were swarthy, dark-eyed .as gyp-party he was determined to pursne. and strength and {:haract:!r showed "Dat oak must be :omew jn each ace. near here, dad," be beard a vmce say. Bob .felt that their business was serious "Sure thing, Chuck, unless you and earnest. right, and that Biff IelJow--" "You are the messenger?" spoke one H Buff, you mean." in a low tone, advancing and scanning "Well, that Carter aftP.r Roxy only. and has stopped the busi


' f NICK CAP.TEil 19 tb.e a 'ppbinted time -the light in the room was extinguished. ow, and must find Vasa rn The two men went into some other "Why 1:1 breathed Bob apartment, and the low hum of voices 1one o.f them I know. Ies DQ.wney. The r-eached Bob as he crept out from his tiler caiied him 'dad. 1 He must be the muffling covert. n, Chuck, tltat Bu. toTd ps about. Bob listened1 hut no itJtelligible word ell, they're too late. Am I to shadow reached his ears. Tlien .he pursued a brief oxy and those four gritqJlookiJ;)g feTgroping investigat:iEla. ws ?" A door cautiously opened led him into Bob fdt that affairs we-re at" a sizzHttg a tla1TOl'VII oint-they had sudde.Dly beco rapid Light penetrated it din.11Ly tbmugh a nd complicated enorrgh to sajfsfy the mmky parti1Jitn pzne.. ost ardent taste. Bob g!iped .toward this and looked into He d'id' not waste time carcylpmrglrow ail' l t he arrival of. the had. been It .was quite 1tllXt! itrnmhed,; and rou gl!t a boot, or what tlley tloped to a cthe walls hung with. q .111eF diJarls. om pltsh. co-vered wi:ih sym hols and prudrnrtts. He centred every tTwug}it on Roxy,_ den oj. "" ttd what she was being fed forward to com!IIIIJI'ifntelil' &t;J_ ''Thtfe's .r ace. sat. in a That involved a immediate chair, and aftd "'behind-st>od hadow. Bob was an expert at tT1rs. He the iour men: who had esrouted. her ad last of the he wanted, hitb:t:t:. u t he. soon strll'Ck a traiJ' of fresh toot:They were stiff a:s, and t.lteit: e rints in the dewy grass. eyes wae find on. a V -sl!uuped: screm b"keHe came upon a> law stoue stmcttrre wise lt'Ortnd! with ct:rri!Ous sym bo1s. bnt ptl'y. "I'd say some h0cus-pocus was up, if it It resemhied sotn.e sqldare Mexican wasn't iar tlmis bilD. ouse ratf.1er than a lllTOdern habitatio.n, TFliatt:'s Tel')f tatogibl:e, at.W it's; nd its jaiT-Iike appeaianc.e was som'Ore. too,, soliloqui.zeEil Bob-. It had but one entrance doa.r at tile Rcnxy 's facr wore alill e:xpiedant,. 'butt by i de, and this was ,dosed. A righted no means; awed or look. i udow beside it suowect .Roo ran to. it Eob caugh:11. a tnnHierl SliiJI]JJd fr\!Jtl!l bed peere.CI'in. hind the S..:rftl'L, 2tt1d beJDt his e2! s:hauq:rly. He saw twa men crossing a room,. "The girl l.u5 hiehreard lDltrteTed ragging a heavy floor ru.g between in acran!s. e m "'Yes,.'' spoke a:rre of tM lllllte111 Roxy. On. the grass. o.utsjde was a; ng, nlled u n loosdu. ."'Wheel me imnwa:.rcl tlmt l may see ...-.; her .. .Bob rnsta..utly d.isce.rl.lA:cl two poi-nts-Tbt two men t.e he had seen 'wo Q{ the. rty had es.cotttre.d Roxy. Otue s.wcr.Jl1t tlir.e scrt!eu aside,. OJtme gat be.-The rugs, left out to air, they were ius.t hind. a stt'llictd chair res:!D!llhb.ittg ing :i:nto the house.. some-tbrCll1Il.e of risk it!" decided Bob, He_pushed it forward. Idly, as he always did wheta As bcrc din Slllr Roxy a :ttff!m a. startled ith a sqnare i8sue and a bare mouient in cry. hich to tonake a choice. &ln IlleatrJy re-prealteal it He haal1 seen same: thitrg in his Bob burrowed into tite rug,. queer caree1!, bttt he had noted a.ny--Erhe men came out and puUed' it hy its ds ratlier titan Hfted' it. thrll>g appt:UJaChing 1rhi:s.. There was ru matt ion the c.barr-Boo's back got a. sT1arp ag,ainst A man witlllJ his head in at gla-ss. case! door ste)i>... !l'hen Ite was ffopptd flat as rug s ttung i'nto a corner. He heard the door locked and cnaineo


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. CHAPTER VIII. SNAKES! glance the papers Bob had delivered up/ now held for tnspection by the mlln he bact given them to: "It is she," spoke the man resembling an animated mummy-" it is Elsie Deane. That is your name?'' Roxy sat erect like a person in a wit ness chair. "It beats me!" gasped fairly electrified. Bob Ferret, "They have called me that," she said simply. The more he stared the more he won dered. He could not believe that there was any affectation or "show business" about the scene in view. The four men were too serious and in telligent-looking to be triflers. "The man's got his head in a glass case," soliloquized Bob, breathlessly "what's the object?" It was always the way with Nick Car ter's pupils to pass by surface seeming for what might lurk beneath. Bob tried to attach some tttilitv to the glass mask, to find out what it. was worn for. It closely fitted a spare form arrayed in faaed velvet garb here and there orna mented with tarnished tinsel. It was so thick that just the suggestion of a real face was apparent beneath. 'Where it fitted the shoulders two rub ber tubes ran into two copper cylinders stored in a corner of the room. From one near protruded a thin silyer bowl-a similar one was appended from an orifice at the lips. "Ear trumpet, speaking tube," re flected Bob-" still, why the glass mask?" "Remove the mask," he heard spoken just then, and was all attention at once. It was like uncovering a death's head. Even Roxy turned a little white about the lips. The glass device was placed carefully on a table at tite side of its wearer's chair. The person's natural face was the color and texture of misformed, utterly expressionless. Only the eyes seemed They flashed, burned, burrowed, pierced. They were fixed npon the mark on Roxy's cheek-eagerly. They scanned the queer chain and charm at her neck with intentness. Then they scrutinized in a sweeping ''Do you know who I am?'' "How should I?" "That is true-you do not even know who you are yourself." Roxy looketi very inquisitive. "You are-a queen!" Bob was shaken-this was lunatic-play-sheer! rf "Queen of the Zangari-Alpo gypsies ? "That's news," murmured RoJfYf bound to say something. "I am your grandfather-! am the last of the royal family, except yourself." Bob palpitate with suspense. What could all this be leading up to? "Our glor)' is departed. These fo .ur faithful servants, soon doomed to wander, homeless, friendless, back to their native land-are all that is left in America of a once powerful tribe." old man spoke with sad, fervi 9 emotton, and very earnestly. "Your mother was my She died, and your father fearing we migh.t claim you or lure you away, hid you in a school and became a wanderer," proceeded the old gypsy. "He died a year ago in Brussels. Since then we to find you. Outsiders sought to trace you. We hired them to do so. This is the result. You are here, with y

NICK CAR'fER WEEKLY. 2! only way I could retain my frail hold on Hfe has been to wear that glass head storing an artificial vital gas coming from those cylinders. I cannot talk long now without it. My friends; place -the box on the table, and ilepart." A small chest was lifted from a corner and placed in reach. "Farl.!well !" The old man bent his head upon his breast with the sorrowful word. The four men, with a\'erted eyes, bent ground before him, passed from lhe room into another, and Bob heard them unlock a door, go out of the house, and away. The oracle was plain. to read nowthis man was about to enrich his suppqsed granddaughter and throw himself AA-on her care. He unlocked the box on the table, Bob bptoed, craned his neck to peer. From it he lifted a flexible string of jewels, and never in his life had Bob seen such a radiant string of rubies, pearls, all manner of cut gems. "A tiara once worn proudly," murll"iured the old gypsy, and he placed it on Roxy's head. "It is yours." "This," h.e said,. and he drew out a large package, "is stored with banknotes. See, it is marked 'two hundred thousand <1ollars,' but I must explain about this what I have behind yonder door in tbe vault as well. Here is the key--" "What is the matter I" cried Roxy in alarm, as the old man almost fell forward in his chair. "My breath-! cannot catch it. The mask I the gas-doomed!" Bob Ferret was fairly appalled, but he was not unnerved, and he ran uncerewoniously into the room. In reaching for his glass mask, to don jt, to revive his strained faculties with a new supply of the vital gas, the old gypsy done a fatal, a frightful thing. His trembling bauds had seized it only to drop it. Crash! It went to atoms on the floor at his feet. Real need of the life-sustaining gas or the shock produced immediate conse quences. His eyes closed. As Bob ran forward, he fell into his arms. "The tube-the gas may restore him!" cried Roxy. "Too late," answered Bob, as the at tenuated figure slipped rigid from his grasp. "He is dead?" "Yes." "Bob, this is-awful!" Roxy's face was white with the strain she had. gone through, quivering with its culminating tragedy. "I never heard, read, or dreamed of such an affair!" she went on. "It is plain enough, though, nanswered Bob-"this man's longing for his half gypsy grandchild was natural. He has left us a rich responsibility." "These gems, that package, for the real Elsie Deane?" said Roxy. "Yes. Take this." And Bob handed the package to Roxy. "It is marked 'two hundred thusand dollars.' "But there was something to explain about that, he claimed," suggested Roxy, "and that key he said fitted yonder door." "We had better make a brief investigation," Bob fitted the kev. to the door. It was heavy, and had a spring lock, but no knob. "Hold it open, Roxy," he said. Stone steps led down air was dense. Bob lit his dark lantern and pressed by Roxy. "Bob!" she spoke sharply. He ran back toward her, for he saw that something had startled her in the room they had just left. "What is it?" he asked. "Some one--" Bob looked beyond It was only a glimpse he had but it was enough. Entering the room at the opposite door were the persons he had passed near the giant oak-the Downeys, father and son. Roxy thrust the of gems into her pocket. She took a tighter clutch on the money package, for she instantly recognized the intruders. The sweep of the draught gave the heavv door a jar.


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. Roxy, not knowing if Bob wished to spring out or remain hidden, made a false move by giving in with it. There was a click and the sinking sound of a heavy catch. "I'm afraid you've done it, Roxy spoke Bob, quickly. "Maybe they didn't see us?'' "It isn't that. We're locked mtightly., "There must be a way out." "We'd bdter find it, then. W_e carry entirely too much solid value to do any loitering. Come, this way." The old gipsy had called the place they were in his vault. It was, indeed, such, and it puzzled Bob to guess what it was used for. He knew, as he turned the corner of a damp, reeking corridor. A storm of hisses assailed him-a score of sparks of fire to rise up magic ally in the air. One gleam of his masked lantern re vealed a dozen immense writhing bodies. "Back, Roxy !-for your life!" he gasped. "What is it, Bob?" ''Snakes!'' CH4PTER IX. A DESPERATE RESOURCE. Bob Ferret was daunted, and his lip quivered as he set it resolut.ely as he could. There was no denying the predicament of the was desperate, unique extraordinary enongh to be unnervmg. "Close quarters, Roxy !u he breathed, rapidly. "Run I" "Where to-Oley'll only follow. Get behind me." "I won't!" Bob pressed Roxy back of him-he began slowly retreating. He saw how useless such tactics would prove, however, if he had to hold out long. He had never seen before in one group so many, such active and such large rep tiles of their class as those now advancing upon them. 'The old gipsy must have been a snake-charmer-lots of his kind are,'' Bob. "He's just kept these ser, pents shut up here till they've become a community. Roxy, I want you to run back to the door. '' "If I must leave you?" "Get there quick." "What to do?" "Knock, pound, yell." "Those felluws are 10 the room beyona ?" "It doesn't matter. We must get out before we're bitten-better a fighting chance for ltfe than sure annihilation." Bob kept his lantern focused on the writhing, rearing .serpents: The flare somewhat dazed them, but l1e could not take them all within its scope. The result was that a shifting to the slightest shadow was the instant signal for the venomous dart of myriad lithe, rubbery coils. Bob kicked out-then he got out his revolver. He waited his chance, and he fired at an advancing head not a foot distant. Bang! bang I t"{O other fanged men, aces went writhing to the floor. Bob kept it up-panting, glaring des perately. At the door Roxy was pounding, shout, ing. "Help! Let us out! We are surrounded by snakes! The key is in the door.', There was no response. "Bob!" she erred, faintly, "they are not in there. 1 The Downeys ?'' "No." "They must be.,, "Or they will not aid us. "It's getting critical." Bang! It was Bob Ferret's last shot. Roxy knew it-Roxy had counted. "Here, Bob." She had run back to her comrade in peril. It was to press into his hind her own weapon-an exquisite little model, fine as polished steel and costly ivory could make it-a gift from Nick Carter himself. Bob started in with a new fusillade. There was something terrible in thfll voiceless destruction he wrought.


CARTER WEEKLY. 23 The hollow echoes of the vivid reports alone pierced the clammy stillness of the vault. "It's little use," he muttered-,-"they are too many for us." "Oh, Bob!" shrieked Roxy. He had handed her the lantern when he took her weapon. It almost fell from her hand as she saw him topple now. Bob's foot had slipped on the reeking floor. He took a slide, straight into the wrestling, writhing nest of motion. In a frenzied way Roxy raised lantern and bundle to strike down the swaying l1eads darting up all about him. Then sl1e noticed a long-necked, gourd-shaped bottle reposing on a small shelf. Roxy seized it-the narrow neck afforded a good handle clutch. She it to hurl it, and the motion struck the floor over her head. A crash, a brittle crackle, a deluge fol lowed, and Roxy staggered. "Bob!" she cried, half-suffocated with the fumes of some dense fluid. "Bob!" she panted, blindly groping about. Her eyes began to clear-some one staggered against her. "Oh, Bob! it is you?" "Snrelv." ''Safe..:..not bitten?'' "No, but the air is weakening, poi soned. That bottle--" "I broke it." "The snakes-look! It must be some chemical that the old gipsy used to subdue them.'' It looked that way-comparatively inert, there was only a flat, slowly sinu ous mass now where vital activity had been formerly manifested. The chemical that had affected the ser pents, however, threatened as well to ov&power the two human refugees in vault. "Do something, Bob!" gasped Roxy. "We can't force that door behino us." afraid not." "Let us find another one, then." ''Over -those?'' shivered Roxy, shrinking from stepping over the floor littered with the snakes. "Got to." "Rttn quick, Bob. Ugh! It feels like death!" They got clear of the mass. The lan tern guided the:m along two windings jn the fetid cellar. "Here we are," announced Bob. "It's time," murmured Roxy-"my head's spJ.itting." "Help nie," directed Bob. They had come too an opening in the stone wall filled in with boards. Both massed their strength-:-there was a creak and the timbers toppled slowly outward. "Air!" murmured Bob, with a fervent gasp, creeping out. "Starlight!" voiced "And danger! Hide what you've got." "No, fight for it!" Both had seen two forms deploy from some near shrubbery as if to cover any attempt at an escaping rush. ''It's those fellows,'' spoke Roxy. "The Downeys, yes," answered Bob. "They've been waiting for us--" "It looks so." "Hey, you!" Roxy had grabbed up a stick that lay at her feet and backed to the side of the house. Bob clubbed his revolver. Not six feet away was Downey the elder, and beyond him stood his son. Both had pistols, and tbey held them ready for any emergency. It was the father who had uttered the sharp challenge. "Well, what do you parleyed Bob. "Roxy !" he whispered in the same breath, "get away with the plunder." "At all hazards?" ''Sure.'' "That's my part?'' "Don't I say so!" "We want what you've got, you thief!" roared old Downey. "I'm no thief," answered Bob. "You've cabbaged our fee." "For stealing a girl?" '' You've got a lot of other stuff belong ing to some one else." "We'll give it to its rightful owner." "No, you won't-you'll_ give it to me!" Old Downey made a spring forward at Bob.


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. Whack!. Dauntless Roxy, giioirig between the two, made a fearful cut with the stick in 4er hand. It must have laid the ruffian's cheek bare to the bone, for he uttered a frightful yell. "Done your snare, leave them to me now-you cut for it!" ordered Bob. Roxy sped away. ;, Bob stooped to grab up a stone. Chuck Downey improved the opportu 't!ity. -He made a -lunge aqd a kick, and Bob went over. His father, snarling out his rage and pain, was to spring npon Bob and wreck his spite fully. "He's knocked out," piped Chuck. ''Don't you see-he hasn't got de boodle." .'Hasn't?, de girl has." "Where's she?" "See her running?" "Like a deer!" "After her! I saw de package in her hand.,, "Oh, we must get it!" "You bet we'll get it!" "I bet you won't!" Bob voiced the dissent more stanch in spirit than in frame. Chuck's big fist had missed him, but Chuck's big foot had come like a horse's hoof aside of his head. Besides that, the dir.zying effects of the chemical let loose in the vault still lin gered. Bob swayed as he ran all the same. The moonlight was bright enough to guide him as to the movements of every living character taking part in a wild dash and a wilder pursuit. Roxy had a good lead, but the Downeys were hot on her trail. Bringing up the rear, Bob, unarmed, felt that he was at a decided disadvan tage, but his presence might count if the determined ruffians succeeded in running Roxy down. Bob did not fear this-for Roxy was quick as a flash-on a free field, but, traversing unfamiliar territory, she was already in trouble. She had come to what Bob at a tance guessed to be a sheer cliff, cuttin down to the river. For a minute Roxy paused. glanced back, and she put north like a streak. All kinds of threats pursued her, bt1t she did not heed them. Even a shot fired had no power to un.:. steady or dismay her. The ground was rising, and with some uncertainty and anxiety Bob noticed that the ascending stretch seemed narrow ing. The Downeys never turned to notice him-they were ardent only on the ttc:;h prize they were resolved should not e cape their clutches. Suddenly Bob, twenty yards to the rear, caught a hilarious shout from the elder Downey's lips. "She's good as caught I" he-cried. Roxy han come to where a ra.ilinged platform spanned a narrow gully. Beyond was a level plateau with a small frame building on it. "Is dat so?" called back Chuck, in thej lead. "Sure.,, "Why?" "Rock stops short-that's the StaA Signal Company's shed." ''What's dat ?" "And there are the new signal rocket they,re introducing. Close in on her, foll she can't escape us.,, Roxy was hemmed in. She knew it, and had halted with fifty feet of nothin ness facing her. Bob saw it, too, and got ready for the struggle of his life. He noticed the shed, and he under stood from Downe y ,s hurried words th the signals alluded to were some marine fireworks. He comprehended their magnitude as he observed one of them slanting again t the shed. It was an enormous rocket. There was another one resting agai a sort of framework where Roxy ha halted. "Now then, girl!" voiced father, jubilantly. "We've got yer !"cried Chuck himsel'f "You haven't I" flared Roxy. I' 11


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. beat yon, 1'11 disappoint you, if 1 jump over tnto the river!" "You '11 drown if you do. "I don't care-l'll baffie you!" "Dad, lookat her." Bob, running close on their heels, ]ppked also. Roxy seemed to be tying the package of banknotes around the rocket stick, or rather scantling, directly beside her. The Downeys had about thirty feet to yet run ere they reached her. Bob read Roxy's purpose somewhat tiiarvelingly. She was in desperate straits, and she resolved to prevent her,pursuers from securing the package of money at all hazards. Snap-flare! 1I :Roxy had lit a match. "Shoot at her!" Chuck Downey -"don't you see she's going to send de stuff 11p wid de rocket!" :Flash-splutter! Roxy could scar

28 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. book covetousness of the Downeys, father and son. What had becomeof Roxy, none of the terrifically excited trio now left on the scene of action could discern. Slre had dropped below range of the cliff level. Bob had no oppelrtttnity to see past it, and the Downeys were engrossed only in watching the destination of the old gipsy's package marked "two hundred thousand dollars.'' It had fallen from the rocket stick much farther out from the cliff tban had Roxy and the parachute. I "Dere I" piped Ch!Jck, boiling over with excitement. "I see it-landed!" cried his father. "On de oder side of de river., "Get !11 "Follow me !11 Bob saw what the two plotters sawBob was in action as quickly as they. It was now simply a question of getting down to the river shore and swimming the stream. "First come first served!" muttered Bob. doughtily. "But-Roxy l My brain's on fire with worry and wonder about her.'' Had she made a landing in safety-Bob did not know, He could only hope. He instantly set at werk to scan the surest prospects for getting below. At any point nearer than the platform crossed gully, anything but a sheer fatal drop seemed an impossibility. Here there was some slant to the ravine side. Bob ran back swiftly toward this. Twenty feet accomp1ished, for the first moment the Downeys discovered his proximity. "Dere's de oder one l11 shouted Chuck. "Sure it is!" bawled his father. "Hets it." 1 "Seen what?" "He' s after it!" "After what?" "De boodle, and dere -he goes diving!, It was not a dive-it was a drop, a fall, a tumble. A precipitated, erratic progress, and it was anything to reach the river shore below with Bob Ferret now I Shaken up and bruised, he staggered over rocks and dead brush choking up the opening of the gully. Bob';; first glance was down the shore. His heart sank-no Roxy. He shifted his vision across stream. Lying in plain view on the opposite shore where it bad fallen, was the paper package. Bob looked back, as one sliding rustle and crackling plunge among dead branches was followed by a second. "We're hot after him!" panted Chuck's tones. "Waiow I I'm ripped all up the back 111 howled his precious sire. "Get your gun in action-1'11 attend to him.'' "He's plunged in!'.' Splash l Bob took to the water without further delay. He kept his eye on the package-the prize at the winning pole. He struck out like the expert swimmer that he was, and redoubled his exertions as there was an echo to his progress. A backward glance showed Chuck puffing in his wake, but makinJ{ a swift record, a natural water rat. Bob got to shore not six feet in advance of him. He made his dripping feet fairly fly toward the package. As he neared it he stooped and shot a calculating look back between his out spread limbs. Bob seized the package. It was the one the old gypsy had taken from his strong chest. The faded but heavy tracing looked up into his face-" two hundred thousand dollars." "A big stake to play for," ran through his thoughts'-" he's got a revolver!" Grab! Bob performed half a dozen clever gymnastic evolutions in as many seconds. His grab was a double one-with one set of fingers he clutched the package, with another a round, heavy flat stone. He arose erect, but through a sideways sl3:nt, and he whirled on one heel as on a pivot.


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 17 His bowlder-equipped arm up and came down timed to a second. Smash I It was his only weapon, that flat, round missile, and.Bob used it for all that it was worth. It came down on the astonished and unprepared Chuck Downey's head, stop ping his headlong course like a stone wall. He went flat, doubling struck on his face and lay perfectly motionless. chuck had drawn his the minute he emerged from the water. Bob had caught its gJeam as he looked back when stooping. As Chuck was knocked prostrate, the weapon was hurled from his hand in among tlte bushes lining the shore. Bob tucked the package of money in the breast of his coat. Then he looked across the. river. To his surprtse the elder Downey was nowhere in sight. Bob fancied he saw him vagueiy J;!loving about though some bushes back O:f the shore, but he was not certain. Chuck seemed laid out helpless. Bob started a for tl1e pistol. He was still searching, when an angry, fervent yell reached his ears. "You-varmint!" Downey, shaking one fist clinched, the other waving his revolver, was madly shouting across the river. Bob ventured to appear in view, but ready for a dive back to safe shelter at any indication of target practice. "Meaning me?" he sang out. "Oh, you-you.:...._(Jetective I" That word encompassed all the scorn and obloquy it was possible for Downey to express. "Don't like detectives, do you?" railed Bob. "Oh I you're funny, ain't you? You-'ve killed my boy I" "Maybe-he deserved it." "You've got that property of ours." "It's nrine; now." Bob was willing to waste time "chinping,'' for he kept scanning the shore in llopes of discovering some trace of Roxy. Downey kept prancing about in frantic rage and chagrin. The sight of his vigorous young son and ally laid out helpless, a realization of the fact that Bob had secured the coveted money him with the desperatioD. ;'You give that up I" he bellowed-do you hear? instantly 1" ''Yon keep that pistol of yours straight up or straight down," directed Bob, "or you can't talk with me." To Bob's intense amazement, Downey flung the pistol twenty feet. away from him. ''I don't need a pistol ;to deal with you I" he hissed. "You haven't killed him I" he shouted, as Chuck moved and struggled to a confused sitting posture. "Well for you I Well for you I Now, then, you stand there, yon wait a minute.'' "Will I? What for?" "Till I show you somethin g that will dazzle your eyes. '' Bob was very much puzzled. The abandoned revolver indicated strong confidence in some powerful serve influence of bringing him to time. Downey's last words, threatening yet half exultant, were t:nigmatica11y omin ous. "You sit still, do you hear?" observed Bob, as Chuck shifted his position and glanced bewilderedly athim. The young rowdy put his hand to his head with a wry grimace as if he was too rattled and battered to do much of anything else. Bob provided himself with a thick stick to be prepared if Chuck. should at tempt to di!K>bey him. Then he fixed his eyes on the opposite shore. Out from the bushes into he had just dived so animatedly, into ''iew came the elder Downey again He was not alone, and he .staggered under a human burden. Across his shoulder he carried an inert form. With it he came to a halt at the river brink, dropped his burden to the sand, proppt:d it against his knee: He forced up and threw back a white, set face. ''Roxy !" gasped Bob with a thrill.


28 "How's that?" came a sharp, vicious hail from Downey's lips. There was malice, vengefulness, mur derous intonation in the mocking accents. Bob cou}(l only theorize that Roxy's parachute descent had ended in a fall. Downey had discovered her, and the turn lffairs had taken, disastrous to his expectations, had suggested a way to play Bob a Roland for his Olher. Bob had Chuck for a hostage-Chuck's father was able to give tit-for-tat. "Do you hear me? how's that I" again snapped out the crime-hardened old ruffian. Bob tried to pull himself together to some semblance of his usual nerviness. "Oh, it's a girl?" he spoke with affected li_ghtness. "A girl, is she?" ha-ha 'd the villain yes, and just as much Elsie Deane as you are a jew peddler. She's Nick Car ter's girl detective, and you are Nick Carter's boy detective, I reckon we'll soon come to terms now, my young and festive friend I" "Well?" 1'0r I'll make you squirm." Bob was silent. "Hear mel" sl1outed Downey. "Go ahead." "Hear me, quick! act quick I No trifling, not a second, or you'll see the sight of your life. Chuck, get up. I've got work for you." Bob did not demur as Chuck struggled to an erect position. He saw that a curdling climax in1pended, and tried to surmise what would be the limit of its possibilities. "Now then, you, II called out Downey to Bob, blatant and blustering, "hand over that package of money to my son. "Suppose I don't?" "Eh I what I Suppose you don't_?" fairly roared Downey. "Yes, suppose I don't?" "I'll show you I" From his bosom the burly old ruffian whipped out a bright-bladed knife in a flash. "Sharp as a razor," he blared. "Look I" He made a clip at a weed stalk. Bob's nerves crept as it took off the stout wiry head of the plant as if passing through putty. ''Look again I" Downey set the edge of the knife!! straight down across the white throat of Nick Carter's unconscious g'irl detective. "Sure as living, quick as lightning,,, hissed Ddwney-"speak smart, act brisk -ten seconds-give up that two hutidted thousand dollars, orI'll cut this girl's throat before your very eyes I" CHAPTER XI. 11N. Bob Ferret felt paralyzed. '' One-two-thtee-four-five !" Downey was counting the vital second's away. "He'll do it-give in 1" Chuck in an intense tone. Bob's head was whirling. It was not a .question of saving Roxy's life-that was too precious to considet, were the wealth of a kingdom in the balance. It was the thought of being baffled, beaten, forced for the first time in his brilliant detective career, to compromise with criminals at the end of a welf .. fought, hard won case. "Six-seven-eigh -nine-ten!" "I'll do it!" Bob shot out the words in a shrill, hurried call. He was just in time-a vicious, certain glide of the knife across Roxy's snowy throat was barelv hindered. "Pass that m'oney package over to m1 son I" Bob obeyed. "Chnck, swim over here." Chuck stowed the package in hiSI clothing and crossed the stream. "I'm a man of my word," spolre Downey, dropping Roxy, unharmed to the ground. "You've blocked us, mad us trouble. You'd be safer out of fh way, but-1 guess we've got downed." "Dad it's marked two hundred tho sand dollars!" jubilated Chuck. The hurried down the shor< They turned out of view.


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 29 lips were set in a of grim ness. "They've got me! he muttered, "but not so 8afe, my friends, maybe, as you t}tink I" .Bob swam over and forgot all about them his solicitude for the brave, reliable little helper who lay white and stili on the shining sand. He soon saw that Roxy was not in a serious condition. He set at work to revive her-carrying water from the river to drench her face, holding to her lips a vial containing a volatile solution he always carried for just such exigencies. Time was precious-half an hour had brought no results except a faint fluttering of the lips, but Bob felt that his duty at Roxy's side. 11 Jr:Finally her eyes opened. It only needed f-9.r Roxy to guess that she bad been idle wlien activity counted most, to instantly spur up every energy, "Bob!" she fluttered, trying to rally memory. "You fainted, Roxy." "I never famt!'' "Don't you?" "I was stunned-a slip from the para'chute as it struck a tree. Bob, these "You are hurt--" "Never mind me!, "But--" r1 "Do you hear me!" and Roxy actually stamped her foot with impatience. men, I say?" "Got away." "And the money packager" "With them." "You never let them get it, Bob Ferret!" "Roxy, I had to." As Bob narrated his recent experience, Nick Carter's girl detective tried to look as if his compromise had been a violation of the most sacred ethics of detective out her heart warmed at his "Lost time, Bob," she commented tersely. "Make up for it." "Come on." "Those feiiows have gone somewherethe old house, the giant oak, the Punch and Judy wagon." In turn the two young detectives visited these three points. As they neared the spot where Vasa had indulged in Bob's "loaded" cigar, Roxy halted his leading progress by grasping his arm. "I see them," she said, simply. ''Yes, there they are. '' "And Vasa too." "They've roused him up." "I thought the drugged cigar would keep him quiet till midnight?" "It would, if he left quiet-just as you'd be dreaming now, Roxy, if I hadn't worked over you.'' "Bob, what are we going to do?" in quired Roxy, peering anxiously. "I guess we can't do much of anything," responded Bob. "Those men are armed, we are not. They are getting ready for a break. Listen, watch-something may turn up to favor us." Upon a tree stump stood a lantern. About it grouped the -two Downeys and Vasa. The latter looked like a man suddenly aroused from sleep, but he was listening intently to Chuck Downey, who was speaktng. "Dere it is,l' said the young buily, producing the package from the old gypsy's box-" see? marked 'two hundred thousand dollars.' "It is-it's a rich haul!" gloated Vasa. "We'll divide." "I guess so! seeing dat but for me you get a wink at it," vaunted Chuck. "We'll divide, and den I advise you to put. Nick Carter's trusties may stop to rest a bit, but never quit a trail entire. It's thirds. See?" "Yes! yes!'' palpitated theeagerVasa. "Here we are!" Chuck broke the stout cord encircling the package. Upon the tree stump fell as many as twenty parcels, neatly done up in paper likewise. 'Ten thousand'-'twenty thousand' -one thousand'-'two thousand'," read Chuck, scanning the various indorse ments. He juggled the packages rapidly, toss ing them into three heaps. "Dat's near enough," he said. "I'Il


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. take dis ing.'' ler me extra <'lu.ckthose two-Carter's Eacb one g.rabbe.d up his p.orlion like a bungry dog seizing a bone. Vasa opened the eJl.d of one of the packages. ''Say t'' he began. He hurriedly tore off tlte oovering entire. Then he uttered .a }'ell "What's got y.ou ?" queried Chuck ''If they're all like t:bisl"-panted Vasa .and tore open .a :second package. F oo 1 eii he screamed, .ripping a third-"duped 1 cheated l" W 11;! wbat'.s ;he .a bou1: ?" de mandt:d the elder Downey, wonderingly. Vasa, .dropping, ilie packages madly. bills--" H Money., a3 n 't dey?" piped Chmck. "Yes." J.'Den--" 's.Ccmf.ederate P' "What's dat ?" 1'' .Bob Fe.rret g.ave .a start-Roxy peered all ber eyes. A wild scene ensued. The two Dllar fee slip through our fingers-that we eanaed. u "Never thought of jt_" muttered Chuck. "There were precious stones--" "I saw them." murlDure.d Downey, "but who'd think of trifles with nigh Oll to .a quarter of .a mjJlion jn real cash staring you in the face?'' ''In waste paper 1'' "We couldn't gness that." "Somebody'.s got tbe ten thousand-the jewels 1,' cried Vasa. sleuthhounds.'' HWhere are they ?H so1" cried Chnck, with a of animation. "We know. Is it a ilem, dad?" it-Ior your life!" .s'houted Vasa. 'Tbe three f.e11ows dasl1ed away 1 eager phantoms. Bob waited till they .were past and hearing, and ran over to wl1era four botses were tethered. He untied two of them. '"'Vou can ride, .R<>xy r' he said. saw meat the be.ginn1ng oi affair,'' smiled the flower girt "'We"1l end the case with a horse dasl1 observed Bob. '"'"For wbere ?'" ''Safety for those gems. them 1'' "And I the ten-tbousand-dollar The orphan seminaTy girl won't fare badfy, afte;r_all." "If the two hundred th011sand did turn out worthless Coufeder money," murmured Ro:xy. ''The old gypsy have accnn lated that years ago," sugaested B "H d ., e tne to explain. It's a scar.cber those three fellows!" Early the next morning, V.asa, d certed, glum-faced, hunting ior his missing horses, fou&d them .at the tav .stable of the neares tQWlt. As he stood inqu.i.rimg .of the h how they came there, a p.r-ompt fig stepped inw view. "I brought them," spoke Bob PeT He waS no hmgec the J peddler, but Vasa recognized him us frightful scowl. "l"'Ve sent t() N Carter witb those jewels th-at thot1sand dolhtrst" continued Bob. "1 earned that g Vasa. "And forfeited it by scberning to tbe Test of the plnn-der in s1_ght," put Bob qnickly. "J-nst prese-nt yotrr dai Mr. Carter if yon think a '"Hd aflvised Bob. Vasa's rep1y was a shiver. "I ain't worrying for t'he


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. ry l" be "Drat it alJ t-l've de a pickle of what was a square spec. xt time, I won't operate where there's y Nick Carter, or any Nick Carter tective schoolt" ;'Vasa made qnick tracks out of the dis ct, it and the Downeys, father d son, vanished quite as completely, Bob did not run across a trace of them e rest G.f that day. He bad to remain until late in the after o n arraJllging for the disposal of the kes a:nd ftnnishings at the o.Jd gypsy's ent home. Its late occupant Bah saw decently ried, and he felt, as he locked the door f the old llermitage, as if he was turning be key on one of the most mysterious aunts he had ever penetrated. When Bob reach.ed Nick Carter's home bat evening, he found that the veteran etective bad smoothed out all the strag ing ends of fhe case with his nsnal omptness. Elsie Deane had been returned to the. only borne she knew-the New Haven girl's seminary from where she had been decoyed. Ro:xy was hu boling over with satisfaction as Boo met her. "When I think of bow happy that girl has been made-how many unknown we may have helped her eScape.," exclaimed tbe dever little novice, "l'm dreadfully glad the.1e's such a thing as Nick Carter's t'letective school!" "That's right,,, nodded Bob, what would the school be without Nick Car girl detective!" [THE END.) The next number of the Nick Carter Weekly will contain Man From Texas; or, Bob Ferret and Jack Burton in Double Harness," by the author of "Nick Carter."


32 NICK CARTEl!. WEEKLY. Nick Carter .. The earlier Is.ues or Nick Carter Weekly, are now on l!&le In tbe form of Quarterlies, eacb Including 13 consecutive Issues or Ibis favorite weekly, together with the 13 origlual Illuminated Illustra tions. and an HOTOGRA 1 nv will hQ e-tnt on rerPipt of ten cent.R. STREET & SMITH, 25 Rose street, New Yor lllallual Library Department). W R E S TLING . History tells us that wrestling was the llrst form of aUtl pasUme. Wit.bou&:doubt, ltgivesstrength and firmnese, combi with quickuesa and pllu.hilttyJ to the limbs, vigor to the coolness and discrimination to the bead and elasticity to t.Ue per, the whole formmg an energetic combination of the grea power to be fon11d In man. 'rhe book is entitled MuLDOON"B Wamnr.I>

. . '. . . . : i .. . I i


' Nick Weekly Thirty=two Pages. Price 5 Cents Illuminated Cover THE BEST LIBRAR Y OF DETE CTIVE ST ORIES. Back Numbers alw ays on hand. Price, po s t paid, Fi v e cents each. I HUIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIHt 22--Trim in Mexico; or, Breaking up a 8ecret &>-48Nick Ca1'te1' Newsboy ciety. Jlystef1-. 23-Trim m the Crescent City; or, A Break in the 49 -Nick Vartct's Hot Pursut or, On the Trao of an E ped Convict. 24--Trim's Run of Luck; or, A Case Concluded 50-Nick Carter's Ytungest Det tive; or, Ahen\l of Time. ing on H s Own Case. 25-Trim's Vomblnati t u Case; or, Two Clients At\er 51-Nick Garter's Edition. the Same Man. 52-Wmking m the Dark; or, .A.' Novice 'J6.:..-Trim on the Road; or, A Leave of Absence Lends a Helping Hand. that Tun1ed out QQid. 53-A Hitlden Clue; or, Toe Mystery r the B 27-Tnm in Kansas City; or, The DeteCJ,ive's Sack. t periment iu &Moud Shrht. 64-A Young Detective's Air Route; o The Gre1 28--Nick Carter '1'1-ack; 01'1 Bow He Became Hiudoo Mystery. r A Long Road tltat !tlllfno bli-Nick Carter's Missing iDetective; of, .A. Wart 1'nting by T.e,lepbone &o/lers Railroad .. 56-:\ick Car-ter s Girl Detective; or, What Bec8Jll "!' of the Growu 3lrTrim's Electric M&ehine; or, -Man Who 5'1-Doue With a The M r.y of tl ', ,Had Charge of the Oltice Painted At m ' Carter at the Iron Pier; 01'1 The Body Found in the I:Joat. 58The Unseen Eye; or; e Girf Detective 33r-Trim Tnlns l'1:0fessor and 'feaches a jLeBBon to 59_A Fire, or, hat Done \ a Queer Pup1l. .. Wheel tlte :Magnet 35-1'1 im's St.oCJk Exchange CasC!i;' Qr, The Man Who 60-The Electric Girl; or, Fiiures on the Tc .,dnswertJtl the Advertisement. Balloon. 36-l\ic.K Carter in a. Tight Place; or, a Haul 6L.:_l\ick Carter's Junior Fotce; or, The Man Wi' Mf!.khrg Four Arms. 37-Nick' 'arter does hi& Best; or, a Fortnne in 62-The Tii1 FQII Clue; ur, Told by the Phon the llace. graph. 38-Trim U.e Footlights; or, the Hold Up 63-!liick Carter s St1on i!st Team; or, The Gla 11t the Casino. FaiCe of a Coffin. 1 Nick l;arteF'f! Rands;or, A Fool an


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