A hidden clue; or, The mystery of the black sack

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A hidden clue; or, The mystery of the black sack

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A hidden clue; or, The mystery of the black sack
Series Title:
Nick Carter weekly
Carter, Nicholas
Place of Publication:
New York
Street & Smith
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1 online resource (32 p.) 25 cm.: ;


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


Original Version:
Volume 1, Number 53

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Source Institution:
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.
Resource Identifier:
030707301 ( ALEPH )
17902293 ( OCLC )
C36-00019 ( USFLDC DOI )
c36.19 ( USFLDC Handle )

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NieK eARTER WEEKLY. E11teut according to Act of Congress in the yew 1897 by Steet d! Smith, in the Ojftce of the Libra1ian of Congress TVashiHgton, D. C. E11teretl as second class Matter at the Y01 k. N r Post Office. lss11ed H'CPI:ly. pice. $2 50 per year. Jamtewy 1, 1898. No 53 STREET & NEW YORK. 29 Rose St. N Y. 5 Cents A HIDDEN CLUE; OR, T1'1e 1Vys-t:ery o:f the B1a.ok Sa.ok. By the Author of "NICK C ARTER., CHAPTER I. THE BLACK SACK. Crick-crack. Plunge! What's this?, "Grab him!, "Stand back!" Like pistol shots, sharp, rapid noises and words blended into a cyclonic sort of a jumble. A ceiling had given way-that of a rickety room in a rickety house in the su bnrbs of Chicago. A f or m lurking among the rafters above had come down, amid a trail of broken laths and pelting plaster-Bob Ferret Nick Carter's apt pupil and bright particular juvenil e detective star. Two men had started up from a table where, heads together in whispered con verse, they had be11t ov e r a s111all black sack. 1'hose t wo m e n, fnrtive, mysterious fellows, Bob Ferret had t r aile d from Chicago two hours previous, had shadowed here, although they were on horseback, had crept up into that attic, and h ad waited. The two men were also waiting for somebody, for something. Both had final] y arrived. The "somebody, wa s a m a n envelope d in a long cloak, a n d f ace well co n cealed by heavy fa l se beard and pulled-down slouch hat. The "something" now rested o n the tablea small black sack. There had been a low-toned confab that Bob had not caught, but w hich, from sinister signs and expressive glances, he knew apper tained to tha t mysterious sack, or rather its contents. It was the starting-point in a new case an affair where, that afternoon Nick Carter had told Bob to follow a certain party. Losing tha t party, Bob had do n e the next best thing in detective science kept o n the track of the only p ersons who h ad spoken to the man, and who had l ed him to this d.:sola t e, out-of-the way place. Bob fel t tltat he h ad made no m i sta ke in doing this, for the man who had brought the parcel in the black sack, he was certain, was, disguised, the mau he los t track of a few hours previou s It was in trying to get out o f tJte attic and <1fter this indi"idual once more, in pe ering through a break in the c eiling and trying to gness what was in the sack, that Bob h ad s lipped between the two rafters. Then he plunged, comiug d ow n squarely ou the t abl e splitting i ts lid off with a cras h, l a n d iu g o n t he floor with a slam,


2 NICK CAH'l'ER WEEKLY. and driving back the two startled men so that one of them went sheer heels oyer head in his chair, while the other never stopped till he bumped against the partition. Bob was quick in thought, quick in action. He knew what to do, and he did it promptly. The two men speedily recovered them selves. They made a dash toward him with those explosive ejaculations: ""What's this?" "Grab him!" Then thev were halted, forced back once more, defeated in their purpose of seizing Bob, for, with a menace they dared not boldly face, Bob had shot out that ringing mandate. "Stand back!" It was inforcecl by a whirl that made their heads spin. When the section of ceiling tumbled, an old gas pipe bracket had fallen with it. Threatening jabs, cuts, knocks, this, poised deftly above Bob's l1ead, went swinging round and round, sawing the air with an onlinous whistling sonnd, doing more to momelltarily confnse and unnerve the two cowering fellows than half a dozen revolvers. Window, door-Bob flashed a look at both. A vacant square gained through an old .abandoned truck garden-his ,mind's eye took this in calculatingly. Whiz-slam! Bob let his missile weapon drive. The men dodged and crouched. Bob made for the door in a bound. "Confusion!" ''He's got it!" The two men started up like suddenly aroused wildcats robbed of prey. Bob had made a swoop with his nimble arm as he neared the door. It was to grab np the mysterious sack, which had been kt1ocked fro111 the table when h e descended, and h ad rolled some feet away from it. There was something peculiarly sinister in that sharp "it!" which one of the men had pronounced-there was an un canny feeling as to weight ancl rotundity of the object in the sack, aud Bob's fingers tingled as he swung it up from the floor. Then he was through the door in a flash, and then in a fhlsh he clee'iclerl on a method of escape that had not occurred to him before. The two horses wl1ich the men had ridden from the city stood browsing by the side of the house. Bob's eye flashed as he formed a design. He n1ade a straight rnn for the nearest steed. Like an athlete he took a flying leap that landed him in the saddle; like a cen taur he sat nerved to a time record dash if the horse could make it. Through the neglige belt he wore Bob looped the of the black sack, with one hand grabbed up the bri(lle lines, with the other reached over and gave the second horse a sounding slap on the flank that started it up. "Go!" voiced Bob into the qnivering ears of the steed he was astride of. "He's a good one!" came instantly following from/Bob's surprised lips. He observed one of the two men spring into view througb the doorway. At once the man saw what Bob had accomplished-saw one horse stmtJng np like a tl10roughbred, the other breaking into a frightened run. Like an Indian runner, he hunched his form at a cliving angle, making straight for a point the loose horse must soon eros;;;. Bob watched the man lift in ihe air. He must have been a rare expert in horsemanship, for he struck the saddle with both feet, and slid as gracefully down into it as if fitted there. Bob knew a race was on. As an urchin he had gloried in riding all tl1e circus trick mules that came along-when Nick Carter once took him 011 a long jaunt among the mountaineers of N 01 th Carolina, he had learned how to treat a horse right, which meant getting its best work out of it every time. He whispered a coaxing word in the horse's ear, anrl he gripped the reins in a way that told the intelligent steed that it was about to be callecl on to do its best. "Up!" The horse s h o t forward like an arrow sent from a taut string, straight across the garden. Bob took a backward g l ance. The man on the other horse was losing time turn it. r I


NICK GARTE R WEBKL):. 3 "If he don't shoot," muttered Bob I'll hit the road a hundred paces ahead of him. Pshaw!" Just in time Bob kickecl free from stirrups and saddle, just in time h e gaye his supple form a jerk that carried him into a heap of weeds With a frightened neigh the horse's hoofs struck some hollow sonnding boards. Then, fighting desperately to right itself, its front hoofs went beating and battering across bending, splitting timbers, through which its hind feet had already sank. With a crash the top of some hoardcovered, abandoned well or cistern let in, and Bob knew that to delay was to waste time. He cut across toward the road on foot, holding the dangling sack :steady. Crashing behind him came his pursuer. Bob dodged, the horse curvetted magnificently. Bob clucked too late! A leather loop came shooting at him. The man on horseback must have had cleft westem training at some time i 11 his experience, for he had mac1e a sliding slip-knot at the end of a long hitching strap. It whirled out. With a jerk Bob was landed so close in front of the prancing steed that the ani mal reared. The horseman was thrown from the saddle. With a frightened snort the horse jumped forward, and Bob went flat. sec.ond he fancied it his fate to be dragged to his death, or kjd::ecl to death by the flying hoofs of tl1e maclcletied horse. The strap was some eight feet loug. Its other end was attached to tl1e bit ring, held by a stout buckle. As the horse took what was left of an old fence, the strap gave a jerk that brought Bob to his feet. On the other side he came, soles flat and firm on the smooth roadway. "vVhoa!" Aswell call to the wind! Bob saw that on a quivering, f1asl1ing second of action depended his life itself. He managed to jerk one hand free from the strap encircling his waist. Then his feet fairly flew For twenty yards, perhaps, he kept side by side with the h orse, timed his next m ove, risked all upon it; sprang at t h e horses' head, grabbed a li ne, clung to it; brush ed and bounded by neck and breast of the animal gave oue dexterous swing, and c i rc l ed aloft. With a shock aud a quiver Bob landed in the sadd l e He fairly fell there, he dropped across the animal's neck to steady himself and grabbed the reins with fingers steeled by desperation and resolve. He dared not look back, it might dis tort his delicate equilibrium-besides, he felt there was no need, he hac1 certainly outdistanced immediate pursuit. He did not try to check the mad, flying dash of the mettlerl horse-only one hand was free yet. Bob lay along the arched quivering neck of the animal, sank his teeth across a thick strand of hair, dropped the reius, gropped at his waist, slipped the buckle of the strap, and sat up with a ringing, exultant cry of relief and satisfaction. He felt it to be the hairbreadth exploit of his career in rapidity, in perils grouped within a space of sixty seconds. "The city-Nick Carter," pronounced Bob, "and-the sack!" Was it safe? Yes. It swuug in and out at his belt. "Wonder whflt is in it?" soliloquized Bob, one hand holding reins firmly, oue hand sliding over the silky outside of the sack. Round? almost! indented here, cnrv ing there-a queer something, but an im portant something, Bob ktJew that, for too great pains had been directed toward de livering it up under mysterious and careful circumstatJces to have it prove a trifle. ''Never!" Bob shot out the word in a gasp that shook his whole frame. His gropiug fingers suddenly left the sack's outlines as if it was red hot. Iu the light of an uncanny conviction, a frightful certainty, he shrank and shivered t ill he nearlv fell off the saddle of the speeding horse: "Incredible-impossible!" cried the startled Bob Ferret, "bu t i t's a head, a human head!"


4 NICK CAUTER WEF.KLY. CHAPTER II. A Q U E E R C L U E. Bob Ferret curdl ed. 'rhe uncanny conviction that the black sack helci a human head nearly took his breath away. His detective experience, while brief, had been varied, but nothing so awesome as the present adventure had ever come w i th i n his professio n al grasp before. "It is certainly a head in that black sack," declared Bob "Ugh! It makes me crawl." The situation was one decidedly "'Frenchy"i t opened up all kinds of avenues of sinister, intricate, tragic thought, ye t Bob was not captivated. A mystery fascinated hi1n-a case where grit, patience and intelligence were put to a severe test brought out his best abilities, bnt anything approximating the horrible had few charms for hi111. "I don't like running into a thing like this," h e told himself, "but, it's busi. ness. Nick Carter must take up the affair from this point on-it's too grewsome, too unnatural for me." Bob rather shied away from his aweinspiring burden after this. Then the shock of first discove ry l essened in force, and he became intent on environment and pnrposes once 111ore. It was well that he did so, it was well that he took a backward glance. "Hello!" ejacnlated Bob, and the color came back to his cheek anrl he nerved up instantly. The ceaseless, sharp echoing hoof taps of his owt1 madly-rushing horse had clrowned out those of a pursuer. That pnr suer Bob now saw. In so;ne way the fellow unhorsed back in the garden, where Bob had been lassoed, had got the abandoned animal ont of the pit it had fallen into. Mounted upon it, bent nearly double as he urged 1t on with voice and hand stroke, he was shooting along on Bob's trail like a meteor. Bob made s u re that the b lack sack was safe from getting l oose from his belt. He unbuckled the hitching s trap from the bit, doubled it, and prepared to give his pursuer the race of his life. The steed that Bob rode was one that pauper and prince alike might covet. At the touch of the strap, rapid as was its gait already, it seemed to acquire new wings of fleetness. The houses of the suburb faded behind,. the lights of the city flickered ahead there and there o n ly would Bob be safe, and he kept straight forward, even when diverging thoroughfares offered the seclusion of trees, bushes and cornfields. Not a sou l was passed for a mile. The second one occasional pedestric.ns were met with. They stared vaguely at the two flying horsemen. The red signal lanterns of a railroad crossing finally showed, two squares ahead. Beyond that a regular gas-lit street opened to view. Bob's horse was in a lather of foam, but as those steady, un falteriug hoof strokes to the rear sounded nearer and nearer, Bob urged his steed al1ead without cessation. "Up to me!" Bob palpitated, and crouched forward a little. He could feel a sweep of hot breath could hear the panting of the pursuing horse. rrhen, nose to nose, it shot up even with Bob's steed, and eye to eye, still sweeping ahead, Bob faced his pursuer. "Give it up!" gasped the man. "I'll let you off, whoever you are, but give it up!" "Guess yon will!" Bob veerecl his horse and struck the other a smart blow that made it shy. "Stop! Take care! Look ahead!" Look ahead, indeed! Bob thrilled magically, but he dared uot stop. His pur suer was manetnring to keep safely apace with him, yet get near enough to grab the black sack. A bell was ringing at the station tower of the near railroad crossing. The gates that guarded the tracks were down-a train went whirling by, a speeding flash of dust and smoke. Bob saw his danger. He drew tight on the reins, but there was a sharp descent of the roadway here. It had been sprinkled late in the afternoon, and across the smooth, slippery cedar blocks Bob's horse went sliding. The other horse slipped also, then stumbled. Both going at a tremendous


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 5 rate .of speed, it plunged forward and came up slap against the one Bob rode. Quick eyed Bob foresaw a catastrophe. His pursuer was already hurled half-way out of the saddle, both horses were going down. As both feet of Bob's hors e were knocked from under, the gates were reached. They were just rising. Bob saw his opportunity. He lifted in the stinups, kicked free, and grabbed at one of the ascending wooden arms as horses and pursuer reeled across the railroad tracks a hurtling, mixed-up mass. The arm of the rail ga te bent, bnt it was rod-girded. Holding firml y, Bob went u p, perpendicular. Stationary aloft, the glare of the lantern hooked right at his s i de outlined him like a forlorn figure in a play under the red-slide cp.lc,ium glow. The black sack? safe-the man below? on his feet, staggering-the horses? snorting, plunging, trembling in eYery li Ill b "Come down!" The gleam of a weapon caught Bob's eye. He formulated a dodge, a slirie "Throw it down!" "No." "Then-blocked! drat the lt1ck !" A switchman or flagman must have seen the ascent of Bob and the menace of the weapon An iron bar in his hand, he came running up to the spot, shouting loudly. Three or four other men answered the summons. Bob slipped to the ground. Back road he had come one horse was clashing free, the other with its baffled rider was also speeding. Bob faced the curious group of railroad men with a smile. "Only a tough man who was bound to rob me," he vouchsafed in explanation. "\Ve'l1 watch that he don't come back," spoke a sturdy voice "Street car across the tracks-put, if you're nervous, you ngster." Bob avai led himself of the offer promptly. The11 th e quick whizzing of the electri.:: wheel, as the car started up, lulled all further fears to sleep. He handled his grueso m e bundle very gingerly as half an h our later he entered the rotunda of the Palmer House where Nick Carter was stopping. wonder that Bob was excited ::.nd fluttering as he ascended to the suite oc cupied by the great New York detec ti ve. He had come back from a s1x hours' shadow with results likel y to open up the mysteries of q most startling ca se He knocked at a door, and entered without further ceremony the sitting-room of the suite. -Nick Carter was not in view. Jack Burton, another of his young pupils, was, however, and Bob questioned him eagerly. "Where is Mr. Carter, Jack?" ''Gone on so me business, Bob,'' came the r eply "For long?" 'He was af railil so.'' "What do you call 'long?' "He said he might be away till tomorrow night." Bob dropped the black sack to the floor at his side as h e sank to a chair disappointedly. Jack knew from the face and manner of his co llea g u e that Bob was worried. "Bothered, Bob?" he insinuated. "I should say so!" "On the new case?" "Yes. Look here, Jack; I've got to talk it out, and you're one of us. .Mr. Carter being away is like having the cartridge to a pistol missing when you want to shoot. Still, something has got to be clone, and at once. I'm afraid it's a vital necessitv." "If l -ean help yo n, Bob--" "Hardly." "I'm a good listener." "Well, here's the case in a nutshell. A man claiming to be Richard J effrey, a retired capitalist, ca -me to consult Nick Carter to-day.'' "Yes, I saw him," nodded Jack. "He said that a young man named Foster had written him threatening letters, had sworn he would take his life, h ad even tri ed it once or twice, because th ey were both suitors for the hand of the same young lady." "I heard about that." "He acted so queer, Nick Carter got suspicio us. He didn't seem to want this Foster watched, he didn't want to hire


6 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. som e one to guard himself froiu harm. H e simply seemed to be dreadfully anxious to imp re s s upon Ni c k Carter the fact that he would be found mmderec1 some time. If he was, in the interesus of ju sti ce he wished Nick to remember his warning, and arrest young Foster. "As soon as Jeffrey left here, Mr. Carter sent me di r e ct to s hadow him. He told me there was solllething q u eer ahout the affai r a nd he wanted me to find out what. "J followed Jeffre y This afternoon he m e t two f ellows in a park. They h ad a great confab. When they separated, somehow in a rush of bicycle racers, Jeffr ey gave me the slip. I did the next best thing t o following him." "Put after the others?" ''Yes.'' .. "And ran them down?" "To a lonely house in a near subnrb. There, an hour ago, a man came with a black sack. He was disgnised, but I am positive it was Jeffrey I accidentally fell through a ceiling. I grabbed up that black sa ck. Through qnite a round of adventures I've got it here safely "Is that it?" qnestioned Jack, interest edly glancing at the object on the floor by th' e side of Bob's chair. "Yes." "What's in it?" "That's the trouble," said Bob, an anxious look coming into his eyes. "I can handle cases of counterfeiting, swind ling, ordinary crimes, but when it comes to murder--" "Eh !" projected J ack, with a jump. "Yes, this i s a mnrder c ase "How do you k now?" "That black sack contains a head." "What!" "A human h ead "The dicke n s!" Bob lifted the sack to place it on the table-to try and get braced up for the unwilling' task of examining it more clo s ely. Somehow, hi s keen adventnres of the night and the presence of his peculiarly gruesome acqnisition unnerved him. The sack slipped from his unsteady fingers. It came open Out rolled the he ad Bob shrank and J ack shive red. The1.1 Bob stared and .lack goggled. "\Vhy--" began the latter. "The deuce!" mutte red Bob F erre t, astounded, startled, disbelievi n g and crestfallen all at once-"it's India rnb-her CHAPTER III. A ''PIPING HOT'' CASE. The head was Ind i a rubber-one gla nce s howed that, clear ly, unmistakably. As it roll ed to a dark corner, Bob co uld make out all the outlines of a face. clearcut, but undistinguishable until it ca m e to a stop and was brouglit up to the light. He looked and he felt a trifle chagrined. Jack Bmton seemed wrestling with an inclination to langh ontright. "Funny! he commented. "It means something, all the same!" flared Bob, always tJettled where ridicule threatened. ''Tell me a man wonld stealthily carry that head way out into the country, its new possessors figH like frantic fanatics for its recovery, for mere sport!" ''Does it resemble any one?" "It must. 'iVe'll find out--" Tap-tap. About to seize and more clo sely examine the rubber head, Bob instead has ten ed to the door at the quick sound of a rap. "It may be Mr. Carter," he began "who? what! help!'' The minute Bob opened the door a man rushed at him. He vaguely thought of his p ursuer of the night, as he caught a darkling g l eam of inte11sely savage eyes Nothing further of an inspection was vouchsafed Bob, however. The man shot out a hand-smasllsnap-and Bob, blinded, choked, COI) vulsed, went whirling around the apartment tearing at his throat for breath and utterance The newcomer, the instant Bob s ho wed his fac e, hao thrown an ingen iously devised sort of a bag over his head that mapped close about the neck. Bob could not release it. Staggering, choking, h e saw s tars, and felt his head spin with dizziness. Then some o n e released the metal catches the bag. Bob panted once or twi ce, and looked ques t ion ingly at his r escuer Jack.


.. NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 7 The l atte r was nursing a swollen jaw, and looked som e wh a t dazed "The m an?'' projected Bob "Knocked me galley-west, and disappeared like a s hadow." "Tl1e h ead?" The rubber he ad was gone-black sack and a ll. Bob ran out into the hotel corridor, down the stairs, s t oppped several persons with rapid inquiries, go t 110 sat i sfactiou, retnrnecl to the detective's room r eal izing that he had lost time tracing the despoil er's escape by means of the grand s t ai r case, when h e h ad probably fled down some one of the numerous pr ivate street sta irways . ''What do you say now?'' he demanded of Jack. "Aboutwhat?" "That head. It must b e a bold m an and a direful necessity th2 1 t nerves him up t o ma ke an ons l a u ght like tha t, direc t on Nick Carter's headquarters." "Bob, it does seem impor t ant," ad mitted J ack. "Now, what does this all mean?'' Bob go t his rattled wits and hi s di sor dered attire back into so me kind of coh e rent shape. Then he sat down to ponder and calcu l a t e and plan, and Jack, knowing hi s moods, did not disturb him. "I can't let this thing grow cold," ob served Bob, finally. "By the time I ca n consult Nick Carter, every c lu e to these fellows and their m yste riou s head would be covered up.'' "Don't see what y ou can do," SCJid J ac k "I can go up to the hou se where this J effrey lives and make a n ew start from there, if nothing better," declared Flo b. "Oh, say h old on Your rubber h ead and the s w elled head that rou gh. fell o w gave m e m ade me for get," interrupted Jack, as Bob started for the door. "Forget what?" "Mr. Carter left a l etter." "W. h y clidn 't yo u say so before?" "You didn't g ive m e a chance t o ge t to it. He sa i d it was about this J effrey ca se.'' "Ah!" "Instructions, I s uppose." "Glorious old Nick C arter!" cried B ob, quite del i ghtedly. "I thought he wouldn't go away indefinitely and )eave me to wade around in a ll kinds of com plica ti ons, without some saving clause in reach Bob eagerly took a letter that J ac k ten dere d him. "Rober t Ferret, Esq. "-that was quite con seq u en ti al! H e r a ther li kt:d Nick's way of maki11g a fell ow have a good opinion of himself when he deserved it, and c o n fidently counted on finding in the missive some instructions that wo uld clear 11p some of the uncertainty of the Jeffr ey c ase "Pshaw!" Bob's face fell as he tore off the inclos ing envelope. I nside was a second envelope, clos e ly secured In a b o ld hand a cro ss its centre was the direction: "Sealed Orders." In one corner, in smaller handwriting, were these words : "To be opened only if Richard Jeffrey attempts to leave the United Sta tes. Bob wa s n ever s o disappointed in his life. More than that, th e vaguen ess of the inscription aro u sed the m ost vivid curios ity, excitement and surprise. "No definite instructiotJS as t o the present, no hint as to what I am to do, how to proceed, the m otives of those I am t o watch. H ere!s a riddle on m y hands and no mistake!" Bob pocketed th e letter with a woefully di ssatisfied sigh. Then he brightened up at the suggest io n of an invariabie broad prin cip l e in detec tive s ci e nce. "Nick Carter never makes a bad break or a false move," he reflected "He knows wh a t he is doing when h e g ives m e t1wse 'sealed orders.' I'll strike out an ind epe nd ent course till I see him to morrow night." B ob had decided to proceed to th e resi dence of the mv s teriou s Richard ] effrey the man who was so afraid b e going to be murde r e d, yet who carried inexpli cabl e rubbe r heads to lonely out-of-thewa y places, to despera t a f e llows with fac es like assassins and methods like bri g ands. H e took a ca r on State street, and as it


8 NICK CARTER WEEJCLY. was prett y full crowded np into a corner of the r ear platform. Eob w a s very thoughtful. He was sure to find out something about this Richard J effrey b y v isiting the vicinity of his re s idence, but all this su perficia 1 in vestigation took him far afielcl from that f ascinating element of the case-the rubbe r head As an artificial head it had f a r more attractiveness for Bob than when he had supposed it to be a real head. Carrying around a real head to hide, to destroy, was a thing that mig h t reasonably happen, but what in the w orld was Richard Jeffrey doing with a rubbe r on e and what \'ita ] value attache d to it tha t his evident accomplices in some secret sc h eme risked arres t. committed burglary t o recover it? "Tha t f ellow who cl1as e d me on the horse is a quick one and a clever one," refl ec t ed Boh. "He mus t have got around those railroad tracks and on m y trail alm os t at o nce aft e r I crossed them. Here! what you d oi n g? Don' t crowd!" A man had squeezed so cl ose up to Bob that he had very nearl y trodden o n his toes. He was a big fell o w, with his back t o Bob, his coat collar ilrawn well up around his f ace, and as n o one was coming in or out o f the c a r, Bob saw no excuse for his actions. The man growle d out something tha t might be take n for an apology, and edged away a trifle Then Bob saw his band go up in a queer way, and, always watchfnl of any p eculiar action, whether it concerned himself or not saw that he had m ade a motion of recognition or some more sinister importance to the driver of a cab directly b ehind the car. B e fore Bob could resume his r eflections, the big m a n squee zed close against him again, pretended to steady himself by clutching a t the wire gate, guarding pas s e nger s from falling on the next tracks, and Bob heard something click. Too l ate to save h e sa w that the man's demonstrations were intentionally h ostile and directed against himself. He had sl ipped the locking catch o1 the wire gate. It gave, carrie d Bob off his balance and jangled across the next tracks, B o b right on top of it. So timed was the tu111ble tha t gate and Bob were deposited directly in fr ont of a car comin g at full speed. Bob saw its headlight g lare directly o n him. H e scr ambled, but a loo se p iece of 'Vir e ca u ght his coat. Barig! the fende r came c ra shing. Bob felt himself lifted as the wire gate was forced up. The m o vement t ore his coat loose. Not a moment too soon he sprang clear of the track, f o r the next instant the gate was pounced on b y the wheels tha t had at first tilted it and was ground back under f e n d ers and wheels. Bob's head struck a cobblestone. F o r a second h e was H e w a s conscious that s on1e one supporte d him, forced hi 111 away from a crowd o f white curious faces Sla m "Ho l d on!" shoute d Bob. He was i n a carriage, the carriage that h ad followed tl1e stree t car. 'Th e m a n who h ad j ostled him on the pl atform sa t beside him-Bob could t e ll h i 111 from the overcoat. H e was jus t slamming up the carriage windows as the vehicle started up smartly, with the w o rd s : "Boy's a fri end of mine-I'll see him safely home." ''Stop!'' Bob s t arte d up. back. The n he Bob's wrist. The m a n presse d him got a grip like iron on "No n se," he ad vised effectua l I y checking Bob's efforts to reach the door ancl spring ont. "See h e r e!" flared Bob. "Who are you? Oh! I know, I see." Bob did know and Bob dicl see-eves and mind ope n ed wider tha n they had ) ,et done since three o'clock in the afternoon of that eventful day. His companion or cap t o r, as the case might be, was the man whom Nick Cart e r had orde r e d l1im to follow, who had delivered the blac k to the two fellows at the suburban h o nse, who had tried to pus h him under the wheel s of the cable car. Recognizing him as one and the same


' NICK CAR'rER WEEKLY. 9 and all of these individuals, Bob involuntarily murmured his name: "Mr. Richard Jeffrey!" CHAPTER IV. IN DEADLY PERIL. Bob realized instantly the fix he was in. The man who had recovered the black sack had instantly sought out his em ployer, and that individual, on guard near the Palmer House, had followed Bob when he left it, pJ.:epare d to drive him off the trail. Bob had need to look only once at Jeffrey's face to trace in its hard lines the uiost uncompromising determination. For some purpose not yet demonstrated Jeffrey had come to Nick Carter, not anticipating that his own actions would be scanned. Bob's appropriation of the black sack had warned Jeffrey that he was dealing with people not easy to delude. Now he had Bob in his power, and Bob guessed that it was to no pleasant boulevard drive he was being taken. "You did that pretty cleverly," said Bob. "Did scowled the man by his side "Tried to kill me-cared so kindly for my mangled remains! What's your game, anyway." "Boy!" hissed Jeffrey, "you know too much!" "Nick Carte r knows more, perhaps." Jeffrey started as if stung. Then his face got back to its old "Nick Carter is out of the wav for twenty-four hours-I've learned th-at," he muttered. "About that rubber head--" began Bob, and paused. From the drivers seat came a whistle, and all of a sudden the vehicle stopped. It did so with a slam of doors. Bob sat breathless. The transition to intense darkness fairly startled him. J eff rey had let go of his wrist. Bob l1eard him moving away. Then he seemed to get out of the carriage, for the open door slammed violently to again. Bob about to scramble for that same door, paused as a light illuminated the scene. Horses and carriage were in a large stone-paved room Part of a house, a building, a cellar or a s table, it was the qu ee rest compartment he had ever seen. The driver still sat on his seat. Jeffrey had lowered one of the carriage sashes. Standing just outside of it, he fixed a full look on Bob "There's no such thing as getting you to take a thousand dollars, going up to the pineries for a month or two, and for getting -your detective duties, I suppose?" he queried sharply. ''I should say not.'' ''Go ahead.'' Jeffrey spoke to the driver. The latter apparently uttered some demur which Bob did not catch. "It's the only way-do we stand aside for so small a thing as a boy!'' fiercely demanded Jeffrey. "\Vhat's coming?" Bob read murder in R1chard Jeffrey's cruel He was suspensefully im pressed with the nameless menace accom panying his words and actions. A snap and a jar enlightened Bob. Operated by some mechanism from under the driver's seat, the floor of the carriage fell out, and was jerked one side. Through the emptiness thus afforded Bob slid. His hands struck the coping of a round iron hole, directly above which the vehi cl e had been halted. Lower he went, to grip and grab, to halt at a mere finger clutch, with his arms nearly jerked from their sockets. "The monsters!" Bob heard an iron cover clanged back into place, the wheels of the carriage moving, and then one last ominous heartchilling sound-the rush of the noisy, noxious waters of some deep sewer be neath him. The summary movements of this Richard Jeffrey appalled him. Why, the man was a fiend! He did not wait to argue-he simply swept obstacles from his path as he would brush aside a fly. Bob reached up one hand. It touched the bottom of the iron cover to the shaft. He had stayed his descent by most fortu n_ately catching at some underpinning s1de braces that sustained the cover. He worked his shoulders up, he got a


10 NICK CARTER WEEl{LY. good pressure leverage and g_av e a vJgor ous pu sh. The cover wa s shifted. Bob crawled out on the stone floor of the place. He replaced the cover. Then he sat down to let his strained nerves relax from the terrible tension of the previous few mo ments. Bob saw a chink of light and pressed u p close against the broad doors that guarded the street entrance t o this placeevidently the washing room of some great company stable s He fingered around for a knob or catch. He l ocated a fastening at l ast, a hasp and stapl e Just abou t to start the door sliding, a voice outside halted him. ''Ten twenty-seven, you s ay, next building." "That's it. Building locked u p f o r th e night, but you'll find the janitor at the door. He's fixed. Our friend is waiting for you in th e empty room." "All r ightyou know the pro-gramme?'' "Like a book! We won't drop a stitch, on our part.'' Bob waited He kne w that it was J effre y and the driver of the carriage that h ad brought him hither who were con v e rsJng He heard wheel s move away, and then footsteps down the stone pavement; gave the door a littl e slide, stuck out one eye and saw that he wa s at the court back of a block facing on Dearborn street. At the rear o f the ne x t buil di n g s tood Jeff rey. He had just shaken its locked do o r. Sc,m e one came. There was a parley, J eff r ey disappearerl. There was the sound of a door locking, and Bob stepped out from covert. It seemed good to breathe the open air again, to r ea li ze that he had escape d death in a hideous form, tha t the insti g a t o r of the attempt was in room ten twenty-seven of the building opposite to which Bob took up an immediate posi tion. One-two-up to ten Bob connted the stories of windows. One light showed only in the great sky-scraper. "Tenth floor," murmured Bob. "Am I daunted? Not till I strike the next s nag. Mr. Richard Jeffrey you've shown your colors-I've a personal interest in running you down now.'' Bob scanned the narrow c ourt. A few people only were visible a t its f a r end. He cros s ed the stree t and made a l ea p. It was to catch at the e xtending end of the water pipe that formed one edge of the fire escape. Bob w ent up the lad de r like a native born sailor, once starte d He got up to story ten and halted the r e -Four windows to the left," he mur mured in dismay. "I'm blocked. He trjed the window looking upon the fire escape. It was locked on the inside and an office door locked beyond it. The appearanc e of a stray police officer below warned Bob to get out of sight. It was one more story to the roof. He reached it and reflect e d seriously what was best next to do. Bob's eyes snapped calculatingly as he approached the rear edge of the building and looked down. There was that lighted window twenty feet be l ow, and here at hand, running over a slantin g plank, was a rope with a large iron bucket at its end. Bob saw that the gravel roof w a s under going repairs, and rope and bucket, em ployed to hoist supplies, had been drawn up here for safe storage trntil the next day. He loosened the rope where it was wound around a flag staff He paid it out slowly. He let the bucket get just below the edge of a line even with the windows of story ten. It swung about two feet from the win dow where the light was. "Dare I venture?" cogitated Bob. "It seems the only wa y to get a into that room.'' Bob made fast and secure the rope around th e flags taff Then slowly and cautiously he began to descend it toward the bucket. "Why! it's snng as a sailor's hammock," he commented, nestling down into the bu cket. Bob put out a hand a nd caught at an awning hook at the side of the nearest window. Gently pulling forward he took a pe e p through the iower pane. The room was devoid of furniture, l


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 11 having evidently been chosen as a safe rendezvous because it was untenanted like the building at t!ight, save for the janitor, who was frienoly to the plotters. Two men -.;.,ere in the apartment, and both of them Bob instantly recognized. Jeffrey, the man who had just tried to kill him, and the fellow who had stolen the rubber head from Nick Carter's suite oJ rooms at the Palmer House. There was a marble-topped steam register in the middle of 1he room Upon this rested an outfit that the engrossed Bob at once tried to fit together like pieces of a Chinese puzzle. There was the rubber head-once more in the black sack. Beside it lay a knife, or rather stiletto, with a fancy carved handle. Next came a hat, shoes, coat, vest-in fact, a complete suit of clothing. Bob stared, and wondered, and theorized. Then, knowing that a single over-heard word might furnish the key to the entire situation, be held close, not only to the awning hook, but to the window sill as well, and fairly glued his ear to the pane. "The mine is ready to fire!" This Bob heard vaguely in the tones of Richard Jeffrey. "Yes, by to-morrow night-ha! Look!" Bob's eye whipped into vigilance at the sharp outcry. "Oh, confound it!" he ejaculated 111 dismay. He had been seen. The bobbing gravel pail had attracted the attention of the two men in the room, and they had rushed toward the window. If Bob had not just then shown his face in the full glare of the light, he might have have feigned to be a workman about some night duties with the roofing. Up went tbe window with a jar. Ont protruded two startled faces. "The bov who stole the rubber head!" cried the m-an nearest. "Has he the lives of a cat! I just dropped him--" "No, that's the didn't drop him!" ::-"Then I will now Bob was for instantly skimming up the rope. Jeffrey quick as lightning in re sources, prevented him. He ran back into the room. Back he came with his cane. Reaching it over, he swept its crooked end across the rope four feet above the iron bracket. Dragging it toward the windolw so that the bucket tilted dangerously, he spoke rapidly to his companion. "Hold it." "Good! What are you up to?" The speaker held to the rope and looked back into the room to watch Jeffrey's movements. The latter whipped out a great horn handleo knife and opened a razor-edged blade. He fairly sprang back to the window, leaned past his comrade, and gave half a dozen vicious cuts at the strained cable. Snip-snap-creak !-the rope parted Boom! Way down below, with a sickening shock, dull and distant though it was, tile bucket landed on the hard stone pavement. "Say, he hasn't!" ejaculated Jeffrey's compamon. "Hasn't what?" ''Spilled!'' The two heartless plotters had followed the course of the descending bucket with a rapt, eager gaze. Jeffrey's eyes had been fixed only npon the rope When he cut it he supposed the boy to be shrinking into its capacious depths, appalled at his certain Now as the murderous twam looked down, they saw a battered, rattling bucket strike the pav{'ment and rebound to the cobble stones of the street, but no form spilled out. ((See here-" began Jeffrey, and looked up. He was just in time to see the dangling rope quiver as a form left it. ((Too nimble for them that time!" uttered the breathless Bob, ((but-ugh! l just slipped it!" The next minute his lips set grimly. ((They've seen me!" Yes, and were after him. At the window was stationed Jeffrey's companio n and at a trap door le tting out on the roof there came a clatter a minut e l a t er.


12 NI C K CART E R WEEKLY. A shot would e nd Bob-he was s ur e o f this if he p aid out the r o pe and tri e d to descend it. On tlie other hand, what did remaining on the roof promise? The surrounding buildin g s were highe r than the one where he wa s "It's dark enough np her e he muttered, "and the gravel, tar pails, sheathing, lumber are no good to hide behind, but-I'll do just that!" "J nst that" wa s quite an in spiration. Bob ran to the flagstaff. He caught its two dangling pu1ley ropes and went up fast as an expert steeple climber. The trap swung open. 'fhen, alwa y s cautious it seemed, Richard Jeffrey be gan to peer around. He had a revolver in his hand-he poked behind this object on the roof with his foot, and peere d under that. "Why, he isn't here!" Bob relievedly heard him ejaculate. Jeffre y went to the edge of the roof and looked down at the rope dangling there. Bob hugged close to his aerial perch. He felicitated himself that Jeffrey would decide he had in some deft w a y escaped from the roof-he was sure of it, as Jeffrey moved back toward the trap. At that moment a strange a thrilling thing occurred. Half a mile to the east was the signal service tower on top of the great Auditorium bnilding. From its apex, which cleaves the sky like a giant obelisk, there suddenly shot ont a piercing glare. "Oh, my," fluttered Bob. He knew what was due-storm signals had been t e l egraphed from Washingto n, and the Chicago operator was abont to flash intelligence of the same thirty miles out on the lake, as far to distant suburbs South swept the magnificent focus of the gi ant searchlight. West it veered-up, down, up-the three understood manipulations were waved afar. A momentary rest -poor Bob! Square ly npon him, for the sp a ce of a full minute a forlorn figure clinging to that flagstaff abo v e the city's roar and din, the focu sedrays fell with the brilliancy of a lime -light ten feet distant. "Aha! That word w as hi s d oo m. Bob felt it as it broke from J effrey's startled lip s "Come down!" he called up sharply. ''No.'' "Once!" No reply "Twice!" Bob's lips se t firm. He would die game! "Three time s Bang! CHAP'fER V. AGAINST FEARFUL ODDS. "It's murder!" "Vvhy, h e s good as dead." "You s a y so?" "I know so. See here, mate-orders is orders. We'Pe paid for a system. "By J e ffre y?" "Exactly." "It was the girl first. We've got the girl. Next, two nights a g o they bring a boy. His wound is nothing, a mere scratch, but they've doped him till he's nigh gone. I came in to shake him an hour ago; dumb as a nutshell." "Here's the bag." "Weighted?" ''Of conrse. '' Bob Ferret, experiencing the first con scious moment he had known tor seventytwo hours, lay like some person in a horrible tra nce. He could not move or speak, or even see with clearnes s He was lifted. He felt himself stowed into what seemed to be a puffy, sagging receptacle of some time. It appearerl to be laced up. The n he lay still and ri g id. where was h e ? He soon knew from the conversation of the two men that they were sailors aboard some vessel jnst off Chicago _He s oon surmis ed, further, that when the searchlight g low had revealed him s o startlingly to J e ffr ey on the flag s taff on the roof, the latter had brought him down with a single shot, just as that bas e hearted mon ster would wing a bird. Bob felt qnite a pain in-the side of hi s head, and gu e s s ed that the bullet mu s t have stunned him, if nothing wor se. He had probabl y been sent here by Jeffrey, to some tnore of his numerous ad-


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 13 herents, had been doped, and now the o rd e r h a d gone out to "settle him." How? What was the bag he was in? B o b felt as if his limbs were chained, his t ongue crisped and dried to a cinder. But he could think, vividly-painfully cl e ar, but, oh! this dread paraly sis of his f aculties that made of menacing death a t ortnre undefinable! Suddenly Bob was lifted-he guessed out of some cabin in a ship to its deck. Then he wa s laid flat a g ain, and heavy l eaden weights clampe d on the deck boarc's. S omewhere there was an orifice in the covering tl1at incased him, for cool fresh air seemed to sweep into his lungs in a re\'iving rush. He felt his senses wake up. He stretched out both hands. He moved his ton g ue. "Stop!'' was what he fancied he shouted out, but if the sailors who had now lifted him again and were swinging him with a one, two, three movement noticed the utterance, it was only as a half-articulate murmur. "Let him go!" "Go it is!" Splash! Bob dizzied as he was swung through the air, and chille d as the shock of striking the wate r followed quickly. In surging volume this came 11pon him; b11t if the fresh air had re;vived, the cold, stimulating water electrified him. He knew he \\'as bei r1g dragged down by heavy weights, he r e alized that the quickest of moves only cou l d succor him. Into his pocket Bob's hand groped. His knife !-he had it. He coulcl not trust his trembling fing ers, but opened it with his teeth. Bob made a feeble sweep at his cover ing. It gave, and, encouraged, he exe cute d a sturdier lunge. It s lipped from him like a sliding coat of mail-he was free. He came up to the surface of the water. His head just grazed the keel of some large vessel. Bob was too weak to swim, but he drew himself a few feet along the rough, tarred seams, and made a desperate grab for an object just astern-the yawl of the ship. Intense darkness brooded. He trusted to that to aid him. Fairly falling into the bottom of the boat, Bob reached out hand and knife. A rope parted-the yawl fell free, and drifted away slowly landward. Bob lay inert for over an hom. A shock roused him, and he managed to sit up. "It's the government pier," he murmured. "Hello! hey-hello I" Thin and piping as his tones were, they attracted the attention of one of the fishermen who practically lived on the pi e r. He hooked the boat close, spliced 'the cut rope, secured it, and came down into the boat. "Why, what's this?" he stared, noting Bob's frightful condition. "Wounded, drugged, starved, I guess," murmured Bob. The fisherman lifted him in his great arms and carried him to where his rude lumber shantv stood. Fire to food to revive, a coarse but soft couch to rest on-Bob felt as if he was in paradise by contrast. Then he driherl into dreamland. He was surprised when he woke up to find how proper treatment had spurred up his disordered faculites. He was astonished as well to learn that it was three o'clock in the afternoon of the next day Another grand meal, primitive but ap petizi11g, a draught of som e subtle medicine the rugged fisherman had in stock, and Bob began to believe he was going to be his own bright, animated self very shortly The wound in his head was, indeed, a mere scratch. As the deadly effects of the powerful drug administered him b y J e ffrey passed away, the real cause of hi s recent weakness disappeared. Bob went through his pockets. His watch and the money he carried in out side receptacles were gone, but a secr e t pocket insicle his shirt still held its treas ured store-a reserve fund he always car ried for contingencies, and the "sealed orders" letter from Nick Carter. "There will be action soon on that, if I'm not mistaken," soliloquized Boh "That sconnclrel, Rjchard Jeffrey, is get ting ready fot some tremendous move.


14 NICK CATt'l'Elt WEEKL"'!. Seventy-two hours off the trail! Has it been sufficient to gi"ve him leisure to matnre l1is plans? Bob made the fisl1erman a liberal 111 on ey gift. The latter insisted on rowing him over the breakwater stretch of lake. Doh got on real terra-firma feeling so queer that, crossing the lake park, he sat clown ou a bench to rest and get his '1landlegs" in w0rking order once more. A newsboy ran by just at that moment. "Paper, mister?" he bawled. "Full account of the great Jeffre) murder!" "Eh? what!" started Bob. "Here, let me have one.'' H e gla-nced at the first colt1mn of the newspaper with its glaring headlines. Bob's face fell as l1e did so his eyes expressed the shock aucl wonclenneut of a s11dden a n d overwhelmiug surprise. Time to scan those sealed orclers uow of a surety! For R i 'chard Jeffrey had "left for an other land," of a verity! CHAPTER VI. N 0 'r '1' H E M A N "There's your dollar." '' .-\nd there's your face.'' "Bob Ferret looked iuto a mirror. ' l\ly own mother wouldn't know me,'' he 111 unl1tned, and tunll n g 1 eft the Olympia Theatre by its stage exit. What Bob had just done was to hire a theatrical artist to disguise that hand some, ingenuous face of his so that it would give him an entirely new ap pearance and stand the test of time. Bob walked briskly from the theatre till he came t o a auiet restaurant, ordered a meal, and sat do wn at a far corner table -not t o eat, however, but to think. It was nine o'clock in the evening, and it seemed to him as if in the six hours just passed he had lived as many day.s. The scanning of the newspaper he had purchased on the lake front had been the beginning of revelations and disclosures that had come with stunning force. Two nights previous, according to the paper, Ric hard Jeffrey, a respectable capitalist, had beeu stabbed to death at Lake Geneva, a few miles from Cl1icago, a n 1 his body thrown into the wate r. A viRitor to that summer resort had discovered it. Near by was a knife bear-ing the initials "W. F Sollie friends of the dead J effrey had come forward, identified the body, iden tii1ecl the knife as belonging to Walter Foster. The latter, they swore, was a rival of Jeffrey's in the affections of a certain young laCiy, l\liss Clara Dean, and he had often threatened to remove Jeffrey from h is path. A country coroner's jury passed on the case. They found that Richard Jeffrey had been done to death by Foster, and his bocty had been taken charge of by his frieucls. It now Jay at his residence, whence in the Jllorning it was to be shipped to the family vault in another State. Walter Foster was in jail, accused o murde r, and, according to popular preju dice, guilty of it. The young lady had fled from her home, u n clou litecll y anxious to evade being mixed up in so terrible a scandal. This was what Bob had read. It an nounced the end of the case he was worklug on. Death had overtaken Richard Jeffrey j n the midst of his schemes, the expected outcome of which would now never come t o light. Bob had proceeded t o tl1e Palmer House at once. To his disappointment, he found both Nick and Jack absent, and the clerk told Bob that they had left word they lllight be away out of the city for two days. Then Bob came out grand, as he always did when forceq back on his own resonrces. EYery minute, his frame growing strouger, his mind clearer, he began to change his opinion about the Jeffrey case being a dead issue S ome big scheme had. been nipped in the bud by the sudoen death of J effrey what? "I'm going to find out," declared Bob, and h e said it in a way that showed he was on his mettle. H e k uew by sight the two men w11o had manipulated the rubber head, the driver of t h e trap carriage-he woul d set at work to hunt down these 111eu. He had heard the two sailors who had


/ NICK CAR 'lER WEEKLY. 15 thrown him overboard talk about "hav ing the girl safe .'' Could this be the mis sing Mi!:>s Clara Dean? Further, Bob somehow did not believe W alter Foster guilty of Richard J effrey's murder. The knife that did the deed according to the papers, marvelously res embled the one Bob h ad seen in the room which he had looked into frolll the roofer's bucket the 11ight J effreydow ned him temporarily. "I'll take a look for all of these peo ple," planned Bob, "but first of all I ll go up and see the lay of the land around R i'Nlard J effrey' s residence. Some of his crowd-and he had a big one, land a nd water, waiting on his beck and nodmay be hanging around there." Bob felt that he would be at a disadvantage if he attempted this n ew shadow in his proper person. He was known to at l eas t three of Jeffrey's o l d associates. The resnlt wa s that Bob went t o a facial artist, as has been seen, and now as he sa t in the restaurant planningfor hi s ni ght's work, a glance a t a mirror made him entirely satisfied with his recent in vestment. One hour later Bob was in front of the house where Richard Jeffrey had made his home. It was closed up tight-a respectable dreariness showed in the mourning-draped door, drawn blinds and decent solitude of the place. Bob soon learned tha t after viewing the remains that a ft e rnoon friends had departed, l eav in g a solitary watcher, who cl aimed to be the only n :lative of J e ffrey in the city-a sor t of cousin. Bob, lurking about the place, made ont this person in a r ea r room, seated at a well supplied with liquors and c1gars. For nearly an hour Bob hung about the house, taking frequent through the side street window at the single watcher, guessing tha t he was wasting his time lingering here, yet somehow held to the spot by an he could neither analyze nor resist. ''Something's working!'' muttered Bob. "I can tell it by my feelings. What, I wonder-what's in the air that makes me feel as if I was waiting for something to break loose? Is that it?" A neat black wagon had driven into the rear yard of the place. Two men got out. One canied a bag in which tools jangled. Bob pressed close to the gate through which the vehicle had just passed, and a second later knew that the men were undertaker's assistants. "Funny movements this Jeffre y crowd are making," he h e ard one of them re mark. "How so?" "Stealing off and shipping the body at midnight, instead of in the morning, as announced," cam e the reply. "That's so-do see m in a hurry, for a fact," admitted the othflr. "The boss says he never ran such a fun eral. They 1 nsistecl on putting the body in the casket themselves, screwed clown a donble lid, and friends had to view the clear departed through two thicknesses of g l ass." "vVell, the bill's paid without a grum ble, so where's the difference? Orders to come to the rear door, box the casket and get it s hi pped There's a light. Come, l et's get through with our job One of the men 1-:nockecl at the rear door. The man inside came to it and admitted them. Bob noticed a ll hands take several drinks at the table. Then all three came out and crossed the yard. ''The box is in t he carri ag e house, e h ?"one of the undertaker's assistant's was say 1ng. "Yes," responded the watcher. As th e trio disappeared into the buildiug in question, Bob acted on a sudden impulse The overheard conversation of the two new arrivals set hun thinking-a moment of vivid thinking drove him to instant action. He glided through the open rear door of the house, ran through the lighted room and into the next one. On trestles stood a casket. Into it Bob peered. "It's Jeffrey," he murmured, gazing clown through the uncovered lid of t}Je casket. "It isn't!" Like a mighty torrent of emphatic conviction, a sudden, violent contradiction followed the first subdued statement.


16 NICK CAR'!'ER WEEKLY. Nick Carter was a man of wonderful powers of perception. This faculty he had transmitted to Bob, or rather cultivated and advanced it in him, for the qualification was latent in his pupil when he first encouraged Bob to join his detective school. Bob treasured all Nick's teachings, and never failed to give them a practical demonstration whenever opportunity pre sented. It was the most natural thing in the world, therefore, that in the few flashing glimpses he had obtained of Richard Jeffrey, he had not only fixed every feature on his mind, but had sought out distinguishing marks of personality. In the room in the sky-scraper Jeffrey had abandoned his false beard. Upon one cheek Bob had noticed a birthmark-not plain, but peculiar-a conical shaped blotch about the tint of a banana. He had noticed also at the tip of one ear a little dint made by the clip of a stone in boyhood, or the careless snip of a barber's scissors. These marks were present in Richard Jeffrey wl,en last seen in lif e by Bob They were not present in the man lying iu the casket. What to unobserving friends was not patent, to Bob Ferret, detective, was the page of an open hook. The man jn the casket was not Richard Jeffrey. CHAPTER VII. A CLOSE TRAIL. In a: twinkling Bob was out in the adjoining apartment again. Upon its tale lay the undertaker's tool bag. Bob snapped it open. Ont came its patent screw driver, and he was back at the casket in thirty seconds. "I'm going to find out!" fell deter minedly from Bob's lips. Whatever he guessed, Bob wasted no time in comment or speculation. He worked-the moments were vital, the three men might re-enter the house at any instant. The last screw came out. Bob carefully lifted the top cover of the casket. He peered close at the waxy-white face cushioned beneath. Across it be drew a finger, into it he pressed a fingeJ: ; under bead, chin and regulation kerchief and collar he probed a finger. "I said the case was ended!" spoke Bob Ferret, grimly. "I was mistaken. It has just begun!" Bob had made a marvelous discovery. The body in the casket was no body at all. It was a dummv. The face that looked up at him was not human. In fact, it was the famous mysterious rubber head. Bob knew everything now-knew it so surely, that he was not unnerved by even surprise. Back into place went the screws, back to the tool bag weut the screw driver, out through the open door sped Bob, and just evading the three men bringing in the shipping box, he glided out into the street. Within the space of minutes Bob had made the discovery of his life. "Up against a scheme that reads like a romance!'' he soliloquized. ''It's great!'' Like a person given the clue to a laby rinth, Bob could now penetrate the most secret motives of Jeffrey's peculiar maneuvres. The man had aimed to accomplish a fact-to figme as the murdered victim of Walter Foster. This would enable him to slip out of public view, take Miss Clara Dean with him, and a hated rival to face a charge that would prevent him frolll tracing the girl or the plot, possibly bringing Foster to the gallows. A wonderful rubber mask that, manip ulated with cosmetics, had under the double glass of the casket, deceived even friends; had so copied the face of Richard Jeffrey that but for Bob's shrewdness his death wonld never have been questioned. The Lake Geneva section of the plot, the murder inquest and all that, had been planned out before hand so that not a detail mi ssed connection. Bob theorized that Jeffrey's co11eagues bact constituted the jnry, usin g a pur chased dead body temporarily. The


... NICK CARTEH WE.EKLY. 17 dummy body had been put in the casket -everything timed to a second, had gone off like a well-mounted play. Bu t if Bob was amazed at all this, he did not l ose sight of a sure fact-the end was not yet! He felt positive that J effrey had some otber m o tiv e for disappearing n o t yet developed. H e saw tha t prompt, clever action only could prevent villain and girl from getting away beyond tbe r each of arrest and re scue Then the ((Sealed Orders"-Nick Car ter's mystic missive-to be opened only when J effrey sought to l eave the country. They t o ld something. What? Bob's fingers tingled to investigate tbat little inclosme l ying uext to his heart, but, time was not yet. Bob was hi ghly sa ti sfiecl with himself. H e took up a post of observation opposite the Jeffrey house, and awaited further developments. They came promptly. The light w ent c11t. All three m e n appeared, bearing the casket, now inc lo sed in a planed pine box-all three drove off togethc.:r. Bob saw hi s point-to foll ow them, with the idea of narrowing down the shadow to the watcher, finally, the alleged cousin of Richard J effrey About t o start up, he h alted. Jus t as the wagon whirled around the corner, Bob made out a n ew figure on the scene. A man crossed the road, s t ood a minute or two in front of the J eff rey house and then enter ed the grounds. He tried the rear door cautiously. Then h e knocked gelltl y He went to a window ancl tllppecl on it. Of course there was no respon se for there was now no one left in the house The man came to the front again finally, having gone round the house. "What's he up .to?" Bob questioned himself curiously. Then as he saw the n ewcomer take a lette r from his pocket and finge r and glance at it in a meditative way, Bob's eyes snapped with interes t. ((He's got a Jetter," decided Bob, ((for some one he expected to find in the house. Who? The watcher, o f c o urse. Who from? Probably Richard Jeffrey. He's a persistent fellow-he's making his rounds again." Front door, s ide window, library en trance-tappin g, prying, the latest arrival seemecl bent on arousing some one in the hou se "I'm going to get that letter!" mut tered Bob. H e managed to get down the stree t unobserved, and past the lurker's range of vi sio n. A short cut brought Bob to the re a r yard of the place. The carriage house stood open. Bob entered, closing it after _him. Some one had lived there at some recent time, for he ascended stairs to a sleeping a partm e n t. At its window Bob posted himself-he opened it, drew back in the shadow, and ju s t as the m a n ronncled the kitchen corner of the house indulged in an audibl e, prolonged: ((Ah-h !" "Hello!" startled the man, turning quick and facing the source of the noise. He made out the open window of the c arriage house. This seeming to give him the idea tl1at the person he sought mi ght be there instead of in the house proper, he rapidly cr ossed the yard. Up came a handful of grayeJ. Then the man whistled, low, but peculiarly. Then he called out: "I say! I s any one up there?" Bob came to the" window. He had ruffied up his h ai r, and swayed into sight like a person half-asleep. ((Who's there?" he demanded, dreamily. "Say! that you?" called up the man below. "That who?" inquired Bob, acting as if he did not care much whether he found out or not, and de ftly feeling his way. "Why-I was-that is-I don't know -but I've got a message." "Who from?" asked Bob, pressing his point. ''From-ahem Come clown here and I'll tell you." Bob decided he might venture a bold fling. .Judging from the man's conversation, the l atter did not know, except b y dirP.t;a tion, the pers on he had come to see


18 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. That person, undmtbtedly the watcher, the alleged cousi n of Richard Jeffrey, might return speedily. Bob took sq u arely by the horns a vague dilemma, descended the stairs and confronted the late Yisitor. The latter looked him over in some surprise, but he said nothing. He did not expect to meet a boy, that was apparent. "Now, look here, 11 called Bob, in a snappy tone, ''what are you disturbing a fell ow at this time of the night felT?" "I was senf." "By J effrey, 11 guessed Bob. "Well, don't shout it to the world!" ejaculatecf his companion, with a nervous stare around. "You are the watcherJ effrey's cousin?' "Just came out of the house." "I exp.:c t ed to find you in the house." "Afraid of ghosts-even rubber ones!" remarked Bob. .This put him on an excellent confiden tial footing with the newcomer. ''I see," no dded the latter. "Well, I've go t a letter for yo u.'' "Give it here." Bob t ook a tendered missive. He tore open the envelope By the ligllt of a near street lamp he made out a few hasty 1 ines. "It to hurry things and come up north right away," repeated Bob. "That's it. Dro p everything here, for everythings all right. I'm to say yo u ) ll come?'' Bob was in a quandary He had yet to find out where "up north" was. Instantly, throug h accident, however, the man who had blindly accepted him as the rightful owner of the note gave him his cue. "As soon as the body's shipFed yot1 mqst start, he remarked. "Why, the body's shipped," spoke Bob, quickly. "That so?" "An hour ago "Then what's t o keep you here?" "Nothing. "And what's the matter with our going back together?'' "None in the world." "Come ahead." Bob chuckled secretly. He f elt himself ... in rare luck-the messenger had come direct from Richard Jeffrey, he was about to lead Bob direct back to Richard Jeffrey His compani o n start ed briskly down the street, and then as they came in sight of a distant depot tower, glanced at its illuminated clock face an"d broke into a run. "Six minutes," remarked. "To catch the train," ventured Bob "Yes." Bob regretted all this urgency, bnt he had t o accept it. He w ould have liked to have had time to drop a line to Nick Carter-to prepare for what greeted him at Richard Jeffrey's new hiding place . When they boarded the train Bob ob served that his companion paid the fare to Waukegan. "Forty miles from the city," solilo quized Bob. "What's he saying? stop at the crossing this side? Well, I'm running right into the covey. Wo.nder what it will result in?" Bob had an hour or more in which to think out his pla n s for immediate future procedure. The conductor finally came through the car and touched his companion, who was silent and drowsy, on th e shoulder. "We slow up at the crossing in two minutes," he said. "All right!" "Be ready to get off quick-no regulati on stop, you know.'' Bob's companion went out to the platform. He \got to th e step on one side of the car, anCI Bob on the other. As the train slowed up, while the man's back was to him and he was absQrbed in getting ready to alight safely, Bob dropped off the step into a sandy gutter running along the side of the track, crept to woods, and stationed himself there on the watch. His late companion, alighting a hundred f ee t beyond, stood staring vaguely aronnd after the disappearing train. The n he looked all about him, seemed to make up his mind that Bob had failed to alight, an

NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 1 9 Bob started after him. He had clone a really clever thing. He hacl probably got the man to lead him within a very short distance of Jeffre(s hiding place, and without in the least exciting his suspicions had given him the slip, and was now shadowing him down to close quarters. The man stalked ahead, and Bob kept him in good range. He came out finally past the edge of the sand bluff, descended beyond its fringe of trees and shrubs, and made direct for a lake, the clear waters of which gleamed some three hundred yards away. The expanse was so level, so unbroken, without a spear of grass, a rock, to mark its even continuity, that Bob was com pelled to call a sharp halt on himself. "Say! suppose he's making for the heach? And a boat!" ejaculated Bob suddenly. ''No, I see his destination. Good! Mr. Richard Jeffrey, I'm close to you once more!" Running from the beach was a small fishing pier. At its shore end was a boat house. lt was flat and small, yet somewhat pretentious, as if it had been used at some time or other as the club house of an amateur rowing organization. Bob saw a light in this, and he saw the man approach it, enter and disappear. For a few minutes Bob speculated. Then his impulsive and adventuroas spirit drove him into action. He crossed the stretch of sand on a line with the side of the boat house that had no doors or windows. Nearing the place, Bob found that he was in a position that would require considerable dodging, possibly a square run back to cover if anybody come out of the house, and the latter was inaccessible. Bob decided he would work around to the front of the house, and try to peer in at the inmates and hear what they were saymg. Started to carry this plan into execution, Bob halted. A door had opened at the other side of the house, and a voice drifted out on the still air: "I'm tired of being cooped up. We'll stroll about till the signals come." Bob braced for a ru!J. It would be folly to remain where he was-discovery must eventually come. He was about to make for the bluff, when a new idea occurred to him. The ridges and hummocks of sand formed by the waves when they ran high 1 suggested it. Bob got clown on hands and knees just where a weave of sand roped Eke a plow furrow. He scooped into and under it-he crowded close into qnite a cozy nest. At that llloment, nearer than before, he heard that same voice-the voice of Richard Jeffrey, Bob recognized it instantly. At that moment, too, the thin crest of the sand furrow topple':l, incaving him wholly. Bub was not sorry. He was now safely planted. Only the tip of his nose stuck out of his sandy hiding place. CHAPTER VIII. THE TWELVE TIN CASES. Bub did not fancy a diet of sand. H i s eyes, ears and mouth were full of it, but as 'long as he conlcl breathe in fresh air he did not mind discomfort. Nearer came the voices of the two men strolling. Bob beard Jeffrey speaking once more: ((Everything is ready. Why don't we get the signals?" "They'll come, never fear," answered his companion. ((Yes, but when?" ((Long before morning. You've got to wait for your cousin, yon know--" "I shall wait for nobody!" snapped out Jeffrey". ((Do you understand how the merest breath of suspicion, the most accidental discovery might set fire to a train of disclosures that would knock awry all my cherished plans?'' ((But they aren't going to come," con fidently asserted the other. "What's been done so far hasn't seen a break T h e men who helped you did their set part, were paid for it, ask no :'!'-' and forget the rest. The body s on its way to Dubuque. Your rival bids fair to be hanged.'' ((And the girl-she is on the boat?" "Been there for two days


2 0 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. Bob heard J effrey chuckle gleefull y. "It is a royal l ayout," he cried; "sure enough! Ha! ha! Nick Carter's kid de tective got a s li ght inkling of the game, but-we quieted him." "It's a square run now," spoke Jeffrey's companion. "Once aboard the ship, you've got a clear course. I s the the s t uff ready?" "Not so loud! I'm on pins and needles to reach sa fety, with that." The voices faded away. Bob ventured t o lift his e) ; es f a r e nongh to clear thein of grit and glance aronnd. The two speakers h ad strolled out of earshot upon the pier. Bob felt m eutally stimulated, as if h e had taken a vigorous appertizer. "I'm striking bedrock at last!" h e murmured. The 'stuff!' I knew there was another strin g to Jeffrey's bow The feigned murder, the man in jail, the girl in captivity-these are on l y o n e end of the case. The others-that's the s tart o f it Bob lifted hi:3 head clear up now for h e was excited. Lakewa rd, from the mi s t and g l oom, s hot up a rocket. It h ad the peculiarity of being bright yellow, train exploding sparks a nd al l. Bob sa w the form of .Je ffrey' s companion ru:h clown the pier planking. H e disappeared withiu the house, and cam e out with a long object tha t Bob immediately recognized. "A return rocket," m tum ute d Bob. "This is getting interesting!" There was a flare a hi ss a nd an explo si.cm way aloft, a minute later. "This is the real disappearance of Mr. Richard J e ffrey," soli lo q ni zed Bob. "vVhat am I to do, where is he bound for, what is the stuff, and-that must be it!" Bob had lost considerable of his cau ti o n. H e felt that a climax was about to occur. He h ad got out of the sandy troug h, and, lining the h o u se, crouched where i t joined onto the timbers of the p1er. From the hou se both J effrey and his com pam on were n ow carrying something They made six trips, each with a tin box about two fee t wide, three feet long, and six inches thick. These seemed to be quit e heavy, and they stacked them up at the far end o f the pier. The last trip from the house th e light had been extingui shed. Jeffre y had al so put on an overcoat with a huge enve lo p ing collar. As he now restlessly paced the pi e r, looking constantly and anxiously across the water, Bob realized that all his iute r est was centre<'l there. "It's plain to read the oracle," com m en ted the latter emphaticaliy. "A sl1ip h as signaled-unclot1 bted l y the o n e with the girl, the one tha t clumped me overboard three nights ago. J effrey is going ahead with those tin boxes. Thos e tin boxes are 'the stuff.' In a little while a yawl will probably come ashore for them and Jeffrey. Then, where will I b e?'' Bob pondered the problem s e riou s l y H e f ormulated a dozen plans, abandoned them because the element of risk w a s ever present in a way that meant n o t only failure in scoring a point, but his own discovery as w el1, and was starting out a new tra in of thought when he saw lights out in the lake. "That's a s hip's la11teru. It's come to anchor," h e so lilioguized. "A m oving lantern. That's on a smaller boat. Look h e re! once tha t ship s a ils, where am I?" Bob esti m a t ed the distance of the ship from s hore-half a mil e. He formed a resolution. H e took off hi s coat, vest and shoes, and m ade a bundle o f them. Tying them across his s h ou l ders, he s t ole back t o the bluff, keeping the house between himself and the two men a t the e n d of the pier. Lining the bluff a little dista nce he again descended to the beach, waded in the water to his neck, fixed hi s eye o n what he took for the distant ship's l a n t e rn a nd struck out sturdily. Any one but a n expert swimmer might have shrank from the task, for the wate r was cold, the li ght farther awa y b y a great deal tl1an half a mil e Bob, however, was a t home in the water. H e reached the vicinity of the ship, breathing somewh a t rapidly, but b y no means exhausted.


NICK CAlt'L 'ER WEEKLY. 21 Dire ctl y over the water hung a vapory nist. It e nabled him to make out only the outlines of a large vessel, but it as m ell screened him from observation, as, coming around to its far side, he discov ered a dangling rupe, held to it. And bent his ear to catch some sound from the d e ck that might guide his fnrther move m e nts. Strain his ears as he would, however, Bob could only make out gruff voiceshe could not distinguish what was being said. He crept up the rope and lifted ;lis eye above the side rail. The deck of a little trim-built steamer showed. Over at its side, eyes fixed shoreward, were half a dozen men. Bob surmised that their interest was centred on the ship's yawl and its return load. He scanned the deck for some place of c oncealment. Then he made out an open hatchway. It was the easiest thing in the world for Bob to reach this unperceived and drop below. Once below, however, Bob found some d1fficulty in guessing his exact environment. It was black as pitch. He ran against one after another of what felt like great copper caldrons, and sounded like them when he rapped them with his knuckles. However, Bob got pretty well toward the stern of the hold, a safe distance from the hatchway, for he felt that this had been left open for some definite purpose. In this he found himself to be rigl!t. He could trace out .from sounds and movementc; after a spell that the yawl had returned to the ship; and at last there was the jar of dragging chains, and from the rocking motion Bob knew that the vessel had started up. Bob shrank back as a light flared suddenly into tbe hold. A man came clown the notched centre post with a lantern, which he attached to a hook pendant from the under side of the deck flooring. Bob took a sharp, eager look all around him. The ve s sel hac'l a queer cargo; its hold contained about twenty copper tanks, made like jars, bulging at the middle and narrowing at the top. A second man came clown and moved with the first one aiong the row of tanks. "Which one is it, mate?" he asked. "Think it's the fifth or sixth one. Soon find out,'' responded the other. He tapped several of the metal recep tacles. All sounded dull until he reached one where a clear, hollcw, vibrating tang followed the tap of his hard fist. ''Here we are,'' he reported. "Rest filled with oil, are they?" "All but this. Left empty purposely. Now then, tell the captain we're ready." "Wonder what they're ready for?" muttered Bob The layout reminded him of the jars of oil in the "Forty Thieves"-there was an air of the unusual, of mystery about the ensemble that made him creep as close up toward the hatchway as he dared. From the rounding side of a t;!tt k Bob peered keenly. Down came the second sailor from the deck again, lowering first a short ladder. To the empty kettle he proceeded, and tilted the ladder up its side. "Now, you get up there," he directed to his compan10n. "Up it is!" retorted the otl1er, suiting the action to the word. "All ready!" sang up his companion. Down from the deck came a pair of hands, holding something quite familiar to Bob. "One of tbe tin boxes Jeffrey and his friend brought out on the pier from the boat house," murmured the intensely engrossed Bob. "One'" sang out the man who was lowering from the deck. "One it is!" answered the sailor who received it. "One, and she's loaded .!" in a sin_g song voice tallied off tbe man on the lad der, receivin g the box and tipping it over the open top of the upper receptacle. Bob heard it down and land. "Two!" '!Two" it was! And "two!" again! and "two!" at the copper tank, and this process was carried on until "twelve!" was treblv chanted . The sailor descended the ladder. With


22 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. his companion he climbed the hatchway post and stepped on deck. "Well!" ejaculated Bob, "good as a scene in a play. Now, what does it all mean?'' It meant "the stuff" safely stowed. Bob knew that much, if nothing morebut what did that "stuff" comprise? The sailors had left the lantern behind them. Bob waited five, teu minutes. "I don't believe they're coming back," he theorized. "Guess the next thing in order is for me to see what those tin boxes contain." Bob glided over to the ladder, peered down into the cavernous depths of the great cupper jar, reflected, decided, and dropped boldly. He leaned on the flat heap of tin boxes. They had fallen one upon the other. Bob weighted the top one. "Heavy enough," he murmured. He felt all over the outside surface. All the joints were securely soldered as if to make a perfectly air-tight and water-tight covering. "This beats me!" mutte red Bob. "Each box seems to contain some object nearly fitting, but it shifts a trifle. I be lieve it's my duty to tap one of those cas es and see what's inside. n His knife drawn to begin operations, Bob checked himself, a trifle startled, very much dismayed. Voices sounded coming down into the hold-not two, but four this time. "You say you've got the boxes in the empty tank?" spoke the first. "Ay, ay-snug and safe, captain." "Will they stand immersion?" inquired the first speaker. ''Made for it, weren't they?'' "J'hat's Jeffrey!" breathed Bob. "Very well, bovs, you need lose no more time, then. Pour m the oil and seal it up. 1 CHAPTER IX. CLOSE QUARTERS. Bob Ferret suddenly realized that he had taken the risk of his life in dropping into the copper tank. If those mysterious tin boxes lying at its bottom, and on which he now rested, had been a bait to lure him to his destruction, he could not have been more completely trapped. "They are going to fill up this tank with oil!" gasped Bob. They were, and promptly. The voices of Jeffrey and the captain died away. _They had reascended to the deck. Those of the two sailors continued in close marked evidence, however. "It's a gre' asy job," spoke one, and Bob h ea rd him come up the ladder and rest at its top. "So, let's get through with it as quick as maybe, and wash down the taste of oil with the taste of something stronger, re ported the other. "How will you have it, mate?" "There's an iron bucket with a funnel mouth. "I see it. "And two barrels yonder, spigoted. You fill and lift to me. I'll pour in here." Bob began to feel squeamish. They had "done Nick Carter in oil" in a noted Eastern museum, and Nick had been rather pleased at the attention. Bob wondered how the present original and highly different process would snit the veteran detective. What to do was a serious problem. Rarely had Bob found himself in such an uncertain and exasperating predica m e nt. There seemed only one way out of it-to reveal himse lf, play the rol e of an independent roustabout, and frust to luck that his disguise would not be p ene trated by the sailors who had seen him once in proper person, or Jeffre y Bob decided on this, after rliscovering that it would be no easy task to get out of the tank, let alo'ne getting to tl1e floor of the hold. That top rim w1s fully three feet above his head. He pressed back into the cen tre bulge of the great receptacle, discuss ing the pros and cons of doing what he had never done before-surrender. "I'll wait till the last minute, oil or no oil!" he muttered, grimly. "Something may turn up yet to change the current of affairs." Flop! came a bucket of oil. Bob was spattered-flop! came a second. Bob reached down, and with some lit tle difficulty tilted one of the tin boxes


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 23 so that its narrow edge came up the side of the tank. Its other end was held steady by t he massed boxes. He now was perched ou t of reach of what oil had l-Jeen poured in. When some twenty inches had been poured in, there came a welcome hail from without. ''I say, mate!" called the man below. "Say it," returned the sailor on the ladder. "We'll have to tap a new barrel." "Other all run out?" "Yes." "Well-say, I reckon this 1s full enough.'' "Think so?" "Looks so," replied the other, peering down "Those tin boxes are all covered up, far as I can see "That's all that's needed, eh ?" "Sure. Cargo of oil has the Dancing Fairy! As oil she nasses any meddling revenue inspection if we're overhauled, as oil she slips the c ustoms up in Canada "Well, we'll leave the job this way for to-night, report to the captain in the morning, and if he says he wants the tank filled up, all right." "Good enough! Hand me a cover. "What cover?" "To the tank top. "Here you are!" Bob got ready for a demonstration. Darkness completely enveloped him as the man a l oft began not simply to place a cover, but to screw i t on ti g ht. Then the dull light of the hold was apparent again, for the man had rem o ved the cover he was adjusting. "Won't do, mate, be announc ed "What won't?" "This cover "Why not?" "Particul ar, in t h i s c as e. This s p e c ia l tank must be closed tight, see ing wh a t it holds that is va l ua bl e "That's so "Screw t h read on this cover 1 s broken.'' "There's some i n t h e truck cabin." ''How do y o u know ?' "I saw them t h ere I'll go adec k and get one.'' "I'll go with you, so you don't make half a dozen errands of it. "Whew!" breathed Bob, ardently. The utterance was a profound aspira tion of in tense relief. The minute he heard the men clamber to the deck he reached up and closed his fingers on the rim of the top, his foothold on the slanted tin box enabling him to do so. Bob dragged himself out upon the ladder, was down it in a jiffy, and behind a far tank back in the gloom of the hold long before the two sailors returned. They brought a new metal cover with them. Bob no t iced t ha t its adjustment w'as done with a wrench, and took some t ime. The sailor came down off the ladder, carried this to the hatchway, and slid i t ou deck, throwing the wrench after it. "Well, mate, all through, eh ?" piped his companion. "The job's done, I guess." "What's the run?" "Canada." "Ah!" "Yes, we've contracted t o get this package safe and sound across the border line. Ever hear of prize money?" "In story books. "The captain says we're in danger. We may be overhauled.'' "Bah! These ain't pirate days." "No, but they are revenue cutter days, and, whatever the job of those tin boxes, there's a slick scheme behind t h em Anyway, 'watch out and keep very mum, are t he orders -pay doubled u p twice over if we make the r n n sa f e "That's good enough for me. H ere, going t o l eave the lantern?" "Yes, ju s t blow i t o n t We' r e always n eedi n g it do wn here." The light was extingui shed. The t wo sa il o r s went up o n d eck The hatch co v e r ca m e s l amming d own, a n d w as b atte n e d into p l a ce. B o b F er r e t ca m e out fr o m cov ert and s to o d in the mi d dl e of the hold alive w i t h vari e d tho u ghts a nd impulses The l as t word s of the two sail o r s h a d g i ve n the final clue to Richa r d Jeffrey's intentions. His d estination was Canada-he w a s l e a v in g the c ountry


24 NICK CARTER WEEKLY. "That's my clue!" spoke Bob. Nick Carter's "Sealed Orders" bore on the outside the direction, "To be opened only if Richard Jeffr ey atte1npts to leave the United States." Bob's course was plain. The moment had arrived when that packet must be inspected. Bob groped about for the lantern, carried it way back to tlie stem of the hold behind a shielding tank, and, taking his waterproof match-box from his pocket, flared a lucifer and lit the lantern. Then he drew from a far inside pocket a little parcel covered with an oilskin protector in the shape of a pouch doubling over aud over. Bob removed the important missive he and received in the Palmer House three nights previous. Eagerly, with curious, ex.pectant eyes, he tore open the end of the envelope and took out the inclosure. Then, holding the unfolded sheet close to the light, Bob Ferret read Nick Carter's ''Sealed Orders.'' CHAPTER X. "SEALED ORDERS." Bob Ferret felt that he had reached an eventful moment in his detective career. _Nick Carter never did anything for sensational effect, and Bob expected to read some pretty stimulating intelligence when he opened those "Sealed Orders." But his g lance fell, his lips twitched with uncertainty, and he looked the disappointed boy complete as he read the brief enigmatical message Nick's letter contained. It read: "If Richard Jeffrey attempts t o leave the country, it will be by some lake craft. "Learning the name of the same, disable the vessel if you can, and immediate! y repair to the nearest telegraph office. "From there send to Bureau Secret Service, Washington, D. C., the following message: 'Rito Q. veri Ito K. mili, R. J.,' adding the name of the craft. ''Nick Carter.'' Bob sat staring at the queer letter like a person expecting a reward and getting. a slap. Bob focused his ide as down to a clear, prumpt beariug on the lllissio n on hand. Richard J effrey was certainly leaving the country. The n an1e of the craft? Bob knew it-the Dancing Fairy. Disable it-how? Telegraph-that was easy if he could get ashore: To the Bureau Secret Ser vice, Washington-Bob, a little awed, f elt that he was getti.ng close to pretty high authori t y He took up the lantern with the bearing of a soldier, showing that he was of the right sort-willing to sacrifice personal theories and preferences, and obey a mandate when it came from headquar ters. Poking about the hold, investigating every nook and corner, thinking with all. his might all of the time, Bob found finally what h e was looking for-a way to disable the ship. A large auger lay near some empty barre ls. Bob took jt up and examined its end, his lips set grimly. ''It's pretty serious business," be murmured. "I can't see the exact light on all tli.is, rut-it's in the programme, and here goes!'' Bob set to work at his task. He could only guess the re sult of what he was about to do, as, four holes, bored in different parts of the hull just below the waterline, little spurts and j ets came driving in. "She'll be waterlogged in about two hours," murmured Bob-"not enough to sink, but it will delay the craft, it may make the captain pnt into port, and that is evidently what I am called on to do." Bob had acted according to his lights. He took up the next section of his i n structions: To get ashore. He climbed up the notched .hatchway post. "No go," he instantly reported, push in g unavailingly at the battened-do\\ n cover. H;proceeded to the stern. There were two little windows here overhead. Bob fonud that they were held stationary by an inside casing strip. With his pocket knife he pried off the top one, and had the sash out promptly. "I can make it, I can get up aloft there easily," he soliloquized, pokiug out


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. 2b his head and planning how a catch at an ornamental knob, a pull along the sloping ridge to the name corner would en a. ble him to reach the stern rail. Bob faltered, however, for a moment. He was very certain that the contents of that central oil tank, the twelve tin boxes, cut an important, perhaps the allimportant figure in the case on hand. Bob crawled out of the window. The deck was almost deserted. At the bow he made out one sleepy fignre and an ac tive one. Bob aimed to get over to the side of the cabin where complete shadow and aarkness prevailed. He crouched there beside a coil of rope, and tried to make out the distance to land. "We're skirting the shore a mile out, more," he breathed, calculatingly. "The yawl is hauled up . I'm afraid it's swim. What's that?" Bob cowered lo\\'er-a faint sigh was wafted to his acute hearing. 1t was re peated. Strainiug his eyes, beyond a cabin window Bob made out a white face. "It's a woman," he nntrmtned-"the girl! It must be Miss Clara Dean, is it you?'' Chivalrous Bob never yet had passed by a female in clistress. He made no exception to the rule, even with Nick Carter and the Government Secret Service to account to for every moment of his time. "What is it?" Bob pressed close up to the window. "Answer my question," he said, quickly-" you are Miss Clara Dean?" "Yes! yes!" fluttered a frightened VOJCe. "You are held here a prisoner by Richard Jeffrey?" "I am held as a hostage," wailed t l 1 e poor girl. "Unless I go with him, he leaves my-a friend to die "Mr. Foster? List en, Miss Dean, and act quickly," pursued Bob, nerved to lift fifty boats into the water if need be, to fight his way through serried ranks to rescue this poor girl from her cruel cap tor. "Come 011 t on deck." "I do not know the way, and-oh! I dare not l I dare not! I am in Richard Jeffrey's power." Bob sped from the spot. He located the cabin door. He pushed it gently in, he entered a large dark apartment. "Her stateroom must be here," he murmured, feeling a knob, and softly pushing open a door. ''Miss Dean! trust me, and come to the deck. Richard Jeffrey has no real power over you. Take my hand." It was taken. "Come. This way. Gently. Ah! we are on the deck. 'Wait till I see if I can lower the ship'syawl--" "Who are you ?J' Bob was fairly swept off his feet with astonishment. The hand that until now had rested so placidly in his own suddenly assumed the rigidity of steel. It clutched his wrist as in a vise, a second hand shot a t his throat-the hands of Mr. _Richard Jeffrey Bob had made a fatal mistakehe had entered the wrong sta terool!J -It was all up with him now-he saw that. There was one desperate means of escape, one only. "vVho, are you? Do you hear mezounds! it cannot be--" Some vivid suspicion as to Bob's identity must have entered Jeffrey's mind, for he started as if he was confronted by a wraith. The two men a t the bow, witnessing the struggle going on, were runn.ing for Unnerved momentarily, Jeffrey half released his grasp on Bob, ancl the latter tore wholly free with a forceful effort. To the rail he sprang, and over he went unhesitatingly. Richard Jeffrey ran at him, after him. Agreat block lay on the deck, the only missile in reach. Grasping it, Jeffrey leaned over the rail of the craft, saw a white face that the great block dashed out, heard a thudding splash Then as the block drifted astern alone, he counted the seconds to see Bob's head come up once more. "Settled!" he muttered, with a qnav ering g rowl, c 'who know ? A boy with nine lives, and his presence here means -danger!'' f


' 26 NICK CAHTER WEEKLY. CHAPTER XI. ''JOINING THE BAND. '' "Where's the telegraph operator?" "Not due for two hours yet." I must see him." Bob Ferre t looked like a half-drowned rat, but he talked like a gener al. He had followed out section one of Nick Carter's "Sea l ed Orders" to a T disabled the craft that was bearing Richard Jeffrey and his secret away into exile. When he h ad sprang overboard, the very missile, the wooden block which Jeffrey had hurled so murderously after him, had helped Bob to get to the distant shore. And now after a run over sand bluffs, through forests, along railroad tracks, just as dawn was streaking the far eas tern horizon, Bob h ad reached a railroad station. The village watchman came upon him pounding at the 1ocked door, peerin g in at the closed windows, and learning what he was after told him that he would h ave to wai t But Bob was not of the waiting kind. The "Sealed Orders'' had directed a n immediate message. Bob asked just one question of the watchman-where did the t elegraph operator live? Then he made one dive for the house indicated, and kept up a racket 't its door till there was a response Very grumblingly the operator li s tened to the simple statement that a "rush" message must go at once over the wires, half dressed himse lf, and sulkily led the way back to the depot. He let himself and Bob in, and got a clear wire to Chic ago "Fire away!'' h e directed-" what yo u got?" "Bureau Secret Service, \iVashington, D. C.,'' began Bob. "Go t it,,, he nodded. Bob drew the oi lskin pouch fr om his pocket and took out Nick Carter's l etter. 'Rito Q verilto K. mili R. J.-the Dancing Fairy':' '' "Eh!" The operator's fingers came down with a sharp click Bob wrote the message out in pencil, and handed the enigma tical cipher words to him. "What you giving me?" muttered the operator. "Straight goods That's the depart-ment formula. They understand it. Cl icketty-click. Bob heaved a ponderous sig h of relief He had executed the final section of Nick Carter's "Sealed Orders," and somehow, no matter how things turned out so far as his future efforts were concerned, Bob felt that a saving clause was re gistered at Washington, and the United States Government probably knew what they were about. For future efforts were already in his mi nclBob was i ndomi table. "I'm going to ge t Lack on the track of the Dancing Fairy s traight," he told himself "I wouldn't abandon that poor girl, Miss Clara Dean, in her helplessness and terror under any circumstances. "The twelve tii1 ca ses in the copper tank are a regular consignment to me. "Breakfast and a clean-up, and I'll soon find out if the scuttled Dancing Fairy is anywhere along the coast Bob probed down again into the secret receptacle for his treasures from which be had just taken thP. letter. "Pshaw!" h e uttere d 111 chagrin and dismay. He went through his pockets with no results. Bob was looking for hi s reser ve fund, the littl e roll of banknotes he always carri ed in a secret pocket for continge ncies. "I must have dropped the money in the hold of the ship," he declared. "Col lect,'' he spoke to the operator. "Why, you see -I don't know you and--" "It's a ll right. I guess the government i s good for it," spoke Bob "I'd pay, but I've lost my mon ey The operator looked slightly discom posed. It w as had being r o u sed out of bed early, and to have added the risk of having to pay for an unauthorized or hoax m essage out of his own pocket made him grumble to himse lf. ''Here, I'll fix it!'' cr ie d Bob, suddenly. "I've go t to have money to hire a boat,


NICK CARTER WEEKLY. ll7 for other expenses-one minute, opera for-I have another message to se nd." The operator looked g lum and suspiCJous. "Maybe this is to the Bank of England '' he half sneered "Don't be woozy, now!" chirped Bob. "You're in the line of duty, if you only knew it. I'm going to telegraph for money, and it will be here in an hour." ''Who to?'' uNick Carter, Palmer House, Chi cago." The operator shut the key of his instrument as if that settled all further buisness in the telegraph line. ''I won't stand it!'' he announced. what?" demanded Bob, in sur pose. "You're either crazy or thinking you're having sonie fun with me. ''See here--'' ''No, you d on't! Secret service, may be, but Nick Carter-that's too heavy a do se!" "Yon think--" "I think nothing. You don't know any such big people, not you. Get out of here! If yon have the money, you can pay for fool messages all day long, but yon can't lark me on any more free rub bish The operator bundled Bob out on the platform and proceeded home in high dudgeon, not allowing Bob to get another word in edgewise. ''I don't suppos.e I exactly look like a Vanderbilt\'' soliloquized Bob, glancing down at his disordered attire. "That sec onq,detective shot was too heavy for him, eT1? Well, now what am I going to do?" Bob sat down on the bench outsicle the station. He did not have a cent in his pocket--'his watch been stolen by the sailors during his first sojourn on the Dancing Fairy. 4 "Working withou t money in the pres-ent instance is like running a boat without oars,'' he reflected ''If I was in some big city I'd be able to fix it, but l've hoodooed myself with this operator here, snre There comes a train-going north. I'll flip it to the next town and try my luck there." Bob did not do this, for the train did not stop. I t slowed n p, but he hesitated about risking a c atch at the vestlbuled platforms. "Jeffrey Just as the last car went whirling by, Bob shot out th a t w0rd as if it was a hot bullet in hi s mouth. Down the tracks he put, ran twenty feet, saw that the speed-increasing train had gained forty, and c ame to a stand s t i ll goggling, overcome "I saw him!" voiced Bob, gaspingly. "I saw Richard Jeff rey, a girl beside him! Delusion? No. Guesswork? Never! Say! this i s simply-bewi ldering!" Bewi l dered, but pulsati11g with the most vivid emotions, Bob retraced his steps to the depot. fie could reason out this new aspect of affairs in only one way; the Dancing Fairy had become waterlogged, had put into some cove or harbor, and Jeffrey, alarmecl at the discovery that a representative of Nick Carter was again on h i s trail, had hastened with Miss Clara Dean to the nearest rail way station and had taken the first train. "Seem sort of uneasy?" fell upon Bob's ears, ancl the village watchman confronted him, looking extrem ely curi ous. Bob overwhelmed him with questions concerning the train tl1at had just passed through. for the hunting grounds up beyond Lariboo," explained the watchman. "It's a special, and stops just once between, at Madison In ten minutes Bub had blocked out what to him seemed an unassailably reasonable line of theory. Defeated in his plan to get out of the country hy lake, with the beautiful gi rl whom he held under a helpless spe ll of terror, Jeffrey had taken a train for Northern WiscOt1sin Arrived at the terminus beyond L ariboo, he would hire some <;onveyance to take them across the long stretch of pineries, tap Lake Superior, and get across the border by the safest and least guarded route. Bob made diligent inquiri*es about the next tra in. There would be one throug h in an honr-an excursion to Madison. A local deputation was going. Some of them /



NICK CAUTEU WEEKLY. 2\.1. a barrel-interior space big enough to stow a two-hundred-pounder in "I'll do it," said the b a s s drummer, simply, to B o b. "Get in!" CHAPTER XII. 'TWIXT LIFE AND DEATH. "That's the room!'' Bob Ferret s tood in the chill, dim passageway o f a t yp ical country t avern. He h ad arri ved a t Lariboo overcomi n g extraordinary difficulties-carried in a dm111 t o Madison, wedged into a cl ose !y packed freight car the rest o f the w ay Lariboo was the outpost settlement beyond which the famous hunting grounds a nd pineries of Wisco nsin ex tended. Bob l earned that the sc h emer h ad taken two rooms at the se ttl ement tavern. Now, at daylight, Bob h ad s t olen u p stairs, and peering throug h a keyhole and making out an overcoat that was familiar, knew that h e h ad located H.ich a rd Jeffrey's room. He proceeded to the next one Bob on l y listen ed here, to l ow, sobbi n g sounds. "The girl! It is Miss Clara Dean," he d eci d eel. To capture the man, to prevail o u the gnl to defy hi s vaunted powe r s, to g e t both back t o Chicago-there was Bob's task. "Jeffrey is below," murmured Bob. "I saw him go clown I'll get a word witl1 the girl. Oh, bother!" Bob suddenl y found himself in a fix The passageway had n o window at either end, the on l y break except locked doo r s being where the stairs descended to the lower floor. What had startled Bob was the sound of Jeffrey's voice below, calling to the tavern keeper: ''Have the covered wagon h ere at nine o'clock." The n, clump-clump, came footfall s "He's coming to his room," fluttered Bob. "I've go t to f ace him. No!" Bob m ade a dive for solllething that stood tilted near a door-one end of a high, narrow bedstead. Quick as a flash he lifted it, kept it slanted so that it completely hid he ad face and his bodv t o the waist, a nd started down the hall. Bob ran squarely against Jeffre y but the latter, taking him for some servant, squee zed aside, and Bob passed on unde tectecl "A narrow shave!" so h loquizecl Bob re sting his burden at the other end of the hall. "He's coming out again." J e ffreys r eappeared, putting on his overcoat. Bob had tilted the bedstead sideways against the wall a nd go t behind it. J eff r ey never suspected that it shielded a lurke r. "Jeff re y is going out into the village. Now is m y time, or 11ever !'' Bob declared, running to the door o f the r oo m he had last approached. Tap-tap. "Who is there?" Bob pressed his lips to the jamb. He condensed into fifty w o rds the \ita! urg ency of a special dispatch. The door was unloc k ed Bob pressed over the threshold. His l1eart was in s tantly wrung with pity for the pale-faced, heartbroken girl who confronted him. Tl1at, perhaps, was the reason he so soon con\' incecl her what a friend he sought to be to her. ''l clare not leave this man,'' she fal tered. "He can condemn \ i\lalter Foster to the gallows.'' ":\1y clear young lady," de111ttrrecl Bob, "clo you not p l ainly see that in helofiing h is flight by remaining with :1illl, you are bringing about that very thing?" "But Richard J eff r ey is supposed to be dead 'An d we know he is al i ve, and the rubber h ead in t h e casket will ver i fy our claiiiJS. This scoundrel has frightened yo u with a pha11tom. Trus t to me-a ready, secret way is ope ned to liberty., Beueath the window of the r oo m ran a low shed Bob's fair charge was convinced now that he deserved h e r confidence and cooperation. Inside of two minutes they had reached the g r ound. She took Bob's hand, and he hastened her over to where beyond some tracks the bnsi ness portion of the settlemen t showed


,. 30 NICK CARTER WE KLY. "What is your plan?" inqnirecl the girl in an anxious tremor. "To s to w you safely with honest people.'' "And he-that monster?" ''Leave Jeffrey to me!'' responded Bob, grimly. "Oh, mercy!" Bob startecl at the sharp cry. "vVhat is it?" "There he is, now!" Bob looked back. A hundred feet to the rear, hurrying forward to overtake them, was Jeffrey. The, baleful morning light made his vicious face look more m alevolent than over. "Stop!" 1ang out from Jeffrey's lips "Run!" directed Bob. A little ahead a freight train was backing clown, but it came so fast that Bob running to cross over was blocked in his conrse. ''Stop, or I fir e '' The girl shudclered close to Bob. He looked back. Jeffrey was flourishing a revolver. "Be brave!" whispered Bob to his ter-rified companion. "Oh, he will shoot-he will kill us!" "Will you do as I say?" "I-I will try." "It means your life, perhaps mine." They had put a high pile of ties be-tween themselves and their pursuer. Now, straight for the long backing up train Bob ran. "Miss Dean," he uttered, hurriedly, pausing directly at its side, "be ready to spring up a nd catch when I do.'' "At the cars?" "At the iron ladder, yes." "Oh, I am afraid!" ''If we do not, and hasten to the top and over, we are lost. Now!'' Bob gripped at a passing car. The girl tried to follow his example. He secured a safe footing and. fist-hold, and swept 1 her up from the ground. "Quick! (;limb up! Hnrry!" he brea thecl "To the top, before we reach Jeffrey Missed!" Bob's heart sank like lead. With a fluttering breath the girl wilted, dang ling in his grasp. Bob could not climb up the iron lad -der burdened with an insensible cllargehe dared not risk a fall nncler the grinding wheels. The train was backing np very fast now. It circled past the tie pile. A sight beyond it made Bob's blood curdle. Standing awaiting his coming, every second bringing him within closer, nearer range, was Richard Jeffrey. His face was one glare of vicious fero city, and he held a revolver levele d squarely at the young detective who had crossed his path for the last time, and whose life he was determined to now blot out. CHAPTER XIII. NICK CAR' l'ER'S HIDDEN HAND. Bob Ferret faced death without flinching, but he felt that his hour had com e If the freight train was not just the n circling a mix-up of tracks l1e would hav e dropped the unconscious girl in his anus, would have leaped to the ground. As it was, Bob c ou ld only hold on Nearer moved the car up t o the malignan Jeffrey. "Wiped out!" Jeffrey hiss ed the words in ferocious anticipation of the close range bullet l:e would fire. Thud! Bob had expected a bang-Bob had expected to be the one to drop. Instea d -it was Jeffrey! And then, as the car passed Jeffrey prostrate, crushed, an appalled tTnill rau over Bob's frame, sturdy as it was. What had happened was something that might not occur again under precisely the same circumstances in a hundred years. As the car Bob clnng to neared Jeffrey, the curve jolt sent its lo ose broad door swinging out. The edge of this-took Jeffrey squarely on the temple. A stone mallet driven by a giant hand could not have delivered a more crushing blow. When the train came to a stop, Bob got dqwn, placed the insensible girl on the ground, and ran back to where Jeffrey l ay. He was dead, ston e dead-his p lotting )


NICK CARTER WEE KLY. 31 over at last-the power that always inevitably punishes the wrong-doer had intervened to save an imperile d maiden and a brave boy! Bob did not go back to Chicago by freight, as at one time it seemed he would h:we to do. .... He felt 110 hesitancy in using enough of the dead man's money to send a message to Nick Carter. Iu the cipher code employed by Nick and his young pupils, Bob told the veteran detective the situation at Lariboo, directtng the clet:.k at the Palmer House to get his message to Nick at once, at a]] hazards. A laconic reply came back before noon. "Wait. \ Vill come on first train." Bob res t ed that day like a warrior after a battle. A summarv finish had come to his end of the case___.::the main plotter was dead, Miss Clara Dean was fr ee, and her lover, Walter Foster, would soon regain his liberty. "As t o the other end of the case, so liloquized Bob, "the Dancing Fairy, the twelve tin boxes, secret service, the sealed orders-1'11 wait as patiently as I can to find out the merits of Nick Carter's hidden cl n e ..,' There was one, as Bob h ad latterly all a long s uspected. Nick Carter had retired from personal service Joug since, the only branch of de tective science h e was interes t ed in being the schooling of his bright yo un g pupils. But in the present case Nick h ad given some active advice, a nd while Bob was working one end of the affair, th e detective had Jack Bnrton and Aleck White doing service on the other end. This Bob leamed upon Nick's arrival. In his usual t erse way the veteran cletec tive explained what to Bob h ad bee n heretofore a complete 111 ystery "vVhen Richarcl Jeffrey came t o me a nd claimed to be a fraid of assassinatio n," narrated the detective, "I knew there was something under the s urf ace. "You promptly found out what, Bob -a scheme to l1ang a rival and many a girl he coveted. "After I sent yo n out on the trail of J effrey, I chance d to pick up a letter that dropped f ro m his pocket wh e n he gave me his card. "It opened my eyes wide. I h ad found a clue t o a case that for three weeks had b affled the Unite d States Secret Service." "The tin boxes!" murmnred Bob. "Exactly. Know wl1at they contain?, "No." "Twelve volumes of public records of a. government land office in North Dakota." "Thev had bee n stolen?" two months ago wh a t that meant! Confu s ion it1 titles t o milli ons and millions of dollars' worth of property. "The game w as to get them to some o ther country, and a t a distance ne gotiate with landowners t o furnish transcripts for a large consideration.'' "What a scheme!" "The governm ent took a hand. When I found that l etter, I read that J eff r ey was a prime m ove r in the whole affa ir that a vessel was waiting for him to get hi s ]Jrivate schemes ready to dovetail into a run for Canada with the books. "Hence, my 'Sea l ed Orders,' and directions uot to hampe r you with that end of the affair My clever young friend, twelve hours after the r eceipt of your t el egram the Dancing Fairy was locat ed waterlogged, the tin boxes were unearthed from their oily bath." "l\Ir. Carter, what a great ca se!" mur m mecl B ob. "Yes, and Jack and Aleck, who h a \ e been watching various lake craft for three days, were in at the finish. You have clone a big work, Mr. Bob Ferret, and nobody appreciat es it m ore than the United States Secret Service "It broke 111y h eart to leav e th ose m ys teri ous tin boxes in the hold of the Dancin g Fairy," declared Bob. "You did just right," commended Nick Carter-"obe\'ed orders-hewed cl ose to the line on t he main clue in the c ase, that l ed straight tlp t o all the others -The My stery of The Black Sack." [THE HND.J The next number of the N ick Carter Weekly will contain "A Young Detective's Air Route; or, The Great Hindoo My s t ery,, by the author of "Nick Carter.''


Cadet School Stories. "The Monarch of juvenile Publications." A Weekly Publication ... OF ... Forty-eight Pages and Illuminated Cover. PRICE, FIVE CENTS. Subscription, - -$2.50 Per Year. Fun and Adventures Among West Point and Annapolis Cadets. TWO COMPLETE STORIES EACH WEEK, DESCRIBING IN FASCINATING DETAIL LIFE AT THE FAMOUS GOVERNMENT ACADEMIES. These stories, written by graduates of the academies, are true in every particular, and show vividly how the military and naval cadets enjoy life while learning to become officers in the Government military and naval serv1ce. ARMy AND NAvY is the only weekly published devoted to stories of school cadet life at West Point and Annapolis. PRICE, FIVE CENTS ____ FOR SALE BY ALL NEWSDEALERS. STREET & SMITH, Publishers, 238 William St., New York City. Write for Free Sample Copies.


Nick earter Weekly Thirty=two Pages. Price, 5 Cents. Illuminated Cover. THE BEST LIBRARY OF DETECTIVE STORIES. 111111111111111111111111 Back Numbers always on hand. Price, post=pa id, Five cents each. 111111111111111111111111 5-Trim .Among the Bushmen; or, Searching for a Lost Gold Mine in Australia. 6-Trim's Double Header; or, Snaring Human Game with Decoys. 7-Trim on the Safety Valve; or, Taking Long Ghances witb Death. 8-Trim's Troublesome Tiger; or, How His Pris oner Escaped the GaTlows. 9-Trim in Cape Town; or, The Man with a Strange L1mp. 10-Trim in the Diamond Fields of Kimberly. 11-Trim in the Wilds; or, Hunting a Criminal on the Dark Continent. 12-Trim Changes Cars; or, Taking Big Chances fot a Quick Capture. 13-Trim in the Main Shaft; or, Hunting Criminals a 'l'housand Feet Under g rouud. 14-Trim Shoots the Grain Chute; or A Surprise Party on Board the Falcon. 15-Trim's Round-up in Detroit; or, A Long Chase Ended in a Burry. 16-Trim's 8tring of Clews; All Tied by the Same Knot. 17-Trim in Cincinnat i; or, Following a Bogus Case IS-Trim's Secret Mission; or, A Green Countr y man in Town 19-Trim's Cold Bath; or. Trapping a Criminal in the Bay. 20-TrJm's Chase after a M.urderer; or, Caught in the Air. 21-Trim m the Cigar Store; or, A Lively Wooden Indian. 22-Trim in Mexico; or, Breaking up a. Secret So ciety. 23-Trim m the Crescent City; or, A Break in the Levee. 24---Trim's Run of Luck; or, A Case Concluded Ahead of Time. 25-Trim's Combination Case; or, Two Clients After the Same Mnn. 26-Trim on the Road; or, A Leave of Absence that Turned ont Gold. 27-Trun in Kansas City; or, The Detective's Ex p e riment in Second Sight. 28-Nick Carter at the 'l'rack; or, How He Became a Dead Game Sport. 29-Trim in the Dark, or, .A Long Road that has no 'l'uming. 30-Nick Carter's Railroad Case. 31-Trim's Electric Machine; or, The Man Who Had Charge of the Utlice. 3J Nick Carter at the Iron Pier; or, The Body Found in the Hoat. 33Trim Turns Professor and Teaches a Lesson to a Queer Pupil. 34-NickOaner's Wheel of Fortune. 35-Trim's ::ltock Exchange Case; or, The Man WhG Answered the Advertisement. 36-Nick Carter in a Tight Place; or, a Haul orth Making 37-Nick Carter does his Best; or, a Fortune in the Balla ce. 38-Trim B e hind the Footlights; or, the Hold Up at the Casino. 39-In Nick Carter's Hands; or, A Fool and His Money Soon Parted. 40-Nick Carter's Detective School; or, The Young Reporter's First Case. 41-Nick Carte r at Headquarters; or, Work on the Inspector 's Scrap Book. 42Nick Carter's Brightest Pupil; or. The Great uounterfeiting Case. 43Nick Carter Arrested by Mistake; or, The Man on the Window Sill. Carter's : Magic Hnnd; or, The Crime of 'l'he Chiuese Highbinders. 45-Nic k Carter's Promise; or, Millions at Stake 4o-The GoLd Wizard; or, Nick Carter' s Clever Protege 47-Nick Carter in the Chinese Joint; or, A Bargain in Crime . 48-Nick Carter's Newsboy Friend;. or, The Great Sandoval Mystery. 49-Nick Ca.rter's Hot Pursuit; OJ".,' On' the Track of an Escaped Convict. 50-Nick Uarter's Detective; or, Work-ing on H s Own Case. 51-Nick Carter's Second Eilition. 52-Working m fhe .Dark; or, A Novice that Lends a Hand. ;';53-A Hidden Cl'ue; or, The Mystery of the Black Sack. Young Detective's Air Route; or, The Great Hindoo Mystery. 55-Nick Carter's Missing D etective; or, A Warn ing by Telephone. STREET & SMITH, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK. ::F"or Sa..1e by all Newsdea1ers.


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