Nick Carter, Detective: The Solution of a Remarkable Case

CHAPTER XI.
TWO MURDERS IN ONE NIGHT.

Nick found himself in total darkness, but that was quickly dispelled by touching the button of his little bull's eye lantern and throwing a brilliant stream of light across the room.

Before him was a door, and he passed through it into a wide hall-way.

He could not hear a sound until he reached the lower floor.

Then the low murmur of voices came to him.

He followed the direction of the sound until he came to a door which evidently opened into the room where the men were sitting.

The gruff voice of Morgan was easily recognized, and now and then the even tones of the captain penetrated the door.

There was another voice too, not loud enough to be distinguishable, but Nick decided that it belonged to Sindahr.

He could not catch a word of what they were saying, and he looked about him for a way to get nearer.

Farther down the hall was another door which led into the room adjoining the one where the men were talking, and he crept along the hall and passed through it.

At once the voices became plainer.

Flashing his light around Nick saw that he was in what had once been a dining-room, and also that there were cupboards against the partition which separated it from the room where the men were talking.

If it so happened that those cupboards opened through the partition, which was probable, it would be an easy matter for him to hear all that was being said.

Exerting all his caution, and moving as silently as a shadow, Nick carefully opened one of the cupboard doors.

The cupboards not only connected the two rooms, but the doors on the opposite side of the partition were made of glass and he could plainly see all that was taking place As well as hear every word that was uttered.

The group that he saw was a strange one.

There were the captain, Morgan, Sindahr, and an aged negress who was listening intently to all that was said.

They were all seated around a dining-table upon which were a bottle, some glasses, and a box of cigars.

"No," the captain was saying; "there is no danger of his coming here to-night. I wish there was. He will never escape me again, I swear."

"He's a devil!" ventured Morgan.

"Devil or not, if I ever have another opportunity such as I once had, he shall die. I will not wait to make terms with him."

"How do you know that he is onto this place?" asked Morgan.

"I do not know it, but I fear it. If he is, we will all be captured like so many rats in a trap."

"Sure!"

"At all events it is safer to leave."

"This is a hard place to get to."

"Yes, and it would be an easy matter to shadow any of us for the greater part of the distance. The house in Forty-seventh street is the safest place for us now."

Nick became more interested.

"Isn't that house watched?"

"Bah, no."

"I should think it would be."

"They gave up looking for the murderer long ago, and the house is as deserted as the grave."

Morgan chuckled.

"Fancy a detective smart enough to run that crime down," he said.

Then both men laughed.

"I think its funnier to fancy him getting his handcuffs on to the murderer."

The thought evidently struck them as very funny, for they laughed uproariously.

"I'd like to see him try it," said Morgan when his mirth had subsided, "particularly that fellow Nick Carter."

"Yes, I think we'd be well rid of him. His fists and his strength would not count for so much- I say', where do you suppose Tony was to-night?"

"I don't know. Perhaps Carter downed him and took him in."

"Cobra and all?"

"That would make it difficult. Still, that fellow can do anything."

"No, cap, there's one thing he can't do."

"What's that?"

"Capture the murderer of Eugenie La Verde."

"He may."

"Why, I thought you settled his hash."

"No, Tony didn't want me to, and I let him have his way."

"He's a queer fish."

"Rather. He takes food there every week!"

"The devil! Feeding the murderer of his own sister!"

"Exactly!"

"Say, cap!"

"What?"

"I think you'll have to count me out on living in that house."

"Nonsense!"

"I mean it. I've no relish for the place, since we would not be alone."

The captain laughed.

"You are afraid of Eugenie's slayer, eh?"

"Frankly, I am."

"Well, I don't know that I blame you, Morgan. Yet there is no danger."

To say that Nick was interested in the conversation that he had heard would be a feeble expression of his sensations.

He had learned many surprising things almost in one breath.

First, neither Tony, nor Morgan, nor Sindahr, was the murderer of Eugenie La Verde, although they all seemed to know who was.

Second, the murderer was in hiding in the very house where the crime had been committed.

Third, Tony was Eugenie La Verde's brother, and he was not only protecting the murderer of his sister, but carrying food to him from time to time.

Nick realized that he had not yet seen the real murderer, although he had once stood within a few feet of him in the dark, when he crossed the threshold of Eugenie La Verde's room and heard the rustle made by someone escaping from the place.

"If he is as dangerous as Morgan's fear of him would imply, why in the world didn't he try to choke me just as he did Eugenie?" muttered the detective.

The captain abruptly changed the subject.

He looked at his watch.

"Come," he said, "it is nearly midnight, and we must go."

The negress left the room to obey an order from the captain, and so left the three villains alone together.

"Morgan," said the captain, "you had better go first and Sindahr and I will follow with the other horse. Drive right on to the ferry boat and thence to the house in Forty-seventh street. Go slowly after you get to New York, so that Sindahr and I can get to the house first."

"Sindahr not going," said the Arabian, calmly.

"What!" cried the captain.

"Sindahr will not go there."

"You will have to, my friend."

"Sindahr never enter that house while he is alive."

"So you refuse to obey me?"

"Sindahr has spoken."

"Curse you! take that."

Like a flash the captain drew a revolver and discharged it almost in the Arabian's face.

The man sank back dead without a single groan.

"Shove him under the table; I was tired of him, anyhow," said the captain, coolly, replacing his revolver in his pocket, "and between you and me, Morgan, I am getting tired of Tony also."

"Let him kill the detective and then we can give him away. It will save the trouble of killing him," said Morgan.

"So that we get rid of him, I don't care how it's done."

"What shall we do with this body?"

"Let it lie there under the table and rot. We leave this house to-night, forever."

"Now, a word about other matters before Sal returns. Is everything ready for our scheme?"

"Everything."

"When do we spring it?"

"This is Wednesday. The time is fixed for Friday at midnight."

"And we get---"

"One hundred thousand."

"Good! One more question."

"Well?"

"Why need we share that with John and Tony?"

"Because John and Tony are alive."

"Exactly; but if they were dead?"

"I suppose it would be all ours."

"Would that please you, Phil?"

"I won't ask any questions if they don't show up for their share."

"Good! here comes Sal."

The next moment Sal entered the room.

Morgan presently, at a sign from the captain, rose, and left the house.

"Don't go until I come out," said the captain, and then he was alone with the negress.

"Well, Sal," he said, "we won't require your services any longer, and I'll pay you now."

"Yes, sah."

"How much do I owe you?"

"Twenty-fo' dollars, sah."

"No more? Why, that is cheap. Come here and get it."

The negress went around the table toward the captain unsuspiciously. Even Nick had no idea what was coming.

"Here is your pay!" exclaimed the villain, when Sal was close enough, and at the same instant he plunged a knife into her heart.

She uttered one loud gasp, and sank back lifeless.

Captain Philip had committed two deliberate murders in one night.

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