The Great Spy System, or, Nick Carter's Promise to the President

CHAPTER I.
NICK CARTER SEES THE PRESIDENT.

"Mustushimi did not leave the country when he was ordered."

"I did not believe he would do so," replied Nick Carter for the words were directed to him, and the speaker was the President of the United States, who had sent for the detective to come to Washington at once. "He did not strike me as being the sort of man, Mr. President, who could easily be made to abandon a work to which he had devoted so much of his talents as he had to the organization of the spy system."

"He was an oily little rascal, wasn't he, Mr. Carter?"

"Decidedly so, sir."

"I thought at the time that possibly you did not give him full credit for his talents," remarked the President dryly.

"You will pardon me, sir, but it was my impression at that time that I gave him rather more credit for his possibilities than you did."

"How so?"

"I don't think, if our positions had been reversed, that I would have let up on him so easily as you did."

"It was through no consideration for him that I did so, Mr. Carter; you may be sure of that."

"Oh, I was sure enough of that at the time, sir. But all the same it appeared to me that a punishment of some kind would have been about the thing for him, then. Instead of that, you merely dismissed him and warned him to leave the country and to take his followers with him. I thought then that he would slip out of it, and what you tell me now proves that he has not gone."

"No; he didn't go."

"And he has made himself active again?"

"Decidedly so; yes."

"Along the same lines?"

"Practically the same... Of course, there is a difference. I don't think that he wishes me to guess that he has remained here. He possibly believes that I will think it is the activity of another, and that he has gone, as I ordered him to do."

"But you are sure that it is Mustushimi?"

"I haven't a doubt of it, Mr. Carter."

"You have not seem him?" No.

"Nor heard directly from him?"

"No."

"Then in reality you have no reason other than the one that the spy system has been continued, to think that it is Mustushimi?"

"No; but I am satisfied that it is he."

"I am also; so I think we may go ahead on that principle."

"Yes."

"Now, Mr. President, will you tell me exactly what you wish to have me do this time? There is no more mystery concerning the means that are employed for observing, interviews. That one they did use, of reading lip-movement, like deaf and dumb people '. in order to understand conversations that could not be heard, is an old trick, and I only wonder that I did not remember it sooner, when I had that case."

"If Mustushimi is here-and I thoroughly believe he is here-I wish you to capture him and bring him before me once more. I want one more talk with the fellow."

"I don't think he will enjoy it," said Nick, laughing.

"I don't intend that he shall,"

"You will give him something to remember, this time, eh?"

"I certainly will."

"I suppose it was imperative that you should be lenient with him that other time, Sir?"

"I regarded it so-yes. You see, Mr. Carter, it wouldhave been a very easy matter to have affronted his country through him. It would have been the move of Japan to repudiate any association with his aims or connectionwith him. His activities would have been attributed tothe opposing political part in Japan, and the government would have disclaimed any knowledge of Mustushimi's acts, and probably rightly too."

"In which Japan has borrowed another spoke from the wheel of the effete West; eh?"

The President laughed heartily.

"Even so, Mr. Carter. We have always had agitators in this country, whose activities we have repudiated---but with reason."

"You have not told me yet, Mr. President, exactly what it is you desire me to do."

"Mr. Carter, I wish you to serve your country more than me, in this matter. You can serve it best by keeping from it all knowledge of this matter. We managed to keep the other affair a secret, and I am in hopes we can do the same with this one."

"Well, Sir?"

"I wish you-as I have already said-to capture Mustushimi in person, and to bring him here before me, just as you did the other time; but also, I wish you, if possible, to break up entirely the gang of spies he controls, and to so frighten them individually and collectively, that one and all of them will be glad to leave the country for good."

"It strikes me that that is rather a large contract, isn't it?"

"That is precisely why I have given it to you. I have always understood that you enjoy doing rather impossible things."

"I have not been belied there, sir."

"And so I have sent for you again."

"I am to have a sort of a roving commission, I suppose, Sir?"

"Your commission is as elastic as you choose to make it. You may, or you may not, as you choose, communicate with Mr. Wilkie, and ask him to give you assistance. You may do exactly as you deem best for the interests of all concerned, always bearing in mind the one important point that I require secrecy, as far as the public is concerned."

"I understand you, sir."

"The thing is to rid ourselves of Mustushimi and his followers; and, incidentally, to make it appear to all those who wish to introduce the spy system into this country, that it is a difficult and a dangerous thing to do. Why, Mr. Carter, do you not see that if this sort of thing is not nipped in the bud at once, the time is not far off when the United States will be overrun with spies, as the countries of Europe are, now?"

"I do understand that perfectly well, Sir."

"That is the end I am aiming at."

"And you think the best way to accomplish it is by discrediting their chiefs?"

"I regard it as the only way."

"It reminds me of the method that was employed by Mexico to keep anarchists. out of that country," said the detective.

"How was that--"

"It was rather heroic, I suppose you will think; but it was effective."

"Tell me about it."

"It was at the time when General Hinhosa was minister of war, down there."

"Yes."

"I think it was in '94 or '95. At all events it was shortly after the activities of the anarchists in France and Spain---a year or two after Ravachol blew up the cafe in Paris, if you recall that incident."

"Perfectly."

"I was in the city of Mexico that year. One day I happened to call upon Hinhosa at his office in the palace, down at the Zocolo, and during a lapse in our conversation, he asked me rather abruptly:

" 'Mr. Carter, do you have anarchists in your country?'

"'Do we !' I exclaimed. 'I should say so, They are a blot on our peace of mind, there.'

"'Why don't you take a lesson from us, then, as how to serve them' he asked me.

"'Tell me about it,' I suggested. He replied:

"'Not long ago this department received advices from the court of Spain that three noted, anarchists were known to have sailed from there on a certain ship, bound for this country. We were told that the ship--a tramp on which they were passengers should arrive at Vera Cruz at about such a time, and we were advised not to permit them to land, as it was known that they were coming here to organize branches of their society.'

"'Well, sir?' I asked him.

"'When the ship arrived at Vera Cruz,' he continued, 'the anarchists were met by three officers of the Mexican army, who were disguised, of course. The officers toldthe men that they were sympathizers in the cause and that they had received notice of the expected arrival of those in men. The story of it is that the anarchists were induced to go ashore quietly with the army officers; they were taken to the city of Orizaba on a special train that night, and they were conducted straight into the prison-yard of that city, thinking that they were on their way to a meeting of the anarchists of Mexico.'

"'And you imprisoned them there?' I asked. 'They were shot, at daylight, the next morning,' he replied quietly. I have always thought, Mr. President, that that was the very best way to convince their sympathizers that Mexico was an unsafe place for their kind."

"Undoubtedly. But that sort of method would hardly answer here, in the United States."

"No. But the same sort of methods can be used-less the bullets."

"You mean that you think they can be frightened out' I don't mean the anarchists; I refer to the spy systems?"

"I think so."

"Well, Mr. Carter, you are at liberty to employ any means you think so long as the country itself is not held responsible---or, rather so long as it does not appear that the country has to do with it."

"And Mr. President, do you realize what the best method would be for accomplishing the very end you aim at?"

"Perhaps not."

"It will be to convince them that we ourselves have a spy system that is so perfect, that they cannot hope to compete with it."

"I don't know but you are right, Mr. Carter."

"I know that I am right, sir. It is the only course that will convince them, finally."

"Then, by all means, try it."

"I shall do so, sir; and I shall begin at once."

"Then I think I may consider it as accomplished, Mr. Carter," smiled the President.

"I hope that you do not give me credit for too great talents, sir."

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