The Great Spy System, or, Nick Carter's Promise to the President
NICK CARTER CONVEYS AN IMPORTANT SIGNAL.
The interview, as recorded, took place in the early evening, for the
detective had arrived in Washington at six o'clock, and had repaired at
once to the Arlington Hotel, where he registered and took a room under
his own name, and where he made no effort at all to conceal his
After that, he had taken dinner, and then, a little before eight,
repaired to the White House, where the President was awaiting him.
It was half-past nine when he came out again, and walked slowly
across Lafayette Square toward the hotel; and he was not surprised-in
fact, he smiled rather broadly-when he noticed at once that he was
As he issued from the White House grounds, he noticed that a man
was loitering near the cast end of the square, and another near the
western end of it. Still another had been on the White House side of the
avenue and had started to walk rapidly in his direction, the instant he
appeared; and through the trees in the square, he could see that there
was still another, while he had not a doubt that there was one or two
more around him somewhere, ready to take up the trail if they should be
called upon to do so.
"Mustushimi does me too much honor," he murmured to himself. "He
has probably put his best men onto me already. Good!"
He continued on his way across the square, as if he was entirely
unobservant of these things, but he was keenly on the alert all the time
lest one of the spies should approach too close to him and that he did
not desire; for it would be an easy matter, in such a case, for one of
them to stick a knife into him, or fire a bullet into his body, or
attack him in some manner, before he could have an opportunity to defend
But the paths across Lafayette Square are wide, and well lighted,
and he could see in all directions almost as plainly as if he had been
on the avenue itself; and the men who were keeping him in view remained
at a respectful distance-and so, presently, he passed into the entrance
of the hotel and seated himself in the office of it, having lighted a
And then, across the floor from toward the desk, there
approached a certain senator from the West* who had been active in that other case
to which reference was made in his talk with the President-the senator
identity Nick had assumed for a time in order the better to work
out his case at that time.
"Hello, Carter," he said, dropping into a chair near the
detective, after shaking hands. "I happened to see your name on the
register, and asked if it was indeed you. Finding that I was not
mistaken, I have waited to see you."
"That is kind of you, senator," replied the detective.
"Fact is, I really wished to see you, Carter."
"Yes? That is kinder still."
"I wonder if I would be trespassing on private grounds if I asked
why you are here, Mr. Carter? I don't want to be impertinent, but if it
happens to be anything about that other affair in which we were actually
"I am assured, senator, that I may rely upon your discretion, so
I will admit that it is."
"I guessed it, Carter."
"Did you? Why?"
"Because I happen to know that Mustushimi is still in the city of
"Are you sure of that?"
"What makes you so sure?"
"I have seen him."
"Not an hour ago; in fact, only a few minutes before I discovered
your name on the register of this hotel."
"That was rather an odd coincidence, senator," said the detective
"Yes; if it was a coincidence-which I am inclined to doubt."
"Because it struck me that my seeing him and hearing of your
presence at the same time would argue that he was around this
neighborhood because he had been told of your arrival."
"I think there is no doubt of that. Where did you see him?"
"I almost ran into him directly in front of the Lafayette Square
"At what time, if you can tell me exactly?"
"An hour and a quarter ago."
The detective nodded. He knew that it was at the time when he was
with the President.
"The fact is, Carter," continued the senator, "the sight of him
brought you to my mind, and I came over here at once, purposely to
ascertain if you were in town, if I could do so. I saw your name on the
register, and then I remained here until your return to warn you."
"To warn me of what, senator?"
"I think that fellow would put you out of business if he had half
a chance, and you may be sure that he will seek the chance."
"I haven't any doubt of that."
"I hope you'll be on your guard, Carter."
"I shall try to be so."
"And, of course, if there is anything that I can do to assist
you, you can command me at any time. You know that."
"Don't you think that you stand in some danger from Mustushimi,
"I have never thought much about it, to tell the truth."
saw and recognized him in front of the operahouse, it is safe to say
that he also saw and recognized you."
"And realized that you had recognized him."
"And therefore set one of his men upon you to follow you and
ascertain where you went. Consequently, he knew that you came here,
looked at the register, found my name, and then composed yourself to
await my arrival, in order that you might tell me what you knew."
"Also, that at this very moment, somewhere around here, he or one
of his men is watching us, and one of his lip-reading experts is
probably at this moment studying everything that I say."
"And what I say, as well, eh?" laughed the senator.
"Pardon me, Carter, but you are seated facing that window,
exactly as if you wished the spies of that man to know what you are
"I am taking this method of warning Mustushimi that I am here
after him, and that I am going to get him, too. I am taking this
opportunity to send word to him, through his spy who is now reading from
the motion of my lips all that I am saying, that I have no doubt that he
will attempt to assassinate me in some manner so that it will appear to
be an accident, but he must remember that I was not brought into the
world to be put to death by such as he."
"Upon my word, Carter, you are strange tonight!"
"No. I am sending a message to Mustushimi. Out yonder, at the
opposite side of Connecticut Avenue, there stands a man who looks like a
Frenchman, who is one of Mustushimi's spies. He reads what I am saying
now and he is getting nervous. He is only a common scoundrel, and coward
Nick broke off into a hearty laugh, and the senator stared.
"What are you laughing at?" he demanded.
"I was laughing at the fellow over there-the one I referred to."
"What did he do?"
"When he found that I was talking to him instead of to you-for
that is what I was doing-he got madder and madder, and when I told him
he was a coward, he shook his fist at me."
"At least, Carter, you will know him the next time you see him."
"Oh, I am not so sure of that. He is a chameleon who can change
his appearance as well as his colors. A scoundrel like that, who will
serve under any flag, isn't fit to live. But as you say, I think I will
know him again -in fact, senator, now that I think of it, I believe that
I will have an opportunity to see him close by, and to talk with him,
"You do? How?"
"I will tell you that a little later, senator."
"Is he there yet?"
"I should think he would go away now that he knows he has been
"Oh, no; he knows that he would have ample time to escape, if I
should leave my chair to go over there after him. He is bound to stay
there as long as he can read, from the movement of my lips, what I am
"But how are you going to catch him so that you can talk with
him, as you suggested?"
"As I said before, I will tell you that later on. Now, let us
return to yourself. We were discussing yourself a moment ago, weren't
"I was referring to the fact that you stand in some danger,
senator. I think I am correct about it too. It would be well for you to
be constantly on your guard, sir."
"Oh. I am always more or less on my guard. I am not afraid."
"I know that. I merely wished to warn you."
"I was brought up in the West when it was a wild place, Carter. I
have been used to danger all my life. I have faced death a great many
times, and I am not going torun away from a parcel of little brown men,
"No; I don't think you are one of that kind."
"Besides, it is a long- a lifetime habit of mine to go around
"That is a good idea, especially under the present
All that time Nick was looking out of the window, watching
closely everything that was occurring on the opposite side of the street
where he had discovered the spy standing, and watching him.
For the reader knows that Nick Carter went everywhere, prepared
for all things that might happen.
The letter he had received from the President, while it had
explained nothing, had nevertheless informed the detective at once what
he was called to Washington for; and he had gone there prepared to take
up the case in his own way.
And just at that moment, when he seemed to become somewhat
abstracted, and did not pay the strict attention to the senator that he
had been doing, it was because he saw one of his assistants come around
the corner near the drug store and slowly approach the spot where the
spy was standing.
It was Patsy, and Patsy was ready to obey any signal that his
chief might choose to convey to him- for Patsy was one of three who had
accompanied Nick Carter to Washington that day, coming, however,
secretly, so that no one save themselves might understand that Nick had
brought any one with him.
And now when Patsy appeared around the corner and approached the
spot where the spy was standing, the detective leaned back in his chair
and raised his arms three times over his head.
It was his signal to Patsy.
NICK CARTER WEEKLY, No 562.