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

CHAPTER IV.
NICK CARTER'S PERFECT PLANS.

"One would suppose that you were signaling, to the spy," said the senator, watching him.

"I was signaling, but not to the spy," replied the detective.

"To whom, then?"

"To one of my assistants, senator." Nick was now shading his lips with one hand so that what he was saying could not be read.

"Do you mean that one of your assistants is over there, near the spy?" asked the senator.

"Yes."

"I begin to understand you now."

"Surely-"

"You brought him here secretly, I suppose."

"Yes; he and two others. They are all busy, right now, doing part of the work that is required of them."

"It was a happy thought when you did that, Carter. One of your assistants is a Jap, isn't he?"

"Yes."

"Is that one here, too, to assist you?"

"No. However faithful to me Ten-Ichi is, I would not ask him to work against his own people. I left him in New York."

"But you said you had three assistants with you."

"So I have. But one of them-Danny-has not been promoted to that position just yet, so far as the title is concerned. He is really my chauffeur; but he is a good lad for all that and quite capable of doing good work. I brought Chick, Patsy, and Danny: and right now, senator, Patsy is approaching that fellow over there, Please don't turn your head to look."

"I won't. You may tell me about it."

"Patsy has ordered a carriage to drive around and up against the curb, directly in front of where the spy is standing. The carriage is approaching now."

"Yes."

"Now it pulls up at the curb; and now-" The detective turned his chair so that he no longer faced the window, and he added: "In about half an hour, senator, we will take a walk together, and interview that spy; that is, if you care to accompany me."

"I should say I do care, Carter. What a fellow you are. But tell me what happened over there. You know I was seated so that I could not see, and you would not permit me to turn."

"No. I didn't think it best, at the moment."

"Tell me what happened, won't you."

"Certainly. A carriage drove around the corner toward the spot where the spy was standing at the same moment that Patsy approached the man on foot. Inside the carriage was either one of the other of my men, Chick or Danny."

"Yes."

"When the carriage was near enough to the spy, the door of it swung open, and the instant it did so, Patsy acted."

"What did he do?"

"He hit Mr. Spy a clip behind the ear with his fist, and in such a manner that he sent the man reeling straight into the open door of the carriage. When the fellow pitched through the door, Chick, or Danny-the one who was in the carriage, waiting-seized him and pulled him inside. Then he closed the door, and the carriage instantly drove away, while Patsy calmly remained where he was."

"It all sounds very simple, Carter."

The detective laughed aloud.

"Such things are simple, when you know exactly how to do them and have the nerve to carry them out," he said. "My men possess both accomplishments."

"Suppose a policeman had been standing near, and had happened to see the whole thing."

"That is precisely why Patsy remained behind," explained the detective.

"Eh? I don't understand."

"If questions were asked, Patsy was there to explain and to show his authority, if necessary."

"I see."

"And he remained there, also, to observe what the other spies would do when this one disappeared. There are as many as half a dozen around us, right now."

"If that is so, one or more of them will follow the carriage, don't you think so?"

"Probably."

"You speak as if that is what you wished to have happen."

"I cannot pretend to understand you, Carter."

"You will understand as we proceed with the casejust now it is 'not necessary that you should do so."

"Nevertheless, I wish you would do me the favor to explain."

"When I was sent for to come here-and I was sent for, as you know-I realized that the only way in which I could hope to succeed quickly would be to force the other fellow's hand, so I adopted this means of doing it."

"What means?"

"I came here in the open. I purposely arranged so that Mustushimi would know at once of my arrival. I believed that if I did that, he would open the ball at once and not wait for me to do it. I knew that he would instantly place half a dozen or more spies on, my trail, and that my best course would be in capturing one of them and forcing the man to tell me all he knew. And so I laid my plans accordingly."

"But if they follow and know where you take the man?"

"If they do that, it will doubtless end in my capturing more than one. My dear senator, I have prearranged a nice little trap for Baron Mustushimi to walk into. I shouldn't wonder if I had the good luck to catch the man himself, as well as some of his underlings."

"Gee! I hope so."

"Senator, there are times when you make use of surprisingly undignified language for a senator of the United States."

"Oh, bother that! I am a plain Westerner, Carter, and I never wear the toga of a senator outside the chamber."

"I think that is one of the reasons why I like you so much."

"I say, Carter."

"Well?"

"Of course you know where your man has taken his prisoner?"

"Of course."

"And you are going there, presently?"

"I just now told you that."

"I hope you haven't forgotten that you promised to take me with you."

"No; I have not forgotten."

"Won't we be followed, too, when we leave here?"

"It is more than likely. I hope so."

"It looks as if we might get a little fun out of this thing before we are through."

"It does, certainly."

"Do you have an idea that they will attempt any of that assassination business to-night?"

"They are likely to attempt it at any moment. It would not surprise me if a bullet should come through this window at us, at any moment."

The senator moved back a little and the detective laughed.

"Do you think they are such poor marksmen that they couldn't hit you, sitting there in full view?" asked the senator.

"No. That is not what I think."

"What then?"

"I have got to take the chance. I always take chances, senator. We have to do so in my business. I did not mean to say that I really think they would dare to shoot through the window at us, but that they might do so. The chances are that they will not. But it wouldn't do for me to appear as if I feared it: Besides, I have a wholesome belief in my own luck."

"I guess there is no doubt of that."

"There isn't."

"How long have you been in the city, Carter?"

"Since about five o'clock."

"And you have made all these arrangements since that time, besides doing the other things you had to do?"

"The arrangements were easy, for you must remember that Washington is an old stamping-ground of mine. I had only to tell my assistants what to do--and I did that before we left New York. Then I went on about my business. They did not come here on the same train that I did."

"I don't suppose you will want to use me again, will you, as you did before?"

"No, senator, it will not be necessary this time. I shall work out the case in another way entirely."

"How soon are you going to start out to see that captured spy?"

"In a few minutes more. I wish to give all the other parties plenty of time."

"To arrange for the assassination?" asked the senator, grimly.

"To arrange for the attempt at it-if they dare such a thing. But I have made my plans carefully, senator. I don't think you need fear the outcome of them."

"Oh, I don't. Not in the least."

"But you are getting impatient; eh?"

"Yes. I admit it."

"Curb your impatience, then. We will start presently. Before we go I wish to tell you something."

"Well?"

"I do so more to kill time than anything else."

"Yes."

"I knew, of course, when I was sent for, that it must be this same man Mustushimi I would be up against. I knew him to be a master at his trade, although personally a coward, and, physically, of no account whatever. I had him handicapped at the start by knowing that he is afraid of me."

"That is a sure thing."

"So I figured it out whatever I accomplished against him must be done in a hurry, or he would find a way to get away from me. If I should consume two or three days in trying to capture him, he would have ample time to lay his plans to outwit me somehow, and while I might get many of his men, and might break up his present organization, I would not get him. And he is the root and stem of the whole thing."

"Of course."

"So I figured it out to draw his fire at once. To force him into the open, so to speak, at the very beginning, believing, as I now do believe, that I can get my claws upon him before the light of another day; and knowing, as I think I know, that if I do not succeed in doing that, he will somehow elude me, personally. The case won't be worth a cent unless I capture the man himself. Do you understand now?"

"Yes. I think so."

"I made up my mind, when I took the train for Washington, that Baron Mustushimi should be my prisoner before morning. Now, let us see how well I calculated,"

"Good! I'm with you. Are you ready?"

"Yes. Come on."

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