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

CHAPTER VII.
NICK CARTER'S BOLD DEFIANCE.

"Would you mind telling me how you are going to do it?" asked the senator.

"Not at all, since there seems to be plenty of time."

"I confess that I am curious to hear."

"I thought of the plan last night before I started Chick off to come here in advance of me. I told him exactly what to do. He was to visit the electric company which supplies the light and power here, and get them to assist him, after which it was a mere question of his being able to secure help enough to do the wiring before the time set when all must be in readiness."

"Well?"

"He got the consent of the company, and he evidently found the men, for he has told me that everything is in readiness."

"So you know what has been done, the same as if you had seen to it all yourself, eh?"

"Precisely."

"What has been done?"

"Step out here a moment, and I will show you."

Nick took the senator into the hallway, and pointed toward the balustrade that ascended beside the stairs.

"Don't you notice," he said, "that there is a strip of metal, lying along the top of the rail?"

"Yes."

"Look closer, and you will see that there is also a strip of insulation beneath it, to protect the woodwork."

"I see it."

"Well, every place in the house where a stranger, upon entering, would be likely to rest his hand, is wired and insulated in just that manner-for those strips of metal are what you might call flat wires; no?"

"Yes."

"Very good. Now you must understand that the other house-the one back of this one-is protected in the same manner."

"But-"

"Wait a moment, senator."

"All right."

"There is a wire run into each of the houses, which brings in the strong current that operates the arc-lights of the street. Have you gotten onto that?"

"Yes; but won't it kill a man?"

"It might; but I haven't finished explaining yet."

"Go on, then."

"There is a switchboard arranged with resistance-coils, in the front room of the second floor of each house,and from either of those switchboards I can turn onwhatever amount of current I please. If you werestanding here, holding to this rail, and I were at theswitchboard, I could give you enough of a shock toknock you galley west, or I could give you just enoughto astonish and frighten you, as I happened to wish todo. See?"

"Jingo, but that's great!"

"I believed that I could induce these men of Mustushimi's, or, at least, enough of them to make it worth while, to attack me in this house, and to force an entrance here. I laid my plans to that effect before I left New York. I even had Chick cause a notice to appear in the Star to-night, that Nick Carter was in town on an important case, connected with a certain Japanese gentleman who had once been ordered out of the country. You may be sure that some of his associates saw that, and called his attention to it."

"You seem to have forgotten nothing, Carter."

"One must remember things when one is in my business."

"I suppose so."

"Of course, when I started out, and when I ordered all these arrangements made, there was no certainty in my mind that my expectations would be fulfilled, but I made sure to be prepared for the moment if it came,-or if I could bring it about."

"I see."

"And now you understand why I have purposely kept myself in plain sight, all along; why I chose to sit at the window over there at the hotel, and talk so that the spy across the street could read what I was saying, from the motion of my lips."

"Yes. But that spy was the one captured by Patsy. He has had no chance to report what he saw you say, at that time."

"Don't think he was the only one who was watching me. I haven't a doubt that the chief himself was watching me at the time. I figured that he was."

"You seem to have figured the thing out pretty carefully, Carter."

"I have. I had to do so, if I wished to be successful. I have promised the President that I would deliver Mustushimi to him in person, and I want to do it to-morrow morning."

"Suppose that the chief himself does not enter the house? Suppose he leaves that part of the work for his followers to do."

"In that case we will have to force those we do catch to tell us where to find their chief-and with the aid of the electricity it can be done. There is nothing in the world of which an ordinary man stands in such deadly fear as of electricity; and in the case of fellows like these, who know very little about it, they will think that they are going to be electrocuted offhand."

"It will be funny, I have no doubt."

"Funny! You wait!"

"Put I don't see yet just how you are going to catch them. When you shock one, the others will turn and run."

"Not a bit of it. They won't have a chance to do that."

"Why not?"

"Because I shall not deliver the shock until they are all pretty nearly where I want to get them, and whoever has his hand on one of those strips of metal will keep it there; you can bet your life on that."

"You mean that they won't be able to let go?"

"Yes."

"Hark!" exclaimed the senator. "What was that?"

It is Chick returning from the other house. Wait here and keep a watch on the windows, and I will go and meet him."

"What shall I do if I see that an attack is about to be made?"

"Just call out to me, that is all."

The detective descended to the basement then, and met Chick, who was returning from the other house.

"Well?" he asked of him.

"There are seven of them outside the other house," explained Chick. "Gordon thinks that they have somehow tumbled to the idea that we are using both of the houses, and it is his idea that they mean to attack them both at the same time."

"It is my idea, also. It has been so all the time. Mustushimi is far too smart to be taken in by appearances."

"Then how shall we divide our forces?"

"You will remain there with Gordon. I will keep the senator here with me."

"Do you think you can depend upon him if it comes to a fight-if the wires should fail to work, or anything like that?"

"Yes, I do. He is all wool and a yard wide, that man, and he isn't afraid of anything."

"I like him, Nick."

"So do I. Now, get back with Gordon, and remember to wait until you have nearly all of them, if they do get inside, before you turn on the current. Will you be careful?"

"You bet I will."

"We ought to gather in quite a bunch of them before the night is over, Chick."

"And we will, too. The only thing I'm afraid of is that Mustushimi himself will not get caught. According to all that you have told me, he is a crafty scoundrel, and he may hang back."

"I don't think there is any doubt of it. But if he does, we will follow him, no matter where he goes. I've got to take him to the White House in the morning."

"You didn't promise as soon as that, did you?"

"No; but I want to do it, just the same."

"By the way, Nick, there is a supply of ropes and things to tie them with after they are caught. I put the whole outfit in the front room where the switchboard is located."

"All right. Have you got another supply in the other house?"

"Sure thing."

"All right again. Go back there now."

When the detective returned to the senator, he found the statesman looking through his peep-hole at the window, evidently in some excitement, and he approached and laid his hand upon the senator's shoulder.

"What do you see?" he asked.

"They are coming, Carter."

"I thought it was almost time they made a move."

"They have got a lot of wood, or a beam, or something very like one. I think they are going to use it to smash down the door."

"Without doubt."

"Won't the people in the other houses on the street raise a row, Nick?"

"They will probably all telephone to the police that a terrible riot is going on here, but by the time Major Sylvester thinks it wise to get here all the affair that we are particular about will be over and done with."

"One would suppose, Carter, that you knew beforehand exactly what these fellows would do."

"I do, almost. Given an idea, and a number of men to carry it out, and you can usually figure rather closely what they will do; and, as in a case of this kind, you can lead them to do almost what you wish them to do, if you are accustomed to handling such men."

"It is perfectly amazing to me, Carter."

"I suppose so. Let me get to that window a moment. Where are the men with the battering-ram now?"

"Just at the bottom of the steps. They will be at the door in another moment."

Nick stepped forward, and threw open the window; but as he did so he stepped quickly back again, out of sight, thinking that perhaps a shot might be fired at him.

But none was; and after a second he called out, still keeping his person screened:

"What are you men doing there?"

The men who carried the improvised battering-ram paused for an instant, and then from beyond them a voice replied:

"We wish to speak to Nick Carter."

Nick, who recognized the voice of Mustushimi, replied instantly:

"I am he. What do you want?"

"I am the Baron Mustushimi, and-"

"I knew that, baron. Go on."

"You have one of my men in that house, and I want him at once. Will you deliver him over to me yourself great trouble?"

"I have no such man here as you describe."

"That is not true."

"Well, anyhow, I will not deliver such a man to you."

"Then take the consequences. Forward, men! Smash in the door!"

Home Browse Other Texts Full Text Search Table of Contents for This Issue Previous Section Next Section
Home Browse Other Texts Full Text Search Table of Contents for This Issue Previous Section Next Section