The Great Spy System, or, Nick Carter's Promise to the President
NICK CARTER'S BOLD DEFIANCE.
"Would you mind telling me how you are going to do it?" asked the
"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."
"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?"
"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?"
"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;
"Very good. Now you must understand that the other house-the one
back of this one-is protected in the same manner."
"Wait a moment, senator."
"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
"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."
"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
"You seem to have figured the thing out pretty carefully,
"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."
"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
"You mean that they won't be able to let go?"
"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
"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
"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?"
"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
"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."
"Won't the people in the other houses on the street raise a row,
"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
"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
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
"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!"