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

CHAPTER X.
NICK CARTER MAKES A MAN TALK.

It was an interesting coincidence that Patsy arrived at the house with his prisoner just a few moments before the police came from headquarters to take the men away, and so it happened that there were six uniformed officers grouped around Nick-to say nothing of his own friends, and of the bound prisoners on the floor-when Mustushimi's lieutenant was brought before him to be questioned.

He was a tall, lithe, clean-limbed, rather swarthy but withal handsome Frenchman. He still showed the mark made by Patsy's fist, and whenever he glanced toward the latter there was an ugly gleam in his eyes, as if he would like nothing better than to have an opportunity of repaying that blow with considerable interest.

"Your name!" demanded the detective curtly; but the fellow smiled at him, and replied:

"Find out, mistaire."

"I will," said Nick. "Senator, hand me the end of that wire you saw me attaching to the switchboard a moment ago. This chap hasn't had a taste of our medicine, as yet. I think he would like some of it. Patsy?"

"Yes, sir."

"Take your place at the switchboard. When I say 'One!' move the lever to the third notch. When I say 'Two!' move it to the fourth notch, and, after that, as I count upward, move it one notch at hold up my hand for you to stop."

"All right, chief."

Nick took the wires in his hand-there were two of them-and one of them he fastened to the Frenchman's left hand, so that the bulb at the end of it was exactly in his palm. The man had to be held while Nick did this, but it was accomplished after a moment; and then the detective stood in front of him with the other wire in his grasp, for it was insulated, of course.

"Now, you Frenchman, attend to me!" he ordered. "What is your name?"

"I have a dozen," was the smiling reply. "I don't know that I particularly object to giving you one of them. You may call me Dumont."

"That will answer very well for the present. Now answer what I shall ask you, and do it clearly, or you shall be made to suffer."

"Perhaps I will answer you, and perhaps I won't. We will see about that," was the impertinent reply.

"Baron Mustushimi is your chief, is he not?"

"I don't know the gentleman," replied the Frenchman.

Nick stepped forward quickly toward him and touched the bulb, at the end of the wire he carried, to the Frenchman's hand, which had been tied beside his body so that he could not use it.

"One!" he called out to Patsy, and the young assistant moved the lever over three notches. Instantly the Frenchman started, and a surprised look of pain came into his eyes; but he controlled himself admirably, and straightened up again as if nothing had happened.

"Answer the question," said Nick sternly.

"I do not know the--"

"Two!" the detective called out, and the lever was moved another notch.

The Frenchman writhed, but remained silent, after waiting a moment Nick said:

"Three!"

The Frenchman writhed now terribly; the blood rushed to his face, turning it almost to a hue of purple. He gritted his teeth, and he found voice enough to curse roundly.

"Four!" said the detective; and the Frenchman almost screamed out, so suddenly, did the additional shock come.

"Five!" counted the detective mercilessly, without waiting this time; and the Frenchman groaned aloud.

"Six! Seven! Eight!"

A wild scream rang through the room. The French-man's arms and legs were twisted almost out of shape, and after a second he shrieked:

"Mercy? Mercy!"

The detective raised his hand, and instantly Patsy turned off all the current-and the reaction was so great that instantly the Frenchman dropped to the floor, limp and nerveless, and with a loud sigh of intense relief. Nick Carter waited a moment, and then he asked calmly:

"Are you satisfied, Dumont?"

"Yes; oh, yes.

"You don't care for any more of that, do you?"

"No; oh, no."

"Will you reply to my questions now?"

"Yes."

"Then get upon your feet again. Here, I will help you. There. Now, are you prepared to reply to the questions I shall ask you?"

"Yes, sir."

"Answer the one I asked before then. Are you in the employ of Baron Mustushimi?"

"Yes."

"Since when?"

"Two years."

"In this country all the time?"

"No; I have been in Russia most of the time. I just come here."

"He sent for you?"

"Certainly."

"In what capacity do you serve him?"

"I am his assistant."

"His lieutenant?"

"If you choose to call it so-yes."

"You are literally second in his command, are you?"

"Yes."

"In his absence, you are chief over the men?"

"Yes."

"Do you know the baron's secrets?"

"I am supposed to know them."

"Do you know where he lives? The place that he calls home, in this city?"

"Yes."

"Where is it?"

"In D Street, southwest."

"Can you direct us so that house without difficulty?"

"Yes."

"You know that he made his escape when you all entered this house-but, no; I am forgetting. You were not here, When your men here entered this house, and were caught by the same sort of electric current that you have just now tested, Baron Mustushimi made his escape. He managed to break away, for he was too great a personal coward to enter the house with his men, and hung in the background so that he only got what came to him through the knob of the door. He got away from it and fled, leaving all his men to suffer while he escaped. Now, I want to know where he was likely to go, to hide himself."

"He has a house in the country-in Virginia."

"I know that, and he knows that I do. I was there once. He will recall the circumstance, and will not go there. Where else?"

"The house in D Street, southwest."

"Do you think he would be likely to go there?"

"More likely than elsewhere, sir."

"Why?"

"Because I think I am the only one of his men who knows about that place."

"Answer, you others! Did any of you know about that house, until you heard this man speak of it just now?"

They replied by a chorus of negatives.

"It is likely, then, that he will go there," said Nick; "unless he stops to recall the fact that you, Dumont, are a prisoner, and are likely to betray him. Where is there another place that he might go?"

"I only know of one."

"Where is that?"

"To the Japanese legation."

"Do you think he would dare go there, under the circumstances?"

"I don't know. When he is frightened he does desperate things- and he is a coward. But I hardly think that the ambassador would consent to receive him. I happen to know that he is not on good terms with the ambassador."

"Perhaps the ambassador doesn't of Mustushimi's methods."

"I know that he does not."

"Then it is not likely that he has attempted to go there. I think we will look for him at the house in D Street. Now, Dumont?"

"Yes, sir. I have answered so far, and I might as well now tell you all you wish to know. I suppose I will be allowed my liberty if I do?"

"You will be set free, when I have done with you, providing you leave the country at once."

"I will do that only too gladly."

"Very well. Now reply."

"Yes."

"There are twenty-one of your men in this room, besides yourself. There are twenty more in another house near here. All are prisoners. Now, how many more are there, in Mustushimi's employ, in the city of Washington?"

"He has fifty men in all, now, besides himself and me."

"So there are nine who are still at liberty?"

"Yes; if you have counted those who are prisoners correctly."

"You are sure that there are no more?"

"Yes, sir."

"Is there a place of meeting, a headquarters?"

"Yes."

"Where is it?"

"Across the long bridge, in Virginia. It is a gambling-house but there is no game there now, and has not been for a long time. That is the meeting-place."

"Don't you think it possible that Mustushimi might have gone there to hide, instead of the house in D Street?"

"It is possible."

"And those other nine men you referred to-do you think it is likely that we would find any of them there, if we should go there at once, in search of them?"

"It is more than likely. They sleep there-most of the men-and Mustushimi drew on the reserves for tonight's work."

The detective turned to the captain of police who was in charge of the uniformed men who were there, and said to him:

"That is all, I think. You may take these men away now, if you will, and ask the major to hold them all for me until I send word from the official who is my authority in this matter. I know that you and your men cannot go to Virginia to make an arrest, and so I shall take the law into my own hands, and trust to luck not to disturb any of those Virginia officials who are at the other end of the long bridge. My own friends will accompany me, if you will take charge of the prisoners.Tell the major to expect me at any moment."

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