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

CHAPTER XII
NICK CARTER KEEPS HIS PROMISE TO THE PRESIDENT.

The first blow smashed the door loose on its fastenings; the second one sent it clattering, to the floor, and the detective, still with the ax in his grasp, leaped across the open space, and into the anteroom beyond.

Here, another door - a much less substantial one gave upon the gambling room proper, and another blow of the ax - against that one sent it crashing into the room so that it fell several feet away from them; and the opening disclosed a group of men who had started to their feet, with frightened faces, and terrorized demeanor - for the crashing of the two doors had followed one upon the other so closely that they had not had time to do anything.

The room was brilliantly alight, notwithstanding the gloom without- and it was evident at a glance that the attacking party had arrived on the scene none too soon, for the men had made every preparation for leaving.

On the tables around them was such baggage as they possessed, showing that they had made ready to take everything away with them, and to leave nothing which might betray the late uses to which the gambling-house had been put.

Nick also discovered in that first view he had of the interior of the place, that Dumont had spoken the truth.

There was exactly ten men there, and one of them ---he who now shrank to the background-was Mustushimi himself, showing, his teeth in a snarl of abject fear, and realizing that he was caught at last.

It was plain also that the men -who were surprised almost out of their wits, expected that they were attacked by a large force, and did not dream that the two who leaped into the room were the only ones they had to fear for the moment; and when, an instant later Chick appeared, followed by the senator, and appeared, too, from the rear room where luncheon is sometimes served, they seemed certain of this view.

Without hesitation they threw up their hands, and stood there trembling, not knowing what was to happen next, for Mustushimi had just been relating to them the awful experiences in the house in the northeast section of the city, where he said he had been almost killed by electricity.

These men did not know that there was not some such arrangement prepared for them, and they cowered down fearfully.

Spies of that sort are rarely brave men, and these certainly were not.

"Hands up!" ordered the detective, sternly; and they obeyed him to a man, for it did not occur to them to fight. They did not doubt that there were half a hundred other men ready to throw themselves upon them at the least resistance.

"Now, Chick," continued the detective, when he had seen that they obeyed him, "have you got those ropes ready?"

"I have."

"Use them, then. Bind the lot. Tie them so that there will be no getting away. Tie their hands behind them. Patsy, you help."

The work of tying them began at once, and then it was that Nick discovered Mustushimi, as he tried to slink toward the door that gave him an opportunity to escape.

Nick started toward him, when with a snarl the Jap turned upon him, and leaped at his throat like a cat, and he had succeeded in producing a long and gleaming knife from some concealed place in his clothing.

But Nick, with a kick, sent the knife-flying across the room, and then as Mustushimi tried to make use of one of his ju jutsu tricks on the detective, he found himself met by another, and the next instant be was sent whirling across the room like a veritable wheel in the air, and his head and shoulders struck against the wall so that he fell to the floor almost senseless. I

The moment he touched it, Nick was upon him, and Baron Mustushimi - if he was a baron, which has since been denied by his countrymen - speedily found himself with irons on his wrists and ankles, and one of his own handkerchiefs tied firmly in his mouth, for he began to yell in a most cowardly way the moment he found that he was caught.

A little later, when the men were tied, and when everything was in readiness, there was a procession formed, which marched slowly across the bridge, which is more than a mile long, toward Washington; and there was a rope which stretched from man to man along the line, so that none of them could break away and attempt to make a run for it.

The procession was followed by the hack, with Nick Carter seated upon the box beside the driver, and with his three friends inside of it, all keeping careful watch of the prisoners, who were obliged to walk.

And so, presently, they entered the city of Washington; but the hour was still so early that by following the back streets, they attracted no attention, and so they finally made their way across the city, and to the northwest section, where, not far from the National Hotel, the headquarters of police is situated.

At headquarters, Nick and the major in command retired to the private room of the latter, and there Baron Mustushimi was put through an examination which in New York City would be called the "Third Degree."

Anyhow it was sufficiently severe; and the baron, who supposed, by remaining in the country after having once been ordered out of it, that he had forfeited his life, cringed in abject fear, and was ready enough to tell all that the detective demanded of him, when once he was assured that, if he did so, his life would be spared.

But he was not promised his liberty.

Nick preferred that the President should give him that, if he chose to do so, and in his own inimitable way.

But Mustushimi gave up all he knew.

He told of the organization of his spy system throughout the country, to the utmost detail; how there were hundreds of his men, under another lieutenant, in San Francisco, and in other cities of the country, and he related all the secrets about them, where their meeting places were located, and how they could best be captured.

And he confessed -which was more important- that his government had nothing whatever to do with this movement, but that it was inaugurated and carried on by a political set at home, who were enemies to the Japanese Government, and who really sought to overthrow it.

It was half-past ten o'clock the following morning when Nick Carter drove to the White House in a closed hack, with Mustushimi beside him. He had already sent the word agreed upon between him and the President, ahead of him, so he was sure of instant reception.

And when they arrived, and were taken to the President's room for the audience, they found him awaiting them, standing as he had done before, at the door, and entering the room after them.

The great man nodded and smiled toward the detective, but addressed himself at once to the prisoner.

"You did not choose to obey the order I gave you before, to leave the country, baron," he said coldly; and oh, how coldly he can speak when he wishes to do so. The mere sound of his voice at such a time sends a chill down the spine of a listener.

Mustushimi did not reply. What was there for him to say?

"What shall I do with you now?" he continued, after a short pause.

"I pray you, sir, give me permission to kill myself," pleaded the man, who found his voice at last.

"No. I will not do that. Mr. Carter," he added, turning to the detective, "what, shall I do with this man?"

"I would suggest, Mr. President," replied the detective, "that you inform the Japanese ambassador of all the facts in my possession, and turn this man over to him. Permit him to do with him as he pleases."

"Do you think, Mr. Carter, that such a course would be wise, under all the circumstances?"

"I think, sir, that it would be most wise."

"Then it shall be done. I feel that you know whereof you speak, and that therefore there are things connected with this case that I know nothing about. If you say it shall be the ambassador, it shall be so."

"Oh, no, no, no, no!" cried out Mustushimi; but Nick silenced him, and then again addressing the President, he said:

"The government of Japan has had nothing to do with this affair, sir."

"I have never really supposed that it had," was the calm reply. "We are on too good terms for it to do so."

"Mustushimi is the mere instrument of a political party that is inimical to his own government, and I think he has information which the ambassador would like to possess."

"Then to the ambassador he shall go, Will you undertake to conduct him there, with a letter that I shall give you, Mr. Carter?"

"I certainly will, sir."

"Then do so. I will write the letter at once," and the President seated himself at the table to do so.

"Do not send me there. I will be tortured if you do cried out the baron; but they who listened pretended not to hear, and a half-hour later Nick Carter left the White House again, with Mustushimi beside him, and rode to the Japanese legation. And there he left him.

Before the detective left the White House, the President motioned him aside, and grasping him cordially by the hand, said:

"Mr. Carter, I am under great obligations to you. Good-by."

THE END.

The next number (564) will contain "The Last of Mustushimi; or, Nick Carter's Narrowest Escape."

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