The Project Gutenberg eBook of The Babbington case, by Nicholas Carter

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Title: The Babbington case

or Nick Carter's strange quest

Author: Nicholas Carter

Release Date: October 30, 2022 [eBook #69263]

Language: English

Produced by: David Edwards, Chuck Greif and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at


image of the book's cover is unavailable.]


New Eagle Series

New Magnet Library

Some typographical errors have been corrected; a list follows the text.
(etext transcriber's note)

The Babbington Case
Nick Carter’s Strange Quest


Author of “A Double Identity,” “The Poisons of Exili,”
“Out for Vengeance,” etc.

79-89 Seventh Avenue, New York, N. Y.

Copyright, 1911
The Babbington Case

All rights reserved, including that of translation into foreign
languages, including the Scandinavian.
Printed in the U. S. A.





“A man and a woman together; then a man alone.”

Nick Carter thought this remark rather than uttered it in words, as he came to an abrupt pause in his walk and looked down upon the tracks in the snow.

There were no other tracks than those anywhere visible, save only his own, which he had made in his approach to the spot, and he was careful not to approach too near while he made the examination which only his curiosity suggested—for there could have been no other reason at the moment than curiosity to attract him.

But before him was a huge iron gate between two enormous posts; a gate which had the outward appearance of not having been opened in a long time, and, indeed, upon it now, as the detective looked at it, there was a formidable padlock, with its heavy chain, to hold the great barrier against all comers.

Nick Carter could see from where he stood that the lock was securely locked, that the chain had been drawn tightly around the spindles of the iron gate, and, therefore, that the man who had come out of the place alone,{6} after having passed inside with the woman not very long before, had locked it.

There were the tracks he had made when he had turned about to fasten the gate when he came out alone, and there were his tracks when he walked away from the place.

But where was the woman? and why had she not come again with the man?

These were perfectly natural questions which the detective asked himself; natural, because he knew something about the grounds upon which those gates opened, and also something about the house within those grounds.

Still more, he knew something about the people to whom the magnificent residence and grounds belonged.

He remembered also that the light flurry of “sugar” snow which now covered the ground like a white sheet of tissue paper—and it was scarcely thicker than that—had fallen within the last hour.

So it followed that those tracks must have been made within that hour.

Within an hour a man and a woman had entered the grounds of Pleasantglades—for that is the name by which the magnificent estate was known, or, at least, it is the one that we will use here to represent it—within an hour the two had entered together, and the man had come out alone, locking the gate after him, and, therefore, leaving her there.

And Nick Carter knew that the great house was unoccupied; that there was not even a caretaker there, so—{7}

Why had two gone in and only one come out?

Curiosity gave place to interest; and as he studied the footprints with still more care, interest became absorbtion.

Both persons had been well shod. The woman daintily so, for, as the detective looked even more closely, he came almost to the opinion that she had been wearing slippers.

And the tracks of the man suggested dress shoes, even pumps, if one was to call upon one’s imagination just a trifle.

The hour, be it said, when the detective discovered the tracks in the snow, was between two and three o’clock in the morning, and a hundred feet away from the gate an arc light glowed brightly. Otherwise, the place would have been intensely dark, for, although that flurry of snow had lasted but a few minutes, it was still cloudy and threatening.

If Nick had approached the gate from the opposite direction, he might not have noticed the tracks at all; but, as it happened, he had approached toward the light, and had looked directly down upon them, plainly revealed.

The place was quite near to New York; near enough so that the detective had gone there in his car since dark that night.

The business that had taken him there had nothing to do with this thing that now interested him, and, if it seems strange to the reader that he should have been strolling along such a thoroughfare alone at that hour{8} of the morning, we need only to say that that is quite another and different story.

What would be your impulse, reader, if you made just such a discovery as this one?

Would it not be to follow the footprints of the man without delay, to find out where he had gone, and with the probability of learning his identity? Probably. And yet Nick Carter knew at once how fruitless such a pursuit would be, since at the next corner toward the direction the man had taken, which was approximately three hundred feet distant, two trolley tracks passed, and it was upon a thoroughfare where there was considerable travel; the tracks left by this strange man, therefore, would be quickly lost at that point, even if he had not succeeded in stepping upon a trolley car, and being borne away in one direction or the other.

Nevertheless, after a moment of thought, Nick ran along the street to that corner, for it had occurred to him that possibly the two, the man and the woman, had come to that point in a motor car, and if that were so there would still be evidence of the fact that such a car had stopped there.

He found that much evidence, too, but no more.

There, beside the curb in this same street upon which the gate was located, were the plain tracks in the snow, showing where the car had pulled out after the man had returned to it, although there were no tracks to show its approach.

And this demonstrated the undoubted fact that the motor had arrived there just about at the beginning of the fall of snow.{9}

Nick remembered that it had continued to snow not more than ten or fifteen minutes at the most, and so it was at once apparent to the detective that the car had arrived at the corner just before the snow began to fall; that the two had remained in the car for several moments thereafter, probably discussing the trip from the car to the house, and had finally left it while the snow was still falling rapidly.

Well, all that was not important save to demonstrate that one of the persons, probably the woman, had not left the car to go to the house willingly, but that persuasion of some sort had been resorted to.

If the car arrived at the corner before the snow began to fall—and Nick knew that it had done so—and if the snow had ceased to fall while they were midway of the distance of three hundred feet, it followed that they must have remained talking together in the car for at least eight minutes, and, at the most, thirteen minutes.

And yet there was no evidence anywhere to be seen that the woman had not accompanied the man willingly enough.

It was apparent that she had walked along by his side even without clinging to his arm, for the tracks were not close enough together to suggest that; there was no place where it appeared that she had made any effort to turn back; there was no suggestion anywhere, that the detective could see, save the one of the hesitation, while still in the car, that the woman had not gone willingly enough.

The car itself, upon leaving the corner, had been{10} driven upon the trolley tracks where it had been turned southward toward the city.

It must not be supposed that the detective wasted any time in making these discoveries. A glance at the tracks in the snow as he ran to the corner, then at the tracks left by the car, was all that was needed to inform him of the points already made, and he turned and went toward the great gate again, thinking.

Plainly, as a humane man, if not as a detective, it was his duty to enter the grounds of Pleasantglades and to find out what had become of that woman who had entered there with a man, at or soon after two o’clock in the morning, and who had not come out again.

He decided, as he again approached the gate, to go inside.

To decide to go inside, and to get inside were quite two different things.

Nick decided that the top of the wall was quite fourteen feet above the pavement where he stood. He could see that it was guarded by that most effective of all means for such a guard—by broken glass set in cement.

The gate between the two high posts was a double one, which opened at the middle, and the tops of the highest spears were nearly as high as the posts themselves, while the shortest ones were only a trifle lower than the walls.

Plainly the only method of entering the grounds was by opening the gate, and that meant that he must either pick the lock, or file through the chain that held the{11} two gates together, for, although he had his nippers with him, they were by far too small and delicate to bite through a chain of that size.

And his picklock, which he was never without, had not been intended for locks of that sort, for he found when he examined it that it was of the most complicated pattern of padlock, and that it had probably been made to order for the owners of the place.

Indeed, as he examined it more closely, he found it to be one of those rare locks which require the use of two, and sometimes three, keys, to open them.

His picklock was therefore out of business for once.

But he had his pocket case of delicate tools with him, and among those tools was a file which would eat through that chain, or any other one, in short order; and so, at last, he took it from the case and adjusted it.

It was the last extremity to which he resorted, for he disliked the idea of filing his way into the place, necessary as it seemed to be, that he should enter. He would greatly have preferred to scale the wall, or to pick the lock if either had been possible.

He did not like the idea of leaving the place unguarded even temporarily, when he came out again, for, after all, there was no certainty that he would find anything wrong, and it was quite possible that there might be a plausible and logical reason and explanation for all the things he had discovered that had interested him so greatly.

But he had decided that he would go inside, and, therefore, he went inside with no more delay than was absolutely necessary.{12}

That little file of his, no larger than the blade of a penknife, and not much longer, ate through the chain cleanly and rapidly, and, although we have taken so much time and space to describe his discovery of the tracks in the snow and to explain his reasonings upon that discovery, it is doubtful if more than fifteen minutes had actually elapsed after he first saw the footprints, until he opened one of the gates, passed through, and closed the gate after him.

Then, having rearranged the chain again with great care so that it would not be noticed that it had been tampered with, he turned to follow the tracks in the snow, that led toward the great mansion.{13}



Pleasantglades, although located directly within a large community which has lately taken upon itself the dignity of a city, and situated almost at the center of it, is as isolated, in more senses than one, as if it were in the midst of a forest. There are many who will read what is written here who know the place perfectly well, and have often admired it—and who would recognize it at once if the right name of it were given.

But there are reasons, which will develop later in the story, why the exact name and locality cannot be given here. Suffice it to say that it is within an hour of New York City by motor car.

The high wall that has already been described incloses six acres of beautiful grounds, which the owner always referred to as “The Park.”

From the great gate, which strangely enough is the only entrance to the grounds, or park, the roadway winds in two directions, to the right and to the left, among splendid trees, and in the summertime there is no more beautiful and spacious home to be found anywhere near the metropolis.

The owner, J. Cephas Lynne, was justly proud of it—almost as proud of this possession, as of one greater one that was his, his daughter.

We have to mention her here and now, because it{14} was Edythe Lynne, or, rather, all that remained of her—her dead body—that Nick Carter speedily found when at last he forced his way into the house just as a burglar would have done it, only more expertly even than that, and penetrated to the beautiful room which he judged to have been one of her own private suite.

She was in the parlor or boudoir of her suite; she was lying peacefully upon a large couch among a myriad of pillows, which had been tastefully and comfortably arranged to support her body in a comfortable and graceful position.

She was reclining entirely at ease, as if she had arranged herself there to rest, having first fixed the pillows so that she could do so in comfort, fully dressed as for a party or a wedding, as she was.

One hand, the left one, rested upon a pillow that was partly behind her, the arm being stretched out to its full length; the other one hung partly over the edge of the divan couch, as if it had fallen there in that position of its own weight.

And just beneath that right hand, upon the rug, was a tiny glass vial capable of holding thirty to forty drops of liquid—and the room was pungent with the odor of almonds.

It was not difficult to guess, because of that odor, what the vial had contained: Prussic acid. Nor was it difficult to understand that the man who had taken her there and murdered her had carefully arranged everything so that it should appear to be an undoubted suicide.

To understand and appreciate everything just as{15} Nick Carter found them, and as he discovered them, it must be remembered that it was still pitchy dark outside, and that there were no light connections in the great mansion at that time. As a consequence, the detective’s only means of searching the place was by the aid of his electric flash light, which he always carried with him when engaged upon business—and he had been on business of quite another nature, when he discovered those tracks in the snow.

When he forced his way into the house by picking the lock of the same door to which the tracks had led him, traces of the snow that those other two had brought into the house with them led him speedily enough to the scene we have already partly described.

And when he opened the door to that room, and threw his light from point to point about it, the shaft of illumination at last rested directly upon the beautiful face of the dead girl on the couch.

Such was the picture he saw before he made further investigation.

Then came the other details that we have told about, and some others that are yet to be told.

A long coat of sable, that might have reached to the young woman’s ankles, had been carefully laid across the back of a chair, and upon that were the scarf and veil that she had worn as a head covering, and they had been put there with exactly the same degree of careless attention that she might have used in doing so.

A fan, her gloves, and a gold vanity box set with jewels were upon the table in the middle of the room,{16} and, beside them, was a sealed envelope addressed to J. Cephas Lynne.

The writing on the envelope was in the bold, rather large feminine hand that was in vogue at that time, and was presumably her own—or an imitation of her own handwriting; underneath the address was written the one further word, “Personal.”

There was not a thing about the room to indicate that another person than herself had visited it, and, although the detective searched diligently for such evidence, he could find no trace of the man who had accompanied her to the house which had been her home.

Never in the experience of Nick Carter had he known of a clear case of murder like this one, where the murderer had left absolutely nothing undone to demonstrate a suicide; but Nick Carter, because of those tracks in the snow, because he had arrived upon the scene at precisely the psychological moment to understand them, and because he had read the other signs that we have described, knew it to be a deliberately planned and executed crime.

There was not the slightest doubt of that in his mind, and, therefore, he did not hesitate to break the seal of that letter which otherwise would have been sacred.

But there was no time to be lost in getting a trace of that man who had accompanied the young woman to the house.

One who could plan and execute a crime in such a masterly manner would have planned much farther ahead of him than that, also, and would have arranged to cover his tracks so that if the accident of Nick Car{17}ter’s passing that way at the moment he did so had not happened, it is doubtful if the crime and criminal would ever have been discovered, and the young woman who died that night in all the glory of her young womanhood would have been remembered only as a suicide.

Therefore, the detective broke the seal and read the letter—after which he returned it to the envelope and put it carefully away in one of his pockets, already determined that no eyes but his own and his assistants should see it until he had run down the man who had committed the awful outrage.

The contents of that letter are not important save to demonstrate the cleverness of the murderer; but we will give them as the detective found them:

Darling Papa: I will not ask you to forgive me for this act, for I know you will do that. I also know that I will have made you suffer deeply by it. Yet I do it with deliberation—because I feel that I must do it. The reasons why I have decided that there is no other way, you will discover soon enough, and you will feel deep regret because I did not go to you and tell you all about it, instead of doing this thing. Yet there are some things which one cannot face, and the one thing that I cannot face is your sorrow when you come to know what I have done. I would never have believed it possible that I could be brought to this pass, but here I am, and soon I shall be only a memory. I hope you will cherish only the tenderest parts of that memory, and that you will always believe that even in taking my own life, I love you.


Such was the letter that the detective read and then{18} hid away in his pocket; but there was one sentence of the letter that burned itself upon his memory, one sentence that must be the explanation of the crime itself. It was:

“The reasons why I have decided that there is no other way, you will discover soon enough, and you will feel deep regret because I did not go to you and tell you all about it, instead of doing this thing.”

In that sentence was concealed, doubtless, the secret of why the crime had been committed, and Nick Carter felt as certain as he had ever felt assured of anything in his life, that the dead girl on the couch, if she could have come to life at that moment, would have been utterly ignorant of what those reasons were.

In other words Nick Carter read the scene in this manner:

This crime was committed to conceal another crime, and the murderer, knowing that his lesser crime would presently be discovered, determined to fix it upon this innocent girl, the daughter of the house.

Therein existed the nucleus of the whole affair as the detective saw it.

It was plain, of course, that the man who could have induced Edythe Lynne to go with him to her out-of-town home in the dead of night must have been a near relative, or a person who was entirely in the confidence of the family—otherwise she would not have consented to accompany him.

And even then there must have been a powerful motive beyond any that could appear on the surface.{19}

Was the man who had done this thing young or old, or middle aged? There was no present means of ascertaining that, but that he must be one who stood upon terms of at least cordial familiarity with J. Cephas Lynne and his daughter was beyond doubt.

The detective made one further hasty survey of the room, throwing the beam of his flash light again upon every detail that he had discovered; and then he left the room, leaving every detail as he had found it, save only the letter which he carried away with him in his pocket.

It was snowing hard when he got outside, and he nodded, as if to say:

“The murderer foresaw this additional fall of snow, and hence took no trouble to cover his tracks.”

Then he went on through the gate, fixing the chain again after him as he had done upon entering the place, and he hurried in the direction from whence he had first approached the gate, less than an hour before.

He walked rapidly onward a quarter of a mile or more, and presently came upon his own car, to discover that Danny, his chauffeur, and his two assistants, Chick and Patsy, were already there, awaiting him.

He looked at his watch before he spoke to them, and they had a fashion, born of long experience, of never addressing him on such an occasion until he had spoken. It was not always well to break in upon Nick Carter’s preoccupation.

“It is now a quarter to four,” he said; “a good two hours and a half before daylight. Danny, I want you to remain here with the car until we return, which will{20} be within three-quarters of an hour. And, lads, I want you both to come with me. I have made a discovery that I want you both to see.”

Then, without further words, he led them both back to the house where he had discovered the crime, led them inside with the same care that he had used in the first place, making them dust the snow from their feet and clothing before they entered the house, and then he piloted them straight to the room where all that remained of beautiful Edythe Lynne awaited them.

Not until they were all inside that room and Chick and Patsy had looked upon the sad scene that was there, did he offer the slightest explanation; but then, in detail, just as it has been told here, he told them everything that had occurred, and everything that he had found since he first saw the tracks in the snow. But he expressed no opinions upon any of the incidents, for it was their separate opinions that he wanted, unbiased by his own. But he gave each of them the letter to read; and after that they left the house again, together.{21}



“We won’t discuss this affair just yet,” said the detective, as they hurried along together toward the place where the car was awaiting them. “There are other things to be considered first. But I want you both to think it over—all that you have seen and all that I have told you about it—so that later we can talk it over understandingly. Just now I have an idea in mind which is about the most absurd thing, on the surface, that I ever did in my life.”

Chick glanced around at him with sudden understanding, but it was Patsy who replied.

“I think I can guess what that is,” he said.

“Well, what is it?”

“It isn’t snowing so very hard just now,” said Patsy. “Those tracks that we have made in going to the house and coming away from it, while they will be covered, will not be entirely obliterated—not if six inches of snow should fall over them. There would still be the indications of footprints in the snow; of the ones we left there, eh?”

“Sure,” said the detective. “You’re on, Patsy.”

“You had more reasons than one in taking us back to the house with you, chief,” the second assistant continued. “You wanted to leave those tracks, didn’t you?{22}

“I’ll confess that I did, Patsy.”

“Just to mystify—who?”

“Who should you say, Patsy?”

“Well, the first thought would be that you preferred to mystify the police, than to tell these local chaps all you know; but there is more, isn’t there?”

“Yes; there is much more; but in order to accomplish it I am compelled to mystify the local authorities—until they have made their first report on the matter; after that I will be glad to take them into our confidence.”

“In other words,” said Chick, “you want to puzzle the murderer himself, but you want the local police out here to do it for you.”

“That is precisely the idea. Now, in the first place no one at the local headquarters, where I think they have about four policemen on duty, would think of questioning a report that you or I, Chick, would leave with them. So we will drive directly to the local headquarters, where I want you, Chick, to go inside while Patsy and I remain in the car. Do you know the rest?”

“You had better tell me so that I will get it exactly as you want it.”

“They know that we were out here to-night, and they know what for, don’t they? I told you to go there.”


“Say to the officer in charge at the desk merely that in passing the gate at Pleasantglades you noticed that there were tracks in the snow, showing that sev{23}eral men had passed in and out of there during the night; that you thought it best to mention the fact—and that is all. Come back out and get into the car, and we will drive away.”

“You mean for them to find the body, and to report that three men had been in the house and had come out again.”

“Just that.”

“But I don’t quite see the point,” said Patsy, as he climbed into the car, and Danny, having received his directions, started forward.

“It is this: The local police of course know that Pleasantglades is at the present time unoccupied, and, doubtless, it is up to them to keep it free from molestation. Your report will hurry them around there to see what the tracks in the snow mean. They will find that the chain on the gate has been filed; they will follow the tracks to the door where we entered; they will find the body of the young mistress of the house, as we saw it; they will find no indications of violence anywhere, and yet the undisputed proof that men have been there.”

“Well?” said Patsy, when he paused.

“The afternoon papers to-morrow—to-day, rather—will teem with this greatest of all recent mysteries, and whatever conclusions the local police draw from what they find, there will be the statement that at least three men entered the house. I want the murderer to see that, and read it.”

“And also to fail to find any mention of the letter, eh?{24}

“Precisely. I want to puzzle him, and worry him. So much for that. Here we are at the station. Go on in, Chick, and get through with it as quickly as possible.”

Chick was gone only two or three minutes, and he returned with a half smile on his face.

“Well?” asked the detective, as they started to drive on.

“The information that there were tracks in the snow, showing that men had passed in and out of the grounds over there to-night, was like an electric shock to that copper,” said Chick. “He asked me if I had examined the tracks, and I truthfully told him that I had not. Then he thanked me and I came out.”

Nick leaned forward in his seat and spoke to Danny.

“I want you to make as good time as you can to the city,” he said. “The snow is a little heavy, I know, but you ought to get there by seven, Danny.”

“Easy, sir,” was the reply.

“When you do, drive directly to the residence of Mr. J. Cephas Lynne. It is on Riverside Drive. Do you know just where it is?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Well, you can’t get there any too quickly to please me.”

When the detective leaned back in his seat again, Chick said to him:

“Won’t the police up there already have telephoned to him, don’t you think?”

“Sure thing,” replied the detective. “I am going there in order to see Mr. Lynne as soon as possible{25} after he gets the information. It may be that they will be slow up there about sending it.”

“Do you mean to tell him the entire story, just as it is?”

“That is my present intention; but I haven’t finally decided upon it. I shall be governed by circumstances in that matter. Have you ever seen this J. Cephas Lynne, Chick?”

“N-no; I don’t think I have.”

“Have you, Patsy?”

“No; not that I know of. I might have seen him without knowing who he was.”

“Exactly; that is an unaccountably brilliant remark for you to make. The point is this: I have never seen the man, either. I have seen his so-called pictures, in the papers, and so have both of you, I suppose, and I have always heard the very nicest things about him that one could hear of a very rich man who is rather in society, but who keeps out of it as much as possible. I want to see him, and talk with him, and size him up, and see how he withstands this blow, before I decide just what to say to him.”

“But,” said Patsy, “you will have to give an excuse for going there at all, won’t you? We are not supposed yet to know anything about the murder—or suicide, whichever it will be called in the newspaper reports.”

“I shall go there,” replied Nick quietly, “merely as a matter of duty, to report to him what Chick has already reported at the police station up there; merely{26} that there were tracks in the snow, showing that some persons had entered his country home.”

“It may be,” said Chick, “that he will not yet have been notified of the tragedy.”

“I think it very likely that we will find it so.”

“I don’t see——” began Patsy.

“It is this way,” said the detective, interrupting: “In this snow it will take us, from the time we left that police station, about an hour and a half to get to his house. Now, up there it will be at least half an hour before those local police find the body; they will use up certainly an hour in looking about them before it will occur to them to telephone to Mr. Lynne, and probably more; so it is likely that we will get to his house before he hears anything about it. That’s all. Think that over; and now let’s ride on in silence for a while.”

Nick told Danny to stop the car directly in front of the residence on Riverside Drive, and, leaving the others to wait for him—it had long since stopped snowing—he ran up the front steps and pressed the button of the electric bell.

But he had to ring again and again before a sleepy butler at last appeared at the door and demanded, in a tone that was both haughty and surly, to know what was wanted.

“I must see Mr. Lynne at once,” said Nick, who knew by the very attitude of the butler that no intelligence of the crime had yet reached that house.

“Well, you cawn’t see him—at seven in the morning{27}—the idea. Mr. Lynne never leaves his room in the morning till nine, and——”

“Look here, my man,” Nick interrupted, for he had already stepped inside the doorway, and so was well inside the house, “this is a matter of the utmost importance to Mr. Lynne, and you are to take this card to him at once, and tell him that it is extremely important that he should see me with as little delay as possible. If you don’t do it, I will find my way to his rooms myself—and you will probably lose your job.”

There seemed to be no help for it, and, besides, Nick spoke with a quiet assurance that visibly impressed the butler.

Rather ungraciously he took the card, which was one of Nick Carter’s own, and departed.

He returned, too, very quickly; much sooner than Nick had anticipated.

“Please come with me, sir,” he said, with more graciousness than he had shown before.

He offered no explanation of his change of manner, but, nevertheless, the detective was not surprised to find that Mr. Lynne was dressed and was engaged in sipping his morning coffee, when he was shown into the private morning room of the master of the house.

Mr. Lynne left his chair and greeted Nick pleasantly, then indicated a chair and asked him to be seated.

“I know your name, Mr. Carter, of course,” he said, “and I cannot imagine your coming to see me at this time of day unless something of the utmost importance sent you. It is fortunate that I am about rather earlier than usual this morning, otherwise you would have had{28} to wait. I was trying to get an early start to visit my country place. May I offer you a cup of coffee?”

“No, thank you,” replied Nick, seating himself in another chair than the one that had been indicated. He always liked to sit, if he could, so that the light shone upon the features of the man he was talking with.

“What is the important business that brought you to me, Mr. Carter?” Mr. Lynne asked, affably enough, but with much of the air of one who was bored by the entire proceeding—and as if nothing could convince him that it was really of vital importance.

Somehow Nick did not like the man, although there was no reason why he should not do so.

But there was something about him which did not seem to the detective to be quite genuine.

“In referring to your country place, you mean Pleasantglades, I suppose?” Nick asked, in reply to the question.

“Most certainly,” raising his brows.

“In that case, and if you were going there at once, it was perhaps unnecessary that I should have called at all, for you would presently have discovered for yourself what I have come to tell you,” said the detective. “I have just come from there, and I came to tell you that——”

The cup of coffee which Mr. Lynne was holding in one hand unaccountably slipped from it and crashed to the floor, and, as that gentleman bent forward to pick it up, he said:

“How stupid of me. Please go on, Mr. Carter.{29}



Nick Carter looked at the man closely.

“Mr. Lynne, were you out with your car last night?” he asked abruptly.

“Really, Mr. Carter,” was the slow reply, given with another raising of the eyebrows, “you amaze me. You send up word to me that you have information of the utmost importance; I receive you because I recognize the name on your card as representing one of the greatest detectives of modern times, and I assume that your important news must really be important, or you would not have come here at all; then you say that the important information you have has something to do with Pleasantglades, and in the next breath you ask me if I was out with my car last night. Will you be good enough to tell me why you are here?”

The cordiality and affability had all gone from his voice now, and it was cold, distant, and genuinely the one of a man who is not accustomed to being intruded upon for nothing.

“Would you mind answering the question?” Nick replied, with equal coldness. “My important information will follow at once.”

“Before I reply to any questions at all, Mr. Carter, I must ask for the information; or, at least, for the character of it,” was the reply.{30}

“Very well. Pleasantglades was entered last night, I believe. One of my assistants has already given the information to the local police.”

“Is that all?” exclaimed the millionaire, with an air of great relief. “I really thought it might be something else; that the place was burned down, or something of that sort. It was good of you to come here yourself to tell me, however. I appreciate it.”

“Thank you. Now, will you reply to my question?”

“About the car? What has that to do with it?”

“Merely that it might have been yourself who visited Pleasantglades last night—or very early this morning.”

“Oh! I see. No, I was not there, nor near there, in fact.”

“Nor your car, either?”

“My dear, sir, I have three cars. Which one do you refer to?”

“To any one of them. Do you know where all three of the cars were last night?”

“No; but I could easily ascertain, if it is important.”

“It may prove to be quite important, sir. One of your cars was there last night.” This was merely a guess on Nick’s part, but he thought best to make it at that point.

“At Pleasantglades?” asked the millionaire, elevating his brows again. It seemed to be a favorite gesture of his.

“Yes; or near there.”

“Then it was entirely without my knowledge. I will inquire about it at once;” and he started to leave his chair.{31}

But the detective interrupted him.

“Please keep your seat a moment longer, Mr. Lynne,” he said. “Of course it is not likely that you will know just what happened at your country place last night, until the local police have investigated, but there are a few questions which you might answer me, if you care to do so, which might be important.”

“Pardon me, but I don’t quite see what you have to do with it, Mr. Carter. You have not been asked for an opinion.”

Nick shrugged his shoulders, determined not to pay any attention to this man of so many attitudes.

“You have a daughter, Mr. Lynne. Do you happen to know where she is at this moment?” he asked.

The man sat up straight in his chair, grasping both arms of it tightly so that his knuckles stood out white and distinct. His brows drew together in a straight frown, and in a voice that was entirely unlike any that he had used before, so harsh was it, he exclaimed:

“Really, sir, you go too far. You exceed——”

“Do you know if your daughter went to Pleasantglades last night?” Nick interrupted him.

“I know that she did not go there. But what——”

“She did go there.”

It was an interruption, but it was a very quiet one; yet the four words were said with such a precise enunciation that the man stared at the detective for several seconds before he at last exclaimed:

“What do you mean?”

“Just what I said. Your daughter went to Pleasantglades last night. I wished to know if you were aware{32} of the fact, and if you could tell me who accompanied her.”

The reply was cool, cutting, and precise.

“I will answer no to both your impertinent questions, and will ask what the devil business it is of yours, anyhow. You have intruded here upon my quiet morning, and now I will ask you to——”

“Just one moment, Mr. Lynne, if you please. If you could forget your dignity, and the position you occupy, and the millions you possess for just a moment, and come down to earth, it would not be amiss. I have heard many things about you, sir, and never an unkind one. I have had the highest estimate of your personal character until this moment, when you fly into a rage over nothing at all. You received me pleasantly enough when I came, but the moment I mention Pleasantglades, your entire attitude changes. Is it because you were going there, to-day?”

The millionaire had leaned back in his chair again while the detective was talking, and was smiling now, with a certain superciliousness that would have been an insult under any other circumstances.

“I am greatly indebted to you for your good opinion of me,” he said, with cool insolence. “Have you been—er—drinking?”

“No,” replied the detective calmly.

“Then will you be good enough to tell me exactly why you have made this call upon me?”

“I came, Mr. Lynne, to tell you that your daughter did go to Pleasantglades last night; that she arrived{33} there about two o’clock this morning; that she entered the grounds and the house; that she is there now.”

“That she is there now? What do you mean? Has something happened to her? Has she been injured? And why should she go there at all?”

“Something has happened to her, Mr. Lynne,” said Nick slowly—for the life of him he could not feel sympathy for this man whom he had gone there prepared to like immensely, and to sympathize with greatly, and to offer every talent that he possessed—“something very serious indeed has happened to her.”

The man got upon his feet, white now to the lips, and the hands with which he grasped the back of the chair upon which he had been seated, trembled visibly; and all the while the detective never took his eyes from Lynne’s face. He wanted to sympathize with the man and could not, and for once in his life he was entirely at fault as to what judgment to pass, or to understand why he hesitated to form one.

There was not an expression of feature, not a line of the face, not a motion of any part of the body of the man before him that was lost upon the detective at that moment, for he could not believe that any man could be guilty of connivance at the death of his own daughter—and yet had he been a stepfather instead of a father, or had he borne any other relation than he did to that beautiful dead girl, Nick Carter would unhesitatingly have pronounced him the murderer then and there.

“What—what has happened to her—to Edythe?” faltered Lynne.{34}

“She—is—dead,” was the slow reply.

“God!” cried the man, and dropped again upon the chair, and then his arms upon the tray filled with dishes, scattering them right and left, and burying his face in his arms; and Nick Carter could not help thinking that John Drew or Bob Hilliard could scarcely have done it better.

The reader must not misunderstand.

Nick Carter did not really suppose that this man was the murderer of his own daughter—but the only reason why he did not was because he could not bring his mind to believe such a monstrous thing.

But, all the same, the detective could not get it out of his mind that this millionaire had been acting a part from the moment the detective entered the room; and that the dramatic climax that had just occurred, with the scattering of the dishes, and all, was not in keeping with the attitude of thoroughbreds, when they receive a blow.

They take it standing, full in the face, and there is never even a touch of the dramatic about it.

The detective made no move forward. He waited; and presently, after a moment of silence, Lynne raised his head, then got upon his feet again, and with an apparent effort at calmness he said, half brokenly:

“Tell me about it.”

“I have told you about it, Mr. Lynne.”

“But—what does it mean? What killed her? What happened?”

“Who can know what happened, who was not there to witness what happened?{35}

“But—you keep me in doubt. I do not know what you mean.”

“The body of Miss Lynne is in the parlor of her own private suite of rooms; it is upon the divan couch, among the pillows, as if she had thrown herself there to rest. Her left arm extends along the top of the pillows; her right one hangs over the edge of the couch, and on the rug beneath the right hand there is an empty vial that has contained prussic acid. That is as much as I can tell you.”

“Suicide? Do you mean that she killed herself?”

“Appearances would point to such an answer, Mr. Lynne. Do you know of any reason why your daughter should have killed herself? or why she should have thought of doing so?”

“No, no, no! Why should she do such a thing?”

“That is what I came here to ask you?”

“But, if she did not do it herself, who could have done it?”

“That is another question that I wished to ask of you.”

“But there is no one, no one.”

“Are you quite sure of that?”

“Oh, you have shocked me so that I do not know what to answer. It is all so amazing; so unbelievable. Was there nothing—did you find nothing to indicate that another, or others, had been there with her?”

“The local police, up there, will report to you on that point, Mr. Lynne. They were going to the house to investigate when I started for the city to tell you{36} about it. It seems to me that you should have heard from them before this; but, perhaps, they would consider it a wiser course to send a messenger to break the news.”

And then, as if in reply to the thought of Nick Carter, there was a tap at the door, and the butler again made his appearance.

“An officer of the police to see you, sir,” he said to his master.

“Show him up; show him up at once,” was the reply, and the owner of so many millions began to pace the floor, wringing his hands, and showing every appearance of great excitement.

“If I were you, sir, I would calm myself, and hear quietly what this man has to report,” said the detective, at the same time drawing back toward a far corner of the room.{37}



The officer who came from the local police near Pleasantglades was of that stolid order which, while they can perform a duty perfectly, and carry out orders to the letter, have little originality, and no initiative.

If this man had possessed either he would have noticed the great excitement under which Mr. J. Cephas Lynne seemed to be laboring, and which he was apparently trying hard to suppress; but, seemingly, he did not see either, but, the moment he entered the room, began:

“I have come, sir, to report to you that Miss Lynne was found dead in the parlor of her own rooms at Pleasantglades shortly after four o’clock this morning.”

It was evident that he was awed to be in the presence of the “great man,” the millionaire of the neighborhood, where he had been born and had lived all his life, which had not been so many years at that.

This time Mr. Lynne did not go to pieces as he had done before; there were no more dramatics; no more theatricals—for Nick could not but regard them so, although he tried to tell himself that he must be mistaken.

But there was no doubt of the fact that Lynne’s hands were shaking, and that he found it difficult to{38} steady himself properly. He motioned toward a chair—which, as it happened, stood with its back toward the detective, and so it was that the messenger had no idea of the presence of Nick Carter in the room.

“Sit down,” said the millionaire. “Now, tell me all you know.”

“Yes, sir. It was this way. At four o’clock this morning word was brought to the station house that tracks had been discovered in the snow, showing that some person, or persons, had passed through the gate at Pleasantglades. Our captain was immediately called from——”

“Oh, never mind that. What did you find?” interrupted the stricken father.

“We found, sir, the tracks where four men had gone into the place and come out again.”


“Yes, sir. It had been snowing, so we could tell that one of them had gone in and come out again, before the visit of the other three.” (That meant Nick’s first entrance.)

“Well, go on.”

“It wasn’t very long after the first one came out, to judge by the tracks, before the other three came along, and maybe they only found the gate open—we can’t say as to that. But they went inside, and into the house, too.”

“How did they get into the house? Quick. Tell me what you found inside the house.”

“They picked the lock, sir. They had all been to the{39} room where we discovered the dead body of Miss Lynne.”

This time Lynne bowed his head upon his hand, where his arm rested upon the table, and the detective felt a qualm of pity for him then, for the first time, for he could see that the man was trembling violently, and he wondered if it had been acting after all, and if the grief of the man had not been real.

“Tell me about that,” said Lynne. “You can give me the other particulars later.”

“Yes, sir. Our chief thinks it likely that she killed herself, sir; he told me to say to you that he would suppose there was no doubt of it at all, if it were not for the tracks in the snow.”

“What have they to do with his opinion?” demanded Lynne.

“Well, sir, the chief doesn’t think that they would likely have anything at all to do with it, if it were not for those other tracks—of the man who went there first, and who came away before the other three got there.”

Nick saw Lynne clutch the table, then rise to his feet and cross the room, where he opened a cabinet, and helped himself to a glass of brandy; and the policeman from the outlying district went stolidly on:

“Our chief thinks, sir, that the other three were probably tramps who happened along, and, finding the gate open, went inside; that they followed the tracks to the door, and found, perhaps, that the door was left open, too, and so they went on in. At least, that is his opinion, sir.{40}

“I understand. Well, what more?”

“The chief wanted me to tell you, sir, that, while everything there gives the appearance of suicide, there is still a large chance that it may be a case of murder.”

“Murder? Murder? No, no, not that. Not murder.”

“Yes, sir, that is what our chief told me to tell you; but he wanted me also to ask you what you thought about it. If you think it was suicide, why, then, it is suicide. That is what he said, and I was to take back your say so as to that.”

“My say so? What do you mean?”

“Well, sir, the chief thought that perhaps you might know something to lead you to express an opinion one way or the other, and that he would be glad to follow your opinion, no matter what it is.”

“You—you haven’t—told me yet what was found in the room. Was there evidence of a struggle?”

“No, sir; nothing at all of that sort. Everything was as orderly as possible, and we could not find that a single thing had been stolen or disturbed. There was only the young lady upon the couch with the little bottle under her right hand on the floor, and she was as peaceful and still as if she was asleep.”

“Was nothing else found there?”

“No, sir; and that is what puzzles the chief. He thinks that if the young lady went there to kill herself, she would have left a letter or something of the sort. But there was nothing of that kind, at all. She was just there; that’s all.”

“But who could have murdered my daughter?” It{41} was almost a cry, and yet Nick Carter could not rid himself of the idea that the emotion of it was not entirely real.

“The chief thinks, sir, that if it was a murder—and he is inclined to think it was—the man did it who went there with her.”

Nick could have smiled under less tragic circumstances, so pleased was he by the turn that the talk had taken.

“By the man who went there with her? What——” began Lynne.

“Yes, sir. There weren’t any tracks of hers to be found, of course, but we figured it out that her feet are so small and she is so light in weight, that the snow would have hidden her tracks so that we were unable to find them, while the tracks of the man, when he went to the house, can still be seen.”

The reader will understand that this man was referring to the tracks that Nick Carter had made when he first entered the house, and to the tracks that he made again when he came away from it and went after his two assistants to take them back there with him. The tracks that Nick had found, that took him into the house, could no longer be discovered, of course.

“Does the chief think that some person, a man, went to that house with—— What are you talking about, man?”

“That is what the chief thinks. That somebody went there with her—or took her there by force.”

“By force?”

“Yes, sir.{42}

“But that is preposterous.”

“Drugged her, sir, maybe, and carried her there; or carried her there without drugging.”

“It is outrageous!”

“Yes, sir. You see, sir, she wouldn’t go there alone, at that time of the night, unless she did it with the intention of killing herself—and to tell you the honest truth, sir, the chief doesn’t think she did kill herself—unless you prefer that he should think so, Mr. Lynne.”

“Do you mean——”

“Wait a minute, sir. I’ll try to explain.”

“Do so, then.”

“Down on the corner we found the tracks of an automobile, where it had been standing a long while. There were tracks of men’s feet around it, where they had stood beside it, and smoked and talked while they were waiting for somebody. Whether that has any connection with the case, or not, the chief does not know, but he suggests that the men there, waiting, were confederates of the one who went into the house with Miss Lynne, or who carried her there, and that they took her there for the purpose of robbing the house.”

“This is a fine case that you and your chief have built up over the body of my poor daughter, isn’t it? You may return to your chief and say to him that no man went to that house with my daughter, unless she was dead before they went there—and in such a case it would hardly be necessary that she should be taken there. I do not know of any reason why she should have killed herself, but I presume a letter will be found{43} somewhere which will tell me about it, if such was her intention.”

“Yes, sir; I suppose so, sir.”

“Thank the chief for his courtesy. Ask him, also, to guard the place thoroughly. I shall start at once, and possibly will arrive there before you do—and here is something to pay you for your trouble in coming here.”

“Oh, sir, I assure you——”

“That will do for the present.”

The policeman from the country district backed himself out of the room with a twenty-dollar bill in his hand, and so he did not see Nick Carter; and Nick was glad that he had not been seen, for he had already surmised that Lynne supposed Nick to have been present when all that the policeman told him had taken place.

In fact, the very first words uttered by Lynne, when they were again alone, proved that.

“Why could you not have told me all this at once?” he demanded; and then, without waiting for a reply, he sprang to his feet and dashed from the room.

Nick Carter followed him slowly, anticipating where he had gone, and, true enough, found him at the telephone impatiently awaiting an answer to the call he had given.

But it was evident that Lynne had in part recovered himself, even in that short time, for, half turning, with the receiver at his ear, he placed one hand over the transmitter, and motioned to the detective.

“Please don’t go, Mr. Carter,” he said. “Wait until I have finished here at the phone.{44}

“Very well,” said the detective, and was turning away when Lynne spoke again.

“You must pardon me,” he said, “if anything that I have said or done this morning has given you offense. I don’t think I have been quite myself. Will you wait until I am done at the phone, so that I may talk with you a few minutes before starting?”

“Certainly, Mr. Lynne.”

“This is all so horrible, so unreal, so incomprehensible. I want to know all the particulars as you know them, and something tells me that you know more than that officer told. At all events you are an experienced man, and you can—— Hello!” He turned to the phone.

“This is Mr. Lynne,” Nick heard him say. “Is that the police station?”

Evidently assured that it was, he went on:

“The officer you sent to me has just been here and gone. I have called you up to let you know that I am starting at once, in my car, for Pleasantglades, but before I start I desire to be assured that nothing whatever will be done there until I arrive. Thank you. Say to Doctor Kuhn, the coroner, that I will be grateful if he will defer all investigation in this matter until I get there. He has already decided to do so? Thank him for me. Say that I will not forget his consideration. Say to your chief that I am bringing Nick Carter, the detective, out there with me, and for that reason, if for no other, I deem it wise.{45}



“You heard what I said over the phone, Mr. Carter?” Lynne said, turning about and facing the detective. They were in a room which opened off from the library of the mansion.

“Yes,” said Nick, “I heard.”

“You will go out there with me?”

“I am not sure,” replied the detective. “I have been thinking about it since I heard you assure them that I would come. I have been up all night, Mr. Lynne, and have driven a good many miles in my car since dark last night—and I am not at all sure that I can be of any benefit to you.”

“But—Mr. Carter, if I particularly request it? If I assure you that money is no object to me in this matter, and——”

“Neither would it be any object to me, Mr. Lynne,” the detective interrupted him. “If I go there at all, it will be in behalf of justice to the beautiful girl who was your daughter.”

“That is precisely why I wish you to go, sir. I hope that you will consent to do so.”

“I will consent to go with you on one condition, Mr. Lynne,” was the reply.

“What is that?”

“That during the ride out there you will freely and{46} frankly reply to any and every question I may ask you, without offense, without considering any of them an impertinence, and with an eye single to discovering the truth about this mystery—and I warn you that I may ask questions that will both startle and offend.”

“Very well, sir; I accept the condition.” He spoke with a quiet dignity now that entirely changed the man; that made him appear for the first time just as Nick Carter had expected to find him.

“And there is one more, Mr. Lynne; a very small one this time.”

“Yes? What is it?”

“It will be nearly an hour before I will be ready to start. My own car is in front of your door, and my two assistants are waiting for me. I must drive with them to my house. If you care to pick me up with your car, there, in just three-quarters of an hour from now, I will be ready to accompany you.”

“So be it, Mr. Carter. At eight-forty-five, then, I will call for you.”

Nick got into his own car in silence, and said nothing at all until, with Chick and Patsy, he was in his own house, where he led the way at once to his study. Then——

“Lynne has asked me to take the case—or, rather, he has asked me to drive out there with him, and I have consented. I will tell you both, frankly, that I do not know what to make of Mr. J. Cephas Lynne. He puzzles me. He is, all at once, almost as interesting as the crime. I am going out there with him in his car, more for the purpose of studying him at{47} close range, and to see him on the ground where the crime was committed, than for any other reason.”

“You don’t mean to say——” Chick began, but the detective interrupted him.

“No, I do not mean to say anything, Chick, only that this case has developed strange possibilities, some of which are almost unthinkable. Now, let’s not discuss generalities. I haven’t yet had an opportunity to get the opinion of either of you, concerning the crime itself, and how it was brought about, and before I start I want both. Chick, I will have the result of your thoughts first.”

“I’ll ask a question before I give it, then.”

“Very well.”

“Have you questioned Lynne as to the manner in which his daughter was supposed to have passed the evening, last night?”

“No; I have not.”

“So you have no idea as to that?”

“None whatever, more than you have, judged by her costume. She was at a function of some sort, somewhere, or, at least, dressed to attend one, whether she went to it or not. Now, Chick, let us hear what you have to say.”

“Well, it isn’t very much—only a general thought on the subject.”

“I know.”

“The house out there has been closed for at least two months. Miss Lynne would never have gone there of her own accord, at such an hour. If there had been some article there that she wanted to get, she would{48} have selected another hour for going; therefore she made the journey at the behest of another person.”

Patsy nodded emphatically, and Nick said:

“We both indorse that.”

“The question arises then,” said Chick, “as to who would have influence enough over her to persuade her to do such a thing? What manner of man could have done it? Was it a relative? Or was she persuaded to go there by some person who may have had a hold of some kind over her father, and was she persuaded to go there because she believed she was serving him?”

“No; I don’t think that last,” replied the detective.

“I’d like to speak my little piece right here and now,” said Patsy, rather sharply for him.


“Edythe Lynne was persuaded to visit that house last night by a lie. No matter what she imagined the reason to be, it was a lie, and it was sufficient to her to compel her to do something that she would never have thought of doing had not her feelings been wrought upon almost to the point of hysteria.”

“Good,” said Chick.

“Go on, Patsy,” said Nick Carter.

“Now, what kind of a lie could have been told to her to take her to that house in the company of a man at the dead of night? What man could tell her such a lie, and make her believe it? What man, who could tell her such a lie and make her believe it, would yet be closely enough related to the family to make that house the object of the night call? And why did she hesi{49}tate so long in the automobile before she consented to enter the house, after she arrived there?”

“You answer those questions yourself, Patsy,” said the detective.

“I’ll answer it like this: My present belief is that Edythe Lynne went to Pleasantglades with her own father, and that when she got inside the house and found that she had been lured there by a lie, and that it was her father who had lied to her, she killed herself.”

“No, Patsy, no,” said the detective sharply.

“Wait. That after she had done so, her father realized the terrible predicament he was in; the impossibility of explaining it satisfactorily; the talk and the scandal that the whole affair would make, and, in short, that he then prepared the evidence we found to point to a deliberate suicide.”

“Patsy, part of your theory sounds good; the rest of it is not to be thought of,” said Nick. “I am now of the opinion, myself, that she went there with her father, and that—— No, I can’t say it yet. But all this, lads, leads us to just one thing, and that is what I asked you to this room to listen to.”

Both assistants looked eagerly at their chief, and he continued:

“Is J. Cephas Lynne, as we know him, her father? Was he her father?”

Chick and Patsy looked at each other, then back again at the detective.

“I am going out there in the car with the man to study him,” the detective continued. “I want you both to start out at once, wherever you please, to get for{50} me all the information, that is obtainable regarding both, the father and the daughter. I want you to dig up every scrap of information you can find about both of them. Was he her father? Find that out for me beyond the shadow of a doubt either way, before I return. That is all.”

The detective glanced at his watch, and turned away.

“I’ve got fifteen minutes before he arrives here,” he said, and left them to themselves in the study.

Ten minutes later he came out of a cold plunge, put on a complete change of clothing, shaved, and at the time appointed was ready for the arrival of Lynne’s car.

It came, about five minutes late, and the detective ran down the steps to meet it before it had stopped before the door.

The day was bright, cheerful, and sunny, and the weather was almost warm; under ordinary circumstances a better day could not have been selected for such a journey.

Nothing was said between the two men beyond a greeting, when Nick first entered the car, which was driven by one of the Lynne chauffeurs; but as it was a limousine body, the passengers could talk in comfort and at their ease as it sped along.

“Now, Mr. Lynne, are you ready?” Nick asked presently.

The man looked around at the detective quickly, with a half-startled air; he had evidently been absorbed in his thoughts; and he asked:

“Ready for what?{51}

“For the questions that I wish to ask.”

“Yes, I think so. What are they, Mr. Carter?”

“There are many of them, and some are what you might call intimate,” warned the detective.

“I agreed to your conditions, Mr. Carter, therefore I am prepared to reply to any and all the questions you care to ask me—provided I can do so.”

“Were you out late yourself last night?”

“I was.”

“What time did you arrive at your home?”

“At three this morning.”

“You used one of your cars?”

“Yes. I went——”

“Wait. Just reply to my questions.”

“Very well, Mr. Carter.”

“Who was your companion?”


“Yes. In the car you used last night. Who was your companion? You had one, did you not, Mr. Lynne?”

The man turned and looked closely at the detective for a fleeting instant before he replied; then, with a shrug of his shoulders, as if there were no help for introducing a disagreeable topic, or one that he would have preferred to keep out of the conversation, he said:

“Yes, Mr. Carter, I had a companion with me last night; a lady—the lady who is soon to become my second wife. I have long been a widower, Mr. Carter.”

“Thank you. The lady’s name, if you please?”

“Is it necessary to bring her into it, Mr. Carter?”

“Unless it should prove to be necessary, you may be{52} assured that she will not be brought into it, Mr. Lynne. But I must know all the facts connected with last night. Will you tell me the lady’s name, and where she may be found, if that is necessary?”

“Really, Mr. Carter——”

“I warned you, sir, that some of my questions would be intimate.”

“Very well. The lady’s name is Mrs. Madge Hurd Babbington. I need not tell you her address, since everybody in society knows that.{53}



It was true.

Everybody in society, and a great many who were not knew the name of Madge Hurd Babbington; knew about the remarkable beauty and talent of the young woman who had formerly been an actress, but who had married from the stage into the very elite of society; who had speedily divorced her first husband and married a second one, who had died within a year afterward.

Both her husbands were supposed to be rich, but the first one had so cleverly arranged his wealth that in the divorce proceedings the plaintiff had been able to secure but very little; and it was found after the death of her second husband that his supposedly large fortune had dwindled to little or nothing.

Since her widowhood Mrs. Babbington’s name had been linked with several in a supposed approaching marriage, but Nick could not remember that he had read anywhere that Lynne was one of them.

As for the woman herself, nothing had ever been whispered against her in any form that the detective could recall, and he thought to himself that, if Lynne had really been with her all that time and could establish that fact, it would prove an effectual barrier to all the suspicions he felt, yet did not want to feel.{54}

“Where were you?” he asked, after a moment of thought.

“We attended a reception at the home of Madame de Seville.”

“Was Miss Lynne at that reception?”

“She was.”

“Who was her escort, if she had one?”

“I took her there myself.”

“Did you also take her home again?”

“I did.”

“At what time?”

“She complained of not feeling well, and it was, I should say, about midnight, when she sought me out and asked me to send her home. I took her to the car that was waiting, and entered it with her. I drove home with her.”

“Did you enter the house with her?”

“No. She said it was unnecessary. I returned at once to the reception.”

“Did you see her enter the house?”

“No. I have thought about that since this—this terrible thing has happened. I supposed I had seen my daughter enter her home, but, as I recall it now, I only saw her mount the steps in front of it. I did not actually see her enter the house.”

“You took your daughter to the reception with you—was Mrs. Babbington with you at that time?”

“No. It had been arranged that we were to meet at Madame de Seville’s. It was my intention to take them both in my car when we came away.{55}

“Then your daughter was aware of the engagement between you and Mrs. Babbington?”

“If you will pardon me for just one word of protest, Mr. Carter, I confess that I do not in the least see what all this private matter has to do with the subject in hand.”

“Did your daughter know about the engagement?” Nick asked again, without a change of his tone.

“She did not,” replied Lynne, with just a little show of heat. “It was my intention to tell her about it last night. The fact that she did not feel well, and that she wished to return home early, spoiled that intention.”

“Miss Lynne was well enough to start for the reception, but not well enough to remain, so I assume that she became ill after she arrived there—or do you suppose that she only pretended to be ill?”

“In the light of what has happened since, I can only suppose that she purposely deceived me, since in some manner, as soon as she parted with me, she must have started for Pleasantglades, though why——”

“What is there, at Pleasantglades, that could have drawn her there last night?”

“Nothing. Not a thing in the world that I know about.”

“Nothing that you can surmise?”

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

“When you returned to the reception after leaving your daughter at the door of your own home, did you remain there?”

“No; truth to tell, I did not.”

“What did you do, and where did you go?{56}

“Really, Mr. Carter, one would suppose——”

“We need suppose nothing at all, Mr. Lynne. You agreed to reply to my questions.”

“But all this is so preposterous.”

“Do you keep all your promises as unwillingly as you are adhering to this one?” Nick asked sharply.

“You are making it rather hard for me, Mr. Carter.”

Nick turned quickly to the man, and said sharply:

“Lynne, do you wish to be charged with the murder of your own daughter? If not, answer my questions.”

“My God, Carter, what do you mean by that?”

“Just what I say. Who is there but yourself who could have induced Edythe Lynne to go to Pleasantglades after midnight last night? Do you know such a man?”

“No, no; I do not.”

“Then reply to my questions. What did you do, and where did you go, when you returned to the reception after leaving your daughter?”

“I sought Mrs. Babbington at once, and told her about Edythe. I suggested that we had had enough of the party, and she agreed with me. She sent for her wraps, and we left there at once.”

“Where did you go?”

“To her home.”

“It was then what time?”

“Approximately one o’clock; perhaps a trifle later. I am not sure.”

“You entered the house with her?”

“I did. There is, on the first floor, a room that she calls her ‘cozy room,’ and we seated ourselves in there.{57} We were talking over our future plans, and time passed more swiftly than I supposed. It was nearly three o’clock before I was aware of it. I left there, then, and went home.”

“In your car? Was that waiting for you?”

“No. I had sent that on to the garage. I told the chauffeur that I would not need him again. Surface transportation and the subway were sufficient.”

“You arrived home, you say, at three o’clock?”

“Approximately that, yes.”

“When I called upon you this morning you were preparing to go to Pleasantglades?”

“I was.”

“What was the business that was taking you there?”

“Nothing of importance. You probably do not know it, but there is a burglar-proof vault beneath the north wing of the house at Pleasantglades. It was built there, when that wing was built, five years ago. The existence of it has been kept a secret. In that vault are some heirlooms and jewels, and other things of value—in fact, there is a fortune there, Mr. Carter, in jewels, securities, and bonds.”

“You were going there this morning, then, to visit that vault?”


“For no other reason?”

“No; to tell you the truth there are some jewels there which I wished to present to my fiancée to-day. It happens to be her birthday. That was the reason for my proposed visit.”

“Your daughter knew of the existence of the vault?{58}

“Of course.”

“And what it contains?”

“No, only in a general way.”

“Mr. Lynne, who has had charge of the keys to the lock on the iron gate, at Pleasantglades? or where were they kept?”

“I always kept them in my own possession—there are three of them, and you use one after another in opening the lock.”

“I know. Where are those keys now?”

“I do not know.”

“You don’t know? Why don’t you know?”

“I thought I knew exactly where they were until after you had gone from my house this morning. But when I went to get them, they were not in the place where I keep them. They had disappeared—and there is only one explanation: my daughter must have taken them.”

“Again, where did you keep them?”

“In a small safe in my own sleeping room.”

“A combination safe?”


“Did Edythe know that combination?”


“How is that?”

“How is what?”

“How does it happen that she knew the combination of that private safe, in your sleeping room, where doubtless you kept things of an exceedingly private nature?”

“Oh, as to that, there is nothing so very private{59} in that safe. Edythe knew the combination, because it was only yesterday that I had occasion to send her to the safe for some papers I wanted, and I gave her the combination at that time.”

“Has she never known it before?”

“I don’t think so.”

“What sort of locks are on the doors of that vault you have partly described, at Pleasantglades?”

“There are two combination locks on the outer doors, two more on the inner doors.”

“So it requires the knowledge of four combinations to get into the vault?”


“Did Edythe know those combinations?”

“She did at one time. Whether she remembered them or not, I could not say.”

“How did it happen that she knew them at all?”

“She wrote them down for me in the little book where I keep them. I remember now, at that time I suggested to her that it would be well if she kept copies of them, in case anything should happen to me, and I think she did so, although the subject has never been mentioned between us since that time.”

“Wouldn’t it have been better to have deposited copies of the combinations with your bankers, or in one of your safe-deposit boxes in the city, to be used in case of accident to yourself?”

“I suppose so. In fact, that has been done; but I did not think of it at the moment. I preferred that Edythe should hold the secret herself.”

“I see,” said Nick. “Well, perhaps it was as well.{60}



There was another short pause, and then, with a sudden change of the subject, the detective asked:

“You did not look for the keys to the padlock on the gate till after I had left you this morning, Mr. Lynne, did you?”

“No. I did not.”

“Why did you look for them, even then? You must have known that they would not be needed, since the police are already in the house.”

“From force of habit, I suppose; and then, too, it occurred to me to see if they were in their place, since Edythe must have found a means of entering the grounds.”

“I see. I see,” said the detective.

The car was at the moment approaching an out-of-town drug store before which was one of the familiar Bell telephone signs, and Nick bent forward and signaled to the chauffeur to stop.

“I want to ask you to excuse me for a moment, Mr. Lynne,” he said. “I have thought of something concerning which I must telephone back to the city; but it will keep me only a moment after I get the number. I see there is a telephone here.”

He opened the door and left the car before Lynne could more than nod an assent, and in the store he{61} called for his own number, and presently got Joseph, his man, on the phone.

“Joseph,” he said, “Chick or Patsy will communicate with you before very long. When either of them do that, I want you to direct for me that one of them be at the house to reply to a telephone call from me at one o’clock.”

“Yes, sir,” came the reply.

“If by any chance either should find it impossible to be there at one, I will call again at two and at three, and so on. You understand?”

“Yes, sir.”

“That’s all.”

When he returned to the car he noticed that Lynne regarded him rather strangely, as if the man had not exactly liked the idea of that telephone message; but Lynne only said:

“It did not take you long, Mr. Carter.”

“No; it concerned merely an instruction I wished to send to one of my assistants. And now we will resume our conversation. You were abroad nearly all of last summer, were you not, Mr. Lynne? I seem to remember seeing such a report in one of the papers.”

“Yes. I was away the entire summer, as a matter of fact.”

“Your daughter did not accompany you?”

“No. She remained at Pleasantglades in the care of a chaperon. She did the entertaining for both of us.”

“It occurs to me, also, that I saw something in the{62} papers at the time—some time during the summer, relative to your being very ill while you were abroad.”

“Yes; that is unfortunately quite true. I was traveling in Switzerland at the time I was taken ill.”

“You were traveling alone at the time, were you?”

“I had my man with me—my valet. He was also seized with the same malady, and he died of it, poor fellow.”

“Oh, yes; I remember about that now. You were at a mountain inn, or something of the sort at the time, as I remember the account. What was the malady? What was the trouble?”

“We were poisoned by something that we had eaten, but whether it was at table, or during one of our wandering expeditions, I never did know. But it was awful while it lasted. The regular old-fashioned cramps, you know, and all that. There were some hours when I thought I was to die, also. It was then that I cabled to my daughter. I suppose that is how the news about it got into the papers over here.”

“How long was your valet ill, before he died?”

“Let me see—I was suffering so myself that I scarcely remember much about the duration of time. It was morning—about ten o’clock when we were taken with the cramps, and at precisely the same moment, too, strange to say. I think it must have been about three, that afternoon, when Thomas died. He was a great loss to me.”

“You say you were at an inn? Wasn’t there something about being seized with illness while in the moun{63}tains, and finding your way to the inn afterward alone?”

“Surely. That was it. We were, as a matter of fact, all alone when we were seized. Some mountaineers found us and gave all the assistance they could, and afterward helped me back to the inn.”

“You did not immediately recover from that attack, did you?”

“No. I was ailing for a long time after that—several weeks, in fact; but the effect of it gradually passed away. I think it was the shock of losing Thomas in that manner that affected me as much as anything.”

“He had been with you a long time?”

“Yes. He was, in fact, a distant relative, strange as it may sound to you.”

“A relative, serving as your servant? That is strange.”

“Oh, it was quite generally known among my intimates. Thomas’ name was Lynne, also. He was a cousin so far removed that you could hardly call it a relationship; and, after all, he served more in the capacity of companion than servant.”

“I see. A mutually agreeable relation, eh?”

“Entirely so. I had offered him better things many times, but he preferred the life of ease and luxury and travel that he had with me, even in the capacity of valet, to the undertaking of more arduous things. He was rather a strange character, Mr. Carter.”

“Rather an odd one, I should say. How long a time had you borne that relation to each other?”

“Nearly twelve years. He came to me at the time{64} of the death of my wife. I had been in communication with him before that, seeking to do something for him, for I dislike to have it said that I have neglected poor relations. I sent for him then, and asked him to be my secretary—and that is really what he was. My secretary, although he performed the other services, also.”

“I see. How long have you been at home, Mr. Lynne?”

“Not more than six weeks; just about that. I joined a shooting party over there, which kept me longer than I intended to stay.”

“Your house at Pleasantglades was closed when you returned?”

“Yes. Edythe had returned to the city long before that.”

“So she was at home when you did return, I suppose.”

“No. She had gone on a trip to California with a party of friends in two or three private cars.”

“When did she return from that trip, Mr. Lynne?”

“Only last week.”

“It must have been a great joy to her to find you at home waiting for her when you had been parted so long, especially as you had been so ill while you were away,” said Nick, selecting a cigar from his case and proffering it to his companion, who accepted it mechanically, bit off the end, and also accepted the light which Nick offered him before he replied.

“It was,” he said then.

“You were here to receive her when she came?{65}

“No, but I arrived very soon after she did.”

“The same day, I suppose, eh? You must have arranged so that you could be together as soon as possible?”

“Oh, we did so arrange by telegraph, but I made a mistake in the schedule of the special that brought her back from her trip with her friends, so I was a little late at the meeting. But it was none the less pleasant, for all that.”

“So you met, really, only a day or two ago? I suppose she found you greatly changed, eh?”

“Not at first. She was too glad to see me for that.”

“Why do you say not at first?”

“Because later, after she had had an opportunity to observe me more closely, she decided that I had changed very much—for the better. Stouter, you know, and ruddier; and healthier. I was never very robust, until since this last trip.”

“Until since the poisoning in the mountains of Switzerland, eh?”

“Well, you see, I was so ill and down and out and all that, after that affair, that I did what I have never done before: I forced myself to the enjoyment of outdoor life—and I liked it; and it agreed with me wonderfully.”

“Just what day was it that you arrived in New York, Mr. Lynne? There was a mention of it in the paper, but it has escaped me.”

“The day before yesterday.”

“Only that?{66}

“Only that.”

“But in the morning, I suppose?”

“No. I arrived on the train that gets in at the Pennsylvania Station at nine in the evening.”

“And now, after being parted from Edythe so long a time, this terrible thing has happened to you. It is terrible, Mr. Lynne.”

“Ah, sir, it is more than that; it is unbearable. I am compelling myself to keep up, so please let’s not talk about that.”

“No, indeed, we will not, just at present. This engagement of yours with the lady of your choice must have been a matter of long standing, then. At least, we can find something that is pleasant to talk about in that subject.”

“Yes. Now that you know about it, I am glad to talk about it. We met—the engagement was consummated while I was abroad last summer. I had not seen Mrs. Babbington, either, for a considerable time—for several months.”

“It is rather strange that you did not hasten to her, rather than to your home, on the arrival of the train, Mr. Lynne.”

“To tell you the truth I did so, although I remained there but a moment.”

“Ah; you saw her first, then, and afterward went to your home?”

“Yes; but I was not there above fifteen minutes.”

“Tell me, had Edythe complained of feeling ill, do you know, before she started for that reception?”

“I don’t think so. I had not heard of it.{67}

“By the way, that butler of yours: is he the same man you had there before you went away last spring, Mr. Lynne?”

“No. He is one whom Edythe engaged while I was away. The old butler, Tompkins, who had been in my service for years, and who had grown old, wished to retire. He had quite a competence, so he could afford to do so.”

“I see. And Edythe engaged the new one?”

“Yes. She cabled me that Tompkins was leaving three months ago.”

“And what has become of Tompkins? Old servants are always interesting.”

“He has returned to his home somewhere in England.”

“Have you never heard from him since he left you? I should think that such an old servant would like you to know something about what had become of him.”

“Oh, yes, he has written to me, Mr. Carter.{68}



Nick Carter sat silent for a long time after that, and Lynne seemed quite content that he should do so.

The detective was thinking over the facts of the case as he was arranging them in sequence in his own mind, and he could see but one conclusion at which to arrive as an explanation of the mystery; if the reader has already guessed at that conclusion, so much the better, for it is not the purpose here to mystify—only to arrive at facts just as the detective arrived at them.

First, then, the known fondness between J. Cephas Lynne and his daughter Edythe.

The papers had had it, and all the world understood it, that ever since the death of the mother of Edythe Lynne the daughter had been the apple of the father’s eye.

He had taken her everywhere, escorted her to many of the places she attended, and she had seemed to prefer his company to that of the young men of her acquaintance.

She had been his thought and care, and, indeed, his whole life, ever since the death of his wife twelve years before. That was the generally accepted idea of both of them.

One never saw in the papers the mention of the pres{69}ence of one of them at a function, that the other was not there; for one to be absent meant that both were absent.

Upon the occasion of his going abroad that preceding spring, the papers had commented upon the fact that it was the first time the millionaire had been known to part with his daughter for more than a few hours, or at the most a few days at a time.

But some business had arisen which had called the millionaire abroad, and which could not be avoided, and a house party had already been invited to Pleasantglades.

But it was understood, and so stated in the papers, that it was to be a hurried trip, and so, when later it was announced that he had gone to Switzerland for a little outing, there was some wonder expressed in different quarters about it.

It had even been stated at the time that Edythe would sail by the next steamer to join her father abroad, and that then had come a peremptory cable directing her to remain where she was.

But that father and daughter should have been apart for more than seven months—Nick had not known of the time of Lynne’s return until now—was utterly unprecedented.

The idea of the father’s ever marrying again, devoted as he was to his daughter, and to the memory of her mother, would have sounded utterly absurd in the ears of any one of the acquaintances who knew them well.

The whole affair had a strange look to Nick Carter,{70} for, as he had been led to understand the character of Cephas Lynne, the detective believed him to be a man of the very highest kind of sterling qualities.

Not at all such a man as he had found awaiting him in that room in the Riverside Drive mansion that morning; not at all such a man as was now seated beside him in the limousine body of the car, riding toward the body of his dead daughter.

The man whom Nick had cast for the part of Cephas Lynne should not have resorted to theatricals when first told of her death; and most certainly he should not have discussed trivial matters with the detective now, with the relish that this man beside him seemed to take in it.

In short, the whole bearing of Mr. Lynne had been that of one desiring to avoid some subjects, and to be willing to grasp at almost any other one to avoid those that he disliked—or feared—at the moment.

That sudden illness in the mountains was an interesting feature of the whole affair to the detective, for it seemed to him that the man whom he had cast for the part of the gentleman beside him, would have hurried home to his daughter the first moment he was able to travel after it.

But something had changed the father evidently—how greatly was yet to be determined.

And that something that had brought about the change? Was the woman, whom he had met abroad, but whom he had known for a long time at home, the woman to whom he said he was now engaged to be married—could she be entirely responsible for that?{71}

Was this another case of the devoted father who finds a sweetheart and is afraid to tell his daughter of the fact?

Not as Nick Carter believed he understood the character of J. Cephas Lynne.

Suddenly and without warning the detective reopened the subject of Mrs. Babbington. He began it by saying, as if merely for the purpose of bringing an end to the silence between them:

“So you met Mrs. Babbington abroad and discovered only then that you loved her? That is interesting. I am always interested in romances. You have known her, of course, for some years, haven’t you?”

“Yes; since just prior to her first marriage, six years ago.”

“Was it after your illness in Switzerland that you encountered her abroad last summer?”

“Yes; some time after that.”

“When you had quite recovered from your illness as a result of the poisoning?”

“While I was recuperating in Scotland. I joined a party there, little supposing that I would meet with old acquaintances.”

“Ah! and she was of the party. It is really quite a romance.”

“It turned out to be so,” was the reply, and Nick thought that he spoke with some grimness that was not entirely called for by the circumstance.

“I suppose the fact that you were so far away from home, coupled with the other one that you had been so ill, and the general romantic qualities of the air{72} around you, brought about an understanding quite speedily, did it not?”

“We became engaged almost at once, if that is what you mean,” was the reply. And for some reason, which the detective could not name, the present aspect of the subject seemed to be distasteful to Lynne.

“But,” said the detective meditatively, as if he were trying to remember, “it seems to me that I saw somewhere a notice of Mrs. Babbington’s return to the city, a long time before your own arrival. Were you together long in Scotland?”

“We were at the same house about two weeks. We did not, unfortunately, meet again until I arrived here the day before yesterday.”

“Indeed. It would seem as if you should have made an effort to get together sooner than that, under the circumstances. I suppose you both dreaded the moment when Edythe had to be informed of the prospective relationship.”

Lynne grasped at that straw, as Nick would have called it.

“Yes; that was it,” he said eagerly. “I dreaded to tell Edythe about it; Mrs. Babbington insisted, rightly of course, that she should be told at once. I really think, Mr. Carter, that I found excuses to defer my home-coming, solely on that account.”

“No doubt. No doubt. Really, now, were there no little things that happened here in town when you knew Mrs. Babbington here, that led you to think that she might some day be your wife?”

The man turned a half angry glance upon the detec{73}tive, and then the ghost of a fleeting smile appeared for an instant on his face.

“What a prober you are, Mr. Carter,” he said, with an effort at kindness, but Nick could see that it was an effort, and that there was something behind it, too.

“My dear, sir,” he said quickly, “I am trying to play the friend, as well as the enforced companion, since you want my professional services. I am endeavoring to discuss subjects that will lead your thoughts into pleasant channels. Now, for instance, when you first met your present fiancée in Scotland, you must have been greatly changed, by reason of your recent illness.”

“Indeed I was very greatly changed in every way.”

“And she saw it at once, of course.”


“And was greatly shocked by it, I have no doubt.”

“She admitted as much as that;” again there was that note of grimness in the reply.

“I suppose, quite naturally, it was a more or less delicate topic with you, Mr. Lynne.”

“Yes; it was. Still, I got over it, you know;” and this time there was a short, hard laugh, which the detective thought entirely out of place.

“The very fact of your recent illness, and your near approach to death, no doubt drew her to you as nothing else would have done.”

“I really think that that is the explanation of it all, Carter.”

“And then, too, having been much at your house{74}—for she used to be quite friendly with Edythe, did she not?—there was not so much difference in their ages as to preclude that—she doubtless had some sort of acquaintance with that cousin of yours who was your valet, and who died?”


“She remembered him, of course?”

“Of course.”

“The relationship between you was so distant that, of course, there was no physical likeness between you, was there?”

“Oh, none at all that anybody ever spoke about.”

“All valets are smooth of face, by necessity of their calling, and you have always worn the mustache and Vandyke beard, haven’t you? Every picture of you that I have seen in the papers has had it so.”

“I haven’t shaved my face or upper lip since I entered college, and that was nearly thirty years ago,” was the quick reply.

Again the detective relapsed into silence—with a purpose.

After a moment he began to speak of the beauty of the day, for it was a perfect one, and he drew his companion’s attention to patches of the snow that had fallen during the night upon the landscape they were passing.

And while he did that he did another thing—in an utterly abstracted manner, as if he had no thought of what he was doing.

He removed his cigar case from his pocket a second time, helped himself to a cigar, and then, as if{75} with second thought, passed the case to Lynne while he sought his match safe.

He struck the match and held the flame of it out for the other to light by, and then applied it to his own cigar; and so they smoked on in silence for another distance, until the detective said:

“We should arrive in another ten minutes now. How do you like those cigars, Mr. Lynne?”

“They seem very good, indeed. I—er—I am not much of a smoker, Mr. Carter.”

“No? You seem to take kindly to it just now. I suppose that is due to the excellence of the cigars, isn’t it?”

“It must be so.”

There was another silence after that, and a grim smile was playing upon the features of Nick Carter.

It broadened, too, when as they drew nearer to Pleasantglades, and came into the more thickly populated localities, Lynne threw the not half-smoked cigar from the window, and straightened himself suddenly.

“We will be there in a moment now, Mr. Carter,” he said.

“Yes. We will be there in a moment.”

“Need I say to you that you shall be very generously recompensed for whatever you can do to relieve me of the strain and terror of this awful business? I have no doubt that my daughter came here deliberately to kill herself. Why, I do not know; but you must help me to find that out.{76}



At the house Nick Carter found things unchanged.

Save for the presence of the policemen who were guarding it, and the local coroner who was awaiting the arrival of “the great man” of the neighborhood, there was no change.

They were a respectful, quiet lot, truly sorrowful for what had happened, and genuinely in sympathy with the man whose dearest possession had so ruthlessly been taken from him.

And he passed among them with bowed head, with his hands behind his back, not speaking to a single one of his many old acquaintances of the neighborhood who had been permitted inside the grounds to offer their sympathy.

And this, one man was heard to say, was not at all like Mr. Lynne, although he couldn’t be blamed under the circumstances.

But Lynne looked neither to the right nor the left as he advanced into the house, and, followed closely by the detective, led the way straight to the room where the dead girl waited.

At the door of it, when others would have followed him inside, he turned and spoke to one of the officers at the door in a low tone, and the officer announced:

“Mr. Lynne would like to be alone for a time. Please wait.{77}

But Nick, who was close behind him, stepped forward and gripped him by the arm.

“I think I had best go inside with you, Mr. Lynne,” he said, in a low tone. “It may be important, you know.”

Lynne nodded, and Nick followed him inside the room and closed the door.

While Nick paused near the door by which they had entered, Lynne crossed quickly to the divan couch, and Nick could see that he looked eagerly everywhere about the room as he did so, and that he half paused near the table where the fan and the gloves and the vanity box were still lying as Nick had left them.

But he kept on his way until he stood beside the couch, looking down upon the dead; and Nick could see that the man was shuddering, shuddering, shuddering, through his frame and shoulders, as if with something more than grief.

“I will go over to the opposite side of the room to one of the windows, until you call me,” said the detective, speaking in a kindly tone; and he did cross the room to the window, which was, however, tightly closed and one could not see out, although some one had had the forethought to have the electric lights connected. There had been no time nor reason to take down the guards at the windows.

But Nick stood there with his back toward Lynne—and he took a small mirror from his pocket, and held it, by folding his arms, so that it reflected enough of the room that was behind him for him to be able to see perfectly well all that might happen there.{78}

And after a moment he saw Lynne turn calmly about as if to speak to him, and then, discovering that his back was turned, he saw the man leave the side of the couch and cross quickly and silently to the table, the top of which he searched with his eyes.

And Nick, even in that small mirror, could see a pained expression come into those eyes when that search was not rewarded; and he saw those eyes dart swift glances from place to place around the room, as if searching for something.

Without stooping or searching with his hands, he sought under the table as well as upon it, and an expression of amazement, and then suddenly one of relief, appeared on his features.

“Mr. Carter!” he called, after a moment, and Nick turned about.

“Yes? What is it?” he asked.

“I am ready for you to do what you please here, now.”

“Very well.”

“There is only one thing that I would like to suggest, in case you wish me to leave the room.”

“I have no wish for you to leave the room. That is for you to decide for yourself. But what is the suggestion?”

“It seems to me that my daughter could not have done this terrible thing without leaving some word for me somewhere. It seems incredible that she should take her own life in the manner she has done it, and leave no message behind her. I want to ask you to{79} search diligently for such a message. For a letter or a written line. There must be something, somewhere.”

“Why are you so certain that she took her own life, Mr. Lynne?” Nick asked quietly.

“Why, everything points to that.”

“Do you think so? Have you considered everything, since you speak of everything?”

“Yes, yes, yes, of course I have.”

“But, nevertheless, Mr. Lynne, there is one thing that you have overlooked.”

“That I have overlooked? What is it?”

“This: Whether she took her own life or not, she was not alone in this room when she died.”


“No, sir, she was not. There was another person here with her.”

“But, what in the world do you mean? How could you possibly know that?”

“Mr. Lynne, people who die suddenly, as she died, have their eyes wide open when they are found. Edythe’s eyes were closed—are closed, rather, and, therefore, there was some person here to close them.”

“Great Heaven, Carter, what do you mean?”

“Just what I say, Mr. Lynne. Edythe was not in this room alone when she died. There was another person here with her, who closed her eyes after death.”

“My God, Carter, is it possible that you can surmise that?”

“I do not surmise it; I know it.”

“Know it? No, no, that is impossible.”

“It is not impossible. It is a fact.{80}


“Edythe died from the effects of a dose of prussic acid. People who die from prussic acid die so suddenly there is no time for a thought even. Her eyes would have been wide open now, if some person had not closed them—the murderer!”

“The murderer? Ah, no, not that.”

“Yes. I mean that.”

“But—I can’t believe it. I won’t believe it. It is impossible! It is preposterous! It is not to be thought of. Search, search, Carter; you will find somewhere a note that she has left behind her to tell of this deed. It must be so.”

“Even if I should find such a note or letter, Mr. Lynne, I would not believe it. I would deem it a forgery, made by a clever scoundrel, to deceive others. Edythe Lynne did not kill herself; she was killed!”

“But—who? Who? Who could have done such a thing?”

“Ah, who, indeed? That is yet to be determined.”

“What makes you so positive, Carter? Tell me that.” The man was making a great effort to control himself, but all of that effort might easily have been attributable to the excitement and emotion of the moment, under the harrowing circumstances, and Nick Carter was perfectly well aware of that fact.

“There are many things that make me positive, Mr. Lynne.”

“The condition of the eyes alone?”

“No. Not that alone. There are other things.”

“What other things?{81}

“I will not go into them now, sir. You are too greatly excited by all that has taken place since last night.”

“But tell me. Tell me.”

“I will tell you after a little, Mr. Lynne. I think, just now, we had best call the coroner inside. He has been very patient.”

And, although Lynne tried to protest, Nick stepped past him to the door, opened it, and called to Doctor Kuhn to join them.

“I think,” the detective said, when the doctor entered the room, “that you had best give your first attention to Mr. Lynne; and if I may make a suggestion, it would be that he is ordered into another room to lie down while the chief of your police and you and I make what investigation we can in this room. Don’t you agree with me?”

“I do, certainly,” replied the doctor, taking Lynne’s wrist and feeling his pulse. “You really must rest, if only for a few moments, sir,” he said, in a kindly tone to the millionaire. “You are greatly excited. Your pulse is beating like a triphammer.”

Lynne opened his mouth as if to protest, just as the big figure of the local chief of police loomed in the doorway; and somehow the sight of it seemed to change his mind, for he bowed to the policeman and spoke in a low tone to him, and passed out of the room.

Nick Carter stepped forward quickly and closed the door after him, thus shutting himself in alone with the coroner and the chief.

“Gentlemen,” he said, “I suppose you notice the{82} great change in Mr. Lynne, since you last saw him, don’t you?”

“I certainly do,” replied the chief, with emphasis on the I. “He was always most cordial to me, and to-day he has scarcely spoken to me at all; but I suppose that is due to this affair. Poor little girl. Why, Mr. Carter, I’ve watched that girl grow up, and she seems almost like one of my own. A sweeter, purer, gentler, more lovable soul never dwelt in a human body. If I could get my hands on the fiend that did that act—I expect I’d have to go to prison myself.”

“You are convinced, then, that it was murder, chief?”

“Just as sure as can be. There isn’t the slightest doubt of it in my mind.”

“So am I convinced of it, chief. And we will get at that, presently. By the way, doctor, have you, too, noticed any especial change in Mr. Lynne?”

“Why, yes, but more in his manner than in anything else, although he is certainly much stouter and in much better general health than when I last saw him. Oh, no, I don’t know as there is so much change, after all. He has grown considerably grayer, I think.”

“I wonder—he is feeling badly, you know—if a cigar would do him any good? A cigar is a great thing for me when I am——”

“No use, Mr. Carter,” said the chief. “He don’t smoke.”

“Doesn’t smoke? Are you sure?”

“Never smoked in his life. He has often told me that. He said he used to want to smoke because he{83} liked to see others doing it, and they seemed to get so much pleasure out of it, and he often tried it. He has told me that often.”

“And couldn’t he even learn to smoke?”

“No. At least, he said not. He has told it to me often. He couldn’t stay in a room where there was much tobacco smoke, and it used to make him mad because he could not. But there is something about tobacco that he can’t stand. He could never learn to smoke; and I call that hard luck. But come, hadn’t we better get down to business?”

“Yes, I think so. Coroner, have you discovered one of the best proofs that this is a case of murder and not one of suicide?”

“I don’t know that I have. What do you mean?”

“Have you ever seen a case of prussic acid suicide where the eyes were found closed?”

“By Jove! Mr. Carter, you’re right. No, I have not; nor anybody else.”

“Well, what did I tell you?” demanded the chief. “I knew it was murder, just because I know the little girl wouldn’t have killed herself.{84}



The three turned then to the duty in hand.

But it was only a cursory examination of the surroundings that they made, since the doctor and the chief had both already been in that room and had investigated as far as it had been possible or even necessary.

Nick stood back and a little to one side while the two approached the dead girl upon the couch, and for a moment the chief stood looking down upon her with all that adoration which a strong man of middle age feels for a pure young soul such as Edythe Lynne’s had been.

Finally he turned to the detective.

“Mr. Carter,” he said, with slow solemnity, “what I said a moment ago is true. If you had come to me and told me that this girl was dead and that she had killed herself, and that you had seen her do it, I would have told you that you were a liar. She wasn’t the sort that kills herself; not much. So far as I am concerned, the examination is over.”

He hesitated a moment, and then added, with grave dignity:

“What I want to do now, is to find that man that did it. I want to find him.”

“Do you want to find him without fear or favor?” asked the detective quietly.{85}

“I do, sir, without fear or favor. There ain’t no man in all the world that is big enough or great enough, or near enough to me in any way, to get one grain of consideration from me if he did this thing.”

“Very well,” said Nick, with quiet decision. “We will find him. I think that I can give you both my word that we will find him within twenty-four hours—or less.”

“Do you mean that, Mr. Carter?” the chief exclaimed.

“Yes, I mean it.”

“Would you mind telling me just why you are so plumb certain about it?”

For a moment the detective hesitated. Then he said:

“Chief—and you, doctor, also—if you will be satisfied with a partial explanation for the present, I will make it; but there are reasons, and weighty ones, too, why I would very much prefer to leave the full explanation till later. Will you be satisfied with that, and trust me?”

“I will,” said the chief.

“And I, also,” announced the doctor.

“Then I will tell you this much now: This is not the first time I have been in this room since Miss Lynne was killed.”

“Not the first time? Eh? What do you mean by that?” exclaimed the chief.

“That is what I am telling you.”

“All right. Go ahead.”

“Chief, before I went to the station house last night, or very early this morning, I had been here in this{86} room. I knew then what you would find when you arrived here with your men.”

“Then why in blazes didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I thought it best to go about the matter in the manner I have done it; and results have demonstrated that I was correct about that.”

“Well, how did you get here, that’s what I want to know?”

“As you know, I was out here on other business last night. It was about two o’clock, or shortly after that, when I passed this way. It was soon after the snow had fallen, but just then no snow was falling at all.”

“Well, well, well?”

“As I was passing the gate I saw tracks in the snow; the tracks of a man and a woman, entering the place, and the tracks of the same man, made in leaving it. At that time the lock on the gate was securely fastened.”

“Fastened? Do you mean that?”

“Yes. It was I who filed through that chain in order to enter here and discover what had happened to the woman who had come into this place, and who had not gone out again.”

“I see. I see.”

“I made my way into the house by picking the lock of the door. I had my flash light with me. I made my way to this room by following the snow tracks on the rugs and carpets, for they had not melted. It was really colder in the house than outside of it.”

“And you found—this?”

“Yes. Just as you see it.”

“So you knew, right on the spot, that a man had{87} come here with her. You couldn’t track him away from here, could you?”

“I have tracked him away from here, chief. I am almost ready to put my hands upon him; but I haven’t sufficient proof of it yet, and the important thing that I wish to impress upon you both, right now, is that not a word of what I have told you shall be uttered to any person for the present. Will you both agree to that?”

“Surely we will. But, have you told her father about it, Carter?”

“I have just said that not a word of it should be breathed to any person. That included Mr. Lynne, also.”

“Oh; I see. Well, he isn’t to know anything, either, until you get ready to tell it?”

“Not one single idea of any of it. He must not even suppose that I had any knowledge that preceded your own, chief.”

“And the—murderer! Do you really think you have got him dead to rights?”

“I really do, chief. I haven’t one single doubt of it.”

“Then all I’ve got to say is that you’re a wonder, Carter.”

“Oh, no, it was circumstance, and chance—largely chance—that made it possible, chief.”

“Then thank Heaven for the chance. Say, where are you going to get him? Here? Or in New York?”

“Here, if I can. If not here, then in New York.”

“Do you mean to tell me that the fellow is here in this town?”

“He might be here, or he might be lured here, but{88} wherever he is—no matter where he may be, chief, I will get him. I promise you that.”

“Shake hands, Carter. You’re a man after my own heart. You do things, and that’s what I like. And don’t you think that it even occurs to me to be one bit jealous of it all. I am only thanking Heaven that you were here to do it. I wasn’t cut out for a detective. I’m all right as a policeman, but I know my limitations, thank the Lord. And say, Carter.”


“From this out, you take charge of things, will you? You be chief.”

“No; I won’t do that; but if a suggestion occurs to me I will make it to you, and you can give your orders as you see fit. That will be the better way, although I don’t now think there will be any occasion for such exercise of authority.”

“Maybe not.”

“But there is one thing that I want to do at your office at one o’clock.”

The chief looked at his watch and snapped it shut.

“That will be another half hour, yet,” he said. “What is it that you want to do then?”

“I want to sit at the telephone in your private office at the station house, and do some telephoning to one of my assistants in New York—and I want you to sit beside me and listen, without questioning, when I do it.”

“That’s all right. What else?”

“I want the doctor here to join with us in a little plot of mine, to help us out.{89}

“You may count on me, of course,” replied the doctor, who had been listening intently.

“Doctor,” said the detective, turning toward him, “I called upon Mr. Lynne at his home in the city this morning. It was my intention to tell him then, more or less, about what I had discovered here—while I was there, chief, your man came and made his report, but I don’t think he saw me.”

“Huh; that isn’t strange. He wouldn’t see the moon at night if he wasn’t told to look at it, and then he wouldn’t see all there was of it.”

“Well, Mr. Carter?” said the doctor. “You were about to suggest something to me?”

“Yes. When I went to Mr. Lynne’s house I found him preparing to come out here. He had made all his arrangements to start early. His errand was to take something from a private vault that is built under the north wing.”

The chief nodded as if he understood. The doctor looked surprised.

“When this news was made known to him,” the detective continued, “he asked me to come here with him, and it was while on the way out that he told me about the vault. Now, he intends to visit it before he returns to the city, and for reasons of my own I wish to be with him when he does so. I am quite sure that he will have no objections to that arrangement.”

“I don’t know about that,” interrupted the chief. “He has always been mighty particular about that vault, and it surprises me that he even told you of its existence.{90}

“Well, he did tell me. The point is this, doctor.”


“I must go now, with the chief, to the station house to do that telephoning, for that must be attended to, first, if we wish to catch the murderer. Now, if you will play your part in this affair, so that we can ultimately bring the murderer here—we will say, face to face with Mr. Lynne himself—I want you, when we leave this room, to go at once to Mr. Lynne, feel his pulse, and say or do something which will make it imperative—imperative, mind you—that he shall go home to your house with you until I call for him there on my return from the station house.”

“I think I understand you,” said the doctor.

“Insist that you must look after his health; that he must have an hour or two of rest while the chief and I are busy about other matters. If he should insist upon returning to this house, come with him. Will you do all that till we return from the station house?”

“Surely. And even if you did not have another reason, the one you have given is already sufficient. He does need the rest and a tonic of some kind.”

“The tonic he will want is brandy, doctor.”

“He was never a drinking man,” said the chief.

“Nevertheless, give him brandy if he wants it, and if it should happen that he has learned to smoke while he was away, offer him a cigar.”

“No use,” said the chief, shaking his head.

“Oh, well, one doesn’t always know. For instance, chief, what would you say if you were told that Mr. Lynne is contemplating a second marriage?{91}

“I should probably call the man a liar who told it to me,” was the dry response.

“Nevertheless, chief, it is true.”

“What’s that? True? It can’t be. Why, I’ve heard him express himself rather forcibly on that subject, too.”

“Nevertheless, it is true. You have heard of Mrs. Hurd-Babbington? You have seen her out here, haven’t you?”


“Well, she is the lady in question.”

“You don’t say so.”

“Yes. And it occurs to me that a man who will so thoroughly change his opinions on the subject of marriage might also learn to smoke. And now that we understand one another, shall we go to the station, chief? And will you do your part, doctor?{92}



Nick Carter was at the telephone in the private office of the chief of the local police.

Chick was at the other end of the wire, and the connection had just been made.

“Chick,” said the detective, “I am in the private office of the chief, here. Where are you?”

“At home,” came the reply over the wire. “It is only half an hour ago that I phoned in, and Joseph told me what was wanted, so I came here.”

“Good. Well, I have some instructions to give you; but before I do that, let me hear anything that you have to tell me.”

“I haven’t anything to tell you that amounts to a hill of beans, Nick. So far as I have been able to determine there is no reason to suppose that Lynne is not all that he appears to be. His life, as far as I have been able to find out anything about it, is as clean as a whistle.”

“I believe that. But have you found any person who knew him intimately? who has known him intimately for a number of years? I would like to find such a person as that.”

“Yes; I have found one, although he isn’t what you’d exactly call a friend—although when fellows like him are faithful, they are mighty good friends to a man.{93}

“To whom are you referring, Chick?”

“To a chap named Tompkins, who used to be butler——”


“Didn’t you get that?”

“Yes. I got it all right, but are you sure that you mean Tompkins, who used to be butler for Lynne? The right Tompkins, I mean?”

“Of course I am sure.”

“I understood that he was in England.”

“England, nothing! He is right here in New York—and a bright old chap he is, too.”

“Glory be, Chick. That is the best news you could have given me. Did you tell Tompkins about the death of Edythe?”

“Yes, and the old man is heartbroken. He wants to go out there, but I told him to wait, and I would let him know whether to go there or wait here to see her. He wants to see her.”

“He shall see her, too; tell him that for me, and go to him at once as soon as you leave the phone. I want you to bring him here, in order that there may be no mistake. Now, is that all you have to tell me?”

“Yes. About all. It is all I think of now.”

“Well, before I give you your instructions, answer me a question. From time to time, during the past four or five years, you remember to have seen many items about J. Cephas Lynne in the newspapers, don’t you?”

“About a thousand of them, more or less, I should say. Why?{94}

“Do you remember to have seen references to his fondness for smoking?”

“Eh? For smoking?”

“Just that.”

“I remember to have seen a good many statements, mostly made in fun, I think, that he did not smoke because he could not, and that it made him sick to stay in a room where there was much of it; and I remember one circumstance where some friends played a joke upon him and induced him to accompany them to a ‘smoker,’ and that it made him deathly sick, whereupon they guyed the life out of him. Is that what you mean?”

“Precisely. I remembered that, too, but I wanted to be sure that you did, also. But, Chick, Lynne has learned to smoke and to enjoy it, too—and my cigars; and you know how strong they are.”

“Uh-huh. I’m on. What else?”

“Now for your instructions.”


“Do you know where Mrs. Madge Hurd-Babbington lives?”

“I can easily find out. What about it?”

“Now, pay close attention, Chick.”


“I want you to go now, at once, to Judge Masters, of the General Sessions; tell him that I sent you, and that you are carrying out my orders.”


“I want you to swear out a warrant before him, on information and belief, and get him to issue it from{95} the bench, charging Madge Hurd-Babbington with the crime of murder, in aiding and abetting one Thomas Lynne, former secretary and valet to J. Cephas Lynne, in the actual commission of that crime. Have you got that?”

There was a sharp exclamation, quickly suppressed, from the chief, who was seated near the detective, as Chick replied:

“Yes. I’ve got that. It’s going some, isn’t it?”

“A little. Then swear out a second warrant for Thomas Lynne, for murder—and have them both regular in every particular. Tell the judge that I know exactly whereof I speak; and tell him also that I want the entire matter kept absolutely still until we deliver our prisoners at the headquarters of police in New York City. Have you got all that, straight and regular?”

“Yes; but who in the world is Thomas Lynne?”

“You’ll find that out when you get here.”

“What next, Nick?”

“Take my big limousine car, with Danny to drive it. You and Patsy are to ride inside.”


“Drive to the home of Mrs. Babbington. I don’t think any news about the murder here has leaked out as yet—that is, the papers that contain it will not be on the street before you can attend to all that I tell you to do.”

“There is nothing as yet, anyhow.”

“So Mrs. Babbington will listen to what I direct you to tell her.{96}


“Go to her house with the car. Tell her that Edythe Lynne is dead, out here at Pleasantglades, and that Mr. Lynne is here, very much overcome by what has happened. Say that everything in connection with the death, so far as it can be seen, points to suicide, and that Mr. Lynne is greatly overwrought by it all. Say that he wants her there with him at Pleasantglades at once, and that you have brought the car to take her there. Describe the scene in the room to her, if necessary; about the position of Edythe on the couch, the vial under her right hand on the floor—even the letter, if that should be necessary! Got all that?”


“The point is to induce her to come here with you willingly. I want that done, if it is possible, and I think if you do the right kind of talking, you will have no difficulty.”

“I can do it all right, I think.”

“But, Chick, if she should balk at all, and decline to come, show your warrant, and bring her.”

“I’ll do that, too.”

“While you are after the warrant from the judge, send Patsy after that old butler, Tompkins, and instruct Tompkins to wait for you somewhere along the route you will take after Mrs. Babbington has entered the car with you. If he were out, say at the end of the subway line, waiting for you, that would be the best arrangement.”


“Because the minute she sees him she’ll get a scare,{97} and I want you to have her out of the city, well on the way here, before that happens.”

“I see.”

“Wait a minute, Chick; I’ve got a better idea.”


“Send Ida Jones after Tompkins, or let her go there with Patsy after him; and then let her accompany him to the end of the subway to wait for the car. I don’t want any mistake to happen about getting that old servant here.”

“Why not let Patsy——”

“Do it just as I have said, Chick. That will be better and safer.”

“All right.”

“And do it all just as quickly as you know how. I want them both here just as quickly as you can get them here—and you ought to do it all, that is, you ought to get started within two hours at the most.”

“I think it can be done in an hour. The only hitch that may occur is that I may not find the woman at home.”

“I think you will find her there, Chick. I think she will be waiting for news. There is no doubt that Lynne communicated with her this morning by telephone, and that she knows now just where he has gone, and is waiting to hear from him.”

“I see.”

“At all events I will make assurance doubly sure and get the chief of police here to telephone to her, as if for Lynne, that he wants her to come out at once{98} and that a car will call for her to bring her—but I won’t send that message until I think you are about due at her house.”

“The car is here at the door now, Nick. Patsy is here beside me, and Ida is in her room, so there will be no delay. I can be at the judge’s chambers in twenty minutes; in twenty more I will have the warrants; in fifteen or twenty more I can be at her house, so if you have the chief do that telephoning in about three-quarters of an hour, I’ll engage to be at the house within fifteen minutes after she gets it.”

“Good. That arranges it nicely.”

“Are you sure that I will find Judge Masters at his chambers?”

“Yes. I know that. I saw him yesterday, and he told me that he would be there all day. I had intended to see him to-day about that other matter of ours; tell him that that is postponed till to-morrow.”

“All right.”

“You may tell him as much about this crime as you have time to tell him. Just give him a general outline of it, so that he will understand how very serious it is.”


“Just one thing more.”


“When you get here drive straight to Pleasantglades, and to the house. The chief will meet you at the door, and will escort the woman into the house—but I want you and Patsy to keep mighty close to her, in case she should try to do injury to herself when she discovers what she is up against.{99}

“All understood, Nick.”

“That is all. Now, lose no time. Get here as soon as possible. Good-by.”

When the detective turned away from the phone it was to find that the chief was staring wide-eyed at him, while beads of sweat stood out upon his forehead.

“Great Scott, Carter, is all that true?” he cried out, clenching his hands and leaning forward in his chair.

“Yes, chief, it is all true—too true,” replied the detective.

And the chief could only stare at the detective, speechlessly.{100}



“Well, Mr. Lynne, are you rested? Are you feeling better now?”

It was the detective who asked the question as they left Doctor Kuhn’s house together, with the doctor accompanying them, to walk the short distance back to Pleasantglades. The chief had gone on alone after the telephoning episode, saying that big as he was he had not the courage yet to meet that man without seizing him by the throat.

“Oh, yes,” said Lynne. “I am beginning to get better control of myself. I am glad that you have come. I want to visit the vault under the north wing, and I rather wanted you to accompany me when I did that.”

“Indeed?” said Nick. “Why so?”

The man shrugged his shoulders, then replied:

“I suppose I am nervous, that is all—and I cannot get it out of my head that somewhere there is an explanation for this sudden act of my daughter’s.”

“You don’t expect to find such an explanation in that vault, do you?” demanded the detective, in simulated surprise, for he had already assumed that this was what Lynne did expect to find, for the very good reason that he had arranged it, himself, to be found.

For that, and that only, could explain that paragraph{101} of the letter which still was in hiding in one of Nick Carter’s pockets; that paragraph which was:

“The reasons why I have decided that there is no other way, you will discover soon enough, and you will feel deep regret because I did not go to you and tell you all about it, instead of doing this thing.”

The clever forger—this man, of course—who had prepared that paragraph, had also prepared the evidence to establish the meaning of it; the evidence to explain what the forged letter pretended to refuse to explain; the thing that was meant to explain why she should kill herself.

Lynne claimed that he had not been at home until the time he stated in telling Nick Carter about it, but it was certain in the mind of the detective that he had been out here to Pleasantglades before he made his presence known in New York at all, and that he had prepared everything for the moment which had now arrived. The only upset in his plans was the strange absence of the letter that he had left on the table in the room where he had committed the murder.

That was, of course, preying upon his mind, but he did not dare to ask about it, since he could have no knowledge of it, and, doubtless, he consoled himself with the idea that the chief had found it and was holding it back for some purpose of his own.

But, when new evidence should be found in the vault that there was a reason why Edythe should have killed herself, then, of course, according to his hopes, the letter would be forthcoming.{102}

So Nick followed him into the north wing of the house; saw him draw aside the circular rug that had been made for the semioctagonal room that was there; saw him insert a key into a lock in that floor and lift a ponderous trapdoor by adjusting a lever concealed in the wainscoating which applied weights to it to pull it up; saw him snap on electric lights from a switch, and then descend iron stairs to the regions below; saw him consult a small book that he carried in his pocket, and then attack the combination locks one after another until he had opened the two outer doors, and then the two inner ones of the vault; saw him step inside and use small, flat keys upon inner compartments of the great safe, for that is what it was, and presently step back again into the presence of the detective, and show him a beautiful string of pearls, which he drew slowly and lovingly through his hands.

“This is what I came here to get—what I was coming here to get, to give to Mrs. Babbington for her birthday,” he said. “Is it not exquisite?”

“It certainly is,” replied the detective.

Then Lynne left the pearls in the detective’s hands, and returned to the interior of the great safe.

“There are some securities that I think I will take away with me, now that I am here,” he remarked, as if casually, and he opened another compartment inside the safe—and Nick felt that the moment had arrived.

It had.

Lynne suddenly started back a half-suppressed exclamation; then he cried out, with all the theatrical art that he possessed:{103}

“No, no! It is not possible! I will not believe it. Oh! oh! oh! This is the worst blow of all!” Then he turned slowly around, and added, as one who is overcome by sorrow: “Mr. Carter, I am very sorry now that I brought you here. I might have hidden all this, and now you must know. Look. Come here and look. It is best that you should.”

The compartment into which the detective peered when he stepped forward was about half filled with bonds, which Nick saw at a glance were negotiable ones; and on the top of them, unfolded, face up, was a short note in that same hand that had written the letter found in the room of death. Here was the evidence, then, that the fiend had prepared. The note was:

“Forgive me, papa. I have only taken half, but I had to do so. I will not tell you why, only that it was not for myself, but for another. I would die rather than that you should know all the truth, and I have partly determined to die before you can know it.


So this fiend in human guise, not content with taking the life of that beautiful girl, that pure, sweet, young life, had attempted to steal her honor also, and had not hesitated to cast an unthinkable imputation upon her, even then.

Nick shut his fingers tightly together to keep himself from seizing the monster by the throat then and there.

But he controlled himself so that Lynne saw nothing of the danger he was in; and he reached into the {104}compartment and took the note, folded it, and put it into his pocket.

“We must keep that out of sight for the present, Lynne,” he said, in explanation of his act. “Come; let us get out of here. The place gives me the shivers.”

As one who is bent and torn by grief unbearable, Lynne followed Nick up the stairs, after closing and locking the doors of the vault; and in that same attitude of a stricken man, he followed the detective through the north wing to the main part of the house—and they arrived at the front door just as an automobile drove into the inclosure and under the porte-cochère.

He did not even raise his eyes to discover who had arrived, since that was not in keeping with the part he was playing, and so he did not notice that it was Mrs. Babbington who was assisted from it, for Nick quickly turned him about and led him toward the room where the body of Edythe had not yet been disturbed.

The chief had his instructions from Nick, and would carry them out; and, true enough, it was only a moment later when Nick heard footsteps following them along the corridor.

The detective led Lynne into the room of death, partly closing the door after him—and a moment later it was pushed wider open again, and Mrs. Babbington stepped into the room with all the assured presence of the woman of fashion that she was.

Nick had turned Lynne so that he faced the door, and the sudden start and the awful gasp of terror that{105} he gave when he saw and recognized the woman, could not be described.

“You, you, you!” he cried out, and she was startled, too, by his vehemence, which she had not anticipated, of course, since she believed that he expected her.

But before she could reply, or even make a gesture, a still more dramatic thing happened.

An old man, white and uncertain on his feet with age, pushed himself forward. He thrust out his right arm and pointed an accusing finger at the trembling man who faced him.

“You are not my master, Mr. J. Cephas Lynne; you are Thomas Lynne, his servant!” he half shouted in a voice that choked with rage. “And you murdered that girl—my beautiful little Edythe, whom I carried in my arms from the time that she was born. Oh, you—you——”

Shaking off restraint, he sprang at the throat of the man who cowered before him, and he would have reached him, too, had not Nick Carter interposed himself between them.

But Nick did another thing at that instant; he seized Lynne, whirled him about and snapped a pair of handcuffs on his wrists, and then he flung him into a chair near the chief, who had followed into the room; and the chief stood over the man, with his hands clenched tightly, as if he would have enjoyed tearing him apart.

And there was another sharp click that sounded in the room at the same instant, made by Patsy as he{106} pulled Mrs. Babbington’s hands behind her, and snapped handcuffs upon her white wrists as well.

She shrieked out, then tottered; and then stood upright again at the sound of a shrill laugh from Lynne that was almost a snarl.

“They’ve got you, too, anyhow!” he yelled at her. “I won’t be alone in this. Look, Carter, she knew it all from the first. She recognized me at once when I went where she was, in Scotland. She had heard of my supposed death, and, when she saw me, she knew that I had killed my cousin Cephas. Oh, yes, she knew it, and she made the most of it. She made me say that I would marry her, and that she should share the fortune—and it was she, she, I tell you, who planned the murder of that poor girl on the couch. I didn’t want to do it, and I would not have done it, only that I saw she suspected me. She could not believe that her father would change so greatly in so short a time. Even when I had lured her here—Madge was with us last night in that car when we came here, and I took her home afterward—even when I had lured her here—— Oh, well, what is the use. I succeeded in inducing her to come here. She still thought I was her father, and that the accident and the illness had changed me; she trusted me, and I brought her in here, and I killed her. Now you have it. It is the truth, but that woman made me do it. And I forged a letter that I put on that table. I was always an expert penman, Carter. Cephas took me out of a prison when I went to him, and if it had not been for him I would have been back there again long before this, for another forgery. I wrote that{107} note, too, that you have got in your pocket, that we found in the vault. Oh, I can write things; I can write things.”

The woman in the meantime had regained control of herself.

“The man is mad,” she said coldly. “I know nothing of the things he is talking about.”

“Mrs. Babbington,” said Nick slowly, “the man is not mad, and you do know all about the things he is talking about. More, I can prove many of them now, and will prove all of them within a week. Take her away, Chick, back to New York, and to headquarters. The chief and I will attend to this unspeakable scoundrel. You have the warrants?”


“That is sufficient, then. Serve them now.{108}



Juries are not inclined to convict a beautiful woman unless the evidence offered against her is entirely convincing; and, even then, it is done with reluctance, and usually with a strong recommendation to the judge for mercy and leniency.

The testimony against her must be of the best, and it must be direct, for the germ of chivalry dwells in the soul of every man, and there is always present in his conscience that instinctive reluctance to condemn any woman, whatever her crimes may have been, to the utmost penalty of the law. Circumstantial evidence has sent many a man to the death penalty, but where will you find that it has done so in the case of a woman—and particularly a beautiful woman who still possesses that greatest of all attractions—youth?

It was so in the Babbington case—in that great case which attracted such world-wide notice at the time of the trial—the prosecution of Madge Hurd-Babbington for murder in the first degree, in that she was charged—so the indictment read—with having instigated, aided, and abetted one Thomas Lynne, who posed for the time under the name of his cousin, J. Cephas Lynne, in committing the deliberate and premeditated murder of Edythe Lynne, only daughter and heiress of the said J. Cephas Lynne.{109}

The jury had been out barely half an hour when it returned to ask a question of the presiding judge. The foreman asked:

“Your honor, we wish to know if this defendant could be convicted of any crime less than that which is charged in the indictment?”

The judge replied instantly:

“No. This is an extraordinary case, gentlemen. The indictment charges explicitly that the defendant ‘instigated, aided, and abetted’ another in the commission of a crime; it does not charge that she had any hand in the actual commission of that crime. If you find that she ‘instigated, aided, and abetted’ the man who actually committed the crime, and who has already been convicted in this court for that offense, she is as guilty as he; but, unless you do so find, she is not guilty. You may retire now for further deliberation.”

“That, your honor,” replied the foreman, “is now unnecessary. We find the defendant not guilty!”

After that the usual formalities of the court in discharging a prisoner were quickly disposed of, and the beautiful Madge Babbington turned a derisively smiling face for one instant upon Nick Carter, as she passed, unattended, from the courtroom to the street.

The district attorney, who had personally conducted the case, remarked, in a low tone, to the detective:

“It is no more than I expected, Carter.”

“It is precisely what I did expect,” replied Nick, with a shrug of his shoulders.

“If it had been proved that she actually administered the poison to Edythe Lynne, she might have been{110} convicted,” said the lawyer, with a dubious smile; “but anything short of that——” He paused, with the sentence unfinished; then added, somewhat irrelevantly: “She is an astonishingly beautiful woman, Nick.”

“I think you have made use of the precise adverbial adjective,” replied the detective dryly. “Her beauty is exactly of the type that is astonishing.”

“Or overwhelming; possibly that would be a better word, Nick.”

“No; you were correct in the first instance. She took those twelve men by storm, from the foreman to number twelve. They never had a chance to do anything but what they did do. She fascinated them, and so compelled them.”

“Hypnotized them, you mean.”

“Not at all. There was no hypnotism about it.”

“Then what?”

“What I have already called it—fascination. The compelling force of a style and type of beauty which no man among them has ever seen before; the——”

“Nor any other man,” interpolated the lawyer.

“The grace, strength, and the ferocity of a tigress molded into the form of a woman,” the detective continued, as if he had not been interrupted.

The lawyer slapped his thigh with emphasis.

“You struck the keynote there, Nick!” he exclaimed. “The grace, strength, and ferocity of a tigress. I often wondered, during the trial, what her eyes reminded me of. I know now, for I have seen the same sort of eyes through the bars of cages at the Bronx Zoo; great, sleepy, tawny eyes, that peer out at one so mildly{111} and half drowsily, and almost unseeingly, but into which a veritable living flame may leap at any instant, burning, consuming, destroying. She doesn’t like you, Nick.”

“No; evidently not.”

“I saw that glance she gave you as she passed out. I am rather glad it wasn’t directed at me.”


“I should confess myself afraid.”

“Afraid of her?”

“Afraid of her eyes, rather.”

The detective shrugged again, but made no reply in words. The lawyer continued:

“Her vengeance against you, if she ever seeks one, will be unusual.”

“I fancy that she has something else to think about, than vengeance, just now,” replied the detective, with a smile.

“Tigers have long memories for an injury done to them, Nick. The superintendent up at the Zoo told me that only the other day. He said——”

“You seem to be fond of visiting the Zoo,” the detective interrupted, smiling again.

“I am. The place fascinates me, especially the cages which confine the tigers and the lions. Did you ever notice, Nick, how the lions will look straight out over your head, and never once into your eyes, and how they look as if they could see the wilderness where they were born?”

“Yes, often.”

“But the tigers—ah! they will look into one’s eyes{112} at times; mildly at first, but if one returns that gaze their eyes will flame. I have dodged more than once, Nick, before the white-hot fire of hate I have seen in the eyes of a tiger, and I have walked away, afraid to remain.”

“You should keep away from the Zoo, old chap; it isn’t good for you,” said the detective, laughing aloud.

“Perhaps not. I feel, just now, as if I had been gazing through the bars of an iron cage into the eyes of an enraged tigress.”

Nick Carter laughed again.

“Well, at all events,” he said, “this tigress is now at liberty, and with the opportunity to do whatsoever she wills. Come, let’s get out of here. There is better air to breathe outside.”

Passing through the corridor toward the elevator, the district attorney continued the subject.

“Have you any idea what she will do, Nick?” he asked.

“No. At the present moment the subject does not interest me.”

“She will do something.”


“To get square with you, I mean.”

“I doubt that. She has too much else to think about.”

“What, for example?”

“Well, she is practically penniless, from her point of view—for her requirements are of the extravagant order. She still has an income sufficient to keep an{113} ordinarily large family in comfort, but it is totally inadequate for her wants.”

“And she blames you for that, Nick.”

“Possibly, although, as a matter of fact, it is no fault of mine, save that she would by now have been the possessor of the Lynne millions if I had not found those tracks in the snow out at Pleasantglades.”

“So, of course, she attributes all her present misfortunes to you.”

“Likely enough.”

“She has also lost her social position, Nick—which was rather an enviable one. She will be ostracized now by all the people who were overjoyed to receive her before this happened. She will lay that at your door, too.”

“I suppose so.”

“In a way, that is a greater loss to her than the failure to obtain possession of the fortune. She loses the opportunity for——”

“For everything.”

“Yes, for everything in the social world—her world; the one to which she was born.”

“You mistake. She was not born to it.”

“No; but she has always lived in it. You have deprived her of the two things which she has striven all her life to attain—wealth and social prominence.”

“On the contrary, she deprived herself of them.”

“That is begging the question. I asked you a little bit ago if you had any idea what she would do now. You replied that the subject did not interest you. It interests me.{114}

The detective turned a smiling face toward his friend.

“Well,” he said, “have you formed an opinion about it?”

“A very decided one, Nick.”

“Good. Let’s hear what it is.”

“She will go straight to—’hem!—to the devil, by the shortest route. I don’t mean in the sense in which that expression is generally used. I speak in the criminal sense. She is outside the law now. Society has turned against her, and she will take it out of society, if I am any judge of character. She was born with criminal instincts, dormant until now, but brought to the surface and made prominent by this episode in her life. She has become an Ishmaelite, with the hand of every man and woman against her, and her hand against all the world. If she had any morals of honesty, integrity, and uprightness before this thing happened, they have been burned to white ashes since the beginning of this trial. The place where she kept them is a cavity, a vacuum, now. From having been a beautiful ornament to the society which she adorned she has become a man-eating tigress to prey upon it; a parasite to cling to it, to grow and fatten upon it, and ultimately to smother and destroy the creatures who will afford her sustenance. The woman has gone out of her, Nick; the tigress has got inside. Beware of her, Nick. She hates you, and she will find a way—an unusual one, too, I think—to do you harm.”

“I declare, old chap, you are weaving quite a romance.{115}

“I am speaking earnestly, Nick.”

“Oh, I believe you; but I think you are trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.”

“Do you? Perhaps I am. But, all the same, I am mighty glad that she did not look at me in the manner she glanced toward you as she passed out of that courtroom. Beware of her, Nick, lest when she is next called upon to face a jury, charged with murder, you are not the victim of the crime.{116}



“The Babbington case!”

One heard those three words on the cars, in the streets, in the corridors of hotels, in parlors and dining rooms, across the breakfast table, in the lobby at the theater—everywhere one went one heard the repetition of those three words, “the Babbington case.”

One of the columns on the front page of every paper, morning and evening, was sure to be headed by those three words, or by others which conveyed precisely the same meaning.

Always the Babbington case; everywhere the Babbington case.

It was the talk of the town, and of a dozen other towns; newspapers in Europe received cabled reports of it. The reputation of it was world-wide. It was discussed in Paris and in London, as well as in New York and Newport, Lenox and Lakewood. The Babbington case absorbed the interest of the hour in all quarters, and in almost every walk of life.

Nick Carter confessed to himself that he had never before been instrumental in bringing a case to justice that received quite the amount of attention and comment that the Babbington case was getting.

Her lawyers had put in a masterly defense, and they were great lawyers, who were familiar with every quip{117} and trick of a court trial. Nick Carter had no doubt that the woman would go free, notwithstanding the fact that he personally knew her to be as guilty of the crime as the man who had actually committed it. Therefore he was not surprised when the foreman of the jury pronounced the two words which set her free:

“Not guilty.”

There were cheers in the courtroom, and some hisses, at the pronouncement; both quickly suppressed by the court officers.

The law was guilty of no delay in its dealings with Thomas Lynne. Before Mrs. Babbington was brought to trial, Thomas Lynne had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

In her defense Mrs. Babbington admitted meeting the murderer in Scotland, and becoming engaged to him, but insisted that she had no idea that it was not J. Cephas Lynne, the father of Edythe, to whom she had become engaged, and that she believed, as others had been led to believe, that it was the valet and not the master who had died so suddenly in Switzerland.

The jury chose to credit her story rather than to believe the theory of the prosecution. That is the whole story of the crime, the trial, and the acquittal.

Such was the end of that other chapter of crime and sorrow and sudden death; and such is the beginning of the present history which we have chosen to call “The Babbington Case,” because it all came about in a measure as a consequence of that trial.

There is an old maxim in criminology: “Once a{118} criminal, always a criminal.” We do not indorse that theory, by any means, not even in the abstract; but it is certain that we would indorse it if it were written to read: “Once a criminal, frequently a criminal again.”

Madge Babbington, as she was addressed by her intimates, was the type of woman who could never be classed with criminals, but Nick Carter, as he watched her during the trial, came to believe that she had developed traits during that interval in Scotland when the Lynne millions were the lure, and during the interval of her arrest and the weeks consumed in her trial, which, though dormant till now, would shape her whole future life.

Criminal traits are sometimes inherited, and when they appear suddenly, as in the case of the Babbington woman, inheritance is the most logical explanation of their presence; and, although they may have been dormant, and never once suspected, even by the possessor of them, for years, once inherited criminal tendencies obtain the upper hand in a character, they are there to stay.

And this was the manner in which Nick Carter read the character of Madge Babbington.

He had been at some pains, before the trial, to look up her antecedents, and he had found that Madge Morton-Hurd-Babbington had had a checkered and none too pleasant career.

Her father had once been an officer in the British army in India, where she was born. He had been handsome and skillful—more skillful with cards than{119} with arms, as it proved. He had gone wrong; had been cashiered and dismissed from the service; had become an adventurer, traveling over Europe as a professional gambler, and had dragged with him his young daughter, then a mere child, whose mother had long ago deserted them both.

There you have it.

When Madge Morton’s father finally shot himself rather than stand trial for a forgery he had committed, the daughter had taken to singing in music halls, and from there had drifted into the “legitimate,” and her talents had quickly taken her to the top.

She became a star, and accepted a season’s engagement in New York, where she met Hurd, and married him. A divorce followed, and she married Babbington, who died very soon afterward.

But her two marriages had brought her a competence, although not wealth. But both of them had given her something that was quite as dear to her soul as money, and that was an entrance to and an assured position in the very cream of society.

And she was only twenty-five years old two months before the time the jury pronounced for her benefit those two magic words, “not guilty.”

The lawyers who had managed the affairs of J. Cephas Lynne had in their possession his last will and testament, which left everything that he died owning to his daughter Edythe; and, as she had actually been alive some months after her father’s death, she had inherited the immense wealth without being aware of it.{120}

But she had died leaving no will, and now the lawyers were vainly trying to find an orphaned nephew of J. Cephas Lynne, of whom they had some faint knowledge, but who had long ago disappeared from sight and from the knowledge of his uncle, somewhere in the West.

And Nick Carter had been waiting only for the end of the trial of Madge Babbington to take up the search for the lost nephew for the lawyers.

It was necessary that Carleton Lynne should be found without delay, or that proof of his death also should be established, in order that the great estate of the dead millionaire might be administered, and so, when the verdict was pronounced, it being only three o’clock in the afternoon, the detective turned his steps in the direction of the lawyers’ offices, to tell them that he was ready to go ahead.

When he ascended in the elevator of the building where the lawyers were located, he noticed a young man who left it at the same floor he did, and who walked ahead of him to the same door he was seeking, and that young man announced himself, once he was inside the offices, as Carleton Lynne, from Idaho, just arrived, having seen one of the advertisements in a newspaper he had picked up by chance.

And possibly this story might better have been entitled “The Mystery of Carleton Lynne,” for at that moment when the young man announced himself began the birth of a new mystery.{121}



The clerk in the law office who received the rather startling announcement of the identity of the stranger, also perceived and recognized Nick Carter, who entered the office immediately behind the man.

His impulsive assumption was, of course, that the two had come there together, and that in some manner the detective had found trace of the man for whom advertisements had been spread broadcast through the country.

But a quick, warning glance from the detective warned the clerk that such was not the case; and then followed the statement of the man who called himself Carleton Lynne that he was there only because of an advertisement he had seen in a Western paper.

Nick Carter, who was still behind the younger man, nodded his head significantly toward the clerk and, with a jerk of his thumb toward a chair, indicated that the stranger should be requested to take a seat and wait until he could be received in the inner office; and at the same time his lips noiselessly formed the one word, “Wait.”

The clerk saw and understood.

Stepping forward quickly, he said, with the utmost graciousness:

“Glad to see you, Mr. Lynne. Our advertisements{122} have been spread rather generously throughout the West, in the hope that you might see one of them, and so communicate with this firm. We scarcely expected to see you in person so soon. Will you be seated? Mr. Oaks will see you presently. He happens to be engaged just now.”

He indicated a chair, and then, without waiting for a response to his invitation, gave his attention to Nick Carter, who had taken the opportunity to cross to one of the windows, where he now stood with his back toward Carleton Lynne.

The clerk, carrying out the part which he had comprehended by the slight signal that had been flashed to him by the detective, spoke to him in a comparatively low tone, but yet so that the caller could hear the words.

“Please step right inside, to the private office, sir,” he said. “Mr. Oaks is awaiting you with some impatience. You are late.”

The detective replied only with a curt nod, although he smiled inwardly at the ready wit of the clerk, who had understood him so perfectly.

He passed quickly through the doorway into the private office, and closed the door quickly behind him, finding himself in the presence of the great lawyer, who was at that moment engaged in dictating his correspondence to his secretary, and who raised his eyes to the detective with a distinct frown of displeasure at being so unceremoniously interrupted.

“I am sorry, Oaks,” said Nick, speaking quickly. “I know that you do not like interruptions when you are{123} occupied with your correspondence; but in this case the end justifies the means. Carleton Lynne is—out there.” He jerked a thumb toward the outer office.

The frown left the lawyer’s face, and an expression of perplexed interest took its place.

“What?” he said. “Carleton Lynne—the heir?”

The detective nodded, and added:

“That is how he announced himself. He came up in the elevator with me; he entered your office door just in front of me, and—well, I wanted to see you before he did.”

“Quite right, Carter—quite right. I’m glad you came right in. Miss McQueen, you may go into the library for a few moments, please.” This to the stenographer, who left her chair at once and passed through a half-opened doorway opposite the one by which the detective had entered the room; nor did she close it after her, as it happened, although neither of the men regarded that fact as one of importance at the moment.

“Well?” said the lawyer, as soon as he was alone with the detective.

“I have already told you all there is to say about the arrival of Carleton Lynne,” replied Nick Carter. “You know, now, as much about that interesting fact as I do.”

“Then what?”

“I have come here directly from the courthouse and from the finish of the Babbington case. I thought I would get here before the news was being cried aloud on the streets.{124}

“An acquittal, Carter?”


“It is no more than you expected—it is what you anticipated, isn’t it?”


The lawyer shrugged his shoulders.

“Oh, well,” he said, “what of it? Thomas Lynne has been convicted, and will die for the two crimes he has committed. While there is no doubt that the woman was an accessory, before and after the fact, I’m rather glad—that is to say, I am not sorry—er—that she—— Oh, confound it! One doesn’t like to see a beautiful woman condemned to death, or even sent to prison for the rest of her life.”

The detective smiled enigmatically.

“I perceive that you have fallen under the spell of her witchery, as well as others, Oaks,” he said.

“Nonsense! I——”

“I remember that the last time I was here you told me that you had received a request from her to call upon her at the Tombs. I recall, also, that you stated that you should not go to see her. Am I to understand that you changed your mind and went there?”

“Yes. She sent me a second message, and I went to see her. Where was the harm in that, Carter?”

“That, my dear Mr. Oaks, is for you to say; only it would appear from what you have just said that she has fascinated you, as well as the twelve men who held her fate in their hands.”

“That is all utter nonsense, of course,” replied the lawyer, with a frown.{125}

“Is it? I am not so sure of that. Did you go alone?”

“No; I took my secretary with me.”

“The young woman who just left this room?”

“Yes; Miss McQueen. I was glad that I had done so, too, for Mrs. Babbington wished to dictate some letters, which I instructed Miss McQueen to remain and take for her; on condition, of course, that the district attorney should be shown copies of the letters before they were sent away.”

“I see. How long did Miss McQueen remain with Mrs. Babbington after you came away?”

“Not above an hour—less than that, I think. There were only four letters. I have copies of them here. Would you care to see them, Carter?”

“No. For what purpose, now that the woman has been acquitted? Were copies of them sent to the district attorney?”

“Yes. They were unimportant. Merely letters to her former society friends, in which she stated that, whether she should be convicted or acquitted, she renounced all claims to her former social status.”

“Rather an unnecessary announcement, that, don’t you think?” remarked the detective, with a slow smile.

“Perhaps—under the circumstances,” replied the lawyer.

The detective leaned back in his chair and lighted a cigar, which he took from one of his pockets. After a moment, he said:

“When the verdict was announced, the district attorney and I spent a few moments together, discuss{126}ing the woman. We were quite agreed on one point concerning her—and, after what you have just said, I haven’t the slightest doubt that you will agree with us, too.”

“Concerning what, Carter?”

“The woman’s eyes. They seem to have had a strange effect upon you.”

“Look here, Carter, what are you driving at?”

“The district attorney and I agreed that the woman, Mrs. Madge Morton-Hurd-Babbington by name, has wonderful eyes, which in repose are like the eyes of a captive and sleepy tigress, and which can flame into burning hate, also, like the eyes of an enraged tigress. The district attorney assured me that her eyes had a strange and paralyzing effect upon him, hardened as he is in the practice of criminal prosecution. Ergo, you did not escape the paralyzing effect of them, Oaks.”

“What the dev——”

“The proof of it lies in the fact that you consented, at her request, to come away from her cell in the tombs and leave your stenographer there alone with her.”

“What possible harm could befall Miss McQueen under such circumstances, Carter? Because the woman was charged with murder, and because you believed her guilty, and still believe her so, is it any reason to suppose that she would do violence to a young woman who was left for a few moments alone with her?”

Nick Carter shrugged his shoulders, and did not reply to the question.

Instead, he permitted his gaze to wander for a{127} moment toward the half-open door between the private office of the great lawyer and the library, and then he abruptly changed the subject.

“What about this young man who is waiting outside to see you?” he asked.

“Why, he inherits the estate, of course.”

“But there must first be adequate and convincing proof of his identity, I suppose?”


“I need not remind you, Oaks, that the newspaper notoriety which has been given to the matter of the inheritance through the furore over the Babbington case has opened up an immense opportunity for the commission of a fraud?”

“No; you need not remind me of that. I am quite well aware of it,” replied the lawyer, with a trace of offense in his tones.

“The estate is a very large one,” remarked the detective, taking no notice of the tone the lawyer had used.

“Very large, larger than people generally suppose. It will figure up to a dozen millions, probably.”

“Well, I came down here not only to tell you about the verdict in the Babbington case, but also to offer you my services in the search for Carleton Lynne. I arrive here and discover that the man is here. My offer is still open if you find that you require any assistance in establishing the identity of this young man who is outside, waiting to interview you.”

“Good. I thank you. But the fellow would scarcely venture here unless{128}——”

“Unless he were well provided with the necessary proofs. I grant you that. But, Oaks, I sometimes have strange ‘hunches’ in the practice of my profession, and one of them tells me—told me the moment I entered your outer office—that this man may not be all that he will represent himself. That is all. I will give way to him now.”

“What do you mean—that the man is a fraud?”

“No; I mean that he may be one. I mean that the woman who has just been acquitted of the charge of murder is not one to relinquish without a struggle all that she has fought so hard to obtain. I mean that the effect of the tiger eye, as practiced upon the jury, and upon you, too, might well have been directed in other channels. I mean that if the matter of establishing his identity were in my hands, I would subject every proof that is offered to a minute inspection under a microscope. I have a feeling that we have not heard the last of Madge Babbington, Mr. Oaks.{129}



Nick Carter was astounded when he arrived at his own home to find that Madge Babbington was there awaiting him.

It was Joseph who told him of the fact as he entered the house, and so, casting aside his hat he went at once to the reception room.

He paused just inside the door, and with a curt nod, recognized her.

“To what reason am I to ascribe your presence in my house, madam?” he asked coldly, and he remained near the door to indicate that the interview must be brief.

“I have come here to ask you if it is your purpose to continue to persecute me,” she replied, rising and facing him with just a trace of defiance in her expression and manner, although she did not forget to use her wonderful eyes upon the detective, with all the resourceful power within her.

Mixed with the defiance that was in them was also a wistful, pleading expression, and she permitted the suggestion of a tear to moisten the lashes of each of them while her beautiful face was pathetic as well as pleading.

But Nick Carter “was on to her curves,” as the saying is, and her attitude had no effect upon him other{130} than to convince him more strongly than ever that he must constantly be on his guard against this siren. He replied:

“Persecute you, madam?”

“That is the expression I made use of.”

“I was not aware that I had done so. I can assure you that my utmost wish concerning you is that I may never see you or hear your name mentioned again.”

“You still believe me guilty, Mr. Carter?”

“I have never for one moment doubted your guilt,” he replied.

“And yet I am innocent; as innocent as you are, Nick Carter.”

The detective shrugged his shoulders.

“Am I to understand that you will not persecute me in the future?” she demanded.

“I have never persecuted any person in my life, Mrs. Babbington. I do not pretend to understand your persistence upon that word.”

“I mean this: If I remain in this city, and undertake to live my life out here, will I be constantly under espionage by you and your agents? Am I to be left to go my own way, without molestation, or am I to be hounded, watched, imposed upon, spied upon, and——”

“Enough, madam. It makes no sort of difference to me where you stay or what you do, so long as you remain outside the law—and, incidentally, outside this house. I think the present interview has lasted quite long enough, Mrs. Babbington.”

“Which is another form of requesting me to go, Mr.{131} Carter?” she asked, with a smile on her lips, although her eyes flamed dangerously as she put the question.

“Yes,” he replied, without comment.

She stepped toward the door, and he drew to one side to permit her to pass him.

At the door she stopped, and with her hand upon the knob turned to face him again, although his back was half turned toward her. And she laughed softly, showing her white and beautiful teeth, and permitting the lids of her eyes to droop until the yellow-brown irises glowed through the shading lashes like two living coals of fire.

“I have been charged with murder, Mr. Carter,” she said. “I have been tried by a jury of twelve men, and they have found me guiltless. Is there anything now that you can do to me?”

“No—unless you commit, or aid in the commission of another murder, madam.”

“If I should do that,” she replied slowly, evidently weighing and measuring her words as she uttered them, “it will scarcely be you who will hunt me down for it, for you——” she stopped, still smiling, her eyes still burning.

The detective shrugged.

“You mean to suggest that if you should commit such another crime, I would be the victim of it, I suppose?” he said coolly.

“Did I say that?” she exclaimed, laughing aloud this time. “How you do persist in misunderstanding me. Really.{132}

“Madam, the door is behind you; your hand is upon the knob.”

“I will make use of both, presently, thank you; but I have something more to say to you before I do so.”


“You have advertised widely and largely—you and a lawyer named Benjamin Oaks—for information concerning a certain young man, Carleton Lynne by name. Suppose that I could supply you with the address of that person, Mr. Carter? Would the information be worth a substantial recompense?”

“Any information obtained from you would be worse than useless, madam,” he replied.

“And yet——” She paused, and when he made no remark, she continued: “Carleton Lynne is, or was a few months ago, in Hailey, Idaho. You are welcome to that much information.”

“A gentleman who announces himself as Carleton Lynne is at this moment in consultation with Mr. Oaks,” the detective replied coldly; and he caught a sudden and unmistakable gleam from the eyes of Madge Babbington as he made the announcement.

He was impressed instantly for some reason that he could not have named at the time, that this was precisely the information she had come there to obtain; but he did not regret having given it since it opened up a new train of thought, and suggested unheard-of possibilities and probabilities. But all she said was:

“Indeed? Is it so?”

“Quite so, madam.{133}

She left her place at the door then, and took one step nearer to the detective.

“How old a man is he?” she asked softly; and the detective, perceiving what was behind the question, shrugged his shoulders and replied, not without a trace of satirical amusement in his manner:

“The man I saw, and who claims to be the heir of J. Cephas Lynne is young—perhaps about your own age. He is also handsome, judged from the feminine standpoint. Whether he is impressionable or not, I leave to you to determine, if you ever have the opportunity.”

“Thank you,” she replied, with a quiet smile, and the flame in her eyes had disappeared. “I need not tell you that I shall seek the opportunity, I suppose?”

“No; I had anticipated that. I was quite prepared for such an attempt on your part, without the assurance of it from your lips. You have not abandoned your desire to possess yourself of the Lynne millions?”

“I never abandon a course upon which I have once embarked,” she replied. “And that brings me to the point which I came here to determine.”

The detective did not reply. She continued:

“I suppose you will consider it your duty to warn him against me, Mr. Carter?”

“If I find that he is really the man he says he is, and that you have sought him and made his acquaintance, I most certainly shall do so, madam.”

“I have not sought his acquaintance—because I have not had the opportunity,” she retorted.{134}

“But you will lose no opportunity to make his acquaintance.”

“No; I shall not. I will even seek him—and—take warning from what I shall say to you now, Nick Carter.”

The detective inclined his head mockingly. She continued:

“And when I have sought him and found him and have made his acquaintance, I will put to the test the influence which you and Benjamin Oaks may exert over him, as against that which I shall win in spite of all that you can do, in spite of the hateful reputation you and the district attorney have given me, in spite of all the cruel things that have been printed about me.” And then she took still another step nearer to him, and added, in a low tone that was almost a whisper: “In spite of heaven and hell.”

Nick Carter was startled by the intensity of the woman, although he did not permit her to see that he was.

She was smiling again now as she withdrew once more to the door and reached for the knob as if she was to take her departure at last.

“You understand me?” she demanded, rather than asked.

“I understand your words and your motives; not your methods, Mrs. Babbington.”

“Well, I will give you a full and fair warning.”

“You need not unless it is your pleasure to do so.”

“You say that Carleton Lynne, the heir, is here; that the man I supposed to be in Idaho is even now{135} at the office of the lawyer who represents the Lynne estate, establishing his identity. I had supposed that he was still in the West, for long ago I took pains to inform myself concerning him. I intended to tell you that much, and to induce you to bring him here. That he is here already, is pleasant news to me.”

“I don’t see where the warning comes in, madam,” said Nick, interrupting.

She bent toward the detective without moving from her position at the door.

“When I left the courtroom to-day,” she said, in a low, even tone, which nevertheless conveyed a certain menace with every word she uttered, “you and the district attorney were discussing me. I know it, although I did not hear a word that passed between you.”


“You were commenting upon the manner in which I had influenced every member of that jury of twelve men. And you were right; I did influence them, one by one, until I knew, before they left the box, what their verdict would be. I took them one by one; I won them over to me, one by one, until I had the entire twelve. I knew it.”

“You are wasting my time and yours, madam.”

“You and the district attorney also discussed my eyes. Doubtless you called them the eyes of a tigress. Oh, you need not be surprised that I say so; it is not the first time the comparison has been applied to them.”

“Probably not.{136}

“You were correct in making the simile, too, Nick Carter, but the comparison goes deeper than my eyes; it applies to my inmost soul.”

“Ah; we are coming to the warning, now.”

“Yes, we are.”


“All my life I have been able to make men love me—or believe that they did so. All my life I have been able to fascinate them, and that, too, without any loss of my self-respect. Even you, who hate and abhor me just now, I could, if there were the opportunity——”

“Spare me that, Mrs. Babbington.”

“But I warn you that I shall find this man who is the heir; I warn you that I shall bend every energy I possess to bring him under the spell which I can exert; I warn you that I shall marry him, become his wife, possess his millions after he has succeeded to their ownership, and that you, Nick Carter, with all the influence you can exert will be no more than a grain of dust on a steel rail before a locomotive.”

She stopped and looked at the detective, flaming her remarkable eyes upon him again, so that he partly understood what the district attorney had meant when he had said that he dodged the eyes of the caged tigers at the Zoo.

“You understand me now?” she said softly.

He did not answer her, and with a mocking smile which ended in a low but menacing laugh that was barely audible, she turned and passed quickly from the room.{137}



Nick Carter received a letter the following morning from Benjamin Oaks, the lawyer.

It stated briefly that Carleton Lynne had proven his claims so satisfactorily that there could not be the shadow of a doubt that he was the rightful heir. The letter came to a close, however, with this significant statement:

“I have deferred a definite acceptance of his claim until to-morrow, nevertheless, for the specific reason that I wish to consult with you about the matter before taking the necessary steps to put him in possession of the fortune. Therefore I will be glad if you will come to my office at ten in the morning. Carleton Lynne is to be here at eleven.”

The detective entered the office of the lawyer at precisely ten o’clock, and passed at once into the private room, where he found Oaks awaiting him.

“On time, I see,” said the lawyer, by way of greeting. “Here are the papers. Look them over and tell me what you think of them.”

“What are they?” the detective asked, taking them in his hand, but holding them so, unopened for the moment.

“The marriage certificate of his father and mother; photographs of his parents in which you can plainly{138} see the Lynne physiognomy; his own birth certificate; photographs of himself taken from time to time from his childhood to the last one, which he says was made only a few months ago—the resemblance is borne out in all of them; newspaper clippings covering a number of years, referring to incidents in his career, and to the career of his father, who was also called Carleton Lynne—and so forth. Look at them for yourself.”

“What sort of a story does the man tell about himself?” asked the detective.

“A straight one. It seems to bear out everything that he claims. I don’t think there is any doubt about his claim, Carter.”

“How does he impress you personally?”

“Very favorably.”

“Was that your first impression of him?”

“Yes. I think so.”

“Don’t you know whether it was favorable or not?”

“Why, yes, of course. He told me one lie, though.”

“Oh, he did, eh? What was it?”

“Perhaps it was unimportant. I made no mention of the fact that I had noticed it.”

“What was it?”

“He began by informing me that he arrived in the city only last evening at five o’clock. He said that he came to this office at half-past five, or near that time, and finding the office closed, sought a hotel. He went to the Mammoth.”


“I asked him how he passed the evening, and he replied that he went to the theater. I asked him what he{139} saw, and he replied that it was the ‘The Chocolate Soldier.’

“Well, what of that?”

“Nothing—only it happens that the last performance of ‘The Chocolate Soldier’ was given the night before last. I happen to know that, because I was there, and what is more, Carter, I saw this same young man there. He occupied a seat directly in front of me.”

The detective uttered a low whistle.

“Why should he lie about so trivial a thing as that?” the lawyer asked.

“The lie is evidently about the time of his arrival in the city,” replied the detective. “For some reason he prefers to have you believe that he got here last night, while, as a matter of fact, he had already been here at least twenty-four hours.”

“That is certain.”

“And twenty-four days, for all we know.”

“Umph! I had not thought of that possibility. But, even so, what has all that got to do with the case, since his credentials are satisfactory?”

“It merely suggests that they should be examined with all the more care. Why didn’t you ask him about the discrepancy of his statement?”

“I thought I would leave that to you.”

The detective was about to reply when the door opened and the clerk from the outer office announced that Mr. Carleton Lynne had arrived.

“Let him come in,” said the lawyer.

The man who entered, and who was the same one that Nick had seen in the elevator the preceding day,{140} was an inch more than six feet in height, well proportioned, an athlete in appearance, with his skin tanned by the sun and winds of the open country of the West.

One might have called him handsome without a stretch of the imagination. His features were regular and well chiseled, and he carried himself with a certain air of distinction, as if he were to the manner born.

His eyes were set wide apart and the line of concentration between them was well marked, and as the detective glanced at him a second time he determined that the eyes were the only feature about the man that he did not exactly like.

They were neither gray nor brown, but of that nondescript color which is sometimes described as green, although that is not precisely the shade.

But they were steady eyes for all that. They did not shift when they dwelt upon you, but rather were cold, keenly observant, and compelling.

Unquestionably they were the eyes of a man who did not know fear, and who would be a dangerous antagonist at any sort of game, from cards to a rough-and-tumble fight.

“Sit down, Mr. Lynne,” said the detective, as soon as the introduction was made. “I suppose that Mr. Oaks has led you to expect to meet me here. You know who I am, and why I am here, do you not?”

“Perfectly well, Mr. Carter.”

“You have presented a claim to a very large and rich estate, Mr. Lynne?{141}

“Pardon me. I have merely answered an advertisement, and have established my identity. It will be time enough to enter a claim after my credentials have been accepted.”

“Precisely. Will you tell me when you arrived in the city?”

“Wednesday afternoon, at five o’clock.”

“To-day is Saturday, Mr. Lynne. I saw you in this office yesterday. After I had gone, you talked with Mr. Oaks, and you told him that you——”

“I told him that I had arrived here the preceding day. I know. It was a lie—and an unnecessary one.”

“Mr. Oaks knew that it was an untruth. He saw you at the theater Wednesday night.”

“I know. I saw him there, too. I remembered it after I had gone. I did not know whether he had seen me there or not, but acting upon the idea that he had done so and would remember me, I decided to admit the truth to-day.”

“Just why did you deceive him about it in the beginning?”

Lynne shrugged his shoulders and uttered a low chuckle before he replied. Then he replied:

“Well, there was no good reason for it. I had not been in New York since I was a kid, and I am twenty-six years old now. After the theater was out, I determined to see some of the sights, and I saw rather more of them than I had bargained for. I got into bad company and drank too much. I was also robbed of all the cash I had about me—and, as a matter of{142} fact, very nearly all that I had in the world. I wasn’t proud of the circumstance, and so—I lied about it.”

“Would you mind telling me where you went that night?”

“Yes, I would mind. I’d rather forget it.”

“Possibly we might recover the money you lost.”

“I’d rather lose it than to go back to those places after it.”

“Still, if it was practically all you had——”

“And, anyhow, my recollection of the night is very vague. I don’t know half the places I did go to.”

“Did you go alone to the theater?”

“No; I went with an acquaintance I picked up at the hotel. He was my guide that night, and I reckon is the one who got my dough.”

“Possibly. By the way, have you ever made the acquaintance of a Mrs. Babbington?”

Nick asked the question casually. Without appearing to do so he watched the face of Carleton narrowly when he did ask it, but there was not the flicker of an eyelid nor the suggestion of wavering in those steady eyes when the man replied:

“Can’t say that I have, unless she happened to be—— Oh! I see. You are referring to that woman who was tried for the murder of my cousin whom I never saw?”

“Yes. I was referring to her.”

“No. I never met her. Why did you suppose I might have done so?”

“I did not suppose it. I asked only to know if you had made her acquaintance at any time in the past.{143}

“No; never heard of her until I saw her name in the papers, about the murder case.”

“She intends to marry you,” said Nick quietly.

“What! Say! What are you giving me? A joke?”

“It sounds like one, doesn’t it? Nevertheless, at my house last evening, she assured me that as soon as you had established your identity and had possessed yourself of the Lynne millions, she intended to marry you and to possess herself of them.”

“Well, I’ll be—blessed!”

“Damned would be a more appropriate word if such a thing should happen. She boasted to me of her intention. I thought it best to tell you about her. Did you come directly——”

“Wait a moment. The woman is said to be very beautiful, isn’t she?”

“Yes; she has that reputation.”

“All right. Fetch her along. I’ll give her a run for her money.”

“For your money, you mean—when you get it?”

“You speak, Mr. Carter, as if there was a doubt that I would get it. Is there?”

“No doubt at all, after you have thoroughly established your claim—that is, your identity.”

“Haven’t I sufficiently established that?”

Nick waved his hand toward the lawyer.

“That is a question for Mr. Oaks to answer,” he said. “When he is satisfied, he will proceed at once to satisfy the court, and will apply for letters of administration for you.{144}

“Then I am to understand that you, personally, have nothing to do with the legal end of it?”

“Nothing whatever.”

“Might I ask, without offense, in that case, what the devil you’re butting in for?”

The question was an insolent one only in the words that Lynne used; not at all in the manner or the tone of using them; and he smiled engagingly while he asked the question.

But he might far better not have asked it, for there was something hidden behind the words which instantly put the detective on his guard, and which as suddenly determined him upon the course he would pursue thereafter.

Instead of resenting the words, he smiled back at Lynne, and replied:

“I came here at the request of Mr. Oaks, and in the interest of J. Cephas Lynne, who is dead, and who, if he could give directions now, would like to see justice done.” Nick turned then to the lawyer, and added:

“Perhaps you had better apply at once for letters of administration, Oaks.{145}



When Nick Carter left the Wall Street office of the great lawyer he walked up Broadway to the Western Union Building, where he wrote and forwarded several telegrams, all of which were addressed to different localities in the State of Idaho.

That done he took the subway uptown and went directly to his own home, where, after entering his study, he summoned Chick and Patsy to him.

“Patsy,” he said, “you start for Idaho on the Twentieth Century at four this afternoon; and you, Chick, will take the trail of Mr. Carleton Lynne, now at the Mammoth, and you will report to me every move that he makes, no matter how unimportant it may appear to be.”

Each of the assistants nodded in reply, but neither of them made any audible remark.

“Now,” said the detective, “give me your close attention, both of you. What I shall tell you will be the only instructions you will receive—will be all, in fact, that I can give you.”

Again they nodded in comprehension.

“I don’t know whether this is a case or not,” the detective continued. “I am acting, just now, as I have done many times in the past—upon that kind of an impulse which I call a ‘hunch.{146}

“The Lynne inheritance, of course?” Chick asked.

“Yes; the Lynne inheritance, and the Babbington case, as well. If I am anywhere near to being correct in my conjectures, the two matters just about dovetail, right here.”

“To start with,” suggested Patsy, “you don’t believe that the Carleton Lynne you saw yesterday, and again to-day, is the real article. This is the size of it, isn’t it?”

“To begin with,” replied Nick Carter, “I do not believe that the Carleton Lynne I saw yesterday, and again to-day, is the real article, and I have the least logical reason for that lack of faith. Put that down in your minds and think it over.”

“Just a hunch, eh?” said Chick.

“Just a hunch in the beginning—yesterday when I walked into the office of Ben Oaks directly behind this chap from the West. Since then that hunch has been strengthened by a few unimportant incidents which I will relate to you.

“Incident number one, and it really should take third or fourth place in the list, because I paid no attention to it at the time: When I entered the private office, before Carleton Lynne was admitted, Oaks sent his stenographer, whom he calls his secretary, out of the room. She went into the library, which adjoins the private office, and she left the communicating door ajar. Whether that was accident or design, I know that she listened intently to our conversation. I could see her doing that, by means of a mirror that hangs{147} in the library, and which I could see through the half-open door.

“Incident number two: While I was there it developed that Oaks had been to the Tombs, before the trial, to see Mrs. Babbington, at her request—at her second request—and I assumed, from what was told to me about it, that she had also asked him to take his stenographer with him; at least he did so.”

“Why?” asked Patsy.

“Wait and ask that question again after I have finished, Patsy—unless, perhaps, you should find an answer to it that suits you.”

“All right, chief.”

“Incident number three: Oaks came away from the Tombs, leaving Miss McQueen there, alone with Mrs. Babbington. The incident happened two weeks ago. Miss McQueen remained about an hour with the prisoner.”

“Do you mean that she took dictation from her?” asked Chick.

“Yes; a few short letters to former social friends and acquaintances, all of which were read by the district attorney and by Oaks.”

“Are you sure that all of them were treated in that manner?” asked Patsy.

“That is the presumption, Patsy. I am not saying that I am sure about it, or that there was not another notebook which Oaks did not see; or that there were no oral instructions given to Miss McQueen, which were not taken down in shorthand.”

The two assistants nodded in unison.{148}

“Remember that happened more than two weeks ago. Letters and telegrams have had ample time to reach Idaho, and to bring Carleton Lynne to New York, since then.”

“Sure,” commented Chick.

“Incident number four: When I came away from the office of Ben Oaks yesterday afternoon, Carleton Lynne was admitted to the private office. He produced his papers and credentials to establish himself. They appeared satisfactory. But he lied to Oaks about the time of his arrival in the city, and without any apparent reason. Later, he found out that his deception would be discovered, and so he made a clean breast of it to-day, giving an excuse which I do not for a moment believe.

“Incident number five: When I arrived home late yesterday afternoon, after leaving the office of Benjamin Oaks, I found that Madge Babbington was here awaiting me.”

“Just what has that got to do with the case in hand?” Patsy interrupted.

“Possibly nothing at all, but if I am at all on the right track, it has much to do with it.”

“How so?”

“She came here, ostensibly, to offer to supply the address of the missing heir, Carleton Lynne, which she claims to have known for a considerable time. I would not gratify her enough to ask her for particulars about it, for I judged that she was lying to me from the beginning.{149}

“If that was the ostensible reason, what was the real one?” asked Chick.

“I think it was to endeavor to convince me in the roundabout way she used, that she had never seen this Carleton Lynne; but she only succeeded in convincing me that she had seen him, probably knows him well, and that she had already been informed that I was at the Oaks office when he arrived there.”

“Let us return for a moment to the two incidents you have mentioned in which the stenographer is concerned,” said Chick.


“How do you associate her with the others? I mean, aside from the possible sending of messages from the Tombs, for the Babbington woman.”

“In this way: I have known Ben Oaks more or less familiarly for twelve years. He has had a secretary named Miss Hunt who was with him until about the time of the beginning of the advertising effort to find Carleton Lynne—eight or nine weeks ago; and I know of my own knowledge that Miss Hunt was his secretary for four or five consecutive years. Miss Hunt is not there now; this Miss McQueen is.”

“Well, what of that?” asked Patsy. “A lawyer often changes his stenographers.”

“But this change appears to have been so coincidental with other things that I use it here as incident number six.”

“Do you mean that she was sent there by—by the Babbington woman, for instance?”


“But, Miss Hunt——”

“Miss Hunt, or any other stenographer of my knowledge would readily enough give up a position if there was sufficient inducement offered.”

“Oh; you mean that she was bought off?”

“That is the possibility.”

“Then,” said Chick, “I would suggest that Miss Hunt be found without delay.”

“That is a duty that I have reserved for myself,” replied the detective.

“But what would be the object of it all?”

“To have a competent spy in the office of the man who must decide upon the credentials of the claimant, for one thing; to arrange for an easy method of getting a person into the Tombs and to the prisoner at the opportune moment for sending out an important message, for another.”

“I see. What are your conclusions, Nick?” It was Chick who asked the question.

“I don’t know that I have arrived at any conclusions; at least, definite ones.”

“What then?”

“I am only convinced of the determination of Madge Babbington to possess herself of those millions, and that she will stop at nothing to attain her ends.”

“Have you any more incidents to recount?”

“Yes. Incident number seven is the fact that when Madge Babbington was here yesterday, she took particular pains to give me warning that she intended to make the acquaintance of Carleton Lynne, to fascinate him, and finally to marry him.{151}

“Did she say that?”

“Yes; in the form of a warning.”

“But you read a different meaning in her words?”



“Chick, I believe that her real purpose in coming here to see me was to pronounce that very warning, and thus to open the way for an acquaintance with this Carleton Lynne which would not suggest the suspicion to me that the two had known each other before now.”

“I see.”

“The man is supposed to have come here out of the West—as he doubtless has done. He has the marks of the West upon him, all right. But he is supposed to know nobody here; he went to the length of informing me that he had not seen New York since he was a kid, to use his own expression. A sudden acquaintance between him and the woman lately acquitted of murder would attract my attention, so she comes here and deliberately tells me, with an assumption of bravado, that she intends to make his acquaintance at the first possible moment.”

“She’s got her gall with her, all right—to come here at all,” said Patsy.

“She has got her brains with her, too; don’t forget that, either of you,” said Nick.

“Well, what do you suspect the game to be, Nick?” asked Chick.

“I only suspect a game. What it is, I don’t pretend to guess,” was the reply. “Only, there is one thing{152} which I cannot believe—which I cannot bring myself to accept.”

“The identity of this man who has appeared here as a claimant?”


“You think that he is an impostor?”

“I suspect that he is; that is all.”

“And that there is perhaps another murder back of it all; the murder of the real Carleton Lynne?”

“I don’t know about that. That is going at it rather strong. It may be that the real Carleton Lynne has been dead a long time; or that he has been lost sight of for a long time. He may have gone to the Klondike with the rush and never have reappeared. There are a thousand and one things that may have happened to him, any one of which would give a clever impostor who had known him well in the past the opportunity; particularly if he were spurred to it by such a woman as Madge Babbington.”

“Or he may be lying now in a newly made grave somewhere, his papers and his birthright stolen by another,” suggested Patsy.

“Well, lad,” replied the detective, “that is what you are going to Idaho to ascertain. You are going there to trace every trail you can find of Carleton Lynne, and to follow one of them till it brings you here, if he is here; to wherever he is now, if he is not here.{153}



“Well, Chick?”

“Nothing, Nick.”

“You have been ten days on the trail of Carleton Lynne, now.”

“Yes; and for the last five of them he has been in possession of the fortune he came here to get. It seems to me that it was given up to him mighty easily.”

“That was in accordance with my advice, Chick.”

“It was? Why?”

“Because I drew the inference that the possession of the millions would throw him off his guard; and the woman, also.”

“I haven’t seen any effort on the part of the Babbington woman to make his acquaintance as yet,” said Chick.

“They are playing warily, that is all,” said the detective.

“You are still of the same opinion in regard to them?”

“More than ever so.”

“You have been watching the McQueen woman yourself, haven’t you?”


“Discover anything?”

“Not a thing.{154}

“And that Miss Hunt? I haven’t had a chance to talk with you in so long a time that all is news to me, now.”

“I have not been able to locate her yet.”

“Is there any news from Patsy?”

“Three telegrams, each one the same, containing the word, ‘Progress.’

“That means that he is on the trail of something.”


“You say that you left Lynne at the opera to-night, Chick?”

“Yes. He is occupying the old Lynne box. It’s ‘Ernani’ to-night.”

“Who is there with him?”

“He is alone.”

“What? Alone in the box?”

“Quite. He has seemed to avoid making acquaintances. I concluded that he was safe there for a time. That is why I came around here to the house to see you, Nick.”

“I’ll go back with you, I think. If he is still alone in the box, I’ll call upon him.”

“Not a bad idea.”

“Have you seen anything of Madge?”

“Not a sign of her. I think she must have left the city.”

“Not a bit of it, Chick. Don’t get that idea into your head.”

“Well, if there was anything doing, don’t you think they would have got busy before now?”

“Not necessarily. The stake is a big one.{155}

“I know; but still——”

“They can afford to play a waiting game where the prize is so large. If the two are working together, it is easy enough now for him to supply her with money, and they can afford to stand back and wait until every breath of suspicion is gone.”

“I know; but there is another thing, Nick.”

“What is that?”

“Carleton Lynne has got all that money now. He doesn’t have to share any part of it with Madge Babbington. He can snap his fingers at her, and——”

“I see that you do not half know Madge Babbington, Chick.”

“Why not?”

“Well, if he undertook to snap his fingers at her, as you express it—if he refused to keep to any compact he may have made with her, she would pull him down into the dust, even if she crushed herself in doing it.”

“All the same, Nick, that chap strikes me as being a pretty cold proposition. I don’t believe you could scare him with a dynamite cartridge under his bed.”

“I’ll admit all that; but even he would think twice before he went too far in giving offense to the Babbington woman.”

They had left the house while they were talking, and walked through to Broadway, where they now boarded an uptown car, and, as there were only a few blocks to ride, they presently descended in front of the Metropolitan Opera House, and entered.

“You may go where you please, now, Chick,” said the detective, as soon as they had passed inside. “Take{156} up your task of trailing the man again, and don’t let up a little bit. I am convinced that something will come of it after a while.”

“Possibly,” replied Chick, with a shrug of his shoulders.

“And,” the detective went on, “I am not at all sorry for this delay in the perfection of their plans, if there are any plans. It gives Patsy time to finish his detail in the West; and I have a feeling that we will know a lot more about this affair when he returns from that trip.”

“I’m sure I hope so. Where are you going now?”

“Directly to that box.”

“Without first ascertaining if he is still alone in it?” asked Chick in surprise.


“He may not be there at all now. He may have gone to another box, and——”

But the detective was moving rapidly away, and Chick came to a stop, after which he turned about to seek a place from which he could again obtain a view of the Lynne box.

When he did find such a point of vantage he was rather surprised to discover that the box in question was empty—that Carleton Lynne was not there—and he began to turn his glance from box to box along the tier in search of him.

He discovered the man at last, in a box much nearer to the proscenium; and he saw that Lynne was chatting in an animated manner with a group of ladies and gentlemen who were occupying it.{157}

He looked again, more closely, to discover who Lynne’s companions were, but decided that he did not recognize any of them; and then he gave a decided start of surprise, for one of the women who had been in the background moved forward, and he instantly recognized Madge Babbington in that woman.

As he made the discovery, Lynne turned to address some remark to her, to which she replied, and evidently made some further remark in return, for he arose, and Chick saw them leave the box together.

For a moment he was in doubt what to do, and then he remembered two things: One was that Nick Carter was somewhere up there near them, and the other was that neither of them had their street apparel with them. Hence they could not be leaving the opera house.

So he stood where he was, watching, and awaiting their return.

“Something is about to develop at last,” was his thought, for the ten days he had passed in trailing Carleton Lynne had been weary ones to him. It was the one element of detective work that he disliked.

In the meantime Nick Carter had gone directly to the Lynne box, had passed inside, and had made the same discovery that Chick did—that there was no one there.

Instead of stepping to the front of it, or withdrawing at once when he found that no one was there, he remained in the background and began to study the other boxes in search of Lynne, just as Chick was{158} doing at that same moment from near the proscenium on the parquet floor.

Lynne was seated in that other box, so that Nick very quickly discovered him, although he could not see the Babbington woman when she stepped partly forward, at the time Chick discovered her.

He did see Lynne half turn to address somebody behind him, saw him leave his seat, and therefore assumed that he was about to leave the box altogether—and then he made two discoveries:

One was like Chick’s—that he did not know who any of the people were who were in the box where he had discovered Lynne; the other, and the more important one, was that in the box adjoining the one he was then in, on the right, were four persons whom he did know very well, indeed.

The discovery of friends so near at hand decided him on a course that had not occurred to him till that instant.

He jumped at the conclusion that Lynne was probably returning to his own box, since his coat and hat were still there, and that probably he was bringing some person or persons with him; and so Nick slipped quickly out of the box and, without announcement, entered the adjoining one occupied by his friends.

“Please don’t move or speak,” he said to them hastily, when they would have risen to greet him. “I want to listen. I’ll visit with you later.”

They supposed that he referred to the music when he said that he wished to listen, but his own idea was{159} to learn, if possible, what might be said in the other box that he had just quitted.

He seated himself upon a chair that was just far enough back from the front so that he would not be observed, and at once leaned his head upon one hand, holding the palm open as if the better to divert the sound of the singing and the orchestra into his ear—and in doing so shielded his face from any person who might chance to look around from the adjoining box.

Also he pulled a curtain a little aside, so that he could see as well as hear—and he was not as greatly amazed as Chick had been a few moments before when he saw that two women had followed Lynne into the box, and that one of them was Madge Babbington.

“At last,” was his thought. “The real game is about to begin.”

But if he had anticipated hearing anything of importance in the conversation that ensued—for not one of the three paid the slightest attention to the great opera—he was doomed to disappointment.

Their talk was of the most commonplace sort, and it appeared from what was said that Lynne had, indeed, only just been presented to Mrs. Hurd-Babbington.

Actual mention of the supposed fact was actually made more than once—too often, Nick thought; and, indeed, it was the only thing that made him suspect that the conversation was more or less a studied one.

But he was destined to hear just one thing which made his effort worth while, and that happened when the other woman gave her attention for a moment to{160} the stage, thus leaving Lynne and Madge for a instant to themselves; and it happened, too, that they were very close to the curtain beyond which Nick Carter was seated at the moment.

Even then, what was said was either quite a natural result of their meeting, or else it was carefully studied, in case it should be overheard.

“You are a charming woman, Mrs. Babbington,” Lynne said, in a low tone. “I wish that I might have an opportunity to know you better.”

“Then why don’t you seek one?” she retorted.

“May I? May I venture to call upon you?” he asked, with apparent eagerness.

“Would I turn a multimillionaire from my door?” she laughingly replied.

“Then I may come to you? When?” he demanded.

“You may come to-morrow, at three, if you like, and drink tea with me,” she said.

That was all; but it was sufficient, for Nick Carter, hearing it, decided on the instant that he would find a means to be there also.{161}



The detective changed his mind about entering the box occupied by Carleton Lynne, for he had already heard enough to give him occupation for the ensuing day, and there was now nothing to be gained by an interview with either of the principals in the case.

Nick was desirous now of leaving the box into which he had intruded, even though the occupants of it were his friends; but he wished to leave it without attracting attention from the box adjoining.

He knew perfectly well that if either Lynne or Madge Babbington should chance to discover his presence so near to them, they would both realize that it was not chance that had taken him there.

They would be put on their guard again, particularly Madge, and there would be a longer interval than the one just passed before either of them would make another move to betray the secrets of the game they were playing.

Madge Babbington would be instantly on the alert if she were led to suspect that Nick Carter was so near to her at the very first interview—so the detective firmly believed—that she had had with Carleton Lynne.

After considering for a moment what was best to do, Nick turned, and managed to catch the eye of his{162} friend, the owner of the box he was in, and he motioned for him to cross over, so that they could have a word alone together.

“Tom,” he said, in a whisper, “I want you to make my apologies to your wife and her guests, will you?”

“But you’ll stop and see them, and say hello, won’t you, after this act?” Stanton replied. “I know that Tillie will be greatly disappointed if you do not.”

“I’d like to, Tom, but you see I am here to-night on business. I found your box rather by accident, and took the liberty of dropping in to rest and to listen, as I told you; but now I must get busy again.”

“Well, later, then?”

“I’ll try to return, if I can; but I won’t promise. Now, be a good chap, and tell me that you’ll make my apologies, and I’ll slip out of the box without their knowing anything about it.”

Nick had drawn his friend to the rear of the box while they were whispering together, and they were standing so he could not see into the box adjoining; and so he was not aware of the fact that Mrs. Hurd-Babbington had stepped quietly out of it, and was, even at that instant, in the corridor at the rear of the tier.

With a nod and a smile at Stanton, the detective stepped quickly from the box, and—came face to face with the very woman whom he desired the least to see at that particular time and place.

She was standing there, too, precisely as if she were awaiting him; as if she had expected his coming,{163} having known all the time that he was in the box next to her.

Well, the fat was in the fire, he argued to himself the instant he saw her, and so he governed his actions accordingly; that is, he merely inclined his head in token of recognition, and made as if to pass on without taking any further notice of her. In short, he acted precisely as he would have done had he not been watching her—had the encounter been purely an accidental one.

But Madge Babbington had no wish to permit him to pass in that manner, and whether she had been waiting for him or not could not be told from her manner. He knew that she was almost as perfect a master of her impulses and of the expression of her face as he was of his own.

She stepped directly in front of him, and so barred the way, and, with a flash of her strange eyes into his and a smile upon her lips that might have had its effect upon any man but Nick Carter, she said:

“We meet again, Mr. Carter. Quite by accident, I suppose?”

“Quite, madam.” And it was true so far as he was concerned, at least, in reference to the present encounter behind the tier of boxes.

“Are you sure that you are not here to watch me, Mr. Carter?” she asked, but without a suggestion of offense in her tone, even though she might have believed such to be the real condition.

He shrugged his shoulders and smiled back at her. He was on safe ground in what he was about to say.{164}

“Madam,” he said, “you may assume whatever pleases you best in that regard, but the truth is that to-night is the first time in ten days that I have seen your face, or heard the sound of your voice.”

She lifted her chin, looked boldly into the detective’s eyes, and laughed softly.

“That counts for nothing,” she said. “I know you too well to take that statement for what you wished me to understand by it. You have a fashion of seeing with other eyes than your own, and of hearing with other ears than your own. The fact that you have neither seen nor heard me does not mean that you do not know of every move I have made, and have not been told of every word I have uttered during those ten days.”

“I perceive, madam, that you understand something about the detective business,” he replied, and attempted to pass on; but again she barred the way.

“I suppose you saw me in the Lynne box, from some other part of the house—no?” she said, tentatively.

“No, madam, I did not see you in the Lynne box from any other part of the house,” he replied.

“Then you were told that I was there.”

“I was not told that you were there, Mrs. Babbington. May I ask if you have occupied it all the evening?”

She looked into his eyes mockingly; then she laughed softly again, as if to herself, and about something that amused her greatly.

“No,” she said, replying directly to his question; “I{165} have not occupied it all the evening. I am with some friends from the West who are farther along the tier. They—er—are long-time acquaintances of Mr. Lynne, and when we discovered that he was here, and alone, I induced them to send for him. He came, and we were presented. I thought, perhaps, you would be interested to hear about it.”

“So,” he said, “this marks the beginning of your campaign, does it?”

“Of my campaign?” she asked, raising her brows, as if she did not understand.

“The beginning of the effort to carry out the threat you made,” he added.

“A threat I made? To you, Mr. Carter? Surely, you are mistaken,” she smiled back at him.

“At least, you took it upon yourself on the occasion of our last interview, to give me what you were pleased to call a warning,” he said.

“Did I? A warning? Was I so foolish and childish as that? How absurd!” This time she uttered a little rippling laugh which was not unmistakable.

“How soon may we expect to receive cards, madam?” he asked her derisively.

“Cards, Mr. Carter? For the wedding that I prognosticated? Really, I couldn’t say, you know. The gentleman and I have only just met, you see. But, really, I feel that I have already made an impression. He has promised to drink tea with me at my home to-morrow at three.”

This statement, given voluntarily on her part, was a decided disappointment to the detective. He would{166} have preferred it otherwise—that she had not told him, for he had made up his mind that he would find a way to enter her house and to be present at that interview, and now it was plainly impossible to do so.

“Does she know that I was listening in the adjoining box, and that I overheard the making of the appointment?” he thought to himself. Aloud, he asked her:

“Were you returning to that other box, alone?”

“No; I am going back into this one. My friend is there. Will you come inside?”

“Thank you, no.”

“You have other business, then, than watching me?”

“I am never without much to do, madam.”

“Mr. Lynne seems to be a charming man,” she said irrelevantly.

“Quite so.”

“And his millions—how many are there, Mr. Carter?”

“You should know better than I. You have estimated them more than once, have you not?”

“Ah, yes, many times. There are a dozen, at least. Fancy!” Then, with a slight inclination of her head, and a quickly spoken “Good night, Mr. Carter,” she turned away from him and disappeared inside the Lynne box.

For a moment the detective remained where he was, thinking over what had happened, and endeavoring to account for it as best he could, and then he walked slowly away, going directly to the street.

He looked at his watch as he passed outside, and it{167} told him that the hour was half-past ten o’clock—and then an idea occurred to him which, because of the very boldness and strangeness of it, he determined on the impulse to carry out at once.

He glanced at his watch again, to make sure of the time, and saw that it was ten-thirty-two.

“They will not leave the opera house for another three-quarters of an hour, at least,” was the thought that went through his mind. “After that they will all go to Sherry’s, or Delmonico’s, or Louis Martin’s, for supper. Good! It will be one or two o’clock before she can return to her apartment. I’ll do it.”

The layman who reads these words will regard the thing that he so impulsively decided to do as unprecedented—and even a harsher term may be applied to it.

But, if there are those who would criticize the detective for what he had decided to do, and did do, remember that Nick Carter was certain of the real guilt of the woman in the matter of the murder of Edythe Lynne, and remember, also, that he was thoroughly convinced in his own mind that the man who was now in possession of the Lynne millions was an impostor.

Nick Carter was never one to quibble about trivial things, or to hesitate to perform an act because others might criticize it, if he regarded it as his duty.

And in this matter of the inheritance of the vast property left by J. Cephas Lynne he believed he had a bounden duty to perform.

He could never forget the moment when he had dis{168}covered the dead body of the beautiful heiress, at Pleasantglades.

She had been ruthlessly and wantonly cut off in the very prime of her young womanhood, in order that a scoundrelly cousin of her father’s, and this unsexed woman back there in the opera house, now smiling and talking and laughing, might possess themselves of the fortune.

Ever since the hour when he had followed the tracks in the snow between the great gateposts at Pleasantglades, and so had unearthed the crime that had been committed there, he had promised himself in his own silent way that those who had done that deed, and who had planned it and been instrumental in it, should never profit by reason of it.

There had been a time when he believed that he could convict Madge Babbington, as well as Thomas Lynne, who had actually done the murder; but that time was passed, and just now, if something heroic were not done to prevent, the woman would yet win all that she had desired in the beginning.

And so, Nick Carter, in that moment, decided that he would visit and search the apartment of Madge Babbington before she could return to it from the opera house.

That was what he had decided to do.{169}



To say that one will visit an apartment in a large hotel-apartment house during the absence of its owner or occupant, and search it, and to perform that ceremony are two very different propositions, as Nick Carter was destined speedily to discover.

The name of the particular one in which Madge Babbington had elected to reside after her acquittal at the trial was the Creotoria, and it was located on Broadway in that uptown section of the city where so many of those great edifices have been erected in the last few years.

It was eleven o’clock at night when the detective arrived there and entered the wide and spacious corridor which led to the office desk, and Nick found out at once that it was impossible for him to ascend to any of the upper floors of the building without first giving some adequate reason for doing so.

The obstacles which confronted him in the carrying out of his design seemed almost insurmountable at first, as he approached the desk where an expectant clerk stood waiting to receive him, having seen him enter at the front doorway—for this was no transient place, at which one might apply for lodgings for the night.

Plainly, the only way for the detective even to begin{170} the accomplishment of what he had set out to do was to pretend that some one whom he knew lived there; but at the moment he could not recall that he had ever heard of the house until he had been informed that Mrs. Hurd-Babbington had gone there to live.

“I am seeking the apartment of an acquaintance who possibly resides here,” he said to the clerk, as he stopped at the desk and leaned upon it. “Will you let me see your house directory, please?”

“If you will give me the name I can save you the trouble of looking through the directory,” replied the clerk.

“Grafton,” said Nick, mentioning the first name that occurred to him—the name, by the way, of a very oldtime acquaintance, whom he had not seen for years, and whose home, when last Nick Carter knew him, was in London.

And right here happened one of those strange coincidences—or phases of luck, whichever one chooses to name it—which occur in the experience of every person of active life; for the clerk replied at once, and without an instant of hesitation:

“Oh, yes; Colonel Grafton. Certainly, he lives here. It is not ten minutes since he went up in the elevator. Will you telephone up to him? Or—if you will give me your name, I will have it attended to for you.”

“I will go directly to the apartment, since the colonel has only just gone up himself,” the detective replied carelessly. “Will you tell me how to find it?”

“Certainly, sir. Tenth floor, Broadway front; number one thousand and one.{171}

“Thank you.”

“Give me your name, please, and I will telephone up that you are coming. It is the rule, you know.”

“Just say that it is Mr. Parsons,” replied the detective, as he turned and hurried toward one of the elevators; and he did some tall thinking while the swiftly moving cage was bearing him to the tenth floor of the enormous building.

For the Grafton whom Nick Carter knew and whose name he had made use of on the impulse of the moment was not a colonel, and this man of the Creotoria could not be he.

Nevertheless, Nick had hit upon a name of a resident of the building, and there was so much gained, at least.

The detective hurried through the corridor of the tenth floor toward number one thousand and one, and discovered, as he approached it, that a tall, military-looking gentleman, with white mustache and imperial, and with a distinctly soldierly bearing, was standing in the open door awaiting his approach.

And Nick, when he was close enough, pretended great surprise in greeting the man.

“Why!” he exclaimed; “there must be some mistake! You are not my friend Grafton. Have I, by any chance, been directed to the wrong apartment?”

“I think not,” was the smiling reply. “My name is Grafton, although I have not the slightest recollection of you, sir. I am Colonel Morely Grafton, of the British army. Will you step inside, sir? It is possible that I can aid you in finding the man you seek, for{172} Grafton is not a common name. We all claim relation.”

“My friend by that name is Paul Grafton, a resident of London,” replied the detective.

“I have a nephew by that name, whose home is in London,” was the reply, as the colonel led the way into the sitting room. “He is now in India. Will you be seated, sir?”

Nick sat down.

He realized that now, in order to carry out what he had gone there to do, he must waste a few moments in conversation with this man, in order that no suspicion might be attached to his call; and in the conversation that followed it came out that the nephew of the old colonel was really the detective’s friend.

And so, nearly half an hour was used up in chatting with the British officer before Nick Carter ventured to rise and take his leave; and when he did so he had to promise the colonel that he would call again at some future time.

But he had found his way into the house, and the rest of his design was now open to him.

The number of the apartment occupied by Madge Babbington was known to the detective, and, because of that number, nine hundred and one, he knew it to be directly beneath the one occupied by the soldier.

It was then midnight.

The corridors were deserted.

It is true that from some of the apartments, as Nick passed them, came sounds which indicated that{173} the occupants were still very much alive and awake; but he paid no attention to these things, hurrying onward and descending to the next floor below by the first stairway he could find; and so he found himself, presently, before the door of nine hundred and one.

He listened at the door for a moment, but not a sound came to him from within; and yet he figured that it was more than likely that at least one servant was somewhere inside, awaiting the return of the mistress.

He speculated for a moment as to whether he should use his picklock, and so force his way inside, or ring the bell and trust to his ready wit and assurance to be permitted to wait—and he decided on the former course, realizing fully the risk he ran in doing so if he should be discovered.

That picklock of his which has been mentioned has often been described in the Nick Carter histories, and needs no further description here, save to say that it is an instrument of the detective’s own invention, and is a magic wand in his possession when it comes to the opening of locked doors. Even Yale locks are not proof against it.

He took it from his pocket, inserted it in the lock, manipulated it for a moment, and so pushed open the communicating door, stepped inside, closed it after him, and then stood very quietly in the hallway while he listened for any sound that might be made.

But there was none.

A dim light shaded by a red globe burned in that hallway; beyond, from one of the rooms, a brighter{174} light glowed invitingly, and Nick tiptoed his way toward it and peered inside the room.

It was deserted, and, after assuring himself of the fact, the detective began a tour of the apartment, passing from room to room, to discover if there was any living presence in the place at all.

It did not take him long to become assured that he was the only person there, although he saw many evidences of the recent presence of one or more servants, and he came to the decision—correctly, as it happened—that the maid and perhaps another servant had taken the opportunity of their mistress’ absence to pass an hour or two with other servants in another part of the building.

At all events, the detective was satisfied that the way was open to him—for how long a time he could not determine—to search the place for proofs of the things he suspected, if proofs were there.

Of course, there was the possibility that one or both of the servants might return at any moment and surprise him—for it was now considerably past midnight—but he relied upon his own resources to conceal himself until there was offered an opportunity to escape, if such a thing should happen.

During his first tour of the apartment he had selected the room in which he believed such evidence might be found if any existed—- a small room which opened off from the library and was separated from it by portières.

It contained a roll-top desk, which was closed and locked; a cabinet letter file, which was also carefully{175} locked against intrusion—and, in short, bore the general resemblance of a sort of office room; and at one corner of it there was a very small safe, which Nick believed he could lift and carry away with him, if he so desired.

“If there is anything here at all to interest me, and to supply the proof I want, it is inside that little safe,” was the detective’s thought, as he looked at it and estimated its weight not to exceed a hundred pounds at the most.

It stood upon a shelf of hard wood that had evidently been placed there for its reception, and a Navaho blanket had been draped over it, to conceal it.

Nick tried the handle of the safe door, to discover if Madge had left it unlocked, by any chance; but it was safely locked against intrusion, and so the detective spun the dial of the combination lock, preparatory to resting one ear against it to find the tumblers by sound, for he was an expert in that art, which, be it known, is a profession by itself.

He had just placed one ear against the dial, or so close to it that not a sound that might occur inside the lock would escape him; he had just begun to turn the dial when he was startled by the rattle of a key in the lock of the outer door of the apartment, and was made conscious of the fact that somebody was returning; but whether it was one of the servants, or the mistress herself, he had no means, just then, of determining.

Instantly he switched off the light in that small room, and then, as he heard footsteps approaching{176} the room which adjoined it, he stepped quickly behind a tall easel in an opposite corner, which held an almost life-sized portrait of the beautiful Mrs. Babbington.

He found that it entirely concealed him, for the bottom of the canvas on which the portrait had been painted was not more than three inches from the floor; and so he stood there waiting while the footsteps came nearer—and he could now determine that there were two persons approaching, instead of one.

They entered that adjoining room where the light was glowing brightly, and the unmistakable voice of Mrs. Babbington, in low laughter, reached his hearing.

Ernani’?” she was saying. “Yes, that was the opera to-night; but I scarcely heard a note of it, Nora. I had other things to think about to-night. And then, of course, we had to go somewhere afterward. That is why I kept you waiting. But I got away as soon as I could do so. Now, what news have you? Tell me while I am taking off these wraps.”

“There is one thing, Madge, that seems to be of some importance,” was the reply, delivered in a voice that gave Nick Carter a start of surprise, for he instantly recognized it as the voice of Miss McQueen, stenographer and secretary to Benjamin Oaks, the lawyer. “That young man who went to Idaho—Patrick Garvan was his name, wasn’t it?—is on the track of something—I don’t know what. And Chris says, in his last letter, that he ought not to be permitted to return. He says that an accident can happen to him out there, just as well as not. It is up to you, Madge, to decide that question.{177}



Nick Carter would have given a good deal to have been absent from that particular locality at that precise moment.

It had been no part of his plan to remain there until the possible return of Madge Babbington, but it had not occurred to him that she would leave her friends before two o’clock.

He looked about him for a means of escape from that small room—a thing that he had somehow neglected to attend to before the necessity arose for it; and he remembered, as he did so, that the unusually large Navaho blanket that hung suspended from ceiling to floor close at his right hand, next to the easel, concealed a door; and as he recalled the plan of the apartment when he had searched through it, he believed that the door must communicate with the private hallway of the apartment.

But even so, would it be possible for him to open it and to pass through and close it again without attracting the attention of the occupants of the adjoining room? He doubted it.

Unused doors are apt to stick or creak on their hinges; nevertheless, it offered the only means out of the present dilemma, and he determined to attempt it.

He went about it methodically, realizing that haste{178} would be fatal, and hoping almost against hope that no impulse on the part of Madge would send her into that small room before he could make his escape from it.

He stepped from behind the easel, knowing from the direction of the voices in the next room that neither of the women would be able to see him as he did so; and he pulled aside the Navaho blanket.

His luck favored him.

The key to the door was in the lock—quite naturally, one might say, on the inside of the door—and he opened the blade of his pocketknife, passing it up and down between the door and the casing, to discover if the bolt of the lock had been shot.

It had; and so he brought out his little case of miniature tools, with the tiny oil can that is half the diameter of an ordinary lead pencil, and shot a drop of oil against the bolt of the lock and upon the hinges of the door, and then, withdrawing the key, administered to that in the same manner—and believed that now, by exercising great care, he would be able to open the door without making a sound.

In the meantime the conversation in the adjoining room had been continued, and the detective had necessarily overheard every word of it, although he would not have remained a moment to do so had he been able to make his escape on the instant.

The reply that Madge Babbington made to the statement of Miss McQueen was characteristic. Nick could imagine just how she shrugged her shoulders when she made it.{179}

“Wire Chris Morgan, the first thing you do in the morning, to get rid of him. I don’t care how it is done, Nora, only we can’t afford to take any chances. Still, I don’t see how Patsy Garvan has been able to dig up anything that would be of service to him.”

“He might do that if only he knew where to dig,” was the significant reply; and it was responded to by a light peal of laughter from Madge. Then she added, perhaps irrelevantly:

“Nick Carter was at the opera to-night.”

“Watching you, Madge?”


“But I thought——”

“My dear Nora, he has never abandoned his ideas for a moment. He, or somebody working in his employ, has been on my trail and yours, too, ever since my acquittal.”

“And on Car—Carleton’s, too, I suppose.”

“Surest thing you know, Nora. I wish I could shoot a drop of prussic acid upon his tongue. That would keep him still for a while.”

“But you cannot, my dear.”

“No; at least, not at the present time.”

“I had thought that perhaps you would try——”

“Try what, Nora?”

“Your wiles, your fascinations, your witchery——”

“What! On Nick Carter? My dear, you don’t know the man.”

“Possibly not; but I have never known you to fail yet in such an undertaking. Look at the things you have done more than once. Look at{180}——”

“Hush! No names!”

“Why? We are alone, aren’t we?”

“I suppose so. One never knows. One of my maids might even now be hiding behind the easel in my little den. I’ll look, presently, to see.”

Nick Carter was at that instant engaged in silently turning the key in the lock of the door, and he smiled to himself, being thankful that it had not occurred to her to make the investigation sooner.

“Well, Madge, you know the name that I would use. He hates you—there is no doubt of that—and at the same time he is so madly in love with you that he can scarcely contain himself.”

“But that is only when he is near me, Nora. Whenever he is away from me he hates me, as you say; and, do you know, he is so cold and snakelike, and so utterly fearless, that sometimes I am actually afraid of him.”

“You have reason to fear him; there is no doubt of that.”

“Oh!”—with a light laugh—“he will kill me some day, without a doubt, unless”—with deep significance—“he happens to die first.”

Nick Carter, in the adjoining room, which Madge had called her “den,” was at that moment in the act of passing through the doorway which he had succeeded in opening before him, and, as he paused an instant to hear that last remark of Madge’s, his glance fell upon the small safe, or, rather, upon the curtained blanket that concealed it from view.

He wanted very much, indeed, to inspect the interior{181} of that safe. He had been interrupted at the very moment when he was attempting to do so, and now, without a second thought concerning what he would do with it, he turned about, raised it from the floor, lifted it through the doorway, put it down, turned and closed the door after him, and so stood in the hallway of the apartment, with only one more door between him and escape from the rather compromising position.

Again he picked up the safe. You or I would have found it difficult to carry away, but, although it was heavy, and a clumsy thing to bear, the detective’s great strength handled it easily, and he went along the hallway rapidly to the outer door which communicated with the corridor of the building.

What would he do with it? He had not decided that point yet.

He realized, of course, that he would not be able to take it with him out of the building, for there would be no sort of excuse that he could make to the clerk at the desk in the office.

Outside the apartment, he did not pause, even for an instant, but moved rapidly forward until he had turned a corner of the corridor, and so was hidden from the woman he had just left, in case Madge should discover her loss and rush into the halls to give the alarm.

But no such thing happened, and just then Nick came to the stairway, and he recalled the fact that the building was exactly twelve stories high.

He was on the ninth floor at the moment. Three{182} flights of stairs would carry him to the top floor, and from there, another one, if he could find it, would take him to the roof.

Nick began mounting the stairs, going as rapidly as possible, carrying the weight he had to bear—hoping all the time that he would not meet one of the night watchmen, or any of the residents of the apartment house.

He found the stairs that led to the roof, and he found a locked door at the top of them, but we have already discovered that locked doors offered but little impediment to the onward march of the detective, and in a trice he had it open and had passed out with the safe in his arms, upon the roof.

“Wow!” he half exclaimed, wiping the perspiration from his face and seating himself for a moment upon the safe, to rest. “I have had a good many strange experiences, but this is certainly a new one on me. Anyhow, I’ve got the safe, and I have found rather a secluded place for opening it. There isn’t much likelihood of disturbance up here.”

Nor was there.

He began, as soon as he was rested, to turn the dial, with his ear close to it, and, although he was engaged in that manner upward of half an hour before success came to him, his patience was at last rewarded, and he turned the handle of the lock and opened the door.

The night was clear and there was the half of a moon in the sky, so there was light enough.

The safe being open, he turned it over on its back, so that such light as there was would shine into it{183}—and then he uttered a sharp exclamation of utter amazement.

The safe that he had taken so much trouble to carry to the roof was absolutely empty, save for a pasteboard card, which had fallen to the back of it when he upturned it.

He reached inside and drew forth the card, wondering what it could be; and then for a moment he sat quite still, staring at it in silence; but only to break into a hearty laugh immediately thereafter.

What was it that caused his amazement, and then his laughter? This:

There was writing upon the card, which was the only thing the safe contained, and the message it contained was addressed to him. It said:

My Dear Mr. Carter: So sorry to disappoint you, you know; but I have a notion that some day you will pay me a call, and, finding me absent, will venture to investigate the surroundings. Naturally, this safe would be the first thing to attract you; and so—this slight message of my regard and esteem.

Madge Hurd-Babbington.

“Well, now what do you think about that?” he muttered to himself, with a grim smile on his face.

He wished at that moment that he had not taken it at all; he wished, also, that he could have returned it, so that Madge would not know that he had visited her apartment during her absence; he wished a lot of impossible things, in fact, but what he did was quite to the point.{184}

He closed and locked the safe again, put it in an upright position, as if it had not been opened—for, of course, he replaced the card inside of it—and then he passed from the roof to the top floor of the building and walked down the stairs to the tenth floor, where he sought the elevator.

At least, he would return to the office from the floor to which he had been taken in the first place.

It was a little past three o’clock when he left the building, nodding to the clerk as he passed the office.

“I don’t think I could call this a very brilliant night’s work,” he told himself, as he sought the nearest subway station. “Still, that scrap of a conversation told me considerable, although I did not hear a word that would convey the slightest proof of what I desire to know.”

But he did not go directly to his home even then. He went, instead, to one of the night offices of the Western Union and wrote a telegraph letter of fifty words to Patsy.{185}



It was four o’clock in the morning when Nick Carter got into his bed, and, contrary to his custom, it was eight o’clock when he left it. He had been roused from sleep by the raucous cries of men in the street and avenue, who were shouting unintelligible information concerning an extra that was just out.

The cries sounded like:

“Wuxtra! Wuxtra! Fullercountuv——” Nick gave it up at that, although he believed that he had distinguished the word murder among the jargon. He rang his bell and called Joseph to him.

“What is that extra about, Joseph?” he asked.

“A double murder, sir, discovered early this morning—soon after four, I think. Danny is reading about it now, sir. I only saw the headlines over his shoulder.”

“A double murder? Where did it happen, Joseph?”

“I don’t know, sir. I did not notice. Shall I prepare your bath?”

“No; I’ll fix it myself. Go down and get me a paper. I’m rather curious to know what it is all about.”

“Yes, sir; at once, Mr. Carter.”

Joseph departed, and the detective repaired to his bath. When he came out of it he discovered the paper{186} that Joseph had brought to him, on the table in his sleeping room.

One glance at the headlines riveted his attention instantly, and, naked as he was, he seized upon the paper and seated himself upon the edge of the bed to read the account of the double tragedy it partly described.

The word that had attracted his attention was the name, in large type, of the same apartment house at which he had met with his adventure during the preceding night—the Creotoria.

We won’t attempt to give the headlines as they were printed, but in substance they were something like this:

“Murder. A Double Tragedy at the Cretoria Apartments in Upper Broadway. Another Babbington Mystery. Woman lately tried for murder and acquitted is found unconscious beside the two victims of New York’s latest murder mystery. Triple crime intended. Bullet intended for the third victim went astray and her life was spared, although a slight wound was inflicted where it plowed its way along the side of her head just over the left temple. Only clew is mysterious late caller. A man giving the name of Parsons inquired for Colonel Grafton after eleven o’clock, but remained with that gentleman less than half an hour, and was seen by the night clerk to leave the building after three in the morning.”

The detective paused right there long enough to utter a low whistle of astonishment; and then he skipped down from the headlines to the article itself, for he was amazed to find that there had been three{187} persons in that apartment when he left it. He had supposed there were only two—Madge Babbington and Nora McQueen.

We will not attempt to give more than the substance of the article, sufficient for the purposes of this story, but the account of the tragedy, briefly, was about this:

Mrs. Babbington, who occupied the apartment in question, kept two servants. One of them, the cook, had been given a night off to attend a wake in a distant part of the city, but had returned to the apartment shortly after four o’clock in the morning.

She had entered the place with a key, with which she had been provided, and had found that a brilliant light was still showing in the parlor, which, by courtesy, was called the library.

After listening and hearing no sound from that room, she went to it to investigate, and then ran screaming from the room to the telephone, which is in the dining room.

“Murder! Murder! Murder!” she shouted three times over the phone to the clerk at the desk, and then dropped to the floor in a faint, where the clerk and the night watchman presently discovered her.

They also found what they at first supposed was a triple murder in the library of the apartment. Three women were stretched upon the floor, apparently dead from bullet wounds, and in two of the cases the bullets had entered the brain directly in the middle of the forehead. In the third one something had deflected the aim of the assassin, and the bullet that was doubtless{188} intended to slay her as her companions had been slain had glanced along the left side of her skull above the temple and ear. This wound is, however, not considered dangerous, the skull is not fractured, and Mrs. Hurd-Babbington will recover.

It will be remembered that Mrs. Hurd-Babbington was lately tried for the murder—and so forth, and so forth. Nick skipped that. He read on again, in substance as follows:

One of the victims of the double tragedy which came so near to being a triple one is the personal maid of Mrs. Babbington; the other victim is so far unknown, and has not been identified. At the time this paper goes to press Mrs. Babbington has not recovered consciousness sufficiently to give a coherent account of the affair, if, indeed, she knows more about it than has already been printed.

At a late hour last night—eleven-thirty, or near that time—a man appeared at the desk and inquired of the clerk for a gentleman named Grafton. This man gave his name as Parsons. The clerk sent him to the apartment of Colonel Horace Grafton, which is on the tenth floor of the building, and immediately telephoned to the colonel of the fact.

Colonel Grafton received him, and entertained him for about half an hour, at which time he took his departure; but it is certain that he did not leave the building or attempt to do so until after three o’clock in the morning, and it was then not later than midnight.

Where did he pass the three hours that intervened?{189}

The theory of the police is that he intended to go through the place thoroughly, and that at last he found his way into the apartment of Mrs. Babbington, who was absent, having attended the opera; and it now appears that the apartment was entirely deserted at about that time. The cook was absent, as has already been stated, and the maid, who is dead, had been passing the time with another servant on the eleventh floor of the building.

It is supposed that the man was in the apartment when Mrs. Babbington returned to it with the other woman who accompanied her; that she encountered her maid in the corridor or at the door, and that the three entered together; that the thief, being discovered and probably threatened by the three women who found him there, shot them.

The clerk gives only a partial description of the man who asked for Colonel Grafton—et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

No further details of the tragedy can be given until Mrs. Babbington has recovered sufficiently to relate her own experiences, which doubtless will be the case by the time our evening editions are on the street.

The detective laid the paper aside with a mixture of feelings.

There was one, of course, which was not without amusement, that he should be the one to be charged with the crime, and, when he realized that he had gone there without disguise, he saw that it would be well for him to alter his appearance for a few days, until some investigation could be made into the mystery.{190}

That the unidentified dead woman was Miss Nora McQueen he had not a doubt; but who had done the thing?

Some one opened the door at that moment, and Chick entered the room. His first glance alighted upon the paper that the detective had been engaged in reading, and, with a half smile on his face, he asked:

“Well, what do you think of that, Nick? What do you make out of it?”

“Nothing—as yet. How do you read it, between the lines?”

“It’s an odd circumstance, isn’t it? I thought at first that that chap who gave the name of Parsons might have been you.”

“It was,” was the quiet reply.

“What? Do you mean that?”

“Yes.” And then the detective gave his assistant a correct account of all that had happened while he was at the apartment house; and, in closing, he said:

“Now, Chick, I have reason to think, from what the McQueen woman said to Madge last night, that nothing would have suited Carleton Lynne better than to put both of those women out of the way. But you can dispose of that idea at once, since you were——”

“Unfortunately, Nick, I cannot. I lost him.”

“Lost him?”

“Yes; just that.”

“Where? When? How? Tell me about it.”

“I’ll tell you all I know.”


“After the opera he went with the people who were{191} in that other box where he made a call during the performance, to Louis Martin’s, for supper. I went there also, and found a small table not far from where they were seated. I was hungry myself, and, perceiving that they had ordered a substantial meal, I did likewise, not fearing but that they would be longer about it than I.”

“Well, go on.”

“It never occurred to me that Lynne might leave the table before they had finished, and I was unfortunately seated so that I was obliged to turn my head to look at them. I did not want the Babbington woman to get onto the fact that I was trailing them, and, knowing that she is as sharp as needles, I did not pay very close attention to them for a time; and finally, when I did look around, my man had disappeared.”

“Do you mean that he left there during the progress of the meal?”

“Just that.”


“I went out in search of him, but could find no trace, so, thinking that he might return, I went back to the dining room and waited for the others to leave. When they did break up I followed Madge and the woman you say was Miss McQueen to the Creotoria. When they had gone inside the building I came away.”

“Where did you go then?”

“I came home. I decided that either Lynne was safely in bed in the big house where he lives—the Lynne house—and that he would come out at the usual hour this morning, which is nine-thirty or ten, or that{192} he had gone somewhere else where I could not get trace of him. I am going now to the Lynne mansion to watch for him.”

“All right. Go ahead. If he does come out at the usual hour, telephone the fact to me.”

“I will. What are you going to do about the matter of Parsons?”

“I’m going to get into a disguise and go to the Creotoria at once, to investigate this business in my own way.”

“And I?”

“You wait at the Lynne place until Carleton comes out or goes inside, no matter how long it takes. Afterward, come directly to me at the Creotoria. I’ll need you there.”

“Very well.”

“In case I am not there, wait for me. I’ll have arranged with headquarters so that we may have privileges on the case. Tell the manager who you are, and go ahead with the investigation in your own way.”

“Why, where will you be, if not there?”

The Latest News,’ printed in red at the bottom of the page in that paper, states that Madge was taken to a hospital. I may go there to see her.{193}



It was a remarkable circumstance that Nick Carter should have placed himself under conditions where he found himself suspected of having committed one—or, rather, two—of the most wanton murders of the century.

There was a grimly humorous side to it when he stopped to think, nor could he attach any blame to the hotel clerk or to the police, because they had assumed that the mysterious caller on Colonel Grafton was the person who had committed the deed.

But in that very supposition on their parts he had the advantage of them, in that he personally knew the untruth of it—in that until the hour of two in the morning, or a few minutes before or after it, he was certain that one of the women now dead and the other now wounded at the hospital were perfectly well, and certainly anticipated no thought of imminent danger.

It will be remembered that he had escaped from the apartment where the double crime was committed, with the small safe in his arms; that he had made his way to the roof of the building, and that he had spent a considerable time there in opening the safe.

He had not seen any person in the corridors—anywhere, in fact, within that building, after he came away from that apartment—until he had passed{194} through the office on his way to the street, shortly after three o’clock; he had not noted the exact time.

But some person had been there—and it was almost a logical deduction that the person who had committed that double murder was in the building at the time Nick Carter entered it and did not leave it until after the business of the ensuing day had begun—or that the murderer was an actual resident of one of the apartments there.

This latter theory naturally disposed of the idea that had partly formed in the mind of the detective that the man who called himself Carleton Lynne might be the guilty one, because Chick had already been indefatigably on Lynne’s track for ten days, and was supposed to know—believed himself that he did know—every move that the man from the West had made during that interval.

The conversation that the detective had overheard while he was in hiding in the little room and intent upon making his escape from it must not be forgotten.

It had made a marked impression on him, implying, as it had done, a deep-seated hatred and fear—which is a stronger incentive to the commission of a crime than hate ever was—on Lynne’s part, for Madge Babbington.

Nick Carter’s theory of the original condition of things, which had brought about the appearance of Carleton Lynne upon the scene bore out this idea, too.

It was quite natural that the man, having attained the possession of the Lynne millions, should wish to keep them for himself and should have a reluctance to{195} sharing them with a woman whom he both feared and hated—save only when he was in her presence, and she fascinated him with her tigerish eyes and her beauty.

And that very fascination which she doubtless exercised over him would lead him all the more insistently to wish to rid himself of her; it would but add to his fear of her when he was not with her, and when there was opportunity to think calmly upon who and what she was, and of what extremes she was capable.

Possibly he feared for his own life, as soon as she should be his wife.

The poisoned cup, the stealthy dagger, the pistol shot in the dark; all were possibilities which he could see waiting for him in that future that the woman had doubtless planned for both of them.

And so, while on his way to the Creotoria apartments, wearing an adequate disguise, so that he would not be recognized as the man who had called there to see Colonel Grafton, Nick Carter could not figure out in his mind any other theory that was satisfactory to him in regard to the murders, save the one that Carleton Lynne must somehow be the guilty person.

That idea of the police, of a burglar or thief, surprised at work and shooting down in cold blood three women who opposed his escape, was, to Nick Carter’s mind, preposterous.

There was one other point, too, which the detective had noticed in the reading of the account of the crime, and that was the accuracy with which the bullets had{196} been fired at the victims—all save one of them; probably the last one.

Something of the personal description of Carleton Lynne has already been given, and now, as the detective recalled it, he remembered the cold expression in his eyes, that were set so wide apart, denoting innate cruelty; he recalled the deliberate, almost cautious, motions of the man, his steady, fearless, defiant eyes; and he remembered, too, that Lynne was a man out of the great West, where marksmanship with a six-gun is almost a matter of inheritance as well as a universal talent.

Lynne’s eyes were the eyes of a dead shot—and the bullet holes were bored exactly in the center of the foreheads of the two women who were dead, while the one fired at Madge had only narrowly missed its mark.

Nick believed that he could explain that miss, too, on the same theory that applied to the other two shots. In this manner:

Nora McQueen and the maid had been shot first, and then the weapon had been turned upon the woman whose eyes and whose very presence fascinated Lynne.

Had he caught one flash of those eyes, even as he attempted to fire the fatal shot at her? Had the expression in them compelled his intention to waver, and so deflected his aim? Even as she had stood there facing almost certain death at his hands, had she, in the fraction of a second that was permitted her, been able to throw her spell over him? And had he, even at the instant when his finger was pressing the trigger{197} of his gun, sought, against his own set purpose and will, to spare her?

It was the only manner in which Nick Carter could account for a third shot missing, when the two that had preceded it had been fired with such deadly accuracy.

The papers had contained no mention of robbery—even the fact that the small safe was missing had not been discovered.

If there had been robbery of jewels or money, the papers would have reported it; and so it was apparent to the detective that the person who had committed the crimes had gone there with that express purpose in view—had gone there to kill. More than that, had gone there with the deliberate intention of murdering Madge Babbington and her friend and associate who was with her—Nora McQueen. For Nick Carter, since he overheard that conversation, knew positively that the two were friends and associates, and that they were working together—probably had long been associated.

We have gone over all this ground in order that the frame of mind which governed the detective when he went to that apartment house may thoroughly be understood.

He could not see any solution of the double crime save through the active instrumentality of the man who called himself Carleton Lynne; there was no other acceptable theory, for who else was there who could have desired the death of Madge Babbington, to the point of murdering her?{198}

He did acknowledge to himself that, had he been less well informed than he was—had he not been there himself almost up to the time when the crimes were committed, and had he been told the story of the clerk at the desk about the mysterious stranger who had called there—he might have been influenced by it.

And then came another thought—a perplexing one, too:

Was it possible that the murderer, watching and waiting for the return of Madge and her friend, had seen him force his way into the apartment with his picklock—had waited until Nick Carter came out of the place, carrying the safe in his arms, and had then carried out his own dark purpose, realizing with a sense of security that another than himself would be suspected?

Such a thing was possible—was even highly probable, under the circumstances, and in the light of all that the detective actually knew of the conditions.

Nick telephoned to headquarters before he started out, as he had told Chick he would do, and so when he presented himself at the desk of the great apartment house he merely announced that he was sent there from headquarters—and gave his name.

Please remember that in appearance he did not at all resemble the man who had applied at that same desk at half-past eleven the preceding night.

“There are half a dozen men here from headquarters, even now,” the clerk told him; but Nick only{199} nodded his head to that statement, and asked to see the house directory.

It was shown to him—a book taken from the safe, which contained the names and the numbers of the apartments occupied by each one of them, of every person—man, woman, and child—in the house.

He went over them without comment. There was not one there that suggested anything to him; but as he was in the act of returning the book to the day clerk he withheld it for a moment, and said:

“Point out to me, please, the names of your latest arrived guests—and begin with the very latest, informing me as you indicate the names the time of arrival here.”

“You will observe that there is not a vacant apartment in the building,” said the man behind the desk.

“Yes,” replied the detective.

“Well, with the exception of one gentleman, there is nobody in this list who has not lived here two years, or more. Here is the name—Henry Carroll.”

“Mr. Carroll seems to live alone; also to occupy rather a large apartment for a man who does live alone,” was Nick’s comment.

“Yes. He regretted that the apartment was so large at the time he took it; but it was the only vacant one we had. I made the contract with him myself. He is a very quiet, unassuming man, with iron-gray hair and closely cropped gray mustache. He would be a handsome man, too, if it were not for a frightful scar that extends all the way down one side of his face,{200} and another one just like it that reaches a third of the way down the other side.”

“When did he engage his apartment?” the detective asked.

“It was engaged and paid for in advance, in order to hold it, three months ago,” was the reply.

“By the gentleman himself?”

“No; by an agent who represented him.”

“Is the man a New Yorker, or where is he from?”

“I do not know as to that, but, if you are of the opinion that he might have had——”

“I have no opinions; I am seeking information. When did Mr. Carroll first occupy his apartment?”

“He arrived here just three weeks ago to-day?”

“Where from?”

“I do not know.”

“And he has been here steadily ever since then?”

“No. He remained just a week, and then went away, to Washington, D. C., on a business trip.”

“Has he returned?”



“Last night, at a quarter to twelve.”

“Do you know if he is in his rooms now?”

“I know that he is not. He went out at half-past seven this morning.”

“Thank you. I am going to the ninth floor now. When Mr. Carroll returns please notify me of the fact at once; I wish to have a talk with him.”

“Yes, sir; I will do so.”

It was then that Nick sought the apartment, nine{201} hundred and one, and if he had expressed his thoughts aloud, that expression might have been found in the following sentence:

“Henry Carroll will not return at all, for Henry Carroll and Carleton Lynne are one and the same.{202}



Several things had happened to affect the case by the time Nick Carter entered the apartment.

The small safe had been discovered on the roof and had been traced to apartment nine hundred and one; a woman who would not give her name, and who was thickly veiled from observation, had appeared there and had inquired for Mrs. Babbington, and when told that Madge was at the hospital had departed with the avowed intention of seeking her at the institution. One of the headquarters men had followed her; the coroner had “viewed” the case and had given permission for the removal of the bodies, and that very thing was happening when Nick arrived; information had been received that Madge had recovered consciousness, and her brief statement boiled down to one sentence was merely that a man whom she did not know had appeared suddenly in the parlor of her suite and had begun firing his revolver the instant he did appear; and she claimed to know no reason why he should have done so, and that she had had no idea of his presence until the actual shooting began.

No weapon had been found; nothing had been discovered to assist in the solution of the mystery, save the incident of the safe, concerning which Madge insisted that she knew nothing, but which seemed to bear out the original theory of the crimes.{203}

Nick returned to the office floor of the building.

“I want two things,” he told the clerk with whom he had already talked.

“Well, sir?”

“I want to see the night clerk who was on duty last night, and——”

“He is here now, sir, in the office of the manager.”

“Very well. Show me to that office, and I will tell the manager of the other thing I want.”

“Right this way, Mr. Carter,” was the reply, and he was ushered to a hidden office behind the desk.

“I am Nick Carter,” he said abruptly, “with authority from headquarters. Mr. Brixton, you are the manager here?”


“I want you to go with me now to the apartment occupied by one Henry Carroll; never mind why till we get there. I want this night clerk to accompany us.” And, on the way to the apartment mentioned, after he had overcome the objections of the manager, Nick asked the clerk:

“Who came into the building after the man Parsons made his appearance and went to the suite of Colonel Grafton?”

“Only Mr. Carroll. No one else.”

“Who went out of the building?”

“Only that man who called himself Parsons—that is, until after six o’clock.”

“What time was it when Carroll went out?”

“Half-past seven.”

“Did he speak to you at the time?{204}

“Merely to say that he might not return to-day.”

“Would you recognize his voice if you should hear it again—say from another room—if you could not see him and if he could not see you at the time?”

“I am sure that I would. Sure thing.”

“All right. I’ll give you an opportunity to prove that assertion before you are many hours older.”

Brixton was at that moment opening the door of the apartment they sought, with his pass key. They entered together.

There were a few articles of clothing strewn about on chairs; some cheap toilet articles were on the dresser in one of the bedrooms; two suits of cheap clothing, almost new, were hanging in one of the closets; two trunks, both quite heavy when Nick lifted one end of each of them, were in another room.

“It doesn’t look as if Mr. Carroll was very domestic in his habits, or intended to remain here a very long time,” the detective remarked; and then, without announcing his intention, he drew a heavy bronze paperweight from one of his pockets—he had brought it with him surreptitiously from the manager’s office for the very purpose to which he now applied it—and he struck the hasp of the lock of one of the trunks a mighty blow, which broke it in half.

“What do you mean by such a proceeding?” the manager cried out; but, instead of replying, Nick calmly threw back the lid of the trunk.

The trunk was empty, save for about a dozen lengths of sheet lead, which had been cleated fast to the bottom of it.{205}

Without a word of comment, Nick turned to the second trunk, and served it in the same manner—and with precisely the same result.

“You see?” he said, turning upon the manager. “Find Henry Carroll, and you will find the murderer—and I will find him before dark to-night. Come away. There is nothing more to be accomplished here.”

Chick was in the office awaiting the detective when he returned to it with the manager and the night clerk. Nick drew him at once to one side after telling the clerk, whose name was Pryor, to wait for him.

“Well?” he said to Chick.

“I think that Lynne must have spent the night at his house. He came out at the usual time this morning and went downtown. I let him go, and came here.”

“Good. Go now to the telephone; call up Ben Oaks; find out if Lynne is there. If so, tell Oaks to find an excuse for detaining him till we get there. If he is not there, ask Oaks to notify us the moment he arrives. I happen to know that Oaks had an appointment with him this morning.”

“There is another thing that is important—a message from Patsy,” said Chick. “I telephoned to Joseph, and he read it to me. I put it down as he stated it. Here it is.”

The detective took the paper and read:

“Will arrive nine-thirty, morning. Have important information. Don’t lose sight of C. L. before I get there.



“Patsy did not receive the messages I sent early this morning,” was the only comment that Nick made as he put the paper into one of his pockets; but Chick had already gone to the telephone. He came hurrying back again a moment later.

“Lynne is there,” he said. “Oaks will detain him till we get there. Shall we go now?”

“Yes; only I want you, Chick, to go in another direction. Go to the Lynne residence and make a thorough search of the rooms and everything in them that this man has used since he has been recognized as Carleton Lynne. Telephone me from there, at Oaks’ office. I want you to find, most of all, an iron-gray wig, cropped false mustache, and a pair of oiled-silk face scars, such as we have had to use in disguises before now—and anything else that turns up. Come along, Pryor. We’ll take the subway.”

The detective left Pryor in the corridor of the office building while he entered the office of Benjamin Oaks; but a moment later he opened the door and beckoned to the clerk, who followed him inside, led him across the room to another door that was partly ajar, and said:

“Listen, and tell me whom you suppose to be in that room.”

After a moment of silence, during which Pryor listened to the murmur of voices that could be heard in the private office, he turned and, with a strange expression on his face, but without hesitation, said:

“Mr. Carter, one of the two men who are talking{207} together in that room is Henry Carroll. I would swear to it anywhere.”

“Good. That is all. You may return to the Creotoria now and wait there till I need you, Pryor.” Then, when the clerk had gone, the detective walked calmly into the private office of Benjamin Oaks.

Oaks looked up at the detective’s entrance, and nodded his head in recognition. The other man, who had been called Carleton Lynne, half arose from his chair, and then, with a curt nod at Nick, reseated himself upon it.

Nick, with a genial “Good morning, gentlemen,” passed behind Lynne’s chair in crossing the room; but when he was directly behind it he moved with lightninglike quickness. He drew a pair of steel handcuffs from his coat pocket; he seized Lynne’s wrists and drew them together so suddenly that the man could not resist him, and he snapped the handcuffs into place, pinioning the man’s wrists behind his back, before there was an opportunity of escape or resistance.

Of course, there was a struggle, but it was shortlived, and the man who was known as Carleton Lynne found himself on his back on the floor, with Nick Carter standing over him, and smiling down upon him as he said coolly:

“Henry Carroll, alias Carleton Lynne, alias a lot of other names—I have no doubt—you are under arrest for the double murder at the Creotoria apartment house early this morning, and, incidentally, for the lesser crime of impersonating one Carleton Lynne, and for the temporary theft under that name of some twelve{208} millions of dollars. Call up headquarters, Oaks, and tell them to send a wagon down here after this fellow. I’ll stand here till it comes.”


That practically ends this story, although not quite. There are a few interesting odds and ends to pick up, as yet, which are important.

Chick found the wig, the mustache, the oil-silk scars, and five letters addressed to Henry Carroll at Hailey, Idaho, at the house he searched. Four of the letters contained not a thing that seemed to be important; the fifth one was in cipher; none of the letters bore a signature; all were typewritten, and bore the New York City postmark. It is worthy of comment right here that not a thing was found to implicate Madge Babbington in the affair, and to state that at the trial of Carroll, which followed in due time, he steadily denied that she had had any complicity with him in his acts. When asked why he had attempted to murder her, he admitted that he had known her for a long time—insisting, however, that she had known him only as Carleton Lynne, and had believed that to be his right name—and that she had repulsed him when he declared his love for her. It was all a lie, of course, but there was no way of establishing that he did lie about it.

The veiled woman who had called at the apartment, and who had gone from there to the hospital to see Madge, proved to be the missing Miss Hunt who had formerly and for so long a time been in the employ of Benjamin Oaks.{209}

The information she had to give was as unimportant as were the statements of the man Carroll. It was merely to the effect that she had been bought off from her “job” by the woman, now dead, who called herself Nora McQueen, and had gone on a trip in the meantime, having been assured that she could get her job back again at the end of six months, or less; and that she had been lately notified by Miss McQueen that she could return at any time, being advised when she did so to apply first, for information, to Mrs. Babbington, at the Creotoria. She had returned to the city that morning, had seen the account of the murders, had gone to the Creotoria, had seen the dead body of Miss McQueen, and had hastened to the hospital for further information—which she did not get.

Down at the office of Benjamin Oaks, when the patrol wagon had taken the prisoner away, the lawyer and Nick had spent a few moments in conversation, and then Nick had hurried away to his own house to meet Patsy, who had notified him by telephone at the lawyer’s office of his arrival. Chick was there, too, waiting.

Nor was that all.

Patsy had not returned alone.

He had brought with him an emaciated but convalescent gentleman, and when he introduced that person to Nick Carter it was done in these words:

“Mr. Lynne, this is Mr. Carter. Chief, this man is the real Carleton Lynne. He went to the Klondike at the time of the rush with a friend named Henry Carroll. He got lost in a storm while there and was{210} reported dead. In reality, the silence and the cold destroyed his reason, and for years he wandered about the world, not knowing who he was. But his memory returned to him a few months ago, and he made his way back again to Hailey, Idaho, where he is well known, and where there is sufficient proof of his identity, as I have found.

“You will notice that there is a strange as well as an unaccountable resemblance between him and Henry Carroll—at least, he tells me there is, and Chick agrees with him; and that, I think, in part accounts for the daring effort on the part of Carroll to pass himself off as Lynne. Of course, the stolen papers and photograph assisted in that—and Carroll took good care not to appear in Hailey as Lynne.”

And so it was that the rightful heir came into his own at last.{211}



Carleton Lynne raised himself in the bed, not without some difficulty, and stared at the intruder. He was weak, and therefore unable to defend himself, but no trace of fear showed upon his features, or in his eyes, which gazed quite calmly into the eyes of the man who had quietly seated himself upon a chair ten feet away and who was holding an automatic pistol so that the muzzle of it menaced him.

Carleton Lynne had stared death in the face too many times to be greatly frightened by the present episode. Experience had taught him that when one man threatens another with a gun, he does not intend to make use of it unless the necessity arises; and as yet there was no necessity that this gun should be used.

“Well?” he inquired composedly, and with the ghost of a smile upon his lean face which plainly showed the ravages of the long illness he had undergone.

“You’re a cool one,” was the response, delivered in a heavy bass voice which was yet modulated to the necessities of the occasion so that the sound of it would not penetrate beyond the walls of the sleeping room of the present master of the Lynne mansion.

“I am also a sick one—or, rather, a very weak one, as a consequence of having been extremely ill for a long time,” was the calm reply. “I could not fight you{212} if I tried, there is no electric button within my reach, and I have no weapon under the pillow, or in the bed, so your present attitude with that gun in your hand is quite unnecessary.”

The unexpected, uninvited guest chuckled and grinned, and lowered the gun, which he dropped into the side pocket of his sack coat.

“You are Carleton Lynne,” he said—as one might have said “this is a room in a house.”

“I am,” was the reply.

“You are the master of millions, too.”

“About a dozen of them, I think—more or less.”

“What are you going to do with them?”

“Really, I don’t know. I haven’t given much thought to that aspect of the subject, as yet.” This reply was given with a smile, and Lynne hitched himself farther up in the bed and crowded the extra pillow behind him.

“It’s time you did, then.”

“Very possibly. Is it because you wished to give me some disinterested advice on the subject that I am indebted to this midnight call?”

“Do I look like a fellow who goes around giving disinterested advice?” was the gruff response.

“No; to tell you the truth, you do not. On the contrary, you bear a very close resemblance to an unmitigated scoundrel, coward, and squaw man whom I once knew in the Klondike. He was known up there as Red Mike.” This answer was delivered as coolly and as imperturbably as it might have been had their positions been reversed.{213}

But the man seated on the chair seemed to accept it as a compliment rather than as an affront. He grinned affably and shifted one leg across the other knee.

“I’m glad you haven’t forgotten me, Lynne,” he said. “The fact may hasten the adjustment of matters between us.”

“One does not soon forget an enforced association with vermin,” said Lynne.

“That will be about all of that sort of twaddle, Mr. Carleton Lynne,” Red Mike remarked, with a slow scowl. “We can talk decently together, without slinging mud, or I’ll fix you so that you won’t be able to talk at all. Take your choice.”

“Very well; talk away—if you have anything to say that can be listened to by a self-respecting gentleman. I find that I have been mistaken about you, and I’m very sorry that it was a mistake.”

“What about?”

“I had been informed—authentically, I supposed—that you were dead.”

“Well, I heard the same thing about you; only I’m glad that it has turned out to be a mistake, for otherwise you would not have come into these millions.”

“Quite true, Michael the Red.”

“Hank Carroll would have raked in the pot, eh?”

“Oh, no, he wouldn’t. He’d have got what is coming to him now, within a short time, just the same. It happens in a room with a little door, and it is done by shifting an electric switch. The explanation may{214} interest you, Michael, because that is what you are destined to get, too.”

“It will be long after you are dead and buried, if I do.”

“Possibly; but that, if it be true, does not alter the inevitable. Might I venture to ask what brought you here?”

“Your millions, Lynne. I want a couple of them.”

“Oh, you do, eh?”

“I do—and you’re going to give them to me.”

“Oh, no, I’m not. You’re quite mistaken about that.”

“If you do not—if you refuse the terms I shall offer you, I’ll——”

“Don’t say it, Mike.”

“Why not? Have I scared you for once?”

“I’m not one of the scary kind, as you know; and you’d only be indulging in another lie. You wouldn’t kill me; not now, at least.”

“Why not?”

“Because if you did that there would be no show at all for you to get something out of me, while on the other hand while there is life there is also hope. Eh, Mike? I am wondering how you ever scraped up courage to come here and face me, even though you know that I am physically unable to defend myself. Who is behind you in this affair, Mike? You never would have dared to undertake it alone; never at all if you had not been egged on to it by some one with a stronger will. It must have been a woman, Mike; men never had much influence over you.{215}

Red Mike moved uneasily in his chair, and shifted his legs; also he gave the subject a different channel.

“I took the trail of Henry Carroll, and kept it for two years after I found out what he was up to,” he said. “I was just about to fall on him when——”

“Well, why do you hesitate?”

“When Nick Carter spoiled it all after Hank was fool enough to murder those two women in that flat at the Creotoria.”

Carleton Lynne laughed aloud. Then he said:

“You would never have ‘fallen’ upon Carroll, Mike, and you know it.”

“Why not, I’d like to know.”

“Because you were afraid of him; you always were—more afraid of him than you were of me in those old days, and that is saying considerable.”

“Afraid of nothing!”

“Afraid of everything, rather. You always were a despicable coward, Michael—don’t look so savage; words can’t hurt you—and Carroll was never afraid of anything. Have you forgotten the time he made you crawl on your hands and knees out of the saloon at Nome? And that, without showing a gun, while you held one in your hand all the time and were afraid to attempt to use it.”

The scowl on Red Mike’s face grew threatening, for, after all, the man on the bed was at his mercy.

He dropped his right hand into the coat pocket again and fondled the automatic gun, as if half inclined to use it; and Lynne, without changing the tone of his voice but realizing the danger of the moment, added:{216}

“Maybe the effect upon you was hypnotic.”

The scowl disappeared, and the right hand came out of the pocket, without the gun.

“That was it. He always did half hypnotize me, Lynne. I was never really afraid of Carroll, but those deadly cold eyes of his always affected me somehow so that I could not move a muscle.”

“Quite so,” replied the man on the bed ironically.

“Say, are you going to give me a slice off of that fortune of yours?”

“I am—not!”

“Then it’s yours for the long, dark journey, Lynne.”

“Nonsense, Mike; and besides, I have followed that trail so near to the end of it so many times that it has become quite familiar. I’m not at all afraid of it. Who is the woman, Mike?”

“What woman? What are you talking about?”

“The woman who induced you to come here.”

“There isn’t any woman.”

“Oh, isn’t there? I thought that perhaps you had hit it off with Mrs. Hurd-Babbington. She has had her eyes upon the Lynne millions for a long time, and the gentleman you mentioned a moment ago, Mr. Nicholas Carter by name, has told me that she won’t lose sight of them. I suppose I could buy you both off with a million apiece, eh?”

“I want two. I don’t know anything about any woman.”

“You want two millions, do you? What would you do with them if you had them?” Lynne pulled himself still farther up in the bed as he asked the question.{217}

“I’ll tell you one thing that I would do,” was the eager reply, for he evidently believed that Lynne was weakening, and might, after all, give up. “I’d get out of your sight and mind, and stay out of them.”

“Would a check satisfy you, if I should get out of this bed and write one now?”

“No, it would not. I’m not such a fool as all that.”

“Well, you don’t suppose that I am in the habit of taking two million dollars, in cash, to bed with me, do you?”

“No, but I do know one thing about you, Lynne.”

“Do you, really? What is that interesting thing that you do know about me?”

“I know you to be a man of your word. If you should give me your solemn promise that you would put two millions in cash in my hand to-morrow or next day, and give me fourteen days’ start without attempting to follow, or to find out where I had gone, you’d keep your word to the letter. I know that.”

“You pay me quite a compliment, Red Mike.”

“Will you do that, Lynne?”

“I am considering it. Don’t hurry me. Will you tell me the name of the woman?”

“Yes, if you consent.”

“So there really is a woman behind you, after all, eh?”

“Stow that, Lynne. If you do not give your consent”—he drew the automatic from his pocket—“I’ll use this little toy, right here, and now. That’s final, and I’ll give you just five minutes to answer.{218}



There were several years of entire blank behind Carleton Lynne, so far as his memory was concerned.

He had gone to the Klondike before that time, prospecting for gold, and he had gone to that country of blizzards and gold, starvation and plenty with a man named Henry Carroll, to whom Red Mike had already made reference in the foregoing conversation.

In the mind of Lynne there was here and there a hazy recollection of some of the lesser things that had happened to him after he so nearly died of exposure and injuries in the far north; but in the main he knew nothing of those intervening years, and had known little or nothing of himself, not even his name, until a short time before Patsy found him, to bear out the proof that the impostor in the East, Henry Carroll, was not the heir to so many millions.

And the young man, as yet only twenty-six, was still an invalid, although he had lost nothing of his old spirit and daring—and back of the date when he had fallen exhausted in the snow and had been left for dead, his memory was clear enough.

Therefore, naturally, he remembered the man who had intruded upon him in his sleeping room in the Lynne mansion in New York City, which he had been in possession of so short a time—for everything that{219} had happened to him before that dreadful experience was as strong in his recollection as if the happening had been yesterday.

And this Red Mike had been one of the bad characters of that former experience in the Klondike.

He had been a bad man and a dangerous one, until he was cornered; but at such times, like others of his ilk, he had inevitably proved himself an unconscionable coward.

Mike had been at one time the proprietor of a saloon, a gambler, and everything that was bad; he had been a sluice robber, a road agent, a thief, a bully, and he had been suspected of at least one murder done in cold blood, where the victim had been shot in the back, and without an opportunity to defend himself.

But there had been no proof of it, and he had not been made to suffer the consequences of it, as should have been the case.

And once upon a time, when Lynne and Carroll and two others had found the man lost in the snow and near the point of perishing they had rescued him and saved his life.

Most men would be grateful forever for such an act of succor, but it had seemed to incur the enmity and hatred of Red Mike, rather than his friendliness.

And then, just before Lynne started out on the trail which was to be his last one in that country—the time he was supposed to have lost his life—Lynne had had occasion to administer a thorough thrashing to the Red one.

These are small things, to be sure, but with a char{220}acter like Red Mike’s there is no such thing as forgetting them—and Mike had not forgotten.

And Mike, with all his roughness, uncouth manners, and scoundrelly principles, was a well-educated, well-bred person, who had gone wrong, or whose natural propensities for evil had dominated every other impulse within him.

Just why Mike should be there in that room at the dead of night, Lynne did not know, and at the moment could not guess, although he thought that he could read between the lines and conjecture upon it vaguely.

Carleton Lynne recalled the fact that once when he was in the company of Henry Carroll—now on his way to the death chair at Sing Sing—and this same Red Mike, he had been led to talk about his rich uncle in the East, J. Cephas Lynne, and to speak of the millions possessed by that relative whom he had not seen since he was a child; and since Patsy found Carleton Lynne in Idaho, and had related to him all that had happened to bring about the death of J. Cephas Lynne and his only daughter, Edythe, and to take to New York a man who personated Carleton Lynne—well, the rightful heir had been enabled to understand something of the conditions that had brought about such a strange circumstance; or rather, such a condition of circumstances.

He could understand, or thought he could, how, after he was supposed to be dead, Carroll had remembered that conversation in which reference to the rich uncle had been made; how Carroll had looked the mat{221}ter up, had learned of the death of Cephas Lynne and the daughter, and that the great fortune was going a-begging.

And so—well, Henry Carroll had possessed himself of the papers and old photographs of his supposedly dead associate, and had finally gone East to impersonate Lynne, and to make claim to the fortune.

And now, as Lynne faced Red Mike, there in his own sleeping room, he could understand, too, how the desperado had been all the time on the track of Carroll, resolved that he would force some kind of a division of the wealth from the man who had once been Lynne’s partner.

But then things had taken another turn.

Carroll had fallen under the influence of a woman—Mrs. Hurd-Babbington; he had committed the crimes which were speeding him toward the death chair, and the rightful heir had been found in this man who was now sitting so calmly in his bed, facing the armed man who had intruded upon the privacy of his room in the dead of night.

That was the exact situation at the moment as nearly as it can be explained here.

There had been no difficulty in establishing the identity of the real Carleton Lynne, and in proving his right to inherit the millions of J. Cephas Lynne, and so now, at this moment, he was the master of millions—and be it said, as little affected by that mastery as if they had been counted by units instead of by hundreds of thousands.{222}

Nevertheless, Lynne knew thoroughly well the character of the man who threatened him.

A coward to the backbone, he was none the less dangerous with the power in his possession, as it now was, to murder a defenseless man; and again, this man, without a single trait of character that made for good, understood perfectly well the character of the man in the bed; knew that he could accept that man’s word, and that if given, it would be kept.

And so, with the pistol in his hand, he demanded such a promise, on pain of death.

Put yourself in such a place for a moment, in thought, and consider what you would do under such circumstances.

Suppose yourself to be as yet barely convalescent after a long and severe illness, with all your strength sapped and gone, and with no physical ability to cope with such a person as Red Mike.

What would you do, if, being the possessor of many millions, you were awakened from your sleep under just such conditions?

The answer is obvious, of course.

You, and I, and nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of every thousand would give the required promise readily enough, and as readily break it, convinced that a promise given under such conditions cannot be a sacred one, and should therefore not be kept.

But not so Carleton Lynne.

Red Mike was well aware of the one weakness of this new master of millions, and he was smart enough to play upon it—for it is a weakness to have set up{223} one principle on a pedestal, and to have sworn that no sort of condition would ever compel a departure from it.

Well, then, what would you do, under such circumstances, if it were morally as impossible for you to give your word and then break it, as it were physically impossible for you to throw the intruder out of the window?

There does not seem to be much left that it could be possible to do, does there?

Lynne hitched himself still higher in the bed and threw back the clothing that covered him; then, clad only in his pajamas, he swung his legs around over the side of the bed, and thrust his feet into a pair of bath slippers that were within reach.

Then he sat quite still, with his hands resting on his knees, while he bent forward just a little and peered smilingly into the face of the burly, red-headed, but nevertheless handsome, scoundrel who was now holding the automatic pistol with the muzzle of it covering his heart.

The thing that had awakened Lynne from sleep was the switching on of the electric lights when Mike entered the room, so that now, with four incandescents glowing, the room was shadowless.

“No funny business now, Lynne,” said the intruder. “You can give me that promise just as well without getting out of bed—so stay there.”

“Well, I won’t stay there, Mike, and that’s all about it,” was the cool reply. “I’ve got to think this thing over.{224}

“Rats! There isn’t anything to think over. All you’ve got to say is ‘yes; I’ll do it, Mike,’ and after you have said that, we’ll arrange the details, and then I’ll put my gun back in my pocket, and hit the trail. You can do that just as well where you are, as——”

“Look here, Mike, a man doesn’t give away two millions without making conditions, does he? You wouldn’t, would you?”

Red Mike permitted himself to grin.

“Well, make your conditions where you are, then. I’ll agree to ’em.”

“I won’t do it. Shoot, if you want to; but I won’t do that.”

“Do what?”

“Make any verbal conditions with you. You’d agree to anything, and break your agreement the next hour. I know you.”

“Well, what do you want?”

“Before I make any promises, such as you demand, I’m going to draw up a paper which you have got to sign with your full name.”

“Oh; I have, eh? Well, maybe I won’t do that, Lynne.”

“Then you won’t get any promise out of me; that’s flat; not with twenty automatics in your hands.”

Saying this, Lynne kicked off the slippers, and made as if to return to the bedcoverings.

“Hold on there,” Mike exclaimed. “What kind of a paper do you want to write?”

“You’ll know what it is after I have written it and you have read it over.{225}

The reader will see by all this that notwithstanding the years that had passed since any former meeting between these two men, Lynne nevertheless knew his man perfectly well. If he had permitted himself to be bullied at all, there would have been nothing for him to do but to comply with the demands that were made upon him. But, by pretending that he was at the point of consent, and then insisting upon certain useless forms, Lynne believed that an opportunity could be found to do the thing he had determined to attempt in order to escape from the present predicament.

“Where do you want to write it? At that desk over there?”


“Have you got a gun, or any sort of weapon hidden away in that desk, where you can get your hand on it?”


“Are you going to make that promise?”

“We will discuss that after you have consented to sign the paper I shall draw,” was the calm reply. “Not before.”

“All right. Go to the desk and write it. But, mind you, Lynne, I shall watch every move you make, and if I so much as see an indication on your part of trying to get out of this scrape, I’ll turn this gun loose, and you’ll get eight bullets in your back faster’n you could count ’em.{226}



Carleton Lynne seated himself at the desk, drew some sheets of paper toward him, and began to write.

He did not once turn his head to look behind him, although he could, from time to time, hear Red Mike, as the desperado shifted his position, or his legs; and once he heard him strike a match, and presently smelled the odor of tobacco. The fellow had rolled himself a cigarette, evidently; had laid aside the gun long enough to do that.

This, of itself, was promising. The man was relaxing his vigilance possibly.

Lynne wrote on in silence.

He scarcely thought of what he was writing, his thoughts being busy with the exigencies of the moment; and yet he wrote succinctly for all of that, for he was well aware of the fact that he had an educated man to deal with, and one who was more than ordinarily shrewd in his way.

Nevertheless Lynne had no intention of making the promise that had been demanded of him; he was seeking only time to think up a way out of the dilemma in which he was involved.

He wrote slowly—very slowly indeed, killing all the time he could; and after a time the continued uneasy stirring of Red Mike in the chair behind him told him that the man was fast becoming impatient.{227}

“Say, what are you up to, anyway, Lynne?” was the impatient demand that came, after a time. “Do you suppose that I want to spend the balance of the night here?”

Lynne shrugged his shoulders and wrote on, without reply.

“How long is that bloody document going to be?” was the next demand.

No reply.

“What is it all about, anyhow?”

“I’m nearly through now, Red,” was the reply, this time. “Just a moment more.”

There was another interval of silence, and then Lynne laid aside the pen, picked up the paper upon which he had been writing, and pretended to read over what he had written with great care; and all the time Red Mike watched him with close attention.

Presently Lynne dropped the hand that held the paper at his side, and raised his eyes to the man who confronted him, for he had turned in his chair when he began to read over the contents of the paper.

“Well,” said Mike, “is it ready?”

“Yes. Shall I read it to you, or do you prefer to read it for yourself?”

“I reckon, maybe, if I’ve got to sign it, I’d better read it myself; eh?”

“As you please.”

“Suppose I won’t sign it after I have read it?”

“Then you won’t get any promise from me; that’s all.{228}

“Not even with this?” he raised the gun threateningly.

“No, not even with that; not with a dozen of them,” was the decided reply.

“All right. Let’s see it. We’ll talk over the particulars afterward.”

Lynne bent forward and passed the paper to him; but as Red Mike took it in his hand, he did not remove his eyes from the face of Lynne; and, after a moment, he exclaimed:

“Say, Lynne, you’d better get back into that bed. You look—well, you look all in. You’re a heap sicker than I thought you were.”

“The exertion—of getting up—and writing—this—was a little—too much—for me—I suppose,” replied Lynne, staggering to his feet and groping out with his hands as one does who is walking in the dark and is fearful of colliding with some obstacle.

He reeled a little where he stood, and then essayed to move toward the bed, while Mike, bending toward him, watched every move as if he did not know whether to assist the sick man or not.

Lynne took a tottering step toward the bed; then another one; he raised his right hand to his forehead and pressed it there; he staggered again; and then, just as Red Mike started to rise from his chair, probably to lend assistance, Lynne pitched forward full upon him, overturning chair and man together at the same instant, and they went to the floor together, for despite the sickness that Lynne had undergone he was still a heavy man.{229}

The reader has suspected, of course, that Lynne was counterfeiting this attack of faintness; that he was dissembling. Red Mike did not suspect it, however; it was too well done—and it was the only method that Lynne had been able to think of by which there was the slightest possibility of his gaining the upper hand.

So, when he did fall forward, he fell with a dead weight; and he took care to cast that weight all upon the side of the other man where the automatic gun was still grasped in the right hand; and as he fell, he made use of a pin that he had picked up from the desk where he had been writing. It was, in fact, the pin that had really suggested the act he was endeavoring now to carry out.

He held it between the thumb and finger of the hand he had pressed against his forehead, and, as he fell forward, he threw that hand out so that it came into sharp contact with Red Mike’s right hand, which held the gun.

If you had been a witness to the scene, you would have said that Lynne’s chin and hand fell somewhere upon Red Mike’s firearm, at the same instant—and you would have been astonished at the consequence of it.

The sharp prick of a pin, ungently prodded, will sometimes produce great results, for the pain from it is unexpected, and is always acute.

That this one was prodded downward into the wrist of Red Mike by no gentle thrust may well be believed, and the man uttered a sharp exclamation of pain, while{230} his fingers unclasped themselves from around the butt of the gun so that it fell to the floor even before the men did so.

Lynne knew perfectly well that he could do nothing with the gun by seeking to make use of it at once.

In his weakened condition, at that close range, while he was still practically within the grasp of Red Mike, the latter would have no difficulty in taking the weapon from him; in repossessing himself of it.

Therefore Lynne carried out his first intention—the first plan he had made when he found the pin on the desk; he rolled on his back, upon the weapon, so that he covered it with his body, and, throwing out his arms at right angles with his body, simulated complete unconsciousness as best he could.

And that best that he could do seemed to be sufficient for the limited experience of Red Mike in such matters.

Cursing none too mildly, but yet in a tone that was subdued for the occasion, and nursing his right wrist with his left hand, he struggled to his feet again and looked down upon the fallen man, for the moment, evidently, forgetful of the gun.

“Dead?” he asked himself, aloud; then he bent forward and pressed his left hand over the region of Lynne’s heart.

He could plainly feel the beat of it, and he straightened up again—and it was then that he missed possession of the weapon and cast about him with his eyes in search of it.

Lynne was lying perfectly still on his back with his{231} arms stretched out at right angles with his body, to all appearance unconscious.

“It’s under him, I suppose,” Lynne heard him mutter, and Mike stooped over as if with the intention of recovering it; and still Lynne had the courage and the strength of purpose to wait, for he knew how utterly impossible it would be for him to cope with Red Mike, under present conditions.

It was the one thing that he had feared in the carrying out of his plans; that Red Mike would insist upon regaining possession of the weapon at once, and it seemed as if such was about to be the case.

If so, Lynne knew that he would have to wait until there was an opportunity to attempt some other expedient.

But a diversion occurred.

The paper upon which Lynne had been writing, and which he had given into the left hand of Red Mike just before the instant of falling in the well-stimulated faint, was now on the floor, half a dozen feet away.

It caught the eye of Red Mike, even as he bent forward to recover the weapon, and he half straightened up again, muttering aloud as he did so:

“I might as well read that over before he comes around.”

Still he hesitated, however; then he turned and picked up the sheet of paper, and began to read.

In order that you who read may understand the ingenuity of Carleton Lynne, and may realize how thoroughly he understood the character of the man with whom he had to deal, we will quote the opening paragraph of{232} that document, for it was really that which spared his life and which saved the two million dollars that had been demanded of him.

“I, Mike McManus, known as Red Mike, late of the Klondike, former thief, road agent, and murderer”—Red Mike read that far, and stopped, looking across the top of the paper at the apparently insensible form upon the floor, and scowling darkly.

Then he lowered the paper a trifle and shook his fist at the prostrate man.

“I’ll even up with you, all right, all right, when I get those two millions in my jeans, mister man,” he growled. “But I may as well read all the slush he’s got written down here while he’s unconscious;” and he read on again.

“Gambler, confidence man, and crook, agree herein over my signature that upon the condition that I receive two million dollars in cash from the hand of Carleton Lynne, to be paid to me at a time and place hereafter to be agreed upon, I will fulfill each and every condition and stipulation herein set forth by said Lynne as conditions precedent to the said payment of said sum as aforesaid, binding myself——”

Red Mike paused long enough to glance over the paper at Lynne, on the floor. Then he stooped and picked up the fallen chair, righted it, and seated himself upon it.

With yet another glance toward Lynne to assure himself that unconsciousness still prevailed, he raised the paper again, and continued the reading; and while he did so Lynne half opened his eyes, and sighed.{233}

Mike looked up quickly.

“Coming around, eh?” he said, with a laugh.

There was no reply, only Lynne’s eyes continued to stare rather vacantly at Mike.

“Say, did you hear me?”

A faint nod was the only reply, and the eyes closed again. Mike shrugged his shoulders and resumed the reading of the paper; he was reading the conditions now, and they proved to be of interest.

Lynne moved his right arm, placed that hand to his head, and then dropped it back upon the floor again, in its former position. Mike looked up, saw the act, and continued to read.

Lynne repeated the performance; then he did it a third time; then a fourth; then a fifth, and at the fifth time Mike paid no attention to him.

Each time that Lynne’s hand fell back to the floor, it came down a trifle closer to his body, and when it fell the sixth time it shot beneath him and grasped the butt of the gun.

Mike saw the act this time and started forward; but he was not quick enough.

The gun was leveled at him before he could grasp the hand that held it, and the calm voice of Carleton Lynne said:

“Put up your hands, Mike, and do it now! I’ve got strength enough to send a couple of these eight bullets into you before you can reach me. Sit down again on that chair, and we’ll discuss the details, Michael.{234}



It has been said that Red Mike was a coward at heart. He proved it now.

With the muzzle of the automatic aiming at his heart he was no match for the sick man on the floor, who had now raised himself to one elbow and was smiling, well pleased by the turn that events had taken.

He raised his hands above his head as he had been commanded to do—and we need not repeat the language he used as he did so.

While he was swearing, Lynne slowly raised himself to his feet, all the time holding the gun in that threatening position.

Then he backed across the room toward a push button in the wall near the door, and with his disengaged hand, pressed upon it, and kept on pressing.

After a wait which seemed very long, which, in reality, was quite short, considering the hour, and during which Red Mike continued to swear and threaten, there was a sharp rap on the door, and, in obedience to Lynne’s summons, a manservant entered the room.

He came to a halt and stared when he saw the situation; but Lynne’s voice addressed him calmly.

“Lift that engraving from its place against the{235} wall, Thomas,” he said. “I want you to use the wire cord to bind this fellow. Wind it two or three times around his wrists with his hands behind him; then ask him to sit down while you do up his ankles in the same manner.”

Lynne watched the proceeding while his orders were being carried out, all the time with that inscrutable smile on his face.

When it was done, he said:

“Now go to the telephone for me. You remember Mr. Carter’s number, do you?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Call him up. Ask him if he will be good enough to come here at once. Tell him that it is important; otherwise I would not make the request.”

“Yes, sir.”

“If he should ask you what is the matter, explain to him that—well, just explain the situation just as you see it and understand it. That will be sufficient till he gets here.”

“But I do not understand it, sir.”

“Neither will he—till he gets here. Go now. Remember, Mr. Carter in person, if he is at home. If he is not, then either one of his assistants.”

“Yes, sir.”

Lynne crossed the room and managed to turn the chair upon which Mike was seated, so that it faced the bed; then, still holding the gun in his hand, he got into the bed again and propped the pillows behind him.

Red Mike was still swearing and calling names, and{236} threatening what he would do when the opportunity offered, even if such opportunity happened a thousand years hence; but he came to a stop and stared in amazement when Lynne returned to the bed.

“You’re a cool one!” he ejaculated for the second time since he had entered that room.

“Precisely; and you’re a hot one—just now,” was the reply.

“Well, you’ve got me—what are you going to do with me, Lynne?”

“I shall let Nick Carter determine that, Mike.”

“Then I see my finish.”


“I haven’t stolen anything.”

“No, but you have broken and entered; that constitutes burglary whether you steal anything or not.”

“Well, what are you going to do about it?”

“As I said before, we will let the detective decide about that, Mike. You’re in bad, if anybody should ask you. Who is the woman, Mike?”

“What woman?”

“The one we have already spoken about; the one who sent you here to-night. Who is she?”

“There isn’t any woman.”

“More lies.”

“Take it or leave it; it doesn’t make any difference to me.”


“Not the slightest.”

“How long have you known Madge Babbington?”

“Aw, go chase yourself.{237}

Lynne was really very tired from the exertions he had undergone, and so he half closed his eyes and settled himself back among the pillows to rest until Nick Carter should arrive.

He had an idea, born of the experiences of the last hour, which he now decided to propose to the detective when they were together, and—well, something might come of it for the general betterment of conditions.

Thinking deeply upon it, he dozed, tired out as he was.

He forgot, for the time being, the propinquity of that other man whom he had captured so dexterously.

He forgot that the lynx-eyed gentleman from the Klondike was watching him narrowly, taking note of every breath he drew, and calculating the length of them in order to be made aware of the moment when Lynne should sleep.

Now and then while he watched, Lynne opened his eyes lazily, and then closed them again.

He had directed Thomas to wait at the door for the arrival of the detective, and he began, drowsily, to think that it was taking Nick Carter an unconscionably long time to get there.

Red Mike thought that the time was going all too swiftly for his purposes.

He was a dexterous fellow, was Red Mike.

His long experience as a gambler had softened his hands, and made them unusually pliable; they were small hands, too, for such a large man—for such a muscular individual as he was; and he possessed that{238} peculiar utility of the joints which is described by the compound word double-jointed.

While he watched the now sleeping man, he was busily engaged with his wrist and fingers behind his back, and although the feat would have been impossible to a large percentage of men, he did succeed in twisting them so that he was enabled to reach the ends of the wire cord with which Thomas had bound him.

It was slow work at first, but he persisted, and—well, the moment came when the wire fell away from his wrists and his hands were free.

He did not attempt, just then, to free his ankles, too. There would be time enough for that, afterward; and besides, the risk of arousing the sleeper was too great.

But he got upon his feet, bound together side by side though they were; he succeeded in poising himself for an instant, and then with one mighty leap he propelled himself forward, his arms outstretched, his hands opened to seize upon the throat of the sleeping and exhausted man.

His fingers clutched Lynne’s throat, and tightened upon it.

Lynne struggled feebly, but with no avail against the great strength of Red Mike.

Then, just at the instant when the desperado would have finished the job so thoroughly begun, he heard the sound of voices from the lower hall of the house, for his ears had been acutely strained to catch such sounds, all the time.

With a last added squeeze of his fingers upon that{239} white throat, Red Mike sprang away from the bed, toward another door than the one by which Thomas had entered the room—toward the one, in fact, by which he had made his own entrance, for he had left a way open for retreat in case of necessity.

As he darted away from the bed his glance fell upon the automatic pistol, and he seized it and had reached the door before he remembered to be sorry that he had not stopped long enough to use it on Lynne.

Then another thought occurred to him, and he smiled grimly while he stood there at the door and waited.

He knew that the other door would be thrown open in a moment, and he expected that the person who would appear when that should happen, would be Nick Carter.

It was an opportunity not to be lost; one which, from his standpoint, was well worth waiting for.

And then the opportunity came.

The door he was watching did swing open, and a figure did appear in the aperture; and instantly the crang! crang! of the weapon crashed through the room.

The man in the doorway, his hand still upon the doorknob, fell backward, dragging the door shut after him, and with a laugh Red Mike turned the weapon upon the man on the bed and let drive two more bullets in that direction.

The four reports sounded more rapidly than one would care to count, and with the last one Mike disappeared beyond the door he had been holding open with his left hand while he fired the shots.{240}

Even as that door closed behind him—and he locked it on the opposite side, for he had provided for that also before he entered the room at all—the other door was thrown violently open again, and Nick Carter leaped into the room; leaped across the figure of a man who was almost on the threshold, and who was trying even then to regain his feet.

The pungent, half-suffocating odor of smokeless powder was in the room, but there was no way of telling which way the would-be assassin had escaped from it, and Nick, perceiving that Carleton Lynne had raised himself upon the bed, and that there was blood upon one of his shoulders, showing that he had been wounded, sprang to him instead of giving immediate chase after the man who had fired the shots.

But Lynne was wearing that habitual smile of his by the time the detective got to him.

“It’s only a scratch,” he said. “Just a mere touch on the shoulder. Where——”

He paused. Thomas had entered the room holding one hand against his head, and it was stained like his own shoulder.

“Why, Thomas,” he said, “did he get you?”

“No, sir, but it was a close call, for all that. A mighty close call. Took the top off’n my left ear, sir, and the other bullet took some of the bark off’n me just above the ear. But I’m none the worse for it, sir.”

Nick, who had in the meantime been examining the wounded shoulder which proved to have received no{241} more than a flesh wound, and who was now binding the slight abrasion of the skin, asked:

“What was it all about, Lynne? Just a burglar, who——”

“More than that, Carter,” was the reply, before the detective could complete the question. “It was one of my old Klondike acquaintances; one who followed Carroll here, and who came here to-night to ask me for two million dollars. Gee, but I’m sorry he got away!”

“Who was he?—and what?”

“Red Mike, by name. He used to be called the Bad Man of Nome, once upon a time.”

“He came here to ask you for what?”

“Two millions, no less; and he as good as admitted that he was spurred to the effort by an old acquaintance of yours.”

“Do you mean—who do you mean, Lynne?”

“I refer to Mrs. Madge Hurd-Babbington,” was the smiling reply.{242}



It was in the afternoon of the second day after the events related in the preceding chapters that Nick Carter, seated at his desk in his study in Madison Avenue, reached for the telephone in response to a ring upon it.

“Hello,” he said. “Who is it?”

“Am I speaking to Mr. Carter?” came the reply.


“This is Thomas—confidential servant to Mr. Carleton Lynne,” said the voice at the other end of the telephone.

“Yes? Well, Thomas, what is wanted?”

“A strange thing has happened here, sir, and if it is possible I wish you would come to the house at once in the interest of Mr. Lynne.”

“Certainly; I can go there if he wishes me to do so, Thomas. Did he ask you to telephone to me?”

“No, sir; he is not here, sir; that is what the trouble is. He seems to have disappeared entirely within the last few hours. I am greatly troubled, Mr. Carter, else I would not have presumed to call upon you.”

The detective smiled to himself, then he replied:

“Thomas, I am greatly afraid that you are nervous. Your master has disappeared, you tell me?”

“Yes, sir.{243}

“Gentlemen do not disappear from their own houses at midday, Thomas. Tell me exactly what has happened, and I will determine for myself whether it is necessary for me to go there.”

“You know, sir, that Mr. Lynne has not been out of the house—scarcely out of his own room—since the events of the other night, when that Red Mike came here and so nearly murdered him?”

“And you also; yes.”

“Well, sir, he is gone now, and I do not know where he has gone.”

Nick Carter permitted himself to chuckle.

“Possibly he has become tired of being kept in the house against his will, and has taken advantage of a temporary absence on your part, has dressed himself quietly, and gone out for a walk.”

“I don’t think so, sir. I don’t think that.”

“Why not?”

“Because I know him so well that I am certain he would not do a thing like that. He is still so weak that he would not think of going out without me.”

“I’m not so sure about that,” replied the detective.

“I am, sir, if you will pardon me for saying so.”

“Oh, well——”

“I really think, sir, that you ought to come here if you can spare the time.”

“Oh, all right. I’ll be there inside of half an hour, Thomas.”

“Thank you, Mr. Carter.”

And so it happened that half an hour later Danny, the chauffeur, stopped the detective’s car before the{244} door of the Lynne mansion, and Nick Carter, followed by Patsy, entered the big house.

Thomas, who had been on the watch for them, opened the door as they approached, admitting them at once; then he took their hats, and in silence led the way up the wide stairway to the second floor, and so into the sitting room of the suite that was devoted to the service of the last of the Lynnes.

“I thought it best to bring you directly to these rooms, sir,” Thomas said, addressing the detective. “I have not said a word to any of the other servants as yet. I have not even asked any questions of any of them, except general ones—enough to satisfy me that not one of them knows a thing about the going out of Mr. Lynne.”

“I am afraid, Thomas, that in this case you have been almost too discreet,” replied the detective. “Probably if you had asked a few direct questions, you would have found the reply to every question that troubles you now.”

“Pardon me, sir, but I don’t think so.”

“Well, tell me the story.” Nick glanced at his watch. “It is half-past four now. What time did you last see your master?”

“Shortly after noon, sir; between half-past twelve and one o’clock.”

“And then—he was where?”

“Seated in that chair, near the window. He had been reading. He was not dressed, save for his underclothing and a bath robe.”


“He rang for me, Mr. Carter. When I came into the room he directed me to assist him to dress. He put on his trousers, his shirt, slippers, and a smoking jacket. Then he sent me away, saying that was all. But as I was going out at the door, he called to me, and said:

Thomas, I am expecting a caller—a lady. When she arrives you may let me know, and assist me down the stairs. I will receive her in the library.’

“A lady?” said Nick.

“Yes, sir, that is what he said.”

“Well, what more did he say on the subject?”

“This: ‘According to the note I received, she should be here about half-past one, or two o’clock. Be on the watch for her, Thomas.’

“I assured him that I would be, sir, and left him. I have not seen him since that moment, and I have not——”

“Wait a moment. Don’t get ahead of your story.”

“No, sir.”

“Did the lady keep the appointment?”

“No, sir. There has been nobody here at all.”

“No caller of any description?”

“No, sir; nobody.”

“Are you quite certain of that?”

“I am absolutely positive—for two reasons.”

“What are they?”

“One is that I watched the door myself as Mr. Lynne had directed me to do; the other is that since I have discovered that he is not here, I have—very guardedly,{246} of course—questioned the other servants who might have admitted any person.”


“Nobody has been here. Since half-past twelve o’clock to-day, until you arrived, there has been no summons at the door at all. I am positive of that.”

“Have you looked through the house? It is a big place. Mr. Lynne might have——”

“I have searched everywhere, sir. He is not in the house. Of that I am certain.”

“And no one saw him go out?”

“No, sir. I am the only person in the house who has seen Mr. Lynne at all to-day. I am his personal attendant, as you know. I wait upon him and look after his wants, and he has been so long accustomed to waiting upon himself that only his weakness from his recent illness permits that. He does not like to have any one else around him.”

“Yes, I have heard him say as much. Whose duty is it to attend to the door? How many servants are there in the house?”

“There are only four of us, sir: The housekeeper, the cook, the footman, and myself. The footman attends the door when the necessity arises, but we have had very few callers since we came here to live, as you are doubtless aware.”


“You questioned the footman, you say?”

“Yes, sir. He was, during all that time, within sight of the front door, and within sound of the bell, for I had told him of the expected caller. No one{247} came, and he did not see Mr. Lynne. And I might add, Mr. Carter, that I was personally within sight and sound of the door and the bell, also, and that I neither heard nor saw anything.”

“There are two side entrances to the house, Thomas.”

“Both are locked and bolted on the inside, sir, and have been all the time.”

“There is the rear entrance, also.”

“Yes, sir; but to pass out from the house that way, Mr. Lynne would have been obliged to walk around by the cemented walk to the front of the residence in order to go upon the street. The gardener has been employed all day close to that walk, and he has seen nothing of Mr. Lynne. Besides—oh, well, sir, I am sure that he did not go out that way.”

“Still he may have done so, and gone to the garage.”

“No, sir. The chauffeur has been there all day. He has seen nothing of Mr. Lynne.”

The detective seated himself upon one of the chairs near at hand and looked long and earnestly into the face of the servant who was relating this remarkable tale. At last he said:

“Thomas, nine men out of ten, listening to your story, would accuse you of doing some deliberate lying, having been directed to do so by your master, who, for some reason chose to create this mystery; or having your own private and personal reasons for doing it.”

“I am telling you nothing but the truth, sir, so far as I know it.”

Nick made no reply. The servant continued:{248}

“Why should Mr. Lynne wish to create such a mystery, even if he were in good health, and had the strength and agility to get around unaided?—which you know he had not. And what possible incentive could I have——”

“I was turning those very questions over in my mind, Thomas. It is quite evident that Mr. Lynne is not here.”

“Quite so, sir; nor anywhere else in the house. I have searched everywhere.”

“Well, if he did not leave it by any of the routes we have mentioned, how could he have gone out?”

“That is just the puzzle, sir. There isn’t any way.”

“Well, if there isn’t any way to go out, he has not gone out. That’s a cinch!” It was Patsy, who had remained silent hitherto, who made this remark; and then, after a very short interval of silence, he added: “And if he did go out, it follows that there is a way for him to have done it.”

“Patsy,” said the detective, “that ingenious statement on your part deserves a medal. Now, Thomas?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Bring me the letters that you took to Mr. Lynne this morning. That announcement that he was to receive a caller must be contained in one of them.”

“Yes, sir. He said as much as that when he told me about it. Here they are, Mr. Carter.”

Thomas took four letters from a taboret beside the chair that Lynne was in the habit of using, and the very first one that the detective examined, addressed{249} in a handwriting which Nick recognized instantly, was as follows:

Dear Mr. Lynne: I shall call upon you to-morrow shortly after noon. You may expect me without fail; and also you may expect to hear something of vital interest to you, and to others, also.


Madge Hurd-Babbington.




Having read the short note, the detective passed it to his assistant, Patsy.

“What do you make of it, Patsy?” he asked.

“Just what it says; no more,” was the reply.

“Madge has usually been a woman of her word, particularly when that word contained the suggestion of a threat,” said the detective.

“That is precisely what I was thinking, chief.”

“This is her handwriting, too; there is no doubt of that?”


“So it is more than likely that she came; that she kept the engagement; at least, that is what I would suppose if it were not for the statements of Thomas to the contrary.”

“Possibly that footman at the door was bribed,” suggested Patsy; but Thomas immediately interrupted:

“No, sir. He isn’t smart enough to have dissembled about it afterward—and besides, I was personally within sight and sound of the door all the time. The woman did not appear.”

Nick, who had been looking about him within the room, and with more interest since he had read the note, now stepped suddenly forward, and, stooping, picked something up from the floor beside one of the{251} huge leather rockers—one that faced the big chair in which the servant said that Lynne was seated when last he saw his master.

It was a dainty lace handkerchief, redolent with a perfume that the detective knew to be much affected by Mrs. Babbington. He had noticed it particularly on the several occasions when he had been in her company.

But, as if that were not sufficient testimony to satisfy him, although it was, quite, the initials M. H. and B. were embroidered upon it. Plainly the handkerchief had once been the property of Madge Babbington.

He gazed at the handkerchief for a moment, then passed it to Thomas.

“How do you account for the presence here of this?” he demanded. “You say that the woman has not been here; this handkerchief says just as plainly that she has been here. How do you explain the discrepancy?”

“I cannot even attempt to do that, Mr. Carter,” was the decided reply.

“That handkerchief says as plainly as words that Mrs. Babbington has been in this room, Thomas—unless you can account for it in some other manner.”

“I cannot do that, sir. It was not here—at least it was not on the floor where you found it, when I brushed up the room and rearranged the chairs, this morning.”

“Then how did it get here?”

“I will not attempt to say, Mr. Carter.”

“It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that the handkerchief{252} was brought here by some person—probably by the woman herself?”

“Yes, sir; it would seem so.”

“Then how did she get here—without your knowledge?”

Thomas was plainly dismayed, but he was none the less insistent for all that.

“Unless she flew in through the open window, or came down the chimney and through the fireplace, there is absolutely no way that I know about by which she could have gained admission to this room without being seen by me, or by the footman,” he said calmly.

“Or by the gardener,” suggested Patsy.

“Unless you are purposely deceiving us,” said the detective.

“I am not deceiving you, Mr. Carter,” Thomas replied, not without an assumption of dignity at being thus accused.

Patsy, without saying what his intention was, left them and passed out of the room. Nick steadily studied the face of the servant for some time; then he said:

“I believe you, Thomas. You are not deceiving me, or attempting to do so. This is a very strange circumstance.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Can you account for every moment of your time between half-past twelve o’clock, and the time when you telephoned to me?”

“Yes, sir. I have already done that. I have no desire to change anything that I have said about it.{253}

“When Mr. Lynne rang for you, and you assisted him to dress, in part, it was approximately half-past twelve, you say?”

“It was between that time, and one o’clock; yes, sir.”

“It was four o’clock when you telephoned to me. Had you only just missed Mr. Lynne?”

“No, sir. It was a quarter to three when I missed him.”

“What happened in the interval between then and four o’clock?”

“I was searching through the house, and making the inquiries I told you about.”

“It required three-quarters of an hour to do all that?”

“That is the time I took for it, before I convinced myself that it would be wise to communicate with you, Mr. Carter.”

“What brought you to this room at a quarter to three?”

“It was the hour for Mr. Lynne’s tonic. He takes it every four hours.”

As Thomas made this statement he half turned toward a table across the room; then he gave a start, and uttered a quick exclamation.

“What is it?” asked the detective.

“The tonic is not here,” was the reply.

“The tonic? Gone, you say?”

“Yes, sir. It was in a bottle on that table, with a small graduate beside it. Both are missing. Neither one is there now.{254}

“Humph!” said the detective. “Evidently Lynne—or the lady who called upon him—had an eye to his continued improvement when he went away, or was taken away from here. Now, look here, Thomas.”

“Yes, sir.”

“We will say that you last saw your master in this room at a quarter to one o’clock. You were back here again, to administer his medicine, at a quarter to three.”

“That is correct, Mr. Carter.”

“So, if he went away, or was taken away from this room by others, it must have happened within those two hours.”

“Without any question, Mr. Carter.”

“Where were you during those two hours?”

“I spent the entire time, during those two hours, in a small reception room that is at the right of the front door, as you come into the hall, Mr. Carter. I sat at the window from which I could see any person who might come up the steps to the door, without effort, and merely by raising my eyes from the morning paper which I was reading during most of that time.”

“And you did not leave your post at all?”

“No, sir.”

“Not to get your luncheon?”

“No, sir. I directed Christopher, the footman, to bring me some tea and toast and marmalade, which I ate there, at the window.”

“Is that your general habit?”

“Not at all; but Mr. Lynne had directed me to watch{255} out for the lady he expected to call upon him. I thought it best to be at the door to receive her myself, rather than to permit Christopher to do it. I thought—well, to tell you the truth, I thought from the manner in which Mr. Lynne mentioned the subject to me, that the lady might be a particular friend.”

“I see. It was merely your intention to be discreet?”

“Yes, sir.”

“And when you left your post at the window of the reception room—what then?”

“I did not leave it till the hour for Mr. Lynne’s medicine. I came directly here to this room to discover that Mr. Lynne was not here.”

The door opened again at that moment, and Patsy entered the room. He was followed by the gardener, whom he had evidently sought in the meantime, and he said, as he entered:

“Chief, this man has some interesting information. I have been talking with him.”

“What is it?”

The Lynne mansion was one of those modern palaces which during the last ten years have been erected in many localities in the city of New York. It occupied the half of a block fronting on the avenue, and was inclosed on the street and avenue sides—the south and west—by a high, wrought-iron fence of artistic design. The entrance to the grounds surrounding the mansion was through a wide gate on the avenue, one-half of which was usually kept open during the day. A concreted driveway led to the front entrance which{256} was thirty feet back from the fence. It also extended to the garage at the rear, two hundred feet away. There was a concreted pathway around the west side of the house.

Patsy replied to the detective’s question:

“He says that a woman, who wore a veil so that he could not see her features, entered at the gate and passed around the house shortly after he had had his dinner, which he eats in the servants’ quarters, after the other servants have had theirs; that is, he eats at one o’clock.”

“All right. I’ll question him for myself. Now, my man, what time was it when you saw the woman we are talking about?”

“I should say, sir, that it was soon after half-past one o’clock. It was half-past one when I went out of the house after atin’, sir, and she came along soon after that.”

“She came around by the path from the gate?”

“She did, sor.”

“Did she speak to you?”

“I spoke to her, sor. We don’t allow no strangers that we don’t know to git past us, sor.”

“You say ‘we.’ Whom else do you mean besides yourself?”

“Nobody else now, sor. There used to be three of us, in the old days of Mr. Cephas Lynne, sor.”

“Oh, you were here then, were you?”

“I was, sor.”

“Well, what was said between you and the woman?”

“I axed her where she was goin’ and who she wanted{257} to see, sor, and she said she was after takin’ the bundle she carried, to Mrs. Maguire, who is the cook; and wid that I let her go on about her business.”

“What time did she go out again?”

“She didn’t go out ag’in, at all, at all, sor; leastwise I didn’t see her if she did, and I was working forninst that path all the afternoon, at that. And just now, sor, after this gentleman had been axin’ me about it, I stopped and axed Mrs. Maguire what had become of the woman who took the bundle to her, and sure, sor, Mrs. Maguire says that there wasn’t any such woman at all, at all, and that she hadn’t got no bundle, and she wanted to know what I was talkin’ about, so she did. Sure, the woman didn’t go into the house at all, and didn’t see Mrs. Maguire, and it’s my belief that she just walked around the house on the other side of it where there is no cemented path, and went out again by the same way she came in. She had a swate voice, so she did, and I’d guess her to be young, and purty, too; but more than that, divil a bit do I know, sor.{258}



“What do you think of that, chief?” asked Patsy.

“It is interesting, lad. Now, Timothy—is that your name?”

“It is, sor. Timothy Tucker, from Cork, sor.”

“How was the woman dressed?”

“Faith, I dunno, sor; only her shoes were new and fine, and she seemed dressed too well to be carryin’ bundles to cooks. She had on a long coat that covered her all over, like them things they wears in automobiles.”

“You did not keep an eye on her after you directed her how to find Mrs. Maguire?”

“No, sor. I wint on wid me worruk.”

“And forgot all about her, I suppose?”

“Faith, I did that—until this gintleman axed me about her.”

“That will do, Timothy. You may go, now; but you may forget all about this interview, and not talk about it to others.”

“Yis, sor.”

“Well, Patsy,” said the detective, when the man was gone, “it is evident that Mrs. Babbington did find a way to keep her engagement, after all.”

“So it seems. She dropped her handkerchief here, in this room; it was she with whom the gardener{259} spoke, outside the house; the hour agrees with the time when she was probably in this room. How did she get here?”

“I give it up, chief.”

“I don’t suppose you questioned the cook and the housekeeper, did you?”

“I did. They both insist that no person could have passed them and entered the house at the rear without being seen; while it is possible for a person to walk past the rear of the house—that is, past the windows where those two servants were, at the time—without being seen.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“That she could have done as the gardener suggested, walked directly around the house, and out of the grounds again by the same way she came in.”

“But that would not account for her being in this room—or for Lynne’s being gone from it, Patsy.”

“No—unless there is a window along the north side of the house by which she might have entered, and have——”

“And by which she might have taken Lynne out? That is utter nonsense, Patsy.”

“The whole affair looks like utter nonsense on the face of it, and yet—well, it’s an affair, if anybody should ask you.”

“Quite right.”

“If I might speak now, sir,” said Thomas.

“Certainly. What is it?” replied the detective.

“I have already told you that I searched every room in the house as soon as I missed Mr. Lynne.{260}


“There is a door on the north side of the house, on the first floor, that has not been opened since I have been here, and is still locked and bolted as it was the first time I ever saw it. There is no window on that side of the house that is not fastened securely. You may examine them for yourself if you like, but I personally know such to be the case.”

The detective pondered for a moment. He seemed to accept the statement of the servant as final and convincing. His mind was considering other matters, just then, than the method by which the unknown woman had been admitted to the house.

“Thomas,” he said, after a moment, “have you looked to see what clothing of Mr. Lynne’s is missing?”

“No, sir.”

“Do so. Make a thorough examination, and let me know of every article of his clothing or otherwise that is gone.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Patsy, make a thorough search of the room on your own account. I will do the same after a moment. It is plain that Madge Babbington has been here, and that she has either induced Lynne to go away with her surreptitiously, or she has forced him to do so.”

Patsy nodded.

Nick crossed the room to the window near the chair where Lynne was in the habit of sitting. The room was at the northwest corner of the house and had windows at the two exposed sides.{261}

He stood at one of the west windows for a time, looking out, and thinking; then he passed to one of the north windows, which was open to admit the warm air.

But when he looked out of it, he shook his head decidedly. It had occurred to him that entrance to and egress from the room might have been had by means of that window, but he very quickly decided that that was out of the question—particularly in the middle of a sunlit afternoon.

He quit the window then and gave his attention to the interior of the room, but there was nothing more to be found there, so he seated himself upon the chair that Lynne had occupied, and gave himself up to thought.

He could picture to himself Madge Babbington seated upon that other chair beside which the lace handkerchief had been found, and gazing with her tiger eyes into the face of Mr. Carleton Lynne.

He could picture, also, Lynne’s consternation at her presence; his surprise; and he recalled now that, two days before, at the time of the visit of Red Mike to that same house, and to the sleeping room that adjoined the room he was now in, he had made no investigation as to Red Mike’s method of entering.

Mike had escaped; no particular damage had been done. Thomas had a marred ear, and a piece of skin was gone from one side of his head, and Lynne had been grazed by a bullet on the shoulder; that was all.

It suddenly occurred to him now, as he sat there{262} thinking, that the Lynne mansion was not one that would be selected by a burglar as an easy one.

There was the big iron gate outside which was locked at night; and the high fence was not easily scalable—and yet Red Mike had evidently found little difficulty in gaining an entrance, not only to the grounds and house, but to the rooms of the master of the mansion.

Then Nick recalled another circumstance.

When Red Mike made his escape from Lynne’s sleeping room after firing the four shots which nearly killed Thomas and his master, he had gone out by a door other than the one which had admitted Nick Carter to that sleeping room.

In a word, he had gone out of the sleeping room by the door which opened between it and the sitting room where the detective was now seated.

It is true that other doors were found open—enough to have led him to the outside, and therefore to the avenue; but there was Danny, Nick’s chauffeur, outside in the car, and he had seen nobody escaping from the house.

Nick Carter smiled grimly to himself. His thought, just then, if he had uttered it aloud, was about like this:

“This is not the day for secret and mysterious entrances to houses, and of hidden passages, like Kenilworth Castle and other places we read about, but there must be one here, somewhere, for that is the only way to explain this mystery.{263}

“And if there is one, it has somehow become known to Madge Babbington.

“Very possibly Edythe Lynne knew about it during her life, and had at some time shown it to Madge; the two had at one time been more or less intimate.

“Or J. Cephas Lynne, Edythe’s father, had revealed the secret to Mrs. Babbington. He had been fond of Madge, too, at one time.

“Or it had become known to Thomas Lynne, who had murdered Cephas Lynne and the daughter Edythe, and who had afterward posed as Cephas Lynne, and as such had engaged himself to marry Madge. If that were true, he might have revealed the secret to the Babbington woman.”

Nick moved uneasily in his chair when he had completed that train of thought—and he gave a start of pain and almost uttered an exclamation, for he felt something that was very much like the prick of a pin.

He got out of the chair and examined the seat of it, and sure enough there, in one of the creases in the leather which the upholsterer had made, tightly imbedded next to the button, was an eight-pointed, diamond-studded star pin such as a woman will wear in the lace against her neck.

The center of the star pin was a gold monogram, out of which Nick had no difficulty in deciphering the letters M. H. B.

So here was another proof of the recent presence of the woman in that room.

A suggestion, too, that she had been quite close to Carleton Lynne while he was still an occupant of his{264} favorite chair; that she had bent over him, perhaps, and had lost the pin in doing so.

He called the attention of Patsy to the fact, then dropped the pin into one of his pockets.

“Oh, there isn’t now any doubt that the woman was here,” said Patsy, at once. “The only thing that bothers me is how in blazes did she get here?”

“That isn’t as interesting as the question that follows it,” said Nick.

“What one is that?”

“How did she go away again and take Lynne with her?”

“Oh, he probably went along willingly enough, after he once looked into her eyes.”

“Would you do that?”

“Eh? Oh, well, that is hardly a fair question. I’m a married man, and——”

“Do you think that she could charm you with those wonderful eyes of hers?” insisted the detective.

“Not with Adelina waiting at home for me, chief. Nay, nay.”

“But, without Adelina waiting at home for you?”

“Look here, what are you getting at, chief?”

“A psychological question. Answer me.”

“I’d hate to give her the chance, that’s all.”

“Do you think that she could have led Lynne to do her bidding by the power of her fascinations?”

“Confound her fascinations. It isn’t that; it’s her eyes, chief; her tiger eyes; her yellow eyes, that can blaze so that they frighten one. Now! How did she get in here, and how did she get out again, and take{265} Lynne with her? Will this thing suggest a way by which she might have taken him out?”

He held up to the detective’s view a small rubber cork.

“Looks as though it might have fitted a phial that held chloroform, chief, doesn’t it?” he asked. “I found it on the floor over there beneath that life-size painting of J. Cephas;” and as he said this he jerked his head toward the north side of the room between the windows.

“Found it there, did you?” replied Nick, rising. “Show me just where you found it.”

Patsy led the way across the room.{266}



It has been written many times in history that the most trivial things have changed the destiny of nations. A famous preacher once made the declaration that “there are no such things as little things.” And so this tiny rubber stopper for a miniature bottle, not so large as the end of one’s finger, proved to be the great thing of immediate necessity.

If you should apply to a chemist who knew you, and should induce him to supply you with a bottle of chloroform, he would use just such a stopper as that one was in putting it up for your use.

Not but what the same sort of a stopper is used for many other purposes than sealing bottles of chloroform against the escape of fumes.

But conditions are regulated and understood more or less perfectly, by comparisons and circumstances; for instance, the presence of chloroform in that room, at the time when Mr. Lynne was induced or compelled to leave it, explained many things hitherto unexplainable.

It accounted in part for the finding of the handkerchief on the floor beside the chair upon which the woman had presumably seated herself.

It accounted, unquestionably, for the diamond star that Nick found in the upholstery of Lynne’s chair,{267} since, without doubt, it had been dropped there while the chloroform was being administered; while there was the semblance of a struggle going on between the man and the woman; and it must be remembered that Lynne, in his weakened condition resulting from his long illness, could have been no match in strength for Madge Babbington, even if she was a woman.

But none of these considerations was the important one which the discovery of the article suggested to the active mind of the detective; nor was it the rubber stopper itself that brought about the suggestion.

It was the place where Patsy found it.

In considering that, and in arriving at the reasons that Nick Carter had for his immediate conclusions, we must read the thoughts that flashed through his mind the instant the stopper was shown to him, and when Patsy indicated where he had found it.

Timothy Tucker, the gardener, had stated that the woman who had passed him on the path between the gate and the house wore a long coat like those he had seen worn by women when they were motoring; hence, a long, linen duster.

Linen dusters have pockets at the sides, even those worn by women.

A small bottle of chloroform purchased at a drug store and intended for immediate use would be taken from the paper in which it was originally wrapped, and deposited handily, where the possessor could get at it with the least possible delay and trouble.

Hence, in one of those side pockets already men{268}tioned into which the hand could be casually dropped at any instant.

The paper wrappings having been removed, the bottle would be exposed unless some other wrapper for it were improvised. The likeliest thing for that purpose, the one least likely to attract attention or comment, would be a handkerchief.

The woman, seated upon the chair at the moment for using the contents of the bottle, would remove, or partly remove, the handkerchief in which it was wrapped, and would do it with the one hand that was in that pocket with the bottle, before she rose from the chair.

What more natural than that the handkerchief should be dropped in that manner, just at the point where it had been dropped—and just an instant before the woman rose from her chair to pass around to the side of the chair in which Lynne had been seated?

Now the next point.

The rubber stopper was picked up by Patsy twenty feet away from that chair—from either of them.

The woman would not have thrown it from her at that time; such an act was not necessary. If she had merely dropped it, five or six feet would have been the extent of the distance it might have rolled away across the floor on the soft rug.

The position of the two chairs was such that in approaching the one upon which Lynne was seated at the time, the woman would have been stationed exactly between Lynne and the spot where the rubber stopper was found twenty feet away; and so, if it had been{269} knocked from her hand in a struggle with the man to whom she was going to administer the drug, it was next to impossible that it should have rolled to the spot where Patsy picked it up.

Ergo, how did it get there?

If you ask yourself the question from the detective standpoint—and that is what you inevitably should do in following out the Nick Carter histories—the logical answer is obvious.

The woman, upon entering the room—upon stepping into it—realizing that she must be prepared for instant action, at once prepared the bottle for instant use; she would do so by removing the stopper, and by pressing a fold of the handkerchief, reënforced by the pad of her thumb, against the uncorked bottle. This to keep the fumes from escaping.

She would be compelled to do all that with one hand by reason of the exigencies of the occasion, and therefore would simply drop the stopper back into the pocket, or it would escape from her grasp and roll upon the floor—a few inches, or a foot or two.

Hence—and this is the important point so laboriously arrived at—the stopper would have been dropped very close to the point where the woman entered the room.

Now, the life-size portrait of J. Cephas Lynne beneath which the stopper was found was nowhere near any door in that room.

It did occupy, frame and all, a space between two of the windows at the north side of the room; a space which extended from the floor nearly to the ceiling,{270} and which was in width between four and five feet; and it was fastened, as such portraits not infrequently are, flat against the wall.

Nick Carter had already determined that there must be a secret entrance to that room from another part of the house, or from the outside, but he had not even begun the search for such a place as yet.

If Madge Babbington had entered the room by one of the doors, had opened the bottle and dropped the stopper at once upon entering, it would have been in the vicinity of one of the doors, according to the argument already advanced, all of which shot through his mind the instant when Patsy indicated the spot where it had been found.

Architecture, ancient and modern, had ever been a favorite study with the detective, as a pastime. The life and employment of the famous priest who created so many of the secret stairways, rooms, passages, and doors in the old castles of England and Scotland had always interested him.

He knew how to look for them, where to search for them, and much of the principle upon which they were constructed, just as one may have studied and learned to know the moves in a game of chess.

To offer an opportunity for a secret entrance and passage, there must be space—space between two walls.

And so, when Nick Carter started across the room exclaiming to Patsy: “Found it there, did you? Show me just where you found it,” he did not wait for the answer, but hastened at once to one of the win{271}dows, stepped upon the sill and, leaning far out of it, studied the general construction of that north wall of the main building.

A mere glance sufficed him.

He knew already that that part of the house was very old; had stood there where it was through several generations until it had been remodeled, enlarged, reconstructed, and embellished into a part and parcel of the great mansion.

That mere glance outside the window satisfied him that there was more than sufficient space between the outer wall and the wall of the room inside for a passageway.

And that was practically all he needed to assure himself that he had discovered the most likely place for a secret passage and entrance to that room, if one existed.

Moreover, what more likely place could be found for such a secret entrance as must exist than the life-size portrait itself and the space—that is, breadth—behind it?

He stepped back into the room again.

As he did so, and before he could begin his search for the secret entrance, Thomas returned from his hasty inventory of Lynne’s wearing apparel.

“Well?” Nick asked him, pausing.

“Only a few articles of clothing are missing,” Thomas replied. “A suit of his clothing, a few——”

“You need not enumerate them, Thomas. That is unnecessary, now. Tell me only if the missing arti{272}cles are such things as Mr. Lynne would have taken away with him had he had the selection?”

“Decidedly not, sir. Quite the contrary.”

“You think that he would have chosen differently, in that case?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Thank you, Thomas. That decides another point for us.”

“What is that, sir, if you please?”

“That he was probably unconscious, probably from the chloroform, when he was taken from this room, and therefore that there must have been a third person present here, or within call, to assist the woman in taking him away.”

“Red Mike,” said Patsy, speaking as one making a statement, rather than as one who asks a question.

The detective nodded.

“That accounts for this, I suppose,” said Patsy, holding up his right hand, with the thumb and finger tips pressed tightly together.

Nick Carter stepped nearer to him and looked more closely, and he found that Patsy was holding a single red hair between his thumb and forefinger.

“I found it clinging to the frame of that picture, about six feet from the floor,” the assistant announced. “It was exactly at the point where it might have caught and lodged, if Red Mike had stood right here”—he backed across the room to the portrait—“and had leaned his head against the frame, so;” he assumed the attitude he was attempting to describe.

Nick nodded his head again.{273}

“Red Mike was here with Madge,” he said. “He either followed her into the room at once, or he entered it a moment later in response to some signal she gave, and he stood there, waiting for something else to happen before he took an active part in the proceedings.”

“But he couldn’t come through the picture, could he?” Thomas asked.

“No, but he could come from behind it, if the picture is movable, and if there is an opening of some sort behind it.”

Patsy nodded with emphasis.

“I thought that was the idea when you looked out of the window just now,” he said.

“It has been my idea for some minutes,” replied the detective. “The discovery of the rubber bottle stopper decided me where to look for it.”

“And now——?” asked Patsy.

“We won’t bother to search for secret springs; that would occupy too much time. Thomas, find me a hammer, a screw driver, and a short iron bar, preferably flat, if you have such articles in the house.”

“Yes, sir, in the garage. I will procure them at once.{274}



With the tools he had asked for at hand, Nick Carter lost no time in beginning the work of uncovering the entrance to the secret passage between the walls if one existed, and he had every reason to believe that one did exist.

He had not proceeded far with this part of the search when he made the discovery that the canvas upon which the portrait was painted had been stretched over a flat sheet of metal, probably steel, that there were no screw heads in sight, and that prying with the tools that Thomas had brought to him would be unavailable.

He attacked the frame of the picture, then, and here he could pry with his improvised levers.

It seemed like vandalism to injure that frame, for it was a beautiful and a costly one; but there was reason sufficient for doing so, and Nick Carter did not hesitate.

After a time the vertical strip to the right of the picture—that is, toward the east—began to give, and presently came loose in the detective’s grasp.

He pulled it aside and put it down upon the floor, and then turning his attention to the space that he had uncovered he immediately saw where there was a hole the size of a lead pencil, through the steel that had{275} been covered by that section of the frame that he had just removed.

A glance at the section of the frame itself revealed a small steel rod which was in the exact place where it would have fitted through the hole when the frame was in place, and at the outside of the frame it was fastened to a section of the ornamental part of it, so that if Nick had but known where to place his thumb a few moments sooner, it would have been unnecessary to have gone to all that trouble.

With the hammer he drove the small steel rod out of the frame, took it in his hand, inserted it in the hole, and pressed solidly upon it.

At once there was a sharp click from beyond the wall, and the whole picture moved outward the distance of a quarter of an inch, and stopped.

Nick put his fingers into the opening, and pulled, and the steel plate across which the canvas had been stretched responded to his effort.

It moved outward into the room on silent hinges, forming a perfect doorway, and it revealed—well, just what he had been seeking; more explicit description seems unnecessary just now.

To add to the possibilities of the secret entrance, its approach, the necessary stairs, and its general utility, a false chimney had been added to the construction of the house at just that point.

That, added to the thickness of the wall itself, afforded ample space for the object in view when the place was constructed, and it added to the general symmetry of the proportions of the building, also.{276}

In the space into which the three men gazed, and which was at least four feet by six, and from one of which a spiral staircase descended, there were two chairs. There was also an incandescent electric bulb brilliantly alight; and there were also many stumps of handmade cigarettes, burnt matches, and sprinklings of tobacco on the stone floor.

“Red Mike evidently waited for Madge right here while she entered the room,” was the comment of the detective, as he gazed upon these things.

“Sure thing,” agreed Patsy. “Here is where he waited for the signal to enter.”

“And there,” rejoined the detective, “is where the secret door is worked to open and close it from this side of the wall.”

But he was already moving forward when he spoke, and had begun to descend the spiral stairs.

If it should seem incredible to the reader that in this modern day there should be such an arrangement inside one of the New York palaces, it will be interesting to know that the police records show three instances of the kind in palatial residences that have been built by multimillionaires within the last two decades.

And one of these to which reference is made—the mystery of which has never been revealed in print—was instrumental in one of the most sensational crimes that has happened in the city of New York within a generation.

But, to quote Kipling, that is another story.

This particular spiral staircase down which Nick{277} Carter was making his way, began—or ended, as you prefer—at the second floor of the mansion.

It continued past the parlor floor of the house, there being no indication of possible egress from it there, and came to an end, apparently, before a heavy door upon which there was only an ordinary latch.

Raising this and pushing upon the door, Nick stepped into the inner vault of a wine cellar, and he noticed that in opening the door he had pushed out into the room an entire section of shelves.

This wine cellar was of ample proportions.

There was a round table in the center of it, and four chairs at the table; but that was not what attracted the immediate attention of the detective so much as the very evident fact that only a very short time had elapsed since some person or persons had been seated there.

The place still smelled of tobacco smoke from handmade cigarettes, indicating that Red Mike had at least been one of those persons. A single black kid glove on the floor near one of the chairs suggested that Madge had also been one of those who were present.

The fact that two incandescent lights were burning directly over the table suggested that the occupants had departed in haste.

The detective—Patsy and Thomas had both followed him—looked around him with closer attention.

He had at once reached the conclusion that Red Mike and Madge, with Lynne, had stopped in this wine cellar to wait there for a more propitious opportunity for leaving the house—doubtless with the{278} idea of waiting there until night, so that they might escape from the neighborhood with little or no danger of being observed.

He assumed that after taking Lynne to the wine cellar Mike had returned to the space behind the portrait and had waited there, listening to all that had happened in the room from which they had taken their prisoner, and that he had heard enough to make him understand that Nick Carter suspected the presence of a secret entrance to that room.

Thus forewarned, Red Mike had doubtless hastened down the spiral staircase and given the alarm, which would account for the evidence of hasty departure.

But, of a surety, Lynne had been detained in that cellar long enough to have recovered from the effects of that first administering of the chloroform.

Nick Carter had known Lynne only a comparatively short time, but he had found the heir to the Lynne millions to be a cool, self-centered, well-poised man, one of the kind who, trained to life in the great West, never lost his head under any circumstances.

Such being the case, Lynne would, if there happened a possible opportunity, leave some indication or sign of his presence, wherever he might stop.

He would leave what he would call a trail, where any person following in search of him might find it.

Nick had read the man so, and now he looked for such a sign.

He discovered it, too, presently, on one of the bottles of Burgundy in a case that had been opened a long time, and which stood at the top of a pile close to the{279} chair upon which Lynne had doubtless been seated when the effects of the chloroform had worn off.

Dust had collected upon one of the bottles of wine from which the tissue paper had been torn, and upon that collected dust, faintly traced, as if with one of the burnt matches that Red Mike had used and thrown aside, in lighting his cigarettes, were written words.

They were faint, and almost undecipherable at first; there was every indication, too, that they had been written by jerks, and at intervals, sometimes only half of a letter having been formed at a time.

This, of course, had been done to escape observation.

But Nick Carter brought forth his magnifying glass and bent to the task; and after an interval of patient effort he was able to read the message. Here it is:

“Bbngtn woman & Mike scret entrance. Chloroform. Plot to get money. Taking me place they call Pleasantglades deserted. Mike brings warning. More chlor.” And then the last three characters were scrawled, as if hastily made: “6.30.”

The detective read it aloud to Patsy, and he added:

“If we read between the lines, and also between the words, we get this: ‘Babbington woman and Red Mike entered my room upstairs by means of the secret entrance. They chloroformed me and brought me here to this wine cellar. It is all a plot to extort money from me by some means which they consider adequate. I have listened to their talk until I am of the opinion that they are taking me to a place which{280} they call Pleasantglades, which I understand them to say is now deserted, and will be therefore safe for hiding. Red Mike has suddenly appeared from his post on watch upstairs and brings a warning that they are pursued. A hasty departure is decided upon, and they intend to chloroform me again into unconsciousness. The time is now half-past six o’clock.’ If he could have written it all out, that is what he would have said,” the detective concluded; and he looked at his watch.

“It is five minutes to seven,” he said. “They have been gone from here twenty or twenty-five minutes. We must——”

Patsy interrupted him.

“I have been searching for a way out of here other than the one by which we entered,” he said. “I haven’t found it.”

“I have,” exclaimed Thomas. “Look!”

He pointed through the opening into the space at the foot of the spiral staircase, for the door formed of the shelves had been left ajar.

A narrow section of the wall across that narrow space had disappeared, revealing a literal hole in the wall. Darkness was beyond it, but neither of the detectives thought of that.

“The act of opening this door opened that one also,” said Nick, as he stepped quickly forward.

They passed along an underground passage which was just wide enough and high enough for one person at a time, and which led, Nick thought, in a southeasterly direction.{281}

“It leads us toward the garage,” was all the comment he made; but after a moment, as they went onward, he added: “It was once a stable, you know, before horses gave place to the choo-choos.”

There was no difficulty of egress at the other end of the passageway; there never is, from the inside of such secret places.

They presently found themselves in what had once been a grainery, and there were doors from it, two in number, one opening upon the interior of the garage, the other upon a narrow hallway at one side of it, which in turn gave upon the street.

Nick opened the door into the garage and stepped forward; then he pointed toward the body of a man who was stretched face downward on the floor, while beside him was a monkey wrench with which he had been stricken down.

“We are just too late,” he said to Patsy. “Red Mike has struck the chauffeur on the head with the monkey wrench, they have stolen the car, and have got away.”

“We can trace them by the car,” said Patsy.

“Possibly,” replied Nick.{282}



Here are some of the obstacles which Nick Carter and Patsy encountered almost at once in their search for Carleton Lynne and his abductors.

The stolen car was found within an hour, abandoned in front of the Hotel Plaza, at Fifth Avenue and Fifty-ninth Street. Cab drivers and taxi chauffeurs had seen a veiled woman drive it to the spot, leave it, and enter the hotel. She had not been seen since.

“She simply walked into the hotel by one entrance, and out at another one, and went to meet another conveyance in which Mike and Lynne were already passengers,” was Nick Carter’s comment upon this incident.

He drove his own car, with Patsy and Chick for company, to Pleasantglades that night.

The gate was padlocked. When the house was searched it was found that nobody had been there. Evidently Lynne had been misinformed as to the destination of his captors, or they had changed their minds after the escape from the city house.

Nick sought the local chief of police, who was known to him, and had a watch placed upon the house at Pleasantglades; then he returned to the city.

It was midnight when he got back, but nevertheless{283} he went at once to the Creotoria apartment house, where Madge Babbington lived—and went there to find her goods and chattels had been sent to a storage warehouse that day, and that nothing was known as to where she had gone.

Well, there the chase ended for the moment.

We need not go into the details, save to say that not a further trace of Carleton Lynne or of Red Mike, or of Madge Babbington could be found after three days of painstaking and insistent search.

The abductors of the millionaire had left no trail whatever behind them.

It was evident that they had planned every move they made that afternoon and evening, many days in advance, and had prepared for every emergency.

It was certain that they had covered their tracks so expertly that even Nick Carter, aided by his two assistants, could not find them.

The evening of the third day after the related incidents, Nick, with his two assistants, was seated in the study.

All had been silent for a time, each evidently thinking upon the same problem, when Patsy broke the spell by asking suddenly:

“I wonder what Madge intends to do with him, now that she has got him?”

“Marry him,” said Chick laconically.

“Do you think she’ll have the gall to attempt that?” Patsy asked.


“Why? It looks risky to me.{284}

“How so? She hasn’t done anything but abduct him, and if she becomes his wife—well, that would do away with that charge, wouldn’t it?”

“I suppose it would, Chick,” Patsy agreed.

“Besides,” Chick continued, “that has been her game from the start. She doesn’t seem to know any other one.”

“Uh huh!”

“She tried, long ago, to marry J. Cephas Lynne—and I’m inclined to think she would have done it, too, if his cousin Thomas hadn’t murdered him.”

“I think you are right about that, Chick,” Nick Carter interposed.

“Then,” Chick went on, “she had it all fixed up to marry Thomas Lynne, the murderer of Cephas and Edythe. She’d have done that, too, if Nick hadn’t found those tracks in the snow in front of the gate at Pleasantglades.”

“Uh huh!” commented Patsy again.

“The next on the carpet is Mr. Henry Carroll.”

“There isn’t any proof that she tried to marry him.”

“I think,” Chick replied, “that the proof of it exists in the fact that Carroll learned to fear her as well as to love and hate her at the same time; that he tried to shoot her at the time he killed her two women companions at the Creotoria, and that now he is only awaiting the day of execution to pay the penalty for it all.”

“Uh huh!” said Patsy once more.

“When, by keeping still and playing on the quiet he might still be living the part of Carleton Lynne, and enjoying all the millions.{285}

“Not much he wouldn’t,” said Patsy, waking up. “Didn’t I find the real Carleton Lynne out there in Idaho?”

“Yes; but you’d had a fine time proving his identity, wouldn’t you, if Carroll had kept still and hung on? He had the documentary evidence and the photographs. He had possession, which is said to be nine points in the law.”

“What is the argument about, anyway?” asked the detective, with a quiet smile.

“I don’t think it amounts to much one way or another,” replied Patsy. “I guess it is more to the purpose if we bend our energies to a solution of the present problem.”

“I think so, too,” agreed Nick. “It began, didn’t it, by Chick expressing the belief that Madge has stolen Lynne away to marry him?”


“Has it occurred to you, to either of you or to both of you, that that is the only thing she can do now to win that fortune, or to get hold of any considerable portion of it?” the detective asked.

Chick nodded. Patsy made no reply; but he asked:

“What’s the matter with the two of them—Mike and Madge—forcing him to disgorge a goodly portion of his wealth?”

“It wouldn’t work, Patsy.”

“Why not?”

“Well, for one thing, he isn’t the sort of a man to give up.{286}

“It strikes me that he’d be giving up a heap more if he married her.”

“You forget what you said three days ago about her eyes—in case Adelina wasn’t around to keep tabs on you,” smiled the detective.

“Well, if Lynne isn’t the sort of a man to give up, I don’t see where your argument is any good. He certainly wouldn’t give up to a woman like that, when he knows——”

“In the first place, Patsy, I have not advanced any argument. I have merely said that it is the only way—her only way, now.”

“Well, he doesn’t have to marry her, does he?”

“I don’t know. She is a fascinating woman. There is a witchery about her that is almost beyond belief. Lynne is a sick man; he has been a sick man for a long time.”

“His mind is strong enough.”

“I know that; but he is physically weak, just now; and physical weakness renders mental opposition in a thing of this kind less strong—more easily assailed. My fear is that she will break down his opposition in the end, if she has time enough.”

“Well, maybe so; only she won’t do it by threats, if I am any judge of character.”

“No, she will do it by her witchery; she will do it with her eyes, which are hypnotic—and please understand that in using that term I do not mean to imply that she will actually hypnotize him. She will merely influence him.”

“Against his will, do you mean?{287}

“Against his will at first, yes. Against his better judgment. But she will labor to overcome all that. She will succeed, too, if she has sufficient opportunity. I know men of his type. They are impressionable, especially in the presence of a lovely woman, and she can be that, you know.”

“Yes, I know.”

“I think I partly understand a woman of her type, also, although I have never encountered another one like her.”

“Nor anybody else, I imagine.”

“She will probably begin by playing the pathetic, the wronged woman, the one who suffers and is misunderstood. She will tell him the story of her life. She will have spells of heartbreaking sorrow and weeping. She will make him try to comfort her, and she will decline to let him do so when he first offers. Perhaps—I shouldn’t be surprised—if she found herself hooked by her own bait.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Lynne is a lovable chap—a fascinating fellow in many ways.”

“Oh, you mean that, in trying to make him in love with her, she will actually fall in love with him?”

“Such a thing is quite possible, Patsy.”

“Not in her case. She is too calculating; too cold-blooded in her plots and plans.”

“But you will admit that a woman like her can be cold-blooded in nothing else that she does, won’t you?”

“Yes. What of that?”

“Madge Babbington is still young—almost a girl,{288} although she has been twice married. I doubt if she ever has found the man who really attracted her; I think she can, and probably will, find that man in Lynne. He is every inch a man. I would have liked to have known him when he was well and strong.”

“Perhaps you will have an opportunity to do that later on, chief.”

“Perhaps,” replied Nick, shrugging his shoulders.

“All of this,” commented Chick, who had been a close listener to what had been said, “does not bring us any closer to the solution of the present problem.”

“Perhaps it does,” smiled Nick. “That was why I have been talking in that strain.”

“How so?”

“The problem is, where have they hidden Lynne away? Isn’t it?”

“Sure thing.”

“We must agree, then, that wherever that hiding place may be, it is large enough to accommodate four persons.”

“Four! How do you make that out?”

“Two men—Lynne and Red Mike, who will stick closer than a leech; you can bet on that.”


“Then there is Madge—who must have the opportunity in time and place to play her best cards—and a servant. They could not get along without somebody to serve them.”

“I see.”

“Well, they must hide themselves in a place where there is little opportunity for being seen by others; by{289} chance passers-by. If we can search our minds for the most likely sort of a place of that description, we would be pretty near to part of the solution, Chick.”

“A desert island,” said Patsy, grinning.

“Or the place where desert islands grow; on the water,” said Chick.

“Not bad ideas, either one of them,” said Nick. “And now, there is one more element that is bound to assist us before this game comes to an end. It is jealousy; and that is what I am most afraid of, just now. Red Mike cannot be very long in the society of Madge Babbington without being fascinated by her to the point of desperation. He will look on at her attempts to make Lynne in love with her with growing anger; and if the right sort of a climax should happen at the psychological moment, Red Mike would kill Lynne on the instant; and that is what I most greatly fear, just now. We must find a way to rescue him before such a thing as that can happen.{290}



For a short space let us look upon another scene.

Ordinarily we stay with the detective or his assistants from the beginning to the end of the Nick Carter histories, detailing the events just as he discovered them and experienced them; but occasionally, for the best interests of a story, and in order that the one who reads may comprehend it the more clearly, we are compelled to look ahead into things which came to the detective’s knowledge later on.

This is one of the occasions.

That same evening when Nick and Chick and Patsy were together in the study engaged in the discussion we have just read—and which we bid the reader to bear in mind—Carleton Lynne reclined in an easy-chair with a pillow behind his head and a hassock beneath his feet.

He was smoking a cigar, and was gazing amusedly, half smilingly, upon the beautiful face of Madge Babbington, who was seated upon a low wicker rocker only a few feet away from him.

They very nearly faced each other; they could have touched hands easily had they reached out to do so; and there was a taboret between them which bore an ash tray, a box of cigars partly emptied, a receptacle for matches, a book that Lynne had been reading be{291}fore Madge came into the room, a tiny pair of scissors, and some skeins of silk with which Madge was plying the embroidery work that she was engaged upon.

It was in reality quite a domestic scene.

The room was large; it was exquisitely appointed; there was a suggestion of voluptuousness and ease everywhere, and there was the evidence of artistic effort on every hand.

It was, in fact, a room on a house boat, and the house boat was at anchor at a place where the wind and waves seldom troubled it; where only the tides brought motion to it, at intervals.

“It is three days now since you took me away from my home in the city,” Lynne was saying. “May I venture to inquire, madam, how long a time it is your purpose to keep me a prisoner here?”

She raised her eyes from the embroidery and smiled at him; but she saw that he gazed into them quite calmly, and with no suggestion of emotion. Plainly she had affected him but little thus far.

“Have you been made uncomfortable?” she asked, in reply.

“No; quite the contrary. You have done everything for my comfort. I cannot deny that.”

“Don’t you think that the fresh air here will be beneficial to you?”

“Without doubt; but one would prefer to have it without coercion, eh?”

“You are not coerced, Mr. Lynne.”

“I am detained here against my will.”

“Would you leave here to-night if you could do so?{292}


“Does my company, my presence here with you, mean nothing to you?”

“It means much to me, madam, since I must remain here. But why must I? What is the real object of all this?”

“You have not guessed?”

“I have made only the one guess that was my first impression—that it was another form of demanding the two million dollars that Red Mike sought to get out of me not so very long ago.”

She bent toward him and smiled into his eyes again.

“No mention has been made to you of such a subject, I believe?”

“No. I have been waiting for it.”

“You believe, then, that I will make the demand?”

“Yes, Mrs. Babbington.”

She laughed softly, and resumed the plying of the needle.

“Two millions would not satisfy me, Mr. Lynne,” she murmured, as if addressing the work she held in her hands.

“No?” he said, and laughed also. “You want it all, I suppose.”

“All—or none; but even all of it would not satisfy me—now.”

“Indeed. You amaze me. How, then, do you expect to be satisfied?”

For a moment she looked upon him between half-closed lids, permitting her marvelously speaking eyes to blaze at him and to suggest the words she did not{293} utter; then she cast them down again upon her work and replied:

“The time has not arrived yet to—to tell you that.”

He laughed again.

“I cannot even pretend to misunderstand you, Mrs. Babbington,” he said.

She made no reply. He continued:

“I am a blunt, plain-spoken man. I believe in calling things by their right names, and in fighting the devil with fire, madam. Am I to understand that you have brought me to this house boat in order that you might possess all my fortune—and me, too?”

“Do you want the truth?” she demanded, looking squarely at him this time, and with no softness and no coquetry in her glance.


“Then—just that.”

He drew a mouthful of smoke from the cigar and expelled it in a steady stream toward the ceiling. When that was done, he smiled somewhat quizzically.

“At least we are playing now with the cards face up on the table,” he commented.

“Precisely. I assume that to be the only way to play a game with you, Mr. Lynne.”

“You are rather correct as to that, madam.”

“How does the idea impress you, Mr. Lynne?”

“Rather disagreeably, as I see it.”

“Am I so objectionable?”

“Under the circumstances, Mrs. Babbington, you are.”

“You are at least frankly spoken.{294}

“I told you I was a blunt man.”

“I suppose you have been told many things about me; have been warned against this precise situation, have you not?”

“Yes. Repeatedly.”


“I have no comment to make, madam.”

“Not even one of resentment, or disgust, or anger?”


“Day before yesterday—your first day here, Mr. Lynne—when you were suffering from the effects of the journey and the chloroform that we were obliged to use, the pressure of my hand upon your head seemed to comfort you.”

“A cloth dipped in cool water would have comforted me also,” he replied, and a flash of anger glowed in her eyes for an instant.

“A little later,” she went on, as if he had not spoken, “you fell asleep holding one of my hands, while the other one rested upon your aching head.”

“Yes, I was a bit flighty, I think. There was a time, then, when I imagined——” he stopped. She raised her head quickly.

“You imagined—what?”

“No matter.”

“But it does matter.”

“I am sorry.”

She bent toward him again, and looked steadily into his eyes.

“There is a woman—another woman—somewhere.{295}

“Pardon me, madam,” he replied coolly, “there is only one woman, anywhere.”

She resumed her embroidery, and began to rock her chair a little. There was a long silence after that, which she was the one to break.

“Who is she?” Madge demanded.

“I have already told you that, madam; the one woman.”

“Where is she?”

He did not reply. She abandoned the question, knowing that he would not reply to it.

“Is she beautiful?” she demanded.


“As beautiful as I am?”

“More beautiful.” Lynne replied without an instant of hesitation; without regard to the effect of such a reply upon her.

Evidently it had none, or very little.

“In what way?” she asked.

“In every way.”

“You are neither complimentary nor diplomatic,” she said.

“I have no use for either form of speech,” he replied.

“Is she young—younger than I am?”

“She is one of the kind that will always be young.”

“That is no answer.”

“It is the only one I care to make.”

“You love her?”


“You—you are not—not married?” she exclaimed, for a moment startled.


She hitched her chair forward, nearer to him.

“Put down your cigar,” she said to him. “It is nearly consumed, and you may begin another one presently.”

He obeyed her. She reached out and drew the taboret aside, and then brought her chair up close beside his, so that she could reach out and take one of his hands—which she did; and he made no effort to resist.

“You like the touch of my hands,” she said. It was not a question; it was an assertion.

“Certainly, madam. A man is less than a man who does not appreciate contact with a beautiful woman; and you are that, without question.”

“Thank you.”

“Oh, I did not offer you a compliment. The fact is self-evident.”

She left her chair, putting down her embroidery, which had been in her lap, and went around behind his. Then she leaned upon the back of it, and put her hands on his head, then moved them down slowly until they covered his eyes, and closed them.

“You like that?” she asked.

“Yes, it is pleasant; very.”

She bent down nearer to him until her breath fanned the top of his head.

“Are you trying to hypnotize me?” he asked.{297}

“No; I am trying to make you appreciate me. Do you think you will do so?”

“Perhaps. Who can say?”

She bent still nearer to him, and pressed her lips against his forehead. He made no sign that he was aware of what she had done.

She held her lips there, and at that moment a door behind her opened and Red Mike strode into the room.{298}



Neither of the interested parties—if perchance both were interested—could see Red Mike; neither one had heard the sound of his approach, the opening of the door, or his tread upon the soft and yielding rug.

As a matter of fact he barely trod upon it at all, for he had not taken the second step before he discovered the scene that was being enacted before him, and halted.

It has been said that despite his red hair and an unmistakable air of brutality about him, Red Mike was a handsome man, stalwart, powerful, and sensuous in his appearance.

His face, always of a redder hue than most masculine faces, flushed to a deep crimson when he came upon that scene in the parlor of the house boat, and he halted, and waited, and listened.

If Nick Carter could have looked upon him at that moment, he would have discovered in the aspect of the man, and in the scowl that became deeper with every second, that he had doubtless been correct in his prognostication.

Red Mike was jealous; there could have been no denying that fact.

He stood there near the door by which he had entered, his weight upon the foot that he had put forward{299} in the act of stepping so that his attitude was that of a man about to leap upon another.

His upper lip curled beneath his mustache, showing his teeth, like the snarl of a dog when angered. His fingers twitched, then clenched together in the palms of his hands, and then one of them relaxed as it sought the pocket where he carried his automatic revolver.

But he thought better of that impulse, and dropped the hand at his side again.

“Do you like to have me do this?” he heard Madge say to Lynne; and Lynne replied:

“I have no choice.”

Perhaps it was that answer which made Mike leave the gun inside his pocket.

“Would you like to have me tell you about myself?” was her next question.

“I am here to be entertained,” Lynne answered.

“Do you know—have you been told—that I have been twice married?”


“Do you know also that I was indicted and tried for complicity in the murder of your cousin Edythe?”


“Do you believe that I could have been guilty of such a hideous thing?”

“It would seem to be unbelievable.”

“That is not an answer.”

“Then I will accept the verdict of the jury, and reply: ‘Not guilty.{300}

“Even that does not tell me your impression concerning it, Mr. Lynne.”

“I would much prefer to believe you to be entirely innocent than to think that you had so much as a guilty thought in your mind, madam.”

“Thank you. Don’t call me madam.”

“How shall I address you?”

“By my given name if you will; not by name at all, if it is difficult. The difficulty will be overcome after a little.”

He did not reply. She took her hands away from his head and swung herself around beside him and seated herself upon the arm of the chair. It was a morris chair, and she could sit there comfortably. Still she did not discover the presence of Red Mike, for she did not take her eyes from the face of Lynne, although he was not looking at her.

“This is better,” she said; and she sighed.

“Is it?” he asked; and, before she could reply, he added: “Do you know, madam, I believe you are creating no end of trouble for yourself?”

She misunderstood him, and, because she did so, she laughed softly.

“Do you mean that I am falling in love with you, and that it is hopeless because of the other woman?”

“No; I did not mean that. I had no thought of such a thing. The other woman—the one to whom I referred, has been dead for many years. She was my mother.”


Startled, chastened for the moment, Madge sat{301} quite still. If he had looked up at her then he would have seen that moisture had gathered suddenly in her eyes; that all that quality of flame had departed out of them, and that they were soft, kindly, and genuine. And she remained so, quite silent and still, until he spoke again.

“She passed away, out of my sight, when I was only a little kiddie,” he said softly, “but in some ways she is just as much alive to me now as then; and sometimes it seems as if I can see her just as plainly as I used to.”

Madge was silent a moment. Then, in a voice so low that it was barely audible, she said:

“You believe me to be a bad woman; how, then, can you talk to me of your mother?”

“I do not believe you to be a bad woman,” he replied calmly.

“You do not? You do not? Oh, say that again!” she cried out to him, and her voice did not sound natural even to herself.

“I do not believe you to be a bad woman,” he repeated. “You have done wrong things; so have I; none of us does right always. That would be impossible. In some of us, the bad elements are dominant; in others it is the good that dominates. We are free agents to select between the good and the bad, and therefore whatever we are, whatever we confess ourselves to be, we have become by choice. Do you prefer the good or the bad, Mrs. Babbington?”

“Oh, the good! The good! Help me to be good, Carleton Lynne. You can, if you will. You can{302} make me good, if you will try, and you may throw your millions away, or give them away, I do not care. I would not care. I hate them. They—not yours, but the mere longing for riches—have made me what I am, a despicable woman. I hate myself, now! I see myself now for the first time as others see me; as you see me. Oh!” She dropped her head upon his shoulder and broke into a passion of sobs, so that any one who had known her in the past would have been amazed.

But it was all real. Madge, for once, was very much in earnest. Again Nick Carter’s prophecy had come true.

Lynne took one of her hands between his own and stroked it gently. She recovered herself.

“I am silly to give way so at the first kind word,” she murmured.

“No, you are only natural. You have found yourself. You have found the true, the real woman; you have lost the pretense that has been dominating you. You are very lovely, now; very tender; very lovable. I think you could be very true if you would be so, and could live down all that hideous past that is so hateful. Will you?”

“Yes, if you ask me to do so.”

“Whether I ask you to do it for me or not? If I ask you to do it only for yourself?”

“Yes. I will leave here to-night. We will leave here together. You shall return to your home in the city, and I will go—I will go far away, anywhere, and, and——” She broke down once more, with her{303} head upon his shoulder, weeping softly this time. And he stroked her hand as he had done before, saying nothing. Red Mike still listened, silent, watchful.

It was a long time before she spoke again. Then she asked:

“Tell me what you meant when you said that I was creating trouble for myself.”

“I would rather forget, now, what I had in mind then,” he replied.


“Because it seems a sacrilege even to mention it, now.”

“What was it? What did you mean?”

“I meant Red Mike.” The object of that remark started, and listened the more intently.

“Red Mike?” she exclaimed, amazed. “What of him?”

Instead of replying directly to the question, he asked another. He said:

“What do you suppose Red Mike would do now if he were to enter this room suddenly, and find you with your head upon my shoulder, and discover that I was holding one of your hands and stroking it?”

She shuddered and caught her breath.

“Don’t,” she said; and then again, “don’t. The mere reference to it makes me see myself as I was—and, oh, it seems so long ago. Red Mike is a brute; a creature whom I have made use of to further my selfish ends. I sent him to you when he demanded the two millions, and so nearly murdered you. I took him with me to aid in your capture, making him be{304}ieve that I would lead you on to make me your wife, so that I might get your millions, and—oh, there is more!—making him believe that he might—might—if you should die suddenly after that—making him believe that I would not ask questions about it, but that I would—become—his—wife. Oh, God! The horror of it! That I ever consented to such a thought, for I did not mean it, ever. Oh, you will believe me, won’t you? I never once meant such a thing. I hate, I loathe, I despise myself; but I must tell you. You must know all of it; must know that even for a moment I consented to bargain about such a hideous matter, even though I never had the remotest intention to——”

“Hush!” Lynne said to her softly. “You never could do a more courageous thing in your life than to tell me of this. I am no better than you are, Madge. I have harbored such impossible thoughts, too. I know what they are, and what they mean. Come here. Move around so that I can see you; so I can look into your wonderful eyes. I want to kiss them. I want to hear you tell me that you will be a good and true woman, a good and true wife, and that when we leave here to return to the world, you will help me to spend that fortune that has come to me so strangely, for the good of others—for the good of those who suffer. That is what I want to do, Madge; that is what I want you to help me to do, for that is what my mother would have wished.”

She had raised herself from his shoulder and from the arm of the chair upon which she had been seated,{305} and now she moved gently around until she was almost in front of him.

Her whole soul was shining in her eyes when she chanced to raise them, impelled by an impulse she could not have named; and she saw Red Mike standing near that door, with the automatic pistol raised and leveled at her own heart.

Her eyes, which had been looking down tenderly upon Lynne, shone suddenly with horror, and she released Lynne’s hand and backed away from him.

It was an utterance of Red Mike’s that told Lynne what had happened.

“Caught you, didn’t I?” he snarled. Then he laughed brutally. “I heard you, too, my beauty. I heard it all. I have been here since it began. I saw the beginning, and I will see the end. Used me, have you? Lied to me, have you? Played with me, have you? Well, it’s my turn now to play with you—and him; and no Apache Indian ever knew better how to do it than I do.”

Madge crouched partly down. All the tiger in her was aroused now, in defense of the man she had suddenly found that she loved.

Her right hand sought her bosom where, doubtless, she carried a weapon; where Red Mike seemed to understand that she did carry one, for he cried out:

“Drop that, or I’ll kill you where you stand, if you are a woman!”

She paid no heed, and he leaped forward toward her; and then the unexpected happened.

To reach Madge, Red Mike had to pass close to the{306} chair where Lynne was seated; and as he passed, Lynne thrust out one foot in his path. Red Mike tripped upon it. He fell to the floor at Madge’s feet, and the automatic flew from his grasp, almost into hers.

On the instant she seized upon it. She turned it butt end foremost. She raised it and struck with it before he could recover himself, and he made no attempt to rise, for he was stunned and helpless.{307}



Patsy barely heard Nick Carter’s closing remarks as told at the close of the tenth chapter. He was intent upon another thought; upon a recollection that had come to him, induced by his own facetious remark about a desert island, and by Chick’s comment, “where desert islands grow; upon the water.”

“Chief,” he cried out suddenly, “I’ve got an inspiration. I’ll bet a hundred to nothing that I know where they are hiding themselves—the three of them, or the four, if there are four. Don’t you remember the house boat?”

“What house boat?” asked the detective.

“Edythe Lynne’s. It was mentioned at the coroner’s inquest, after she was killed. You know she entertained a house party at Pleasantglades last summer, while her father was away—at the time he was murdered, and long before she could have known anything about it had she lived?”

“I remember about the house party; but not about any boat.”

“You were absent from the room at the time it was told. She entertained her guests on the house boat, as well as at the house, at Pleasantglades. It is kept anchored in the bay, within a mile of the house, and is always in commission. That is where{308} Madge and Mike have taken Lynne, I’ll bet a cooky. Come; we can get there in an hour. I’ll go alone if you do not care to go.”

“We’ll all go,” said the detective. “It sounds reasonable, and would account for the idea that Lynne received while a prisoner in the wine cellar, that Pleasantglades was the destination at that time.”

He turned to the telephone and ordered the big car to the door at once.

“It’s as sure as shooting,” said Patsy.

“Only I don’t seem to remember anything about a house boat in the testimony at the inquest,” said the detective, as he seized his hat and led the way from the room.

“Somebody called you out of the room for a moment when that testimony was given,” was Patsy’s reply. “I think it was stricken out as being irrelevant.”

“What was said about it?”

“Only that Edythe had entertained her friends part of the time on the house boat, which is always kept anchored in the bay that juts into the property up there. I suppose it has been closed now, and practically abandoned for a year; but it would be an ideal place for Madge to take her prisoner; and, of course, she knew about it, since she was one of the guests at that time.”

“Of course.”

“Lucky remark, that, about the desert island. That suggested the idea to me; that or Chick’s reply.”

“What was that?”

“He said—‘or where desert islands grow; upon the water.’ See?{309}


“I’ll bet you a big red apple that we find them there, Chick.”

“You’re on. I can afford a red apple, if we do,” replied Chick.

Nick ran the car out himself, and his growing confidence in Patsy’s theory made him get all the speed out of the machine that it contained.

He slowed down, of course, whenever there was an idea of danger ahead, or when there was a possibility that they might be held up for speeding; but for all that, they made splendid time, and rolled past the big gateway at Pleasantglades in exactly fifty minutes from the time they left the house in Madison Avenue.

It was half a mile farther to the shore of the bay where the boat was anchored, and the distance was covered in about one minute, despite the roughness of the road.

They all leaped out of the machine at the same instant and each sought the shore for a small boat in which they might row out to the object of their trip.

“There isn’t a sign of a light out there,” said Chick.

“That’s nothing,” replied Patsy. “They would keep dark in the daytime, and darker at night when a light might be seen and investigated. Here we are. I have found one.”

“It’s half full of water,” said Nick.

“Help me to turn it over,” shouted Patsy; and the water was soon emptied from the boat which was found to be quite sound.{310}

“There are no oars,” said Patsy, when that was done. “We’ll have to—wait a minute.”

He darted away toward the boathouse on the shore, a few rods distant, broke the padlock with a stone, and presently returned bearing a pair of oars.

“All aboard,” he said. “If I was as certain of future glory as I am of finding our goal out there, I’d be wearing a halo already, chief.”

“I only hope that you are right, Patsy,” was the reply. “Be silent now. There is need of caution if they are there.”

Five minutes’ cautious rowing took them the required distance, and the small boat was rounded up alongside the larger one without a sound to disturb anybody who might be on board, and perhaps watchful.

But we already know what was taking place inside that house boat.

Nick Carter, followed by his two assistants, clambered aboard of it, as it happened, just at the moment when Carleton Lynne put out one foot and tripped Red Mike so that he fell prone upon his face at the feet of Madge.

There was a perceptible jar as the result of that fall, for Red Mike was a heavy man.

The detective and Patsy, who were already on the deck of the boat, halted.

“What was that?” asked Patsy, in a whisper.

“It is the first evidence that you are correct, Patsy,” was the reply. “There is somebody here, on this boat.{311}

“Well, it could only be the persons we are after; eh?”

“I think so.”

The three of them stole quietly along the deck toward a door which could be dimly seen in the half light.

Reaching it, Nick turned the knob softly, but only to find that the door was securely fastened on the inside.

Nick bent down to listen; his companions did the same; then they looked at each other in amazement. What did it mean?

They could hear the faint murmur of a masculine voice, and the sobs of a woman mingled with it. What could it all mean?

“We will smash in the door,” said Nick, in a whisper. “It is a double door and will give way at the center. When I say three, we will all throw ourselves against it at once. Now; are you ready? One, two, three!”

The door gave way much more readily than had been anticipated.

Nick and Chick barely saved themselves from falling; Patsy sprawled upon the floor inside the cabin, and almost at the feet of Carleton Lynne, who was standing up, and holding Madge Babbington tightly in his arms.

Madge was sobbing, so she raised a tearful as well as a startled face toward the intruders who had come upon them so suddenly.

Lynne looked at the unexpected callers as calmly as if they had been expected, and as if their method of{312} entrance was the customary thing. He did not relax his hold upon Madge in the slightest degree, but rather held her the tighter.

“Hello, Mr. Carter!” he exclaimed. “You’re just in time. How are you, Chick? Glad to see you, Patsy. I hope all the folks are well at home. That’s the proper thing to say, isn’t it?”

“You seem to be rather pleasantly occupied, Lynne,” Nick replied, with a smile that was somewhat grim. “You make me feel sorry that I interrupted you.”

“Well, you needn’t be. I’m mighty glad that you came. If you’ll take the trouble to move that screen, you’ll see something. We just put it there to get him out of our sight.”

Patsy moved the screen; then he burst into laughter.

Red Mike was there, of course, with some picture cords tied around his wrists and ankles and a towel tied around his face so that he could not talk.

“It’s all over but the shouting, Carter,” said Lynne. “Shall I tell you about it?”

“Please do.”

“I’m awfully obliged to you for not getting here an hour earlier. You might have been the ruin of two lives, if you had. Shall I begin with the best part first?”


“Madge and I have found out that we are very much in love with each other. Madge is going to be a good girl, and I’m going to be a good fellow, and we are going to spend the fortune that J. Cephas Lynne left behind him, in bettering mankind generally, in doing{313} good wherever we can, and in helping those who have taken the wrong path, to get back again to the right one.

“Yesterday—an hour ago, Carter—I was the master of millions; now, we two are the masters of millions which shall take the form of a great trust imposed upon us by the memory of Cephas Lynne and his daughter Edythe, to do good, to help the wrongdoer. Now, do you want the rest of the story?”

“I think I know it already. I suppose Red Mike came in upon you two while you were in each other’s arms, eh?”

“Well, we were getting there.”

The detective turned to Madge, who was blushing, and appearing very little like the Madge Babbington he had known.

“Are you sincere, Mrs. Babbington?” he asked.

“Ah, Mr. Carter, so sincere that I am the happiest woman alive; so sincere that I want you to forgive me for all the hard thoughts I have had in the past—and I want you to help me, too, by believing in me.”

“I can promise you that,” replied the detective. “This is a very happy outcome of all the past months, after all.”

“It is,” said Madge. “I thank God for this moment, and that I have the strength and the opportunity to seek forgiveness.”


“The Midnight Message,” by Nicholas Carter, is the title of the next volume, No. 1304, of the New Magnet Library. This story has to do with one of the most desperate and resourceful criminals Nick Carter ever opposed.


New Eagle Series

Carefully Selected Love Stories

There is such a profusion of good books to this list, that it is an impossibility to urge you to select any particular title or author’s work. All that we can say is that any line that contains the complete works of Mrs. Georgie Sheldon, Charles Garvice, Mrs. Harriet Lewis, May Agnes Fleming, Wenona Gilman, Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller, and other writers of the same type, is worthy of your attention.


1Queen BessBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
2Ruby’s RewardBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
7Two KeysBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
9The Virginia HeiressBy May Agnes Fleming
12Edrie’s LegacyBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
44That DowdyBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
55Thrice WeddedBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
66Witch HazelBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
70SydneyBy Charles Garvice
73The MarquisBy Charles Garvice
77TinaBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
79Out of the PastBy Charles Garvice
88Virgie’s InheritanceBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
98ClaireBy Charles Garvice
99Audrey’s RecompenseBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
102Sweet CymbelineBy Charles Garvice
111Faithful ShirleyBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
119’Twixt Smile and TearBy Charles Garvice
122Grazia’s MistakeBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
133MaxBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
138A Fatal WooingBy Laura Jean Libbey
144Dorothy’s JewelsBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
155Nameless DellBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
166The Masked BridalBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
174His Guardian AngelBy Charles Garvice
177A True AristocratBy Mrs. Georgie Shelton
188Dorothy Arnold’s EscapeBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
199Geoffrey’s VictoryBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
210Wild OatsBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
213The Heiress of EgremontBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
215Only a Girl’s LoveBy Charles Garvice
219Lost: A PearleBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
222The Lily of MordauntBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
231The Earl’s HeirBy Charles Garvice
236Her Humble LoverBy Charles Garvice
242A Wounded HeartBy Charles Garvice
244A Holden’s ConquestBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
250A Woman’s SoulBy Charles Garvice
255The Little MarplotBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
257A Martyred LoveBy Charles Garvice
266The Welfeet MysteryBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
267JeanneBy Charles Garvice
268Olivia; or, It Was for Her SakeBy Charles Garvice
272So Fair, So FalseBy Charles Garvice
276So Nearly LostBy Charles Garvice
277Brownie’s TriumphBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
282The Forsaken BrideBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
283My Lady PrideBy Charles Garvice
291A Mysterious Wedding RingBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
292For Her OnlyBy Charles Garvice
303The Queen of the IsleBy May Agnes Fleming
304Stanch as a WomanBy Charles Garvice
305Led by LoveBy Charles Garvice
309The Heiress of Castle CliffsBy May Agnes Fleming
312Woven on Fate’s Loom, and The SnowdriftBy Charles Garvice
317IoneBy Laura Jean Libbey
326Parted by FateBy Laura Jean Libbey
327He Loves MeBy Charles Garvice
328He Loves Me NotBy Charles Garvice
334Miss McDonaldBy Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
339His Heart’s QueenBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
340Bad Hugh. Vol. I.By Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
341Bad Hugh. Vol. II.By Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
344Tresillian CourtBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
345The Scorned WifeBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
346Guy Tresillian’s FateBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
347The Eyes of LoveBy Charles Garvice
348The Hearts of YouthBy Charles Garvice
351The Churchyard BetrothalBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
352Family Pride. Vol. I.By Mary J. Holmes
353Family Pride. Vol. II.By Mary J. Holmes
354A Love ComedyBy Charles Garvice
360The Ashes of LoveBy Charles Garvice
361A Heart TriumphantBy Charles Garvice
362Stella RoseveltBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
367The Pride of Her LifeBy Charles Garvice
368Won By Love’s ValorBy Charles Garvice
372A Girl in a ThousandBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
373A Thorn Among Roses.
Sequel to “A Girl In a Thousand”
By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
380Her Double LifeBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
381The Sunshine of Love.
Sequel to “Her Double Life”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
382MonaBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
391Marguerite’s HeritageBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
399Betsey’s TransformationBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
407Esther, the FrightBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
415TrixyBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
440Edna’s Secret MarriageBy Charles Garvice
449The Bailiff’s SchemeBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
450Rosamond’s Love.
Sequel to “The Bailiff’s Scheme”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
451Helen’s VictoryBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
456A Vixen’s TreacheryBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
457Adrift in the World.
Sequel to “A Vixen’s Treachery”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
458When Love Meets LoveBy Charles Garvice
464The Old Life’s ShadowsBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
465Outside Her Eden.
Sequel to “The Old Life’s Shadows”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
474The Belle of the SeasonBy Mrs. Harriet Lewis
475Love Before Pride.
Sequel to “The Belle of the Season”
By Mrs. Harriet Lewis
481Wedded, Yet No WifeBy May Agnes Fleming
489Lucy HardingBy Mrs. Mary J. Holmes
511The Golden KeyBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
512A Heritage of Love.
Sequel to “The Golden Key”
By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
519The Magic CameoBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
520The Heatherford Fortune.
Sequel to “The Magic Cameo”
By Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
531Better Than LifeBy Charles Garvice
542Once in a LifeBy Charles Garvice
548’Twas Love’s FaultBy Charles Garvice
554Step by StepBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
557In Cupid’s ChainsBy Charles Garvice
630The Verdict of the HeartBy Charles Garvice
635A Coronet of ShameBy Charles Garvice
640A Girl of SpiritBy Charles Garvice
645A Jest of FateBy Charles Garvice
648Gertrude Elliot’s CrucibleBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
650Diana’s DestinyBy Charles Garvice
655Linked by FateBy Charles Garvice
663Creatures of DestinyBy Charles Garvice
671When Love is YoungBy Charles Garvice
676My Lady BethBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
679Gold in the GutterBy Charles Garvice
721A Girl from the SouthBy Charles Garvice
730John Hungerford’s RedemptionBy Mrs. Georgie Sheldon
749The Heart of a MaidBy Charles Garvice
758The Woman in ItBy Charles Garvice
774Love in a SnareBy Charles Garvice
775My Love KittyBy Charles Garvice
776That Strange GirlBy Charles Garvice
777NellieBy Charles Garvice
778Miss Estcourt; or OliveBy Charles Garvice
818The Girl Who Was TrueBy Charles Garvice
896A Terrible SecretBy May Agnes Fleming
897When To-morrow CameBy May Agnes Fleming
904A Mad MarriageBy May Agnes Fleming
905A Woman Without MercyBy May Agnes Fleming
912One Night’s MysteryBy May Agnes Fleming
913The Cost of a LieBy May Agnes Fleming
920Silent and TrueBy May Agnes Fleming
921A Treasure LostBy May Agnes Fleming
925Forrest HouseBy Mary J. Holmes
926He Loved Her OnceBy Mary J. Holmes
930Kate DantonBy May Agnes Fleming
931Proud as a QueenBy May Agnes Fleming
940The Heir of CharltonBy May Agnes Fleming
941While Love Stood WaitingBy May Agnes Fleming
945GretchenBy Mary J. Holmes
946Beauty That FadedBy Mary J. Holmes
950Carried by StormBy May Agnes Fleming
951Love’s Dazzling GlitterBy May Agnes Fleming
954MargueriteBy Mary J. Holmes
955When Love Spurs OnwardBy Mary J. Holmes
960Lost for a WomanBy May Agnes Fleming
961His to Love or HateBy May Agnes Fleming
964Paul Ralston’s First LoveBy Mary J. Holmes
965Where Love’s Shadows Lie DeepBy Mary J. Holmes
968The Tracy DiamondsBy Mary J. Holmes
972The CromptonsBy Mary J. Holmes
973Her Husband Was a ScampBy Mary J. Holmes
975The Merivale BanksBy Mary J. Holmes
978The One Girl in the WorldBy Charles Garvice
979His Priceless JewelBy Charles Garvice
982The Millionaire’s Daughter and Other StoriesBy Charles Garvice
983Doctor Hathern’s DaughtersBy Mary J. Holmes
998Sharing Her CrimeBy May Agnes Fleming
999The Heiress of Sunset HallBy May Agnes Fleming
1004Maude Percy’s SecretBy May Agnes Fleming
1005The Adopted DaughterBy May Agnes Fleming
1010The Sisters of TorwoodBy May Agnes Fleming
1015A Changed HeartBy May Agnes Fleming
1016EnchantedBy May Agnes Fleming
1025A Wife’s TragedyBy May Agnes Fleming
1026Brought to ReckoningBy May Agnes Fleming
1027A Madcap SweetheartBy Emma Garrison Jones
1029Only A Working GirlBy Geraldine Fleming
1030The Unbidden GuestBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1031The Man and His MillionsBy Ida Reade Allen
1032Mabel’s SacrificeBy Charlotte M. Stanley
1033Was He Worth It?By Geraldine Fleming
1034Her Two SuitorsBy Wenona Gilman
1035Edith PercivalBy May Agnes Fleming
1036Caught in the SnareBy May Agnes Fleming
1037A Love ConcealedBy Emma Garrison Jones
1038The Price of HappinessBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1039The Lucky ManBy Geraldine Fleming
1040A Forced PromiseBy Ida Reade Allen
1041The Crime of LoveBy Barbara Howard
1042The Bride’s OpalsBy Emma Garrison Jones
1043Love That Was CursedBy Geraldine Fleming
1044Thorns of RegretBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1046Bitterly AtonedBy Mrs. E. Burke Collins
1050Married in ErrorBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1052Vivian’s Love StoryBy Mrs. E. Burke Collins
1053From Tears to SmilesBy Ida Reade Allen
1054When Love DawnsBy Adelaide Stirling
1055Love’s Earnest PrayerBy Geraldine Fleming
1056The Strength of LoveBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1057A Lost LoveBy Wenona Gilman
1059What Love Can CostBy Evelyn Malcolm
1061Above All ThingsBy Adelaide Stirling
1063Her Sister’s SecretBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1065Fair Maid MarianBy Emma Garrison Jones
1066No Man’s WifeBy Ida Reade Allen
1067A Sacrifice to LoveBy Adelaide Stirling
1069Her Life’s BurdenBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1070Evelyn, the ActressBy Wenona Gilman
1071Married for MoneyBy Lucy Randall Comfort
1072A Lost SweetheartBy Ida Reade Allen
1074Her Heart’s ChallengeBy Barbara Howard
1076A Freak of FateBy Emma Garrison Jones
1077Her PunishmentBy Laura Jean Libbey
1078The Shadow Between ThemBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1079No Time for PenitenceBy Wenona Gilman
1080Norma’s Black FortuneBy Ida Reade Allen
1082Love’s First KissBy Emma Garrison Jones
1083Lola Dunbar’s CrimeBy Barbara Howard
1084Ethel’s SecretBy Charlotte M. Stanley
1085Lynette’s WeddingBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1088Her Husband’s Other WifeBy Emma Garrison Jones
1089Hearts of StoneBy Geraldine Fleming
1090In Love’s SpringtimeBy Laura Jean Libbey
1091Love at the LoomBy Geraldine Fleming
1092What Was She to Him?By Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1093For Another’s FaultBy Charlotte M. Stanley
1095A Wife’s TriumphBy Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1096A Bachelor GirlBy Lucy May Russell
1097Love and SpiteBy Adelaide Stirling
1098Leola’s HeartBy Charlotte M. Stanley
1099The Power of LoveBy Geraldine Fleming
1101True to His BrideBy Emma Garrison Jones
1102The Lady of Beaufort ParkBy Wenona Gilman
1103A Daughter of DarknessBy Ida Reade Allen
1104My Pretty MaidBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1105Master of Her FateBy Geraldine Fleming
1106A Shadowed HappinessBy Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1108A Forgotten LoveBy Adelaide Stirling
1110Her Dearest LoveBy Geraldine Fleming
1112Mischievous Maid FaynieBy Laura Jean Libbey
1113In Love’s NameBy Emma Garrison Jones
1114Love’s Clouded DawnBy Wenona Gilman
1116Only a KissBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1117Virgie Talcott’s MissionBy Lucy May Russell
1118Her Evil GeniusBy Adelaide Stirling
1119In Love’s ParadiseBy Charlotte M. Stanley
1120Sold for GoldBy Geraldine Fleming
1122Taken by StormBy Emma Garrison Jones
1123The Mills of the GodsBy Wenona Gilman
1124The Breath of SlanderBy Ida Reade Allen
1125Loyal Unto DeathBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1126A Spurned ProposalBy Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1127Daredevil BettyBy Evelyn Malcolm
1128Her Life’s Dark CloudBy Lillian R. Drayton
1129True Love EnduresBy Ida Reade Allen
1130The Battle of HeartsBy Geraldine Fleming
1131Better Than RichesBy Wenona Gilman
1132Tempted By LoveBy Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1133Between Good and EvilBy Charlotte M. Stanley
1134A Southern PrincessBy Emma Garrison Jones
1135The Thorns of LoveBy Evelyn Malcolm
1136A Married FlirtBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1137Her Priceless LoveBy Geraldine Fleming
1138My Own SweetheartBy Wenona Gilman
1141The Love He SoughtBy Lillian R. Drayton
1142A Fateful PromiseBy Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1143Love Surely TriumphsBy Charlotte May Kingsley
1144The Haunting PastBy Evelyn Malcolm
1145Sorely TriedBy Emma Garrison Jones
1146Falsely AccusedBy Geraldine Fleming
1148No One to Help HerBy Ida Reade Allen
1150Saved From HerselfBy Adelaide Stirling
1151The Gypsy’s WarningBy Emma Garrison Jones
1152Caught in Love’s NetBy Ida Reade Allen
1153The Pride of My HeartBy Laura Jean Libbey
1155That Terrible TomboyBy Geraldine Fleming
1156The Man She HatedBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1159A Penniless PrincessBy Emma Garrison Jones
1160Love’s Rugged PathwayBy Ida Reade Allen
1161Had She Loved Him LessBy Laura Jean Libbey
1162The Serpent and the DoveBy Charlotte May Kingsley
1163What Love Made HerBy Geraldine Fleming
1164Love Conquers PrideBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1165His Unbounded FaithBy Charlotte M. Stanley
1166A Heart’s TriumphBy Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1167Stronger than FateBy Emma Garrison Jones
1168A Virginia GoddessBy Ida Reade Allen
1169Love’s Young DreamBy Laura Jean Libbey
1170When Fate DecreesBy Adelaide Fox Robinson
1171For a Flirt’s LoveBy Geraldine Fleming
1172All For LoveBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1173Could He Have KnownBy Charlotte May Stanley
1174The Girl He LovedBy Adelaide Stirling
1175They Met By ChanceBy Ida Reade Allen
1176The Lovely ConstanceBy Laura Jean Libbey
1177The Love That PrevailedBy Mrs. E. Burke Collins
1178Trixie’s HonorBy Geraldine Fleming
1179Driven from HomeBy Wenona Gilman
1180The Arm of the LawBy Evelyn Malcolm
1181A Will of Her OwnBy Ida Reade Allen
1182Pity—Not LoveBy Laura Jean Libbey
1184Lady Gay’s MartyrdomBy Charlotte May Kingsley
1185Barriers of StoneBy Wenona Gilman
1186A Useless SacrificeBy Emma Garrison Jones
1187When We Two PartedBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1188Far Above PriceBy Evelyn Malcolm
1189In Love’s ShadowsBy Ida Reade Allen
1191The Love KnotBy Charlotte May Kingsley
1192She Scoffed at LoveBy Mrs. E. Burke Collins
1193Life’s Richest JewelBy Adelaide Fox Robinson
1195Too Quickly JudgedBy Ida Reade Allen
1196Lotta, the Cloak ModelBy Laura Jean Libbey
1197Loved at LastBy Geraldine Fleming
1198They Looked and LovedBy Mrs. Alex McVeigh Miller
1199The Wiles of a SirenBy Effie Adelaide Rowlands
1200Tricked Into MarriageBy Evelyn Malcolm
1201Her Twentieth GuestBy Emma Garrison Jones
1202From Dreams to WakingBy Charlotte M. Kingsley
1203Sweet Kitty CloverBy Laura Jean Libbey
1205The Cost of PrideBy Lillian R. Drayton

Everybody Reads

The Street & Smith Novels

High-brow public opinion has changed radically during the past few years, so far as placing a proper valuation on paper-covered reading matter is concerned.

In the old days, anything between paper covers was a dime novel and, therefore, to be avoided as cheap and contaminating.

Since men like Frank O’Brien have pointed out to the world the fact that some of the best literature in the English language first appeared between paper covers, such books are welcomed in the best of families.

The STREET & SMITH NOVELS are clean, interesting, and up-to-date. There are hundreds of different titles, and we invite your careful consideration of them from a standpoint of value and of literary excellence.

Street & Smith Publications

79 Seventh Avenue New York, N. Y.

Printed in the U. S. A.


New Magnet Library

Not a Dull Book in This List


Nick Carter stands for an interesting detective story. The fact that the books in this line are so uniformly good is entirely due to the work of a specialist. The man who wrote these stories produced no other type of fiction. His mind was concentrated upon the creation of new plots and situations in which his hero emerged triumphantly from all sorts of troubles and landed the criminal just where he should be—behind the bars.

The author of these stories knew more about writing detective stories than any other single person.

Following is a list of the best Nick Carter stories. They have been selected with extreme care, and we unhesitatingly recommend each of them as being fully as interesting as any detective story between cloth covers which sells at ten times the price.

If you do not know Nick Carter, buy a copy of any of the New Magnet Library books, and get acquainted. He will surprise and delight you.


901—A Weird Treasure
902—The Middle Link
903—To the Ends of the Earth
904—When Honors Pall
905—The Yellow Brand
906—A New Serpent In Eden
907—When Brave Men Tremble
908—A Test of Courage
909—Where Peril Beckons
910—The Gargoni Girdle
911—Rascals & Co.
912—Too Late to Talk
913—Satan’s Apt Pupil
914—The Girl Prisoner
915—The Danger of Folly
916—One Shipwreck Too Many
917—Scourged by Fear
918—The Red Plague
919—Scoundrels Rampant
920—From Clew to Clew
921—When Rogues Conspire
922—Twelve in a Grave
923—The Great Opium Case
924—A Conspiracy of Rumors
925—A Klondike Claim
926—The Evil Formula
927—The Man of Many Faces
928—The Great Enigma
929—The Burden of Proof
930—The Stolen Brain
932—The Magic Necklace
933—Round the World for a Quarter
934—Over the Edge of the World
935—In the Grip of Fate
936—The Case of Many Clews
937—The Sealed Door
939—The Man Without a Will
941—A Clew from the Unknown
948—A Mixed-up Mess
945—The Adder’s Brood
947—For a Pawned Crown
949—The Hate that Kills
951—The Needy Nine
953—Outlaws of the Blue
955—Found in the Jungle
957—Broken Bars
958—A Fair Criminal
959—Won by Magic
960—The Plano Box Mystery
961—The Man They Held Back
962—a Millionaire Partner
963—A Pressing Peril
964—An Australian Klondike
965—The Sultan’s Pearls
966—The Double Shuffle Club
967—Paying the Price
968—A Woman’s Hand
969—A Network of Crime
970—At Thompson’s Ranch
971—The Crossed Needles
972—The Diamond Mine Case
973—Blood Will Tell
974—An Accidental Password
975—The Crook’s Double
976—Two Plus Two
977—The Yellow Label
978—The Clever Celestial
979—The Amphitheater Plot
981—Death in Life
982—A Stolen Identity
983—Evidence by Telephone
984—The Twelve Tin Boxes
985—Clew Against Clew
987—Playing a Bold Game
988—A Dead Man’s Grip
989—Snarled Identities
990—A Deposit Vault Puzzle
991—The Crescent Brotherhood
992—The Stolen Pay Train
993—The Sea Fox
994—Wanted by Two Clients
995—The Van Alstine Case
996—Check No. 777
997—Partners in Peril
998—Nick Carter’s Clever Protégé
999—The Sign of the Crossed Knives
1000—The Man Who Vanished
1001—A Battle for the Right
1002—A Game of Craft
1003—Nick Carter’s Retainer
1004—Caught in the Tolls
1005—A Broken Bond
1006—The Crime of the French Café
1007—The Man Who Stole Millions
1008—The Twelve Wise Men
1009—Hidden Foes
1010—A Gamblers’ Syndicate
1011—A Chance Discovery
1013—A Threefold Disappearance
1014—At Odds with Scotland Yard
1015—A Princess of Crime
1016—Found on the Beach
1017—A Spinner of Death
1018—The Detective’s Pretty Neighbor
1019—A Bogus Clew
1020—The Puzzle of Five Pistols
1021—The Secret of the Marble Mantel
1022—A Bite of an Apple
1023—A Triple Crime
1024—The Stolen Race Horse
1026—A Herald Personal
1027—The Finger of Suspicion
1028—The Crimson Clew
1029—Nick Carter Down East
1030—The Chain of Clews
1031—A Victim of Circumstances
1032—Brought to Bay
1033—The Dynamite Trap
1034—A Scrap of Black Lace
1035—The Woman of Evil
1036—A Legacy of Hate
1037—A Trusted Rogue
1038—Man Against Man
1039—The Demons of the Night
1040—The Brotherhood of Death
1041—At the Knife’s Point
1042—A Cry for Help
1043—A Stroke of Policy
1044—Hounded to Death
1045—A Bargain in Crime
1046—The Fatal Prescription
1047—The Man of Iron
1048—An Amazing Scoundrel
1049—The Chain of Evidence
1050—Paid with Death
1051—A Fight for a Throne
1052—The Woman of Steel
1053—The Seal of Death
1054—The Human Fiend
1055—A Desperate Chance
1056—A Chase in the Dark
1057—The Snare and the Game
1059—Nick Carter’s Close Call
1060—The Missing Cotton King
1061—A Game of Plots
1062—The Prince of Liars
1063—The Man at the Window
1064—The Red League
1066—The Worst Case on Record
1067—From Peril to Peril
1068—The Seal of Silence
1069—Nick Carter’s Chinese Puzzle
1070—A Blackmailer’s Bluff
1071—Heard in the Dark
1072—A Checkmated Scoundrel
1073—The Cashier’s Secret
1074—Behind a Mask
1075—The Cloak of Guilt
1076—Two Villains in One
1077—The Hot Air Clew
1078—Run to Earth
1079—The Certified Check
1080—Weaving the Web
1081—Beyond Pursuit
1082—The Claws of the Tiger
1083—Driven from Cover
1084—A Deal in Diamonds
1085—The Wizard of the Cue
1086—A Race for Ten Thousand
1087—The Criminal Link
1088—The Red Signal
1089—The Secret Panel
1090—A Bonded Villain
1091—A Move in the Dark
1092—Against Desperate Odds
1093—The Telltale Photographs
1094—The Ruby Pin
1095—The Queen of Diamonds
1096—A Broken Trail
1097—An Ingenious Stratagem
1098—A Sharper’s Downfall
1099—A Race Track Gamble
1100—Without a Clew
1101—The Council of Death
1102—The Hole in the Vault
1103—In Death’s Grip
1104—A Great Conspiracy
1105—The Guilty Governor
1106—A Ring of Rascals
1107—A Masterpiece of Crime
1108—A Blow for Vengeance
1109—Tangled Threads
1110—The Crime of the Camera
1111—The Sign of the Dagger
1112—Nick Carter’s Promise
1113—Marked for Death
1114—The Limited Holdup
1115—When the Trap Was Sprung
1116—Through the Cellar Wall
1117—Under the Tiger’s Claws
1118—The Girl in the Case
1119—Behind a Throne
1120—The Lure of Gold
1121—Hand to Hand
1122—From a Prison Cell
1123—Dr. Quarts, Magician
1124—Into Nick Carter’s Web
1125—The Mystic Diagram
1126—The Hand that Won
1127—Playing a Lone Hand
1128—The Master Villain
1129—The False Claimant
1130—The Living Mask
1131—The Crime and the Motive
1132—A Mysterious Foe
1133—A Missing Man
1134—A Game Well Played
1135—A Cigarette Clew
1136—The Diamond Trail
1137—The Silent Guardian
1138—The Dead Stranger
1140—The Doctor’s Stratagem
1141—Following a Chance Clew
1142—The Bank Draft Puzzle
1143—The Price of Treachery
1144—The Silent Partner
1145—Ahead of the Game
1146—A Trap of Tangled Wire
1147—In the Gloom of Night
1148—The Unaccountable Crook
1149—A Bundle of Clews
1150—The Great Diamond Syndicate
1151—The Death Circle
1152—The Toss of a Penny
1153—One Step Too Far
1154—The Terrible Thirteen
1155—A Detective’s Theory
1156—Nick Carter’s Auto Trail
1157—A Triple Identity
1158—A Mysterious Graft
1159—A Carnival of Crime
1160—The Bloodstone Terror
1161—Trapped in His Own Net
1162—The Last Move in the Game
1163—A Victim of Deceit
1164—With Links of Steel
1165—A Plaything of Fate
1166—The Key Ring Clew
1167—Playing for a Fortune
1168—At Mystery’s Threshold
1169—Trapped by a Woman
1170—The Four Fingered Glove
1171—Nabob and Knave
1172—The Broadway Cross
1173—The Man Without a Conscience
1174—A Master of Deviltry
1175—Nick Carter’s Double Catch
1176—Doctor Quartz’s Quick Move
1177—The Vial of Death
1178—Nick Carter’s Star Pupils
1179—Nick Carter’s Girl Detective
1180—A Baffled Oath
1181—A Royal Thief
1182—Down and Out
1183—A Syndicate of Rascals
1184—Played to a Finish
1185—A Tangled Case
1186—In Letters of Fire
1187—Crossed Wires
1188—A Plot Uncovered
1189—The Cab Driver’s Secret
1190—Nick Carter’s Death Warrant
1191—The Plot that Failed
1192—Nick Carter’s Masterpiece
1193—A Prince of Rogues
1194—In the Lap of Danger
1195—The Man from London
1196—Circumstantial Evidence
1197—The Pretty Stenographer Mystery
1198—A Villainous Scheme
1199—A Plot Within a Plot
1200—The Elevated Railroad Mystery
1201—The Blow of a Hammer
1202—The Twin Mystery
1203—The Bottle with the Black Label
1204—Under False Colors
1205—A Ring of Dust
1206—The Crown Diamond
1207—The Blood-red Badge
1208—The Barrel Mystery
1209—The Photographer’s Evidence
1210—Millions at Stake
1211—The Man and His Price
1212—A Double-Handed Game
1213—A Strike for Freedom
1214—A Disciple of Satan
1215—The Marked Hand
1216—A Fight with a Fiend
1217—When the Wicked Prosper
1218—A Plunge into Crime
1219—An Artful Schemer
1220—Reaping the Whirlwind
1221—Out of Crime’s Depths
1222—A Woman at Bay
1223—The Temple of Vice
1224—Death at the Feast
1225—A Double Plot
1226—In Search of Himself
1227—A Hunter of Men
1228—The Boulevard Mutes
1229—Captain Sparkle, Pirate
1230—Nick Carter’s Fall
1231—Out of Death’s Shadow
1232—A Voice from the Past
1233—Accident or Murder?
1234—The Man Who Was Cursed
1235—Baffled, But Not Beaten
1236—A Case Without a Clew
1237—The Demon’s Eye
1238—A Blindfold Mystery
1239—Nick Carter’s Swim to Victory
1240—A Man to Be Feared
1241—Saved by a Ruse
1242—Nick Carter’s Wildest Chase
1243—A Nation’s Peril
1244—The Rajah’s Ruby
1245—The Trail of a Human Tiger
1246—The Disappearing Princess
1247—The Lost Chittendens
1248—The Crystal Mystery
1249—The King’s Prisoner
1250—Talika, the Geisha Girl
1251—The Doom of the Reds
1252—The Lady of Shadows
1253—The Mysterious Castle
1254—The Senator’s Plot
1255—A Submarine Trail
1256—A War of Brains
1257—Pauline—A Mystery
1258—The Confidence King
1259—A Chase for Millions
1260—Shown on the Screen
1261—The Streaked Peril
1262—The Room of Mirrors
1263—A Plot for an Empire
1264—A Call on the Phone
1265—Nick Carter’s Convict Client
1266—The House of the Yellow Door
1267—Nick Carter’s Round-up
1268—A Masterly Trick
1269—For a Madman’s Millions
1270—The Four Hoodoo Charms
1271—The Man in the Auto
1272—The Jeweled Mummy
1273—The Vanishing Emerald
1274—A Live Wire Clue
1275—The Vampire’s Trail
1276—The Crimson Flash
1277—The Vanishing Heiress
1278—The Red Triangle
1279—Nick Carter’s Subtle Foe
1280—Nick Carter’s Chance Clue
1281—A Master Criminal
1282—The Silver Hair Clue
1283—Written in Blood
1284—Bandits of the Air
1285—Nick Carter’s Last Card
1286—The Taxicab Riddle
1287—A Stolen Name
1288—A Play for Millions
1289—The House of Whispers
1290—The Woman in Black

In order that there may be no confusion, we desire to say that the books listed below will be issued during the respective months in New York City and vicinity. They may not reach the readers at a distance promptly, on account of delays in transportation.

To be published in July, 1930.

1291—Nick Carter’s Egyptian Clue
1292—The Connecting Link
1293—A Woman of Mystery

To be published in August, 1930.

1294—The Dead Accomplice
1295—Nick Carter’s Counterplot

To be published in September, 1930.

1296—The Seven Schemers
1297—The Mysterious Cavern

To be published in October, 1930.

1298—The Crime of a Century
1299—The Man with a Crutch

To be published in November, 1930.

1300—Out for Vengeance
1301—The Poisons of Exili

To be published in December, 1930.

1302—A Double Identity
1303—The Babbington Case
1304—The Midnight Message

If your dealer cannot supply you with the S. & S. novels, write to the publishers.

79 Seventh Avenue New York City

Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
that burned iself=> that burned itself {pg 18}
his own daughter=> {pg 33}
Edyth Lynne was persuaded=> Edythe Lynne was persuaded {pg 48}
the passenger could talk=> the passengers could talk {pg 50}
a case af murder=> a case of murder {pg 83}
wtih him when=> with him when {pg 89}
aiding and abbetting=> aiding and abetting {pg 95}
an animated maner=> an animated manner {pg 156}
principles=> principals {pg 161}
spacious corrider=> spacious corridor {pg 169}
a mightly blow=> a mighty blow {pg 204}
meet Pasy=> meet Patsy {pg 209}
less dangenerous=> less dangerous {pg 222}
to Lyne’s summons=> to Lynne’s summons {pg 234}
the st trivial=> the most trivial {pg 266}
between Lyne=> between Lynne {pg 268}
Pasy made no reply=> Patsy made no reply {pg 285}
reclined in any easy-chair=> reclined in an easy-chair {pg 290}
a receptable for matches=> a receptacle for matches {pg 290}
put forfard=> put forward {pg 298-299}
seems a secrilege=> seems a sacrilege {pg 303}

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