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The Crime of the French Cafe and Other Stories by Nicholas Carter

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Of course, everybody in the room was on his feet.

Some of the front-row people were rushing upon Nick.

Others had crowded around Colonel Richmond so closely that Nick was
afraid he might not fully see the exposure of this fake.

The person whom Nick had seized was not a woman, as might have been
expected, but a man. He was of short stature, but surprising strength.

Even in the mighty arms of the detective, he managed to struggle
vigorously, and for a moment prevented Nick from tearing away the white
and ghostly wrappings.

But a complete expose could not have been long delayed. In spite of the
odds against him, Nick was certain to come out ahead.

He called out to Colonel Richmond:

"Look! Look at this! It's a man!"

Just at that instant a tall man who had been standing beside the female
"medium," and acting as master of ceremonies, seized an ornament from
the mantelpiece, and hurled it not at Nick, as the detective expected,
but at the lamp in the corner of the room.

This lamp had been turned up by one of the timid believers as soon as
the row began.

The missile which the spiritualistic "bouncer" hurled was well directed.
It smashed the lamp to fragments, and the room for a minute was dark.

Then another light flashed up. The broken lamp had set fire to the
window curtains.

The scene hadn't been what one would call peaceful before, but it had
been nothing at all to what it became when the fire leaped up.

Pandemonium broke loose. Doors and windows were burst out, and everybody
rushed toward the outer air.

Among the last to emerge was Nick.

He held the "bouncer" in one hand and the ghost of Aunt Lavina in the

Both of them were very badly used up. When the detective dropped them on
the lawn they made no attempt to rise.

Some of the medium's stool-pigeons were beginning to get their wits
together, and were making preparations for putting out the fire.

Nick yelled to them, and pointed to a line of garden hose on the lawn.

There was a head of water in this pipe, and with the aid of its stream
the fire was extinguished.

The detective did not assist. He turned his attention to discovering
what had become of Colonel Richmond.

The colonel had disappeared. The carriage in which he had come was gone.

Doubtless the person who had driven him over had hustled him into the
carriage at the earliest possible moment.

"A shrewd move," muttered Nick, "and a bad one for me. However, I've got
this gang cornered, and if they've been doing the job at the colonel's
house, their operations are over."

There was an excited group of people by the main door of the house. In
the midst of them stood the medium, a fat and coarse woman, whom Nick
had seen before in the same crooked business.

Those around her were the real believers in spiritualism, who had come
to the show.

They had witnessed the exposure, and were ready to mob the medium.

Nick took his two prisoners to this group. He tied them securely, and
then turned to one of the dupes:

"Why don't you have these people arrested?" he whispered. "Charge them
with taking money under false pretenses."

"Good!" said the man. "There's a warrant for some of them already. I'll
get the constable, who lives over across the fields, and he'll pull 'em
all in."

A half-hour later the whole gang was under arrest and on the way to the
nearest lock-up.

The detective felt that his evening's work was not in vain. Whatever
might be the facts about the connection of this gang with the affair at
Colonel Richmond's, it was a good thing to get them all out of the way.

The colonel's presence among them proved that they were the
spiritualistic crowd which was after him. Their removal would simplify

Moreover, the colonel's presence, and his questioning of the spook,
showed that any theory connecting him with the disappearance of the
jewels was wrong.

It was evident that he had asked the questions in all sincerity,
believing that he was really in the presence of his aunt's spirit.

He could hardly be crazy enough to do that, supposing that his lunacy
had led him to abstract the jewels.

Having witnessed the arrest of the gang, Nick procured a horse and drove
rapidly toward Colonel Richmond's house. He arrived there about
half-past eleven o'clock.

There was a light in the parlor, and through the open window Nick beheld
an unusual scene.

The colonel, Mrs. Pond and Horace were present. Mr. Pond was not in the
house. He had returned to New York.

Besides the persons named, there were in the parlor nearly all the
servants connected in any way with the establishment.

It looked as if the colonel was holding court.

One of the servants seemed to be giving testimony. The expressions on
the faces of the others showed deep interest and superstitious terror.

Nick had no doubt about what was going on. The colonel was getting to
the bottom of the ghost stories. There must have been more
manifestations that night.

The detective was in doubt whether to enter the house in his own
character. Finally he decided not to do so.

He disguised himself in the character of John Gilder, the coachman, who
was not present in the parlor.

It seemed best to gain access to the room from an entrance toward the
old part of the house instead of from the main hall.

So Nick passed around the corner of the house. As he did so he was aware
of a dark figure crouching in the shadow.

He instantly grappled with it, and the figure was not less prompt in
grappling with him.

The struggle was very brief. It ended with Nick on top, and no harm

The detective instantly leaped to his feet again.

"Patsy!" he exclaimed. "What brings you here?"



Patsy told his story in a few words.

He had watched the Stevens house all day without discovering anything.

As evening descended, however, his patience had been rewarded.

"She came out," said Patsy, "and quietly scooted off across the fields."

"Millie Stevens?"


"What did she do?"

"She made for that big oak tree which stands in the middle of the field
on the right of the road as you go from the station.

"I had to trail carefully, for it was not very dark and there was no
cover. So I couldn't get very near her.

"Under that tree a man was waiting. He had a saddle-horse with him. The
man and the girl exchanged a few words.

"Of course, I couldn't hear what they said. Neither could I get a line
on the man.

"I resolved to get nearer, though it was taking big risks. It couldn't
be done. They saw me.

"In a flash the man leaped into his saddle and pulled the girl up in
front of him in regular old-fashioned style.

"They were off in no time. It was a fine horse they rode.

"I wasn't in it at any stage of the game. I ran myself out at the end of
about a mile.

"They had disappeared in the darkness, but they were taking the road
toward this place, and on a venture I came over. I hoped to connect with
you, and get instructions."

"That was right. Come with me."

"What's up?"

"A ghost hunt, unless I'm very much mistaken. I guess we can join it
without any trouble."

They made their way into the old portion of the house.

In the hall from which the broad stone stairs led up to the second floor
they paused a moment to listen.

Steps were approaching. Before they could get into a place of
concealment a door opened, and Colonel Richmond entered.

He carried a small lamp in his hand. Horace followed him.

"Gilder!" cried the colonel, seeing Nick disguised as the coachman. "Why
were you not present in the parlor?"

"I've just got back to the house, sir," rejoined the detective,
imitating Gilder's Yankee twang".

"Who's that with you?"

"My cousin, Frank Gilder."

"What's he doing here?"

"If you please, sir, I brought him over to spend the night with me. The
footman and I don't get along very well together, and I don't like to be
alone in a room in this house, sir, just now."

"So!" said the colonel. "I understand that you have seen strange things.
Very well; I am going to investigate this matter. I shall pass the
remainder of the night in the dining-hall above."

The colonel led the way up the stairs. The whole party followed him.

"May I ask where the other servants are, sir?" said Nick.

"They will pass the night in the new part of the house," returned
Horace Richmond, with a grim smile. "You can do so if you like."

"No, sir," said Nick; "I think I'd rather sleep in my own room so long
as my cousin is with me."

At the head of the stairs they turned at once toward the old

It was proper for Nick to follow, for the nearest way to Gilder's room
led in that direction.

It was exactly midnight when they opened the door of the old
dining-hall. A cool breath of air swept out upon them, for the thick
stone walls of this part of the house resisted the hot weather, and this
room had been kept closed.

The colonel shivered slightly in the draught.

He paused on the threshold for a moment, and looked into the room. It
was lighted--except for the feeble ray from the lamp--only by the faint
moonlight which found its way in through the hall and narrow windows,
partly overgrown with clinging vines.

The whole party entered. The colonel set his lamp upon the sideboard.

He turned to speak to the supposed Gilder, probably with the intention
of sending him at once to his room.

But at that moment the lamp suddenly went out.

With a low cry the colonel sprang toward it. The lamp was not there.

It had been removed. The room was almost totally dark.

The colonel lit a match. There was no sign of the lamp. It had utterly

As the burned match fell to the floor a beam of light suddenly shot
across the gloom.

And there, before the old-fashioned fire-place, stood a figure
corresponding in every particular to Lavina Richmond as she appeared in
a portrait painted just previous to her death, and hanging at that
moment in the colonel's room.

There was no sound in the room except the labored breathing of the
excited old man, whose faith was now fully justified to his mind.

He was gazing straight at this apparition.

It was veiled, and the heavy folds of a black silk dress in the style of
many years ago hung loosely about the form.

Immediately a white hand appeared. The veil was lifted, disclosing the
thin and pale face of a woman of advanced age and feeble health. The
likeness of Lavina Richmond was perfect.

The colonel tried to speak, but his voice stuck in his throat.

Slowly the veil descended. Nick made a sign to Patsy, who had pressed up
a little in advance.

He had kept an eye over his shoulder, however, to be sure of getting any
orders from his chief.

There was light enough to see the signal. Patsy sprang forward toward
the specter.

The distance separating them was not more than twenty feet. The athletic
youth would have covered it in a twinkling.

But suddenly he fell to the floor with a smothered groan.

"I'm hit hard," he cried; and, raising himself upon one knee, with his
left hand pressed to his temple, he drew a revolver with the other.

"Don't shoot!" exclaimed Nick. "It's Millie Stevens!"

The detective made a bound toward the figure.

The light which had played full upon it wavered, as if about to vanish.

Yet there was time. Nick felt sure of his prize, as he sprang out from
his place beside the colonel.

And the next thing Nick knew it was six o'clock of the following
morning, and he was lying in a bed, looking up into Patsy's face.



"Are you much hurt?" asked Patsy, anxiously.

Nick took in the whole scene before he replied.

Beside the bed were Colonel Richmond, Horace and a man whom Nick rightly
judged to be a doctor.

"No," said Nick, "I'm not much hurt, except in my feelings. What
happened, Patsy?"

"The ghost got away," responded the young man, in a tone of disgust.

"I wouldn't talk very much," said Colonel Richmond. "The doctor says
that you have been subjected to a severe nervous shock, and--"

"My grandmother's ducks!" exclaimed Nick. "Nervous shock! Well, this
makes me worse. Why, man, I've been sand-bagged."

The colonel shook his head.

"The power of the unseen forces," he began; but Nick interrupted him.

"Look here, Colonel Richmond!" he said, "if you had the sensation behind
your ear that I've got, you wouldn't talk about mysterious powers of
darkness. I know what's the matter with me, and what I want is a chance
to get square."

"There is no evidence of any injury," said the physician.

"There never is in a case of this kind," rejoined Nick. "A sand-bag
doesn't leave any mark. That's why it is so popular."

"It is impossible to convince a stubborn man," said the colonel. "I
should think that this experience would have been enough."

"Quite enough, thank you," responded Nick, sitting up. "And so, if you
gentlemen who kindly put me to bed will gracefully withdraw I will get
into my clothes, and prove to you that I have had enough, and that it is
somebody else's turn now."

He made them leave him with Patsy. Then he began to dress.

"Now tell me your story," he said.

"When I jumped for that spook," Patsy began, "I got the fearfulest thump
on my crust that I've had since that marline-spike fell off the main
yard on to me in the little affair of the Five Kernels of Corn.

"It couldn't have been a marker to what you got afterward, though. I
went down, but not out.

"You saw me draw my gun. Well, when you yelled 'Don't fire!' I held off,
but when I saw you go out I decided that all orders of that kind were

"I blazed away; and, Nick, I put five bullets through that figure just
as sure as you're an inch high."

"What happened then?"

"The light went out. I got to your side, and flashed your lantern in
half a second.

"The figure had vanished. The colonel's lamp stood on the sideboard just
where he had put it.

"We had a fair light very soon. I examined you first, and, upon my word,
I thought that you were done for.

"We got you up to this room, and Horace Richmond rode off for the

"From what he said about a nervous shock you can judge how much he

"His help wasn't worth anything. I will back myself against him any day.

"I made sure that you were only stunned, and would come to all right.
Then I hurried down to that room and began my search.

"Well, you know that room. It is simply built up of traps and panels. A
man can go through the floor or the walls almost anywhere.

"My job would have been a good deal easier if there'd been less of that
secret machinery.

"When there are five hundred ways in which a thing could have been done,
it's pretty hard to say which one is right.

"There's a trap pretty nearly in the spot where the figure stood.
Probably she came up and went down through that.

"But how about my shooting? There's the point.

"I took a direct line from the place where I was to the trap.

"Following that line, I came to the screen in front of the fire-place.

"In that screen, and about four and a half feet from the floor, were
three bullets from my pistol. The other two are not there.

"Then, as I figure it out, that ghost has carried them away.

"My shooting was pretty good, considering the light. The three bullets
were in the bigness of a watch-crystal.

"I feel sure that the other two were aimed just as well. If that's true,
then one of the conspirators has some mighty serious wounds. Three went
through her, and she stopped two.

"But there isn't a drop of blood to be found. The passage under the trap
I have explored thoroughly.

"I can't find a human being or a trace of blood or any of the machinery
which they must have used for the light or the ghost.

"Of course, the failure to find traces of the conspirators is not
strange. These passages are so long, and so intricate, and so mighty
well gotten up that I haven't had time to go through them all.

"But the wounded person is another matter. Where she is hidden is more
than I can imagine."

"I hope it wasn't Miss Stevens," said Nick.

"You called her name."

"Yes; I thought the chances were that it was she, but, of course, I
couldn't recognize her in that rig for certain."

"Well, if it was she, of course, we shall find it out. It's impossible
for her to carry those two bullets around with her and not show it."

Nick was dressed by this time. They went out into the hall of the new
part. Nick had been taken to a room there, instead of being carried to
that which had been assigned to him in the old part of the house.

From below came the sound of voices. The colonel, the doctor and Mrs.
Pond were talking of the case.

Patsy stopped before a closed door in the upper hall.

A sign from Patsy arrested Nick's attention. He communicated to Nick in
their silent language:

"That's Horace's room, isn't it? Whom is he talking with?"

Nick listened. Then he laughed.

"You've fooled yourself there, Patsy," he said. "He's talking to a
parrot. It's one of his pets. He has a good many."

Patsy looked a little sheepish.

"You can't blame me, Nick," he said. "We must suspect everybody in such
business as this. Isn't that right?"

"Quite right," responded the detective.

They went at once to the old dining-hall. Colonel Richmond presently
joined them there.

To him Nick frankly explained all the events of the previous night,
including the disguise which he had adopted in order not to appear in
the ghost hunt in his own person.

In return the colonel confessed the facts of his visit to the medium.
He said that he had done it secretly, because Horace and his daughter so
strongly objected to his seeing those who held communion with the other

As to the woman who had met the colonel, he said that he did not know
her name. She was veiled all the time, and did not speak to him.

After the disturbance--he was careful not to call it an expose--this
woman had led him to the carriage, and they had hastened away.

Such was the strength of his delusion that he still believed that the
manifestations he had seen at that house were genuine. He would not
accept Nick's version of the affair.

"I have made up my mind what to do," he said. "My decision is
unalterable. I shall buy the jewels and give them to Millie Stevens. I
believe that in so doing I shall carry out my aunt's wishes."

It was a queer case for Nick. He had followed up many crimes, and had
recovered a hundred fortunes in stolen property, but this was the first
time that he had seen a robbery going on before his eyes and been unable
to prevent it.

His pride was aroused. There was no use in combating the colonel's
delusion. Of that he felt sure.

The man must be humored in order to secure delay.

"Colonel Richmond," said Nick, "I wish to suggest to you a final test in
this matter. It will settle all doubt and satisfy me thoroughly.

"If you can convert me to your views, I should think the achievement
might be worth the trouble."

"It would, indeed," cried the colonel, with sparkling eyes.

Nick, with his usual tact, had hit upon exactly the right course.

"You believe, of course," he said, "that the spirits of the dead cannot
be stopped by bolts and bars."

The colonel smiled, and nodded assent.

"The most of the jewels in dispute are, I believe, in the vaults of a
safe deposit company," Nick continued. "Very well; my test is this: Name
some article of the collection which you are sure is there, and see
whether your aunt will transfer it to Miss Stevens' possession.

"It should be as easy for a ghost to take anything from the vaults of a
safe deposit company as from that dressing-table upstairs. Will you
consent to the test?"

The colonel stood irresolute.

"Consent," said a voice, as of a woman standing beside them.

Yet the three men were the only human beings in that room.

"The voice came from that screen!" cried Patsy, and he leaped toward the
old fire-place.

He tore away the screen. No one was there.

"It was my aunt's voice," said the colonel, calmly. "I consent."

"Consent to what?" asked Horace Richmond, entering the room at that

The test was explained to him.

"Good!" he whispered to Nick. "A fine idea."

"Name a piece of jewelry," said the detective to the colonel.

"Among all her wonderful collection," replied Colonel Richmond, speaking
slowly, "there was no piece of which she was more proud than the gold
clasp, studded with diamonds, which you well remember, Horace."

"I do," responded Horace. "There is an old tradition about it. A remote
ancestor of ours is said to have brought it from the Holy Land at the
time of the third crusade."

"An ancient family," said Nick. "You have a right to be proud of your
ancestry. I accept the article named as the one upon which the test
shall be made, provided that you are sure that it is now in the vault."

"Perfectly certain," responded the colonel. "I put it there with my own
hands. Nobody else was present, except an officer of the company and my
daughter. It is utterly impossible that the jewel can have been

"I will take that for granted," said Nick. "The conditions of the test
are that this piece shall not be found in the vault when we visit it
this afternoon, and that it shall be afterward discovered in the
possession of Millie Stevens."

"Granted," said the colonel; and then in a clear voice, as if he wanted
to be sure that there was no misunderstanding in spirit land, he
announced the conditions of the test.



They then left the room. Nick dispatched Patsy secretly to the Stevens

Shortly before noon, Colonel Richmond, Horace, and Nick took a train for
the city.

At two o'clock they entered the vault of the safe deposit company.

It is a long room below the level of the street.

The walls are lined with metal drawers, fastened by locks of the most
approved pattern.

The drawers near the floor are the largest. They are, perhaps, a foot
square, as seen when closed. Near the top of the room they are much

A movable metal step-ladder stands ready for the convenience of those
who wish to reach the boxes on the upper tiers.

The space in the middle of the room is railed off, and there sits a
guard day and night.

"This is ours," said the colonel, advancing toward one of the larger
drawers. "I placed the diamond clasp on the very top of the pile of
jewels within. It was in a case of its own."

Nick turned to speak to the officer in charge.

He questioned him regarding the possibility of any person taking
anything from the boxes. He asked especially about the custody of Mrs.
Pond's jewels.

"Colonel Richmond and Mrs. Pond have the two keys necessary for opening
the drawer," said the official.

"Yes," said Colonel Richmond, speaking over his shoulder to Nick. "I
told you all about that, and I explained how the second key happened to
be in my possession instead of Mrs. Pond's."

"True," said Nick, apologetically, "that was not what I was asking

At that moment he heard the click of the drawer as it was pulled open.

"Here, wait for me!" he cried. "I should see everything."

As he stepped forward Horace Richmond was just closing the little case
which had held the diamond clasp. The colonel was turning away.

"I am deeply disappointed," he said. "The clasp is there."

As the colonel walked away with bowed head, Nick turned to Horace.

The young man's face was a study. He looked as if he had seen a
grave-yard full of ghosts.

"Nick Carter," he whispered, "this is dreadful."


"Hush! I had to fool him. I positively had to or he would have gone

He poured the words into Nick's ear in an excited whisper.

"I made him think the clasp was in the box, but it isn't. I substituted
another piece. The clasp is gone. What shall we do?"

He showed Nick the box. It contained nothing. Horace had removed the
piece which he had used in the deception.

"Good Heavens!" cried Horace. "He heard me."

He pointed to the colonel, who stood like one who has been struck upon
the head.

"Gone!" he cried, rushing toward them. "You deceived me!"

Well, they searched the drawer, and the clasp certainly was not there.

Horace explained how he had deceived the colonel by quickly putting
another piece of jewelry into the little case when he found it empty.

"I am clever at sleight-of-hand," said he, "or I could never have worked
it. I just flashed it before your eyes, uncle, and made you think that
you saw the clasp. Forgive me; I thought it was the best."

"I will forgive you, Horace," said Colonel Richmond, gently; "but now
you must believe. And you, too, Mr. Carter. Here is proof positive."

They locked the drawer and left the vault.

In the ante-chamber Nick turned to Horace.

"I suppose you'll want to knock my head off when I tell you what I now
propose to do," said the detective. "But I think it ought to be done."

"What is it?" asked Horace.

"I think you ought to be searched."

"Exactly my own idea," said Horace. "It is only fair to you. Proceed."

Nick searched him. The diamond clasp was not found. Horace certainly did
not have it.

"I hope you're satisfied," he said to Nick. "You know perfectly well
that I have had no opportunity to dispose of it. There wasn't much
chance in that vault."

Nick laughed.

"I should say not," he replied. "I'm afraid we shall have to fall back
upon the theory of the colonel."

"No theory," cried he; "but the living truth, and now proven before you
both. But let me ask, Mr. Carter, why you suspected my nephew of taking
the clasp."

"I didn't," replied Nick promptly. "I searched him in order to remove
every possibility."

"Surely he would have no motive for such an action."

"None that I can see," said Nick, with perfect sincerity.

They proceeded at once to Mrs. Stevens' house.

It was about seven o'clock when they arrived.

They drove up from the station, and on the way picked up Patsy.

During the remainder of the drive, he was busy communicating with Nick
in their sign language.

"Miss Stevens is in her room," said Patsy. "She has had a doctor with
her almost all the time. He refuses to say anything. I believe, upon my
soul, that I shot her last night."

Annie O'Neil, the servant, answered the bell.

She ushered them into the parlor, and said that Mrs. Stevens was in the
room of her daughter who was quite ill.

Annie went upstairs to summon her mistress.

A minute later the party below heard a scream.

Then Mrs. Stevens appeared. She was very pale.

In her hand she held a small object wrapped in paper.

"I have just found this upon my daughter's pillow," she said. "I have
not removed the paper, but I know instinctively what is within. It is
another jewel."

"I am equally sure of it," cried the colonel. "Open the package, Mrs.

"My hand trembles so," the lady began.

"Don't open it now," said Nick, "wait a moment. I have a suggestion to
make. And, at any rate, we all know what is within.

"Colonel Richmond. I suppose it is useless to plead with you further?"

"Quite useless," said the colonel. "Millie shall have all the jewels. I
am determined to buy them of my daughter, and make the transfer at

"Well, I am beaten," said the detective. "The case has gone against me.
But I will still try to help you. I wish to call your attention to the
legal aspects of this case.

"They may surprise you, but, before, going further, I think you should
know them. You will not accept my authority, if I state the facts as
they are.

"Mrs. Stevens, is it not true that you have one of the judges of the
Supreme Court as your neighbor?"

"Yes; Judge Lorrimer is our next neighbor on the south."

"Will you kindly send your servant to his house, or perhaps--"

He glanced at Horace.

"All right, I'll go," said Horace. "I know the judge. But I don't see
what you are driving at, Mr. Carter."

"I want to persuade Colonel Richmond to get the law in the case before
he goes further. He should consult an authority about this transfer
before he makes any more promises which may or may not be legally good."

"I think it a good idea," said Colonel Richmond. "Horace, go over to the
judge's house."

During the interval while he was gone very little was done. Mrs. Stevens
sat holding the package, and apparently deeply moved.

She several times declared to Colonel Richmond that she did not wish her
daughter to get the jewels in such a way, and that she was still
convinced that human beings had planned and executed the whole strange
series of robberies and surprises.

"If it should prove," said Nick, "that this is a conspiracy, do you wish
any arrests?"

He turned toward the colonel as he spoke.

"If it does," said the colonel, with a smile, "you can arrest me. It

"But I am serious."

"So am I. Of course, if there had been a crime I would not shield the
guilty parties, whoever they might be."

At that moment Horace returned with Judge Lorrimer, whom he had met
walking just beyond Mrs. Stevens' grounds.

"I have tried to explain the case to him," said Horace; "but he says he
doesn't understand how any legal complications can arise."

"We will try to make that clear presently," said Nick. "Mrs. Stevens,
open that package. No; wait a moment. You are agitated. You should have
a glass of water. Permit me to ring."

He put his hand upon the bell-cord.

As he did so, Mrs. Stevens opened the package. The article within rolled
out upon her lap.

It was not the diamond clasp, but an ordinary pocket-knife of large

"Why, Nick, it's yours," cried Patsy.

"So it is," responded the detective. "But this is a diamond clasp."

He drew the relic of the third crusade from his pocket as he spoke, and
handed it to the colonel.

At that moment Annie O'Neil appeared at the door in answer to the bell.

"And now," said Nick, while the others stared in wonder. "We will
consider the legal points involved.

"Judge Lorrimer, here are the necessary blank forms. Please grant me
warrants for the arrest of Horace Richmond and Annie O'Neil for criminal



No sooner had Nick uttered these words than a loud cry rang through the

Instantly Millie Stevens appeared upon the threshold of the parlor.

"Horace!" she cried. "Tell me it is not true. You have not done this."

"Certainly not," he exclaimed. "It is an absurd slander. Carter, you'll
be sorry for this."

The girl looked straight into Horace's face for an instant.

Then she uttered a moan.

"He is guilty!" she cried; "I can read it in his eyes. And I loved him

She sank upon the floor at her mother's feet.

"Oh, mother," she said, "this is a just punishment for me. You told me I
must give him up. You read his heart.

"But I secretly accepted his love. I received letters in which he begged
me to keep our love a secret, and in which I should have read a
confession of guilt.

"And all the time he loved me only because he thought that I should have
a fortune in gold and diamonds."

"You have stated the case exactly," said Nick. "When he thought you
would inherit all those jewels, he made love to you. Heaven knows that
your own attractions should have been enough, but they were not for him.

"When the jewels went elsewhere, he was probably on the point of giving
you up. I judge that from certain letters of yours in that telegraph
cipher which I found in his room.

"Then he wormed his plan for making you rich. He managed the robberies
at the house with the aid of John Gilder and one or two of that
spiritualistic gang whom he smuggled into the house.

"He did everything to increase his uncle's delusion. It was he who put
Colonel Richmond again in the hands of that medium."

"I supposed that that affair was all over," said Mrs. Stevens; "both the
colonel and I had disapproved of it."

"Annie O'Neil," said Nick, turning to the servant, "a full confession
from you is what we now require. It may save you from prison.

"We know that you managed the affair from this end. It was you who put
the jewels where they were found, after they had been given you by
Horace. It was you--catch her!"

This last exclamation was addressed to Patsy. The girl was wavering as
if she would fall.

Before Patsy could reach her she sank sobbing to the floor. She
proceeded to pour out an incoherent confession, in which little was
clear but the name of Horace Richmond, and the fact that the girl "loved
him still."

"I've been waiting for this," said Horace, with a brutal sneer. "Trust a
woman and lose the game. Well, it's all up. I loved you, Millie, but not
enough to marry you without the jewels. So I schemed for the transfer,
and I have failed."

"It was Annie O'Neil whom you followed last night, Patsy," said Nick.
"Who was the men?"

"John Gilder," gasped the terrified girl.

"And you played ghost?"

"Yes, sir."

"But how about my shooting?" asked Patsy. "How does Annie O'Neil happen
to be alive?"

"Read that from Chick," said Nick, producing a paper. "He's made some
discoveries in the colonel's house to-day while we were all away.

"He's found the ghost. It seems that this girl was inside of a hollow

"She stood over a trap door. Just as soon as she had shown her face, she
dropped the veil, and went through the trap."

"The dummy still continued to stand there, and you shot at it. Two of
your bullets flattened on its steel braces. The rest went through.

"John Gilder flashed the light. When he turned it off, the dummy was
hauled down through the trap, and hidden in a place that neither you nor
I found, Patsy."

Colonel Richmond seemed to be in a trance.

"But the mysterious force," he said, at last. "The injury to yourself
and your assistant. How do you explain that?"

"It was done by John Gilder swinging a sand-bag on a string at the end
of a pole which he poked through one of those panels.

"It couldn't be seen in that dim light, and it made a fearful weapon.
It's a wonder that he didn't knock our heads off."

"I thought that I heard something whiz," muttered Patsy.

"And yet I heard her voice this morning," said the colonel. "She said

"No, she didn't; I said it," rejoined Nick. "I'm something of a

"How was the affair managed at the safe deposit vault?" asked the
colonel, after a pause.

"Why, Horace took the clasp out of the box and put it into your pocket.
You really saw it, only he made you think afterward that you didn't.

"After I had searched him he picked your pocket and got the clasp. Then
he wrapped it in paper.

"I picked his pocket to make matters even, and substituted my knife
similarly wrapped up.

"When we got to this house he gave the knife to Annie O'Neil, who put it
on Miss Stevens' pillow when she went upstairs to call Mrs. Stevens."

"You have not explained the robberies at my house," said Colonel

"I'll do that over there. Is the rest of it clear? Has anybody a
question to ask?"

Nobody spoke.

"Annie O'Neil," said Nick, "I'll leave here in Patsy's charge. Horace
Richmond, come with us."

Horace looked ugly for a moment, and then he calmed down and sullenly
complied with Nick's order.

Judge Lorrimer begged to be of the party in order to see the explanation
of the mysterious robberies of which he had heard.

Two hours later they all stood in Mrs. Pond's room.

"The essential part of this matter," said Nick, "was this door which
appeared to open and close of itself.

"I saw that at a glance, and made a secret investigation. It is done by

"There's a magnet in the casing which is powerful enough to swing the
door to, after which the same magnet pushes this little bolt--which
looks like an ordinary screw--into position, and that holds the door,
but not very steadily.

"You may say that this should have given me the criminal at once, but it

"You see, this electro-magnet works whenever a current is turned into
the wires. Horace was clever enough to have the wires lead all over the

"A connection with the electric light wires, furnishing the current, can
be made in almost every room in the house.

"Of course, I suspected Horace at once, because his room was directly
overhead. In fact, the two are connected, as you see, by a ventilator in
the form of a pipe with a grated opening in each room.

"The grating here, you see, is open."

"But, bless me," exclaimed Judge Lorrimer, "no thief could come through
such a place. Why, it isn't six inches square."

"Step in here a minute and see," said Nick, and then he called out:

"All ready, Chick!"

The whole party had by this time gone into Mrs. Pond's sitting-room.

Nick said hush, and pointed to the ventilator. Most of the party could
see it through the door.

Instantly there appeared a mass of green feathers, and then Horace
Richmond's parrot fluttered noiselessly down into the room.

For a minute or two it ran around the floor. Then it flew up on to the
dressing-table, seized a small gold bar pin in its beak, and flew back
into the ventilator pipe.

"A nice trick," said the detective. "I believe it took you some time to
teach the bird that."

"About a year," growled Horace. "The bird was well trained before."

"Is it all clear?" said Nick.

"Perfectly," said the colonel. "But how did you get at it?"

"Simply enough. There was only one way into this room when those
robberies were committed, and the parrot was the only living thing in
the house that was small enough to go through that pipe and intelligent
enough to do the trick.

"You see, Horace trained the bird to pick up bright objects, and
especially articles of the color of gold, and to go up and down that

"Then he schemed to have your daughter come here. The rest was easy. He
waited till she was in the farther room, and then closed the door
between by the electrical device.

"Immediately he sent down the parrot. The bird was so well trained that
he required only a minute or two to secure something.

"Of course, it was not always something of value. There were probably a
dozen failures where the bird brought back nothing or some useless
object that glittered.

"I suspected the bird, and so put Chick on that lay. As you see, he has
got the creature to work very well.

"Now, colonel, what more can I do for you? What shall be done with the

"Nothing; I will not prosecute."

"I guess we can hush it up, if you say so," responded Nick. "By the way,
there's one thing that I want to explain. I mean the strange appearance
of that diamond pin in the box on the occasion of Mrs. Stevens' first

"It was not the real pin, but a duplicate which had been prepared in
advance. Horace had put up that game as a finishing touch for his uncle.

"Mrs. Pond had forced Horace to go for me; but he wouldn't be scared
out. He played the game right under my nose.

"Annie O'Neil had the duplicate pin. She opened that box while Mrs.
Stevens was calling to her daughter, as she testified, and put the
duplicate into it. Then she wrapped it up just as before."

"So I won't have to give up the jewels," said Mrs. Pond.

"I am afraid you will," said Nick; "the queerest part of the story is to

"Chick has found a later will by Miss Lavina Richmond. It is undoubtedly

"And where do you suppose it was found? The strangest of all places--in
Horace Richmond's room."

"She died there," responded the colonel. "She must have hidden the will
during her last illness."

"It is strange to think of Horace Richmond struggling with that parrot,
and putting up his elaborate schemes, while the document which would
have given him all he wanted was hidden in his own room."

Horace Richmond's face at that moment was an amusing spectacle.

So was Mrs. Pond's.

"Never mind, daughter," said the colonel. "It is better so. I will make
good the loss to you."

And so ends Nick Carter's ghost story in a most natural manner.

Nobody was ever punished for the affair. Even the gang of mediums and
heelers whom Nick had rounded up were released after their night in
jail, because, on sober second thought, their dupes were ashamed to
complain against them.





"I call it a perfectly plain case, Mr. Colton."

"A case of what?"

"Why, murder, of course."

"Who has been murdered?"

As "Mr. Colton"--who was no other than Nick Carter--asked this question,
his face looked as innocent as a babe's. He seemed surprised to hear
that there had been a murder, though his companion, Lawrence Deever, had
been saying so repeatedly during the last half hour.

Deever now looked at Nick with eyes and mouth wide open.

"Who has been murdered?" he repeated. "My brother has been murdered."

"What makes you think so?" asked Nick, calmly.

"What, indeed!" exclaimed Deever. "I have told you already."

"No, you haven't. You have told me that your brother has been missing
since night before last."

"I told you more than that," cried Deever. "He is known to have
quarreled with that man Jarvis."

"Dr. Jarvis, of St. Agnes' Hospital?"

"Of course. And I have proved--"

"You have proved nothing," said Nick. "Let me repeat your statements:

"Your brother Patrick worked for Dr. Jarvis, or under his direction, in
the garden of St. Agnes' Hospital. The doctor frequently remonstrated
with Patrick for drinking too much whisky, and--"

"Remonstrated!" exclaimed Deever. "That's hardly the word for it. He
abused the lad. He struck him half a dozen times during the last week."

"With the flat of his hand," said Nick, smiling. "That is hardly the
foundation for a charge of murder."

"It shows that Jarvis is a violent man," said Deever, "and everybody
knows that he is."

"He has a bad temper, I will admit."

"He's a dangerous old crank."

"Well, to continue your statement of the case, late on Monday afternoon
they were heard quarreling in the garden. They were seen there about
half-past six o'clock.

"A little after half-past seven the doctor was seen coming toward the
hospital. He was greatly excited. He passed Martin Burns, who drives the
hospital ambulance.

"Martin went into the garden and failed to find Patrick. Nobody can tell
what became of your brother or how he got out of the garden."

"Yes; that's the point," Deever cried. "How did he get out?"

"He may have climbed over the wall."

"You've forgotten that his coat, with a little money in the pocket, was
found hanging on the limb of a tree."

"No, I did not forget that."

"Well, why did he leave it?"

"I don't pretend to know."

"And what has become of him?"

"There, again, I shall have to find out the facts before I answer."

"I tell you he was murdered."

"Now," said Nick, smiling again, "I shall have to turn your own question
against yourself: If he was murdered, what's become of him?"

"You mean where's his body?"


"But do you mean to tell me," cried Deever, indignantly, "that if this
man has hidden my brother's body so that nobody can find it he will
escape punishment for his crime?"

"Nothing of the sort," Nick replied. "I only wish to curb your

"I'm not more impatient than any man in my situation ought to be. I
simply demand justice."

"Or, in other words--"

"I want you to arrest Dr. Jarvis."

"I can't do it."

"Why not?"

"We must have some sort of proof that your brother is dead. We can't try
a man for the murder of somebody who may be alive for all we know."

"You seem to be working in Jarvis' interest," said Deever, with a sneer.

"Not a bit of it. You know why I am here in your house."

"Because Superintendent Byrnes sent you; and I supposed that he had sent
a good man. He promised the best."

"Well, that ought to satisfy you."

"There was no need of sending anybody. We might have arrested Jarvis at
once. Any ordinary policeman could have got evidence enough to convict."

"But the superintendent did not think so."

"No; and I'm willing he should work in his own way, so long as I get
justice in the end. Now, what do you want?"

"Well," said Nick, appearing to consider the subject deeply, "I would
like some evidence of a motive."

"I don't believe there was any motive. The thing was done in anger."

"Then I want evidence of a really serious quarrel."

"Very well; you wait right here, and I'll bring a man who knows
something about it. I heard of him this morning, and had time to ask him
a few questions, but I don't know all he has to tell."

Deever hastily left the room. From the window Nick saw Deever pass up
West One Hundred and Forty-third street, on which the house stood. He
was going in the direction of St. Nicholas avenue.

In less than an hour he returned with a young man whom he presented as
the important witness for whom he had been in search.

"Your name is Adolf Klein?" said Nick.

The witness nodded. He was a bashful, awkward fellow, who did not seem
to be possessed of the average intelligence.

"Where do you work?" was the next question.

"I'm a bartender in Orton's saloon, up on the avenue."

"Do you know what has become of Patrick Deever?"

"All I know is this: I was passing the grounds of the hospital Monday
evening and stopped just by the wall. The reason I stopped was that I
heard Pat Deever inside, talking very loud. He called somebody an old
fool and swore at him."

The witness paused. He seemed to be a good deal excited. It was not very
warm in the room, but the perspiration was pouring off of Klein's

"Was that all you heard?" asked Nick.

"No; I heard more hard talk, and then a blow was struck. It sounded
heavy and dull. Then came more blows. Somebody seemed to be pounding. It
sounded as if he was pounding on the ground, and if it hadn't been for
the loud talk just before, I'd have thought that Pat was smoothing down
a flower-bed with his spade."

"Did you hear any talking after the blow?"

"I didn't hear Pat's voice again."

"Did you hear any voice?"

"I heard somebody muttering. The voice sounded like Dr. Jarvis'. I've
been to the hospital, and I know the doctor."

"Did you look over the wall?"

"No; it's too high there. I ran around to the gate on St. Nicholas
avenue and tried to see in; but I couldn't. There were too many trees
between me and the garden."

"Then what did you do?"

"I went home."

"Did you say anything about what you had heard?"

"Not that night."

"When did you first speak of it?"

"This morning."

"To whom?"

"To Mr. Deever. He was in the saloon, and he told me that his brother
was missing."

"Well," cried Deever, who could keep silence no longer, "what do you
think of that?"

"It is important evidence."

"You remember," Deever continued, "that when I went to ask Jarvis where
my brother was, he admitted having quarreled with him, but said that it
ended in words. Now we know that it ended in blows."

"What time was it when you heard that blow?" asked Nick of Klein.

"Must have been about half-past seven," Klein replied.

"How do you know?"

"When I walked up the avenue I saw the clock on the church up by One
Hundred and Fiftieth street. It was a quarter of eight."

"That fits the case exactly," Deever exclaimed. "It was a little after
half-past seven when Burns saw Jarvis coming in from the garden."

"That is true."

"Will you arrest Jarvis now?"

"I will not," said Nick. "The evidence is not yet sufficient."

Deever made an impatient gesture.

"Remember," said Nick, "that an accusation of murder leaves an indelible
stain. We cannot move too carefully."

"You will let him escape."

"His escape is utterly impossible," said Nick. "He is watched."

"A good many men have been watched and have got away."

"Nobody ever got away from the man who is watching Jarvis," said Nick,
quietly; and that praise was not too high, for the person in question
was Nick's famous assistant, Chick.

"And now," said Deever, "may I ask what more you need in the way of

"I need proof of your brother's death."

"In short, we must find the body."


"Very well," sneered Deever, "I suppose I must do it myself. I've got
nearly all the evidence thus far."

"By all means do it," said Nick, with his calm smile, "if you can."

Deever stared at him for more than a minute without speaking. Then he

"Colton, why do you treat this case as you do?"

"What do you mean?"

"You don't seem to want to go ahead with it."

"I don't want to go ahead with it any faster than the facts will
justify. If you had had more experience in such matters you would know
the folly of arresting a man first and getting facts to warrant the
arrest afterward. As I say, I want more facts, and you must help me to
get them."

The last part of this conversation was held as Nick, Deever and Klein
passed out upon the street.

A ragged young man who was leaning against a tree heard it, and was much

For the ragged young man was Patsy, and he had never heard Nick Carter
ask anybody except his regular assistants to help him in that way



Dr. Jarvis, chief of the staff of St. Agnes' Hospital, was well known as
a peculiar man.

He was rich enough to take his leisure, but he worked like a slave. He
had an elegant house on St. Nicholas avenue, but he spent all his days
and more than half his nights at the hospital.

A rude cot in a little room adjoining his laboratory in the hospital was
his bed four nights in seven on the average. His only recreation was
found in the care of a little garden in the hospital grounds; and it was
the common talk of the younger physicians that Dr. Jarvis enjoyed
finding fault with the gardener more than he did cultivating the

He had a wife and a young, unmarried daughter, whom he loved devotedly,
but to whom he gave only a few hours of his time in the course of a

A negro named Caesar Augustus Cleary was the doctor's assistant in the

The other physicians in the hospital said that Cleary had become so
accustomed to Jarvis' ways that, like a Mississippi mule, he had to be
cursed before he could be made to understand anything.

Cleary slept in a little closet similar to the doctor's, and on the
opposite side of the laboratory. He was asleep there, about twelve
o'clock on the night after Nick's visit to Lawrence Deever, when Nick
crept softly through the window.

All these rooms were on the ground floor and entrance was easy.

Nick had spent a part of the evening in the garden. He had watched till
the light went out in the laboratory and another appeared in the
doctor's bed-room. Then he was ready for a search of the premises.

If, in a moment of anger, Dr. Jarvis had struck Patrick Deever and
killed him, it was likely that the laboratory would hold some trace of
the secret.

The best way to hide a human body is to utterly destroy it. This is no
easy task for an ordinary man, but to a scientist, like Dr. Jarvis, it
would be comparatively easy.

However, it would take time. Patrick Deever had disappeared on Monday
night. Forty-eight hours had elapsed, but yet Nick hoped to find a
trace, if the work of destruction had been attempted in the laboratory.

Nick had entered Cleary's room with the purpose of guarding against any
interruption from the negro. He found Cleary sleeping heavily; but when
Nick left the room and glided into the laboratory, Cleary's sleep was
even deeper than it had been before.

An adept in chemistry, Nick knew how to produce a slumber from which no
ordinary means could arouse the sleeper. His drug was sure and it left
no bad effects.

The laboratory was unlighted, except by the moon, which shone in over
the shutters, which covered the lower parts of the windows, preventing
observation from without.

The first object which attracted Nick's attention was a corpse which lay
upon a stone table in the middle of the room.

Nick had made a hasty search of the laboratory some hours before, while
the doctor had been at dinner. He had then seen this corpse, and had
assured himself that it was not Patrick Deever's; but he had been unable
to do much more before the doctor returned. Therefore, he had made this
late visit.

He first examined some instruments which lay near the dissecting-table.
They revealed nothing. Then for perhaps half an hour, he searched
various parts of the room without result.

Beneath the laboratory was a cellar in which, as Nick knew, were
electric apparatus and a furnace which the doctor used for his

Nick was about to descend into this cellar when a noise in the direction
of the doctor's room attracted his attention.

He turned and beheld Dr. Jarvis entering the laboratory.

Realizing the possibility of such an event, Nick had disguised himself
as Cleary, yet he wished to avoid being seen if possible.

He got into the darkest corner available and watched.

Dr. Jarvis had on only his night-shirt, a skull-cap and a peculiar red
dressing-gown, which he wore whenever he worked in the laboratory or in
the garden. This dressing-gown and the queer red skull-cap were so old
that nobody about the hospital could remember when they had been new.
Cleary once said that he believed they were born and grew up with the

Without noticing Nick, Dr. Jarvis advanced directly toward the
dissecting-table. He had no light, but the moon's rays glanced brightly
around the slab.

The doctor drew back the sheet which covered the figure, revealing the
head and naked breast.

Then he drew some instruments from a case, and proceeded to sever the
head from the body.

This secret action in the dead of night surprised Nick greatly. Could it
be that some clever trick had been accomplished? Had the body which Nick
had seen been removed, and that of Patrick Deever substituted?

From where he stood Nick could not see the face of the body clearly
enough to form a decision. If, however, this was only an ordinary
subject for the dissecting-table, why did Dr. Jarvis mutilate it with
such caution and at such an hour?

To cut off the head was the work of a very few minutes to the skillful

He soon held it in his hands; and it seemed to Nick that the old
physician gazed at it with peculiar attention in the moonlight.

Suddenly Dr. Jarvis turned, and, carrying the head in one hand, holding
it by the hair, he advanced toward Nick. In his other hand the doctor
held a knife which he had used in his ghastly work.

Nick had little hopes of escaping discovery. Evidently it was the
doctor's intention to carry the head into the cellar, and the detective
was concealed close by the stairs.

But Nick was not discovered. Dr. Jarvis stalked by, within six feet of
him, and looked neither to the right nor to the left.

Still bearing the head, he descended the stairs, and Nick crept after

The cellar was perfectly dark except where a faint glow around the
little furnace could be perceived. Nick was therefore able to follow the
doctor closely.

But suddenly the place was made light. Dr. Jarvis had touched a button
in the wall, and a row of electric lights, suspended before the furnace,
flashed up.

Nick had barely time to drop flat on the floor behind a row of great
glass jars full of clear fluid, the nature of which he could not

These jars were set upon a sort of bench made of stone, rising about two
feet from the floor. Between them and the furnace stood the doctor. Nick
was on the other side.

It seemed tolerably certain to the detective that Dr. Jarvis would
throw the head into the furnace. Nick determined to get a sight of the
head at once. He was yet uncertain whether it was Patrick Deever's.

Rising on his hands and knees he peered between two of the jars. The
head was not more than a yard from Nick's eyes, but the face was turned

By the hair, and the general outline, it might be Deever's. At all
hazards Nick must get a sight of it before it was consigned to the
furnace in which a fire, supported by peculiar chemical agencies and
much hotter than burning coal, raged furiously.

Suddenly, when it seemed as if the doctor was about to raise an arch of
fire-brick in order to throw the head into the fire, he turned and
dropped the grim object into the jar almost directly above Nick's head.

It was carefully done, though quickly. The head sank without a splash.
Only a single drop of the fluid--a drop no bigger than a pin's
point--fell upon the back of Nick's hand.

It burned like white, hot iron. It seemed to sink through the hand upon
which it fell.

Nick sprang to his feet, not because of the pain of the burning acid,
but because he knew that he must instantly obtain a sight of the head or
it would be dissolved.

It lay face upward in the jar, but the acid, even in that instant, had
done its work.

All semblance to humanity had vanished. As Nick gazed, the head seemed
to waver in the midst of the strange fluid, and then, suddenly, Nick
saw, in a direct line where it had been, the bottom of the jar.

The head had been dissolved.

Nick raised his eyes to Dr. Jarvis' face.

There stood the doctor, entirely unmoved. He looked directly at Nick but
seemed not to see him.

His eyes were fixed, and their expression was peculiar. One less
experienced than Nick would have supposed Dr. Jarvis to be insane.

Certainly his conduct as well as his appearance seemed to justify such a

But Nick knew better. He recognized at once the peculiar condition in
which Dr. Jarvis then was. He had seen the phenomenon before.

"Walking in his sleep," Nick said to himself. "Shall I wake him here? I
think not. Let me see what he will do."



Nick was not greatly surprised by his discovery. He knew that Dr. Jarvis
was a sleep-walker.

The reader may remember the case of a young woman who, in her sleep,
walked nearly a mile on Broadway, and was awakened by a policeman to
whom she could give no account of her wanderings.

At that time, the newspapers had a good deal to say about sleep-walking,
and several good stories were printed about Dr. Jarvis. The doctor was
sensitive on the subject, and he had threatened the most dreadful
vengeance if he ever found out who had betrayed his secret to the

These stories came into Nick's mind at once. He decided to witness this
strange scene to the end.

There was, however, little more to be observed. The doctor extinguished
the lights and ascended the stairs.

He paused a moment beside the mutilated body; put away his knife, drew
the cloth over the corpse, and then turned toward his room.

Nick followed, and entered the room close behind the somnambulist. It is
sometimes possible to question a person in that condition, and to learn
what he would not disclose when awake.

Some such intention was in Nick's mind, but he had no opportunity of
executing it. The doctor walked to the window, of which the shade was
drawn. Accidentally he touched the cord, and the shade, which worked
with a spring, shot up, making a loud noise.

With a peculiar, hoarse cry, the doctor awoke. He exhibited the nervous
terror common at such times. He jumped back from the window, and turned
toward the bed.

Nick, disguised as Cleary, stood directly before him. It was impossible
to avoid discovery. The moonlight flooded the room.

"Cleary!" cried the doctor, "why are you here?"

"I heard you moving about, sir," replied Nick, imitating Cleary's voice
which had very little of the ordinary peculiarities of the negro.
Indeed, he was an educated man.

"Walking in my sleep again," muttered the doctor. "And such dreams!
Great Heaven! such dreams!"

"I thought you must have had a bad nightmare," said Nick.

"I have. It was dreadful."

The doctor pressed his hands to his head.

"What did you dream, sir?"

"What business is that of yours, you infernal, inquisitive rascal?"

"Well, sir," said Nick, respectfully, "I thought from what you did--"

"Did? What did I do?"

Nick very briefly described the scene which he had witnessed.

Dr. Jarvis seemed overcome with horror.

"Is it possible?" he cried.

Then suddenly he turned and hurried out into the laboratory. He went
straight to the corpse upon the slab of stone, and drew back the cloth.

Nick followed, and together they gazed upon the mutilated body. It
seemed to Nick that it was the same which he had seen before, and which
he had known to be not that of Patrick Deever. But in the uncertain
light he could not be certain.

Dr. Jarvis gave him little time for making his decision.

He hastily replaced the cloth, shuddering convulsively as he did so.
Then he returned to his room.

He sat down upon the edge of his cot, and held his head in his hands.
When he looked up his violent mood had passed away. He seemed to wish to

"It was a hideous dream," he said.

"Murder?" asked Nick.

"There was murder in it," replied the doctor. "I thought that I had
killed--that I had killed a man."

"Patrick Deever?"

"How the devil did you know that?" cried the doctor, springing to his

"Well, sir, the man has disappeared, and--"

"And somebody has been filling your head with foolish stories. Who was

"Mr. Deever was asking some questions about his brother."

"And you told him everything you knew, and a good deal more, I suppose?"

"I didn't tell him anything."

"It's lucky for you that you didn't. Now, look here, Cleary, you know
where your interest lies. Don't you lose a good job by talking too

"No, sir; I won't. But there's something in dreams, and--"

"There was agony in this one. I thought that I had killed Deever, and
was obliged to hide his body. I felt that the police were close upon me.

"It seemed as if I had only one night in which to make myself safe. I
thought first of burning the body in the furnace. Then it seemed best to
use the acid. Heavens, I am glad to be awake again!"

"Such a dream as that means something, sir."

"It means this--that miserable, drunken rascal has disappeared, and I am
likely to have trouble about it."

"He'll come back."

"I don't know about that. Perhaps he won't come back."

"Have you any idea where he is, sir?"

"Do you think I killed him, Cleary?"

"No, sir; certainly not."

"But suppose I did? What then?"

"Well, sir; it's a terrible thing. I--"

"Would you betray me?"

"I would not say a word unless I was sure that you were guilty."

"Even then, why should you speak?"

"There's a conscience, and--"

"Nonsense! What business is it of yours? Now look here; you think a good
deal more about money than you do about your conscience. I've got money,
and I'm willing to pay well to keep out of trouble."

"But I don't want to get into any."

"You won't. All you've got to do is to keep still."

"Keep still about what, sir?"

"This sleep-walking to-night."

"I won't say a word, unless--"

Nick hesitated. He wished to give the doctor the impression that his
innocence was by no means clear, and that the idea of shielding a
murderer was not to be entertained.

His acting was evidently successful.

"Look here, Cleary," said the doctor, "I don't trust you. There's just
one thing that will satisfy me. You must get away."

The doctor was trembling violently. Evidently fear had taken possession
of him.

"Get away?" asked Nick, as if surprised.

"Yes; I'm afraid of you. You will talk."

"But where shall I go?"

"Go to Australia," said Dr. Jarvis, after a moment's reflection. "You
have no family. It makes no difference to you where you go, so long as
you have money."

"How much money?"

"In that safe," said the doctor, pointing to a steel box in the corner,
"there is enough to start you. I have about five thousand dollars in
cash there, and I will send ten times as much more after you. Is that

"You take my breath away," said Nick. "When must I go?"

"At once; to-night."

"But, Dr. Jarvis--"

"Don't talk. Do it. If fifty thousand dollars isn't enough, you shall
have a hundred thousand within six months."

"How do I know that you will send it?"

"If I don't, come back and denounce me."

"But how will you explain my going?"

"I will say that you have gone to Europe for me as you did go three
years ago."

Nick shook his head.

"Dr. Jarvis," said he, "I've worked for you twenty years, and I think as
much of you as of any man living, but I can't do this."

"Why not?"

"I can't shield a guilty man."

"Nonsense, you idiot; I am as innocent as you are."

"Then why do you send me away? No, Dr. Jarvis, this is plain to me. You
killed him."

"I killed him?" cried the doctor.

"Yes; but you are not a murderer at heart. Some accident led to this.
Tell me how it happened, and if it is as I think, I will go."

"I tell you I am innocent. I had nothing to do with this man's

Despite all Nick's ingenuity, Dr. Jarvis stuck to this assertion. There
was nothing left for Nick, in the character of Cleary, except to pretend
to believe it.

He resolved to accept the doctor's bribe. This was almost necessary, for
in any case he would be obliged to remove Cleary.

After this conversation, it would not be safe to leave the negro there.
The doctor would, of course, discover that some trick had been played
upon him as soon as he mentioned the events of the night to Cleary.

The results which would follow such a discovery Nick wished to avoid.

He, therefore, with great caution, accepted the proposal, and received a
large sum as the first installment of the blackmail.

As to the doctor's real intentions, Nick was in some doubt. It seemed
probable that he meant to sacrifice Cleary to secure his own safety in
case it became necessary.

If Cleary ran away, it would be easy to divert suspicion to him.

The case against Dr. Jarvis looked very plain. Innocent men do not take
such desperate measures. And yet Nick was far from reaching a definite
opinion in the case.

He returned to Cleary's room; and it required a good deal of skill to
keep the doctor out of it. If he had entered, and had seen two Cleary's,
it is hard to say what desperation would have led him to do.

For an instant Nick had an idea of letting him do it, and then attempt
to secure a true statement of the case with the aid of the shock which
the doctor would have sustained on discovering how he had been duped.

But second thought showed him the necessity for a different procedure.

From Cleary's window he signaled for Chick, who was in waiting near the
wall, and to him he delivered the unconscious form of the negro.

Then he returned to take his leave of the doctor--a difficult business,
which he managed with great skill.

This done, he secretly left the hospital.

What had been the true meaning of the night's events? It puzzled him to

Was the body on the slab that of Patrick Deever, or had the doctor gone
through in his sleep the act which he intended to perform later with the
real body?

Nick thought that the latter was more probable. He was inclined to
believe that the body of Deever might be concealed about the building.
If so, he would find it.

Reflecting thus, he passed outside the hospital walls.

Three men were approaching along St. Nicholas avenue. Two of these he
quickly recognized as Chick and Lawrence Deever. The other was unknown
to him.

Evidently Chick had sent Cleary away in a carriage which they had kept
waiting near the hospital during the evening. How he had met Deever,
Nick could not guess.

He went forward to meet the three men.

He had removed the disguise in which he had deceived the doctor, and was
now as Deever had seen him before.

Deever recognized him at once, and started forward, saying:

"You ask for proof of my brother's death. I will give it to you. Here is
a man who saw him buried."

And he pointed to the stranger.



Nick received Deever's startling intelligence with every evidence of

"You are doing great work, Mr. Deever," said he. "We shall soon have
this affair straightened out."

As Nick pronounced these words he signaled to Chick in their sign
language as follows:

"What do you think of this witness?"

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