The Seal of Gijon - Nicholas Carter - E-Book

The Seal of Gijon E-Book

Nicholas Carter

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The Seal of Gijon
 Dared for Los Angeles
 A Pet for the Children
 A Cat That Saved a Man's Life
 Student Life in Russia
 A Beautiful Swiss Custom
 Undesirable Room
 The News of All Nations
 Advertisement: Tobacco Redeemer

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NICK CARTER STORIES

THE SEAL OF GIJON; Or, NICK CARTER’S ICE-HOUSE FIGHT.

1915

© 2022 Librorium Editions

ISBN : 9782383832553

Contents

The Seal of GijonDared for Los AngelesA Pet for the ChildrenA Cat That Saved a Man's LifeStudent Life in RussiaA Beautiful Swiss CustomUndesirable RoomThe News of All NationsAdvertisement: Tobacco Redeemer

CHAPTER I.SLIPPED AWAY.

“Look out! You’ll run us down!”

The response was a growling oath, as the heavy launch came on, full speed, straight across the river.

Nick Carter, sitting at the wheel of another craft of the same type, saw the danger, even before his assistant shouted this warning.

“Keep quiet, Chick!” he ordered, in his calm tones. “I’ll make it!”

The famous detective had handled motor boats before, and he knew he could dodge the erratic craft cutting across his bows, unless the other man changed his course at the crucial moment.

They were abreast of Yonkers, and at that point the lordly Hudson is swift, as well as wide.

The launch coming across the river had suddenly appeared from the shadow of the Palisades, apparently bound straight for the busy city on the opposite shore.

In it were three men.

The one at the wheel, who appeared to be in general command, had a square, bulldog sort of face, with heavy jaw, outstanding ears, and other features that make more for physical determination than beauty.

Another man, who scowled at Nick Carter and Chick with an evil intentness that made the latter long to jump on him and have it out there and then, sat in the stern and whispered something in the ear of the engineer.

This second man was lean of face and evidently long of body. He had deep-set, unwinking eyes, and a square face at the bottom which suggested that he was at enmity with most of his kind.

With it all, there was a restless cunning in the far-buried eyes which made him even more unpleasant to contemplate than the man to whom he was whispering.

As if to counterbalance to some extent the preponderance of brutal humanity in the launch, the third passenger was a rather small, slight young man, who looked hardly old enough to vote. His face was pale and his eyes had a gentle, appealing expression, almost like that of a very innocent, unsophisticated girl.

Appearances are deceitful very often. So let it be stated at once that this gentle young fellow, barely out of his teens, and whose voice was as mild as his looks, was none other than Pet Carlin, one of the cruelest, most unscrupulous gangsters in New York City.

Carlin’s name was supposed to be Peter. That had been shortened by his associates to “Pete.” Afterward the final “e” had been clipped off, because of his inoffensive appearance and manner, and he was known as “Pet.”

Nick Carter shut off his power, and manipulated the wheel carefully, as he saw that the man in the other boat was recklessly driving straight toward him.

There was only a narrow margin for the two launches to pass each other, but it would have been done successfully had not the stranger deliberately turned his wheel just as Nick Carter was gliding past in safety by the most skillful management of his helm.

“Larry!” exclaimed Pet, in a startled tone.

He was staring hard at the two passengers in Nick Carter’s boat—two men who wore handcuffs on their wrists—and a quick look of recognition had passed back to him.

“What?” growled the man at the wheel, Larry Dugan. “What’s biting yer, Pet?”

“Look!”

All three of the men in the launch gazed at the two handcuffed men, and all three expressed their astonishment in low grunts.

“Get ’em!” whispered the man behind the steersman—he of the deep-set, cunning eyes. “We’ve got to do it!”

It was just as this was said that the collision came.

The launch coming across the river headed straight for the middle of the other. Only because Nick Carter swung his wheel around, thus receiving a glancing blow, instead of one head-on, was his boat saved from being cut in two.

As it was, the two launches hung motionless for a moment, as two men might before they fell after receiving a mortal blow.

Then, as Nick gave another quick turn to his wheel, and at the same time opened the throttle, he slid past the other launch and was free, in the open water.

It was only for a moment, however.

The detective had seen, at the first glance, that the launch occupied by the three forbidding-looking men was superior to his own in the case with which it could be manipulated.

It was narrower in the beam, and the engine was more powerful. Besides, it answered to its helm more smoothly and promptly than his own.

Nevertheless, as Nick Carter, in that short instant, managed to get a full view of the faces of the men, he recognized them all. Also, he saw that they knew his two handcuffed passengers.

Further proof of this came at once, when, as Nick swung his launch clear, the man at the wheel of the other boat, with a snarl, twisted his wheel and again brought the two launches against each other, parallel, with a crash.

“Look out, Chick! Hold the gunwale of that other boat!” shouted Nick Carter. “Don’t let them get away!”

“I should say not!” was Chick’s response. “Don’t you see who they are?”

“Of course I do!” shouted back Nick Carter. “That fellow at the wheel is Larry Dugan.”

The detective had seen that three of the worst ruffians in New York—men who could be hired to beat, or even kill, a man, for pay—were in the launch, and he could not keep a horrible suspicion out of his mind which implicated Don Solado and Prince Miguel, his two handcuffed prisoners.

It was Nick Carter’s determination now to catch the three thugs. He had little doubt that they had been hired by Solado and Miguel to make away with a man they wanted to keep out of sight, for a time at least.

The man’s name was Prince Marcos.

In this supposition he was right. But he did not give the rascals credit for quite so much audacity as they possessed.

As Nick reached over the sides of the two launches which were rubbing against each other, and grabbed the man nearest to him, who happened to be Pet Carlin, there was a loud shout from Chick.

“Look out, chief! They’re getting our men!”

The launches sprang violently apart, and Nick was obliged to let go of Pet to save himself from going overboard.

With his throttle wide open, sending the boat along at full speed, Nick swung around in pursuit of the other craft.

He had special reason to do this now, for, as Chick had warned him, the trio of ruffians had actually snatched away Don Solado and Prince Miguel, his handcuffed prisoners, under his very nose.

Only the fact that Nick had been hampered by his position at the wheel and the levers of the engine had enabled the rascals to be successful.

It was impossible for the detectives to move quickly—even if it had been safe to leave the launch to its own devices. He was obliged to keep his hand on the steering wheel, and to see that the engine was not running wild.

Larry Dugan, Foxey, and Pet all understood this, and they had taken instant advantage of the odds in their favor.

Pulling the two prisoners from one boat to the other, they had allowed them to lie down in the bottom, while Dugan, with a skill equal to Nick Carter’s own, had sent his launch full speed toward the wharves and tangle of shipping that one always sees on the water front of Yonkers.

It was the multitude of craft of all kinds hiding the wharves that gave the three thugs their advantage.

Larry Dugan was unusually skillful in handling the launch, and he had a long start of Nick Carter before the latter could get his launch around, headed for shore.

It was broad daylight, but there was a bone-racking fog on the river, and it hid the escaping boat even as it plunged in among the anchored shipping and big lumber barges that stretched for a quarter of a mile, at least.

“They can’t be far away,” said Nick, as he pushed his launch along. “Keep a bright lookout, Chick!”

“All right!”

But the rascals knew this part of the river and the peculiarities of the water front of Yonkers as well as did Nick Carter, and they got clear away.

The fog helped them materially. They might never have dodged the pursuing boat otherwise.

The detective also knew Yonkers. But, because he did know it, he was quite aware that it would not be so very difficult for Larry Dugan to elude him, especially with the fog to help.

“They’ve beaten us, chief!” grumbled Chick, a quarter of an hour later. “They’ve gone along inside this line of barges and shot out at the end. While we have been poking about here, they’ve headed down the river.”

“I think you’re right, Chick,” conceded Nick. “They’d hardly go up the river, of course. Well, we’ll go down, too. We’ve lost our prisoners, but I don’t care so much for that if they don’t get hold of Prince Marcos.”

“What is all this about Prince Marcos?” asked Chick. “I don’t think I have ever got the story straight, in spite of all I’ve heard.”

“It can be told in a few words,” answered Nick. “Prince Marcos is the hereditary ruler of Joyalita, a small monarchy near the Caribbean Sea. He is a decent fellow, from all I’ve seen of him.”

“Yes, I understand that,” was Chick’s quiet comment.

“Well, there is a party of grafters in Joyalita who would like the country, such as it is, to be annexed to another one adjoining. That would probably throw Prince Marcos out, and his Cousin Miguel who has just got away from us on that boat, would be made provisional ruler.”

“I see. Miguel would get Marcos’ job. But what is this about Marcos wanting to get home by the eighteenth?”

“If he gets to Joyalita on or before that date, he will be able to use his power to prevent the annexation.”

“By a casting vote?” asked Chick.

“No. As head of the country and government, he won’t have to vote. His word controls the situation.”

“What they call a royal prerogative in Europe, eh?”

“Yes.”

“And this other citizen in the handcuffs, Don Solado—where does he come in?”

“He is prime minister, and he is on the side of Miguel.”

“It’s all clear enough to me now,” remarked Chick. “Don Solado and Miguel are trying to hold Marcos here till it will be too late for him to stop this big grafting annexation?”

“Exactly! We shall have to work like Trojans now to enable Marcos to win. I’ve pledged myself to do it, however, and we shall have to manage it, somehow,” was Nick Carter’s steady conclusion, as he turned the launch downstream. “We have Larry Dugan and his crowd against us, as well as Solado and Miguel. That will make it harder. But we can beat the gang if we stick to it.”

“We’ll stick to it, all right!” responded Chick, with that determined note in his voice which his chief knew meant business.

“That’s what I like to hear, Chick. It won’t be an easy task, but we have simply got to get Prince Marcos to Joyalita by the eighteenth of this month.”

“You bet!” added Chick.

CHAPTER II.SECRET FOES AT WORK.

In spite of the sharp lookout maintained by Nick Carter and his assistant for the launch with the five rascals in it all the way down to that upper part of Manhattan Island where New York City has reached only to give certain favored persons semirural homes, they saw nothing of the evil-faced Larry Dugan and his companions.

“There’s Crownledge,” pointed out Chick, as they came opposite the handsome house, in its own grounds, which Marcos and his mother had taken for a temporary residence.

The launch ran up to the landing, and Nick Carter, leaving his assistant to take care of the boat, went into the house.

He was met at the door by Claudia Solado, Marcos’ cousin. The girl was delighted to see the detective.

“Mr. Carter, I am so glad you have come,” she said, as she put her soft hand into his. “Marcos wants to start for Joyalita at once, and, really, he is not well enough. After all he passed through in escaping from Prince Miguel and my uncle, and being so nearly drowned, he is weak and feverish. I am sure that if he will stay in the house until to-morrow morning, he will be so much better that there will be no danger.”

“You have not seen Don Solado, your uncle, or Prince Miguel, near Crownledge this morning, have you?” he asked.

“No. The last I saw of them was when you saved Marcos from drowning and allowed those two men to capture you to save him.”

“That didn’t hurt me much, you see,” laughed Nick Carter. “They seemed to think they could hold me on that hired yacht of theirs up the river. But I got the better of them. If I had not, probably I should not be here now.”

“Where are they?”

“I don’t know. But so long as they are not bothering Marcos, I don’t think we need care. Where is the prince?”

“In the library.”

“May I see him?”

“Of course. He is anxious for you to go in. He saw you through the window, coming up from the river.”

Marcos was a well-built, robust young man at ordinary times. But he did not look robust just now. His face was pale and his movements lacked their usual resiliency.

Notwithstanding all this, his resemblance to Nick Carter was startling. The features were alike, and even the poise of the head, the set of the shoulders, and the general attitude, were identical.

“This is a pleasure, Mr. Carter!”

As Prince Marcos said this, the girl actually looked closely at her cousin to make sure that he was speaking, and not the detective.

“Glad to see you are all right, sir,” returned Carter. “You’ll pardon my not calling you ‘your highness,’ will you not? In the first place, I do not think it would be wise for you to use your title while in New York, and then again I must confess it is much easier to me to speak as if you were an ordinary American or Englishman.”

“Quite right, my dear Carter!” returned Marcos heartily. “I wish you would address me as plain Mr. Joyal. That will suggest my country to me, and the name does not smell of royalty, does it?”

He asked this with a naïveté that pleased the detective. There was no nonsense about Marcos.

“Very well, Mr. Joyal. That shall be your name hereafter. Where is your valet?”

“He is here. In the adjoining room. Phillips!”

As he called this name, Phillips came in, a tall, quiet-mannered young man in a plain business suit. He did not look like a valet. It was part of his latest instructions from his employer that he should not appear to be what he was. Marcos had wisely come to the conclusion that there must not be any suggestion of royalty about him or his entourage if he meant to get back in safety to his own realm within the time limit.

“You were hurt by those men who stole Prince Marcos—I mean, Mr. Joyal—from Crownledge, the night before last, were you not?” asked Nick Carter.

“Yes. But I am quite well now,” answered Phillips composedly.

“I am glad to hear it. Mr. Joyal may need your help. He will be starting for Joyalita to-night.”

“Very good, sir.”

Phillips would have said “Very good!” if he had been told that he was to be led to execution that night, or if it had been decided to make him Prince of Joyalita. Which is by way of saying that he was a perfectly trained man-servant of the European type. Impassiveness was his trade-mark.

He withdrew now, without another word.

“My mother is at Newport, visiting friends, and desires to stay there for a month,” remarked Marcos. “After that she will spend another month or two in this country. I am glad of it.”

“So am I,” said Nick Carter quietly. “It is better for the party that goes to Joyalita to be as small and unobtrusive as possible.”

“Is it necessary to wait until to-night before Marcos goes?” asked Claudia. “Don’t you think it will be dangerous for him to remain in New York all day?”

“I don’t think so. But there would be some likelihood of the enemy spying out our doings in the daylight. We must get away without any brass-band accompaniment.”

“Do you know where my Uncle Solado is now?” asked the girl.

 

“I do not,” replied the detective.

This was the absolute truth. He did not know. He could have told how Solado and Miguel had been dragged away by Larry Dugan and his two fellow ruffians and carried off in a power launch. But that would only have led to more questioning, which he did not want.

“What time should we start?” asked Marcos.

“Not before nine o’clock,” replied the detective decidedly. “It will be quite dark by that time, and we shall have a chance to slip away without being noticed.”

“I suppose that is the better plan,” assented Marcos. “It will seem like a long day, however.”

“All the better,” rejoined Nick. “You need a rest. These four hours may do you a world of good.”

“You will not remain with me, I suppose?”

“I want to go down to my home to look after my mail and so on. But I will come back early in the afternoon.”