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About The news-herald. (Plattsmouth, Neb.) 1909-1911 | View Entire Issue (Feb. 25, 1909)
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By FRANK LOVELL NELSON C
Master Mind o! Carlton Clarke in a Unique Criminal Solution
ELEC.lt AM for yon, Clarke,"
I said, an I took the mes
sage which the bny de
livered at the door of
our Oak street apart
ments ono morning In
midsummer. A Ehudo of
anxiety passed over the.
face of my house mate.
Strango, I thought, that
Carlton Clarko, tho great
telepathic detective, Bhonld
ho disturbed by so ordin
ary an event as tho receipt of a tele
Kram. Clarko took the yellow en
velope and held It thoughtfully In
his hand us a woman studies a tele
Kram before summoning tho courage
to open It.
"Do you remember Thalda?" he
asked suddenly, still holding the en
velope as I signed tho messenger's
Ild 1 remember Thalda? As If I
could forget that plot-lous vision of
young womanhood that had flashed
Into our presence. In tho ghetto dis
trict of New York and whoso psy
chometric mind had aided us In tho
solution of the puzzling mystery of tho
"nine Itokhara." '
"I seo you do," continued Clarke.
"Well, my mind has been filled with
forebodings concerning her all morn
ing. I have no word from her for
several weeks. Something tells me
(that this messago concerns her and
that tho news Is not good. Wo will
see," and ho toro open tho envolope
and read It hastily. A look of distress,
passing quickly to a black frown of
unger, overspread hla face. Without
a word ho passed the message to me.
"On board S. 8. Magellan, oft Pen
sncola, Fin., Marconi Station. Tho
wolf's fangs "
No signature. A cipher? None that
I was familiar with, yet it must have
a meaning and a deep and terrible
one, for as I looked at Clarke his eyes
blazed with anger and beneath it he
wore a look of tho deepest concern.
, "It Is from her. The wolf! I must
nave her, but how? Sexton, can I
count on you?"
"Yon know that without asking," I
replied; "but I haven't the slightest
Idea what it all means."
"Of course not. Como Into the li
brary and I will tell you while wo
plan some method of action, I do not
yet know what.
"I first mot Thalda," continued
Clarke, when we were seated In the
library, "when I was an Interne at
Hellevuo. Sho was a student, delving
deeper than the mind of woman or
dinarlly goes into subjects phll
osopnical and psychological. Sho
was a true friend, a Jovial com
panion, and these traits, nllled with
the beauty of which you can testify.
had the effect of gathering about her
an ever enlarging court. Hut with an
admirable reserve she held them all
I alono came tho nearest to her-confl-donee,
and tho life wo lived was Ideal,
both too busy for our chosen work to
mar it by thoughts of anything closer,
both protected, she by her womanly
reserve, 1 by my sincere respect for
"Then Conipte Arniaml de Loup
camo Into our lives, lie was a young
French nobleman, very rich, living
where and how he pleased. Wo were
attracted to him by his love of the
occult which ho had studied In India,
In Tibet, wherever tho minds of think
ers run In the direction of tho unknow
. able. Ho was suave, handsomo and.
at first, charming In every way. It
was not long however until his ad
vances to Thalda became so pro
nounced as to cause her to fear him
and me to hate him with all my heart.
When it became necessary for her
definitely to repel his offers lie went
out of our sphere as suddenly ns he
had entered It, hut leaving behind him
his curses and hla vows of the most
terrible vengeance his fiery Gallic
spirit could invent.
"Nine years have passed since then
and no blow has fallen, unless this Is
it. After ho left, translating his name
literally, we called him "tho wolf.'
We often talked Jokingly of tho time
when the threatened fangs of the
. wolf would close upon ns. 'Tho fangs
of the wolf.' It must be Thalda."
As Chirke was speaking tho bell
rang again and a second messenger
arrived. Clarke feverishly tore open
tho cover and reading It passed It to
me. It was:
" - have struck. Savo me."
Like the first it was sent by Marconi
system from tho steamship Magellan
"Wait," exclaimed Clarke. "Wo can
do nothing. There will bo a third. Sho
is sending me word despite eomo ter
lie had hardly finished when tho
third message arrived. Sent from the
Mime station, it rend:
" come to "
Would there be a fourth that would
waited with all the patience we could
summon, but It camo not. Clarke
spent tho time poring over the time
tables of the North and South lines. At
last he gave up and throwing tho time
tables from him he exclaimed: "Some
thing has happened. Sho cannot fin
ish, liut thero Is another means If
only she will try It."
Then ho lay back in his chair and
closed his eyes. For more than an
hour he did not stir. I began to think
he slept. Then he Jumped up so sud
denly that he startled mo.
"Quick! 1 have it. We are going.
Pack. Don't forget the arms and
plenty of ammunition, and put In those
four automatics we go', the other day.
There may bo hot work before wo ever
see Chicago again. Let's see, the
train leaves in an hour and a quarter."
"Hut where we arc going?" I asked,
"New Orleans," he shouted as ho
dashed Into hla room to throw his
clothes out to mo to pack.
Wo reached New Orleans at dusk and
took a cab from tho railway station.
As wo drove away looking out of the
cab window I saw a swarthy, roughly
dressed man enter another cab which
immediately followed us. 1 thought
nothing of the incident at tho time
except to wonder how such a looking
Individual happened to bo riding In
And then the full Import of Clarke's
devilish cunning, his mastery of the
minds of men by the use of forces
which bordered on the supernatural,
dawned upon nio. Here was the pilot
which would guide us to the lair of
the wolf and to Thalda, the spy turned
to account against his own employer.
Tho path lay by water, this evidently
Clarko had discovered.
"Yes, it was absurdly simple," re
marked Clarke, quietly, divining as he
ro often seemed to do my train of
"As soon as I found we were watched
I knew 1 had the master key to the
situation. It was easy to turn from
the shadowed to tho shadow. I slipped
out of the hotel through tho kitchens,
prepared the way for you, and while
our pilot here was watching tho front
entrance of tho hotel I was within a
step of him and watching him. You
know my method and It was not long
beforo 1 had him In my power and
knew nil that he knows. It Is not
much except that de Loup has some
sort of rendezvous on an obscure Is
land nbout 30 miles up the coast from
the delta. It Is called the lie des
Serpents and we are going to find out
what goes on there. Hod send wo do
nut get thero too late!" Clarke's eyes
took a faraway look and I knew he
was thinking of Thalda.
"Hefore midnight we make eet,"
said Hloc, who was steering by the
compass. Silently we drew on the
larder for a repast consisting of what
ever we could find that needed no
cooking. Then despite the tossing of
our craft I succeeded In making a pot
of steaming hot coffee. We were too
near the unknown to be in tho mood
About 11 o'clock Hloc, who was peer
ing into the darkness ahead, whis
pored, "A la droit. L'lle des Serpents.
I looked and rising out of the dark
ness was a black mass against the
softer shades of tho shore line.
With directions given in whispers
we mnde fast to the landing.
"ou will stay hero with the
launch," whispered Clarko to Hloc
"and have it ready to get away at
once In case we need It
Wo stepped lightly out on tho land
ing and found ourselves facing a doo
of Iron in the otherwise blank wall
a heavy door lncrusted with knobs nnd
beset with strango heraldic devices In
has relief. These latter drew Clarke
attention nnd he studied them earnest
ly In tho dim light. Then turning to
me with a snillo of triumph ho whts
pered: "Ah, I thought so. I have the
master key. Come, we will go in."
No sound broke tho stillness. There
was nothing to denoto that a human
habitation of any sort lay beyond the
Clarke lifted a heavy knocker i
tho center of the door and began
tattoo of alternating long and short
raps. These were answered from
within nnd my companion In his turn
answered these signals.
"What is your age?" challenged
I was thunderstruck at Clarke's an
swer in an oven, fearless tone,
"Five years," he said.
"Whence do you come?" again in
quired the voice.
"From tho eternal flame," auswered
"Whither do you go?" rang out the
"To the fiamo eternal," was tho ro
"Whom do you bring
"A hitherto deluded soul who would
give us the final clue? All tho day we j gain admission among us and thus
Horror o! a Night
and the Intercep
tion of a Wireless
Message Go to
Make Up the Puz
zling Features of
a Sirange Case
and His Friend, the
in if sa n itan n n in n n m n m n s n in t in $n in-imn c n i s- t asssmml
1 1 JU-I
learn tho true story of the fall of the
And then it dawned upon me that
no matter with what diabolical fra
ternity we were dealing Clarke, with
his wonderful knowledge of the vaga
ries that have possessed the human
mind slnco tho dawn of the ages, had
Its ritual at his tongue's end.
"Hut you waste our time, which Is
precious. If the examination Is satis
factory lead us to the Vice Uegent of
Lucifer and If he so desire he may
question us further," commanded
Clarke In a tone of authority.
"TIs well. To the Temple of 11a-
homet," answered tho sentry.
He turned and motioned us to fol
low. We entered and heard the door
close behind us with a click leaving
us In utter, absolute darkness.
And then, seeming to come from the
roof over our heads, spoke a voice so
terrible in its menace, so steely cruel
In Its tones that I felt my knees be
gin to batter against each other.
"Let them that would look upon the
faco of the Vice-Regent of the Evil
One enter through the eternal flame,"
It said. "If they come on the business
of the great Lucifer they pass un
scathed. Otherwise they wither up
Our guide had disappeared as if
by magic. Motioning me to follow
Clarke pressed forward. We neared
the flame and still there camo no heat
Then Clarko stepped into it and was
lost to sight while I stood alone in
that awful corridor. Summoning all
my courage I too stepped into the
flame. Heyond a tingling of the
nerves and a stinging of the skin I
felt no sensation.
I found myself with Clarke In an lm
mense hall, tho counterpart In devil
ish decoration of the passageway we
had left. The walls, roof and floor
were of stone and tho whole scene
was so broken with recesses, grottoes
and innumerable stone Images of Sa
tanic beings that it was difficult to
judge its size. Hehlnd us the flame
alternately flashed and flickered. If
there was another entrance it was so
cunningly concealed as to escape our
notice. Hefore us was a massive al
tar, apparently hewn in the solid rock,
though upon closer examination
found It, as well as all of the Interior
decoration, to be of moulded con
e were alone. At least we saw no
forms but those of the devils and Imps
that, as In the corridor, flashed their
many colored eyes upon us from all
Suddenly the stillness was broken
by a voice from somewhere in the
deep recesses of the cavern, a voice
steely and cruel in its Icy suavity.
I looked. Yes. Thaida was there.
She seemed even more beautiful
than In the brief period when I had
before seen her. Her robes clung to
tho graceful outlines of her willowy
form. Her black hair was colled tiv'-
ly into n crown ubout her beautifully
shaped head and In Us tresses ono red
rose, mntchlng perfectly tho coral of
her lips, was the only bit of color.
Proudly she walked, and Hypntia be
fore the monks of Cecil was not love
lier nor more disdainful of her execu
tioners. Sho took her place calmly before the
center cf the semicircle. ' The count
appronched her and taking her hand
touched It to his lips with a tri
umphant snillo. She offered no show
of resistance. Had sho steeled herself
to submit meekly to whatever be In
store for her? Then ensued some
ritualistic gibberish of which I could
not catch the import, during which
each member of the semicircle seized
what looked to be a chalico from the
altar and beat upon It with a short
"O, Lucifer, Star of tho Morning,
answer thou unto the conjuration of
the Four and say If It Is thy will that
this maiden become a faithful Pal
ladlst In thy service." This tho count
Intoned in a solemn voice.
From somewhere In the roef came
tho answer in hollow reverberating
"It Is my will."
"Then rome, thou art mine," said
the count as with outstretched arms
ho advanced toward Thalda. She
stood disdainfully erect as ho neared
sri - - -i-t- II I I 11 K X w
saw mm mpowoir
N6 MMd MlDLrIdF
TPYMG TO F0r
her and I trembled to see such loveli
ness profaned by his unholy touch.
His arms were Just about to fold her
in their embrace when my straining
eyes saw a livid green flash strike
from the whiteness of her throat. Full
upon the forehend of tho count It
"'-!!cd. I saw him throw out his
arms wildly as if trying to fight It off.
Hut thero it clung, a writhing, glisten
ing streak of green.
Tho count tottered. His face and
hnnds began to turn to the sickly
shade of tarnished brass. With a
great cry he reeled headlong.
Leaping over the prostrate form
Thalda flow.liko a deer. 1 heard tho
bar of Clarke's prison houso fall. Then
the door of mine swung open. In the
twinkling of an eye we were behind
those little steel cages, Thalda be
tween us. At that instant tho lights
went out nnd wo wero In styglan
At the end of the hall we heard tho
hurrying of many feet and the moans
of men In terror of nn awful death. Al
most mechanically wo drew our
weapons nnd began to empty four
automatics into the blackness ahead.
1 do not know whether or not any of
our shots took effect. I heard no
cries. When we stopped to reload and
the reverberations of the fusllado had
died away In the recesses of tho roof
all was still.
"To the boat," whispered Clarke.
We picked up the now fainting
Thalda, dashed through the aura of
flame and down the corridor, now In
utter darkness. The door barred for
a moment our progress, but Clarke's
fingers soon found the bolt and we
"It was by ruie," said Thalda. "I
hail no thought of de Ixmp and had
long since hoped that he had passed
out of our lives, when I was summoned
by a false letter on board tho Magel
lan In New York harbor. Once there
1 was seized and locked In a cabin.
"Wo wero sitting In the ladles'
cabin. I was watching the waves
dashing over her hows. He Loup sat
watching mo. Writing materials were
on tho desk ut my elbow, but I dared
not even look nt them for fear of
arousing his suspicions. Then sudden
ly I looked tip. Ho was dozing. I
snatched a pen and wrote your ad
dress nnd three words of tho message.
Then he roused and I had only time
to snatch the paper and conceal It In
my dress before his sharp eyes were
again upon me. I would send it any
way. I knew your intuitive wit would
make something of it I Intrusted It
to the stewardess. Fortunately they
had left me my money. I told her It
was a cypher and she swore to give It
to the wireless operator In his little
rookery on the tipper deck. That was
In the morning. In the afternoon 1
again had a chance to write a few
words when 1 was again stopped by
do Loup's eye. I again went to my
cabin nnd calling the stewardess sent
it to the same address. I had one
more chance to write. Hut when It
came to telling you where to find me 1
suddenly remembered that I did not
know. I sent tho dispatch anyway. 1
hud no more chance to write. I be
lieve that do Loup already suspected.
I now think he knew It all the time
and was anxious that I lure you on.
for that same day ho told nio that our
destination was near New Orleans. 1
still hoped for a chance to get yon
word, but all tho time I telepathed
those two words to you with all the
intensity of my being."
Woman like she had omitted that
part we were most anxious to hear,
tho cause of tho death of the wolf.
"O, yes," she continued. "But the
blow that struck him I had reserved
for myself when all else had failed.
We were on tho launch going up the
narrow harbor of the Island. I was
alone on tho after deck watching the
snakes that colled and twisted in the
branches that almost swept the sides
of the boat. They had no horror for
me. for ns you know, I have a strange
power over nil animal life. Suddenly
a peculiar little green snake fell from
a tree limb onto the deck almost at
my feet. From Its triangular head I
knew It to be deadly poisonous. Here
was my weapon. I Bnatchod it up and
concealed it In my dress. I might be
able to turn it upon the count. If not
I should force It to bite myself. When
I dressed for tho ceremony I placed it
at my throat. I wns nbout to reach
for It when it struck."
"And tho sheet of flame and the
lights?" I Interposed, unable longer
to restrain my curiosity on these
"Oh. that's all simple enough," an
swered Clarke. "Mere buffoonery. I
saw through It at. the time. Tho count
was no menu electrician. He hnd his
own plant. As for the sheet of flame,
have you never seen a high frequency
current pass between two poles? Two
million voits of violet rays from such
an apparatus have been sent through
the human body with no effect but a
slight tingling and tho visible stream
(Copyrislit. by W. O. Clmpman.)
iCupyrlghl In Gruat Britain.)