The Master of the World
Chapter 11. The Campaign
So the undiscoverable commander had reappeared upon the territory of the United States!
He had never shown himself in Europe either on the roads or in the seas. He had not
crossed the Atlantic, which apparently he could have traversed in three days. Did he then
intend to make only America the scene of his exploits? Ought we to conclude from this
that he was an American?
Let me insist upon this point. It seemed clear that the submarine might easily have
crossed the vast sea which separates the New and the Old World. Not only would its
amazing speed have made its voyage short, in comparison to that of the swiftest
steamship, but also it would have escaped all the storms that make the voyage dangerous.
Tempests did not exist for it. It had but to abandon the surface of the waves, and it could
find absolute calm a few score feet beneath.
But the inventor had not crossed the Atlantic, and if he were to be captured now, it would
probably be in Ohio, since Toledo is a city of that state.
This time the fact of the machine's appearance had been kept secret, between the police
and the agent who had warned them, and whom I was hurrying to meet. No journal -- and
many would have paid high for the chance -- was printing this news. We had decided that
nothing should be revealed until our effort was at an end. No indiscretion would be
committed by either my comrades or myself.
The man to whom I was sent with an order from Mr. Ward was named Arthur Wells. He
awaited us at Toledo. The city of Toledo stands at the western end of Lake Erie. Our train
sped during the night across West Virginia and Ohio. There was no delay; and before
noon the next day the locomotive stopped in the Toledo depot.
John Hart, Nab Walker and I stepped out with traveling bags in our hands, and revolvers
in our pockets. Perhaps we should need weapons for an attack, or even to defend
ourselves. Scarcely had I stepped from the train when I picked out the man who awaited
us. He was scanning the arriving passengers impatiently, evidently as eager and full of
haste as I.
I approached him. "Mr. Wells?" said I.
"Mr. Strock?" asked he.
"I am at your command," said Mr. Wells.
"Are we to stop any time in Toledo?" I asked.