The Romance of Elaine
6. The Lost Torpedo
From the rocks of a promontory that jutted out not far from the wharf where Wu Fang's
body was found and Kennedy had disappeared, opened up a beautiful panorama of a bay
on one side and the Sound on the other.
It was a deserted bit of coast. But any one who had been standing near the promontory
the next day might have seen a thin line as if the water, sparkling in the sunlight, had
been cut by a huge knife. Gradually a thin steel rod seemed to rise from the water itself,
still moving ahead, though slowly now as it pushed its way above the surface. After it
came a round cylinder of steel, studded with bolts. It was the hatch of a submarine and
the rod was the periscope.
As the submarine lay there at rest, the waves almost breaking over it, the hatch slowly
opened and a hand appeared groping for a hold. Then appeared a face with a tangle of
curly black hair and keen forceful eyes. After it the body of a man rose out of the hatch, a
tall, slender, striking person. He reached down into the hold of the boat and drew forth a
"All right," he called down in an accent slightly foreign, as he buckled on the belt. "I shall
communicate with you as soon as I have something to report."
Then he deliberately plunged overboard and struck out for the shore. Hand over hand, he
churned his way through the water toward the beach until at last his feet touched bottom
and he waded out, shaking the water from himself like a huge animal.
The coming of the stranger had not been entirely unheralded. Along the shore road by
which Kennedy and I had followed the crooks whom we thought had the torpedo, on that
last chase, was waiting now a powerful limousine with its motor purring. A chauffeur
was sitting at the wheel and inside, at the door, sat a man peering out along the road to
the beach. Suddenly the man in the machine signalled to the driver.
"He comes," he cried eagerly. "Drive down the road, closer, and meet him."
The chauffeur shot his car ahead. As the swimmer strode shivering up the roadway, the
car approached him. The assistant swung open the door and ran forward with a thick,
warm coat and hat.
Neither the master nor the servant spoke as they met, but the man wrapped the coat about
him, hurried into the car, the driver turned and quickly they sped toward the city.
Secret though the entrance of the stranger had been planned, however, it was not