The Romance of Elaine HTML version

11. The Wireless Detective
Del Mar made his way cautiously along the bank of a little river at the mouth of which he
left the boat after escaping from the little steamer.
Quite evidently he was worried by the failure to cut the great Atlantic cable and he was
eager to see whether any leak had occurred in the organization which, as secret foreign
agent, he had so carefully built up in America.
As he skirted the shore of the river, he came to a falls. Here he moved even more
cautiously than before, looking about to make certain that no one had followed him.
It was a beautiful sheet of water that tumbled with a roar over the ledge of rock, then
raced away swiftly to the sea in a cloud of spray.
Assured that he was alone, he approached a crevice in the rocks, near the falls. With
another hasty look about, he reached in and pulled a lever.
Instantly a most marvellous change took place, incredible almost beyond belief. The
volume of water that came over the falls actually and rapidly decreased until it almost
stopped, dripping slowly in a thin veil. There was the entrance of a cave--literally hidden
behind the falls!
Del Mar walked in. Inside was the entrance to another, inner cave, higher up in the sheer
stone of the wall that the waters had eroded. From the floor to this entrance led a ladder.
Del Mar climbed it, then stopped just inside the entrance to the inner cave. For a moment
he paused. Then he pressed another lever. Almost immediately the thin trickle of water
grew until at last the roaring falls completely covered the cave entrance. It was a clever
concealment, contrived by damming the river above and arranging a new outlet
controlled by flood-gates.
There Del Mar stood, in the inner cave. A man sat at a table, a curious gear fastened over
his head and covering his ears. Before him was a huge apparatus from which flared a big
bluish-green spark, snapping and crackling above the thunder of the waves. From the
apparatus ran wires apparently up through cables that penetrated the rocky roof of the
cavern and the river above.
It was Del Mar's secret wireless station, close to the hidden submarine harbor which had
been established beneath the innocent rocks of the promontory up the coast. Far
overhead, on the cliff over the falls, were the antennae of the wireless.
"How is she working?" asked Del Mar.
"Pretty well," answered the man.