The Romance of Elaine HTML version

12. The Death Cloud
Off a lonely wharf in a deserted part of the coast some miles from the promontory which
afforded Del Mar his secret submarine harbor, a ship was riding at anchor.
On the wharf a group of men, husky lascars, were straining their eyes at the mysterious
"Here she comes," muttered one of the men, "at last."
From the ship a large yawl had put out. As she approached the wharf it could be seen that
she was loaded to the gunwales with cases and boxes. She drew up close to the wharf and
the men fell to unloading her, lifting up the boxes as though they were weighted with
feathers instead of metal and explosives.
Down the shore, at the same time, behind a huge rock, crouched a rough looking tramp.
His interest in the yawl and its cargo was even keener than that of the lascars.
"Supplies," he muttered, moving back cautiously and up the bluff. "I wonder where they
are taking them?"
Marcus Del Mar had chosen an old and ruined hotel not far from the shore as his
storehouse and arsenal. Already he was there, pacing up and down the rotted veranda
which shook under his weight.
"Come, hurry up," he called impatiently as the first of the men carrying a huge box on his
back made his appearance up the hill.
One after another they trooped in and Del Mar led them to the hotel, unlocking the door.
Inside, the old hostelry was quite as ramshackle as outside. What had once been the
dining-room now held nothing but a long, rickety table and several chairs.
"Put them there," ordered Del Mar, directing the disposal of the cases. "Then you can
begin work. I shall be back soon."
He went out and as he did so, two men seized guns from a corner near-by and followed
him. On the veranda he paused and turned to the men.
"If any one approaches the house--any one, you understand--make him a prisoner and
send for me," he ordered. "If he resists, shoot."
"Yes, sir," they replied, moving over and stationing themselves one at each angle of the
narrow paths that ran before the old house.