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Chapter 19

  • " What is your idea, Dorothy ?" asked Tom gravely. This last catastrophe, coming when all danger from the man who had stopped all war seemed past, ha_obered us all.
  • " You said there was a mast with wires beside the conning tower of th_ubmarine, that time you saw ' the man,' didn't you, Jim ? " she asked.
  • I nodded.
  • " Well, that mast was the aerial of a wireless. I don't know what he uses i_or, but apparently he has one. Now that we have the Denckel apparatus fixe_o send waves to any given point, we can send off waves of all kinds to Tokio, calling him and recalling him, until we get a wave which his receiver wil_ake. Then we can set up a straight, wireless receiving station here to tak_is answer."
  • " What will you say to him ? " Tom asked.
  • " I'll just say, —' To the man who stopped all war. War is over. All nation_re disarming. Reply to us.' "
  • " It's worth trying, anyway," said Tom, with an air of finality. " I'll g_ight to work setting up a receiving plant. I can do that, all right, but _an't send Morse through our machine."
  • " If you'll look out for the construction end of it, I can send Morse over a_rdinary key," I suggested.
  • " Then that's settled," said Tom. " I can set up a wireless that will receiv_ny waves sent from Japan, and I can set up a duplicate of the wave-measurin_achine that will send messages straight to Tokio, by means of an ordinar_orse key. Where had we better run our aerial ? "
  • " Down by the shore," said Dorothy. " We want to avoid the interfering actio_f the currents that are loose in and around the city."
  • " There's one thing you've forgotten," I interposed. " If 'the man' is in _ubmarine, your message may not reach him under water."
  • " He'll spend most of his time on the surface," said Tom. " With a first-clas_ubmarine he could spend two months under water at a time, but he wouldn'_ant to."
  • " Don't spend any more time in discussion, boys," interrupted Dorothy. " W_ust reach him the first moment possible, before any other ship goes down.
  • Meanwhile, Jim, you want to get this to the paper, don't you ? "
  • " I surely do," I responded, and I hurried off to wire the London office. _ent my telegram over our private line, and waited for the answer. In fiv_inutes it came back.
  • > " Too late, this time, my boy. Japanese first-class battleship disappeare_n broad daylight in the harbor of Tokio. They sent it on here immediately, and we have had it for some minutes. Rest on your laurels." Signed, Maxwell.
  • " Well," I thought to myself, as I returned, " I can afford to rest on m_aurels. There's not a country in the civilized world where my name is no_nown to-day." My mail was full of requests for interviews, for magazin_rticles, for lecture tours. I was a made man, and as I mused on these thing_ walked on somewhat more proudly than my wont, but as I thought over th_xperiences of the last months, saw in what an extraordinary fashion fortun_ad played into my hands, saw how Tom Haldane had saved my life by his shrew_oresight and scientific knowledge, and saw, most of all, how I had profite_y my dear girl's quick wit, I became far more humble. Most of all, I had no_et accomplished the one thing I set out to do. I had not found the man wh_as stopping all war. He still eluded me, and still was carrying on his drea_ork. I reached our hotel feeling that I was really a very ordinary mortal, after all.
  • While I had been gone, events had been moving swiftly. Some miles out from Th_ague, there was a little inn on the shore among the dunes over beyon_cheveningen to which we had twice motored down during the conference.
  • Thoroughly comfortable, a favorite meeting place in summer for the artis_olony about the watering place, it was now almost wholly deserted, because o_he lateness of the season. We felt it would make ideal headquarters for ou_ork, and soon established ourselves there. Tom was never more in his elemen_han when assembling apparatus, or when controlling men. Here was his chanc_o do both. Like magic, the tall mast reared its height among the dunes, whil_oils, wires, and instruments fell swiftly into place. Acting chiefly as _urden bearer, I ran to and fro, while Tom and Dorothy, with their assistants, brought things to completion. As I came in from a final staying of the aerial, Tom turned to me, wiping the sweat of honest toil from his face.
  • " All ready, Jim," he said. " If you'll start a message over that wire, we'l_end it through the ether by means of Denckel's machine, and drop it straigh_n Tokio. Hold on a minute, though. Let me call up my assistant on the wave- measuring machine, and see if he has heard anything."
  • A rapid conversation over the telephone we had installed, resulted. Tom turne_ack to me.
  • " As yet, I'm thankful to say, nothing happened. ' The man ' has evidentl_een experimenting this morning, and was experimenting this afternoon. He'_ight off Tokio, still. Go ahead."
  • I pressed the key and the vibrant discharge rattled from pole to pole. Ove_nd over again I gave the call. " To the man who has stopped all war." Ove_nd over again I hurled my message out across half a world. For an hour _epeated the call, my eyes and ears waiting for some response from the sounde_t my left.
  • " Let's shift the wave strength," said Tom, and they made a hurried series o_djustments. Once more I took up my task, and at five minute intervals fo_hree hours sent out my call. Again and again we changed the strength of th_ave. We struggled with the insensate metal till our heads reeled. At last, about ten o'clock, we gave up for the day. Dorothy and Tom both were worn out, and both went to their rooms. My head felt too feverish to sleep, so _andered out for a final pipe along the shore, struggling with the old proble_hich had been the theme of my thoughts for so long, — who was " the man," an_ow could I find him ? Again and again Regnier came to my mind, as I debate_he pros and cons of the ever vexing question. Along the sand, beside th_lack water, over dune, and through the long wiry grass of the hollows _ramped, till the lights of Scheveningen were just ahead. Neither moon no_tars shone forth, and my feet fell noiselessly on the yielding sand. As _rossed the summit of a dune, I stumbled on the prostrate body of a man lyin_here looking out to sea. I hastened to utter apologies in French, English an_erman, but the unknown simply bowed courteously, and started back in th_irection from which I had come. " Some smuggler, I presume," I said t_yself. " For want of anything better to do, I may as well dog his steps." O_nd on in the blackness went my stranger, his head bowed as if in dee_hought. By beach and road I followed, till, to my surprise, as we came up t_he door of the inn, the man ahead entered without once turning round. _urried after him, but the only occupant of the wide hall was the proprietor.
  • Mustering my best French, I asked news of the man who had entered.
  • " An Englishman," said my host, " mad, a little touched here;" he laid a_xpressive finger beside his head. " He has been with me for two months. H_ats and stays all day in his room. He goes at night and looks at the sea."
  • An Englishman ! Strange he had not replied to me. But weightier matter_ppressed me, and I went to bed, only to pass a troubled night, haunte_trangely by my chance acquaintance. Throughout the night he led me in a ma_hase, always seeming about to turn into some one I knew and wished to see, but always at the moment of recognition, when I was about to cry his name, h_aded, changing into a gigantic, cloudy, unfamiliar form.
  • The morning brought a messenger from the city with our mail, and we each foun_ package of letters beside our plate at breakfast. One postmarked London an_ddressed to me in my own handwriting, I seized and opened eagerly. It wa_rom Hamerly. I had sent him a photograph of Regnier, which I had receive_nly a week before.
  • " Dorothy," I said, " here is a letter from Hamerly about Regnier. As yo_now, I sent him that picture."
  • " Read it, please," requested Dorothy.
  • I obeyed.
  • > " Half Moon Street,
  • >
  • > " London, Nov. 2d, 19—.
  • >
  • > " Dear Orrington : — The man who came out of Dr. Heidenmuller's locked roo_s not the man of your picture. Both are tall and dark, but there th_esemblance ends. No allowance for the changes of a year could make them th_ame. I am sorry that the clue from which you hoped so much should have ende_n a _cul de sac_. I see by the papers that the possessor of this dread powe_as not ceased his awful work. The country here is in a state of wil_xcitement and fear over the sinking of the Japanese battleship. I sincerel_rust that you may soon be successful in your quest.
  • >
  • > " Yours fraternally,
  • >
  • > " Edgar Hamerly."
  • " I knew it," said Dorothy, with conviction. " I've told you he wasn't' th_an,' from the very first."
  • " Well," ejaculated Tom, stirring his chocolate viciously, " I wish to blaze_e was, or at least that we could find out who it is, and make him understan_hat he's a blamed fool." Drinking his chocolate, Tom rose with the remark, "
  • Now I'm going to find out whether the Denckel apparatus has recorded anythin_ew during the night." A few minutes later he returned, with a negative shak_f his head. Nothing," he said. " Let's get to work."
  • That day passed as had the preceding afternoon and evening. Twelve times a_our I sent forth the call. As each hour struck, Tom changed the strength o_he wave. The morning passed, the long afternoon waned, and the early nigh_ame on. Monotonously, as I pressed the key, my thoughts would range outwar_nto space, peering, searching, striving to find some way to reach the man. M_nly occupation was the watching of the clock, for Tom and Dorothy wer_orking hard in the next room on plans for altering the wave-measuring machin_n such a way as to make it even more effective.
  • Directly beneath the clock on the wall, a window looked out to sea. As th_vening wore on towards night, a storm rose, and the fierce wind of lat_utumn drove the breakers with a resounding roar on the long beach. I marke_he hour, as the storm reached its height, — 9.05. I sent my message, 9.10. _ent it again, and as I raised my eyes from my key I looked at the window.
  • There, pressed against the pane, was the face of a man we had long sought. _eaped to my feet.
  • " There's Regnier! " I cried, pointing at the window. The face disappeared a_ spoke, and Tom and Dorothy, springing from their chairs, looked out throug_he panes at the storm. In the hush of the night the sound of breakers bore i_n us insistently.
  • " Wild as a loon," said Tom, shaking his head mournfully in my direction.
  • " Where was he ? " asked Dorothy.
  • " Right outside that window! " I shouted. " Come, we must find him."
  • We all started for the outer air, but before we could leave the room, the doo_pened and Richard Regnier entered. Mental trouble showed in his unquiet loo_nd in his hesitating hand.
  • " Why, Dick," began Tom, but Dorothy, with an emphatic gesture, commande_ilence.
  • " I beg your pardon," said Regnier slowly, and with evident difficulty. " _aw you through the window, and I thought somehow I might have known you once, and that you could tell me who I am.
  • Her eyes shining with pity, Dorothy spoke gently. " I'm so glad to see you, Richard. Don't you remember you are Richard Regnier, and that I am Doroth_aldane.'' You know Tom, here, my brother, well, and this is Jim Orringto_hom you met one night in Washington."
  • At Dorothy's low voice, the clouded brow cleared. The curtain rolled from th_arkened eyes, and the bent form straightened. " Thank God. I am Richar_egnier. But where am I, and how did I get here ? " he asked.
  • " You are on the coast of Holland, near The Hague," responded Dorothy quietly.
  • " I don't know how you got here."
  • " How did you come to be here ?" asked Regnier eagerly.
  • " We came to The Hague to the Peace Congress, and we came down here to try t_ind the man who has stopped all war," answered Dorothy.
  • " The man who destroyed the Alaska and the Dreadnought Number 8 ? " querie_egnier, in great excitement. " I have known nothing since that time. Has h_one anything since ? "
  • " Many things," said Dorothy sadly. " He is doing great harm now, and that i_hy we are trying to reach him. We ought not to lose a minute more, Jim. I_ou and Tom will go to work again, I will sit down and tell Richard about th_appenings of the last two months."
  • Back we went to our tasks and, as I pounded out the message, waited fiv_inutes and pounded it out again, I thought of the strange suspicion unde_hich Regnier had lain. I had believed him the man who had sunk ever_attleship on that fatal day. I had felt convinced that he was the man fo_hom we had searched so diligently for weeks. And while we searched, he ha_een wandering along the sands of the Holland coast.
  • Regnier and Dorothy had sat for perhaps half an hour in earnest conversation, when they rose and came over to us.
  • " Tom," said Dorothy, " Dick has had more experience with wireless apparatu_han you have. Suppose you let him look over the whole business."
  • " Glad enough to have him," answered Tom. " It's always possible there may b_n error somewhere."
  • Step by step, Regnier examined the transmitting end of the apparatus, passe_rom the house to the aerial, came back, and went over the receiving end i_very part. As he ended, he straightened up.
  • " If you don't mind, Tom, I'd like to change that coherer a little. I shoul_udge that your transmitter was all right, but I question if you could get _eply from Tokio through the coherer, as it now stands connected with tha_ounder."
  • " Go ahead," said Tom, and I rose from my seat and went over beside Dorothy, while Regnier worked at the powdery mass in the glass tube. He took up th_ube at last and held it to the light.
  • " There, let's try that," he said, and placed the tube in its supports, screwing up the terminals. Scarcely had he made the last turn when the sounde_roke forth. Clickety clack, clack, clack, clack. Dots and dashes came wit_he rapidity of a practised sender. Swiftly I read them off, as they came t_y telephone receiver.
  • " I am the man who is trying to stop all war. Is your news true ? What do yo_ant of me ? Why don't you answer ? "
  • I jumped to my seat beside the key, and sent the answer out into the ethe_bout us.
  • " We have only just got your answer through the receiver. Our news is true.
  • All the nations are disarming. Why do you not cease sinking battleships ? You_urpose is accomplished."
  • I had scarcely ended when the reply came back.
  • " When did the nations agree on peace ? Who are you ?"
  • " The nations agreed on peace and made a solemn covenant that all would disar_en days ago. The four sending this message are Professor Thomas Haldane an_iss Dorothy Haldane of New York, Richard Regnier of Savannah and Jame_rrington of New York."
  • There was a perceptible pause this time, before the sounder resumed it_otion. Then it began.
  • " I believe what you say. Are the nations living up to their agreements as t_isarmament ? "
  • " Completely," I replied. " Every one of the nations is living up to th_greement in spirit and in truth. The greatest anxiety which the world feel_t present is with regard to your sinking the Japanese battleship, and fro_ear of your future action."
  • There was a long pause, and then the words came slowly.
  • " How can I allay that fear ? "
  • I had been rapidly reading my sendings and my answers to the other three wh_at looking eagerly at the sounder. As I read off that last question, Doroth_poke up eagerly.
  • " If he can communicate with us by wireless, why can he not send a message i_he same way to all countries ? "
  • I passed on the suggestion, and slowly this answer came back.
  • " I will send this message to the ruler of every country. I send it to yo_irst, for you have saved me from causing death unnecessarily.
  • > ' The man who has stopped all war now declares unto you that since peace ha_ome, since every nation is now disarming, he will cease his labors. The ship_f the nations may now sail the seas without harm from him. The sailors shal_e safe from his hand. This will he do, if peace be sure and disarmament b_omplete. But, on the day that any nation violates its solemn oath and arm_ts citizens, on that day will he rise, and no ship, be it battleship o_eaceful merchantman, bearing that country's flag, shall be safe fro_estruction.' "
  • The sounder ceased its clamor. Tom spoke in a low voice, as if he feared to b_verheard.
  • " How can we tell he is the man and not some one else, who is simply playin_ith us ? We can't afford to take risks. Ask him, Jim, how we can know that h_s really the man who has stopped all war."
  • I turned to my key and sent off the question. Back came the answer.
  • " By the first letter which I erased and which was found, you shall know me."
  • " That settles it in my mind," I said. " That's known to not more than a doze_eople, and none of them would be sending this."
  • Tom, meanwhile, had stepped into the next room, and was talking quietly to hi_ssistant. He spoke to me. " Keep him going a minute, Jim. I want to get _essage from him."
  • " Is there anything more you wish to know?" I asked the man by wireless.
  • " Nothing," he replied. " Do you wish to say anything to me ? "
  • I could hear Tom's excited voice.
  • " Got it ? "
  • " Just once more, Jim," he said.
  • " There is nothing more," went out from the aerial.
  • " Then I thank you for telling me of this. You have spared me and spare_thers much by your wisdom. Good-bye."
  • " Good-bye," I ended, as Tom stepped from the 'phone, his face beaming.
  • " Quickest thing on record, that. I got my man to set the machine for th_ireless waves ' the man ' is using, and got two records, both from Tokio.
  • That settles it, once for all."
  • The storm was still at its height. The house rocked with the wind, but th_ild moan of the breakers, forgotten while we talked with the man on the othe_ide of the world, now made their presence manifest. The single light withi_hone on blackened beam and rough hewn settle, into dim but spotless corners, on glistening tile and dark polished floor. Our little group in moder_ostume, standing about the table where the instruments were placed, seemed a_nachronism. We should have been garbed like Rembrandt's models, and in plac_f key, relay and coherer, there should have been simply one massive oake_able.
  • Tom turned to Regnier, " Do you know, Dick, what happened to your head ? "
  • " Sh," said Dorothy, looking quickly at Regnier.
  • Regnier smiled as he saw her movement. " You needn't worry, Dorothy. I shal_e very glad to tell you all I can." He turned to Tom. " I think the injury t_y head came from the man who stopped all war."