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- The Romance of Elaine - 20/62 -


busy about his own especial task.

From behind the screen which was only a few feet from the operating table, the secreted Chinaman stepped out. Quickly he placed his own hat on Wu and took Wu's, then took Wu's place on the table while Wu slipped behind the screen.

The doctor turned to the supposed Wu. "Come now," he ordered, handing him over to the police. "Here he is at last."

The sergeant started to lead the prisoner out. As he did so, he looked sharply at him. He could scarcely believe his eyes. There was something wrong. All Chinaman might look alike to some people but not to him.

"That's not Wu Fang!" he exclaimed.

Instantly there was the greatest excitement. The doctors were astounded as all rushed into the emergency room again. One of them looked behind the screen. There was an open window.

"That's how he got away," he cried.

Meanwhile, several blocks from the hospital, Wu, still weak but more than ever nerved up, came out of his place of concealment, gazed up and down the street, and, seeing no one following, hurried away from the hospital as fast as his shaky legs would bear him.

. . . . . . .

Confident that at last our arch enemy was safely landed in the hands of the police, Kennedy and I had left the hospital and were hastening to Elaine with the news. We stopped at the laboratory only long enough to get the torpedo from the safe and at a toy store where Craig bought a fine little clockwork battleship.

We found Elaine and Aunt Josephine in the conservatory and quickly Kennedy related how we had captured Wu.

But, like all inventors, his pet was the torpedo and soon we were absorbed in his description of it. As he unwrapped it, Elaine drew back, timidly, from the fearful engine of destruction.

Kennedy smiled. "No, it isn't dangerous," he said reassuringly. "I've removed its charge and put in a percussion cap. Let me show you, on a small scale, how it works," he added, winding up the battleship and placing it in the fountain.

Next he placed the torpedo in the water at the other end of the tank. "Come over here," he said, indicating to us to follow him into the palms.

There he had placed the strange wireless apparatus which controlled the torpedo. He pressed a lever. We peered out through the fronds of the palms. That uncanny little cigar-shaped thing actually started to move over the surface of the water.

"Of course I could make it dive," explained Craig, "but I want you to see it work."

Around the tank it went, turned, cut a figure eight, as Kennedy manipulated the levers. Then it headed straight toward the battleship. It struck. There was a loud report, a spurt of water. One of the skeleton masts fell over. The battleship heeled over, and slowly sank, bow first.

"Wonderful!" exclaimed Elaine. "That was very realistic."

We brushed our way out through the thick palms, congratulating Kennedy on the perfect success of his demonstration.

So astonished were we that we did not hear the doorbell ring. Jennings answered it and admitted two men.

"Is Professor Kennedy here?" asked one. "We have been to his apartment and to the laboratory."

"I'll see," said Jennings discretely, taking the card of one of them and leaving them in the drawing-room.

"Two gentlemen to see you, Mr. Kennedy," Jennings interrupted our congratulations, handing Craig a card. "Shall I tell them you are here, sir?"

Craig glanced at the card. "I wonder what that can be?" he said, turning the card toward us.

It was engraved:

W. R. Barnes U. S. Secret Service.

"Yes, I'll see them," he said, then to us, "Please excuse me?"

Elaine, Aunt Josephine and I strolled off in the palms toward the Fifth Avenue side, while Jennings went out toward the back of the house.

"Well, gentlemen," greeted Kennedy as he met the two detectives, "what can I do for you?"

The leader looked about, then leaned over and whispered, "We've just had word, Professor, that your model of the torpedo has been stolen from the Navy Department in Washington."

"Stolen?" repeated Kennedy, staring aghast.

"Yes. We fear that an agent of a foreign government has found a traitor in the department."

Rapidly Kennedy's mind pictured what might be done with the deadly weapon in the hands of an enemy.

"And," added the Secret Service man, "we have reason to believe that this foreign agent is using a Chinaman, Wu Fang."

"But Wu has been arrested," replied Craig. "I arrested him myself. The police have him now."

"Then you don't know of his escape?"

Kennedy could only stare as they told the story.

Suddenly, down the hall, came cries of, "Help! Help!"

. . . . . . .

While Craig was showing us the torpedo, the criminal machinery which Wu had set in motion at orders from the foreign agents was working rapidly.

Outside the Dodge house, a man had shadowed us. He waited until we went in, then slunk in himself by the back way and climbed through an open window into the cellar.

Quietly he made his way up through the cellar until finally he reached the library. Listening carefully he could hear us talking in the conservatory. Stealthily he moved out of the library.

We had left the conservatory when he entered, peering through the palms. On he stole till he came to the fountain. He looked about. There, bobbing up and down, was the model of the torpedo for which he had dared so much. He picked it up and looked at it, gloating.

The crook was about to move back toward the library, hugging the precious model close to himself when he heard Jennings coming. He started back to the conservatory. Jennings entered just in time to catch a fleeting glimpse of some one. His suspicions were roused and he followed.

The crook reached the conservatory and opened a glass window leading out into the little garden beside the house. He was about to step out when the sound of voices in the garden arrested him. Elaine, Aunt Josephine and I had gone out and Elaine was showing me a new rose which had just been sent her.

The crook fell back and dropped down behind the palms. Jennings looked about, but saw no one and stood there puzzled. Then the crook, fearing that he might be captured at any moment, looked about to see where he might hide the torpedo. There did not seem to be any place. Quickly he began to dig out the earth in one of the palm pots. He dropped the torpedo, wrapped still in the handkerchief, into the hole and covered it up.

Jennings was clearly puzzled. He had seen some one rush in, but the conservatory was apparently empty. He had just turned to go out when he saw a palm move. There was a face! He made a dive for it and in a moment both he and the crook were rolling over and over.

. . . . . . .

Kennedy and the Secret Service men were talking earnestly when they heard the cry for help and the scuffle. They rushed out and into the conservatory in time to see the crook, who had broken away, knock out Jennings. He sprang to his feet and darted away.

Kennedy's mind was working rapidly. Had the man been after the other model? The detectives went after him. But Craig went for the torpedo. As he looked in the tank, it was gone! He turned and followed the crook.

I was still in the garden with Elaine and Aunt Josephine when I heard sounds of a struggle and a moment later a man emerged through the window of the conservatory followed by two other men. I went for him, but he managed to elude me and dashed for the wall in the back of the garden. The Secret Service men fired at him but he kept on. A moment later Craig came through the window.

"Did any of you take the torpedo?" he asked.

"No," replied Elaine, "we left it just as you had it."

Kennedy seemed wild with anxiety. "Then both models have been stolen!" he cried, dashing after the Secret Service men with me close behind.

The crook by this time had reached the top of the wall. Just as he was about to let himself down safely on the other side, a shot struck him. He pitched over and we ran forward.


The Romance of Elaine - 20/62

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