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- The Great Stone of Sardis - 1/33 -


THE GREAT STONE OF SARDIS

BY FRANK R. STOCKTON

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I. THE ARRIVAL OF THE EUTERPE-THALIA

II. THE SARDIS WORKS

III. MARGARET RALEIGH

IV. THE MISSION OF SAMUEL BLOCK V. UNDER WATER

VI. VOICES FROM THE POLAR SEAS

VII. GOOD NEWS GOES FROM SARDIS

VIII. THE DEVIL ON THE DIPSEY

IX. THE ARTESIAN RAY

X. "LAKE SHIVER"

XI. THEY BELIEVE IT IS THE POLAR SEA

XII. CAPTAIN HUBBELL TAKES COMMAND

XIII. LONGITUDE EVERYTHING

XIV. A REGION OF NOTHINGNESS

XV. THE AUTOMATIC SHELL

XVI. THE TRACK OF THE SHELL

XVII. CAPTAIN HUBBELL DECLINES TO GO WHALING

XVIII. MR. MARCY'S CANAL

XIX. THE ICY GATEWAY

XX. "THAT IS HOW I LOVE YOU"

XXI. THE CAVE OF LIGHT

XXII. CLEWE'S THEORY

XXIII. THE LAST DIVE OF THE DIPSEY

XXIV. ROVINSKI COMES TO THE SURFACE

XXV. LAURELS

THE GREAT STONE OF SARDIS

CHAPTER I

THE ARRIVAL OF THE EUTERPE-THALIA

It was about noon of a day in early summer that a westward-bound Atlantic liner was rapidly nearing the port of New York. Not long before, the old light-house on Montauk Point had been sighted, and the company on board the vessel were animated by the knowledge that in a few hours they would be at the end of their voyage.

The vessel now speeding along the southern coast of Long Island was the Euterpe-Thalia, from Southampton. On Wednesday morning she had left her English port, and many of her passengers were naturally anxious to be on shore in time to transact their business on the last day of the week. There were even some who expected to make their return voyage on the Melpomene-Thalia, which would leave New York on the next Monday.

The Euterpe-Thalia was one of those combination ocean vessels which had now been in use for nearly ten years, and although the present voyage was not a particularly rapid one, it had been made in a little less than three days.

As may be easily imagined, a vessel like this was a very different craft from the old steamers which used to cross the Atlantic--"ocean greyhounds" they were called--in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

It would be out of place here to give a full description of the vessels which at the period of our story, in 1947, crossed the Atlantic at an average time of three days, but an idea of their construction will suffice. Most of these vessels belonged to the class of the Euterpe-Thalia, and were, in fact, compound marine structures, the two portions being entirely distinct from each other. The great hull of each of these vessels contained nothing but its electric engines and its propelling machinery, with the necessary fuel and adjuncts.

The upper portion of the compound vessel consisted of decks and quarters for passengers and crew and holds for freight. These were all comprised within a vast upper hull, which rested upon the lower hull containing the motive power, the only point of contact being an enormous ball-and-socket joint. Thus, no matter how much the lower hull might roll and pitch and toss, the upper hull remained level and comparatively undisturbed.

Not only were comfort to passengers and security to movable freight gained by this arrangement of the compound vessel, but it was now possible to build the lower hull of much less size than had been the custom in the former days of steamships, when the hull had to be large enough to contain everything. As the more modern hull held nothing but the machinery, it was small in comparison with the superincumbent upper hull, and thus the force of the engine, once needed to propel a vast mass through the resisting medium of the ocean, was now employed upon a comparatively small hull, the great body of the vessel meeting with no resistance except that of the air.

It was not necessary that the two parts of these compound vessels should always be the same. The upper hulls belonging to one of the transatlantic lines were generally so constructed that they could be adjusted to any one of their lower or motive-power hulls. Each hull had a name of its own, and so the combination name of the entire vessel was frequently changed.

It was not three o'clock when the Euterpe-Thalia passed through the Narrows and moved slowly towards her pier on the Long Island side of the city. The quarantine officers, who had accompanied the vessel on her voyage, had dropped their report in the official tug which had met the vessel on her entrance into the harbor, and as the old custom-house annoyances had long since been abolished, most of the passengers were prepared for a speedy landing.

One of these passengers--a man about thirty-five--stood looking out over the stern of the vessel instead of gazing, as were most of his companions, towards the city which they were approaching. He looked out over the harbor, under the great bridge gently spanning the distance between the western end of Long Island and the New Jersey shore--its central pier resting where once lay the old Battery--and so he gazed over the river, and over the houses stretching far to the west, as if his eyes could catch some signs of the country far beyond. This was Roland Clewe, the hero of our story, who had been studying and experimenting for the past year in the scientific schools and workshops of Germany. It was towards his own laboratory and his own workshops, which lay out in the country far beyond the wide line of buildings and settlements which line the western bank of the Hudson, that his heart went out and his eyes vainly strove to follow.

Skilfully steered, the Thalia moved slowly between high stone piers of massive construction; but the Euterpe, or upper part of the vessel, did not pass between the piers, but over them both, and when the pier-heads projected beyond her stern the motion of the lower vessel ceased; then the great piston, which supported the socket in which the ball of the Euterpe moved, slowly began to descend into the central portion of the Thalia, and as the tide was low, it was not long before each side of the upper hull rested firmly and securely upon the stone piers. Then the socket on the lower vessel descended rapidly until it was entirely clear of the ball, and the Thalia backed out from between the piers to take its place in a dock where it would be fitted for the voyage of the next day but one, when it would move under the Melpomene, resting on its piers a short distance below, and, adjusting its socket to her ball, would lift her free from the piers and carry her across the ocean.

The pier of the Euterpe was not far from the great Long Island and New Jersey Bridge, and Roland Clewe, when he reached the broad sidewalk which ran along the river-front, walked rapidly towards the bridge. When he came to it he stepped into one of the elevators, which were placed at intervals along its sides from the waterfront to the far-distant point where it touched the land, and in company with a dozen other pedestrians speedily rose to the top of the bridge, on which moved two great platforms or floors, one always keeping on its way to the east, and the other to the west. The floor of the elevator detached itself from the rest of the structure and kept company with the movable platform until all of its passengers had stepped on to the latter, when it returned with


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