Page:Ballinger Price--Us and the Bottle Man.djvu/70

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of Peru with a telescope, and the captain took bearings with his instruments.

It was Acuma and I who went over the side in diving suits, for no others save the captain knew what we sought, as I have said. Down I went and down, with the weight of water crushing ever more strongly against me, till I stood upon the sea's floor. That in itself was quite wonderful enough—the green whiteness of the sand and the strange, multi-colored forest of weed and coral through which my searchlight bored a single, luminous pathway. But right ahead, looming and wavering, seen for an instant, lost again when a deep vibration stirred and swayed the water, shone the faintly golden shape of a great portal. Acuma I had lost sight of, but I had no need to ask him what lay before me. The wild pounding of my heart told me that I stood at the gateway of the city that had been covered a thousand thousand years ago by the unheeding sea. Leaning at an angle against the tide, I struggled forward till the great gate towered above me, its arch half lost in the green, swimming shadow of the water. But as I flashed my light up across its pillars, it answered with the shifting sparkle of gems crusted thick upon it.