The Tunnel of the
Richman of New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and other cities come to the concert in honor of the opening of the newly built palace, unprecedented in the number of celebrities with a worldwide reputation.
Engineer Mac Allan and his wife Maud took the box of a friend, a palace builder, Allan, is already known as the inventor of the diamond steel came here for a ten-minute conversation with the most powerful and richest man, tycoon and banker Lloyd. An engineer from Buffalo is indifferent to music, and his charming and modest wife enjoys a concert.
A hobby, a talented and extravagant architect, who is known all over New York, represents Allan Lloyd. The face of the banker resembles a bulldog’s face, is eaten away by disgusting lichens, it frightens people. But stocky and strong as a boxer, Aldan, who has healthy nerves, calmly looks at Lloyd and makes a good impression on him. The banker introduces Allan with his daughter, the beautiful Ethel. Lloyd heard about the project developed by Allan, considers it grandiose, but quite feasible and ready to support. Ethel, trying not to show too obvious an interest in the engineer, declares himself an ally.
Meeting with Lloyd decides the fate of Allan and opens “a new era in the relationship of the Old and New Worlds.” When Allan shares her ideas with Maud, she flashes the idea that the creation of her husband is no less majestic than the symphonies she listened to at the concert.
According to New York, there are rumors about an extraordinary million-dollar enterprise that Allan is preparing with the support of Lloyd. But everything is still kept secret. Allan conducts preparatory work, negotiating with agents, engineers and scientists. Finally, in one of the most prestigious hotels, a thirty-six-story skyscraper on Broadway, the famous conference opens. This is a congress of financial tycoons, whom Lloyd convenes on a “matter of paramount importance.”
Sitting in the hall, millionaires understand that they will have a huge battle of capital for the right to participate in the project, which is named Lloyd “the greatest and most daring project of all time.”
Outlining the calm eyes of clear bright eyes, hiding the excitement that swept him, Allan says that for fifteen years he undertakes to build an underwater tunnel that will connect the two continents, Europe and America. The trains will cover a
distance of five thousand kilometers in twenty-four hours.
The brains of Thirty Lloyd’s most influential “slaveholders” stirred. Allan’s business promises everyone a huge profit in the future, they must decide to invest their money. Lloyd has already subscribed to twenty-five million. At the same time, the rich know that Allan is just a tool in the hands of an all-powerful banker. Millionaires like Allan, they know that as a boy he worked as a driver in the tunnel, survived after the collapse, having lost his father and brother there. A wealthy family helped him to study, and for twenty years he has skyrocketed. And on this day people, endowed with wealth, power, courage, believed in Allan.
The next morning newspapers in all languages inform the world about the establishment of the “Syndicate of the Atlantic Tunnel”. A set of one hundred thousand workers is announced for the American station, whose head Hobbie is appointed. He is the first to know the pace of Allan’s work, the “hellish pace of America,” without days off, sometimes twenty hours a day.
Allan orders are carried out by factories of many countries. In Sweden, Russia, Hungary and Canada, forests are cut down. Allan’s work covers the whole world.
The building of the syndicate is besieged by journalists. The press earns a lot of money on the tunnel. The hostile stamp, bribed by interested persons, stands for the transatlantic steamship message, the friendly reports on the amazing prospects.
In the lightning-fast Tunnel City, McCity, there is everything. Barracks are replaced by working villages with schools, churches, sports grounds. Bakeries, slaughterhouses, post office, telegraph, department store operate. In the distance there is a crematorium, where urns with English, German, Russian and Chinese names already appear.
Allan calls on the whole world to sign up for tunnel activities. The finances of the syndicate are managed by a certain Woolf, a former director of Lloyd’s bank. He is an outstanding financier, rising from the bottom of the Hungarian Jewish suburb. Allan needs the shares to be bought not only by the rich, but also by the people whose property the tunnel should become. Gradually, the money of “little people” flowed stream. The tunnel “swallows” and “drinks” money on both sides of the ocean.
At all five stations of the Americas and the European continents, drilling machines cut through the stone for many kilometers into the interior. The place where the drilling machine works is called “hell” for workers, many are deaf from noise. Every day there are wounded, and sometimes killed. Hundreds flee from the “hell”, but in their place always come new. With the old methods of work, it would take ninety years to complete the tunnel. But Allan “rushes through the stone,” he leads a furious struggle for seconds, forcing workers to double the pace. Everyone is infected with his energy.
Maud suffers that her husband does not have time for her and her little daughter. She already feels the inner emptiness and loneliness. And then she comes up with the idea of working in McCity. Maud becomes a caretaker at home for convalescent women and children. She is helped by the daughters of the best families in New York. She is attentive and friendly with everyone, sincerely sympathizes with someone else’s grief, everyone loves and respects her. – Now she sees a husband more often, thinner, with an absent look, absorbed only by the tunnel. Unlike him, a hobby that happens in their house every day, after a twelve-hour work, rests and rejoices. Allan fervently loves his wife and daughter, but understands that such as he, it is better not to have a family.
Woolf makes money for the tunnel. Dollars from America and Europe flock to him, and he immediately puts them into circulation around the globe. Financial genius has a weakness – the love of beautiful girls, whom he generously pays. Wolf admires Allan and hates him, envying his power over people.
In the seventh year of construction in the American tunnel there is a terrible catastrophe. A huge explosion destroys and damages dozens of kilometers of the tunnel. Few who have escaped from the collapse and fire, run, wander and creep, overcoming great distances, to the exit, choking on smoke. Rescue trains with dedicated engineers manage to take out only a small part of the exhausted people. At the top of them they are met by women, frantic with fear and grief. The crowd is rampaging, calls for revenge on Allan and the entire leadership. Enraged women, ready for rout and murder, rush to the houses of engineers. In such a situation, one Allan could have prevented the catastrophe. But at this time he rushes by car from New York, telegraphing from the road his wife a categorical prohibition to leave the house.
Maud can not understand this, she wants to help the wives of the workers, worries about Hobby, who is in the tunnel. Together with her daughter, she hurries to McCity and faces a furious crowd of women. Both die under the hail of stones thrown in them.
The anger of the workers after Allan’s arrival subsided. Now he has the same grief as they do.
Alldan with the doctors and engineers are looking for and removing from the smoky gallery the last survivors, including a half-dead Hobby, similar to the old man. Subsequently, Hobby can no longer return to his work.
The catastrophe consumed about three thousand lives. Specialists assume that it is caused by the gases that burst out during the explosion of the stone.
The workers, supported by their European comrades, are on strike. Allan counts hundreds of thousands of people. Dismissed behave menacingly until they learn that the leadership of McCity is provided with machine-gun guard. Allan had everything in advance.
The galleries are serviced by engineers and volunteers, but the Tunnel city seems to have died out. Allan travels to Paris, experiencing his grief, visiting the places where he visited with Maude.
At this time a new catastrophe broke out over the syndicate – financial, even more destructive. Wulf, who has long been nurturing a plan to rise above Allan, “jumps above his head.” He is preparing for ten years to annex the tunnel for a lot of money and for this he is desperately speculating, violating the treaty. He is defeated.
Allan requires him to return to the syndicate of seven million dollars and does not make any concessions. Traced by Allan’s detectives, Wulf rushes under the wheels of the train.
Allana pursues the image of Wulf, deadly pale and helpless, also destroyed by a tunnel. Now there is no means to restore the tunnel. Wulf’s death frightened the whole world, the syndicate staggered. Large banks, industrialists and ordinary people have invested billions in the tunnel. The shares of the syndicate are sold for a pittance. Workers of many countries are on strike.
At the cost of large material sacrifices, Lloyd manages to keep the syndicate. It is announced about payment of interest. Many thousands of people are storming the building. There is a fire. The Syndicate declares its insolvency. A threat is created for Allan’s life. The death of people was forgiven, but society does not forgive the loss of money.
For several months, Allan is hiding. Ethel offers him his help. Since the day of Maud’s death, she has repeatedly tried to convey to Allan his sympathy, to offer help, but every time he encounters his indifference.
Allan returns to New York and puts himself in the hands of justice, the Society demands a victim, and it receives it. Allan was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
A few months later, the Supreme Court acquits Allan. He goes out of prison with an eroded health, looking for loneliness. Allan settles in the deserted McCity, next to the dead tunnel. With great difficulty Ethel is looking for him, but realizes that he does not need him. A woman in love does not back down and achieves her with the help of her father. Allan appeals to the government for help, but it is not in a position to finance his project. Banks also refuse, they are watching Lloyd’s actions. And Allan is forced to turn to Lloyd. At a meeting with him, he realizes that the old man will not do anything for him without his daughter, but for his daughter to do everything.
On the day of the wedding with Allan, Ethel establishes a large pension fund for tunnel workers. Three years later they have a son. Life with Ethel is not a burden to Allan, although he lives only in a tunnel.
By the end of the tunnel construction, its shares are already expensive. People’s money is back. In McCity more than a million inhabitants, in the galleries set a number of safety devices. At any time, Allan is ready to slow down the pace of work. He turned gray, he is called the “old gray Mac”. The creator of the tunnel becomes his slave.
Finally the tunnel is completely ready. In the article for the press, Allan says that the prices for using the tunnel are generally accessible, cheaper than on air and sea ships. “The tunnel belongs to the people, businessmen, immigrants.”
In the twenty-sixth year of construction, Allan starts the first train to Europe. It comes out at midnight according to American time and at midnight it should arrive in Biscay, on the European coast. The first and only passenger is “capital” – Lloyd.
The whole world watches tensely on the telecinematographers behind the movement of the train, the speed of which exceeds the world records of airplanes. The last fifty kilometers the train is led by someone who is sometimes called “The Odyssey of Modern Technology” – Allan. The trans-Atlantic train comes to Europe with a minimum delay – only twelve minutes.