Part 2 - Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat Audiobook by Victor Appleton (Chs 13-25)


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Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XIII Off for the Treasure
Suddenly Tom, after a moment's pause, seized a wrench and began loosening some
nuts.
"What are you doing?" asked his father faintly, for he was being weakened by the
vitiated atmosphere. "I'm going to take this valve apart,"
replied his son.
"We haven't looked there for the trouble. Maybe it's out of order."
He attacked the valve with energy, but his hands soon lagged.
The lack of oxygen was telling on him.
He could no longer work quickly. "I'll help," murmured Mr. Sharp thickly.
He took a wrench, but no sooner had he loosened one nut than he toppled over.
"I'm all in," he murmured feebly.
"Is he dead?" cried Mr. Damon, himself gasping.
"No, only fainted.
But he soon will be dead, and so will all of us, if we don't get fresh air," remarked
Captain Weston. "Lie down on the floor, every one.
There is a little fairly good air there.
It's heavier than the air we've breathed, and we can exist on it for a little longer.
Poor Sharp was so used to breathing the rarified air of high altitudes that he
can't stand this heavy atmosphere."
Mr. Damon was gasping worse than ever, and so was Mr. Swift.
The balloonist lay an inert heap on the floor, with Captain Weston trying to force
a few drops of stimulant down his throat.
With a fierce determination in his heart, but with fingers that almost refused to do
his bidding, Tom once more sought to open the big valve.
He felt sure the trouble was located there, as they had tried to locate it in every
other place without avail. "I'll help," said Mr. Jackson in a whisper.
He, too, was hardly able to move.
More and more devoid of oxygen grew the air.
It gave Tom a sense as if his head was filled, and ready to burst with every
breath he drew.
Still he struggled to loosen the nuts. There were but four more now, and he took
off three while Mr. Jackson removed one.
The young inventor lifted off the valve cover, though it felt like a ton weight to
him. He gave a glance inside.
"Here's the trouble!" he murmured.
"The valve's clogged. No wonder it wouldn't work.
The pumps couldn't force the water out." It was the work of only a minute to adjust
the valve.
Then Tom and the engineer managed to get the cover back on.
How they inserted the bolts and screwed the nuts in place they never could remember
clearly afterward, but they managed it somehow, with shaking, trembling hands and
eyes that grew more and more dim.
"Now start the pumps!" cried Tom faintly. "The tanks will be emptied, and we can get
to the surface." Mr. Sharp was still unconscious, nor was
Mr. Swift able to help.
He lay with his eyes closed. Garret Jackson, however, managed to crawl
to the engine-room, and soon the clank of machinery told Tom that the pumps were in
motion.
The lad staggered to the pilot house and threw the levers over.
An instant later there was the hissing of water as it rushed from the ballast tanks.
The submarine shivered, as though disliking to leave the bottom of the sea, and then
slowly rose.
As the pumps worked more rapidly, and the sea was sent from the tank in great
volumes, the boat fairly shot to the surface.
Tom was ready to open the conning tower and let in fresh air as soon as the top was
above the surface. With a bound the Advance reached the top.
Tom frantically worked the worm gear that opened the tower.
In rushed the fresh, life-giving air, and the treasure-hunters filled their lungs
with it.
And it was only just in time, for Mr. Sharp was almost gone.
He quickly revived, as did the others, when they could breathe as much as they wished
of the glorious oxygen.
"That was a close call," commented Mr. Swift.
"We'll not go below again until I have provided for all emergencies.
I should have seen to the air tanks and the expanding one before going below.
We'll sail home on the surface now." The submarine was put about and headed for
her dock.
On the way she passed a small steamer, and the passengers looked down in wonder at the
strange craft.
When the Advance reached the secluded creek where she had been launched, her passengers
had fully recovered from their terrible experience, though the nerves of Mr. Swift
and Mr. Damon were not at ease for some days thereafter.
"I should never have made a submerged test without making sure that we had a reserve
supply of air," remarked the aged inventor.
"I will not be caught that way again. But I can't understand how the pump valve
got out of order." "Maybe some one tampered with it,"
suggested Mr. Damon.
"Could Andy Foger, any of the Happy Harry gang, or the rival gold-seekers have done
it?" "I hardly think so," answered Tom.
"The place has been too carefully guarded since Berg and Andy once sneaked in.
I think it was just an accident, but I have thought of a plan whereby such accidents
can be avoided in the future.
It needs a simple device." "Better patent it," suggested Mr. Sharp
with a smile. "Maybe I will," replied the young inventor.
"But not now.
We haven't time, if we intend to get fitted out for our trip."
"No; I should say the sooner we started the better," remarked Captain Weston.
"That is, if you don't mind me speaking about it," he added gently, and the others
smiled, for his diffident comments were only a matter of habit.
The first act of the adventurers, after tying the submarine at the dock, was to
proceed with the loading of the food and supplies.
Tom and Mr. Damon looked to this, while Mr. Swift and Mr. Sharp made some necessary
changes to the machinery.
The next day the young inventor attached his device to the pump valve, and the
loading of the craft was continued. All was in readiness for the gold-seeking
expedition a week later.
Captain Weston had carefully charted the route they were to follow, and it was
decided to move along on the surface for the first day, so as to get well out to sea
before submerging the craft.
Then it would sink below the surface, and run along under the water until the wreck
was reached, rising at times, as needed, to renew the air supply.
With sufficient stores and provisions aboard to last several months, if
necessary, though they did not expect to be gone more than sixty days at most, the
adventurers arose early one morning and went down to the dock.
Mr. Jackson was not to accompany them.
He did not care about a submarine trip, he said, and Mr. Swift desired him to remain
at the seaside cottage and guard the shops, which contained much valuable machinery.
The airship was also left there.
"Well, are we all ready?" asked Mr. Swift of the little party of gold-seekers, as
they were about to enter the conning tower hatchway of the submarine.
"All ready, dad," responded his son.
"Then let's get aboard," proposed Captain Weston.
"But first let me take an observation."
He swept the horizon with his telescope, and Tom noticed that the sailor kept it
fixed on one particular spot for some time. "Did you see anything?" asked the lad.
"Well, there is a boat lying off there," was the answer.
"And some one is observing us through a glass.
But I don't believe it matters.
Probably they're only trying to see what sort of an odd fish we are."
"All aboard, then," ordered Mr. Swift, and they went into the submarine.
Tom and his father, with Captain Weston, remained in the conning tower.
The signal was given, the electricity flowed into the forward and aft plates, and
the Advance shot ahead on the surface.
The sailor raised his telescope once more and peered through a window in the tower.
He uttered an exclamation. "What's the matter?" asked Tom.
"That other ship--a small steamer--is weighing anchor and seems to be heading
this way," was the reply.
"Maybe it's some one hired by Berg to follow us and trace our movements,"
suggested Tom. "If it is we'll fool them," added his
father.
"Just keep an eye on them, captain, and I think we can show them a trick or two in a
few minutes." Faster shot the Advance through the water.
She had started on her way to get the gold from the sunken wreck, but already enemies
were on the trail of the adventurers, for the ship the sailor had noticed was
steaming after them.
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XIV In the Diving Suits
There was no doubt that the steamer was coming after the submarine.
Several observations Captain Weston made confirmed this, and he reported the fact to
Mr. Swift.
"Well, we'll change our plans, then," said the inventor.
"Instead of sailing on the surface we'll go below.
But first let them get near so they may have the benefit of seeing what we do.
Tom, go below, please, and tell Mr. Sharp to get every thing in readiness for a quick
descent.
We'll slow up a bit now, and let them get nearer to us."
The speed of the submarine was reduced, and in a short time the strange steamer had
overhauled her, coming to within hailing distance.
Mr. Swift signaled for the machinery to stop and the submarine came to a halt on
the surface, bobbing about like a half- submerged bottle.
The inventor opened a bull's-eye in the tower, and called to a man on the bridge of
the steamer: "What are you following us for?"
"Following you?" repeated the man, for the strange vessel had also come to a stop.
"We're not following you." "It looks like it," replied Mr. Swift.
"You'd better give it up."
"I guess the waters are free," was the quick retort.
"We'll follow you if we like." "Will you?
Then come on!" cried the inventor as he quickly closed the heavy glass window and
pulled a lever.
An instant later the submarine began to sink, and Mr. Swift could not help laughing
as, just before the tower went under water, he had a glimpse of the astonished face of
the man on the bridge.
The latter had evidently not expected such a move as that.
Lower and lower in the water went the craft, until it was about two hundred feet
below the surface.
Then Mr. Swift left the conning tower, descended to the main part of the ship, and
asked Tom and Captain Weston to take charge of the pilot house.
"Send her ahead, Tom," his father said.
"That fellow up above is rubbing his eyes yet, wondering where we are, I suppose."
Forward shot the Advance under water, the powerful electrical plates pulling and
pushing her on the way to secure the sunken gold.
All that morning a fairly moderate rate of speed was maintained, as it was thought
best not to run the new machinery too fast.
Dinner was eaten about a quarter of a mile below the surface, but no one inside the
submarine would ever have known it.
Electric lights made the place as brilliant as could be desired, and the food, which
Tom and Mr. Damon prepared, was equal to any that could have been served on land.
After the meal they opened the shutters over the windows in the sides of the craft,
and looked at the myriads of fishes swimming past, as the creatures were
disclosed in the glare of the searchlight.
That night they were several hundred miles on their journey, for the craft was speedy,
and leaving Tom and Captain Weston to take the first watch, the others went to bed.
"Bless my soul, but it does seem odd, though, to go to bed under water, like a
fish," remarked Mr. Damon. "If my wife knew this she would worry to
death.
She thinks I'm off automobiling. But this isn't half as dangerous as riding
in a car that's always getting out of order.
A submarine for mine, every time."
"Wait until we get to the end of this trip," advised Tom.
"I guess you'll find almost as many things can happen in a submarine as can in an
auto," and future events were to prove the young inventor to be right.
Everything worked well that night, and the ship made good progress.
They rose to the surface the next morning to make sure of their position, and to get
fresh air, though they did not really need the latter, as the reserve supply had not
been drawn on, and was sufficient for
several days, now that the oxygen machine had been put in running order.
On the second day the ship was sent to the bottom and halted there, as Mr. Swift
wished to try the new diving suits.
These were made of a new, light, but very strong metal to withstand the pressure of a
great depth.
Tom, Mr. Sharp and Captain Weston donned the suits, the others agreeing to wait
until they saw how the first trial resulted.
Then, too, it was necessary for some one acquainted with the machinery to remain in
the ship to operate the door and water chamber through which the divers had to
pass to get out.
The usual plan, with some changes, was followed in letting the three out of the
boat, and on to the bottom of the sea.
They entered a chamber in the side of the submarine, water was gradually admitted
until it equaled in pressure that outside, then an outer door was opened by means of
levers, and they could step out.
It was a curious sensation to Tom and the others to feel that they were actually
walking along the bed of the ocean.
All around them was the water, and as they turned on the small electric lights in
their helmets, which lights were fed by storage batteries fastened to the diving
suits, they saw the fish, big and little,
swarm up to them, doubtless astonished at the odd creatures which had entered their
domain.
On the sand of the bottom, and in and out among the shells and rocks, crawled great
spider crabs, big eels and other odd creatures seldom seen on the surface of the
water.
The three divers found no difficulty in breathing, as there were air tanks fastened
to their shoulders, and a constant supply of oxygen was fed through pipes into the
helmets.
The pressure of water did not bother them, and after the first sensation Tom began to
enjoy the novelty of it.
At first the inability to speak to his companions seemed odd, but he soon got so
he could make signs and motions, and be understood.
They walked about for some time, and once the lad came upon a part of a wrecked
vessel buried deep in the sand.
There was no telling what ship it was, nor how long it had been there, and after
silently viewing it, they continued on.
"It was great!" were the first words Tom uttered when he and the others were once
more inside the submarine and had removed the suits.
"If we can only walk around the wreck of the Boldero that way, we'll have all the
gold out of her in no time. There are no life-lines nor air-hose to
bother with in these diving suits."
"They certainly are a success," conceded Mr. Sharp.
"Bless my topknot!" cried Mr. Damon. "I'll try it next time.
I've always wanted to be a diver, and now I have the chance."
The trip was resumed after the diving chamber had been closed, and on the third
day Captain Weston announced, after a look at his chart, that they were nearing the
Bahama Islands.
"We'll have to be careful not to run into any of the small keys," he said, that being
the name for the many little points of land, hardly large enough to be dignified
by the name of island.
"We must keep a constant lookout." Fortune favored them, though once, when Tom
was steering, he narrowly avoided ramming a coral reef with the submarine.
The searchlight showed it to him just in time, and he sheered off with a thumping in
his heart.
The course was changed from south to east, so as to get ready to swing out of the way
of the big shoulder of South America where Brazil takes up so much room, and as they
went farther and farther toward the
equator, they noticed that the waters teemed more and more with fish, some
beautiful, some ugly and fear-inspiring, and some such monsters that it made one
shudder to look at them, even through the thick glass of the bulls-eye windows.
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XV At the Tropical Island
It was on the evening of the fourth day later that Captain Weston, who was steering
the craft, suddenly called out: "Land ho!"
"Where away?" inquired Tom quickly, for he had read that this was the proper response
to make. "Dead ahead," answered the sailor with a
smile.
"Shall we make for it, if I may be allowed the question?"
"What land is it likely to be?" Mr. Swift wanted to know.
"Oh, some small tropical island," replied the seafaring man.
"It isn't down on the charts. Probably it's too small to note.
I should say it was a coral island, but we may be able to find a spring of fresh water
there, and some fruit." "Then we'll land there," decided the
inventor.
"We can use some fresh water, though our distilling and ice apparatus does very
well."
They made the island just at dusk, and anchored in a little lagoon, where there
was a good depth of water. "Now for shore!" cried Tom, as the
submarine swung around on the chain.
"It looks like a fine place. I hope there are cocoanuts and oranges
here. Shall I get out the electric launch, dad?"
"Yes, you may, and we'll all go ashore.
It will do us good to stretch our legs a bit."
Carried in a sort of pocket on the deck of the submarine was a small electric boat,
capable of holding six.
It could be slid from the pocket, or depression, into the water without the use
of davits, and, with Mr. Sharp to aid him, Tom soon had the little craft afloat.
The batteries were already charged, and just as the sun was going down the gold-
seekers entered the launch and were soon on shore.
They found a good spring of water close at hand, and Tom's wish regarding the
cocoanuts was realized, though there were no oranges.
The lad took several of the delicious nuts, and breaking them open poured the milk into
a collapsible cup he carried, drinking it eagerly.
The others followed his example, and pronounced it the best beverage they had
tasted in a long time.
The island was a typical tropical one, not very large, and it did not appear to have
been often visited by man.
There were no animals to be seen, but myriads of birds flew here and there amid
the trees, the trailing vines and streamers of moss.
"Let's spend a day here to-morrow and explore it," proposed Tom, and his father
nodded an assent.
They went back to the submarine as night was beginning to gather, and in the cabin,
after supper, talked over the happenings of their trip so far.
"Do you think we'll have any trouble getting the gold out of the wrecked
vessel?" asked Tom of Captain Weston, after a pause.
"Well, it's hard to say.
I couldn't learn just how the wreck lays, whether it's on a sandy or a rocky bottom.
If the latter, it won't be so hard, but if the sand has worked in and partly covered
it, we'll have some difficulties, if I may be permitted to say so.
However, don't borrow trouble.
We're not there yet, though at the rate we're traveling it won't be long before we
arrive." No watch was set that night, as it was not
considered necessary.
Tom was the first to arise in the morning, and he went out on the deck for a breath of
fresh air before breakfast.
He looked off at the beautiful little island, and as his eye took in all of the
little lagoon where the submarine was anchored he uttered a startled cry.
And well he might, for, not a hundred yards away, and nearer to the island than was the
Advance, floated another craft--another craft, almost similar in shape and size to
the one built by the Swifts.
Tom rubbed his eyes to make sure he was not seeing double.
No, there could be no mistake about it. There was another submarine at the tropical
island.
As he looked, some one emerged from the conning tower of the second craft.
The figure seemed strangely familiar. Tom knew in a moment who it was--Addison
Berg.
The agent saw the lad, too, and taking off his cap and making a mocking bow, he called
out: "Good morning!
Have you got the gold yet?"
Tom did not know what to answer.
Seeing the other submarine, at an island where he had supposed they would not be
disturbed, was disconcerting enough, but to be greeted by Berg was altogether too much,
Tom thought.
His fears that the rival boat builders would follow had not been without
foundation. "Rather surprised to see us, aren't you?"
went on Mr. Berg, smiling.
"Rather," admitted Tom, choking over the word.
"Thought you'd be," continued Berg. "We didn't expect to meet you so soon, but
we're glad we did.
I don't altogether like hunting for sunken treasure, with such indefinite directions
as I have."
"You--are going to--" stammered Tom, and then he concluded it would be best not to
say anything. But his talk had been heard inside the
submarine.
His father came to the foot of the conning tower stairway.
"To whom are you speaking, Tom?" he asked. "They're here, dad," was the youth's
answer.
"Here? Who are here?"
"Berg and his employers. They've followed us, dad."
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XVI "We'll Race You For It"
Mr. Swift hurried up on deck. He was accompanied by Captain Weston.
At the sight of Tom's father, Mr. Berg, who had been joined by' two other men, called
out:
"You see we also concluded to give up the trial for the Government prize, Mr. Swift.
We decided there was more money in something else.
But we still will have a good chance to try the merits of our respective boats.
We hurried and got ours fitted up almost as soon as you did yours, and I think we have
the better craft."
"I don't care to enter into any competition with you," said Mr. Swift coldly.
"Ah, but I'm afraid you'll have to, whether you want to or not," was the insolent
reply.
"What's that? Do you mean to force this matter upon me?"
"I'm afraid I'll have to--my employers and I, that is.
You see, we managed to pick up your trail after you left the Jersey coast, having an
idea where you were bound, and we don't intend to lose you now."
"Do you mean to follow us?" asked Captain Weston softly.
"Well, you can put it that way if you like," answered one of the two men with Mr.
Berg.
"I forbid it!" cried Mr. Swift hotly. "You have no right to sneak after us."
"I guess the ocean is free," continued the rascally agent.
"Why do you persist in keeping after us?" inquired the aged inventor, thinking it
well to ascertain, if possible, just how much the men knew.
"Because we're after that treasure as well as you," was the bold reply.
"You have no exclusive right to it.
The sunken ship is awaiting the first comer, and whoever gets there first can
take the gold from the wreck. We intend to be there first, but we'll be
fair with you."
"Fair? What do you mean?" demanded Tom.
"This: We'll race you for it. The first one to arrive will have the right
to search the wreck for the gold bullion.
Is that fair? Do you agree to it?"
"We agree to nothing with you," interrupted Captain Weston, his usual diffident manner
all gone.
"I happen to be in partial command of this craft, and I warn you that if I find you
interfering with us it won't be healthy for you.
I'm not fond of fighting, but when I begin I don't like to stop," and he smiled
grimly. "You'd better not follow us."
"We'll do as we please," shouted the third member of the trio on the deck of the other
boat, which, as Tom could see, was named the Wonder.
"We intend to get that gold if we can."
"All right. I've warned you," went on the sailor, and
then, motioning to Tom and his father to follow, he went below.
"Well, what's to be done?" asked Mr. Swift when they were seated in the living-room,
and had informed the others of the presence of the rival submarine.
"The only thing I see to do is to sneak away unobserved, go as deep as possible,
and make all haste for the wreck," advised the captain.
"They will depend on us, for they have evidently no chart of the wreck, though of
course the general location of it may be known to them from reading the papers.
I hoped I had thrown them off the track by the false chart I dropped, but it seems
they were too smart for us." "Have they a right to follow us?" asked
Tom.
"Legally, but not morally. We can't prevent them, I'm afraid.
The only thing to do is to get there ahead of them.
It will be a race for the sunken treasure, and we must get there first."
"What do you propose doing, captain?" asked Mr. Damon.
"Bless my shirt-studs, but can't we pull their ship up on the island and leave it
there?" "I'm afraid such high-handed proceedings
would hardly answer," replied Mr. Swift.
"No, as Captain Weston says, we must get there ahead of them.
What do you think will be the best scheme, captain?"
"Well, there's no need for us to forego our plan to get fresh water.
Suppose we go to the island, that is, some of us, leaving a guard on board here.
We'll fill our tanks with fresh water, and at night we'll quietly sink below the
surface and speed away."
They all voted that an excellent idea, and little time was lost putting it into
operation. All the remainder of that day not a sign of
life was visible about the Wonder.
She lay inert on the surface of the lagoon, not far away from the Advance; but, though
no one showed himself on the deck, Tom and his friends had no doubt but that their
enemies were closely watching them.
As dusk settled down over the tropical sea, and as the shadows of the trees on the
little island lengthened, those on board the Advance closed the Conning tower.
No lights were turned on, as they did not want their movements to be seen, but Tom,
his father and Mr. Sharp took their positions near the various machines and
apparatus, ready to open the tanks and let
the submarine sink to the bottom, as soon as it was possible to do this unobserved.
"Luckily there's no moon," remarked Captain Weston, as he took his place beside Tom.
"Once below the surface and we can defy them to find us.
It is odd how they traced us, but I suppose that steamer gave them the clue."
It rapidly grew dark, as it always does in the tropics, and when a cautious
observation from the conning tower did not disclose the outlines of the other boat,
those aboard the Advance rightly concluded that their rivals were unable to see them.
"Send her down, Tom," called his father, and with a hiss the water entered the
tanks.
The submarine quickly sank below the surface, aided by the deflecting rudder.
But alas for the hopes of the gold-seekers.
No sooner was she completely submerged, with the engine started so as to send her
out of the lagoon and to the open sea, than the waters all about were made brilliant by
the phosphorescent phenomenon.
In southern waters this frequently occurs.
Millions of tiny creatures, which, it is said, swarm in the warm currents, give an
appearance of fire to the ocean, and any object moving through it can plainly be
seen.
It was so with the Advance.
The motion she made in shooting forward, and the undulations caused by her
submersion, seemed to start into activity the dormant phosphorus, and the submarine
was afloat in a sea of fire.
"Quick!" cried Tom. "Speed her up!
Maybe we can get out of this patch of water before they see us."
But it was too late.
Above them they could hear the electric siren of the Wonder as it was blown to let
them know that their escape had been noticed.
A moment later the water, which acted as a sort of sounding-board, or telephone,
brought to the ears of Tom Swift and his friends the noise of the engines of the
other craft in operation.
She was coming after them. The race for the possession of three
hundred thousand dollars in gold was already under way.
Fate seemed against those on board the Advance.
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XVII The Race
Directed by Captain Weston, who glanced at the compass and told him which way to steer
to clear the outer coral reef, Tom sent the submarine ahead, signaling for full speed
to the engine-room, where his father and Mr. Sharp were.
The big dynamos purred like great cats, as they sent the electrical energy into the
forward and aft plates, pulling and pushing the Advance forward.
On and on she rushed under water, but ever as she shot ahead the disturbance in the
phosphorescent water showed her position plainly.
She would be easy to follow.
"Can't you get any more speed out of her?" asked the captain of the lad.
"Yes," was the quick reply; "by using the auxiliary screws I think we can.
I'll try it."
He signaled for the propellers, forward and aft, to be put in operation, and the motor
moving the twin screws was turned on. At once there was a perceptible increase to
the speed of the Advance.
"Are we leaving them behind?" asked Tom anxiously, as he glanced at the speed gage,
and noted that the submarine was now about five hundred feet below the surface.
"Hard to tell," replied the Captain.
"You'd have to take an observation to make sure."
"I'll do it," cried the youth. "You steer, please, and I'll go in the
conning tower.
I can look forward and aft there, as well as straight up.
Maybe I can see the Wonder."
Springing up the circular ladder leading into the tower, Tom glanced through the
windows all about the small pilot house. He saw a curious sight.
It was as if the submarine was in a sea of yellowish liquid fire.
She was immersed in water which glowed with the flames that contained no heat.
So light was it, in fact, that there was no need of the incandescents in the tower.
The young inventor could have seen to read a paper by the illumination of the
phosphorus.
But he had something else to do than observe this phenomenon.
He wanted to see if he could catch sight of the rival submarine.
At first he could make out nothing save the swirl and boiling of the sea, caused by the
progress of the Advance through it.
But suddenly, as he looked up, he was aware of some great, black body a little to the
rear and about ten feet above his craft. "A shark!" he exclaimed aloud.
"An immense one, too."
But the closer he looked the less it seemed like a shark.
The position of the black object changed. It appeared to settle down, to be
approaching the top of the conning tower.
Then, with a suddenness that unnerved him for the time being, Tom recognized what it
was; it was the underside of a ship.
He could see the plates riveted together, and then, as he noted the rounded,
cylindrical shape, he knew that it was a submarine.
It was the Wonder.
She was close at hand and was creeping up on the Advance.
But, what was more dangerous, she seemed to be slowly settling in the water.
Another moment and her great screws might crash into the Conning tower of the Swifts'
boat and shave it off. Then the water would rush in, drowning the
treasure-seekers like rats in a trap.
With a quick motion Tom yanked over the lever that allowed more water to flow into
the ballast tanks. The effect was at once apparent.
The Advance shot down toward the bottom of the sea.
At the same time the young inventor signaled to Captain Weston to notify those
in the engine-room to put on a little more speed.
The Advance fairly leaped ahead, and the lad, looking up through the bull's-eye in
the roof of the conning tower, had the satisfaction of seeing the rival submarine
left behind.
The youth hurried down into the interior of the ship to tell what he had seen, and
explain the reason for opening the ballast tanks.
He found his father and Mr. Sharp somewhat excited over the unexpected maneuver of the
craft. "So they're still following us," murmured
Mr. Swift.
"I don't see why we can't shake them off." "It's on account of this luminous water,"
explained Captain Weston. "Once we are clear of that it will be easy,
I think, to give them the slip.
That is, if we can get out of their sight long enough.
Of course, if they keep close after us, they can pick us up with their searchlight,
for I suppose they carry one."
"Yes," admitted the aged inventor, "they have as strong a one as we have.
In fact, their ship is second only to this one in speed and power.
I know, for Bentley & Eagert showed me some of the plans before they started it, and
asked my opinion. This was before I had the notion of
building a submarine.
Yes, I am afraid we'll have trouble getting away from them."
"I can't understand this phosphorescent glow keeping up so long," remarked Captain
Weston.
"I've seen it in this locality several times, but it never covered such an extent
of the ocean in my time. There must be changed conditions here now."
For an hour or more the race was kept up, and the two submarines forged ahead through
the glowing sea.
The Wonder remained slightly above and to the rear of the other, the better to keep
sight of her, and though the Advance was run to her limit of speed, her rival could
not be shaken off.
Clearly the Wonder was a speedy craft.
"It's too bad that we've got to fight them, as well as run the risk of lots of other
troubles which are always present when sailing under water," observed Mr Damon,
who wandered about the submarine like the nervous person he was.
"Bless my shirt-studs! Can't we blow them up, or cripple them in
some way?
They have no right to go after our treasure."
"Well, I guess they've got as much right as we have," declared Tom.
"It goes to whoever reaches the wreck first.
But what I don't like is their mean, sneaking way of doing it.
If they went off on their own hook and looked for it I wouldn't say a word.
But they expect us to lead them to the wreck, and then they'll rob us if they can.
That's not fair."
"Indeed, it isn't," agreed Captain Weston, "if I may be allowed the expression.
We ought to find some way of stopping them.
But, if I'm not mistaken," he added quickly, looking from one of the port
bull's-eyes, "the phosphorescent glow is lessening.
I believe we are running beyond that part of the ocean."
There was no doubt of it, the glow was growing less and less, and ten minutes
later the Advance was speeding along through a sea as black as night.
Then, to avoid running into some wreck, it was necessary to turn on the searchlight.
"Are they still after us?" asked Mr. Swift of his son, as he emerged from the engine-
room, where he had gone to make some adjustments to the machinery, with the hope
of increasing the speed.
"I'll go look," volunteered the lad. He climbed up into the conning tower again,
and for a moment, as he gazed back into the black waters swirling all about, he hoped
that they had lost the Wonder.
But a moment later his heart sank as he caught sight, through the liquid element,
of the flickering gleams of another searchlight, the rays undulating through
the sea.
"Still following," murmured the young inventor.
"They're not going to give up. But we must make 'em--that's all."
He went down to report what he had seen, and a consultation was held.
Captain Weston carefully studied the charts of that part of the ocean, and finding that
there was a great depth of water at hand, proposed a series of evolutions.
"We can go up and down, shoot first to one side and then to the other," he explained.
"We can even drop down to the bottom and rest there for a while.
Perhaps, in that way, we can shake them off."
They tried it.
The Advance was sent up until her conning tower was out of the water, and then she
was suddenly forced down until she was but a few feet from the bottom.
She darted to the left, to the right, and even doubled and went back over the course
she had taken. But all to no purpose.
The Wonder proved fully as speedy, and those in her seemed to know just how to
handle the submarine, so that every evolution of the Advance was duplicated.
Her rival could not be shaken off.
All night this was kept up, and when morning came, though only the clocks told
it, for eternal night was below the surface, the rival gold-seekers were still
on the trail.
"They won't give up," declared Mr. Swift hopelessly.
"No, we've got to race them for it, just as Berg proposed," admitted Tom.
"But if they want a straightaway race we'll give it to 'em Let's run her to the limit,
dad." "That's what we've been doing, Tom."
"No, not exactly, for we've been submerged a little too much to get the best speed out
of our craft. Let's go a little nearer the surface, and
give them the best race they'll ever have."
Then the race began; and such a contest of speed as it was!
With her propellers working to the limit, and every volt of electricity that was
available forced into the forward and aft plates, the Advance surged through the
water, about ten feet below the surface.
But the Wonder kept after her, giving her knot for knot.
The course of the leading submarine was easy to trace now, in the morning light
which penetrated ten feet down.
"No use," remarked Tom again, when, after two hours, the Wonder was still close
behind them. "Our only chance is that they may have a
breakdown."
"Or run out of air, or something like that," added Captain Weston.
"They are crowding us pretty close. I had no idea they could keep up this
speed.
If they don't look out," he went on as he looked from one of the aft observation
windows, "they'll foul us, and--" His remarks were interrupted by a jar to
the Advance.
She seemed to shiver and careened to one side.
Then came another bump. "Slow down!" cried the captain, rushing
toward the pilot house.
"What's the matter?" asked Tom, as he threw the engines and electrical machines out of
gear. "Have we hit anything?"
"No. Something has hit us," cried the captain.
"Their submarine has rammed us." "Rammed us!" repeated Mr. Swift.
"Tom, run out the electric cannon!
They're trying to sink us! We'll have to fight them.
Run out the stern electric gun and we'll make them wish they'd not followed us."
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XVIII The Electric Gun
There was much excitement aboard the Advance.
The submarine came to a stop in the water, while the treasure-seekers waited anxiously
for what was to follow.
Would they be rammed again? This time, stationary as they were, and
with the other boat coming swiftly on, a hole might be stove through the Advance, in
spite of her powerful sides.
They had not long to wait. Again there came a jar, and once more the
Swifts' boat careened. But the blow was a glancing one and,
fortunately, did little damage.
"They certainly must be trying to sink us," agreed Captain Weston.
"Come, Tom, we'll take a look from the stern and see what they're up to."
"And get the stern electric gun ready to fire," repeated Mr. Swift.
"We must protect ourselves. Mr. Sharp and I will go to the bow.
There is no telling what they may do.
They're desperate, and may ram us from in front."
Tom and the captain hurried aft.
Through the thick plate-glass windows they could see the blunt nose of the Wonder not
far away, the rival submarine having come to a halt.
There she lay, black and silent, like some monster fish waiting to devour its victim.
"There doesn't appear to be much damage done back here," observed Tom.
"No leaks.
Guess they didn't puncture us." "Perhaps it was due to an accident that
they rammed us," suggested the captain.
"Well, they wouldn't have done it if they hadn't followed us so close," was the
opinion of the young inventor. "They're taking too many chances.
We've got to stop 'em."
"What is this electric gun your father speaks of?"
"Why, it's a regular electric cannon.
It fires a solid ball, weighing about twenty-five pounds, but instead of powder,
which would hardly do under water, and instead of compressed air, which is used in
the torpedo tubes of the Government
submarines, we use a current of electricity.
It forces the cannon ball out with great energy."
"I wonder what they will do next?" observed the captain, peering through a bull'seye.
"We can soon tell," replied the youth. "We'll go ahead, and if they try to follow
I'm going to fire on them."
"Suppose you sink them?" "I won't fire to do that; only to disable
them. They brought it on themselves.
We can't risk having them damage us.
Help me with the cannon, will you please, captain?"
The electric cannon was a long, steel tube in the after part of the submarine.
It projected a slight distance from the sides of the ship, and by an ingenious
arrangement could be swung around in a ball and socket joint, thus enabling it to shoot
in almost any direction.
It was the work of but a few minutes to get it ready and, with the muzzle pointing
toward the Wonder, Tom adjusted the electric wires and inserted the solid shot.
"Now we're prepared for them!" he cried.
"I think a good plan will be to start ahead, and if they try to follow to fire on
them. They've brought it on themselves."
"Correct," spoke Captain Weston.
Tom hurried forward to tell his father of this plan.
"We'll do it!" cried Mr. Swift. "Go ahead, Mr. Sharp, and we'll see if
those scoundrels will follow."
The young inventor returned on the run to the electric cannon.
There was a whir of machinery, and the Advance moved forward.
She increased her speed, and the two watchers in the stern looked anxiously out
of the windows to see what their rivals would do.
For a moment no movement was noticeable on the part of the Wonder.
Then, as those aboard her appeared to realize that the craft on which they
depended to pilot them to the sunken treasure was slipping away, word was given
to follow.
The ship of Berg and his employers shot after the Advance.
"Here they come!" cried Captain Weston. "They're going to ram us again!"
"Then I'm going to fire on them!" declared Tom savagely.
On came the Wonder, nearer and nearer. Her speed was rapidly increasing.
Suddenly she bumped the Advance, and then, as if it was an unavoidable accident, the
rear submarine sheered off to one side.
"They're certainly at it again!" cried Tom, and peering from the bull's-eye he saw the
Wonder shoot past the mouth of the electric cannon.
"Here it goes!" he added.
He shoved over the lever, making the proper connection.
There was no corresponding report, for the cannon was noiseless, but there was a
slight jar as the projectile left the muzzle.
The Wonder could be seen to heel over.
"You hit her! You hit her!" cried Captain Weston.
"A good shot!" "I was afraid she was past me when I pulled
the lever," explained Tom.
"She went like a flash." "No, you caught her on the rudder,"
declared the captain. "I think you've put her out of business.
Yes, they're rising to the surface."
The lad rapidly inserted another ball, and recharged the cannon.
Then he peered out into the water, illuminated by the light of day overhead,
as they were not far down.
He could see the Wonder rising to the surface.
Clearly something had happened.
"Maybe they're going to drop down on us from above, and try to sink us," suggested
the youth, while he stood ready to fire again.
"If they do--"
His words were interrupted by a slight jar throughout the submarine.
"What was that?" cried the captain.
"Dad fired the bow gun at them, but I don't believe he hit them," answered the young
inventor. "I wonder what damage I did?
Guess we'll go to the surface to find out."
Clearly the Wonder had given up the fight for the time being.
In fact, she had no weapon with which to respond to a fusillade from her rival.
Tom hastened forward and informed his father of what had happened.
"If her steering gear is out of order, we may have a chance to slip away," said Mr.
Swift "We'll go up and see what we can learn."
A few minutes later Tom, his father and Captain Weston stepped from the conning
tower, which was out of water, on to the little flat deck a short distance away lay
the Wonder, and on her deck was Berg and a
number of men, evidently members of the crew.
"Why did you fire on us?" shouted the agent angrily.
"Why did you follow us?" retorted Tom.
"Well, you've broken our rudder and disabled us," went on Berg, not answering
the question. "You'll suffer for this!
I'll have you arrested."
"You only got what you deserved," added Mr. Swift.
"You were acting illegally, following us, and you tried to sink us by ramming my
craft before we retaliated by firing on you."
"It was an accident, ramming you," said Berg.
"We couldn't help it. I now demand that you help us make
repairs."
"Well, you've got nerve!" cried Captain Weston, his eyes flashing.
"I'd like to have a personal interview with you for about ten minutes.
Maybe something besides your ship would need repairs then."
Berg turned away, scowling, but did not reply.
He began directing the crew what to do about the broken rudder.
"Come on," proposed Tom in a low voice, for sounds carry very easily over water.
"Let's go below and skip out while we have a chance.
They can't follow now, and we can get to the sunken treasure ahead of them."
"Good advice," commented his father.
"Come, Captain Weston, we'll go below and close the conning tower."
Five minutes later the Advance sank from sight, the last glimpse Tom had of Berg and
his men being a sight of them standing on the deck of their floating boat, gazing in
the direction of their successful rival.
The Wonder was left behind, while Tom and his friends were soon once more speeding
toward the treasure wreck.
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XIX Captured
"Down deep," advised Captain Weston, as he stood beside Tom and Mr. Swift in the pilot
house. "As far as you can manage her, and then
forward.
We'll take no more chances with these fellows."
"The only trouble is," replied the young inventor, "that the deeper we go the slower
we have to travel.
The water is so dense that it holds us back."
"Well, there is no special need of hurrying now," went on the sailor.
"No one is following you, and two or three days difference in reaching the wreck will
not amount to anything." "Unless they repair their rudder, and take
after us again," suggested Mr. Swift.
"They're not very likely to do that," was the captain's opinion.
"It was more by luck than good management that they picked us up before.
Now, having to delay, as they will, to repair their steering gear, while we can go
as deep as we please and speed ahead, it is practically impossible for them to catch up
to us.
No, I think we have nothing to fear from them."
But though danger from Berg and his crowd was somewhat remote, perils of another sort
were hovering around the treasure-seekers, and they were soon to experience them.
It was much different from sailing along in the airship, Tom thought, for there was no
blue sky and fleecy clouds to see, and they could not look down and observe, far below
them, cities and villages.
Nor could they breathe the bracing atmosphere of the upper regions.
But if there was lack of the rarefied air of the clouds, there was no lack of fresh
atmosphere.
The big tanks carried a large supply, and whenever more was needed the oxygen machine
would supply it.
As there was no need, however, of remaining under water for any great stretch of time,
it was their practice to rise every day and renew the air supply, also to float along
on the surface for a while, or speed along,
with only the conning tower out, in order to afford a view, and to enable Captain
Weston to take observations.
But care was always exercised to make sure no ships were in sight when emerging on the
surface, for the gold-seekers did not want to be hailed and questioned by inquisitive
persons.
It was about four days after the disabling of the rival submarine, and the Advance was
speeding along about a mile and a half under water.
Tom was in the pilot house with Captain Weston, Mr. Damon was at his favorite
pastime of looking out of the glass side windows into the ocean and its wonders, and
Mr. Swift and the balloonists were, as usual, in the engine-room.
"How near do you calculate we are to the sunken wreck?" asked Tom of his companion.
"Well, at the calculation we made yesterday, we are within about a thousand
miles of it now. We ought to reach it in about four more
days, if we don't have any accidents."
"And how deep do you think it is?" went on the lad.
"Well, I'm afraid it's pretty close to two miles, if not more.
It's quite a depth, and of course impossible for ordinary divers to reach.
But it will be possible in this submarine and in the strong diving suits your father
has invented for us to get to it.
Yes, I don't anticipate much trouble in getting out the gold, once we reach the
wreck of course--" The captain's remark was not finished.
From the engine-room there came a startled shout:
"Tom! Tom!
Your father is hurt!
Come here, quick!" "Take the wheel!" cried the lad to the
captain. "I must go to my father."
It was Mr. Sharp's voice he had heard.
Racing to the engine-room, Tom saw his parent doubled up over a dynamo, while to
one side, his hand on a copper switch, stood Mr. Sharp.
"What's the matter?" shouted the lad.
"He's held there by a current of electricity," replied the balloonist.
"The wires are crossed."
"Why don't you shut off the current?" demanded the youth, as he prepared to pull
his parent from the whirring machine.
Then he hesitated, for he feared he, too, would be glued fast by the terrible
current, and so be unable to help Mr. Swift.
"I'm held fast here, too," replied the balloonist.
"I started to cut out the current at this switch, but there's a short circuit
somewhere, and I can't let go, either.
Quick, shut off all power at the main switchboard forward."
Tom realized that this was the only thing to do.
He ran forward and with a yank cut out all the electric wires.
With a sigh of relief Mr. Sharp pulled his hands from the copper where he had been
held fast as if by some powerful magnet, his muscles cramped by the current.
Fortunately the electricity was of low voltage, and he was not burned.
The body of Mr. Swift toppled backward from the dynamo, as Tom sprang to reach his
father.
"He's dead!" he cried, as he saw the pale face and the closed eyes.
"No, only badly shocked, I hope," spoke Mr. Sharp.
"But we must get him to the fresh air at once.
Start the tank pumps. We'll rise to the surface."
The youth needed no second bidding.
Once more turning on the electric current, he set the powerful pumps in motion and the
submarine began to rise.
Then, aided by Captain Weston and Mr. Damon, the young inventor carried his
father to a couch in the main cabin. Mr. Sharp took charge of the machinery.
Restoratives were applied, and there was a flutter of the eyelids of the aged
inventor. "I think he'll come around all right," said
the sailor kindly, as he saw Tom's grief.
"Fresh air will be the thing for him. We'll be on the surface in a minute."
Up shot the Advance, while Mr. Sharp stood ready to open the conning tower as soon as
it should be out of water.
Mr. Swift seemed to be rapidly reviving. With a bound the submarine, forced upward
from the great depth, fairly shot out of the water.
There was a clanking sound as the aeronaut opened the airtight door of the tower, and
a breath of fresh air came in. "Can you walk, dad, or shall we carry you?"
asked Tom solicitously.
"Oh, I--I'm feeling better now," was the inventor's reply.
"I'll soon be all right when I get out on deck.
My foot slipped as I was adjusting a wire that had gotten out of order, and I fell so
that I received a large part of the current.
I'm glad I was not burned.
Was Mr. Sharp hurt? I saw him run to the switch, just before I
lost consciousness." "No, I'm all right," answered the
balloonist.
"But allow us to get you out to the fresh air.
You'll feel much better then."
Mr. Swift managed to walk slowly to the ladder leading to the conning tower, and
thence to the deck. The others followed him.
As all emerged from the submarine they uttered a cry of astonishment.
There, not one hundred yards away, was a great warship, flying a flag which, in a
moment, Tom recognized as that of Brazil.
The cruiser was lying off a small island, and all about were small boats, filled with
natives, who seemed to be bringing supplies from land to the ship.
At the unexpected sight of the submarine, bobbing up from the bottom of the ocean,
the natives uttered cries of fright.
The attention of those on the warship was attracted, and the bridge and rails were
lined with curious officers and men. "It's a good thing we didn't come up under
that ship," observed Tom.
"They would have thought we were trying to torpedo her.
Do you feel better, dad?" he asked, his wonder over the sight of the big vessel
temporarily eclipsed in his anxiety for his parent.
"Oh, yes, much better.
I'm all right now. But I wish we hadn't disclosed ourselves to
these people.
They may demand to know where we are going, and Brazil is too near Uruguay to make it
safe to tell our errand. They may guess it, however, from having
read of the wreck, and our departure."
"Oh, I guess it will be all right," replied Captain Weston.
"We can tell them we are on a pleasure trip.
That's true enough.
It would give us great pleasure to find that gold."
"There's a boat, with some officers in it, to judge by the amount of gold lace on
them, putting off from the ship," remarked Mr. Sharp.
"Ha! Yes! Evidently they intend to pay us a formal visit," observed Mr. Damon.
"Bless my gaiters, though. I'm not dressed to receive company.
I think I'll put on my dress suit."
"It's too late," advised Tom. "They'll be here in a minute."
Urged on by the lusty arms of the Brazilian sailors, the boat, containing several
officers, neared the floating submarine rapidly.
"Ahoy there!" called an officer in the bow, his accent betraying his unfamiliarity with
the English language. "What craft are you?"
"Submarine, Advance, from New Jersey," replied Tom.
"Who are you?" "Brazilian cruiser San Paulo," was the
reply.
"Where are you bound?" went on the officer. "On pleasure," answered Captain Weston
quickly. "But why do you ask?
We are an American ship, sailing under American colors.
Is this Brazilian territory?"
"This island is--yes," came back the answer, and by this time the small boat was
at the side of the submarine.
Before the adventurers could have protested, had they a desire to do so,
there were a number of officers and the crew of the San Paulo on the small deck.
With a flourish, the officer who had done the questioning drew his sword.
Waving it in the air with a dramatic gesture, he exclaimed:
"You're our prisoners!
Resist and my men shall cut you down like dogs!
Seize them, men!"
The sailors sprang forward, each one stationing himself at the side of one of
our friends, and grasping an arm. "What does this mean?" cried Captain Weston
indignantly.
"If this is a joke, you're carrying it too far.
If you're in earnest, let me warn you against interfering with Americans!"
"We know what we are doing," was the answer from the officer.
The sailor who had hold of Captain Weston endeavored to secure a tighter grip.
The captain turned suddenly, and seizing the man about the waist, with an exercise
of tremendous strength hurled him over his head and into the sea, the man making a
great splash.
"That's the way I'll treat any one else who dares lay a hand on me!" shouted the
captain, who was transformed from a mild- mannered individual into an angry, modern
giant.
There was a gasp of astonishment at his feat, as the ducked sailor crawled back
into the small boat. And he did not again venture on the deck of
the submarine.
"Seize them, men!" cried the gold-laced officer again, and this time he and his
fellows, including the crew, crowded so closely around Tom and his friends that
they could do nothing.
Even Captain Weston found it impossible to offer any resistance, for three men grabbed
hold of him but his spirit was still a fighting one, and he struggled desperately
but uselessly.
"How dare you do this?" he cried. "Yes," added Tom, "what right have you to
interfere with us?" "Every right," declared the gold-laced
officer.
"You are in Brazilian territory, and I arrest you."
"What for?" demanded Mr. Sharp.
"Because your ship is an American submarine, and we have received word that
you intend to damage our shipping, and may try to torpedo our warships.
I believe you tried to disable us a little while ago, but failed.
We consider that an act of war and you will be treated accordingly.
Take them on board the San Paulo," the officer Went on, turning to his aides.
"We'll try them by court-marital here. Some of you remain and guard this
submarine.
We will teach these filibustering Americans a lesson."
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XX Doomed to Death
There was no room on the small deck of the submarine to make a stand against the
officers and crew of the Brazilian warship.
In fact, the capture of the gold-seekers had been effected so suddenly that their
astonishment almost deprived them of the power to think clearly.
At another command from the officer, who was addressed as Admiral Fanchetti, several
of the sailors began to lead Tom and his friends toward the small boat.
"Do you feel all right, father?" inquired the lad anxiously, as he looked at his
parent. "These scoundrels have no right to treat us
so."
"Yes, Tom, I'm all right as far as the electric shock is concerned, but I don't
like to be handled in this fashion." "We ought not to submit!" burst out Mr.
Damon.
"Bless the stars and stripes! We ought to fight."
"There's no chance," said Mr. Sharp. "We are right under the guns of the ship.
They could sink us with one shot.
I guess we'll have to give in for the time being."
"It is most unpleasant, if I may be allowed the expression," commented Captain Weston
mildly.
He seemed to have lost his sudden anger, but there was a steely glint in his eyes,
and a grim, set look around his month that showed his temper was kept under control
only by an effort.
It boded no good to the sailors who had hold of the doughty captain if he should
once get loose, and it was noticed that they were on their guard.
As for Tom, he submitted quietly to the two Brazilians who had hold of either arm, and
Mr. Swift was held by only one, for it was seen that he was feeble.
"Into the boat with them!" cried Admiral Fanchetti.
"And guard them well, Lieutenant Drascalo, for I heard them plotting to escape," and
the admiral signaled to a younger officer, who was in charge of the men guarding the
prisoners.
"Lieutenant Drascalo, eh?" murmured Mr. Damon.
"I think they made a mistake naming him. It ought to be Rascalo.
He looks like a rascal."
"Silenceo!" exclaimed the lieutenant, scowling at the odd character'.
"Bless my spark plug!
He's a regular fire-eater!" went on Mr. Damon, who appeared to have fully recovered
his spirits.
"Silenceo!" cried the lieutenant, scowling again, but Mr. Damon did not appear to
mind.
Admiral Fanchetti and several others of the gold-laced officers remained aboard the
submarine, while Tom and his friends were hustled into the small boat and rowed
toward the warship.
"I hope they don't damage our craft," murmured the young inventor, as he saw the
admiral enter the conning tower.
"If they do, we'll complain to the United States consul and demand damages," said Mr.
Swift.
"I'm afraid we won't have a chance to communicate with the consul," remarked
Captain Weston. "What do you mean?" asked Mr. Damon.
"Bless my shoelaces, but will these scoundrels--"
"Silenceo!" cried Lieutenant Drascalo quickly.
"Dogs of Americans, do you wish to insult us?"
"Impossible; you wouldn't appreciate a good, genuine United States insult,"
murmured Tom under his breath.
"What I mean," went on the captain, "is that these people may carry the proceedings
off with a high hand. You heard the admiral speak of a court-
martial."
"Would they dare do that?" inquired Mr. Sharp.
"They would dare anything in this part of the world, I'm afraid," resumed Captain
Weston.
"I think I see their plan, though. This admiral is newly in command; his
uniform shows that. He wants to make a name for himself, and he
seizes on our submarine as an excuse.
He can send word to his government that he destroyed a torpedo craft that sought to
wreck his ship. Thus he will acquire a reputation."
"But would his government support him in such a hostile act against the United
States, a friendly nation?" asked Tom. "Oh, he would not claim to have acted
against the United States as a power.
He would say that it was a private submarine, and, as a matter of fact, it is.
While we are under the protection of the stars and stripes, our vessel is not a
Government one," and Captain Weston spoke the last in a low voice, so the scowling
lieutenant could not hear.
"What will they do with us?" inquired Mr. Swift.
"Have some sort of a court-martial, perhaps," went on the captain, "and
confiscate our craft.
Then they will send us back home, I expect for they would not dare harm us."
"But take our submarine!" cried Tom. "The villains--"
"Silenceo!" shouted Lieutenant Drascalo and he drew his sword.
By this time the small boat was under the big guns of the San Paulo, and the
prisoners were ordered, in broken English, to mount a companion ladder that hung over
the side.
In a short time they were on deck, amid a crowd of sailors, and they could see the
boat going back to bring off the admiral, who signaled from the submarine.
Tom and his friends were taken below to a room that looked like a prison, and there,
a little later, they were visited by Admiral Fanchetti and several officers.
"You will be tried at once," said the admiral.
"I have examined your submarine and I find she carries two torpedo tubes.
It is a wonder you did not sink me at once."
"Those are not torpedo tubes!" cried Tom, unable to keep silent, though Captain
Weston motioned him to do so.
"I know torpedo tubes when I see them," declared the admiral.
"I consider I had a very narrow escape. Your country is fortunate that mine does
not declare war against it for this act.
But I take it you are acting privately, for you fly no flag, though you claim to be
from the United States." "There's no place for a flag on the
submarine," went on Tom.
"What good would it be under water?" "Silenceo!" cried Lieutenant Drascalo, the
admonition to silence seeming to be the only command of which he was capable.
"I shall confiscate your craft for my government," went on the admiral, "and
shall punish you as the court-martial may direct.
You will be tried at once."
It was in vain for the prisoners to protest.
Matters were carried with a high hand.
They were allowed a spokesman, and Captain Weston, who understood Spanish, was
selected, that language being used. But the defense was a farce, for he was
scarcely listened to.
Several officers testified before the admiral, who was judge, that they had seen
the submarine rise out of the water, almost under the prow of the San Paulo.
It was assumed that the Advance had tried to wreck the warship, but had failed.
It was in vain that Captain Weston and the others told of the reason for their rapid
ascent from the ocean depths--that Mr. Swift had been shocked, and needed fresh
air.
Their story was not believed. "We have heard enough!" suddenly exclaimed
the admiral.
"The evidence against you is over-whelming- -er--what you Americans call conclusive,"
and he was speaking then in broken English.
"I find you guilty, and the sentence of this court-martial is that you be shot at
sunrise, three days hence!" "Shot!" cried Captain Weston, staggering
back at this unexpected sentence.
His companions turned white, and Mr. Swift leaned against his son for support.
"Bless my stars! Of all the scoundrelly!" began Mr. Damon.
"Silenceo!" shouted the lieutenant, waving his sword.
"You will be shot," proceeded the admiral.
"Is not that the verdict of the honorable court?" he asked, looking at his fellow
officers. They all nodded gravely.
"But look here!" objected Captain Weston.
"You don't dare do that! We are citizens of the United States, and--
" "I consider you no better than pirates,"
interrupted the admiral.
"You have an armed submarine--a submarine with torpedo tubes.
You invade our harbor with it, and come up almost under my ship.
You have forfeited your right to the protection of your country, and I have no
fear on that score. You will be shot within three days.
That is all.
Remove the prisoners." Protests were in vain, and it was equally
useless to struggle.
The prisoners were taken out on deck, for which they were thankful, for the interior
of the ship was close and hot, the weather being intensely disagreeable.
They were told to keep within a certain space on deck, and a guard of sailors, all
armed, was placed near them.
From where they were they could see their submarine floating on the surface of the
little bay, with several Brazilians on the small deck.
The Advance had been anchored, and was surrounded by a flotilla of the native
boats, the brown-skinned paddlers gazing curiously at the odd craft.
"Well, this is tough luck!" murmured Tom.
"How do you feel, dad?" "As well as can be expected under the
circumstances," was the reply. "What do you think about this, Captain
Weston?"
"Not very much, if I may be allowed the expression," was the answer.
"Do you think they will dare carry out that threat?" asked Mr. Sharp.
The captain shrugged his shoulders.
"I hope it is only a bluff," he replied, "made to scare us so we will consent to
giving up the submarine, which they have no right to confiscate.
But these fellows look ugly enough for anything," he went on.
"Then if there's any chance of them attempting to carry it out," spoke Tom,
"we've got to do something."
"Bless my gizzard, of course!" exclaimed Mr. Damon.
"But what? That's the question.
To be shot!
Why, that's a terrible threat! The villains--"
"Silenceo!" shouted Lieutenant Drascalo, coming up at that moment.
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XXI The Escape
Events had happened so quickly that day that the gold-hunters could scarcely
comprehend them.
It seemed only a short time since Mr. Swift had been discovered lying disabled on the
dynamo, and what had transpired since seemed to have taken place in a few
minutes, though it was, in reality, several hours.
This was made manifest by the feeling of hunger on the part of Tom and his friends.
"I wonder if they're going to starve us, the scoundrels?" asked Mr. Sharp, when the
irate lieutenant was beyond hearing. "It's not fair to make us go hungry and
shoot us in the bargain."
"That's so, they ought to feed us," put in Tom.
As yet neither he nor the others fully realized the meaning of the sentence passed
on them.
From where they were on deck they could look off to the little island.
From it boats manned by natives were constantly putting off, bringing supplies
to the ship.
The place appeared to be a sort of calling station for Brazilian warships, where they
could get fresh water and fruit and other food.
From the island the gaze of the adventurers wandered to the submarine, which lay not
far away. They were chagrined to see several of the
bolder natives clambering over the deck.
"I hope they keep out of the interior," commented Tom.
"If they get to pulling or hauling on the levers and wheels they may open the tanks
and sink her, with the Conning tower open."
"Better that, perhaps, than to have her fall into the hands of a foreign power,"
commented Captain Weston.
"Besides, I don't see that it's going to matter much to us what becomes of her after
we're--"
He did not finish, but every one knew what he meant, and a grim silence fell upon the
little group.
There came a welcome diversion, however, in the shape of three sailors, bearing trays
of food, which were placed on the deck in front of the prisoners, who were sitting or
lying in the shade of an awning, for the sun was very hot.
"Ha! Bless my napkin-ring!" cried Mr. Damon with something of his former gaiety.
"Here's a meal, at all events.
They don't intend to starve us. Eat hearty, every one."
"Yes, we need to keep up our strength," observed Captain Weston.
"Why?" inquired Mr. Sharp.
"Because we're going to try to escape!" exclaimed Tom in a low voice, when the
sailors who had brought the food had gone. "Isn't that what you mean, captain?"
"Exactly.
We'll try to give these villains the slip, and we'll need all our strength and wits to
do it. We'll wait until night, and see what we can
do."
"But where will we escape to?" asked Mr. Swift.
"The island will afford no shelter, and--" "No, but our submarine will," went on the
sailor.
"It's in the possession of the Brazilians," objected Tom.
"Once I get aboard the Advance twenty of those brown-skinned villains won't keep me
prisoner," declared Captain Weston fiercely.
"If we can only slip away from here, get into the small boat, or even swim to the
submarine, I'll make those chaps on board her think a hurricane has broken loose."
"Yes, and I'll help," said Mr. Damon.
"And I," added Tom and the balloonist. "That's the way to talk," commented the
captain.
"Now let's eat, for I see that rascally lieutenant coming this way, and we mustn't
appear to be plotting, or he'll be suspicious."
The day passed slowly, and though the prisoners seemed to be allowed considerable
liberty, they soon found that it was only apparent.
Once Tom walked some distance from that portion of the deck where he and the others
had been told to remain. A sailor with a gun at once ordered him
back.
Nor could they approach the rails without being directed, harshly enough at times, to
move back amidships.
As night approached the gold-seekers were on the alert for any chance that might
offer to slip away, or even attack their guard, but the number of Brazilians around
them was doubled in the evening, and after
supper, which was served to them on deck by the light of swinging lanterns, they were
taken below and locked in a stuffy cabin. They looked helplessly at each other.
"Don't give up," advised Captain Weston.
"It's a long night. We may be able to get out of here."
But this hope was in vain.
Several times he and Tom, thinking the guards outside the cabin were asleep, tried
to force the lock of the door with their pocket-knives, which had not been taken
from them.
But one of the sailors was aroused each time by the noise, and looked in through a
barred window, so they had to give it up. Slowly the night passed, and morning found
the prisoners pale, tired and discouraged.
They were brought up on deck again, for which they were thankful, as in that
tropical climate it was stifling below.
During the day they saw Admiral Fanchetti and several of his officers pay a visit to
the submarine. They went below through the opened conning
tower, and were gone some time.
"I hope they don't disturb any of the machinery," remarked Mr. Swift.
"That could easily do great damage."
Admiral Fanchetti seemed much pleased with himself when he returned from his visit to
the submarine. "You have a fine craft," he said to the
prisoners.
"Or, rather, you had one. My government now owns it.
It seems a pity to shoot such good boat builders, but you are too dangerous to be
allowed to go."
If there had been any doubt in the minds of Tom and his friends that the sentence of
the court-martial was only for effect, it was dispelled that day.
A firing squad was told off in plain view of them, and the men were put through their
evolutions by Lieutenant Drascalo, who had them load, aim and fire blank cartridges at
an imaginary line of prisoners.
Tom could not repress a shudder as he noted the leveled rifles, and saw the fire and
smoke spurt from the muzzles.
"Thus we shall do to you at sunrise to- morrow," said the lieutenant, grinning, as
he once more had his men practice their grim work.
It seemed hotter than ever that day.
The sun was fairly broiling, and there was a curious haziness and stillness to the
air.
It was noticed that the sailors on the San Paulo were busy making fast all loose
articles on deck with extra lashings, and hatch coverings were doubly secured.
"What do you suppose they are up to?" asked Tom of Captain Weston.
"I think it is coming on to blow," he replied, "and they don't want to be caught
napping.
They have fearful storms down in this region at this season of the year, and I
think one is about due." "I hope it doesn't wreck the submarine,"
spoke Mr. Swift.
"They ought to close the hatch of the conning tower, for it won't take much of a
sea to make her ship considerable water."
Admiral Fanchetti had thought of this, however, and as the afternoon wore away and
the storm signs multiplied, he sent word to close the submarine.
He left a few sailors aboard inside on guard.
"It's too hot to eat," observed Tom, when their supper had been brought to them, and
the others felt the same way about it.
They managed to drink some cocoanut milk, prepared in a palatable fashion by the
natives of the island, and then, much to their disgust, they were taken below again
and locked in the cabin.
"Whew! But it certainly is hot!" exclaimed Mr.
Damon as he sat down on a couch and fanned himself.
"This is awful!"
"Yes, something is going to happen pretty soon," observed Captain Weston.
"The storm will break shortly, I think." They sat languidly about the cabin.
It was so oppressive that even the thought of the doom that awaited them in the
morning could hardly seem worse than the terrible heat.
They could hear movements going on about the ship, movements which indicated that
preparations were being made for something unusual.
There was a rattling of a chain through a hawse hole, and Captain Weston remarked:
"They're putting down another anchor.
Admiral Fanchetti had better get away from the island, though, unless he wants to be
wrecked. He'll be blown ashore in less than no time.
No cable or chain will hold in such storms as they have here."
There came a period of silence, which was suddenly broken by a howl as of some wild
beast.
"What's that?" cried Tom, springing up from where he was stretched out on the cabin
floor. "Only the wind," replied the captain.
"The storm has arrived."
The howling kept up, and soon the ship began to rock.
The wind increased, and a little later there could be heard, through an opened
port in the prisoners' cabin, the dash of rain.
"It's a regular hurricane!" exclaimed the captain.
"I wonder if the cables will hold?" "What about the submarine?" asked Mr. Swift
anxiously.
"I haven't much fear for her. She lies so low in the water that the wind
can't get much hold on her. I don't believe she'll drag her anchor."
Once more came a fierce burst of wind, and a dash of rain, and then, suddenly above
the outburst of the elements, there sounded a crash on deck.
It was followed by excited cries.
"Something's happened!" yelled Tom. The prisoners gathered in a frightened
group in the middle of the cabin. The cries were repeated, and then came a
rush of feet just outside the cabin door.
"Our guards! They're leaving!" shouted Tom.
"Right!" exclaimed Captain Weston. "Now's our chance!
Come on!
If we're going to escape we must do it while the storm is at its height, and all
is in confusion. Come on!"
Tom tried the door.
It was locked. "One side!" shouted the captain, and this
time he did not pause to say "by your leave."
He came at the portal on the run, and his shoulder struck it squarely.
There was a splintering and crashing of wood, and the door was burst open.
"Follow me!" cried the valiant sailor, and Tom and the others rushed after him.
They could hear the wind howling more loudly than ever, and as they reached the
deck the rain dashed into their faces with such violence that they could hardly see.
But they were aware that something had occurred.
By the light of several lanterns swaying in the terrific blast they saw that one of the
auxiliary masts had broken off near the deck.
It had fallen against the chart house, smashing it, and a number of sailors were
laboring to clear away the wreckage. "Fortune favors us!" cried Captain Weston.
"Come on!
Make for the small boat. It's near the side ladder.
We'll lower the boat and pull to the submarine."
There came a flash of lightning, and in its glare Tom saw something that caused him to
cry out. "Look!" he shouted.
"The submarine.
She's dragged her anchors!" The Advance was much closer to the warship
than she had been that afternoon. Captain Weston looked over the side.
"It's the San Paulo that's dragging her anchors, not the submarine!" he shouted.
"We're bearing down on her! We must act quickly.
Come on, we'll lower the boat!"
In the rush of wind and the dash of rain the prisoners crowded to the accommodation
companion ladder, which was still over the side of the big ship.
No one seemed to be noticing them, for Admiral Fanchetti was on the bridge,
yelling orders for the clearing away of the wreckage.
But Lieutenant Drascalo, coming up from below at that moment, caught sight of the
fleeing ones. Drawing his sword, he rushed at them,
shouting:
"The prisoners! The prisoners!
They are escaping!" Captain Weston leaped toward the
lieutenant.
"Look out for his sword!" cried Tom. But the doughty sailor did not fear the
weapon. Catching up a coil of rope, he cast it at
the lieutenant.
It struck him in the chest, and he staggered back, lowering his sword.
Captain Weston leaped forward, and with a terrific blow sent Lieutenant Drascalo to
the deck.
"There!" cried the sailor. "I guess you won't yell 'Silenceo!' for a
while now." There was a rush of Brazilians toward the
group of prisoners.
Tom caught one with a blow on the chin, and felled him, while Captain Weston disposed
of two more, and Mr. Sharp and Mr. Damon one each.
The savage fighting of the Americans was too much for the foreigners, and they drew
back. "Come on!" cried Captain Weston again.
"The storm is getting worse.
The warship will crash into the submarine in a few minutes.
Her anchors aren't holding. I didn't think they would."
He made a dash for the ladder, and a glance showed him that the small boat was in the
water at the foot of it. The craft had not been hoisted on the
davits.
"Luck's with us at last!" cried Tom, seeing it also.
"Shall I help you, dad?" "No; I think I'm all right.
Go ahead."
There came such a gust of wind that the San Paulo was heeled over, and the wreck of the
mast, rolling about, crashed into the side of a deck house, splintering it.
A crowd of sailors, led by Admiral Fanchetti, who were again rushing on the
escaping prisoners, had to leap back out of the way of the rolling mast.
"Catch them!
Don't let them get away!" begged the commander, but the sailors evidently had no
desire to close in with the Americans. Through the rush of wind and rain Tom and
his friends staggered down the ladder.
It was hard work to maintain one's footing, but they managed it.
On account of the high side of the ship the water was comparatively calm under her lee,
and, though the small boat was bobbing about, they got aboard.
The oars were in place, and in another moment they had shoved off from the landing
stage which formed the foot of the accommodation ladder.
"Now for the Advance!" murmured Captain Weston.
"Come back!
Come back, dogs of Americans!" cried a voice at the rail over their heads, and
looking up, Tom saw Lieutenant Drascalo.
He had snatched a carbine from a marine, and was pointing it at the recent
prisoners.
He fired, the flash of the gun and a dazzling chain of lightning coming
together.
The thunder swallowed up the report of the carbine, but the bullet whistled
uncomfortable close to Tom's head.
The blackness that followed the lightning shut out the view of everything for a few
seconds, and when the next flash came the adventurers saw that they were close to
their submarine.
A fusillade of shots sounded from the deck of the warship, but as the marines were
poor marksmen at best, and as the swaying of the ship disconcerted them, our friends
were in little danger.
There was quite a sea once they were beyond the protection of the side of the warship,
but Captain Weston, who was rowing, knew how to manage a boat skillfully, and he
soon had the craft alongside the bobbing submarine.
"Get aboard, now, quick!" he cried. They leaped to the small deck, casting the
rowboat adrift.
It was the work of but a moment to open the conning tower.
As they started to descend they were met by several Brazilians coming up.
"Overboard with 'em!" yelled the captain.
"Let them swim ashore or to their ship!" With almost superhuman strength he tossed
one big sailor from the small deck. Another showed fight, but he went to join
his companion in the swirling water.
A man rushed at Tom, seeking the while to draw his sword, but the young inventor,
with a neat left-hander, sent him to join the other two, and the remainder did not
wait to try conclusions.
They leaped for their lives, and soon all could be seen, in the frequent lightning
flashes, swimming toward the warship which was now closer than ever to the submarine.
"Get inside and we'll sink below the surface!" called Tom.
"Then we don't care what happens." They closed the steel door of the conning
tower.
As they did so they heard the patter of bullets from carbines fired from the San
Paulo.
Then came a violent tossing of the Advance; the waves were becoming higher as they
caught the full force of the hurricane.
It took but an instant to sever, from within, the cable attached to the anchor,
which was one belonging to the warship. The Advance began drifting.
"Open the tanks, Mr. Sharp!" cried Tom.
"Captain Weston and I will steer. Once below we'll start the engines."
Amid a crash of thunder and dazzling flashes of lightning, the submarine began
to sink.
Tom, in the conning tower had a sight of the San Paulo as it drifted nearer and
nearer under the influence of the mighty wind.
As one bright flash came he saw Admiral Fanchetti and Lieutenant Drascalo leaning
over the rail and gazing at the Advance.
A moment later the view faded from sight as the submarine sank below the surface of the
troubled sea. She was tossed about for some time until
deep enough to escape the surface motion.
Waiting until she was far enough down so that her lights would not offer a mark for
the guns of the warship, the electrics were switched on.
"We're safe now!" cried Tom, helping his father to his cabin.
"They've got too much to attend to themselves to follow us now, even if they
could.
Shall we go ahead, Captain Weston?" "I think so, yes, if I may be allowed to
express my opinion," was the mild reply, in strange contrast to the strenuous work in
which the captain had just been engaged.
Tom signaled to Mr. Sharp in the engine- room, and in a few seconds the Advance was
speeding away from the island and the hostile vessel.
Nor, deep as she was now, was there any sign of the hurricane.
In the peaceful depths she was once more speeding toward the sunken treasure.
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XXII At the Wreck
"Well," remarked Mr. Damon, as the submarine hurled herself forward through
the ocean, "I guess that firing party will have something else to do to-morrow morning
besides aiming those rifles at us."
"Yes, indeed," agreed Tom. "They'll be lucky if they save their ship.
My, how that wind did blow!" "You're right," put in Captain Weston.
"When they get a hurricane down in this region it's no cat's paw.
But they were a mighty careless lot of sailors.
The idea of leaving the ladder over the side, and the boat in the water."
"It was a good thing for us, though," was Tom's opinion.
"Indeed it was," came from the captain.
"But as long as we are safe now I think we'd better take a look about the craft to
see if those chaps did any damage. They can't have done much, though, or she
wouldn't be running so smoothly.
Suppose you go take a look, Tom, and ask your father and Mr. Sharp what they think.
I'll steer for a while, until we get well away from the island."
The young inventor found his father and the balloonist busy in the engine-room.
Mr. Swift had already begun an inspection of the machinery, and so far found that it
had not been injured.
A further inspection showed that no damage had been done by the foreign guard that had
been in temporary possession of the Advance, though the sailors had made free
in the cabins, and had broken into the food lockers, helping themselves plentifully.
But there was still enough for the gold- seekers.
"You'd never know there was a storm raging up above," observed Tom as he rejoined
Captain Weston in the lower pilot house, where he was managing the craft.
"It's as still and peaceful here as one could wish."
"Yes, the extreme depths are seldom disturbed by a surface storm.
But we are over a mile deep now.
I sent her down a little while you were gone, as I think she rides a little more
steadily."
All that night they speeded forward, and the next day, rising to the surface to take
an observation, they found no traces of the storm, which had blown itself out.
They were several hundred miles away from the hostile warship, and there was not a
vessel in sight on the broad expanse of blue ocean.
The air tanks were refilled, and after sailing along on the surface for an hour or
two, the submarine was again sent below, as Captain Weston sighted through his
telescope the smoke of a distant steamer.
"As long as it isn't the Wonder, we're all right," said Tom.
"Still, we don't want to answer a lot of questions about ourselves and our object."
"No. I fancy the Wonder will give up the search," remarked the captain, as the
Advance was sinking to the depths.
"We must be getting pretty near to the end of our search ourselves," ventured the
young inventor.
"We are within five hundred miles of the intersection of the forty-fifth parallel
and the twenty-seventh meridian, east from Washington," said the captain.
"That's as near as I could locate the wreck.
Once we reach that point we will have to search about under water, for I don't fancy
the other divers left any buoys to mark the spot."
It was two days later, after uneventful sailing, partly on the surface, and partly
submerged, that Captain Weston, taking a noon observation, announced:
"Well, we're here!"
"Do you mean at the wreck?" asked Mr. Swift eagerly.
"We're at the place where she is supposed to lie, in about two miles of water,"
replied the captain.
"We are quite a distance off the coast of Uruguay, about opposite the harbor of Rio
de La Plata. From now on we shall have to nose about
under water, and trust to luck."
With her air tanks filled to their capacity, and Tom having seen that the
oxygen machine and other apparatus was in perfect working order, the submarine was
sent below on her search.
Though they were in the neighborhood of the wreck, the adventurers might still have to
do considerable searching before locating it.
Lower and lower they sank into the depths of the sea, down and down, until they were
deeper than they had ever gone before. The pressure was tremendous, but the steel
sides of the Advance withstood it.
Then began a search that lasted nearly a week.
Back and forth they cruised, around in great circles, with the powerful
searchlight focused to disclose the sunken treasure ship.
Once Tom, who was observing the path of light in the depths from the conning tower,
thought he had seen the remains of the Boldero, for a misty shape loomed up in
front of the submarine, and he signaled for a quick stop.
It was a wreck, but it had been on the ocean bed for a score of years, and only a
few timbers remained of what had been a great ship.
Much disappointed, Tom rang for full speed ahead again, and the current was sent into
the great electric plates that pulled and pushed the submarine forward.
For two days more nothing happened.
They searched around under the green waters, on the alert for the first sign,
but they saw nothing. Great fish swam about them, sometimes
racing with the Advance.
The adventurers beheld great ocean caverns, and skirted immense rocks, where dwelt
monsters of the deep.
Once a great octopus tried to do battle with the submarine and crush it in its
snaky arms, but Tom saw the great white body, with saucer-shaped eyes, in the path
of light and rammed him with the steel point.
The creature died after a struggle.
They were beginning to despair when a full week had passed and they were seemingly as
far from the wreck as ever. They went to the surface to enable Captain
Weston to take another observation.
It only confirmed the other, and showed that they were in the right vicinity.
But it was like looking for a needle in a haystack, almost, to and the sunken ship in
that depth of water.
"Well, we'll try again," said Mr. Swift, as they sank once more beneath the surface.
It was toward evening, on the second day after this, that Tom, who was on duty in
the conning tower, saw a black shape looming up in front of the submarine, the
searchlight revealing it to him far enough away so that he could steer to avoid it.
He thought at first that it was a great rock, for they were moving along near the
bottom, but the peculiar shape of it soon convinced him that this could not be.
It came more plainly into view as the submarine approached it more slowly, then
suddenly, out of the depths in the illumination from the searchlight, the
young inventor saw the steel sides of a steamer.
His heart gave a great thump, but he would not call out yet, fearing that it might be
some other vessel than the one containing the treasure.
He steered the Advance so as to circle it.
As he swept past the bows he saw in big letters near the sharp prow the word,
Boldero. "The wreck!
The wreck!" he cried, his voice ringing through the craft from end to end.
"We've found the wreck at last!" "Are you sure?" cried his father, hurrying
to his son, Captain Weston following.
"Positive," answered the lad. The submarine was slowing up now, and Tom
sent her around on the other side. They had a good view of the sunken ship.
It seemed to be intact, no gaping holes in her sides, for only her plates had started,
allowing her to sink gradually. "At last," murmured Mr. Swift.
"Can it be possible we are about to get the treasure?"
"That's the Boldero, all right," affirmed Captain Weston.
"I recognize her, even if the name wasn't on her bow.
Go right down on the bottom, Tom, and we'll get out the diving suits and make an
examination."
The submarine settled to the ocean bed. Tom glanced at the depth gage.
It showed over two miles and a half.
Would they be able to venture out into water of such enormous pressure in the
comparatively frail diving suits, and wrest the gold from the wreck?
It was a serious question.
The Advance came to a stop. In front of her loomed the great bulk of
the Boldero, vague and shadowy in the flickering gleam of the searchlight.
As the gold-seekers looked at her through the bull's-eyes of the conning tower,
several great forms emerged from beneath the wreck's bows.
"Deep-water sharks!" exclaimed Captain Weston, "and monsters, too.
But they can't bother us. Now to get out the gold!"
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XXIII Attacked by Sharks
For a few minutes after reaching the wreck, which had so occupied their thoughts for
the past weeks, the adventurers did nothing but gaze at it from the ports of the
submarine.
The appearance of the deep-water sharks gave them no concern, for they did not
imagine the ugly creatures would attack them.
The treasure-seekers were more engrossed with the problem of getting out the gold.
"How are we going to get at it?" asked Tom, as he looked at the high sides of the
sunken ship, which towered well above the comparatively small Advance.
"Why, just go in and get it," suggested Mr. Damon.
"Where is gold in a cargo usually kept, Captain Weston?
You ought to know, I should think.
Bless my pocketbook!" "Well, I should say that in this case the
bullion would be kept in a safe in the captain's cabin," replied the sailor.
"Or, if not there, in some after part of the vessel, away from where the crew is
quartered. But it is going to be quite a problem to
get at it.
We can't climb the sides of the wreck, and it will be impossible to lower her ladder
over the side. However, I think we had better get into the
diving suits and take a closer look.
We can walk around her." "That's my idea," put in Mr. Sharp.
"But who will go, and who will stay with the ship?"
"I think Tom and Captain Weston had better go," suggested Mr. Swift.
"Then, in case anything happens, Mr. Sharp, you and I will be on board to manage
matters."
"You don't think anything will happen, do you, dad?" asked his son with a laugh, but
it was not an easy one, for the lad was thinking of the shadowy forms of the ugly
sharks.
"Oh, no, but it's best to be prepared," answered his father.
The captain and the young inventor lost no time in donning the diving suits.
They each took a heavy metal bar, pointed at one end, to use in assisting them to
walk on the bed of the ocean, and as a protection in case the sharks might attack
them.
Entering the diving chamber, they were shut in, and then water was admitted until the
pressure was seen, by gauges, to be the same as that outside the submarine.
Then the sliding steel door was opened.
At first Tom and the captain could barely move, so great was the pressure of water on
their bodies.
They would have been crushed but for the protection afforded by the strong diving
suits. In a few minutes they became used to it,
and stepped out on the floor of the ocean.
They could not, of course, speak to each other, but Tom looked through the glass
eyes of his helmet at the captain, and the latter motioned for the lad to follow.
The two divers could breathe perfectly, and by means of small, but powerful lights on
the helmets, the way was lighted for them as they advanced.
Slowly they approached the wreck, and began a circuit of her.
They could see several places where the pressure of the water, and the strain of
the storm in which she had foundered, had 'opened the plates of the ship, but in no
case were the openings large enough to admit a person.
Captain Weston put his steel bar in one crack, and tried to pry it farther open,
but his strength was not equal to the task.
He made some peculiar motions, but Tom could not understand them.
They looked for some means by which they could mount to the decks of the Boldero,
but none was visible.
It was like trying to scale a fifty-foot smooth steel wall.
There was no place for a foothold. Again the sailor made some peculiar
motions, and the lad puzzled over them.
They had gone nearly around the wreck now, and as yet had seen no way in which to get
at the gold.
As they passed around the bow, which was in a deep shadow from a great rock, they
caught sight of the submarine lying a short distance away.
Light streamed from many hull's-eyes, and Tom felt a sense of security as he looked
at her, for it was lonesome enough in that great depth of water, unable to speak to
his companion, who was a few feet in advance.
Suddenly there was a swirling of the water, and Tom was nearly thrown off his feet by
the rush of some great body.
A long, black shadow passed over his head, and an instant later he saw the form of a
great shark launched at Captain Weston. The lad involuntarily cried in alarm, but
the result was surprising.
He was nearly deafened by his own voice, confined as the sound was in the helmet he
wore. But the sailor, too, had felt the movement
of the water, and turned just in time.
He thrust upward with his pointed bar.
But he missed the stroke, and Tom, a moment later, saw the great fish turn over so that
its mouth, which is far underneath its snout, could take in the queer shape which
the shark evidently thought was a choice morsel.
The big fish did actually get the helmet of Captain Weston inside its jaws, but
probably it would have found it impossible to crush the strong steel.
Still it might have sprung the joints, and water would have entered, which would have
been as fatal as though the sailor had been swallowed by the shark.
Tom realized this and, moving as fast as he could through the water, he came up behind
the monster and drove his steel bar deep into it.
The sea was crimsoned with blood, and the savage creature, opening its mouth, let go
of the captain. It turned on Tom, who again harpooned it.
Then the fish darted off and began a wild flurry, for it was dying.
The rush of water nearly threw Tom off his feet, but he managed to make his way over
to his friend, and assist him to rise.
A confident look from the sailor showed the lad that Captain Weston was uninjured,
though he must have been frightened.
As the two turned to make their way back to the submarine, the waters about them seemed
alive with the horrible monsters. It needed but a glance to show what they
were, Sharks!
Scores of them, long, black ones, with their ugly, undershot mouths.
They had been attracted by the blood of the one Tom had killed, but there was not a
meal for all of them off the dying creature, and the great fish might turn on
the young inventor and his companion.
The two shrank closer toward the wreck. They might get under the prow of that and
be safe. But even as they started to move, several
of the sea wolves darted quickly at them.
Tom glanced at the captain. What could they do?
Strong as were the diving suits, a combined attack by the sharks, with their powerful
jaws, would do untold damage.
At that moment there seemed some movement on board the submarine.
Tom could see his father looking from the conning tower, and the aged inventor seemed
to be making some motions.
Then Tom understood. Mr. Swift was directing his son and Captain
Weston to crouch down. The lad did so, pulling the sailor after
him.
Then Tom saw the bow electric gun run out, and aimed at the mass of sharks, most of
whom were congregated about the dead one.
Into the midst of the monsters was fired a number of small projectiles, which could be
used in the electric cannon in place of the solid shot.
Once more the waters were red with blood, and those sharks which were not killed
swirled off. Tom and Captain Weston were saved.
They were soon inside the submarine again, telling their thrilling story.
"It's lucky you saw us, dad," remarked the lad, blushing at the praise Mr. Damon
bestowed on him for killing the monster which had attacked the captain.
"Oh, I was on the lookout," said the inventor.
"But what about getting into the wreck?"
"I think the only way we can do it will be to ram a hole in her side," said Captain
Weston.
"That was what I tried to tell Tom by motions, but he didn't seem to understand
me." "No," replied the lad, who was still a
little nervous from his recent experience.
"I thought you meant for us to turn it over, bottom side up," and he laughed.
"Bless my gizzard! Just like a shark," commented Mr. Damon.
"Please don't mention them," begged Tom.
"I hope we don't see any more of them." "Oh, I fancy they have been driven far
enough away from this neighborhood now," commented the captain.
"But now about the wreck.
We may be able to approach it from above. Suppose we try to lower the submarine on
it? That will save ripping it open."
This was tried a little later, but would not work.
There were strong currents sweeping over the top of the Boldero, caused by a
submerged reef near which she had settled.
It was a delicate task to sink the submarine on her decks, and with the deep
waters swirling about was found to be impossible, even with the use of the
electric plates and the auxiliary screws.
Once more the Advance settled to the ocean bed, near the wreck.
"Well, what's to be done?" asked Tom, as he looked at the high steel sides.
"Ram her, tear a hole, and then use dynamite," decided Captain Weston promptly.
"You have some explosive, haven't you, Mr. Swift?"
"Oh, yes.
I came prepared for emergencies." "Then we'll blow up the wreck and get at
the gold."
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XXIV Ramming the Wreck
Fitted with a long, sharp steel ram in front, the Advance was peculiarly adapted
for this sort of work.
In designing the ship this ram was calculated to be used against hostile
vessels in war time, for the submarine was at first, as we know, destined for a
Government boat.
Now the ram was to serve a good turn. To make sure that the attempt would be a
success, the machinery of the craft was carefully gone over.
It was found to be in perfect order, save for a few adjustments which were needed.
Then, as it was night, though there was no difference in the appearance of things
below the surface, it was decided to turn in, and begin work in the morning.
Nor did the gold-seekers go to the surface, for they feared they might encounter a
storm.
"We had trouble enough locating the wreck," said Captain Weston, "and if we go up we
may be blown off our course. We have air enough to stay below, haven't
we, Tom?"
"Plenty," answered the lad, looking at the gages.
After a hearty breakfast the next morning, the submarine crew got ready for their hard
task.
The craft was backed away as far as was practical, and then, running at full speed,
she rammed the wreck.
The shock was terrific, and at first it was feared some damage had been done to the
Advance, but she stood the strain. "Did we open up much of a hole?" anxiously
asked Mr. Swift.
"Pretty good," replied Tom, observing it through the conning tower bull's-eyes, when
the submarine had backed off again. "Let's give her another."
Once more the great steel ram hit into the side of the Boldero, and again the
submarine shivered from the shock.
But there was a bigger hole in the wreck now, and after Captain Weston had viewed it
he decided it was large enough to allow a person to enter and place a charge of
dynamite so that the treasure ship would be broken up.
Tom and the captain placed the explosive. Then the Advance was withdrawn to a safe
distance.
There was a dull rumble, a great swirling of the water, which was made murky; but
when it cleared, and the submarine went back, it was seen that the wreck was
effectively broken up.
It was in two parts, each one easy of access.
"That's the stuff!" cried Tom. "Now to get at the gold!"
"Yes, get out the diving suits," added Mr. Damon.
"Bless my watch-charm, I think I'll chance it in one myself!
Do you think the sharks are all gone, Captain Weston?"
"I think so."
In a short time Tom, the captain, Mr. Sharp and Mr. Damon were attired in the diving
suits, Mr. Swift not caring to venture into such a great depth of water.
Besides, it was necessary for at least one person to remain in the submarine to
operate the diving chamber. Walking slowly along the bottom of the sea
the four gold-seekers approached the wreck.
They looked on all sides for a sight of the sharks, but the monster fish seemed to have
deserted that part of the ocean. Tom was the first to reach the now
disrupted steamer.
He found he could easily climb up, for boxes and barrels from the cargo holds were
scattered all about by the explosion. Captain Weston soon joined the lad.
The sailor motioned Tom to follow him, and being more familiar with ocean craft the
captain was permitted to take the lead. He headed aft, seeking to locate the
captain's cabin.
Nor was he long in finding it.
He motioned for the others to enter, that the combined illumination of the lamps in
their helmets would make the place bright enough so a search could be made for the
gold.
Tom suddenly seized the arm of the captain, and pointed to one corner of the cabin.
There stood a small safe, and at the sight of it Captain Weston moved toward it.
The door was not locked, probably having been left open when the ship was deserted.
Swinging it back the interior was revealed. It was empty.
There was no gold bullion in it.
There was no mistaking the dejected air of Captain Weston.
The others shared his feelings, but though they all felt like voicing their
disappointment, not a word could be spoken.
Mr. Sharp, by vigorous motions, indicated to his companions to seek further.
They did so, spending all the rest of the day in the wreck, save for a short interval
for dinner.
But no gold rewarded their search.
Tom, late that afternoon, wandered away from the others, and found himself in the
captain's cabin again, with the empty safe showing dimly in the water that was all
about.
"Hang it all!" thought the lad, "we've had all our trouble for nothing!
They must have taken the gold with them." Idly he raised his steel bar, and struck it
against the partition back of the safe.
To his astonishment the partition seemed to fall inward, revealing a secret
compartment. The lad leaned forward to bring the light
for his helmet to play on the recess.
He saw a number of boxes, piled one upon the other.
He had accidentally touched a hidden spring and opened a secret receptacle.
But what did it contain?
Tom reached in and tried to lift one of the boxes.
He found it beyond his strength. Trembling from excitement, he went in
search of the others.
He found them delving in the after part of the wreck, but by motions our hero caused
them to follow him.
Captain Weston showed the excitement he felt as soon as he caught sight of the
boxes. He and Mr. Sharp lifted one out, and placed
it on the cabin floor.
They pried off the top with their bars. There, packed in layers, were small yellow
bars; dull, gleaming, yellow bars! It needed but a glance to show that they
were gold bullion.
Tom had found the treasure. The lad tried to dance around there in the
cabin of the wreck, nearly three miles below the surface of the ocean, but the
pressure of water was too much for him.
Their trip had been successful.
>
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat by Victor Appleton
CHAPTER XXV Home With the Gold
There was no time to be lost. They were in a treacherous part of the
ocean, and strong currents might at any time further break up the wreck, so that
they could not come at the gold.
It was decided, by means of motions, to at once transfer the treasure to the
submarine.
As the boxes were too heavy to carry easily, especially as two men, who were
required to lift one, could not walk together in the uncertain footing afforded
by the wreck, another plan was adopted.
The boxes were opened and the bars, a few at a time, were dropped on a firm, sandy
place at the side of the wreck.
Tom and Captain Weston did this work, while Mr. Sharp and Mr. Damon carried the bullion
to the diving chamber of the Advance.
They put the yellow bars inside, and when quite a number had been thus shifted, Mr.
Swift, closing the chamber, pumped the water out and removed the gold.
Then he opened the chamber to the divers again, and the process was repeated, until
all the bullion had been secured.
Tom would have been glad to make a further examination of the wreck, for he thought he
could get some of the rifles the ship carried, but Captain Weston signed to him
not to attempt this.
The lad went to the pilot house, while his father and Mr. Sharp took their places in
the engine-room. The gold had been safely stowed in Mr.
Swift's cabin.
Tom took a last look at the wreck before he gave the starting signal.
As he gazed at the bent and twisted mass of steel that had once been a great ship, he
saw something long, black and shadowy moving around from the other side, coming
across the bows.
"There's another big shark," he observed to Captain Weston.
"They're coming back after us." The captain did not speak.
He was staring at the dark form.
Suddenly, from what seemed the pointed nose of it, there gleamed a light, as from some
great eye. "Look at that!" cried Tom.
"That's no shark!"
"If you want my opinion," remarked the sailor, "I should say it was the other
submarine--that of Berg and his friends-- the Wonder.
They've managed to fix up their craft and are after the gold."
"But they're too late!" cried Tom excitedly.
"Let's tell them so."
"No," advised the captain. "We don't want any trouble with them."
Mr. Swift came forward to see why his son had not given the signal to start.
He was shown the other submarine, for now that the Wonder had turned on several
searchlights, there was no doubt as to the identity of the craft.
"Let's get away unobserved if we can," he suggested.
"We have had trouble enough."
It was easy to do this, as the Advance was hidden behind the wreck, and her lights
were glowing but dimly.
Then, too, those in the other submarine were so excited over the finding of what
they supposed was the wreck containing the treasure, that they paid little attention
to anything else.
"I wonder how they'll feel when they find the gold gone?" asked Tom as he pulled the
lever starting the pumps.
"Well, we may have a chance to learn, when we get back to civilization," remarked the
captain.
The surface was soon reached, and then, under fair skies, and on a calm sea, the
voyage home was begun. Part of the time the Advance sailed on the
top, and part of the time submerged.
They met with but a single accident, and that was when the forward electrical plate
broke.
But with the aft one still in commission, and the auxiliary screws, they made good
time.
Just before reaching home they settled down to the bottom and donned the diving suits
again, even Mr. Swift taking his turn.
Mr. Damon caught some large lobsters, of which he was very fond, or, rather, to be
more correct, the lobsters caught him.
When he entered the diving chamber there were four fine ones clinging to different
parts of his diving suit. Some of them were served for dinner.
The adventurers safely reached the New Jersey coast, and the submarine was docked.
Mr. Swift at once communicated with the proper authorities concerning the recovery
of the gold.
He offered to divide with the actual owners, after he and his friends had been
paid for their services, but as the revolutionary party to whom the bullion was
intended had gone out of existence, there
was no one to officially claim the treasure, so it all went to Tom and his
friends, who made an equitable distribution of it.
The young inventor did not forget to buy Mrs. Baggert a fine diamond ring, as he had
promised.
As for Berg and his employers, they were, it was learned later, greatly chagrined at
finding the wreck valueless. They tried to make trouble for Tom and his
father, but were not successful.
A few days after arriving at the seacoast cottage, Tom, his father and Mr. Damon went
to Shopton in the airship. Captain Weston, Garret Jackson and Mr Sharp
remained behind in charge of the submarine.
It was decided that the Swifts would keep the craft and not sell it to the
Government, as Tom said they might want to go after more treasure some day.
"I must first deposit this gold," said Mr. Swift as the airship landed in front of the
shed at his home.
"It won't do to keep it in the house over night, even if the Happy Harry gang is in
jail." Tom helped him take it to the bank.
As they were making perhaps the largest single deposit ever put in the institution,
Ned Newton came out.
"Well, Tom," he cried to his chum, "it seems that you are never going to stop
doing things. You've conquered the air, the earth and the
water."
"What have you been doing while I've been under water, Ned?" asked the young
inventor. "Oh, the same old thing.
Running errands and doing all sorts of work in the bank."
Tom had a sudden idea. He whispered to his father and Mr. Swift
nodded.
A little later he was closeted with Mr. Prendergast, the bank president.
It was not long before Ned and Tom were called in.
"I have some good news for you, Ned," said Mr. Prendergast, while Tom smiled.
"Mr. Swift er--ahem--one of our largest depositors, has spoken to me about you,
Ned.
I find that you have been very faithful. You are hereby appointed assistant cashier,
and of course you will get a much larger salary."
Ned could hardly believe it, but he knew then what Tom had whispered to Mr. Swift.
The wishes of a depositor who brings much gold bullion to a bank can hardly be
ignored.
"Come on out and have some soda," invited Tom, and when Ned looked inquiringly at the
president, the latter nodded an assent.
As the two lads were crossing the street to a drug store, something whizzed past them,
nearly running them down. "What sort of an auto was that?" cried Tom.
"That?
Oh, that was Andy Foger's new car," answered Ned.
"He's been breaking the speed laws every day lately, but no one seems to bother him.
It's because his father is rich, I suppose.
Andy says he has the fastest car ever built."
"He has, eh?" remarked Tom, while a curious look came into his eyes.
"Well, maybe I can build one that will beat his."
And whether the young inventor did or not you can learn by reading the fifth volume
of this series, to be called "Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout; Or, The Speediest
Car on the Road."
"Well, Tom, I certainly appreciate what you did for me in getting me a better
position," remarked Ned as they left the drug store.
"I was beginning to think I'd never get promoted.
Say, have you anything to do this evening? If you haven't, I wish you'd come over to
my house.
I've got a lot of pictures I took while you were away."
"Sorry, but I can't," replied Tom. "Why, are you going to build another
airship or submarine?"
"No, but I'm going to see-- Oh, what do you want to know for, anyhow?" demanded the
young inventor with a blush. "Can't a fellow go see a girl without being
cross-questioned?"
"Oh, of course," replied Ned with a laugh. "Give Miss Nestor my regards," and at this
Tom blushed still more. But, as he said, that was his own affair.
>