Part 3 out of 4
A BOY SCOUT WITH A "PUNCH"
When Ned saw the conning tower of the submarine drop out of sight he
rowed over to the spot where she had gone down and tried to look into
the depths of the sea.
The water was fairly clear, and he could see two great bulks below
instead of one. He knew then what was taking place.
"The Shark is bent on murder," he mused. "Perhaps they wouldn't be so
ready to sink the Sea Lion if they knew that the manager of the whole
rotten business was a prisoner on her."
He could not see clearly, of course, but he waited and watched for
some moments. Then the Shark crashed with the Sea Lion and fell off,
"So that's the reason Frank dropped to the bottom!" thought Ned. "He
knew the Shark couldn't get a good crack at the Sea Lion when she lay
on the bottom. Wonder if the Shark is injured seriously?"
He watched until the Shark turned to the east, curving around the
point of land which she had passed to the attack, then turned toward
the shore. Jack was still there, and he must find him before
Much to his surprise, he saw Jack, Hans and the Englishman, Hamblin by
name, watching him from the beach. He waved his hat and shouted to
them, wondering all the time where Jack had picked up his
acquaintances. In five minutes he was on the beach.
"Is this the boy you wanted me to talk with?" asked Hamblin, as Ned
drew up his boat and approached the group.
"The same," laughed Jack, "only you mustn't call him a boy! He's a big
man in his own country."
Hamblin eyed Ned critically for a minute and extended his hand. Ned
laughed as he took it.
"I've met you before!" he said.
"In a cheap lodging house on the Bowery," said Hamblin. "You were
looking for a man who had robbed a bank an' made a run for it."
"Exactly," Ned said.
"An' the bloomin' moocher was in the next room to mine, an' you got
him. I was bloody well glad to get the five p'un' note you tipped me
then. Stone broke I was."
"You earned it," Ned replied.
"It put me on me legs again," Hamblin went on. "An' I took ship an'
come out to this blasted country. I wish I was on the Bowery again,
blast me eyes if I don't."
"What are you doing here?" asked Ned.
"Runnin' a bloomin' store an' scrappin' with the Chinks," was the
reply. "It's a bally bad game, out here."
"Rotten!" echoed Hans.
Hamblin made a break for the German.
"You thief!" he shouted.
"Hold on," cried Jack, "let me tell you about it," and he proceeded to
inform the Englishman of the exact situation of affairs.
"I thought he was a bloomin' moocher," said Hamblin, in a moment. "He
acted like one."
"Who is he?" asked Ned of Jack, pointing toward Hans, who now sat on
the sand with his knees hunched up in his hands.
"That's Hans," laughed Jack.
Hans threw out his hand in Boy Scout salute.
"Owl Padrol, Philadelphia!" he said.
"Looks like an Owl, eh?" asked Jack.
"He is an Owl!" roared the Englishman. "He works for me, an' he wants
to sleep all day an' sit up all the bloomin' night. He's an Owl all
but the wise look."
"You loaver!" cried Hans, well knowing that Hamblin would not be
permitted to attack him again. "You starf mine pelly! You put bugs to
sleep in mine ped! How should the nights get me sleep when the ped is
one processions of pugs?"
Jack now called Ned aside and told him of the meeting of the
conspirators at the Hamblin store, of the sealed packet, and of the
seeming quarrel, as described by Hans. Ned turned to the Englishman.
"They met there by appointment," he asked, "the man from the Shark and
the man who waited for him?"
"Yes, by appointment."
"It was about papers?"
"Yes, and gold."
"Where did the man who waited here come from?"
"Some point in China."
Jack gave a low whistle.
"China!" he cried. "I wouldn't have believed it."
"Did you know either of the men who met there--ever see either of them
before?" asked Ned, then.
"One of them--a Captain Moore, formerly of the United States Navy,"
was the astonishing reply.
"Where had you seen him?" asked Ned, motioning to Jack to remain
"He first came here on a man-of-war about six months ago."
"Well, the documents were taken back on board the Shark, then?" asked
"Yes, I think so."
"You don't know what the packet contained?"
"Papers, they said."
"Then it's all right!" Jack cried. "We can now bunch our hits! The
papers and the men we want are on board the Shark. All we've got to do
is to catch the Shark!"
Just then the Sea Lion rose out of the ocean and they saw Frank and
Jimmie waving to them.
"So they're all right," Ned said. "A moment ago the Shark was ramming
"Why don't we go on board, then?" demanded Jack. "If there's going to
be a fight on the bottom I want to be in on it. Bet your sweet life I
do! Hurry on board!"
"Look a liddle oudt!" cried Hans at this moment. "They say with their
hats unt hands somedings. Look a liddle oudt!"
Ned did "look a liddle oudt" just then, and saw Captain Moore and a
dozen or more natives crowding through the thicket, the Captain
carrying a revolver in a threatening manner.
"Stand quiet," the ex-naval officer said. "I don't intend to harm any
of you. Especially you, Mr. Hamblin. I only want to know where my son
"I haven't got your son!" blustered Hamblin.
"Make me a search!" cried Hans.
"I'm not talking to you two," snarled the Captain. "I'm directing my
talk to this sneak," pointing a shaking finger at Ned, whose muscles
drew under the insult.
Hans flushed and started forward, but the natives closed about the ex-
"Where is my son?" demanded Moore, flourishing his gun nervously.
"Where did you see him last?" asked Ned.
"That is neither here nor there," the Captain replied. "I want to know
what you have done with him."
"You sent him on a dangerous mission--a mission of murder," Ned said,
"I don't know what you are talking about."
"You sent him to wreck the Sea Lion."
"That is not true. I have not been on board the Shark."
"Well, some one sent him. Anyway, he came on board the Sea Lion and
got caught. Now, what would you have done under the circumstances? You
would have given him a banquet, I presume, if he had tried to murder
you and got caught at it."
"I don't care what he has done," stormed the Captain. "I want to know
where he is now."
"He's at the bottom of the sea!" Jack cut in.
The Captain staggered and turned a white face to the speaker. Ned was
about to explain by saying that young Moore was at the bottom of the
sea in the Sea Lion when Moore sprang toward him.
"You murdered him!" shouted the enraged Captain. "You murdered him,
and I'll have your life."
He lifted his pistol and fired, but the bullet went whistling through
the air instead of finding the mark intended for it. Hans, seeing the
peril Ned was in, had stepped forward and landed a knock-out blow on
the Captain's jaw.
"You loaver!" he shouted, standing over him.
The natives rushed forward as the Captain fell, uttering a jargon
which no one understood save the trader. Hamblin saw the danger in the
threatening looks of the fellows and sprang for the gun, which had
dropped from Moore's hand.
He reached it not a second too soon, for a brawny native was already
snatching at it. The fellow seized the trader's wrist as he lifted the
weapon and uttered a few words in a menacing tone.
This was enough for Hans, who stood close by, rubbing the bruised
knuckles of his right hand. He struck out again, throwing the whole
weight of his body into the blow. The native went down and the others
drew away from the group about him.
"Great clip!" shouted Jack, as the trader threatened the natives with
the gun. "You seem to be the White Man's Hope!"
Hans rubbed the knuckles again and grinned, such a bland grin that
both Ned and Jack burst into laughter.
"You sure have a punch!" Jack went on. "Where did you get it?"
"Py the verein just," was the reply.
"You're all right, anyhow," Ned said.
The trader was now addressing the natives in a language--if it was a
language--which the boys could not at all understand. They noted the
result of the talk with joy, however, for the black-skinned group
turned toward the village and soon disappeared in the thicket, taking
the knocked out fellow with them.
Captain Moore now opened his eyes and staggered to his feet. His face
was deadly pale and his eyes flashed like those of an enraged wolf.
"You shall pay for this!" he shouted.
"Jack did not finish his sentence when he told you that your son was
at the bottom of the sea," Ned said, thinking that the deception had
gone far enough. "He should have added that he was safe in the Sea
"Then I demand his release!" shouted the other.
"I can't bring him to you," Ned said, "but I'll take you where he is."
"And if I refuse to go?"
"You'll go just the same."
"Certainly--a prisoner charged with piracy on the high seas."
"You're a meddling fool!" roared the Captain.
Ned paid no attention to the personal abuse of the angry man, but
turned to Hamblin.
"I want to talk with you," he said, "but I must get this man on board
the Sea Lion first. You'll wait here?"
Before the trader could reply, a shout came over the water from the
submarine, and a column of smoke came out of the open hatch.
"I guess you've got all the trouble on the Sea Lion you need there,"
snarled Moore, "without taking me on board. Your ship's on fire!"
A DESPERATE PRISONER
Just as the attention of Frank and Jimmie was called to the Captain
and the natives advancing upon Ned and Jack from the thicket, they
heard a great beating on a door or wall below. There was only one
person in the submarine save themselves, and so they knew that it was
the captive who was kicking up the row.
"He knows something unusual has been going on," Jimmie observed, "and
wants to turn whatever takes place to his own advantage. Suppose we go
below and see what he's doing."
"He's frightened half to death, I take it," Frank surmised. "The two
bumps the Sea Lion got from the Shark must have given him the
impression that we had collided with a rock or reef."
"Serves him right," Jimmie replied. "He ought to be willing to take a
little of his own medicine occasionally. He tried to kill us when he
came on board."
The pounding below continued, and the boys went down to the door of
the room where young Moore was held captive. The noise came from
within, sure enough.
"What do you want?" demanded Frank, calling loudly so that his voice
might penetrate the thick door.
"Let me out!"
"You've got your nerve!" answered Jimmie.
"Let me out, please!" continued the prisoner.
"Why?" asked Frank.
"Open the door and you'll see," was the reply.
Jimmie sniffed at the air in the larger apartment and pulled Frank by
"Smell anything?" he asked.
"Something does seem queer," the latter replied.
In a second there was an unmistakable odor of burning cloth in the
room, and the boys began hunting about for the source of it. The
pounding on the door continued.
"Open up!" young Moore shouted. "Open up if you don't want to lose
"I'll bet the fire's in there," Jimmie ventured. "I'm goin' to open
the door and find out."
He turned the key, which was in the lock on the outside, and in a
second the door was open. A burst of smoke shot out into the larger
Through the thick veil of the smoke, in a corner of the room, the boys
saw a spurt of flame. It was running along the floor, nipping at the
fringe on an expensive rug.
When the door was opened young Moore dashed out, as if desiring to
pass the two boys before they got the smoke out of their eyes. Frank
caught him by the arm and held him fast.
By this time the large room where the boys stood was well filled with
smoke, and Jimmie opened every avenue by which it might travel to the
main hatch in the conning tower. In a few moments the interior of the
submarine was comparatively free from smoke.
Jimmie took a pail of water from the tap and tossed it on the creeping
flame in the little room. It served its purpose and the danger was
over. Frank, still holding Moore by the arm, pointed to a chair. The
young fellow seemed to have no notion of taking the seat, however, for
he made a dash for the hatch, which was wide open.
In order to gain the staircase it was necessary for him to pass the
place where Jimmie stood. As he came up to the boy he struck out with
all his force and continued his flight--for a second.
When the boy saw him getting by, he dropped to the floor and seized
him by the ankles, with the result that both were rolling about in the
rich rug in no time.
"Go to it!" shouted Jimmie, as Moore tried to break away from him.
"Catch him, Frank!" he continued, as the stronger man pulled away.
It was quite a neat little battle, but in the end numbers won, and
Moore was ornamented with the irons once more.
"Why didn't you say the boat was on fire?" asked Frank. "You might
have smothered in there."
"Wish I had!" gritted Moore.
"Go back and do it over again," Jimmie suggested. "You can have all
the time you want!"
"Why didn't you let us know at first?" insisted Frank.
"Well, if you must know," the captive replied, "I was afraid you would
extinguish the fire by flooding the room, if I told what the trouble
was. Besides, I thought I could get away if you opened the door."
"Did you set the fire?"
"I was lighting a cigarette, and--"
"That's enough," Frank said. "Any one who will smoke cigarettes
deserves to be burned alive. Wish we had flooded the room after you
got well scorched and left you in it."
"You may wish so before you have done with me," threatened the other.
"I'll get you yet--both of you."
"Well, get back into the den," Frank commanded. "We have had about all
the lip we can stand from you. You tried to murder Lieutenant Scott at
Mare Island Navy Yard, you attempted our lives when you came to this
boat, and now you set us on fire and attempt to run away. You've got a
long account to settle, young man."
"You can bluff now," Moore retorted, "but that is all you can do. My
father is on the lookout for you and that wise guy you call Ned
Nestor. When you go back, without the gold, he'll get you good and
plenty. You know it! Now lock me up and go away, for I'm sick of the
sight of your impudent faces."
Jimmie forced the prisoner into his room and closed the door.
"You'll have to make a supper off that smoke!" he called out through
the keyhole. "You're too fly a guy to take food to."
"I'll charge it up to you!" came back from the den.
"Nervy chap!" Frank said, as the two boys hastened back to the conning
tower to see what had become of Ned and Jack.
"Cheekiest fellow I ever saw!" Jimmie added. "He really thinks he's
goin' to give us the slip. He really believes we daren't do a thing to
him. I'll show him!"
When the boys came in sight of the beach again they saw Captain Moore
threatening Ned with a revolver. Then they saw the Captain tumble over
on the sand, with the German standing over him.
"Gee!" Jimmie shouted. "Prize fight!"
"Looks like it."
There was silence in the conning tower for a second, then both boys
shouted out their joy as they saw Ned and Jack getting the upper hand
of Moore and the natives.
"Now they'll soon be on board," Frank observed, "and we'll find out
what they've been up to."
"Bet they didn't find out any more than I did," Jimmie cried. "I'll
bet they had a scrap too, and that's the only thing I wanted that I
"Wonder who that Dutch-looking fellow is?" Frank mused. "I believe Ned
is putting him into the boat!"
"I'll go a dollar to a doughnut that it's a Boy Scout!" laughed
Jimmie. "Don't look the part, though, does he?"
"Why do you think it is a Boy Scout?"
"Because we've always found one. If we should go to the North Pole,
we'd find one there--always busy an' ready to do a fellow a good turn,
too. You know it!"
"And that big fellow, with the paunch and the important look seems
familiar to me," mused Frank. "Don't you recognize him?"
"Sure," was the reply. "That is Captain Moore. Don't you remember the
bluff he put up in the Black Bear clubroom before we left little old
"I believe you are right."
"Well, we'll soon know all about it," said the boy. "Ned is bringin'
the Captain an' the Dutch guy off to us. Funny you'll see so many rare
specimens when you hain't got no gun!"
Hans grinned delightedly when he set foot on the conning tower of the
submarine and glanced inquisitively into the interior. His round, baby
blue eyes protruded in wonder as they fell on the comfortably
furnished apartment below.
"Jump down, Dutch!" Jimmie laughed. "There is where they make men out
of Dutchmen. Don't be afraid."
"Iss dot so?" grunted Hans. "Vell, if mens iss madt dere, vy dondt you
"Good for you, Dutch!" cried Frank. "Hit him again. He's too fresh,
"Where did you get it, Ned?" asked Jimmie. "You'll have to bake it
when we get back to New York."
"Better look out, lad," Ned replied, "this boy has the kick of a mule
in his left. Let him alone."
During this short by-play Captain Moore stood scowling on the conning
tower, crowded close against the boys, for the platform was a small
one. He now faced Ned angrily.
"What is the proposition?" he demanded.
"I have brought you here to see your son," Ned replied. "If you'll
step down the stairs I'll show you where he is."
"He ought to be at the bottom of the sea," Frank said, "for he tried
to fire the boat."
"I have no doubt that he resents his treatment," said Moore. "I,
myself, would sink your craft this moment if it lay in my power."
"No doubt of it," Ned said. "You've come to the end of your rope,
though. All the mischief you can do now is to yourself."
Moore snarled out some reply intended to be exasperating, but which
made no impression on the boys, and set his feet to the stairs. The
boys followed him, but the ex-naval officer reached the floor first,
and, with a bound, reached the mechanism which gave forward motion to
the submarine, the prow of which was turned toward the beach.
Ned sprang forward, but the boat was already under motion. It was
unquestionably the intention of the prisoner to wreck her on the
beach, hoping to rescue his son and make his own escape in the
Moore struck savagely at Ned as he attempted to draw him away from the
lever, but missed. In a second Jimmie had his arms about those of the
Captain and they went down together.
Ned leaped to the lever and shut off the power. In three minutes more
the Sea Lion must have been wrecked on the shelving shore. As it was
she stopped within a few yards of the danger line.
"You're a pair of murderers!" said Ned, coolly, as he seized Moore by
the throat and flung him into the room where his son was incarcerated.
Young Moore's face appeared at the door as his father was forced in,
and angry words between the two followed as the door was closed.
"There'll be a social session in there now," laughed Ned. "Each one
will blame the other for the predicament they are in!"
"Let 'em fight it out," Jimmie advised, rubbing a bruise on his arm,
which had been somewhat injured in the fall.
Hans was now gazing about the boat with something more than curiosity
in his eyes. He had observed how quickly the submarine had responded
to a touch of the lever, and was actually wondering if he wasn't on
board one of the magic ships he had read of in the nursery.
"Sit down outside this door and see that nothing more happens in the
kick line," Ned directed, thinking to give the uneasy youth something
to occupy his mind. "If they get the door open, give them one of those
With another glance about the German sat down contentedly. Then Ned
went to the stern and looked out of the glass panel.
"Is the Shark still in sight?" asked Frank. "Look out to the east and
you'll see her if she's anywhere about."
"I'm afraid she's too far away by this time," Ned replied.
"Then we'd better be moving!" Frank said. "I'll take the boat and go
after Jack, then we'll be off."
"Don't lose any time," advised Ned.
Frank, accompanied by Jimmie, was off in the rowboat in short order,
and before long Jack was on board.
"Hamblin, the trader, wants to talk with you, Ned," he said as he came
down into the cabin.
"He'll have to wait until we catch the Shark," Ned said. "I'm afraid
we have lost too much time now."
Jack's report had shown him that the sealed packet was still on the
Shark, and it was his purpose to keep after the submarine until he
caught up with her. Just what would take place then he did not know,
but he was willing to take great risks in order to get hold of the
He did not know what it contained, but he did know that it was claimed
by the enemies of his government, that it held papers which, if
brought out, might smash several international treaties. His own
belief was that the packet would establish the fair dealing of the
Washington officials, but this was only a matter of opinion.
While the Sea Lion was dropping down and getting under way he talked
the matter over with Frank. That young man was inclined to be rather
pessimistic over the matter.
"If the papers in the packet are of the sort you think they are," he
declared, "they will destroy them before they will permit you to get
hold of them."
"They might do so only for the fact that this is a money-loving world
we are living in," Ned declared, with a smile. "Those papers, whatever
they are, are worth a lot of cash to some one, and they will not be
The submarine was soon moving swiftly through the water, only a few
yards from the sandy bottom. The general direction was east, toward
the harbor of Hongkong.
Just before the night fell Jack, who was on the lookout in front,
peering through the glass panel, declared that the Shark, or some
other submarine, was in sight.
"She's crippled, too," he cried. "She advances a few paces and then
stops. They are having all kinds of trouble with her. Just lie still a
short time, and you'll see her mounting to the surface."
The Sea Lion was brought to a halt, and the boys watched the dark bulk
ahead with all their eyes. Their own boat was dark, but directly
lights flared out ahead.
"There she goes to the top!" Jimmie cried.
"And there," exclaimed Frank, "is a signal from Hans which shows that
there's something doing with the prisoners!"
A BLUFF THAT DIDN'T WORK
Leaving the prow, Ned hastened down a little passage and came out in
the room where Hans sat, grinning, before a door behind which there
was a great commotion. The pounding was incessant, and the voices of
the prisoners came clearly through the solid panels.
"Open!" cried the voice of Captain Moore. "There's danger ahead for
you. Open the door."
"Little he cares for our hides!" Jimmie commented. "If there was any
danger he'd be the last one to warn us."
"Just a crack," pleaded Moore. "Just a crack, and I'll tell you what
you are facing."
Ned opened the door a trifle and saw Moore's face there, looking
almost frantic in the strong light.
"Well?" Ned asked.
"There's death for us all if you go ahead," the Captain declared.
"Stop where you are."
"Soh!" grunted the German.
"Oh, I'm not pretending that I care for your rascally lives," Moore
went on, vindictively. "I'd kill you all this moment if it lay in my
power to do so. I'm thinking of my own safety."
"Well?" repeated Ned. "What is it?"
"The boat you are chasing has dynamite on board, and a tube gun. If
you go nearer, she'll blow you out of the water."
"That's cheerful," Jimmie grinned. "Why didn't she do it before?"
"Probably because she thought to get away. I've been watching her
through the little port and I know that she is now waiting for you to
come up and receive a dynamite ball."
"It strikes me," Ned replied, "that she is halting because her running
gear is out of whack. She rammed us not long ago and got the worst of
Captain Moore thrust his head close to the little opening between the
casing and the door and almost screamed:
"Do you mean that she is crippled so that she can't get away from
"I said that I thought she had injured herself in trying to destroy
the Sea Lion," was the reply.
"Well, even if she can't get away," the Captain went on, with a change
of expression, "she can blow you out of the water."
"We'll have to take our chances on that," Ned replied.
After some further talk, the boy entered the room where the prisoners
were and closed the door, leaving Hans on guard outside. Captain Moore
frowned as he seated himself by the port.
"It is bad enough to be confined here without being obliged to endure
your company," he said.
"What a snake you would have made!" commented Ned. "I never saw a
fellow loaded to the guards with venom as you are. Will you answer a
"Depends on what they are," was the reply.
"If they will aid you, you will answer them, eh?"
"And if they will assist me, you won't?"
The Captain nodded.
"All right," laughed Ned. "Suppose the correct answers would help us
both? What then?"
"Oh, what's the use of all this nagging?" demanded the son. "If you
have anything to say, say it, and get out."
"And you're a pretty good imitation of this other snake," Ned said,
glancing at the young fellow. "If you interfere in the talk again I'll
put you in the dungeon and forget to feed you."
Captain Moore motioned to his son to remain quiet.
"This cheap Bowery boy has the upper hand now," he said. "Wait until
conditions are reversed."
"Captain," began Ned, paying no attention to the venom of the other,
"will you tell me what the packet that was rescued from the wreck by
the pirates under your command contained?"
"What packet?" demanded the Captain, surprise showing on his drawn
features. "What packet do you refer to?"
"The mysterious packet you came to this part of the world to obtain.
You know very well what I mean."
"We came, under contract, for the gold," was the reply.
"Yet your boat went away and left most of it on the bottom after the
packet was discovered."
"She came to this harbor after supplies."
"And neglected to secure them!"
"Well, there was trouble with the trader."
"You met a Shark man, on the island?"
"Of course. I came here to meet him, to receive a report as to the
success of the expedition."
"You received such a report?"
"You were told that the gold had been found intact?"
"That is not for discussion here."
"You were astonished when your son did not make his appearance?"
"You expected that he would bring you the report?"
"Yes; he was in charge of the Shark."
"If he had been in charge when the man landed, he would have given you
"If he had had a packet, or anything else taken from the wreck, he
would have turned it over to me."
"But the man you met refused to do so?"
"How do you know what took place?"
"That is immaterial, so long as I do know. Tell, me, what was the
difficulty at the store--money?"
The Captain did not answer.
"Now," Ned went on, "you stated a moment ago that you came here under
contract to get the gold. Who are your principals?"
No reply was received.
"What will the man now in charge of the Shark do with the packet he
refused to deliver to you?" was the next question.
"He will transfer it to me as soon as we meet again."
"You are sure of that?"
"Then what will you do with it?"
"Anything given to me will be turned over to my principals."
"But, suppose the contents of the packet are not favorable to your
side of the case? Suppose they clear the United States Government of
Captain Moore gave a quick start of amazement.
"I don't know what you are talking about," he said.
"In that case," Ned went on, "I presume you will destroy the papers?
If you can't entangle the Government that fed you so long in some
trouble, you won't play."
"You've been reading some of the red-covered detective stories, and
think you're a sleuth!" snarled the Captain.
"You may as well tell me all about it," Ned urged.
"I have told you all I know about the condition of the wreck."
"And the packet?"
"There was a long envelope, but I did not see what it contained."
"Yet you came here to make sure that it should not get out of your
hands unless it would aid you in your treachery?"
The prisoner was silent.
"Why didn't you obtain a knowledge of its contents?"
"The man who held it refused to make delivery."
"In other words, he demanded more money than you were authorized to
"I have nothing to say about that."
"He took the packet back to the Shark?"
"And made an appointment to meet you at Hongkong?"
"It does not matter to you what our arrangement is."
"Oh, yes it does, for I'm telling you now that the appointment will
never be kept."
"You don't know what peril you are in this minute," snarled the other.
"There are bombs under your keel now!"
Ned did not like the tone of satisfaction in which the words were
spoken. The Shark had passed slowly over the spot where the Sea Lion
now lay, and torpedoes and bombs might have been laid.
"Thank you for the hint," he finally said. "I'll go out and see about
"When you want further information," frowned the Captain, with a
scornful laugh, "come in and I'll give it to you--just as I have on
"No trouble to show goods!" broke in the son.
Ned opened the door and motioned to Hans and Jack, who were just
outside, watching and listening to such few words as came through the
heavy panels of the door.
"Take this impertinent young murderer to the den," he said, as Hans
and Jack stepped up, "and leave him there in darkness. Don't feed him
until I give the word."
The young man's struggles only increased the violence which was used
in his removal. The boys would have killed the man who had attempted
the lives of all the crew if they had been directed to do so.
Then Ned turned back to the Captain, now foaming with rage and calling
to his son to remain docile until his turn should come.
"You pride yourself on having put me off without any information
whatever," the boy said. "You advise me to come again and meet with
the same treatment. Now, let me tell you, for your information, that I
came in here to get answers to only two questions."
"Did you get them?"
"Indeed I did," was the reply.
The Captain looked disgusted.
"What were they?" he asked.
"I wanted to know if the man who landed from the Shark had the packet,
and if he took it back on board with him. You gave me the information
I sought. You even told me that the packet had not been opened when
you saw it."
The Captain stormed up and down the little room in a towering rage.
"If I could turn a lever now and blow us all into eternity," he
shouted, "I would do it!"
"Your mind seems to run on blowing up somebody."
Moore gritted his teeth and made no reply.
Ned locked him in again and went out to Frank, who was in charge of
"Get her over to the west a few yards," he said. "Our friend the
Captain says the Shark is sowing torpedoes along here, and we can't
afford to be blown up just now."
"The Shark is at the surface now," Frank said. "Anybody on the
"Not so far as I can see, but it is pretty thick down here."
"Why not go to the surface?" asked Jack.
"Yes; she knows we are here, all right," Frank added.
"Well, keep to the bottom until you change position, then come to the
top and keep dark. Not a light in sight, understand, and the tower up
just high enough to keep out the water."
"What are you going to do?" asked Frank.
"I want to get aboard the Shark," was the cool reply.
"Yes; I see you doing it," Frank said.
"I can only try," was the reply. "The boat is headed for Hongkong,
where she is to deliver the packet we want. She is to deliver it to
Captain Moore on the payment of a certain sum of money, but if the
Captain is not there she will turn it over to whoever has the price.
We can't allow that."
"Of course not; but how are you going to get on board the Shark? If
you don't watch out you'll be served as you served young Moore."
"The minute the Shark strikes Hongkong," Ned replied, "we will have a
thousand places to search for those papers. Before she lands, we have
"You are always right!" cried Frank. "When are you going to make the
"That depends. In the meantime, we must get to the surface and in a
position where we cannot be seen. If she thinks we have gone away, so
much the better."
"I guess our little picnic isn't over with yet!" laughed Frank. "Are
you going to take me on board with you?"
"I'll be lucky if I can take myself on board," was the reply.
By this time the Sea Lion was some distance from the Shark, and the
hatch in the conning tower was open. It was a clear, starlit night,
and there would be a moon later on.
There seemed to be great confusion on board the Shark. The boat was
brilliantly lighted, and the conning tower stood high above the water.
The ports on the side toward the Sea Lion were open, as if to admit
the pure, cool air of the night.
"I believe there's something the matter with her air supply," Ned said
to Frank as the two stood together on the tower. "The ramming she gave
us must have done her a lot of mischief. Looks like she was stuck
there until help comes."
"The help she ought to have is right here," Frank replied. "I'd like
to get that crew on board a man-of-war."
"We have the real criminals," Ned replied.
The boys watched the Shark for a long time. They could see people
moving about on the inside, and occasionally a group assembled on the
conning platform, which was much larger than that of the Sea Lion.
"I believe some one is going down in a water suit," Ned said,
presently. "The water chamber is on the other side, but she lists as
if a weight was pulling at her."
"Listen!" Frank cautioned. "There's the machinery working. That would
be the lowering apparatus. Some one is going down, all right. Now,
Ten minutes passed, and then the waters surged about the Sea Lion, and
a great roar and rumble came with the waves which swept into the open
hatch. The Shark, too, rocked on the crest of a great wave.
"Dynamite below!" Ned said. "Will there be more than one?"
BAD FOR THE SEA CREATURES
As Ned spoke there came another upheaval of water, and a louder roar
from the sea. The Shark and the Sea Lion both swayed perilously. Ned
and Frank closed their hatch and clung to the railing around the
conning tower platform.
"Those are torpedoes, all right," Frank said.
"But I don't understand--"
Ned cut the sentence short as a third reverberation came from beneath
"They think we are down there yet!" Frank said. "I wonder how the man
who went down came to make such a mistake?"
"Cheerful sort of people to fight!" Ned said. "Every man on that boat
is a murderer at heart."
A pounding on the under side of the hatch was now heard, and Jimmie's
face showed when it was lifted.
"Say," the little fellow said, "Captain Moore wants to speak to you,
Ned. These here earthquake shocks have got him goin'. He acts like a
Ned paid no attention to the request.
"He wants to say that he told me so," Ned said to Jimmie. "Go back and
tell him that he ought not to be afraid of his friends on board the
"Gee!" the little fellow replied. "If he don't behave himself, I'll
turn the hose on him. He ought to have a salt water bath, anyway. For
a long time he's been tryin' to give us one!"
"Let him alone," Ned ordered.
This second upheaval of the water had swung the Shark around so that
the door to the water chamber was in view from the Sea Lion. The boys
saw that it was open, probably left in that way for the return of the
man who had gone down in the water suit.
The light, shining from the main cabin, filtered through the chamber,
which was, of course, under water, only a few inches of the conning
tower of the submarine now being above the surface.
"Can they shut that door from the cabin?" Frank asked.
"I presume so," Ned replied. "They ought to be able to shut the door
and empty the room as well."
"That can't be done on the Sea Lion," Frank said.
"No, but that is a detail that was overlooked in the construction of
the boat. I was just learning to run the craft, and did not observe
"Well," Frank went on, "they are closing the door, but they are not
doing a good job at it. Say," he added, grasping Ned's arm, "I'll bet
the machinery connecting with the door from the cabin is broken!"
"Then the man who is down below will have to come up and do the
opening after he gets up, and after he shuts the outer door and
exhausts the water."
"I don't believe the outer door can be closed."
"What I'm interested in just now," Ned said, "is whether the diver is
still alive. If he was anywhere near where the torpedoes exploded he
"And the Shark can't close her water chamber! I see a chance, Ned,"
Frank exclaimed. "Suppose I drop out and enter that water chamber?"
"What for?" asked Ned.
"Why, they would think I was the other fellow and let me in."
"With your line and hose unconnected with the mechanism inside?" asked
"Never thought of that."
"The only way for us to get into that boat," Ned went on, "is to get
in from the top."
"That's just what I'm trying to study out."
"I presume the man who went down is there for good," Frank suggested.
"He probably went down to see why the torpedoes didn't go off and got
caught," Ned replied.
"Perhaps the Shark will go down to see about it directly," the other
"I hardly think she could lift again with that water chamber door open
and the chamber full of water," Ned went on. "It is my opinion that
they will remain on top."
"I should think she'd be afraid of the traps she set for us, anyway. I
wish she would get caught in one of them."
"Not while she has that mysterious packet on board," smiled Ned. "We
have traveled a long way to get that."
No more submarine explosions came, and the boys sat on the dark
conning tower until nearly midnight, watching the people on the Shark
flying about, evidently laboring under great excitement.
The diver had not returned. The machinery was evidently out of order
and the Shark might as well have tied to the bottom for all the speed
she could make.
"I'm afraid some ship friendly to these pirates will come along," Ned
said, after a long silence. "I think I'd better go aboard the Shark
and find out what she intends doing."
"I see you doing it!"
"I can only try."
"And try only once," Frank muttered.
"I think they are ready for a compromise by this time."
"Well, then, I'll go with you," Frank decided.
"Get up the boat, then."
Jack and Jimmie were not inclined to favor the scheme, but they
assisted in launching the boat and stood with half-frightened faces
while Ned and Frank stepped into her.
Just as they were pushing off, Hans made his appearance on the little
platform, his china-blue eyes filled with excitement.
"Mine friendts," he said, "vot iss if I goes py the poat?"
"No more room," said Frank.
"Now, you hold on," Jimmie called out. "You know what sort of a left
hand punch this baby has? Well, then, you may need him when you get
over to the Shark. See?"
"That might be," Frank muttered, looking inquiringly at Ned.
"Then let him come along," the latter said, so Hans entered the boat
and took up the oars. "Rows like a steam engine!" Jimmie observed as
the boat sped away. "That Dutchman is stronger than a mule."
It was still and lonely on the Sea Lion after the departure of the
boys. The lights of the Shark were in sight, but they did not bring
cheerful thoughts. The boys sat on the railing of the conning tower
and waited in no little anxiety.
Occasionally the pounding of the prisoners reached their ears, but
they paid little attention to it.
"They are suffering the tortures of the lost," Jack said. "Every
minute they think they're going to the bottom. Let them take their
"I wish they were going to the bottom," Jimmie responded. "When we see
snakes like they are we ought never to let them get away from us. If
we don't get bitten, some one else will."
Jack rested his chin on his palms and regarded the boy quizzically for
"How do you like it, as far as you've got?" he asked, then.
Jimmie looked down into the interior of the submarine, out over the
sea, sparkling in the moonlight, then up to the heavens, bright with
stars. Presently he answered:
"I don't like it."
"Why not?" "We ain't havin' any fun. We've been down in that old hold
for a long time, and haven't got anywhere. I'd rather take a trip
through South America, or through China. I want the ground under my
feet part of the time, anyway."
"It seems to me that it is getting stale and unprofitable," Jack
admitted. "Suppose we get up power and drift up closer to the Shark.
Then we can at least see what's going on."
"All right, 'bo!" cried Jimmie, starting down the stairs.
"Well," called Jack, "don't be in such a hurry! We want to make sure
that Ned has attracted the attention of the Shark people before we
move. If they see us moving up on them before Ned gets a chance to
talk with them, they may do something rash to the boys."
"Guess you are right," Jimmie admitted.
"So far as I can see," Jack continued, "they are over there now. Do
you hear that voice?"
"Ned's, all right."
The boys listened, but the voice came no more.
"They've pulled him into the boat!" cried Jimmie. "Hurry up and get
When Jack went below to handle the motive power machinery he heard
Captain Moore thumping on the door of his prison.
"What do you want?" he demanded.
"Come to the door."
Jack did as requested, but did not open the door.
"Now, what is it?" he asked.
"Is that Nestor?"
"It's Jack," was the reply.
"Well, ask Nestor if he'll let both of us go if well give up the whole
scheme. Will you?"
"And the papers?"
"I'll help him get the papers."
"I'll tell him," said Jack.
"Send for him at once," urged the Captain. "If we remain here much
longer, we'll be blown out of water. You heard those explosions?"
"They harmed no one but the sea creatures," Jack replied. "They were
bad for them."
"Where is Nestor?" was then asked.
"Visiting on the Shark," was the reply.
"If they've got him, he'll never come back," gritted the Captain.
"But they haven't," said the boy. "We're going to run the Sea Lion
over to the Shark now and help them entertain him."
"You're a fool!" roared Moore. "Don't you tell them that we are on
board--my son and myself."
"Don't they know it?"
"How should they know it? Don't you tell them. If you do they will
raid your ship and get us."
"So you've been playing some dirty trick on them, have you?" asked
Jack. "Well, what about your meeting them at Hongkong?"
"That was a lie."
"You are out with them?"
"They are out with me. They claim I am keeping them out of a lot of
money. Don't tell them I am here."
"In all your life"--asked Jack--"in all your life, did you ever do
business with any man, woman, or child you didn't cheat and betray?
You ought to be hanged."
"If Nestor comes back, you send him here and I'll tell him the whole
story if he'll let us go. And I'll tell him how to get the papers he
is after. Will you see that he comes--if he gets back?"
"I think it would do you more good," laughed Jack, "to have a talk
with the people on the Shark."
Ignoring the prisoner's further demands, Jack turned on the power and
directed the Sea Lion toward the Shark. In a moment Jimmie called down
through the hatchway:
"Slow up, now, unless you want to bunt the other boat."
Jack, accordingly, shut off the power and went up to the platform. The
boat was still drifting ahead a trifle, and the boy went below again
and dropped an anchor.
If the advance of the submarine had attracted the attention of those
on the Shark's conning tower they gave no evidence of the fact. The
boat Ned had taken lay swinging on the easy sea close to the tower,
with Frank and Hans sitting near the stern.
Directly voices came from the other submarine. The first speaker was
Ned, then a heavier voice exclaimed, angrily:
"You have no right to suppose anything of the kind. We are here on
legitimate business, and must not be interfered with."
"What did you take from the wreck?" asked Ned.
"What is it to you?" came the stronger voice. "You can't make any
bluff work with me."
"Then I may as well go back to my ship," Ned said.
"Go back to your ship!" snapped the other. "Not if I know myself. You
have come aboard without leave or license, and you'll stay until we
get good and ready to let you go."
The boys saw Hans and Frank spring for the platform, and then a shout
of triumph came from half a dozen throats. Ned surely was in trouble.
"MAKING A GOOD JOB OF IT."
"I guess they've got Ned!" Jimmie cried, as the heavy hatch of the
Shark closed with a slam. "If they have, we'll ram 'em to the bottom."
"You just wait!" Jack advised. "There's a good deal of a racket going
on over there. I guess Hans is putting his educated left into motion.
Look at him!"
There was indeed a great commotion on the platform. Presently the
hatch was lifted and one of the contestants disappeared.
"Do you mind that, now!" shouted Jimmie. "Ned has captured the boat
for keeps! There! Now he's tellin' them where to head in at!"
Through the still night air they heard Ned's voice:
"You people down there know what I am here for. If the thing I want is
destroyed you'll all be hanged for piracy. Understand?"
Then the hatch was jammed down again, and Ned and Frank stepped into
the rowboat, leaving Hans on the platform. Jimmie threw up his cap
when the two boys stepped on the Sea Lion's platform.
"You captured the bunch!" he yelled, "and you stole the boat. You sure
made a good job of it."
"What's the proposition?" asked Jack.
"I thought I'd tow the old tub into a port where I can communicate
with an American man-of-war," replied Ned.
"This is luck!" Frank exclaimed. "Luck for us, and trouble for the
pirates. I wonder if they've got much gold on board."
"If they have," laughed Ned, "Hans will see that they don't get away
with it. They're nailed down hard."
"Talk about the luck of the British army!" roared Jack. "It is blind
adversity to the luck of the Boy Scouts! Here we've got the pirates
bunched! As soon as we communicate with a man-of-war, we'll turn 'em
over to Uncle Sam and go back and get the gold."
"The Shark," Frank observed, "was a derelict when we picked her up,
wasn't she? She couldn't move a foot. Well, then, we're entitled to
salvage. We'll put in a bill that will eat up the whole business!"
"If we get her into port," Ned replied. "The old tub is in bad shape
owing to the bunting she gave the Sea Lion. I'm afraid she'll go down
"Cripes!" Jimmie broke out. "What will we do, then, with all them
bold, bad men? We've got our penitentiary full now!"
"And the prisoners are making all kinds of trouble, too," Jack added.
"If the door wasn't good and strong, it'd be in splinters by this
time. That young Moore is the worst."
"We won't cross any bridges until we come to them," Ned remarked. "The
Shark may last until we get to Hongkong. Anyway, I'm counting on quite
a run before she goes down."
"How many are there on board?" asked Jack.
"Six, not counting Hans. I think we can accommodate them all on board
the Sea Lion, if we have to."
The Sea Lion towed the Shark all through the night, keeping to an
easterly direction with the idea of going to Hongkong, something over
150 miles away. All along the eastern coast of Kwang Tung, from the
slender peninsula which separates the Gulf of Tongking from the China
Sea to the bay which penetrates almost to Canton, there is a
succession of little islands, so the submarine and her prize were
always in sight of land.
Just at dawn there came a cry from the platform of the Shark, and Hans
was discovered waving his cap excitedly in the air.
"Vater! Vater!" he cried. "Dis iss droubles! Make us off dis
"Sinking?" Ned called back.
Further talk with the German informed Ned that water was seeping into
the different compartments of the Shark, and that the inmates were
already perched on tables and on the stairs leading to the platform.
The boy attached the towing cable to a windlass on the platform of the
Sea Lion, turned on the power, and the sinking craft soon lay
alongside. She was indeed in a bad predicament. Another half hour
would see the last of her.
"Now," Ned said, "we don't know what those fellows will try to do when
the hatch is lifted. I've known snakes to sting the hand that fed and
warmed them. Anyway, we'll take no chances."
Following his orders, the boys got out their automatic revolvers and
ranged themselves on the platform. Then Ned lowered the rowboat,
making a bridge between the two. The hulls of the boats met under
water, but the platforms, owing to the bulge, were some little
distance apart. The railings of the conning towers were not much above
His arrangements for securing the prisoners without trouble completed,
Ned went over to the Shark and lifted the hatch. He was greeted with a
chorus of threats, supplications, and questions.
"You'll get yours for sinking the Shark!" one shouted.
"For God's sake let us out; we are drowning!" whined another.
"What's the matter with the boat?" asked a third.
"Listen," Ned said. "The Shark may go down in ten minutes, or she may
float, under tow, for a long time. Anyway, you are better out of her.
I'll take you all out if you promise to behave yourselves. Come out of
the hatch one at a time and be searched for weapons. The man that
carries a weapon of any kind on his person will be thrown back, to
feed the fish. Do you understand?"
They understood, and not even a penknife was found when search was
made. Five of the rescued ones were plain seamen, with little
knowledge of submarine work. The other was the captain of the Shark.
Under the direction of young Moore he had attempted to make off with
everything of value on the wreck, including the papers.
This man was a fair type of marine officer, had, in fact, resigned
from the United States service with Captain Moore. He was by no means
an ill-looking man, but his snaky eyes and treacherous mouth told Ned
to look out for him.
He came out of the hatch last and was stepping onto the rowboat when
Ned stopped him with a question:
"Where are the papers?"
"What papers?" snarled the other, Babcock by name.
"The papers you took from the wreck."
"They are below, soaked with water."
"Get them! Quick!"
"But they are afloat, and--"
Babcock went down the staircase with murder in his eyes. He returned,
in a moment, with a sealed packet, which was perfectly dry. Ned broke
the seal and glanced at the sheets inside.
The one which met his eyes first was headed:
"General instructions, to be opened only when the demand for the coin
"Now" Ned went on," where are your sailing orders?"
"Lost!" was the reply.
"Get them!" Ned said, quietly.
"Get them," came again from the boy's lips.
Again Babcock went into the submarine, now rapidly filling with water.
He returned dripping with sea water, holding in his hand a water-tight
tin box which was secured by a brass padlock.
"You now have everything I held concerning the mission of the boat and
the disposition of the gold," he said. "I suppose I may get out of the
Ned stepped aside and Babcock passed over to the Sea Lion. Ned
attached a buoy to the tower of the Shark and cut loose from her.
"We'll let some of Uncle Sam's boats pick her up," he said. "I'm for
Hongkong with these papers."
The five sailors were not locked up, but were given the run of the
cabin, the machine room only being closed against them.
"I'm not going to have them mixing things down here," Jack, who was in
charge that day, said.
Babcock, however, was locked up with Captain Moore. When the door
closed on the two men the boys heard them both talking at the same
time, and their language was not at all complimentary to each other.
"You're a blackmailer!" Moore yelled.
"You're a liar!" was the reply.
"Fight it out!" Jimmie shouted from the door.
"Get to going and see who's to blame for this!"
Then the voices quieted down, and no more words were heard.
"Did you hear what they called each other?" asked Jack. "Well, I'm
betting they are both right."
Ned went to his cabin and opened the tin box. He lingered over what he
found there until noon and then called Frank into conference with him.
"There's a plot which involves officers at Canton," he said, "and we
may as well bag the whole bunch."
"Of course. We ought to make a good job of it, as Jimmie says."
Ned examined his map and called Frank over to the table where it was
"If we go to Canton," he said, "we'll have to run into the lake-like
mouth of the Si River. Guess that's its name. It looks dim on the map.
Fifty miles to the north the little stream on which Canton is situated
runs into the larger stream.
"We can run to that point and leave the Sea Lion while we go to
Canton. I guess the prisoners won't object to a few days more of
imprisonment. Anyway, we may meet a ship we can turn them over to."
"They are objecting, right now, it seems," cried Frank, opening the
door and looking out into the main cabin. "Hans is sitting on one of
the sailors and Jack and Jimmie are holding the others back with their
Both boys leaped out. The sailors, doubtless alarmed at the arrival of
the leaders, sprang for the hatchway. The boys did not fire at them as
they passed, and directly splashes in the sea told those on the stairs
that the sailors had leaped into the water.
Hans arose, scratching his head, and looked down on the man he had
been sitting on. The fellow looked up into the lad's face with a queer
expression in his eyes.
"Vot iss?" demanded Hans. "Go py the odders if you schoose! Py
schimminy, dose shark haf one feast!"
"Not on your life!" cried the prisoner. "I'm not anxious to get away.
I was shanghaied on the Shark, and it's glad I am to be out of that
Jimmie, who had followed the sailors to the platform, now came back
with the information that three of them had been picked up by a native
canoe which had now disappeared from sight in a group of islands. The
other, he said, had gone down.
"How much do those sailors know?" asked Ned of the man Hans had taken
"They know a lot," was the reply. "They were all in together. What one
knew, all knew, I guess. It is too bad they got away, for they had a
definite plan to operate if there was trouble and any got away. They
will lay in wait for you when you land."
"They'll have to travel fast if they do!" Frank laughed.
ON THE EDGE OF DISASTER
The Si River is not a river at all where its waters flow into the
China Sea. It is a wide, salt-water inlet, a bay, a great delta, like
that of the Amazon. This great bay is miles in width in places and
extends at least fifty miles into the interior.
Almost at the end, it is joined by a narrow little stream upon which
Canton, the capital city of Kwang Tung, is situated. The city is
something less than fifteen miles from the mouth of the river upon
which it stands.
It was for Canton that the boys were headed. Some of the papers Ned
had found in the private box of Captain Babcock made reference to a
place of meeting there which the boy desired to investigate. He was
now convinced that the plot against the Government had been a vicious
one, backed by people of influence and standing in the world of
diplomacy. It would bring the case on which he was working to a very
satisfactory finish if he could include in his report the story of a
meeting of the conspirators.
While the boy sat alone on the platform of the conning tower that
evening the sailor who had remained on board the Sea Lion at the time
of the escape of the others came to him. The fellow was an American,
and seemed to be honest in his desire to assist Ned.
"The men who escaped," he said, "will not lose track of the Sea Lion.
There are men on shore who will send the news of what has taken place
on faster than you can travel. Wherever you go they will be waiting
for you, and they are a bad lot."
"They have plenty of money behind them, I presume?" asked Ned.
"They appear to have," was the reply.
"Especially with the prospect of the loot from the wreck in mind," Ned
"They didn't get much gold out of the wreck," explained the other.
"They pulled the yellow boys out until they came to the sealed parcel,
and then they made off."
"They knew that we were on the ground, watching them?"
"Oh, yes, but they had a plan for getting rid of you."
"The plan young Moore attempted to carry out?"
"That meant murder?"
Ned was silent for a moment, thinking gratefully of the
resourcefulness of the ex-newsboy. To this they all doubtless owed
their lives. He promised himself that the lad should be properly
remembered when the time of settlement with the Government came.
"Do you know where the conspirators are to meet at Hongkong?" he then
"At Canton, I said," answered the other, with a twinkle in his eyes.
"You thought to trip me?" he asked.
Ned, in turn, smiled quietly. He had indeed been testing the man.
"Well," he added, "do you know where they are to meet at Canton?"
"Oh, I heard the name of the street, but it sounded more like the
clatter of falling crockery than a name, so I don't remember it."
"Perhaps a landmark was mentioned?"
"Yes, come to think of it, there was. The place of meeting is in the
rear of a curio shop next door to an English chop house. That ought to
be easy to find."
The visit to Canton promised to be a dangerous one, especially as the
men who had escaped would send on word of what had taken place on the
Shark. The fellows had been picked up by natives in canoes, and were
probably at that time on the main land, within reach of a telegraph
wire, or some other means of communication with Canton.
While the boy studied over the matter Frank came on the platform and
the seaman went below. Ned laid the proposition before the newcomer.
"Well," Frank said, "you have the papers, you have the private orders
of Captain Babcock, of the Shark, and you have the two main rascals,
Captain Moore and his precious son. What more do you want?"
"I want the foreigner who put up the job."
"That does seem worth while," Frank mused.
"It's this way," Ned went on. "The sealed packet doubtless contains
instruction to one of the revolutionary leaders regarding the
disposition of the money. You see, they were sure the rebels would be
on hand to grab the shipment as soon as it left the ship. The loss was
to fall on the Chinese government and the revolutionists were to
profit by it.
"The instructions make it look mighty bad for our Government, for the
gold was drawn directly from the subtreasury the day it was shipped.
It looked as if we were plotting against a friendly government."
"But some one leaked. The story of the shipment got out, and the
vessel was rammed one night by a steamer which has never been
identified. The idea, of course, was to prevent the revolutionists
getting the money, without telling what was known, or bringing the
nation which butted into the case into prominence at all."
"Then some nation friendly to the Emperor of China did that?"
"I don't know. Anyway, the nation that did it bribed Captain Moore and
Captain Babcock to get the gold--and to recover the sealed packet.
With this in their hands, they might have made Uncle Sam a great deal
"I understand, and now you want to get the men who conspired with the
Moores and Captain Babcock?"
"That's the idea, not so much in the hope of bringing them to
punishment as to locate the source of their inspiration."
"Then, I reckon well have to go to Canton," Frank remarked. "We'll see
the town then, anyway."
The boy remained silent for a moment and then asked:
"What can you do to the chief conspirators if you catch them?"
"Nothing. I can only file my report with the government and drop out
of the case."
"And the Moores and Babcock?"
"I'll turn them over to the first American man-of-war I meet."
"And then go back after the gold?"
"That depends on instructions."
"That's the difficulty of working on diplomacy cases," said Frank. "We
have to take all manner of risks, and then, sometimes, see the real
rascals get off free--on account of international complications. I'd
like to work on a real old detective case on the Bowery."
Ned laughed softly but made no reply.
The Sea Lion made slow time, for the crippled Shark--which still
floated--rolled and tumbled heavily--in her wake and the sea was
rougher than it had been before for many days. At last, however, she
entered the long inlet leading up to Canton and cast anchor.
"Ever been in these waters?" Ned asked of the American sailor.
"Sure," was the reply. "That is why they shanghaied me in San
"How far can I go up?"
"Clear to the mouth of the river."
Proceeding leisurely, the Sea Lion passed up the inlet. It was early
morning when she came to the mouth of the river. They had passed many
vessels on the way, some native, some foreign, but had not been
molested, though many curious eyes were turned toward the tow and the
odd-shaped craft doing the pulling.
When anchor was cast in a little bay at the mouth--a quiet little
stretch of water sheltered by old warehouses which had been erected
years before by native traders--Jack came running up the stairs to
"Captain Moore," he said, "is weeping himself to death for lack of
your sweet society. He's all running out under the door!"
"Jack," Ned laughed, "if your imagination wasn't too strong, you'd do
well writing fiction. As it is it is so strong that anything you might
put on paper would not be believable. Anyway, I'll go and see what the
Captain has on his mind."
Captain Moore had fear on his mind. Ned saw that the second the door
was open. His face was white as paper and his eyes roved about like
those of a madman. "You are going on to Canton?" the Captain asked, in
a trembling tone of voice.
"I was thinking of it," Ned answered.
"And leave the submarine here?"
"If I could take her with me," smiled Ned, "I would do so, but I'm
afraid I can't."
"This is no joking matter," snapped Moore.
"I knew you would begin to look at the matter in that light before you
had done with it."
"You are going to the chop house in Canton?"
"I hope to be able to find it."
"Of course not."
"Well," the Captain added, wiping his dry lips with the back of his
hand, "do you know what will happen to the Sea Lion while you are
"Nothing serious, I hope."
"She will be blown up, and me with it!" almost screamed the Captain.
"The power that is handling this matter would do more than that to get
the papers you have secured out of the way, and to get rid of Babcock,
my son, and myself."
"They seek to murder you?"
"I believe it."
"For two reasons. We know too much, and we failed."
"You haven't named the power," suggested Ned.
"I am unable to do so. I don't know. I have done all my work with a
"I see," Ned said.
"If you must go to Canton," the Captain went on, "first turn us over
to the authorities here--to the American consul, if you please."
"That would protect the boat?"
"It would protect us."
"For the present, yes."
"And take the papers with you!"
"Why?" laughed Ned, thoroughly amused.
"Because that will draw the search off the boat."
"Then you believe that I shall be watched and followed?"
"Yes, and killed."
"You're a cheerful sort of fellow!" laughed Ned.
Jimmie now came to the door and announced a warship flying an American
"She's signaling you," he added.
Ned was pretty glad to see the ship come to a halt lower down the
inlet. She was not a large vessel, but she looked as big to Ned as all
In an hour he was on board the ship, in earnest conversation with the
captain, who had been ordered by cable to look the Sea Lion up and
report to Ned. In another hour the prisoners were on board the
warship, and the Sea Lion was anchored under her guns.
AN ENDING AND A BEGINNING
Captain Harmon, of the warship Union, was a brave and capable officer.
He understood at once the necessity for the trip to Canton. The
conspirators must be identified. The United States Government must be
informed as to the foreign power which had so nosed into her affairs.
"The power that is doing this," the Captain said, "will resort to
other tricks when this one fails. We want to know who she is. On the
whole, I think, I'll go to Canton with you--with your permission, of
"That's kind of you," Ned replied, pleased at the offer. "I can leave
three of the boys on the Sea Lion and take one with me. I should be
lost without that little rascal from the Bowery."
"And I'll send a file of marines on board the Sea Lion," the captain
continued. "That will make all safe there. Now, about the papers. You
have the packet?"
"Yes, of course."
"What does it contain?"
"Instructions which show the hand of private parties only. They
completely exonerate our Government."
"And the other parties?"
"I regret that I must not mention names, sir."
"Very well," laughed the Captain. "You have performed your mission
well. The slanders must now cease. But one thing more remains to be
done--the meddling nation must be identified, as I have already said.
We must go to Canton."
And so, leaving the Moores and Babcock safely locked in the den on
board the Union and the important papers secure in the Captain's safe,
Ned, accompanied by the Captain and Jimmie, set out for Canton by
boat. The way was not long, and they arrived at noon, an early start
having been secured.
Ned was entirely at sea in the city, but Captain Harmon had been there
a number of times, and the English chop house was soon found. Next
door to it was the curio shop mentioned to Ned.
The three lounged about the chop house nearly all the afternoon. The
Captain was in plain clothes, and the trio seemed to be foreigners
waiting for friends to come. After a long time Ned saw a man pass the
chop house and turn into the curio shop who did not seem to be a
"Jimmie," he said to the little fellow, "suppose you go in there and
buy a dragon, or a silk coat, or a tin elephant. Anything to give you
a notion as to what is going on in the shop." The lad was off in a
moment, and then the Captain turned to Ned.
"Why did you send the boy?" he asked.
"Because we may both be wanted outside," was the reply.
"You mean that others may come--others who should be followed and
"That's the idea," Ned replied.
Directly two more men, evidently not Chinamen, passed into the shop,
then Jimmie came running out.
"They're going into a back room," he said.
Ned strolled into the shop, and in a moment the Captain followed.
Jimmie remained at the door.
The two worked gradually back to the door of the rear room, and Ned
"accidentally" leaned against it. It was locked. With the impact of
the boy's shoulder against the panels came a scraping of chairs on the
floor of the room beyond.
"You've stirred them up," whispered the Captain.
Then some one called from the inside.
"What do you want?"
"A word with you," Ned replied.
The shopkeeper now drew near and motioned the two away. When they did
not obey he motioned toward the street, as if threatening to call
"Who is it?" was now asked.
"A messenger from Captain Henry Moore and his son," Ned answered, with
a smile at the Captain.
There was a long pause inside.
"Where is he?" was asked.
"A prisoner. He wished me to come here."
Then the door was opened a trifle and the two saw inside. The
shopkeeper, thinking that all was well, went back to the front of the
When the door swung open both Ned and the Captain threw themselves
against it. It went back against the wall with a bang, and the two
nearly fell to the floor.
When they straightened up again they saw a servant standing between
them and the still open doorway. At a round table in the back end of
the apartment were three men--all Europeans.
Ned stepped forward to address them, but Captain Harmon drew him back
and motioned toward the door.
"What do you want?" one of the three asked, in English. "Why this
Then Ned observed the face of the speaker, for the light was strong
upon it. It was a face he had often seen pictured in reports of
diplomatic cases. It was the face of one of the keenest diplomats in
"I come from Captain Moore," Ned said, almost trembling at the thought