Part 2 out of 4
"Good! I hope you will keep in that frame of mind. And now,
let's talk of something serious."
"Of what, then?" inquired Dalzell, as the two started to walk
"Is that more serious than girls?" demanded Dan Dalzell, suspicious
that his friend was making fun of him.
"It's safer, at any rate, for you. Why, if a girl happens to
say, 'Delighted to meet you, Mr. Dalzell,' you expect her to give
up all other thoughts but you, and to be at home every Saturday
evening. No, no, Danny. The company of the fair is not for you.
Keep to things you understand better---such as football."
Dan Dalzell's eyes shot fire. He was certain, now, that his chum
was poking fun at him, and this, in his present temper, Dan could
not quite endure.
"So, since we've dropped the subject of girls," Dave continued
placidly, "what do you think are our real chances for the balance
of this season?"
"They'd be a lot improved," grunted Dan, "if you'd get the grip
on yourself that you had at the beginning of the season."
"I know I'm not playing in as good form as I had hoped to," Dave
nodded. "The worst of it is, I can't find out the reason."
"A lot of the fellows think you've lost interest since you found
that you won't have the great Prescott to play against in the
Army-Navy game," Dan hinted.
"Yes; I know. I've heard that suspicion hinted at."
"Isn't it true?" challenged Dalzell.
"To the best of my knowledge and belief, it isn't. Why, Danny,
it would be absurd to think that I couldn't play right now, just
because Dick isn't to be against us on Franklin Field."
"I know it would sound absurd," Dan replied. "But let us put
it another way, Dave. All along you've been working yourself
up into better form, because you knew that, otherwise, it was
very doubtful whether the Navy could beat the Army on the gridiron.
So you had worked yourself up to where you played a better game
than ever Dick Prescott thought of doing. Then you hear that
poor Dick is in Coventry, and therefore not on the team. You
haven't got the great Army man to beat, and, just for that reason,
you slack up on your efforts."
"I am not slacking up," retorted Dave with some spirit. "I am doing
the best that is in me, though I admit I appear to have gone stale."
"And so something will happen," predicted Dan.
"What will that be?"
"Between now and the game with the Army, Prescott's comrades will
find what boobs they've been, and they'll lift the Coventry.
Prescott and Holmes will get into the Army team at the last moment,
and the fellows from West Point will ride rough-shod over the
Navy, just as they did last year."
"Do you really think that will happen?" demanded Darrin eagerly.
"Do you really believe that dear old Dick will get out of that
Coventry and back on the Army eleven?"
"Well," returned Midshipman Dalzell soberly, "I'll venture a prediction.
If you don't get a brace on your playing soon, then it'll be
regular Navy luck for Prescott to come to Philadelphia and put
on his togs. Then the soldiers will drag us down the field to
the tune of 46 to 2."
"I'd sooner he killed on the field than see that happen!" cried
Midshipman Dave, his eyes flashing.
"Then don't let it happen! You're the only star on our team, Dave,
that isn't up to the mark. If we lose to the Army, this year,
Prescott or no Prescott, it will be your fault, Dave Darrin.
You're not one of our weak spots, really but you're not as strong
as you ought to be and can be if you'll only brace."
"Brace!" quivered Dave. "Won't I, though?"
"Good! Just stick to that."
"Dan!" Darrin halted his chum before a store where dry goods and
notions were sold. "Let's go in here-----"
"What, for?" Midshipman Dalzell asked in astonishment.
"I want to make a purchase," replied Dave soberly. "Danny boy,
I'm going to buy you a hat pin---one at least ten inches long.
You're to slip it in, somewhere in your togs. When you catch
me lagging---practice or game---just jab that hat pin into me
as far as you can send it."
"Bosh!" retorted Dan impatiently. "Come along."
Dave submitted, in patient silence, to being led away from the
store. For some moments the chums strolled along together in
"Now, speaking of Miss Preston," began Dan, breaking the silence
at last, "she-----"
"Drop that! Get back to football, Danny---it's safer," warned
"Hold on, I tell you! You had almost recovered, Danny, in the
short space of five minutes. Now, don't bring on a relapse by
opening up the old sore. I shall soon begin to believe it was
your heart that was involved, instead of your vanity."
"Oh, hang girls, then!" exploded Dan.
"Couldn't think of it," urged Dave gently. "That wouldn't be
chivalrous, and even a midshipman is required to be a gentleman
at all times. So-----"
"Good evening, gentlemen," spoke a pleasant voice. The midshipmen
glanced up, then promptly brought up their hands in salute to
an officer whom they would otherwise have passed without seeing.
That officer was Lieutenant Adams, discipline officer.
"Are you enjoying your stroll, Mr. Darrin?" asked Mr. Adams.
"Very much, sir; thank you."
"And you, Mr. Dalzell. But let me see---wasn't your liberty
for the purpose of paying a visit?"
"Yes, sir," Dan answered, coloring.
"And you are strolling, instead?"
"Yes, sir; the person on whom I went to call was not there."
"Then, Mr. Darrin, you should have returned to Bancroft Hall,
and reported your return."
"Yes, sir; I should have done that," Dan confessed in confusion.
"The truth is, sir, it hadn't occurred to me."
"Return at once, Mr. Dalzell, and place yourself on report for
strolling without permission."
Both midshipmen saluted, then turned for the shortest cut to Maryland
Avenue, and thence to the gate at the end of that thoroughfare.
"Ragged!" muttered Dan. "And without the slightest intention of
doing anything improper."
"It was improper, though," Dave replied quickly, "and both you
and I should have thought of it in time."
"I really forgot."
"Forgot to think, you mean, Dan, and that's no good excuse in
bodies of men where discipline rules. Really, I should have gone
on report, too."
"But you had liberty to stroll in town."
"Yes; but I'm guilty in not remembering to remind you of your
Lieutenant Adams had not in the least enjoyed ordering Dan to
place himself on report. The officer had simply done his duty.
To the average civilian it may seem that Dan Dalzell had done
nothing very wrong in taking a walk when he found the purpose
of his call frustrated; but discipline, when it imposes certain
restrictions on a man, cannot allow the man himself to be the
judge of whether he may break the restrictions. If the man himself
is to be the judge then discipline ceases to exist.
"So I've got to stick myself on pap, and accept a liberal handful
of demerits, all on account of a girl?" grumbled Dan, as the chums
turned into the road leading to Bancroft Hall."
"That is largely because you couldn't get the girl out of your
head," Dave rejoined. "Didn't I tell you, Danny, that you hadn't
head enough to give any of your attention to the other sex?"
"It's tough to get those demerits, though," contended Dan. "I
imagine there'll be a large allowance of them, and in his fourth
year a fellow can't receive many demerits without having to get
out of the Academy. One or two more such scrapes, and I'll soon
be a civilian, instead of an officer in the Navy!"
"See here, Dan; I'll offer an explanation that you can make truthfully.
Just state, when you're called up, that you and I were absorbed
talking football, and that you really forgot to turn in the right
direction while your mind was so full of Navy football. That may
"Yes; it will---not!"
Dan Dalzell passed into the outer room of the officer in charge,
picked up a blank and filled it out with the report against himself.
Dave was waiting outside as Dan came out from the disagreeable
duty of reporting himself.
"Hang the girls!" Dalzell muttered again disgustedly.
DAN'S EYES JOLT HIS WITS
Dan Dalzell, on the point of stepping out of Bancroft Hall, wheeled
like a flash, and bounded back against Farley, Jetson and Page.
"Don't look!" whispered Dan hoarsely. "Duck!"
"What on earth is the matter?" demanded Midshipman Darrin, eyeing
his chum sharply.
"I---I don't know what it is," muttered Dan, after he had backed
his friends some feet from the entrance.
"What does it look like?" asked Farley.
"Something like a messenger boy," returned Dan.
"Surely, you're not afraid of a messenger boy with a telegram,"
laughed Darrin. "Little chance that the message is for you, at
"But---it's got a Naval uniform on, I tell you," warned Dan.
"No; you hadn't told us. What is it---another midshipman?"
"Not by a jugful!" Dan sputtered. "It's wearing an officer's
"Then undoubtedly you chanced to glance at an officer of the
Navy," Darrin replied, sarcastically soothing. "Brace up, Dan."
"But he's only a kid!" remonstrated Dan. "And he wear a lieutenant's
"Bosh! Some officers are quite boyish-looking," remarked Farley.
"Come on out, fellows; I haven't forgotten how to salute an officer
when I see one."
The others, except Dan, started briskly for the entrance. As for
Dalzell, he brought up the rear, grumbling:
"All right; you fellows go on out and see whether you see him.
If you don't, then I'm going to report myself at hospital without
delay. Really, I can't swear that I saw---it."
But at that moment the object of Dan's alarm reached one of the
doors of the entrance of Bancroft Hall and stepped briskly inside.
This new-comer's glance fell upon the knot of midshipmen, and
he glanced at them inquiringly, as though to see whether these
young men intended to salute him.
Surely enough, the newcomer was decidedly boyish-looking, yet
he wore the fatigue uniform and insignia of a lieutenant of the
United States Navy. If he were masquerading, here was a dangerous
place into which to carry his antics.
The five midshipmen brought their right hands hesitatingly to
the visors of their uniform caps. The very youthful lieutenant
smartly returned their salutes, half smiled, then turned, in search
of the officer in charge.
"Scoot! Skip! Let's escape!" whispered Dan hoarsely, and all
five midshipmen were speedily out in the open.
"Now, did you fellows really see---it---or did I have a delusion
that I saw you all salute when I did?"
"I saw it," rejoined Farley, "and I claim it, if no one else
"The service is going to the dogs," growled Page, "when they give
away a lieutenant's uniform with a pound of tea!"
"What ails you fellows?" rebuked Dave Darrin. "The man who passed
us was a sure-enough lieutenant in the Navy."
"Him?" demanded Midshipman Dalzell, startled out of his grip on
English grammar. "A lieutenant? That---that---kid?"
"He's a lieutenant of the Navy, all right," Dave insisted.
"You're wrong," challenged Page. "Don't you know, Dave, that
a man must be at least twenty-one years old in order to hold an
officer's commission in the Navy?"
"That man who received our salutes is a Naval, officer," Dave
retorted. "I don't know anything about his age."
"Why, that little boy can't be a day over seventeen," gasped Dan
Dalzell. "Anyway, fellows, I'm overjoyed that you all saw him!
That takes a load off my mind as to my mental condition."
"Whoever he is, he's a Navy officer, and he has trod the bridge
in many a gale," contended Dave. "Small and young as he looks,
that man had otherwise every bit of the proper appearance of a
"What a joke it will be on you," grinned Page, "when you find
the watchman dragging the little fellow away to turn over to the
doctors from the asylum!"
The midshipmen were on their way to report for afternoon football
work. As they had started a few minutes early, and had time to
spare, they had now halted on the way, and were standing on the
sidewalk in front of the big and handsome barracks building.
"Can you fellows still use your eyes?" Dave wanted to know. "If
you can, look toward the steps of Bancroft."
The officer in charge was coming out. At his side was the very
youthful looking one in the lieutenant's uniform.
"The O.C. is decoying the stranger away to turn him over to the
watchmen without violence," guessed Midshipman Farley.
Three officers were approaching. These the five midshipmen turned
and saluted. In another moment all of the five save Dave Darrin
received a sharp jolt. For the O.C. had halted and was introducing
the three Navy officers to the youthful one.
"This is Lieutenant Benson, the submarine expert of whom you have
heard so much," said the O.C., loudly enough for the amazed middies
"Sub---sub----say, did you fellows hear that?" begged Dan hoarsely.
"Yes," assented Dave calmly. "And say, you fellows are a fine
lot to be serving here. You all remember Mr. Benson. He was
here last year---he and his two submarine friends. We didn't
see them, because our class didn't go out on the Pollard submarine
boat that was here last year. But you remember them, just the
same. You remember, too, that Mr. Benson and his friends were
hazed by some of the men in last year's youngster class. You
heard about that? A lot of the fellows came near getting ragged,
but Benson didn't take offense, and his quick wit pulled that
lot of last year's youngsters out of a bad fix."
"Then Benson and his mates are real people?" demanded Dan, still
doubtful, if his voice were an indication.
"Yes; and Benson is a real submarine expert, too, even if he is
a boy," Dave went on.
"Then he is only a boy?"
"He's seventeen or eighteen."
"Then how can he be a lieutenant?" demanded Dalzell, looking more
"He isn't," Dave answered simply.
"But the O.C. introduced him that way."
"And quite properly," answered Darrin, whereat his companions
stared at him harder than ever.
"Let's walk along," proposed Dave, "and I'll tell you the little
that I know, or think I know, about the matter. Of course, you
fellows all know about the Pollard submarine boats? The government
owns a few of them now, and is going to buy a lot more of the
"But that kid officer?" insisted Dan.
"If you'll wait I'll come to that. Benson, his name is; Jack
Benson he's commonly called. He and two boy friends got in on
the ground floor at the Farnum shipyard. They were boys of
considerable mechanical skill, and they found their forte in the
handling of submarine boats. They've done some clever, really
wonderful feats with submarines. Farnum, the owner of the yard,
trusted these boys, after a while, to show off the fine points of
the craft to our Navy officers and others."
"But what has that to do with giving Benson a commission in the
Navy?" demanded Farley.
"I'm coming to that," Dave replied. "As I've heard the yarn,
Benson and his two boy friends attracted attention even from the
European governments. The Germans and some other powers even
made them good offers to desert this country and go abroad as
submarine experts. Our Navy folks thought enough of Benson and
his chums to want to save them for this country. So the Secretary
of the Navy offered all three the rank and command of officers
without the actual commissions. As soon as these young men, the
Submarine Boys as they are called, are twenty-one, the Navy Department
will bestir itself to give them actual commissions and make them
real staff or line officers."
"So that those kids will rank us in the service?" grumbled Dan.
"Well, up to date," replied Dave quietly, "the Submarine Boys
have done more for their country than we have. Of course, in
the end, we may be admirals in the Navy, even before they're captains.
Who can tell?"
"I wonder what Benson is doing here?" murmured Farley.
"Lieutenant Benson," Dave corrected him, "is probably here on
official business. If you want exact details, suppose we stop
at the superintendent's house and ask him."
"Quit your kidding," grinned Farley.
"So I've got to say 'sir,' if that boy speaks to me?" asked Dan.
"I think it would be better," smiled Darrin, "if you're anxious
to escape another handful of demerits."
By the time that the football squad began to assemble on the football
field, Dan and his friends found that some of the midshipmen were
full of information about the famous Submarine Boys. Readers
who may not be familiar with the careers of Lieutenant Jack Benson,
Ensign Hal Hastings, and Ensign Eph Somers are referred to the
volumes of the _Submarine Boys' Series_. In _"The Submarine Boys
and the Middies"_ will be found the account of the hazing that Jack,
Hal and Eph had received at the hands of midshipmen.
Benson and his two friends, with a crew of four men, were now at
the Naval Academy, having arrived at two o'clock that afternoon,
for the purpose of giving the first classmen instruction aboard
the latest Pollard submarine, the "Dodger."
But play was called, and that stopped, for the time being, all talk
about the Submarine Boys.
THE PRIZE TRIP ON THE "DODGER"
The following afternoon, at the hour for instruction in the machine
shops, the entire first class was marched down to the basin, where
the "Dodger" lay. Squad by squad the midshipmen were taken on
board the odd-looking little craft that was more at home beneath
the waves than on them.
While the exact place and scale of importance of submarine war
craft has not been determined as yet, boats of the Pollard type
are certainly destined to play a tremendously important part in
the Naval wars of the future. Hence all of the midshipmen were
deeply interested in what they saw and were told.
Some of these first classmen were twenty-four years of age, others
from twenty to twenty-two. Hence, with many of them, there was
some slight undercurrent of feeling over the necessity for taking
instruction from such very youthful instructors as Jack Benson,
Hal Hastings and Eph Somers.
Had any of this latter trio been inclined to put on airs there
might have been some disagreeable feeling engendered in the breasts
of some of the middies. But Jack and his associates were wholly
modest, pleasant and helpful.
Beginning on the following day, it was announced, the "Dodger"
would take a squad of six midshipmen down Chesapeake Bay for practical
instruction in submarine work, both above and below the surface
of the water. This instruction would continue daily, with squads
of six midshipmen on board, until all members of the first class
had received thorough drilling.
"That's going to be a mighty pleasant change from the usual routine
here," whispered Farley in Dave's ear.
"It surely will," Darrin nodded. "It will be even better fun than
"With no chance for the Army to beat us out on this game," Farley
At last it came the turn of Dave, Dan, Farley, Page, Jetson and
Wolgast to go aboard the "Dodger."
"Gentlemen," announced Lieutenant Jack Benson, "Ensign Somers
will show you all that is possible about the deck handling and
the steering below the surface, and then Ensign Hastings will
explain the mechanical points of this craft. When both are through,
if you have any questions. I will endeavor to answer them."
In a few minutes the "showing" had been accomplished.
"Any questions, gentlemen?" inquired Lieutenant Benson.
Dave was ready with three; Farley had four and Jetson two. Lieutenant
Benson looked particularly pleased as he answered. Then, at last,
"What's your name?"
"Darrin, sir," Dave replied.
The other midshipmen present were asked their names, and gave them.
"Gentlemen," continued youthful Lieutenant Benson, "this present
squad impresses me as being more eager and interested in submarines
than any of the squads that have come aboard."
"Thank you, sir," Dave replied for himself and the others.
"Are you really exceptionally interested?" inquired Benson.
"I think we are, sir," Dave responded.
"On Saturday of each week, as long as the 'Dodger' is at Annapolis,"
went on Benson, "we intend to take out one of the best squads.
We shall drop down the Bay, not returning, probably before Sunday
noon. Would you gentlemen like to be the first squad to go on the
longer cruise---next Saturday?"
The faces of all six midshipmen shone with delight for an instant,
until Dave Darrin answered mournfully:
"It would give us great delight, sir, but for one thing. We play
Creighton University next Saturday, and we are all members of
the Navy team."
"None of you look forward to having to go to hospital during the
progress of the game, do you?" inquired Lieutenant Benson with
a slight smile.
"Then the 'Dodger' can sail an hour after the finish of the game,
and perhaps stay out a little later on Sunday. Will that solve
"Then I will use such persuasion as I can with the superintendent
to have you six men detailed for the Saturday-Sunday detail this
week," promised Lieutenant Benson. "And now I will write your
names down, in order that there may be no mistake about the squad
that reports to me late next Saturday afternoon. Dismissed!"
As Dave and his friends stepped ashore even Dan Dalzell had a more
gracious estimate of "that kid, Benson."
That night, and for several nights afterwards, the "Dodger" and
her officers furnished a fruitful theme for discussion among the
midshipmen. As the "Dodger" was believed to be the very finest
submarine craft anywhere among the navies of the world, the interest
grew rather than waned.
Dave and Dan, as well as their four friends, began to look forward
with interest to the coming cruise down the bay.
"Fellows," warned Wolgast, "you'll have to look out not to get your
heads so full of submarines that you lose to Creighton on Saturday."
"On the contrary," retorted Dave, "you can look for us to push
Creighton all over the field. We'll do it just as a sheer vent
to our new animal spirits."
That was a decidedly boastful speech for Dave Darrin, yet on Saturday
he made good, or helped tremendously, for Creighton retired from the
field with the small end of an eight-to-two score.
"Now, hustle on the dressing," roared Wolgast, as they started
to un-tog and get under the showers, after the football victory.
"What's the need of rush?" demanded Peckham one of the subs.
"It doesn't apply to you," Wolgast shot back over his shoulder,
as he started on a run to the nearest shower. "I'm talking only
to to-night's submarine squad."
The six midshipmen found many an envious look shot in their direction.
"Those extremely youthful officers seem to have a bad case of spoons
on you six," remarked Peckham almost sourly.
"Show some nearly human intelligence, and maybe you'll get a chance
at one of the Saturday cruises, Peckham," called back Farley, as he
began to towel down vigorously.
Dave and his friends were the first men of the team to be dressed
and ready to leave.
"Give our best regards to Davy Jones!" shouted one of the football
"If you go down to the bottom of Chesapeake Bay, and can't get
up again, don't do anything to spoil the fishing," called another
By this time Dave Darrin and his mates were outside and on their
way to the basin.
Lieutenant Jack Benson was the only one of the "Dodger's" officers
on view when the midshipmen arrived alongside. They passed aboard,
saluting Benson, who returned their salutes without affectation.
"All here?" said Benson. "Mr. Somers, tumble the crew on deck!"
"Shall we go below, sir?" inquired Dave, again saluting.
"Not until so directed," Benson replied. "I wish you to see every
detail of the boat handling."
At Lieutenant Jack's command the crew threw the hawsers aboard and
soon had them out of the way.
Benson gave the starting signal to Eph Somers.
No sooner had the "Dodger's" hawsers been cast aboard than the
submarine torpedo boat headed out. It was a get-away swift
enough---almost to take the breath of the midshipmen.
"You see, gentlemen," Lieutenant Benson explained quietly, "we
act on the theory that in submarine work every second has its
value when in action. So we have paid a good deal of attention
to the speedy start. Another thing that you will note is that,
aboard so small a craft, it is important that, as far as is possible,
the crew act without orders for each move. What do you note of the
crew just now?"
"That they performed their work with lightning speed, sir, and that
they have already gone below, without waiting for orders to that
"Right," nodded Jack Benson. "Had the crew been needed on deck
I would have ordered them to remain. As I did not so order they
have gone below, where they are out of the way until wanted.
A craft that fights always on the surface of the water should
have some men of the crew always on deck. But here on a submarine
the men would be in the way, and we want a clear range of view
all over the deck, and seaward, in order that we may see everything
that it is possible to see. Mr. Darrin, Mr. Dalzell and Mr. Farley
will remain on deck with me. The other young gentlemen will go
below to study the workings of the engines under Ensign Hastings."
Though it was a true pleasure trip for all six of the midshipmen,
it was one of hard, brisk instruction all the time.
"Here, you see," explained Lieutenant Jack, leading his trio just
forward of the conning tower, "we have a deck wheel for use when
needed. Mr. Somers, give up the wheel."
"Aye, aye, sir," and Ensign Eph, who had been sitting at the tower
wheel since the start, moved away and came on deck.
"Mr. Darrin, take the wheel," directed Benson. "Are you familiar
with the Bay?"
"Not sufficiently, sir, to be a pilot."
"Then I will give you your directions from time to time. How does
this craft mind her wheel?"
"With the lightest touch, sir, that I ever saw in a wheel."
"The builders of the 'Dodger' have been working to make the action
of the steering wheel progressively lighter with each boat that
they have built. Men on a submarine craft must have the steadiest
nerves at all times, and steady nerves do not go hand in hand with
Lieutenant Jack walked to the entrance to the conning tower.
"Mallock!" he called down to one of the crew.
"Aye, aye, sir."
"My compliments to Mr. Hastings, and ask him to crowd the speed
of the boat gradually."
"Aye, aye, sir."
The "Dodger" had been moving down the bay at a ten-knot pace.
Suddenly she gave a jump that caused Midshipman Dave Darrin to
wonder. Then the submarine settled down to a rushing sixteen-knot
"I didn't know, sir," ventured Farley, "that submarines could
go quite so fast."
"The old types didn't," Lieutenant Jack answered. "However, on
the surface a capable submarine must be able to show a good deal
"For getting away, sir?"
"Oh, no. Naturally, when a submarine is pursued she can drop under
the surface and leave no trail. But suppose a single submarine
to be guarding a harbor, unaided by other fighting craft. A twenty-or
twenty-two knot battleship is discovered, trying to make the harbor.
Even if the battleship steams away the submarine should be capable
of following. The engines of the 'Dodger,' in favorable weather,
can drive her at twenty-six knots on the surface."
"She's as fast as a torpedo-boat destroyer, then, sir," hazarded Dan.
"Yes; and the submarine needs to be as fast. With the improvement
of submarine boats the old style of torpedo boat will pass out
altogether. Then, if the destroyer is retained the submarine
must be capable of attacking the destroyer on equal terms. Undoubtedly,
after a few years more the river gunboat and the submarine torpedo
boat will be the only small fighting craft left in the navies of
the leading powers of the world."
Even while this brief conversation was going on the speed of the
"Dodger" had begun to increase again. Ensign Hasting's head showed
through the opening in the conning tower.
"We're going now at a twenty-knot clip, sir," Hal reported. "Do
you wish any more speed?"
"Not in Chesapeake Bay; navigating conditions are not favorable."
"Very good, sir." Hal vanished below. Never very talkative, Hal
was content to stand by his engines in silence when there was no
need of talking.
From time to time, as the craft sped on down the bay, Lieutenant
Benson glanced at the chronometer beside the deck wheel.
"You don't have the ship's bell struck on this craft, sir?" inquired
"Only when at anchor or in dock," replied Lieutenant Jack Benson.
"A submarine's natural mission is one of stealth, and it wouldn't
do to go about with a clanging of gongs. Now, let me have the
wheel, Mr. Darrin. You gentlemen go to the conning tower and
stand so that you can hear what goes on below."
While the three midshipmen stood as directed the speed of the
Then, after a space of a full minute, the submarine returned to her
former twenty-knot speed.
"Did you hear any clanging or jangling of a signal bell or gong
when the speeds were changed?" questioned Lieutenant Benson.
"No, sir," Darrin answered.
"That was because no bells were sounded," explained Benson. "From
deck or conning tower signals can be sent that make no noise.
On a dark night, or in a fog, we could manoeuvre, perhaps, within
a stone's throw of an enemy's battleship, and the only sound that
might betray our presence would be our wash as we moved along.
Take the wheel, Mr. Farley."
Then, after giving Farley a few directions as to the course to
follow, Lieutenant Benson added:
"Take command of the deck, Mr. Farley."
"Humph!" muttered Dan. "The lieutenant doesn't seem to be afraid
that we'll run his craft into any danger."
"He knows as well as we do what would happen to me, if there were
any disaster, and I had to explain it before a court of inquiry,"
laughed Midshipman Farley. "Hello! Who slowed the boat down?"
Dan had done it, unobserved by his comrades, in an irrepressible
spirit of mischief. He had reached over, touching the indicator,
and thus directing the engine-room man to proceed at less speed.
Dalzell, however, did not answer.
"I'd like to know if the speed were slackened intentionally,"
fussed Farley. "Darry, do you mind going below and inquiring?"
"Not in the least," smiled Dave, "but is it good Naval etiquette
for one midshipman to use another midshipman as a messenger?"
"Oh, bother etiquette!" grunted Farley. "What would you really
do if you were in command of the deck---as I am---and you wanted
to ask a question, with the answer down below?"
"I'll go to the conning tower and summon a man on deck, if you
wish," Dave offered.
Farley nodded, so Dave stepped over to the conning tower, calling
"One man of the watch---on deck!"
Seaman Mallock was on deck in a hurry, saluting Midshipman Farley.
"Mallock, report to Lieutenant Benson, or the next ranking officer
who may be visible below. Report with my compliments that the
speed of the craft has slackened, and inquire whether that was
"Aye, aye, sir."
Mallock was soon back, saluting.
"Engine tender reports, sir, that he slowed down the speed in
obedience to the indicator."
"But I-----" Farley began. Then he checked himself abruptly,
noting out of the corner of his eye that Dan Dalzell had wandered
over to the rail and stood looking off to seaward. If Dan were
responsible for the slowing down of the speed, and admitted it
under questioning, then Farley, under the regulations, would be
obliged to report Dalzell, and that young man already had some
demerits against his name.
"Oh, very good, then, Mallock," was Midshipman Farley's rather
quick reply. "Who is the ranking officer visible below at present?"
"Ensign Somers, sir."
"Very good. My compliments to Mr. Somers, and ask at what speed
he wishes to run."
Seaman Mallock soon returned, saluting.
"Ensign Somers' compliments sir, and the ensign replies that Mr.
Farley is in command of the deck."
"Very good, then," nodded Midshipman Farley, and set the indicator
at the twenty mark.
Ten minutes later Lieutenant Benson reappeared on deck. First
of all he noted the "Dodger's" position. Then, as Ensign Eph
and Mallock appeared, Benson announced:
"Gentlemen, you will come down to Supper now. Mr. Somers, you
will take command of the deck."
"Very good, sir," Eph responded. "Mallock, take the wheel."
Lieutenant Benson seated himself at the head of the table, with
Ensign Hastings on his right. The midshipmen filled the remaining
"We're necessarily a little crowded on a craft of this size,"
explained Benson. "Also the service is not what it would be on
a battleship. We can carry but few men, so the cook must also
act as waiter."
At once a very good meal was set on the table, and all hands were
busily eating when Eph Somers came down the stairs, saluted and
"Sir, we are on the bottom of Chesapeake Bay, with our nose in
THE TREACHERY OF MORTON
To the midshipmen that was rather startling news to receive while
in the act of enjoying a very excellent meal.
Lieutenant Jack Benson, however, appeared to take the news very
"May I ask," he inquired, "whether any of you young gentlemen
noticed anything unusual in our motion during the last two or
All six of the midshipmen glanced at him quickly, then at Darrin
the other five looked, as though appointing him their spokesman.
"No, sir; we didn't note anything," replied Dave. "We were too
busy with our food and with listening to the talk."
"But now you notice something?"
"That the boat appears motionless, as though speed had been stopped."
"And that is the case," smiled Benson. "Mr. Somers, soon after
the soup was placed on the table, came in from the deck with the
one man of his watch, closed the tower and signaled for changing
to the electric motors. Then he filled the forward tanks and
those amidships, at last filling the tanks astern. We came below
so gently that you very intent young men never noticed the change.
We are now on the bottom---in about how many feet of water, Mr.
"About forty, sir," replied Eph.
The six midshipmen stared at one another, then felt a somewhat
uncomfortable feeling creeping over them.
"Had it been daylight," smiled Benson, "you would have been warned
by the disappearance of natural light and the increased brilliancy
of the electric light here below. However, your experience serves
to show you how easily up-to-date submarines may be handled."
"What do you think of the way the trick was done?" asked Hal Hastings,
looking up with a quiet smile.
"It was marvelous," replied Midshipman Farley promptly.
"I would like to ask a question, sir, if I may," put in Midshipman
"Go ahead, sir."
"Were submarines ever handled anywhere near as neatly before you
three gentlemen began your work with the Pollard Company?"
"We didn't handle them as easily, at all events," replied Jack
with a smile. "It has required a lot of work and practice, night
and day. Steward, a plate for Mr. Somers."
"This is the way we generally manage at meal times," smiled Ensign
Eph, as he took his place at table. "There's no use in keeping
an officer and a man on deck, or a tender at the engines, unless
we're going somewhere, in a hurry. So, in a case like this, where
the deck officer wants his meal, we just sink into the mud and
rest easy until the meal is over."
"Are you giving instruction, or merely seeking to amuse your guests,
Mr. Somers?" Lieutenant Jack Benson asked quietly.
"Oh, I forgot," explained Eph, with another smile; "these young
gentlemen are not yet acquainted with me. When they are they'll
know that no one ever takes me too seriously."
"A bad habit for a superior officer, isn't it?" inquired Benson,
looking around at his student guests. "But Mr. Somers may be
taken very seriously indeed---when he's on duty. He is unreliable
at table only."
"Unreliable at table?" echoed Eph, helping himself to a slice
of roast meat. "Why, it seems to me that this is the one place
where I can be depended upon to do all that is expected of me."
The others now sat back, out of courtesy, looking on and chatting
while Ensign Eph Somers ate his meal. "There may be a few
questions---or many---that you would like to ask," suggested
Lieutenant Jack Benson. "If so, gentlemen, go ahead with your
questions. For that matter, during your stay aboard, ask all the
questions you can think of."
"Thank you, sir," replied Midshipman Dave Darrin, with a slight
bow. "I have been thinking of one point on which I would be glad
"And that is-----"
"The full complement of this craft appears to consist of three
officers and four enlisted men---that is, of course, outside of
your combined cook and steward."
"Yes," nodded Benson.
"One of the officers is commanding officer; another is deck officer
and the third engineer officer."
"Then, on a cruise," pursued Dave, "how can you divide watches
and thus keep going night and day?"
"Why, originally," Jack replied, "we put on long cruises with
only three aboard---the three who are at present officers. With
a boat like the 'Dodger,' which carries so few men, the commanding
officer cannot stand on his dignity and refuse to stand watch.
I frequently take my trick at the wheel. That gives Mr. Somers
his chance to go below and sleep."
"Yet Mr. Hastings is your only engineer officer."
"True, but two of our enlisted men are trained as engine-tenders.
Our engines are rather simple, in the main, and an enlisted
engine-tender can run our engine room for hours at a stretch under
ordinary conditions. Of course, if anything out of the usual should
happen while Mr. Hastings were taking his trick in his berth, he
would have to be wakened. But we can often make as long a trip as
from New York to Havana without needing to call Mr. Hastings once
from his berth during his hours of rest."
"Then you have two enlisted men aboard who thoroughly understand
your engines?" pressed Dave Darrin.
"Ordinarily," replied Hal Hastings, here breaking in. "But one
of our engine-tenders reached the end of his enlisted period to-day,
and, as he wouldn't re-enlist, we had to let him go. So the new
enlisted man whom we took aboard is just starting in to learn
"Small loss in Morton," laughed Lieutenant Jack Benson. "He was
enough of a natural genius around machinery, but he was a man
of sulky and often violent temper. Really, I am glad that Morton
took his discharge to-day. I never felt wholly safe while we
had him aboard."
"He was a bad one," Ensign Hal Hastings nodded. "Morton might
have done something to sink us, only that he couldn't do so without
throwing away his own life."
"I don't know, sir, what I'd do, if I were a commanding officer
and found that I had such a man in the crew," replied Midshipman
"Why, in a man's first enlistment," replied Lieutenant Jack, "the
commanding officer is empowered to give him a summary dismissal
from the service. Morton was in his second enlistment, or I surely
would have dropped him ahead of his time. I'm glad he's gone."
Ensign Eph had now finished his meal and was sitting back in his
chair. Lieutenant Jack therefore gave the rising sign.
"I want to show the midshipmen everything possible on this trip,"
said the very young commanding officer. "So we won't lie here
in the mud any more. Mr. Somers, you will return to the tower
steering wheel, and you, Mr. Hastings, will take direct charge
of the engines. I will gather the midshipmen around me here in
the cabin, and show the young gentlemen how easily we control the
rising of a submarine from the bottom."
Hal and Eph hurried to their stations. The midshipmen followed
Jack Benson over to what looked very much like a switchboard.
The young lieutenant held a wrench in his right hand.
"I will now turn on the compressed air device," announced Lieutenant
Jack. "First of all I will empty the bow chambers of water by
means of the compressed air; then the middle chambers, and, lastly,
the stern chambers. On a smaller craft than this we would operate
directly with the wrench. On a boat of the 'Dodger's' type we
must employ the wrench first, but the work must be backed up with
the performance of a small electric motor."
Captain Jack rapidly indicated the points at which the wrench
was to be operated, adding:
"I want you to note these points as I explain them, for after
I start with the wrench I shall have to work rapidly along from
bow to stern tanks. Otherwise we would shoot up perpendicularly,
instead of going up on a nearly even keel. Mr. Hastings, are
you all ready at your post?"
"Aye, aye, sir," came back the engineer officer's reply.
"On post, Mr. Somers?"
"Aye, aye, sir."
Lieutenant Jack applied the wrench, calling snappily:
"Watch me. I've no time to explain anything now."
With that he applied one of the wrenches and gave it a turn.
Instantly one of the electric motors in the engine-room began
Almost imperceptibly the bow of the "Dodger" began to rise. Lieutenant
Jack, intent on preserving an even keel as nearly as possible,
passed on to the middle station with his wrench.
Just as he applied the tool the electric motor ceased running.
"What's the matter, Mr. Hastings?" Jack inquired quietly. "Something
blow out of the motor?"
The submarine remained slightly tilted up at the bow.
"I don't know, sir, as yet, what has happened," Hal Hastings answered
back. "I'm going over the motor now."
In a moment more he stepped into the cabin, a much more serious
look than usual on his fine face.
"This, looks like the man Morton's work," Hal announced holding
a small piece of copper up before the eyes of the midshipmen.
"Gentlemen, do you notice that the under side of this plate has
been filed considerably?"
"Yes, sir," nodded Dan Dalzell, a queer look crossing his face.
"Won't the motor operate without that plate being sound?"
"It will not."
The other midshipmen began to look and to feel strange.
"Then are we moored for good at the bottom of the bay?" asked
"No; for we carry plenty of duplicate parts for this plate," replied
Ensign Hal. "Come into the engine room and I will show you how
I fit the duplicate part on."
Hal led the midshipmen, halting before a small work bench. He
threw open a drawer under the bench.
"Every duplicate plate has been removed from this drawer," announced
Hastings quietly. "Then, indeed, we are stuck in the mud, with
no chance of rising. Gentlemen, I trust that the Navy will send
divers here to rescue us before our fresh air gives out!"
"WE BELONG TO THE NAVY, TOO!"
"You mean, sir," asked Midshipman Jetson, his voice hoarse in
spite of his efforts to remain calm, "that we are doomed to remain
here at the bottom of the bay unless divers reach us in time?"
"Yes," nodded Hal Hastings, his voice as quiet and even as ever.
"Unless we can find a duplicate plate---and that appears
impossible---the 'Dodger' is wholly unable to help herself."
"If the outlook is as black as it appears, gentlemen," spoke Jack
Benson from behind their backs, "I'm extremely sorry that such
a disaster should have happened when we had six such promising
young Naval officers aboard."
"Oh, hang us and our loss!" exploded Dave Darrin forgetting that
he was addressing an officer. "I guess the country won't miss
us so very much. But it surely will be a blow to the United States
if the Navy's three best submarine experts have to be lost to
the country to satisfy a discharged enlisted man's spite."
Eph Somers had come down from the tower. He, too, looked extremely
grave, though he showed no demoralizing signs of fear.
As for the six midshipmen, they were brave. Not a doubt but that
every one of them showed all necessary grit in the face of this
fearful disaster. Yet they could not conceal the pallor in their
faces, nor could they hide the fact that their voices shook a
little when they spoke.
"Make a thorough search, Mr. Hastings," directed Lieutenant Jack
Benson, in a tone as even as though he were discussing the weather.
"It's barely possible that the duplicate plates have been only
mislaid---that they're in another drawer."
Hal Hastings turned with one of his quiet smiles. He knew that
the system in his beloved engine room was so exact that nothing
there was ever misplaced.
"I'm looking, sir," Hastings answered, as he opened other drawers
in turn, and explored them. "But I'm not at all hopeful of finding
the duplicate plates. This damaged one had been filed thinner,
which shows that it was done by design. The man who would do
that trick purposely wouldn't leave any duplicate plates behind."
The four enlisted men and the cook had gathered behind their officers.
"Morton---the hound! This is his trick!" growled Seaman Kellogg
hoarsely. "Many a time I've heard him brag that he'd get even
for the punishments that were put upon him. And now he has gone
and done it---the worse than cur!"
"No; there are no duplicate parts here," announced Ensign Hastings
"See if you can't fit on the old, worn one," proposed Lieutenant
"No such luck!" murmured Hal Hastings. "Morton was too good a
mechanic not to know bow to do his trick! He hasn't left us a
single chance for our lives!"
None the less Hal patiently tried to fit the plate back and make
the motor work, Lieutenant Jack, in the meantime, standing by
the board with the wrench in hand. In the next ten minutes several
efforts were made to start the motor, but all of them failed.
"And all for want of a bit of copper of a certain size, shape
and thickness," sighed Midshipman Dan Dalzell.
"It does seem silly, doesn't it," replied Lieutenant Jack with a
"At least," murmured Midshipman Wolgast, "we shall have a chance
to show that we know how to die like men of the Navy."
"Never say die," warned Ensign Eph Somers seriously, "until you
know you're really dead!"
This caused a laugh, and it eased them all.
"Well," muttered Jetson, "as I know that I can't be of any use
here I'm going back into the cabin and sit down. I can at least
keep quiet and make no fuss about it."
One after another the other midshipmen silently followed Jetson's
example. They sat three on either side of the cabin, once in
a while looking silently into the face of the others.
Not until many minutes more had passed did the three officers of the
"Dodger" cease their efforts to find a duplicate plate for the motor.
Kellogg and another of the seamen, though they met their chance of
death with grit enough, broke loose into mutterings that must have
made the ears of ex-seaman Morton burn, wherever that worthy was.
"I wish I had that scoundrel here, under my heel," raged Seaman
"It will be wiser and braver, my man," broke in Lieutenant Jack
quietly, "not to waste any needless thought on matters of violence.
It will be better for us all if every man here goes to his death
quietly and with a heart and head free from malice."
"You're right, sir," admitted Kellogg. "And I wish to say, sir,
that I never served under braver officers."
"There won't be divers sent after us---at least, within the time
that we're going to be alive," spoke Midshipman Farley soberly.
"In the first place, Chesapeake Bay is a big place, and no Naval
officer would know where to locate us."
"Mr. Benson," broke in Jetson suddenly, "I heard once that you
submarine experts had invented a way of leaving a submarine boat
by means of the torpedo tube. Why can't you do that now?"
"We could," smiled Lieutenant Jack Benson, "if our compressed
air apparatus were working. We can't do the trick without compressed
air. If we had any of that which we could use, we wouldn't need
to leave the boat and swim to the top. We could take the boat to
the surface instead."
"Then it's impossible, sir, to leave the boat?" questioned Jetson,
his color again fading.
"Yes; if we opened the outer end of the torpedo tube, without
being able to throw compressed air in there first, then the water
would rush in and drown us."
"I'm filled with wonder," Dan Dalzell muttered to himself. "Staring
certain death in the face, I can't understand how it happens that
I'm not going around blubbering and making a frantic jackanapes
of myself. There's not a chance of living more than an hour or
two longer, and yet I'm calm. I wonder how it happens? It isn't
because I don't know what is coming to me. I wonder if the other
fellows feel just as I do?"
Dan glanced curiously around him at the other midshipmen faces.
"Do you know," said Darrin quietly, "I've often wondered how other
men have felt in just such a fix as we're in now."
"Well, how do you feel, Darry?" Farley invited.
"I'm blessed if I really know. Probably in an instant when I fail
briefly to realize all that this means my feeling is that I wouldn't
have missed such an experience for anything."
"You could have all my share of it, if I could make an effective
transfer," laughed Wolgast.
"If we ever do get out of this alive," mused Page aloud, "I don't
doubt we'll look back to this hour with a great throb of interest
and feel glad that we've had one throb that most men don't get in
"But we won't get out," advanced Jetson. "We're up hard against
it. It's all over but the slow strangling to death as the air
becomes more rare."
"I wonder if it will be a strangling and choking," spoke Darrin
again in a strange voice; "or whether it will be more like an
asphyxiation? In the latter case we may drop over, one at a time,
without pain, and all of us be finished within two or three minutes
from the time the first one starts."
"Pleasant!" uttered Wolgast grimly. "Let's start something---a
jolly song, for instance."
"Want to die more quickly?" asked Dalzell. "Singing eats up the
Lieutenant Jack Benson came out of the engine room for a moment.
He took down the wrench and went back to the engine room. But
first he paused, for a brief instant, shooting at the midshipmen
a look that was full of pity for them. For himself, Jack Benson
appeared to have no especial feeling. Then the young commanding
officer went back into the engine room, closing the door after him.
"What did he shut the door for?" asked Jetson.
"Probably they're going to do something, in there, that will call
for a good deal of physical exertion."
"Well, what of that?" demanded Jetson, not seeing the point.
"Why," Dave explained, "a man at laborious physical work uses up
more air than a man who is keeping quiet. If the three officers
are going to work hard in there then they've closed the door in
order not to deprive us of air."
"We called them kids, at first," spoke Dan
Dalzell ruefully, "but they're a mighty fine lot of real men, those
three acting Naval officers."
Dave Darrin rose and walked over to the engine room, opening the
door and looking in. Hal and Eph were hard at work over the motor,
while Lieutenant Jack Benson, with his hand in his pockets, stood
watching their efforts.
"I beg your pardon, sir," said Darrin, saluting, "but did you close
this door in order to leave more air to us?"
"Yes," answered Jack Benson. "Go back and sit down."
"I hope you won't think us mutinous, sir," Darrin returned steadily,
"but we don't want any more than our share of whatever air is left
on board this craft. We belong to the Navy, too."
From the after end of the cabin came an approving grunt. It was
here that the cook and the four seamen had gathered.
With the door open the midshipmen could see what was going on
forward, and they watched with intense fascination.
Eph Somers had taken 'the too-thin copper' plate to the work-bench,
and had worked hard over it, trying to devise some way of making
it fit so that it would perform its function in the motor. Now,
he and Hal Hastings struggled and contrived with it. Every time
that the pair of submarine boys thought they had the motor possibly
ready to run Hal tried to start the motor. Yet he just as often
failed to get a single movement from the mechanism.
"I reckon you might about as well give it up," remarked Lieutenant
Jack Benson coolly.
"What's the use of giving up," Eph demanded, "as long as there's
any life left in us?"
"I mean," the young lieutenant explained, "that you'd better give
up this particular attempt and make a try at something else."
"All right, if you see anything else that we can do," proposed
Eph dryly. "Say, here's a quarter to pay for your idea."
Seemingly as full of mischief as ever, Eph Somers pressed a silver
coin into Jack Benson's hand.
But Jack, plainly impatient with such trifling, frowned slightly
as he turned and pitched the quarter forward.
"This isn't a twenty-five-cent proposition," Benson remarked.
"In fact, all the money on earth won't save us this time!"
A QUARTER'S WORTH OF HOPE
"Until some one can think of something else, I'm going to keep
on trying the hopeless thing and endeavoring to make this old,
thin plate work," declared Hal Hastings, who was still bent over
the motor, studying it intently.
Benson had turned back to examine the work, after tossing the
coin away, but just as suddenly he glanced forward again.
At the extreme forward end of the engine room of the "Dodger"
was another bench. Here were a vise and other heavier tools.
On the floor under this bench were stowed many mechanical odds
and ends---pieces of wood, coils of rope, even a bundle of tent-pegs,
though nothing was visible of a metallic nature.
"You fellows keep at work," Jack Benson shot back suddenly over
"Where you going?" demanded Eph.
That much was evident, but Jack was now down on hands and knees
carefully yet feverishly moving the wooden articles, cordage and
such things from under the forward bench.
"What are you doing?" called Eph. "Go ahead with your work---there's
no time to be lost," replied Lieutenant Jack.
"Hold this a moment, Eph," Hal Hastings requested, and Somers's
attention was forced back to the motor.
Sc-cratch! Flare! Jack Benson was using matches under that work
bench, now that be had made some clear space there.
"I wonder if Jack has gone clean daffy?" half chuckled Somers under
"What are you talking about?" Hastings demanded.
"Jack's lighting matches up forward, under the other bench."
"What if he is?"
"Maybe he thinks he can explode some gasoline and blow us to the
"Quit your nonsense," returned Hal almost angrily, "and help me
with this job."
"I'm waiting to see if Jack is going to let out a maniac yell,"
grimaced Eph Somers.
"Wow! Whoop!" uttered young Benson excitedly. "Never tell me
again that it's unlucky to throw money away! Whoop!"
"What did I tell you?" demanded Eph. "If Jack's making a noise
like that," retorted Hastings, as be straightened up and wheeled
about, "he's got a mighty good reason for it."
"Of course. Every lunatic has loads of good reasons for anything
he does," muttered Eph.
"Look here, fellows!" ordered Jack Benson, almost staggering as
he approached them.
"Great Dewey! Am I going crazy, too?" muttered Eph, staring hard.
"What I think I see in Jack's hands are some of the missing copper
"It's exactly what you do see," announced Jack Benson, his face
"How they came to be there I don't know," Benson replied. "But
when I threw away your quarter, Eph, it rolled under the bench.
There wasn't supposed to be anything metallic under the bench,
but I felt almost, sure that I had heard the silver strike against
something metallic. Even then it seemed like a crazy notion to
me. I didn't really expect to find anything, but some uncontrollable
impulse urged me to go hustling under the bench. And so I found
these duplicate plates, wedged in behind a lot of junk and right
up against the partition."
Hal Hastings, in the meantime, had taken one of the plates from
Lieutenant Jack's hand, and was now quietly fitting it where it
belonged on the motor.
The six midshipmen, as soon as they realized what had happened,
had sprung eagerly to the door of the engine room and stood peering
in. Behind them were the cook and crew of the "Dodger."
Presently Hal straightened up.
"Sir," he said gravely, "I have hopes that if you test the compressed
air apparatus you will find that this motor will do its share."
Midshipmen and crew drew back as Jack and Eph came out of the
engine room. Lieutenant Jack had his wrench in hand, and went back
to his former post.
"Young gentlemen," the commanding officer announced coolly, "we
will take up, at the point where we were interrupted, the work
of expelling the water from the compartments Are you ready, Mr.
"Right by my post, sir," came from Hal.
The six midshipmen gathered about Benson with a stronger sense
of fascination than ever. Eph stepped past them to the stairs
leading---to the little conning tower.
With steady hand Jack Benson turned the wrench. The motor began
to "mote" and there was a sense of being lifted.
"Going up!" sang Ensign Eph, with a grin.
Nor could Dan Dalzell help imitating the grin and calling out
"Let me out at the top floor, please!"
Having set the compressed air at work on the forward tanks, Jack
Benson quickly shifted the wrench, and without a word, getting
at work on the midship's compartments. Then the stern tanks were
"May I come up, sir?" called Dan, his voice trembling with joy,
at the foot of the stairs.
"Very good," Eph sang back. "Room for only one, though,"
So Dan Dalzell hastily mounted the iron stairs until he found
himself side by side with Eph Somers.
For a few seconds all was inky darkness on the other side of the
thick plate glass of the conning tower. Then, all in a flash,
Dalzell caught sight of the twinkling stars as the dripping conning
tower rose above the top of the water.
"I have the honor to report that all's well again, and that we're
on earth once more," Dan announced, as he came down the steps
into the little cabin.
"Attention, gentlemen," called Lieutenant Jack Benson, as soon
as the "Dodger" was once more under way, her sea-going gasoline
engines now performing the work lately entrusted to the electric
At the word "attention" the six midshipmen became rigidly erect,
their hands dropping at their sides.
"Gentlemen," continued Benson, "I realize that the late strain
has been a severe one on us all. We of the 'Dodger' have been
through the same sort of thing before. You midshipmen have not.
If you feel, therefore, that you would prefer to have me head
about and return to the Naval Academy I give you my word that
I shall not think you weak-kneed for making the request."
"Thank you, sir," replied Dave Darrin, "but we belong to the United
States Navy and we have no business to suffer with nerves. If our
wish alone is to be consulted, we prefer to finish the cruise as we
would any other tour of duty."
Dave's five comrades in the Brigade of Midshipmen loved him for
READY TO TRIM WEST POINT
"Have had an experience, sir, that we shall never forget, and one
that we wouldn't have missed!"
Thus spoke Dave Darrin the, following afternoon, as he saluted
the young officers of the "Dodger" before going over the side
as the boat lay alongside the wall of the basin.
To which the other midshipmen agreed.
"We have enjoyed having you aboard," replied Lieutenant Jack Benson.
"None of us will ever forget this cruise."
Then the six midshipmen strode briskly along the walks until they
reached Bancroft Hall.
It wasn't long ere news of the adventure of the night before got
whispered along the decks. Then Dave and Dan, Farley and Page,
Jetson and Wolgast all had so much midshipman company that it
was a relief when the evening study hours came around.
All six of the midshipmen had to tell the story of their submarine
experience until all of them fairly hated to talk about the matter.
Seaman Morton was never heard from again, and so did not come
in for his share of the excitement. However, it was not destined
to last long, for the football season was at its height and every
blue-clad middy thought, talked and dreamed about the Navy team.
A good team it was, too, and a good year for the Navy. The young
men of the Naval Academy played one of their most brilliant seasons
Dave, by a bigger effort than any one understood, forced back
his interest in the gridiron until he played a brilliant game.
The Navy won more victories than it had done before in any one
of fifteen seasons of football.
Yet report said that the Army, too, was playing a superb game,
considering that it had been deprived of its two best players,
Prescott and Holmes.
Up to the last Dave continued to hope that Cadet Dick Prescott
might be restored to the Army eleven. Dick's letters from West
Point, however, appeared to indicate clearly that he was not to
play. Therefore Greg Holmes wouldn't play.
At last came the fateful day, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Early the Brigade of Midshipmen was marched over to the trolley
line, where a long string of cars waited to receive them.
"We want an extra car to-night," one first classman called jovially
to the car inspector who was in charge of the transportation.
"We want that extra car to bring back the Army scalp in."
All the way to Baltimore and thence to Philadelphia, Dave Darrin
was unusually quiet. Dalzell, on the other hand, made noise enough
for both of them.
"Darry hasn't the sulks over anything, has be?" Wolgast anxiously
"Don't you believe it," Dan retorted.
"But he's so abominably quiet."
"Saving all his breath to use on the field."
"Are you sure Darry is in form?" persisted Wolgast.
"Yes. Wait and see."
"I'll have to," sighed Wolgast, with another sidelong glance at
Darrin's emotionless face.
The Navy team and subs. arrived at dressing quarters nearly an
hour before it would be necessary to tog.
As the West Point men were on hand, also, Dave stepped outside.
Almost the first man he met was a tall, slim, soldierly looking
fellow in the cadet gray.
"Aren't you Fields?" asked Dave, holding out his hand.
"Yes," replied the cadet, giving his own hand.
"And you're Darrin---one of the few men we're afraid of."
"Does Prescott play to-day?" Dave asked eagerly.
The West Pointer's brow clouded.
"No," he replied. "Mr. Prescott isn't a subject for conversation
at the Military Academy. Mr. Prescott is in Coventry."
"Sad mistake," muttered Darrin.
"A sad mistake. You men have made a bad bungle; I know it."
"It is a matter of internal discipline in the corps," replied
the West Point cadet, speaking much more coldly.
"Yes, I know it," Dave replied quickly, "and I beg your pardon
for having seemed to criticise the action of the Corps of Cadets.
However, anything that unpleasantly affects Dick Prescott is
a sore subject with me. Prescott is one of the best friends I
have in the world."
"Why, I've heard something about that," replied Fields in a less
constrained tone. "You and Mr. Prescott are old school cronies."
"Of the closest kind," Dave nodded. "That's why I feel certain
that Dick Prescott never did, and never could do, anything dishonorable.
You'll surely find it out before long, and then the Corps will make
"I fear not," replied Cadet Fields. "Mr. Prescott had every
opportunity given him to clear himself, and failed to do so to
the satisfaction of the Corps. Therefore he'll never graduate
from the Military Academy. It wouldn't do him any good to try.
He'd only be ostracized in the Army if he had the cheek to stay
in the Corps."
"Let's not talk about that part of it any more," begged Dave.
"But you'll miss Prescott from your fighting line to-day."
"That's very likely," assented the West Point man. "I'm glad we
haven't Mr. Prescott here, but we'd be heartily glad if we had
some one else as good on the football field."
"And you haven't Holmes, either?" sighed Dave.
"That isn't any one's fault but Holmesy's," frowned Cadet Fields.
"We wanted Holmesy to play, and we gave him every chance, but-----"
"But he wouldn't," finished Dave. "No more would I play on the
Navy team if the fellows had done anything unjust to Dalzell."
"Do you feel that you're going to have an easy walk-over with us
to-day?" demanded Cadet Fields cheerily.
"No; but we're prepared to fight. We'll get the game if it's
in any way possible," Darrin assured his questioner.
"Are the bonfires back in Annapolis all ready to be lighted to-night?"
inquired Fields smilingly.
"They must be."
"What a lot of unnecessary labor," laughed the West Point man.
"Why?" challenged Dave.
"Because the Army is going to win again." That "again" caused Dave
Darrin to wince. "We win almost every time, you know," Fields
"Almost every time?" challenged Dan Dalzell, joining the pair.
"Are you sure of your statistics?"
"Oh, I have the statistics, of course," Fields answered. "That's
why I speak so confidently."
At this point three more West Point men approached.
"Hey, fellows," called Fields good-humoredly. "Do you know of
an impression that I find to prevail among the middies to-day?"
"What is that?" inquired one of the gray-clad cadets, as the newcomers
joined the group.
"Why, the middies seem to think that they're going to take the
Army's scalp to-day."
"Is that really your idea of the matter?" asked one of the gray-clad
"So Mr. Fields has said," Dave answered.
"But what do you say?"
"About the most that I feel like saying," Darrin answered as quietly
as ever, "is that the Navy prefers to do its bragging afterwards."
"An excellent practice," nodded one of the cadets. "You've acquired
the habit through experience, I presume. It has saved your having
to swallow a lot of your words on many occasions."
All laughed good-naturedly. Though there was the most intense
rivalry between the two government military schools, yet all were
gentlemen, and the fun-making could not be permitted to go beyond
the limits of ordinary teasing.
"What's your line-up?" broke in Dan Dalzell.
"Haven't you fellows gotten hold of the cards yet?" asked one
of the West Point men. "Then take a look over mine."
Standing together Dave and Dan eagerly glanced down the printed
line-up of the Military Academy.
"I know a few of these names," ventured Darrin, "and they're the
names of good men. Several of the other names I don't know at
all. And you've left out the names of the two Army men that we're
most afraid of in a game of football."
"It seems queer to think of an Army line-up without Prescott and
Holmes," Dan declared musingly.
Over the faces of the cadets there crept a queer look, but none
of them spoke.
"So you've boycotted Prescott and Holmes?" pursued Dalzell.
"Yes," replied one of the cadets. "Or, rather, Prescott is in
Coventry, and Holmes prefers to stand by his friend in everything.
Holmes, being Prescott's roommate, doesn't have to keep away from
"Humph!" laughed Dan. "I think I can see Greg Holmes turning his
back upon Dick Prescott. Why, Greg wouldn't do that even if he
had to get out of the Army in consequence."
"We did the only thing we could with the Prescott fellow," spoke
up another cadet.
Dave Darrin's dark eyes flashed somewhat.
"Gentlemen," he begged quietly, "will you do me the very great
favor not to refer to Prescott slightingly as a 'fellow.' He's
one of the noblest youngsters I've ever known, and I'm his friend
through thick and thin. Of course, I don't expect you to know
it yet, but I feel positive that you've made a tremendous mistake
in sending to Coventry one of nature's noblemen."
"Hm!" muttered some of the cadets, and slight frowns were visible.
"And when you lose the game to-day," continued Dan Dalzell, "it
may be a comfort to you to know that you might possibly have won
it if you had had Prescott and Holmes in your battle front."
"Prescott isn't the only football player in the Army," returned
Cadet Fields. "Nor are he and Holmes the only pair of 'em."
"You'll lose without that pair, though," ventured Dave. "And
it must shake the confidence of your men, too, for you've come
here without your two best men."
"Of course, we have to manage our own affairs," interposed one
of the cadets.
"Gentlemen," spoke up Dave quickly, "of course, you have to manage
your own problems, and no one else is fitted to do so. If I've
gone too far in what might have seemed like criticism, then I
beg you to forget it. I don't want to be suspected of any disagreeable
intent. If I spoke almost bitterly it was because Prescott is
my very dear friend. I have another, and a real grievance---I
wanted to test myself out today against Dick Prescott, as any
two friends may contest to vanquish one another on the field of
"No one had any thought, I am sure, Mr. Darrin, of accusing you
of wishing to be disagreeable," spoke up Cadet Fields. "We believe
you to be a prince of good and true fellows; in fact, we accept
you at the full estimate of the Brigade of Midshipmen. Wade in
and beat us to-day, if you can---but you can't Prescott or no
"Better run inside and tog!" called Wolgast from a distance.
"You'll excuse us now, won't you?" asked Dave. "Come along, Danny
As the two midshipmen lifted their caps and hastened away, Fields
gazed after them speculatively:
"There goes the Navy's strength in to-day's game," he announced.
"I wonder if we have done Prescott any wrong?" said another cadet
"That question has been settled by formal class action," replied
another. "It's a closed matter."
Then these West Point men strolled over to quarters to get into
togs. As they were to play subs. they did not need to be as
early at togging as the members of the team.
Out on Franklin Field thousands and thousands of Americans, from
the President of the United States down, waited impatiently for
the excitement of the day to begin.
On either side of the field some hundreds of seats were still
left vacant. The music of a band now floated out, proclaiming
that one set of seats was soon to be filled. Then in, through
a gate, marched the Military Academy band at the head of the Corps
of Cadets. Frantic cheers broke loose on the air, and there was
a great fluttering of the black and gray banners carried by the
Army's boosters in the audience. Gray and steel-like the superb
corps marched in across the field, and over to the seats assigned
Barely had the Army band ceased playing when another struck up in
the distance. It was now the turn of the fine Naval Academy band
to play the Brigade of Midshipmen on to the field. Again the air
vibrated with the intensity of the loyal cheers that greeted the
Over in quarters, after the middies of the team had togged, a
few anxious minutes of waiting followed. What was to be the fate
of the day?
"Darry," spoke Wolgast in a voice full of feeling, "you're not
woozy to-day, are you?"
"I don't believe I am," smiled Dave.
"Well, you know, old chap, you've been unaccountably stale---or
something---at times this season. You haven't been the real
Darry---always. You're feeling in really bully form today?"
"I'm pretty sure that I'm in good winning form," Dave replied.
"Will that be enough?"
Wolgast looked him over, then rejoined:
"Somehow, I think you're in pretty good form. I'll feel better,
very likely, after we've played for ten minutes. Darry, old fellow,
just don't forget how much the Navy depends upon you."
"Are you all right, Davy?" Dan Dalzell demanded in a more than
"I certainly am, Danny boy."
"But, you know-----"
"Yes; I know that, for a while, I showed signs of going fuzzy.
But I'm over that."
"Good!" chuckled Dan, as he caught the resolute flash in Darrin's
eyes. "I was fearfully afraid that you'd go bad simply because
you didn't have Prescott to go up against. For a good many days
that very fact seemed to prey upon your mind and make you indifferent."
"Danny boy, I am going to play my mightiest, just because Prescott
isn't with the Army!"
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean that I'm going to make the West Point fellows most abominably
sorry that they didn't have Dick Prescott on their eleven. And
you want to stand with me in that, Danny boy. Keep hammering
the Army to-day, and with every blow just think it's another blow
struck for Dick Prescott and Greg Holmes. Oh, we'll trim West
Point in their joint name!"
WHEN "BRACE UP, ARMY!" WAS THE WORD
"All out for practice!" called Wolgast.
Team men and subs. bunched, the Navy players trotted on to the
field, amid a tempest of wild cheering.
No sooner had Dave Darrin halted for an instant, when he broke
into a whirlwind of sprinting speed. Dan Dalzell tried to keep
up with him, but found it impossible.
"Good old Darry!" yelled a hoarse voice from one of the grandstands.
"That's the way you'll go around the end to-day!"
Some of the other Navy players were kicking a ball back and forth.
The Army team was not yet on the field, but it came, a few moments
later, and received a tremendous ovation from its own solid ranks
This time Darrin barely glanced at any of the Army players. He
knew that Prescott and Holmes were not there. Whoever else might
be, he was not interested.
Only a very few minutes were allowed for practice. During this
exercise the Army and Navy bands played alternately.
Then the referee signaled the bands to stop.
Tril-l-l-l! sounded the whistle, and Army and Navy captains trotted
to the center of the field to watch the toss of the coin. Wolgast
won, and awarded the kick-off to the Army.
Then the teams jogged quickly to places, and in an instant all
was in readiness.
Over the spectators' seats a hush had fallen. Even the Army and
Navy cheer leaders looked nearly as solemn as owls. The musicians
of the two bands lounged in their seats and instruments had been
laid aside. There would be no more noise until one team or the
other had started to do real things.
Quick and sharp came the signal. West Point kicked and the ball
was in play.
Navy's quarterback, after a short run, placed himself to seize
the arching pigskin out of the air. Then he ran forward, protected
by the Navy interference.
By a quick pass the ball came into Dave Darrin's hands. Dalzell
braced himself as he hit the strong Army line.
It was like butting a stone wall, but Darrin got through, with
the aid of effective interference.
Army men bunched and tackled, but Dave struggled on. He did not
seem to be exerting much strength, but his elusiveness was wonderful,
Then, after a few yards had been gained, Dave was borne to the
earth, the bottom of a struggling mass until, the referee's whistle
ended the scrimmage.
Annapolis players could not help shooting keen glances of satisfaction
at each other. The test had been a brief one, but now they saw
that Darrin was in form, and that he could be depended upon to-day,
unless severe accident came to cripple him.
Again the ball was put in play, this time going over to Farley and
Page on the right end.
Only a yard did Farley succeed in advancing the ball, but that
was at least a gain.
Then again came the pigskin to the left flank, and Dave fought
it through the enemy's battle line for a distance of eight feet
ere he was forced to earth with it.
By this time the West Point captain was beginning to wonder what
ailed his men. The cadet players themselves were worried. If
the Navy could play like this through the game, it looked as though
Annapolis might wipe out, in one grand and big-scored victory,
the memory of many past defeats.