Part 3 out of 4
In spite of the German losses, the British, so far, had had the worst
of the encounter and the German admiral, despite the loss of his
flagship, had no mind to give up the battle. He pushed to closer
Now the fighting became more terrific. Shells struck upon all ships
engaged at intervals of a few seconds apart. Frequently loud explosions
were heard above the voices of the great guns; and in most cases these
signified the end of a ship of war.
Among the smaller vessels--the torpedo boats--which had singled each
other out, the execution had been terrible. Dead and wounded strewed
the decks and there was no time for the uninjured to give aid. They
were too busy attending to their guns and manoeuvering their vessels.
But the outcome of an engagement such as this could have but one
result, it seemed. Outnumbered as they were and fighting as bravely as
they knew how, the British were getting the worst of it. Rather than
sacrifice more lives and ships, Vice-Admiral Beatty, on the _Lion_,
gave the signal to retire. He was in hopes that the Germans would
follow and thus fall into the clutches of the main British fleet which
was advancing at full speed and with which Vice-Admiral Beatty had been
in communication by wireless.
The Germans accepted the bait as the British drew off slowly; and as
they advanced more ships steamed up from the east. It was a second
German squadron advancing to the aid of the first.
There was a cry of surprise from the British, for they had not known
that there was a second fleet in such close proximity. These new
vessels evidently were the reserves the German admiral had been
depending upon to turn the tide of battle should his first line ships
not be able to overcome the British.
Seeing apparent victory within his grasp, the German admiral signalled
his fleet to full speed; so the British retreated more rapidly.
Suddenly there was a terrible explosion to the right of the _Queen
Mary_. Frank and Jack, as well as all others on the _Queen Mary_, gazed
in that direction. The battle cruiser _Invincible_ suddenly sprang into
a sheet of flame and parted in half. A German shell had struck her
A cry of despair broke from the British as the _Invincible_--the
greatest British ship to suffer so far--dived beneath the waves.
THE MAIN FLEET ARRIVES
It was by a miracle, it seemed, that the _Queen Mary,_ the
_Indefatigable_, the _Marlborough_ and the _Lion_, now in the front
line, had escaped being struck in their vitals by the German shells
that flew all about. On the _Queen Mary_, dead men and wounded men
strewed the deck. They were being carried below as rapidly as possible,
where the ship's surgeon, with a corps of assistants, was attending to
Frank and Jack had been working like demons. From one part of the ship
to the other they had been running with orders ever since the battle
opened. The heart of each lad was in his throat--not because of fear--
but because the British were getting the worst of the engagement. Never
before had they seen an enemy fleet stand up to a British squadron of
this size and fight. Always before it had been the German policy to
But now they were not only standing up to the British, but were giving
them a bad thrashing. Each lad realized, of course, that the British
were out-numbered and that the weight of guns was in favor of the
enemy; but in spite of this they felt that the enemy should be
defeated. They cast occasional glances to the west, hoping to catch
sight of the main British fleet, which should be drawing near now.
But at nine o'clock there was no smoke on the horizon.
The loss of the _Invincible_ had been a hard blow to the British. As
the others retreated now the Germans pressed them closely. A shot
struck the _Marlborough_ in the forward turret, exploding her guns
there and killing the gun crews. The effect of the explosion was
terrible. Men were hurled high in the air and came down in small
Jack, in the forward turret of the _Queen Mary_ a moment later, was
hurled to the deck as a German shell struck one of the guns and blew it
to pieces. The lad escaped the rain of steel that descended a moment
later, but others in the turret were not so fortunate. Fully half the
men there were killed or wounded so badly that they could fight no
Jack sprang to one of the guns himself. It was loaded. Quickly the lad
sighted it upon one of the enemy ships and fired.
He watched the effect of this shot. It was the German cruiser _Elbing_
at which he had aimed. He saw a cloud of missiles ascend from amidships
and knew that the shot had struck home.
Jack forgot all about reporting to Captain Raleigh for further orders,
and as the battle raged, he continued to fire one of the big 16-inch
guns--he and other unwounded British tars.
Frank had not seen his chum for an hour; and chancing to poke his head
into the forward turret, he was surprised to see Jack working like a
Trojan with the members of the gun crew.
"Good work, Jack! Keep it up!" he called.
Jack looked in Frank's direction long enough to wave his hand; then
turned back to his work.
Came a loud British cheer. "What's happened?" demanded Jack of the man
next him, shouting at the top of his voice to make himself heard above
the din of battle.
The man shook his head.
"Don't know," he shouted back, "unless the main fleet has been
"We might have sunk one of the enemy," said another.
As a matter of fact, both men were right.
Two German torpedo boats had gone to the bottom almost simultaneously
under well directed British shots; and, far back across the sea, a
flotilla of battleships had been sighted.
Apparently the Germans had not yet sighted the British reinforcements,
for they continued to press their foes hard.
Four British torpedo boats had been sent to the bottom of the sea. They
were the _Tipperary_, the _Turbulent_, the _Nestore_ and the _Shark_.
The others gave slowly before the enemy; and a moment later two of
those sank--the _Sparrow Hawk_ and the _Ardent_.
There now remained facing the entire German fleet the _Lion_, the
_Queen Mary_, the _Indefatigable_, the _Marlborough_ and two torpedo
boats, the _Fortune_ and the _Alcaster_.
But the German losses had been great. The _Westphalen_ had been sunk.
So had the _Pommern_ and the _Freiderich_. The _Frauenlob_ had gone to
the bottom and the _Wiesbaden_, the new flagship, was badly crippled.
As another German torpedo boat sank, the Germans slackened their pace.
The British had a breathing spell.
But the battle was not over yet. The second German squadron had now
approached almost close enough to take a hand in the battle. Apparently
this Was what the German admiral was waiting for before resuming
It was plainly evident now that the Germans had sighted the approaching
British fleet, but at that distance they were unable to make out its
strength. The German admiral decided to continue the battle if he could
do so with any hope of success.
So, with the second squadron in range, he gave the command to advance
The _Queen Mary_ and the _Indefatigable_ bore the brunt of this next
attack and for half an hour it seemed that it was impossible for the
two ships to live through the rain of shells that fell all about them.
But live they did and they gave as good or better than they received.
The German battleship _Hindenburg_, pierced by half a dozen shells at
almost the same time, staggered back and fell out of line. But the
British had no mercy on her. Shell after shell they poured upon her;
and at last she sank.
The _Wiesbaden_, the German flagship, pressed hotly to the attack.
Although struck in a dozen places and her port side batteries out of
commission, she continued to play on the _Queen Mary_ and the
_Indefatigable_ with her forward turret guns.
As a matter of fact, it was fortunate for the _Queen Mary_ and the
_Indefatigable_ that they had begun to retire; for their forward turret
guns had been silenced and the only pieces that they could now bring
into play were in the turrets aft.
A shell from the German battleship _Lutzow_ exploded on the bridge of
the _Marlborough_. The bridge was carried completely away and the
commander of the ship was killed, as were half a score of other
officers. A second shell struck the _Marlborough_ and carried away her
steering apparatus. Absolutely uncontrollable now, the _Marlborough_
drifted toward the _Lion_, with which she almost collided before the
_Lion_ could get out of the way.
There was nothing that could be done for her until after the battle, at
any rate, and the others left her to her fate. Drifting as she was, the
_Marlborough_ continued her fire; and of a sudden she put a shot aboard
the _Lutzow_ in a vital spot.
The _Lutzow_ blew up with a terrible roar. The crew of the
_Marlborough_ cheered and waved their hands to their companions on the
other British ships.
Apparently this was more than the German admiral had bargained for.
With his whole second squadron intact and the British apparently
helpless, he had thought to crush these few ships before aid should
reach them; and then, if the approaching British were not too
formidable, to offer them battle also.
Now there were only three British ships in line--the _Lion_, the
_Queen Mary_ and the _Indefatigable_--and these were really not fit
nor able to continue the fight.
But the men fought on doggedly. None of the others had thought of
surrender and no such idea entered the head of a single man aboard any
of the British ships. Help was at hand and then the Germans would get
the thrashing of their lives, the men told themselves. They would keep
the Germans busy until this help arrived.
Hardly a man aboard the _Queen Mary_ that had not been wounded. Sweat
poured from their faces, hands and body as they continued to fight
their guns; and as they fought they shouted and yelled encouragement to
There was a different tone to this deep voice and every man on board
the hard pressed British ships knew what it meant.
The first ship of the main British fleet had come within range and had
opened with her biggest gun.
Other new voices took up the challenge and within a few moments the
roar of battle was at its height once more.
Still a considerable distance away, the dimensions of the approaching
British fleet now became apparent to the German admiral. He had
thought, at first, that perhaps the newcomers would number a few ships,
attracted by the sounds of battle, but as he looked at the formidable
array now bearing down on him he knew that his plans, whatever they
were, had been frustrated.
"And we had it all planned so carefully," he said between clenched
He strode up and down angrily, beating the palm of one hand with a
"How could they have learned of it?" he cried. "How could they?"
He was very angry. An officer approached him.
"Shall we draw off, sir?" he asked, and pointed to the fresh British
ships bearing down on them.
"No!" thundered the admiral. "Why don't you sink those three ships
ahead of you there? Sink them, I tell you!"
The officer saluted and moved away.
For some moments the German admiral continued to talk to himself in
great anger; then he suddenly cooled down. With a finger he summoned
the officer who had accosted him a moment before. The officer
approached and saluted.
"I forgot myself a moment ago," said the admiral. "You may give the
signal to retire!"
A moment later the big German ships began to come about; and from the
decks of the _Queen Mary_, the _Lion_ and the _Indefatigable_ there
came loud British cheers.
The _Marlborough_, still helpless, poured shell after shell upon the
Some distance away still, the British fleet was approaching in an
endeavor to intercept the retreat of the enemy. Captain Raleigh of the
_Queen Mary_ took in the situation at a glance.
"They'll never do it!" he exclaimed.
He determined upon a bold step. He gave command to bring the _Queen
Mary_ about. Then, disabled as his ship was, he started in pursuit of
There was a cheer from the _Indefatigable_, and presently the head of
that vessel also came about She started after the _Queen Mary_!
THE SINKING OF THE "QUEEN MARY"
Perceiving this move by two vessels that he believed the same as at the
bottom of, the sea, so far as fighting purposes went, the German
admiral became very angry again.
"A blight on these English!" he exclaimed. "Don't they know when they
Certainly it seemed not, if the Admiral's version that they were
defeated was correct.
The _Queen Mary_ and the _Indefatigable_ steamed after the enemy at
Jack had relinquished his duties in the gun turret to more experienced
hands and had joined Frank on deck. To some extent the forward turret
had been repaired and was now in condition to hurl more shells after
the fleeing enemy.
It was well after noon when the Germans fled; and as the two British
ships followed close on the heels of the enemy--with the main British
fleet still some distance back--one of those deep impenetrable fogs
that often impede progress on the North Sea suddenly descended.
It was indeed a boon to the fleeing Germans, for without its aid, there
is little likelihood that they could have escaped the British fleet,
which had the heels of the enemy. But the fog blotted the foe
completely from the sight of the main British fleet; and even from the
decks of the _Queen Mary_ and the _Indefatigable_, much closer, it was
impossible to make out the whereabouts of the Germans.
The British continued to fire ahead into the fog, but with what result
it was impossible to tell.
The fog became more dense until it was impossible to see ten yards
ahead. Even the great searchlights on the vessels failed to penetrate
"Well, I guess that settles it," said Frank.
"Looks that way," Jack agreed. "These Germans are pretty slippery
customers anyhow. It's impossible to catch them in the dark."
"This fog descended as though it were all made to order for them,"
"Pretty hard to beat a fellow when the elements are fighting on his
side," Jack admitted. "I imagine Captain Raleigh will give up the chase
But Jack was wrong, though, as it turned out, it would have been a
great deal better for all concerned if the chase had been abandoned at
After some conversation with Captain Reynolds of the _Indefatigable_ by
wireless, Captain Raleigh announced that the pursuit would be continued
and ordered full speed ahead in the deep darkness.
As the vessel gathered momentum, Frank exclaimed:
"I don't like this. I feel as though something disastrous was about to
"Another one of those things, eh?" said Jack, grinning in the darkness
that enveloped them.
"I never can remember what you call them. Premonitions, I mean."
"You mean a hunch," said Frank, quietly. "Yes, that's just what I have
"Take it to Captain Raleigh. Maybe he will give you something for it,"
said his friend.
"This is no joking matter," declared Frank. "I'm not naturally nervous,
as you know, but right now my nerves are on edge."
"Just the after effects of the battle," said Jack, quietly. "You are
"I'm unstrung, all right," Frank admitted, "but the battle had nothing
to do with it. I tell you something is going to happen."
"I don't know."
"It's a poor hunch, unless it will tell you what is going to happen,"
"Have it your own way," said Frank. "But wait."
"I'm waiting," said Jack, cheerfully.
The _Indefatigable_ also, following Captain Reynold's wireless
conversation with Captain Raleigh, had dashed after the retreating
Germans at full speed.
Gradually, although in the darkness neither their commanders nor anyone
else on board realized it, the _Queen Mary_ and the _Indefatigable_,
dashing ahead at full speed as they were, were drawing closer together
at every turn of the screws.
Frank's forebodings were about to bear fruit.
Now, in the darkness, the vessels were running upon about even terms,
but the bows were both pointed toward an angle that would drive them
together in collision about a mile distant. Although none realized it,
this is what would happen unless the fog lifted suddenly.
But the fog did not lift.
Frank, try as he would could not shake off his spell.
"I tell you." he said again to his chum, "something is going to happen
--and it's going to happen soon."
There was so much force behind Frank's words--the lad seemed in such
deadly earnest--that Jack grew alarmed. He had had some experience with
these premonitions of Frank's.
"What is it?" he asked anxiously.
"I wish I knew," said Frank. "I----"
Came a sudden shout forward; a cry from the bridge. Instinctively,
Frank threw out a hand and grasped Jack by the arm.
Another series of startled cries, the tinkling of a bell in the engine
room; a shock as the engines were reversed--but it was too late.
The two British warships came together with a terrible crash!
So great was the force of the shock that Frank, standing on the far
side, was thrown clear over the rail. But the lad's grasp upon his
chum's arm was so tight that it dragged Jack along with him; and the
two boys fell into the sea together.
Aboard both British ships all was confusion now. With startled cries,
men rushed on deck. Unable to see in the dense fog, they became panic
stricken. While these same men would have faced death bravely in
battle, they were completely bewildered at this moment.
In vain the officers aboard both vessels sought to bring some semblance
of order out of the confusion. Something had gone wrong with the
electric lighting apparatus on both vessels. There was no light. The
fog was as thick as ever. The crews stampeded for the rails, but at the
rails they hesitated, for they did not wish to throw themselves into
the great unknown.
Next came the stampede for life preservers. Men fought over their
possession, whereas, in cooler moments, hardly a man aboard either ship
who would not willingly have given the life preservers to companions.
Had the men thrown themselves into the sea immediately, it is likely
that many of them would have been saved; but their hesitation cost them
In vain did the reversed engines of both ships work. The sharp steel
bow of the _Indefatigable_ had become so firmly embedded in the side of
the _Queen Mary_ that it could not be unloosened.
And so the two battleships sank, together in their last moments as they
had been when they had faced almost certain destruction under the
muzzles of the great German guns such a short time before.
Now men from both ships hurled themselves into the sea in an effort to
cheat the waters of their prey. Commanders and officers, however,
realizing that there was no hope of life even in the sea, so swiftly
were the ships sinking, stood calmly on the bridges and awaited the
end. For, they realized, the suction would be so strong when the
vessels took their final plunge, that all those anywhere near in the
water would be drawn under.
Captain Raleigh sent a hail across the water in a loud voice.
"Are you there, Reynolds?"
"Right here, Raleigh," came back the response. "There is no hope here.
How about you?"
"No hope here either," was Captain Raleigh's answer.
"Goodbye, then," shouted Captain Reynolds.
"Goodbye, old man!"
They were the last words spoken by these two old friends, who had been
boys together, schoolmates and bosom companions.
Suddenly the two ships took their final plunge. Men still on board,
those of the crew who had been frightened and had not cast themselves
into the sea, straightened instinctively as they felt the vessels give
beneath them. In the presence of death--when they knew it had arrived--
they were as brave and courageous as in the midst of battle.
So there was silence aboard the _Queen Mary_ and aboard the
_Indefatigable_ as the waves parted for their coming. All on board,
officers and members of the two crews as well, stood calmly, waiting
for the dark waters to close over them.
The two ships made a last desperate effort to resist the call of the
sea. They failed. A moment later they disappeared from sight. No sound
came from the depths.
When Frank and Jack had felt themselves in the water, the latter,
realizing immediately what would happen if the ships sank before they
had put some distance in between them, struck out swiftly toward what
he felt to be the south, giving Frank a hand as he did so.
The latter recovered himself a moment later, however, and gasped.
"I'm all right, Jack. Let me swim for myself."
"All right," said Jack, "but keep close beside me. We'll have to hurry
or we shall be pulled under by the suction when the ships sink."
Keeping close together they swam with powerful strokes.
And so it was that they were out of harm's way when the two ships
disappeared from sight with a deafening roar as the waters closed over
them; they were beyond reach of the suction.
"There they go," said Frank, sadly.
"And it is only a miracle that prevented us from going with them," said
"We might as well have gone as to be in the middle of the North Sea,"
"Nonsense. While there's life there's hope."
They swam on.
Suddenly Jack's hand came in contact with something in the darkness.
"A man!" he exclaimed.
"What did you think I was? A fish?" came the reply. "I've a right to
escape as well as you."
"Who are you?" asked Frank.
At that moment, as suddenly as it had descended, the fog lifted.
Jack looked at the other man in the water and uttered an exclamation of
"Harris!" he cried.
The great naval battle of Jutland was over.
The British fleet now had given up pursuit of the fleeing Germans and
Vice-Admiral Beatty paused to take stock of his losses; and they were
Three great battle cruisers had gone to the bottom--the _Queen Mary_,
of 27,000 tons; the _Indefatigable_, of 18,750 tons, and the
_Invincible_, of 17,250 tons. Cruisers lost included the _Defense_, of
14,600 tons; the _Black Prince_; of 13,550 tons, and the _Warrior_, of
13,550 tons. The giant battle cruiser _Marlborough,_ of 27,500 tons,
had been badly damaged, as had the _Lion_ and other vessels. The
destroyers _Tipperary, Turbulent, Nestore, Alcaster, Fortune, Sparrow
Hawk, Ardent_ and _Shark_ had been sunk. Total losses ran high into the
millions and in the number of men above 7,000.
The German losses had been less, but nevertheless, taking into
consideration damage done to the effectiveness of the two fleets as a
whole, the enemy had sustained the harder blow. The British fleet still
maintained control of the North Sea, while the Germans, because of
their losses, had been deprived of a large part of the fighting
strength of their fleet. The British, in spite of their heavier losses,
would recover more quickly than could the enemy.
The dreadnaught _Westphalen_ was the largest ship lost by the Germans.
It was of 18,600 tons. The three German battleships lost, the
_Pommern_, the _Freiderich_ and the _Frauenlob_, were each of 13,350
tons. Four battle cruisers had been sent to the bottom. They were the
_Elbing_, the _Essen_, the _Lutzow_ and the _Hindenburg_, each of
14,400 tons. The German losses in torpedo destroyers had been
particularly heavy, an even dozen having been sent to the bottom.
Besides this, the enemy had lost three submarines and two Zeppelin
airships, besides a number of smaller aircraft. In men the Germans had
lost slightly less than the British.
And so both British and Germans counted the battle a victory; the
Germans because in total tonnage sunk they had the best of it; the
British, because they held the scene of battle when the fighting was
over and because the enemy had retired.
But, no matter with which side rested the victory, there was no
gainsaying the fact that the battle of Jutland was the greatest naval
struggle of all time.
After giving up pursuit of the enemy, the British withdrew. Damage to
the various vessels was repaired as well as could be done at sea and
the ships in need of a more thorough overhauling steamed for England,
where they would go into dry-dock. The bulk of the British fleet,
however, still in perfect fighting trim, again took up the task of
patrolling the North Sea, that no German vessels might make their
escape from the fortress of Heligoland, for which point the enemy
headed immediately after the battle.
In spite of the severe losses of the Germans, the return of the high
sea fleet to Heligoland was marked by a grand ovation by the civil
population. Various reports were circulated on the island, and all
through Germany for that matter. One report had it that the entire
British fleet had been sent to the bottom; and Berlin, and all Germany,
But as time passed and the German fleet still remained secure behind
its fortifications, the German people began to realize that the victory
had not been so great as they had been led to believe. They knew they
had been fooled; and they vented their anger in many ways.
Street riots occurred in Berlin and in others of the large cities. The
people demanded to be told the facts. Later they were told, in a
measure, but even then they were denied the whole truth. So conditions
in the central empires grew from bad to worse.
Jack and Frank, struggling in the water where they had been hurled by
the collision of the _Queen Mary_ and the _Indefatigable_, were glad of
the company of Harris, who had bobbed up so suddenly alongside of them
in the darkness.
Harris greeted Jack's exclamation of surprise with a grin.
"Yes; it's me," he replied, discarding his grammar absolutely; "and I'm
glad to see you fellows again. Question is, what are we going to do
"Well, you know as much about it as I do," declared Jack. "I haven't
any idea how far we are from shore, but I am afraid it is farther than
we can swim."
All three cast their eyes over the water. There was not a spar nor
other piece of wreckage in sight. But Jack made out a few moments
later, some distance to the east, what appeared to be a ship of some
sort. He called the attention of the others to it.
"Suppose we might as well head in that direction, then," declared
"Right," agreed Frank.
He struck out vigorously and the others did the same.
It was a long ways to that little speck on the water and the lads knew
that if the vessel were moving away from them they probably would be
lost. But at that distance the vessel seemed to be stationary, so they
did not give up hope.
Half an hour later Frank exclaimed: "We're making headway. Ship must be
"Well, I wish it would come this way," declared Harris. "We're still a
long way from safety."
"It's probably a German, anyhow," said Jack, "so if we are rescued it
will be only to be made prisoners."
"That's better than being made shark bait," said Harris; "and, by the
way, speaking of sharks, I have heard that there were many of them in
Frank shuddered; for he had a wholesome disgust for the man eaters.
"Hope they don't smell us," he said.
"And so do I," agreed Jack. "We couldn't hope to fight them off, for we
have no arms."
"I've got a knife," said Harris, "but I am afraid I wouldn't know what
to do with it should a shark get after me."
The three became silent, saving all their strength for swimming.
An hour later they had drawn close to the vessel.
"It's a German all right," said Jack, regretfully.
"Any port in a storm," said Harris. "That talk of shark a while back
made me feel sort of squeamish. I want to get out of this water."
They continued to swim toward the ship.
"Wonder what's the matter on board?" exclaimed Frank, suddenly.
They had approached close enough now to see men rushing hurriedly about
the deck. Hoarse commands carried across the water, though the words
were unintelligible to the three swimmers at that distance.
"Something wrong," said Jack, quietly.
"That's what I call hard luck," declared Frank. "Here we think we have
reached a place of safety and something goes wrong."
"Don't cry till you're hurt, youngster," said Harris, quietly. "The
ship is there and we're pretty close to it. Those fellows aboard,
German or English, are bound to lend us a hand."
"I'm not so sure about that," declared Frank.
"Well, I am," said Harris. "The German sailor is all right. It's the
German officer who makes all the trouble. They'll help us if they can."
The three swimmers were a short distance from the ship now.
Jack raised his voice in a shout.
"Help!" he cried in German.
There was no move aboard the German vessel to indicate that the lad's
cry had been heard.
"Told you so," said Frank.
"Don't cry too soon, youngster," said Harris. "We'll try it again, and
all yell together."
They did and this time their cries were heard.
Several men aboard the German vessel stopped their rushing about and
gazed across the sea in the direction of the swimmers. One man produced
a glass and levelled it in their direction. Then he turned to the
others and they could be seen to gesticulate excitedly.
"One wants to save us and the others don't," declared Frank.
For some moments the men continued to argue. One shook his finger in
the faces of the others and pointed in the direction of the swimmers.
"You're all right," declared Frank, speaking of the one man. "Wish I
were there to lend you a hand. But I'm afraid the others are too much
At this juncture the man who opposed the others produced a revolver and
made an angry gesture. He was ordering the others to the aid of the
three friends in the water.
"By Jove!" said Harris. "He's all right. I'd like to be able to do him
a good turn."
And the chance was to come sooner than he expected.
Apparently the men aboard the German vessel had decided to obey the
order of the man who would save the three swimmers. A boat was lowered
over the side.
Three men stood ready to leap into it. The hopes of the three friends
in the water rose high; but they were shattered a moment later in a
sudden and unexpected manner.
A dull rumbling roar came suddenly across the water. Instantly all
became confusion aboard the German vessel. Officers shouted hoarse
commands and struck out with the flat of their swords as members of the
crew rushed for the rails.
"An explosion!" cried Frank. "Swim back quickly."
The others understood the significance of that strange rumbling aboard
the German vessel as quickly as Frank, and turning rapidly, they struck
out as fast as they could.
An explosion such as that dull roar indicated could have but one result
and the lads knew it. Evidently there had been a fire on board--that
accounted for the strange activities of the men on the ship--and the
flames had reached the vessel's magazine.
A second and a louder roar came now. Men jumped into the sea by the
scores and struck out vigorously that they might not be pulled under by
the suction when the ship sank.
Then there came an explosion even louder than the rest. The great ship
parted in the middle as though cut by a knife. A huge tongue of flame
shot high in the air. Hoarse cries from aboard, screams and frightful
yells. Split in twain, the vessel settled fore and aft.
A second huge tongue of flame leaped into the sky; and then the vessel
disappeared beneath the sea.
Giant waves leaped in the direction taken by Jack, Frank and Harris.
The sea churned angrily about them and the three had all they could do
to keep their heads above water. Then the water calmed down. Frank
looked around and there, not fifty feet away, rolling gently on the
waves, was the small boat so recently lowered over the side of the
With a cry to the others to follow him, Frank turned about and headed
for the boat with powerful strokes.
FRIENDS AND FOES
There was reason for Frank's haste.
Swimming close together and bearing down upon the boat from the
opposite direction--almost as close from their side as Frank was from
his--four German sailors were racing.
They espied Frank and his friends at almost the same moment Frank saw
them. One uttered a cry and the others redoubled their efforts to beat
Frank to the boat.
Jack and Harris took in the situation quickly. It was then that Jack
exerted himself to the utmost. His great, powerful strokes sent him
skimming through the water as lightly as a denizen of the deep. A dozen
strokes and he had passed Frank. A few more only, it seemed, and he
laid hold of the boat and drew himself aboard. Standing erect he looked
around quickly. Then, stepping forward, he picked up an oar. He moved
to the side of the boat where the Germans were approaching and raised
the oar aloft.
"Keep off there!" he cried.
The Germans uttered exclamations of alarm; but they came closer.
"Keep back!" cried Jack, again.
"But you won't let us drown!" exclaimed one of the enemy.
"You stay there until my friends get aboard. Then I'll see what I can
do for you," replied Jack.
With this the Germans were forced to be content; for they realized that
Jack held the upper hand. It would be impossible for them to climb
aboard while the lad stood there brandishing that oar.
Frank laid hold of the boat a moment later and clambered over the side.
Harris was close beside him. Jack called a consultation.
"There is plenty of room for those fellows in here," he said, "but--
shall we let them in?"
"We can't see them drown," said Frank. "Still, there is no telling how
long we shall be here. Is there sufficient water and food to go
"I'll have a look," said Harris. "Enough for seven of us for about one
drink apiece," he said, after an exploration. "There is no food."
"Well, what shall we do?" said Jack.
"Let them come aboard," said Frank. "We can't see them perish without
raising a hand to help them."
"And yet they would not have helped us a short time ago," said Jack.
"One man would have helped us," said Harris. "Perhaps he is one of
"No, he's not," said Jack. "I would know him in a moment if I saw him.
I obtained a good look at his face."
"Let them in anyhow," said Harris.
"All right," said Jack. He called to the men in the water. "You fellows
climb aboard here, one at a time; and when you get in, remember you are
our prisoners. Any foolishness and we'll pitch you back again."
The Germans offered no protest and climbed into the boat one at a time.
"Sit in the back, there," said Jack.
The men obeyed.
"Now," said Jack, "I'll tell you where we stand. Water is scarce and
there is no food. We shall have to make for shore immediately. I'm in
command of this boat and you will have to obey me. Get out the oars and
row as I tell you."
The Germans grumbled a bit but they obeyed.
"No time to waste," said Jack, briefly. "We'll head south."
He gave the necessary directions and the boat moved off.
"Help!" came a sudden cry from the water.
Jack looked in the direction of this sound. A single head came toward
them, swimming weakly.
"Ship your oars, men," said Jack.
There came a grumble from one of the Germans.
"There is no more room," he declared.
"No," agreed a second. "There is not enough water now. Why should we
let another man in the boat?"
"Stop that!" said Jack, sharply. "Cease rowing!"
The men made no move to obey. Jack stood up in the boat and stepped
"Did you hear me?" he said quietly, though it was plain to Frank that
he was very angry. "Cease rowing!"
"But----" began the nearest German.
Jack wasted no further time in words. His left arm shot out and he
grasped the nearest German by the coat. Raising him quickly to his
feet, he struck him heavily with his right fist and then released his
hold. The man dropped to the bottom of the boat and lay still.
"Any more?" asked Jack. "Cease rowing!"
The remaining three Germans shipped their oars without a word, although
each bestowed an evil glance upon the lad. Frank, catching the look in
their eyes, muttered to himself:
"They'll bear watching."
"Harris," said Jack. "That man in the water is the one who would have
saved us a short time ago. He seems to be weak. Slip over the side and
lend him a hand, will you?"
Harris did so without question and a moment or two later the German
tumbled into the boat, where he lay panting, blood streaming from an
open wound in his forehead. Harris climbed back in the boat.
"Bandage him up as well as you can and give him a few drops of that
water," said Jack.
For his part, Jack stooped over the German soldier he had so recently
knocked unconscious and raised him to a sitting posture. Reaching over
the side of the boat the lad wet his handkerchief and applied it to the
German's head. Soon the man recovered consciousness.
"A drop of water here, too," said Jack, quietly.
"Say," said Harris. "This water is precious scarce. We'll need it
"But this man must have a little," said Jack. "Pass it along."
Harris did not protest further and Jack allowed the German soldier to
moisten his tongue.
"Now get back to your oars," the lad commanded.
The German did as commanded and soon the little boat was leaping
lightly over the waves.
"Take the helm, Frank," said Jack.
Frank relieved Harris, who had been performing this duty.
"Got your pocket compass, Frank?" asked Jack.
"Keep your course due south, then."
"All right, sir," said Frank, with a smile.
"Harris," said Jack, "I want you to stand guard over these sailors for
a few minutes. I want to have a talk with our latest arrival. I'll be
with you in a few minutes."
Harris stepped forward.
"Ought to have a gun, I suppose," he said.
"I guess not," said Jack. "You and I together should be able to hold
these fellows in check."
"Sure; unless they hit us over the head with an oar when we're not
"But one of us must always be looking," said Jack, quietly.
"Well, that's not a bad idea. I'll keep my eyes open."
Jack moved to the side of the German who had been the last to get into
the boat. His wound had been bound up as well as possible under the
circumstances and he sat quietly, looking out over the water.
"What vessel was that?" asked Jack.
"_Hanover_" was the reply.
"What was the trouble?"
"Shot pierced our boiler room in the battle. Returning, we were lost
from the main fleet in the fog. Our wireless wouldn't work. Fire broke
out and we were unable to check the flames. When they reached the
magazine she exploded."
"I see," said Jack. "It's fortunate you weren't drawn under with the
"I was," said the German, briefly.
"What?" exclaimed Jack.
"Yes. I was drawn under. I thought I was done for. But, under the
surface of the sea there was a second explosion. I felt myself flying
up through the water and then I shot into the air. When I came down I
was not far from your boat. I called for help."
"By Jove! you have had an experience few can boast of," said Jack. "I
wouldn't care to go through it."
"Nor I--again," said the German.
"Now," said Jack, "perhaps you can tell me the nearest way to shore."
The German considered.
"I am not a navigator," he said, "I was only a minor officer aboard the
_Hanover_. But I heard the captain say we were almost 100 miles from
the nearest coast line. I am afraid you will not be able to make it in
this boat, if your water is as scarce as you say."
"By Jove!" said Jack, "we've got to make it. We don't want to drown out
"It's not always what we like," said the German officer, sententiously.
"That's true enough," agreed Jack, "but I have a feeling I was not born
to be drowned. We'll find a way out."
"I hope so. However, should you go ashore directly south of here you
would be within German lines and you would be made a prisoner."
"Can't help that," said Jack. "I'd much rather be a live prisoner than
a dead sailor."
The German smiled in spite of his wound, which, it was plain to all,
was giving him great pain.
"Of course," he said, "there is always the possibility of a passing
"That's what we thought before," said Jack. "When we saw your vessel we
thought we were safe. But you see how it turned out."
"Well, you'll just have to select a course and stick to it," said the
German. "By the way, these men of mine. You are likely to have trouble
with them. In our present situation I do not consider that we are
enemies, so if the worst comes you may count on me to help you."
"Thanks," said Jack. "I shall remember that."
And the trouble was to come sooner than could have been expected.
One of the German soldiers suddenly laid down his oars.
"I want a drink!" he exclaimed. "I'll row no more until I have a
A FIGHT FOR A BOAT
As by a prearranged signal, all four of the Germans threw down their
oars and jumped to their feet. Harris, at that moment, in spite of
Jack's warning, had been gazing across the sea absolutely unconscious
of his surroundings. He was lost in thought.
Frank, at the helm, uttered a cry of warning even as the closest German
leaped for Harris and the latter wheeled quickly. He dodged just as the
man struck out with a knife he had drawn.
"Want to cut me up, do you?" muttered Harris.
In spite of the wabbling of the boat he fell into an attitude of
defense--the old fighting form that had won for him the championship of
the British navy in the squared circle. He didn't advance, for he
wasn't certain of his footing, the boat pitched so, but he felt fully
able to take care of himself.
It was characteristic of him that he made no cry for help. He knew that
Jack must have heard Frank's cry of warning. He knew that he would get
all the assistance it was in Jack's power to give; and he felt that if
Jack were unable for any reason to aid him he must, nevertheless, give
a good account of himself.
When Harris evaded the first blow, the German, caught off his balance,
pitched forward against him. Harris was almost toppled over, but he
threw his left arm around the man's neck and aimed a vicious blow at
him with his right fist.
The German's knife arm, because of Harris' hold, dangled helpless at
his side. In vain he sought to get it in position where he could drive
the point into Harris' body. Harris realized the man's intention. With
a sudden move, he pushed the German from him and struck out as he did
so. The man staggered back, reeled unsteadily and toppled over the side
of the boat with a cry.
The three other Germans rushed Harris at that moment. This time the
British sailor was not caught off his guard, and he held the men at
arm's length for several seconds.
Meanwhile, Jack had leaped forward, crying to Frank as he did so:
"Keep the helm, Frank! We don't want the boat overturned."
Frank obeyed, much as he would have liked to join in the fight.
Jack reached Harris' side and together the two faced the three Germans.
"We've got them, now," said Harris, quietly.
"Men," said Jack, quietly, "unless you return to your oars immediately,
we shall be forced to throw you overboard."
There was a snarl from the three men. Suddenly one dropped to his knees
and seized Harris by the legs. Caught off his guard, the latter fell to
the bottom of the boat and the others leaped on him.
A knife flashed in the hand of one. With a cry, Jack stooped down
quickly and seized the man's wrist even as the point of the weapon
would have been buried in Harris' back. The lad twisted sharply and the
knife went flying into the sea.
"You would, would you!" cried Jack.
He jerked the man to his feet, planted two hard blows on his chin, and
as the man reeled forward clipped him once more. One, two, three
backward steps the man took and then pitched over the side of the boat.
"Two gone!" exclaimed Jack.
But he was wrong. For the first man who had been knocked into the sea
had been revived by the shock of the cold water. Swimming around the
boat unobserved, he had come up behind Frank and now reached up and
grabbed Frank by the coat. With a cry of alarm, the lad toppled into
Jack heard his friend's cry. Quickly he took in the situation. Harris
had regained his feet and seemed capable of disposing of the two
remaining Germans. With a cry to Harris, Jack leaped over the side.
Some distance away he saw Frank struggling with the German who had
pulled him from the boat and he swam quickly in that direction.
"I'm coming, Frank!" he called. "Hang on to him."
Frank was doing his best, but he had been taken by surprise and the
advantage was with his opponent. The German's hand closed about the
lad's throat and he was slowly choking him. Even as Jack came abreast
of the struggling figures, Frank threw up his hands and the two
disappeared from sight.
Jack, greatly alarmed, dived after them.
Below the surface of the water his hands encountered the struggling
figures. He seized the first his hand came in contact with and struck
upward. Upon the surface again, he found that he had seized hold of
Keeping his fingers clenched tightly in Frank's coat--that the lad
might not be drawn under again Jack aimed carefully at the face of the
German, which now was close to him, and struck out with all his
Instantly, the hand on Frank's throat relaxed and the German sank from
By the force of the impact as the blow landed Jack knew that the German
would trouble them no more. Supporting Frank with his left arm, he
struck out for the boat with his right.
The German officer leaned over the side and lent a hand in dragging
Frank's limp body over the side. Jack clambered over after him. Then he
took a view of the part of the boat where Harris battled with two of
Both of the latter wielded knives and it was plain to Jack that Harris
hesitated to come to close quarters with them, as he had no assistance
at hand; for he realized that, should he be overcome, the men would
have little trouble of disposing of Frank and Jack, as they tried to
climb back in the boat. But now that Jack was able to come to his
assistance again, Harris made ready for a spring.
Jack saw this move and called:
"Wait a minute, Harris!"
Harris stayed his spring and Jack again advanced to his side. Jack's
face was white and his clothing was dripping water. He was very angry
and his fingers clenched and unclenched.
"You men," he said in a cold voice, "were given a chance for your lives
the same as the rest of us. Now you will either throw down those knives
One made as if to obey, but the other stopped him.
"Wait!" he cried. "He wants us to throw down our knives so they can
To the other this seemed good reasoning. Both Germans, still wielding
their weapons, drew backward slowly. Jack and Harris advanced as slowly
"Drop them!" cried Jack, again.
Suddenly one of the Germans sprang forward and aimed a vicious blow at
Jack with his knife. The move had been so unexpected, retreating as the
men had been, that Jack was almost caught off his guard. He sidestepped
quickly, however, and avoided the knife.
But in leaping aside he had jostled Harris, who, dodging a blow aimed
by the second German, now was thrown off his balance. In vain he tried
to catch himself. It was no use. He went over the side of the boat,
uninjured, but for the moment unable to lend Jack a hand.
With two foes before him, Jack realized there was not a moment to be
lost. He determined to take the offensive himself, in spite of the odds
With a subdued cry of anger, he charged the two Germans, in spite of
the violent rocking of the boat. He caught a stabbing wrist with his
right hand and twisted sharply even as he drove his left fist into the
man's face. There was a cry of pain and the knife clattered to the
bottom of the boat. Again and again the lad struck, paying no attention
to the second man. Then, with an extra vicious blow, he knocked the
German clear of the boat into the sea.
At the same instant, Harris, who was just climbing back into the boat,
uttered a cry of warning and Jack turned just in time to dodge a knife
thrust aimed at him by the second German.
With only a single enemy before him, a smile broke over Jack's face. He
called to Harris.
"Stay back, Harris. I'm going to settle with this man myself."
The German shrank back, and for a moment it seemed that he would throw
down his knife and cry for mercy. But if he had such a thought in his
mind, he discarded it; he sprang at Jack, fiercely.
Again Jack avoided the thrust of the knife and caught the stabbing
wrist in his right hand. Then, bringing all his tremendous strength to
bear, he stooped slightly and jerked with his hand.
The German was pulled clear of the bottom of the boat and ascended into
the air. Then he shot suddenly forward and cleared the boat by a good
There was to be one last encounter before the possession of the boat
finally came into the hands of the friends undisputed. One of the
Germans, revived by the water, had come up aft and laid hold of the
boat near where the German officer sat. The latter saw him and shifted
his position just in time to avoid being dragged overboard.
He grew suddenly very angry.
"You murderous dog!" he cried.
Rising to his feet he stooped quickly and seized an oar. Before the man
in the water could realize his purpose, he had brought the oar down
with all his force on the hand that grasped the boat.
With a howl of pain the German released his hold, his fingers shattered
by the force of the blow. Without a word the German officer dropped the
oar and resumed his seat.
Jack and Harris now approached Frank's side and the former bent over
him. Frank was just regaining consciousness. He smiled as Jack asked
him how he felt, and asked:
"Did you lick them all?"
"You bet," returned Jack, then turned to Harris. "I suppose we should
pick up some of those fellows, if we can. We can't see them drown
before our eyes."
"You're too soft hearted for me," declared Harris. "However, whatever
They gazed into the water. There was no German in sight.
"Be ready to jump in the moment a head appears," said Jack.
Harris nodded and the two stood ready to give aid to the first enemy
that should appear.
Ten minutes they waited--fifteen. No head appeared above the surface of
"I guess it's no use," said Jack, slowly, at last. "They're gone!"
PICKED UP BY THE ENEMY
It was dark.
All through the afternoon Jack and Harris had rowed untiringly, but
with the coming of nightfall there was no land in sight.
"Nothing to do but keep pulling in the same direction," said Jack.
"All right," he said, "but I'm getting tired. I'll have to rest up for
an hour or so."
"Let me row awhile," said Frank. "One of you fellows can take the
"Feel all right?" asked Jack.
"All right, then," said Jack. "You and Harris change places."
This was done. Then the German officer spoke.
"It's about time for me to take a hand," he said.
"But your wound?" protested Jack.
"Well, it still pains some, to be sure. But the sooner we get to shore
the sooner I will be able to have it looked after. It's better to row
awhile than to remain idle."
"Suit yourself," said Jack. "I am a bit tired. We'll change places."
They did so and the little boat moved on in the darkness.
"Don't know where we are," said Jack to Harris, "but it seems to me we
should raise land with the coming of daylight."
"Well, I hope we do," was Harris' reply. "I'm getting awfully thirsty,
but I hate to cut into that water supply."
"There is a little more for us since we lost our other passengers,"
said Jack. "I'm thirsty myself. We may as well sample that water."
He produced a jug and each took a cooling draught.
"Tastes pretty good," said Harris, smacking his lips.
"You bet," agreed Jack.
He made his way forward and gave Frank and the German officer a drink.
"Enough for a couple of more rounds," he said, shaking the jug and
listening to the splash of the water inside.
"Oh, I guess we've enough," said Harris. "However, it is well to use
As it turned out they had an ample sufficiency; in fact, more than they
With the coming of daylight, Frank, who had resumed his place at the
helm a short time before, uttered an exclamation.
"Ship!" he cried.
He pointed off to port.
The others glanced in the direction indicated and then raised a cheer.
There, scarcely more than a mile away and bearing down on them rapidly,
came a German man-o'-war. Already they had been seen, for the vessel
altered its course slightly.
Jack gave a sigh.
"Sorry it's not a British ship," he said.
The German officer was forced to smile.
"And I'm glad it's not," he declared; "for if it were it would be
capture for me instead of you."
"But there are three of us and there is only one of you," protested
"Well, it's the fortune of war," said the German.
"The misfortune of war in this case," said Harris.
The German warship was now within hailing distance and a voice called:
"Who are you?"
The German officer acted as spokesman and shouted back:
"German officer and three British."
"We'll lower a boat," was the response.
A few moments later a boat put off from the ship, manned by a dozen
German sailors. Fifteen minutes later the lads found themselves aboard
the German warship, where they were immediately conducted to the cabin
of the commander.
The latter turned to the German officer for an account of what had
"So these British sailors saved you?" he said. He turned to the three.
"I must thank you in the name of the Emperor," he said, quietly. "Now,
if you will give me your paroles, I shall allow you the freedom of this
The three friends glanced at one another and the German commander
"I can assure you there is no possibility of escape," he said.
"In that event," said Jack, "we shall give our paroles until we reach
"That is sufficient. After that you will be in other and safe hands."
The German commander summoned a minor officer, to whom he introduced
the three friends.
"You will see that they are provided with suitable quarters," he said.
The officer saluted and motioned for Jack, Frank and Harris to follow
him. A few moments later the three found themselves installed in
comfortable quarters, where clean linen and dry outer clothing Was laid
out for them.
"You've got to give them credit," said Frank. "They do things up in
style. It seems we are to be well treated."
"No reason why we shouldn't be," declared Jack.
"Wonder where we are bound, anyhow?" said Harris.
"Don't know," said Frank. "I'll try and find out as soon as we can go
on deck--providing they allow us on deck."
"The commander said we would have the freedom of the ship," returned
"So he did. Hurry and dress then."
Half an hour later, refreshed by a bath and food, the three made their
way on deck, where they found the young German officer who had escorted
them to their cabin. They approached him and the latter received them
"Wonder if you would tell us where we are bound?" asked Frank, with a
"Certainly," was the reply. "Our destination is Bremen."
"Bremen, eh?" said Jack. "What will they do with us there?"
"Probably turn you over to the military authorities to take care of you
until the end of the war."
"Looks like our fighting days are over," said Harris, sadly.
The young German smiled.
"Seems to me you should be rather glad of that," he returned. "After
your defeat off Jutland you should be willing to cry for peace."
"Defeat!" exclaimed Frank. "Why, the Germans got the worst of it. You
"Oh, no we didn't," said the young officer. "The greater part of the
British fleet was sent to the bottom. Our losses were insignificant."
"Were you there?" asked Frank.
"Why, no," said the German, "but----"
"Well, we were there," said Frank. "Therefore, we know something about
it. I give you my word that I saw one German dreadnaught, two battle
cruisers and four cruisers sunk with my own eyes. Also I saw half a
dozen destroyers sent to the bottom and two Zeppelins shot down."
"Impossible!" exclaimed the young German officer. "The official report
of the battle gives our losses as two destroyers and a single cruiser,
while the greater part of the British fleet was sunk."
"Where is the German fleet now?" asked Frank.
"Back in Heligoland. Some of the vessels are in need of slight
"Why didn't they keep going after that great victory?" Frank wanted to
"Why, I can't say. Probably had orders not to proceed too far
"I can tell you why," said Frank.
"I wish you would," said the young officer.
"The reason," replied Frank, "is perfectly simple. It's because the
main British fleet is out there waiting for you fellows. After we
chased your fleet back----"
"But you didn't chase us back. We retired when the battle was won."
"Oh, you retired when the battle was won, eh?"
"Yes; that's what the official report says."
"But it doesn't say who won the battle, does it?" asked Frank, with a
grin, in which his friends were forced to join.
The young officer gazed from one to another, and Frank continued:
"Now, I'll tell you something you don't seem to know. We were pursuing
the German fleet when two of our vessels crashed in the fog. That's how
we happen to be here now."
"But I tell you that is not possible," protested the German.
"It may not have been considered possible," returned Frank, "but it's a
fact, all the same."
"You mean, then, that the official report is not true."
"Well, that's my personal opinion of it," Frank admitted.
"Sir!" exclaimed the young German, drawing himself up suddenly. "You
have insulted the German navy--and me with it. Were it not that you are
our guests aboard this warship, I would demand satisfaction."
"Look here," exclaimed Frank. "I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I
was just telling you the facts in the case. I----"
The young German faced him angrily.
"Your half apology only adds to the insult," he said. "I shall leave
With this he drew himself up stiffly, turned on his heel and stalked
away. Frank gazed after him amusedly.
"Now what do you think of that?" he exclaimed.
"You should have known you couldn't convince him," said Jack.
The three friends walked along the deck gazing out over the water. Half
an hour later, as they were about to go below, Frank caught sight of a
figure in the uniform of a German lieutenant, who was eyeing them
There was something familiar about that figure and unconsciously the
lad gave a start. He called Jack's attention to the man, and the
latter, seeing that he was the subject of discussion, quickly withdrew.
"I've seen him some place," said Frank.
"And so have I," Jack declared. "There is some thing strangely familiar
about him. Say! It's unpleasant when you know a man and can't place
"Let's hope he is not some old enemy come back to life," said Frank,
quietly, as they returned to their cabin.
AN UNKNOWN FRIEND
Bremen. The greatest of all German shipping centers, and, before the
outbreak of the European war, one of the greatest seaports in the whole
Even on the third day of June, 1916, when the German warship on which
Jack, Frank and Harris were prisoners steamed into Bremen the port was
alive with activity. Great German merchant ships, useless since the war
began, appeared deserted, but other and smaller craft dashed hurriedly
hither and yon.
"Why all the excitement?" was Frank's comment, as the three stood well
forward while the warship steamed through the harbor.
"Several reasons, I guess," said Jack. "One is that half of these small
vessels ply between Bremen and Scandinavian ports in spite of the
British blockade; and the other reason probably is the fact that the
city is celebrating the great naval victory."
"Sure; the battle of Jutland. The German people have been told that the
German fleet won; and now the people are celebrating. See all those
flags? Why else would they be displayed so profusely?"
"Because Germany is at war," said Frank.
"Oh, no they wouldn't. You remember we were in Hanover once while the
war was in progress. You didn't see all those flags about like that."
"I guess you're right."
At that moment a German officer approached the three friends.
"I've something of interest to show you," he said; "something that will
be of interest to all the world presently."
"We shall be glad to see it, whatever it may be," replied Jack,
"Look over the side there," said the German, pointing. "Do you see that
long, low shape in the water?"
"Why, yes," said Frank. "Looks like a submarine."
"That's what it is. Can you make out the name?"
The three friends peered at the object closely.
"D-e-u-t-s-c-h-l-a-n-d," Frank spelled it out.
"Yes, the _Deutschland_" replied the German officer; "and, within a
month, the whole world will be talking about her."
"What's she going to do?" asked Frank. "Sink the whole British fleet?"
The German officer smiled.
"No," he replied quietly. "The _Deutschland_ will be the first of a
fleet of merchant submarines to ply between Bremen and the United
"What?" exclaimed Jack, in the utmost surprise. "You mean that
submarine will try and run the English channel and make for the United
"But it's impossible," said Frank.
"Not at all," returned the German. "You may remember that German
submarines made their way to the Dardanelles safely. The only
difference will be that the _Deutschland_ will go unarmed. She will
carry a cargo of dyestuffs and other commodities of which the United
States is in need."
"Well, she may try it, but I don't believe she'll get there," said
"Nor I," declared Jack.
But Frank wasn't so sure. An American, he had not the strong prejudice
of his two companions.
"It will be a great feat if she can accomplish it," the lad said.
"It will, indeed," said the German, "and she will accomplish it."
"One thing, though," said Frank, "she won't be able to carry a very
valuable cargo. She's too small."
"She'll carry a cargo worth more than $2,000,000," said the German
officer, "and in payment she will bring back gold and securities, and
you may know that Germany is in need of cash."
"By Jove!" exclaimed Frank. "We'll have to admit that you Germans are
progressive. We may not like to admit it, but it's a fact all the
"I thank you," said the German with a low bow.
"Well, we're obliged to you for showing us the _Deutschland_, at all
events," said Jack, "and I want to say that if by any chance she does
reach the United States you may be well proud of her."
"I second that," declared Harris.
Again the German bowed low.
"Now," said Frank, "as we have passed beyond sight of the
_Deutschland_, perhaps you can tell me what is to be done with us?"
"As it happens, I can," was the reply. "I heard the captain inform
Lieutenant von Ludwig that you will be put in his charge. He has
instructions to see you safe in the hands of the military authorities
in Berlin, where most of the captured British and French officers are
"Pretty tough, Jack," said Frank.
The German officer overheard this remark, although he perhaps did not
catch the exact meaning.
"You will be well treated," he said.
"I've no doubt of that," declared Jack.
The German officer left them.
Jack turned to Frank.
"Say!" he exclaimed, "are you thinking of turning German directly?"
"What's that?" demanded Frank, in surprise.
"I just wondered when you were going to take up the arms for the
Kaiser. The way you have been praising all things German recently, I
don't know what to make of you. The _Deutschland_, for instance."
"I just don't happen to be a hard-headed John Bull," he replied.
"Hard headed, am I?" exclaimed Jack. "I've a notion to shake some of
that German sympathy out of you."
"You know I haven't any German sympathies," said Frank. "But I believe
in giving credit where credit is due."
"Well, there is no credit due there. You know that is just some cock
and bull story. The Germans will never dare such a thing."
"I'm not so sure," said Frank, quietly.
"Well, it will never get across the sea if the attempt is made."
"Maybe not, maybe yes," said Frank, with a grin.
What Jack might have replied Frank never learned, for at that moment
another German officer accosted them. He was the man who was so
strangely familiar to Jack and Frank.
"You will be ready to accompany me the moment we dock, sirs," he said.
"All right," Frank agreed. "We'll be ready."
They descended to their cabin where they donned the clothing they had
worn when picked up from the sea. Then they returned on deck.
The great warship now was nearing the dock, backing in. Slowly she drew
close to the pier and then finally her engines ceased. A gangplank was
lowered and men began to disembark.
The officer who was to conduct the three prisoners to Berlin tapped
Jack on the shoulder.
"Whenever you are ready," he said quietly.
"We're ready now," returned Jack.
"Then precede me ashore," was the reply. "By the way, I might as well
advise you that there is no use of attempting to escape. I have my gun
handy and will drop either of you at the first false step."
"Don't worry, we have no intention of trying to escape--not right here
in broad daylight," said Frank.
"Very good. Let us move."
Slowly they made their way down the gang plank and ashore. There a line
of automobiles waited. The officer motioned his prisoners into the
largest of these and gave instructions to the driver. He took a seat
As the automobile started down the street, Jack glanced at his captor
"Surely I have seen you some place before, sir?" the lad said.
The officer shrugged his shoulders.
"Who knows?" he said and became silent.
"Deuced uncommunicative sort of a fellow," said Jack to himself. "But I
know I've come in contact with him some place. It may come to me
The automobile drew up in front of a large stone house and the officer
motioned his prisoners out. He spoke to his chauffeur.
"Keep your gun handy and follow me," he instructed.
The driver nodded and stepped alongside the officer, who motioned the
three friends up the steps ahead of him. Inside he motioned them into a
parlor and then dismissed his chauffeur.
"Now," he said, "I want your promises not to try to escape."
"Sorry, sir, but we can't do that," replied Frank, quietly.
"Come! Don't be fools!" exclaimed their captor, sharply.
He walked to the door and peered out. Then, walking close to Frank and
Jack, he said quietly:
"If you will give me your promises to make no attempt to escape before
tomorrow night, I shall not have you guarded."
Both lads started back in surprise, for the man had spoken in English
and without the trace of an accent.
"Great Scott!" exclaimed Frank. "You must be an Englishman."
The man laid a finger to his lips.
"Sh-h-h!" he warned. "Walls have ears, you know. So you don't know me?"
The lads gazed at him closely.
"I know I have seen you some place," declared Jack.
"So have I," said Frank.
"And to think that they don't know me," said the man, half to himself.
Then he addressed them again.
"I guess it is as well that you have not recognized me, but did I not
know you so well I would not say what I am about to say. That is this.
I am an Englishman and I am here on an important business. Tomorrow
night I shall return to England. Give me your words to remain quiet
here until then, in the meantime not trying to learn my identity, and
you shall all go with me. Is it a bargain?"
Frank looked at the man sharply. Was he fooling them? Well, the lad
decided, they had everything to gain and nothing to lose.
"Very well," the lad said. "You have my promise not to attempt to
escape before tomorrow night."
"And mine," said Jack.
"And mine," declared Harris.
"Very well. Then I shall leave you for the moment."
The man stalked from the room and closed the door behind him.
THE BOYS BECOME UNEASY
For some moments after the officer had taken his departure, there was
silence in the room. Then Harris exclaimed:
"Now what do you think of that?"
"Well, I don't hardly know what to think of it," Jack replied. "Frank
took most of the talking on himself. When he gave his parole there was
nothing left for me but to do likewise."
"That's what I thought. Otherwise I wouldn't have given mine," said
"It may not be too late to call him back and tell him so," said Frank.
"I did the talking because neither of you seemed to want to do it. You
didn't have to give your parole unless you wanted to. I didn't ask you
to do it."
"Come now, don't get mad, Frank," said Jack.
"I'm not mad. I'm just telling you what I think. Certainly it can do us
no harm. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose."
"That's so, too, when you stop to think of it," Harris agreed.
"Well, I stopped to think of it," said Frank. "You fellows didn't.
That's the difference."
"But who on earth can he be?" exclaimed Harris. "He seems to know you
two, all right."
"There is something strangely familiar about him," said Frank, "but I
can't place him."
"Nor I," admitted Jack, "though, as you say, there is something
familiar about him."
"Seems to me that if I knew a man I could tell you who he was," said
"Seems so to me, too," declared Frank, "but I can't."
"Well," said Jack, "I'm not as credulous as you are, Frank. I wager he
is not doing this to help us out. I'll bet we land in Berlin and stay
there until the end of the war."
"By Jove! Let's hope not," said Harris. "Still, all things considered,
I'm of your way of thinking."
"If he was telling the truth," said Jack, "he would have let us know
who he is. There was no reason for telling us he was English and then
concealing his identity."
"I can't see any reason," Frank admitted, "but at the same time I
believe he was telling the truth."
The conversation languished. Frank curled himself up on a sofa at the
far side of the room and sought a little rest. Jack dozed in his chair.
Harris also could hardly keep his eyes open.
They were still in this condition when the door opened several hours
later and their captor again entered the room. He walked quickly across
the room and shook Jack.
"Hello!" said the latter, sleepily, "back, eh?"
Frank awoke at the sound of Jack's voice and Harris also opened his
"I had a little work that had to be disposed of immediately," said
their captor, "which is the reason I left you so abruptly. I can show
you a place to sleep now."
He led the way from the room and upstairs. There he ushered the three
into a large, well appointed room, which contained two beds.
"Only two beds," he said, "but it's the best I can do. Two of you can
"Anything, just so it's soft," said Frank. "I'm tired out."
"Then you had all better turn in at once," said their captor. "I have
much work to do. It is probable that I shall not be back again until
some time tomorrow night. Make yourselves at home. You are alone in the
house. You will find cold meats, bread and some other things in the
pantry down stairs. Remain here until I come."
"Very well, sir," said Frank. "And you say we shall leave here tomorrow
"Yes; unless something develops to interfere with my plans."
"All right, sir. We shall remain here until you come tomorrow night.
But that is as long as our paroles hold good, sir. After that, we shall
escape if it is humanly possible."
"I will be back before midnight tomorrow," was their captor's reply.
"Until that time, goodbye. One thing, stay in the house and keep the
blinds drawn. I do not wish to attract attention to this house."
"Very well, sir," said Frank.
The man took a last careful glance around the room and then
"Well, he's gone again," said Jack. "He may be telling the truth and he
may not, but one thing sure, these beds look pretty comfortable. I'm
going to make use of one right now."
He undressed quickly and slipped between the sheets. Frank and Harris
followed his example.
All were up bright and early the next day, greatly refreshed. They
found food in the pantry, as their captor had told them they would. It
was a tedious day, confined as they were, and the time passed slowly.
But dusk descended at last.
"He should be here at any time now," said Frank.
The others said nothing, but when nine o'clock had come and gone even
Frank became uneasy.
"Don't see what is detaining him," he said.
"Nor I--if he really meant to come back," said Jack.
Eleven o'clock and still their captor had not returned.
"He said he would be back by midnight," said Frank.
"He said lots of things," said Jack, "but they didn't make the same
impression on me they seem to have made on you. I don't believe he is
"I'll tell you what I think," said Harris. "I believe he expected us to
make a break for liberty before now. The house probably is surrounded
and if we start out the door we shall most likely be shot down."
"By Jove! I wouldn't be surprised if you had hit the nail on the head,"
"Nonsense," said Frank. "What would be the advantage of a plan like
"Well, I don't know; but there is something queer about this business,"
Eleven thirty passed and still no sign of their captor.