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The Brighton Boys with the Submarine Fleet by James R. Driscoll

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"I'm feeling fine again, chum," was his rejoinder in response to Ted's
query. "Come along. I'm going to look in on 'Little Mack.'" And
grabbing Ted's arm he walked off with him to the lieutenant's quarters.

They found McClure now conscious, but very faint from his ordeal. It was
certain that he could not assume command of the _Dewey_ for some time.

The boys clambered on deck to unlimber a bit. Executive Officer
Cleary was in charge. In the commotion attendant upon the collision
with the mine and the rescue of the submarine commander the disabled
German cruiser had been forgotten. There was now no trace of the doomed
ship nor of the English "limey" that had been standing by.

"What do you suppose we will do now?" asked Ted.

"Reckon we'll have to drift around awhile and wait for somebody to
come along and give us a lift," said Jack hopefully.

Night came on, but there was no response to the wireless call of the
_Dewey_. Once a "limey" was spoken, but signaled in return that she
was speeding to the assistance of a Scandinavian liner that had
reported being under the shell fire of a German U-boat.

Jack was ordered to turn in right after evening "chow" despite his
insistence that he was perfectly recovered from his dip in the sea.
Ted was to report to the conning tower at four bells for duty on watch.

All night long the _Dewey_ tossed in a rough sea. At the appointed
hour Ted took up his station as lookout in the conning tower. He had
instructions to maintain a sharp watch for enemy ships and to keep
Acting Commander Cleary informed on all wireless registrations. The
hours passed slowly.

Presently a storm rolled up out of the North Sea. Forked lightning
and the distant rumble of thunder heralded its advance. The breeze
increased to a gale before long and the sea became rough and angry.

Awakened by the tossing of the little craft and the ominous thunder,
Jack appeared in the conning tower. Saluting the ship's executive
officer, he declared he was feeling quite recovered from his strenuous
dip in the sea of the previous day and quite ready for any service.
Jack, accordingly, was posted at the reserve periscope. Ted was at
the observation ports in the tower and Officer Cleary at the other
periscope.

As the storm increased in fury the _Dewey_ was buffeted about like an
egg shell.

Ted was nursing a severe bump on the head, having been dashed by the
rocking of the boat against one of the steel girders. Hanging on to
supports, the crew of the _Dewey_ were having a hard time saving life
and limb as they were tossed to and fro by the fury of the storm.

When at last dawn broke over the troubled waters the gale began to
subside. Even then it was impossible to lift the hatches and go on
deck because of the rough sea. Waves mountain high were rolling over
the submarine, and to open the conning tower was to invite certain
disaster. There was nothing to do but wait.

Toward six o'clock Ted made out a long rakish-looking craft that had
come up out of the southwest. When it was reported to Officer Cleary
and he had looked critically at the vessel for some time he declared
finally that it was a destroyer, but yet too far off to hazard any
guess as to its nationality.

He decided to submerge slightly and watch the craft for a while and,
if it proved to be a German warship, to submerge entirely and take
chances on the leaky fuel reservoirs. The _Dewey_ sank at his
direction until the conning tower was under water.

"It looks like a French vessel," declared the acting commander to Jack
a few minutes later as the warship came nearer.

He studied the approaching ship for a few minutes. "We will raise
the lid of the conning tower and unfurl the Stars and Stripes from
the periscope pole," he said finally.

"If it is a French destroyer we will soon find out; if it proves to
be a German vessel let's hope we will have time to submerge and give
him a torpedo. Will you take the flag aloft, Mr. Wainwright?" asked
the _Dewey's_ officer.

Saluting, Ted took the proffered flag and declared he was ready to
start forthwith.

Making a slip knot of the line, he motioned for the hatch to be lifted
and raised himself out of the turret as the lid swung upward.

The waves were dashing against the projection of steel and lashed
their salty spray over the lad as he wrapped his legs about the
slippery pole and began to climb. It was difficult work as the
vessel lurched in the turbulent sea, but Ted persevered and succeeded
in throwing the noose over the end of the pole above the eye of the
periscope. Sliding deftly back again, unfurling the flag as he came,
he was soon safe again in the conning tower.

Maneuvering about for a few minutes in a frantic effort to attract
the attention of the unknown ship, the _Dewey_ was finally rewarded
by the boom of a gun that was followed almost immediately by the
breaking out of the tricolor of France.

"Vive la France!" shouted the excited group in the conning tower of
the _Dewey_. The cry spread throughout the hold and there was great
rejoicing among the badly battered seasick prisoners within the
stranded submarine.

Still on guard against trickery, the destroyer approached warily with
all guns trained on the _Dewey_. Jean Cartier was called into the
conning tower and as the destroyer drew within range poured a volley
of joyous French expletives into the megaphone that had been thrust
into his hand. In short order the submarine had completely established
her identity and acquainted the commander of the destroyer with the
condition of affairs aboard the _Dewey_.

The French vessel proved to be the La Roque, and her commander gladly
consented to tow the disabled American vessel into an English port.
Commander McClure was made as comfortable as possible and the voyage
across the North Sea begun.

The disabled submarine weathered the trip very well and was delivered
safely at an English base by the La Roque after an uneventful voyage.

Granted a shore furlough, Jack and Ted jumped a train and went up to
London for their first visit in the famous city. For several days
they took in the sights of the great metropolis, seeing, among
other things, a wonderful reception accorded American troops from
the States marching in review before King George on their way to
the front, visiting Westminster Abbey and other notable places,
looking in on the House of Commons for several hours and visiting
the American embassy.

Letters awaited them from Brighton and they read with interest of the
enlistment of more of their chums in the various branches of their
country's service. Not the least important of their surprises was a
great box from home filled with warm clothing, cakes, candies, and
"eats" aplenty.

When they reported back again at their ship they found that the _Dewey_,
slightly damaged, had been put into drydock and repairs were going
steadily ahead. To their great joy they learned that Lieutenant
McClure had not been injured seriously and was convalescing in a
nearby hospital. They visited "Little Mack," who by now had heard
the whole story of his rescue. Tears dimmed the eyes of the little
commander as he expressed his thanks to Jack and Ted for their plucky
part in hauling him back to safety after the fateful mine explosion.

By the time the repairs to the _Dewey_ had been completed Lieutenant
McClure was able to assume command of his gallant little ship.

Soon came orders for the _Dewey_ to proceed to sea again. This time
the submarine was to act jointly with a convoy protecting the passage
of troopships across the English Channel to Calais, and thence into
action off Zeebrugge against the German destroyers making that port
their rendezvous.

CHAPTER X

ATTACKED FROM THE SKY

On a wonderful September evening, with a crisp autumnal air making
every fellow feel like a young kitten, the _Dewey_ again glided away
from her anchorage in the harbor of Chatham, one of the important
English naval bases, and fell into her position in the convoy of ships
spread out as an escort for a trio of troopships. They were crowded
with thousands of young chaps, the majority of them Americans and
Canadians, on their way to join the armies "somewhere in France."

Bronzed and sturdy as a result of their summer's training in home
waters and their activities aboard the submarine in the North Sea,
Jack and Ted stood out on the deck of their craft more eager than
ever to get back into active service again, notwithstanding the
rigors of the service in which they had enlisted.

"Little Mack," now completely recovered from his injuries, was in
command again and smiling good naturedly at "his boys" as they stood
grouped about on the deck of the _Dewey_.

They were thrilled with the anticipation of marvelous new exploits
in which they were likely to participate, now that the United States
had sent a naval commission to cooperate with the London admiralty
and the French naval experts in what was expected to be a campaign
to carry the war by naval tactics right home to Germany.

"Ain't no use in expecting that German navy to come out in the open
and fight to a finish," commented Bill Witt, as the conversation
turned on the likelihood of a big battle between the German high
seas fleet and the combined fleets of the United States, Great Britain,
and France. "Those fellows would sooner lay back safe in the Kiel
Canal; they know full well we'd make short work of them if they ever
came outside."

"Ten to one your Uncle Sam don't wait for them to come outside," put
in Jack earnestly. "Now that they have all got together and figured
out what to do as a result of the sessions of that joint naval board
in London, we're likely to be sent right in after them."

Jack's eyes glowed as he thought of the daring feats possible under
such a naval policy.

"You can bet the _Dewey_ will be in on any such stunts as that,"
pursued Ted. "And why shouldn't we go right after them? The United
States Navy never did lie back and wait for the enemy to come out."

Passing along, the deck to the conning tower, Lieutenant McClure
stopped to eye the little group.

"You fellows just aching for a scrap again," he said finally. "Well,
there's no telling when we might run right into one to-night. Those
German destroyers are likely to make a sortie from Ostend. Besides,
you never can tell when some of the Kaiser's air navy is likely to be
popping around."

As he spoke "Little Mack" scanned the sky to the east. Turning to the
boys, he remarked laughingly: "You three pretty good chums, aren't
you?" gazing along the line, from Jack to Ted and then to Bill Witt.

"Just like three peas in a pod," declared Bill Witt. "These two
Brighton boys took me right in---and me a rank outsider! I'm sure
lucky to have struck two such good friends."

Everybody laughed at Bill's frank avowal of friendship and Jack
responded with a crack on the back that made Bill wince.

"Guess we know good goods when we meet it," he added.

"Little Mack" had been taking it all in with approval.

"That's right, boys," he smiled. "You've got the right spirit.
That's the kind of democracy we stand for, and that's why the good
old U.S. Navy is the best in the world---fellows all pulling together.
I'm mighty proud of all my boys," continued the little lieutenant.
"You've made a great record so far, and I only hope you keep up the
good work. Stick together like pals---and be proud of that flag
of ours."

With a wave of the hand the ship's commander passed along the deck
and into the conning tower.

"There's an ace for you," said Jack, with an admiring glance at the
retreating figure.

"Ace! I should say so," sputtered Bill. "Why, if 'Little Mack' told
me to go get von Tirpitz I'd go right after him."

Soon it was dusk and the little fleet had gotten out of sight of land
into the North Sea. Stealing away like shadows into the gloom, the
fleet of transports trailed along in battle formation ready to turn
back any attack. The crew of the _Dewey_ had retreated into the hold
and the vessel was riding awash, with Commander McClure at the wheel,
observing the deployment of the fleet from the conning tower.

Down in the torpedo room, bottled up under water where no sound could
escape to attract the attention of the outside world, Mike Mowrey
had tuned up his old banjo and the boys were having an old-fashioned
songfest.

"For it's always fair weather," came the jolly strains that sounded up
in the conning tower above the whirr of the ship's engines.

"Everybody's happy to get out again," laughed Executive Officer Cleary
to his chief, as he swung the periscope to port for a full sweep of
the sea.

So far there had been no incident to mar the safe convoy of the
troopships. Plowing straight ahead, the destroyers that flitted
here and there through the filmy darkness danced about the transports,
alert to challenge any foe. Another hour and the short trip to the
French port where the troops were to embark would be concluded and
the _Dewey_ free to dash off to her post along the Belgian coast,
where Commander McClure had been ordered on guard against the German
destroyers that lately had been showing a desire to engage in brushes
with the allied ships.

"Guess we are not going to be molested to-night," said "Little Mack"
as he looked at his wrist watch.

"Doesn't seem like it," rejoined Cleary.

But they had reckoned without the two-mile-a-minute birdmen that
circle the heavens like giant eagles and swoop down on their prey
from high altitudes to send forth their flaming bombs and death-dealing
hand grenades. A lookout on one of the destroyers detected at this
moment an aerial fleet looming out of the north like spectral dots
in the dim light of the skies. From the masthead of the vessel glowed
instantly the light that had been agreed upon as a danger signal.

"Airplanes!" shouted the _Dewey's_ commander, as he strained his eyes
through the portholes of the conning tower in a vain effort to search
the skies. In another moment, after giving the "wheel" over to his
flag officer, the lieutenant had thrown open the conning tower and was
gazing into the heavens with his binoculars.

"Yes, there they come," he announced, after a short pause.
"Two---three---four; there's a half dozen or more of them," he
continued after a careful survey of the sky.

The singing down in the hold abated when the reported approach of the
air fleet became known throughout the ship.

"What's up?" queried Ted, as he joined his chum outside the wireless
room.

"The Kaiser's imperial flying corps is out for a little evening
exercise," answered Jack, as he hurried along to keep within call of
his commander.

For the men in the _Dewey_ there was nothing to do but take the
reports from the conning tower as to what was going on outside the
submarine. Their impatience, however, was short-lived, for there came
very quickly an order to man the anti-aircraft guns on deck. The
hatches fore and aft were thrown open and the gun crews scrambled on
deck.

"Not afraid of 'em, are we?" chuckled Ted, as he followed Bill Witt up
the ladder.

"Chances are they can't see us in the twilight," answered Bill. "And
this is a real chance for us to give the 'twins' a little tuning up."

From the conning tower came the order to unlimber the guns, load and
stand by.

"Wait until they come within range, and then fire away!" directed the
_Dewey's_ commander.

From a height of five thousand feet the leader of the "air cavalry"
suddenly turned the nose of his craft downward, and came volplaning
toward the sea at a dizzy pace. Following suit, the remaining units
of the attacking squadron dived to get within better range.

"Now, boys!" shouted Lieutenant McClure.

Time-fuse shells had been inserted in the "Twins," the breeches closed
and the muzzles elevated to point at the fast-flying airships. At the
aft gun Ted gripped the trigger ready to fire, while Mike Mowrey jammed
his good right eye into the telescopic sight to make sure of his aim.

"Fire!" he yelled, and Ted, let her go. The shot sped away into the
sky while the crew gazed eagerly upward to watch for the explosion.
Soon the shell burst with a white puff of smoke.

"Little too far to the right," said the observer.

Now the aft gun spoke. From every vessel of the protecting fleet came
answering shots as they belched their fury at the armada of the air.
The dull gray of the night sky was lighted at intervals by the bursting
of shells as the German air fleet soared forward over the allied naval
fleet. Observers were hurling bombs from above and they were splashing
into the sea on every side. One of them striking the hull of the
_Dewey_ would blow the ship into atoms!

"Keep it up, boys! Make every shot count!" sang out Commander McClure.

Mike Mowrey was growling because he was unable to make a hit. "Let's
get one of 'em---just one of 'em!" he bellowed in rage.

One of the winged fleet was circling almost overhead at this moment
and seemed tantalizing near. With a twist of the wheel Mowrey swung
the muzzle of his gun up a couple of inches and gave the signal again
to fire. Following the shot for a moment the frenzied gunner was
elated to note that the machine just above sagged suddenly to one side.
Like a bird with a broken pinion it swerved drunkenly in its course
and began slowly to come down. Sustaining wires had been cut by the
shell fire from the _Dewey_ and the airplane was out of commission.

"Guess that fellow is done for," said Mowrey.

It was soon evident that the machine was badly crippled, for it came
on downward like a feather floating in the still air. Only a few
minutes elapsed until it had settled on the water.

"Hydro-aeroplane," announced Commander McClure as he stood in the
conning tower observing the wounded airship. The other planes were
engaged over the remainder of the allied fleet and the _Dewey_ was
free to take care of the craft in front of it.

There was now a chance that the American submarine might move alongside
and take prisoner the German birdmen in the damaged machine. The
ship's course was altered toward the floating plane and the _Dewey_
crept up on her foe.

"Train your forward gun right on that fellow; he is apt to shoot unless
both pilot and observer are injured," cautioned McClure.

And that was just what happened, for the words had hardly escaped the
lips of the Yankee skipper before a gun rang out from under the canvas
wings of the airplane and a shell came whizzing over the _Dewey_.

"There's another machine almost directly overhead," bawled Mowrey, as
he spied a second flying craft near at hand.

Having witnessed the fall of the crippled airship, another member of
the attacking squadron had put back to the rescue. As it soared now
within range of the American submarine a bomb came splashing into the
water not two hundred feet away.

Commander McClure began to figure that it was getting too dangerous
longer to risk his thin-skinned vessel before the rain of the lyddite
bombs, and accordingly gave orders to submerge. Jamming their guns
back into their deck casings, the crews melted away through the
hatches into the hold of the _Dewey_. Ballast poured in through
the valves and the ship began to submerge.

And then, just as the submarine began settling in the water, a shell
came whizzing over the water from the wounded airplane and burst
directly over the conning tower. There was a crash of rending steel
and then a great clatter on the forward deck of the submarine that
reechoed through the interior with an ominous sound.

"Great Scott!" ejaculated McClure. "They've torn away both our
periscopes!"

CHAPTER XI

IN THE FOG

Completely blinded by the fire from the wounded German birdman, the
_Dewey_ now had but one alternative. The approach of other air
raiders made it necessary for the submarine to dive away into the
depths to safety. To linger longer on the surface was but to court
the continued fire of the birdmen overhead who apparently were incensed
over the wounding of their companion craft and out for revenge.

Reluctantly, but yielding to his better judgment, McClure gave orders
to submerge. At the same time the damaged periscopes were cut off in
the conning tower to prevent an inflow of water when the ship dived.

"Too bad to quit right now; but it would be folly to stand out under
those deadly bombs any longer," he said.

Fortunately, the _Dewey_ was equipped with reserve periscope tubes,
and Lieutenant McClure's plan now was to wait until the convenient
darkness of night had mantled the ocean and then ascend to repair at
leisure the damaged "eyes."

"Might as well make ourselves comfortable here awhile under the water,"
suggested "Little Mack."

Jean Cartier was instructed to extend himself for the evening meal
and to draw on the ship's larder for an "extra fine dinner." It being
the first night of the _Dewey's_ renewed cruise the ship's galley was
well stocked with fresh foods. Chops, baked potatoes, hot tea and
rice pudding represented the menu selected by Jean, and soon the odor
of the savory food had every mother's son smacking his lips in
anticipation of a luxurious "chow" to top off the exciting events of
the evening.

Seventy feet below the surface of the water, immune from hostile
attacks, officers and crew sat down to the repast as safe and secure
as though in a banquet hail on shore. Wit and laughter accompanied
the courses, and, as the submarine dinner was concluded, Bill Witt's
banjo was produced. Soon the ship resounded to the "plink-plunk-plink"
of the instrument and the gay songs of the jolly submarine sailors.

"If they could only see us now at Brighton!" laughed Ted, as he
surveyed the scene admiringly.

Jack grew reminiscent.

"Remember that last dinner at Brighton?" he asked. "Fellows all
wishing us good luck and cheering for us out on the campus? And
good old 'prexie' declaring he expected to hear great things of his
boys in the war? And all of them standing on the dormitory steps
singing 'Fair Brighton' as we headed for the depot?"

Ted remembered it all now only too plainly. Good old Brighton!
Back there now under the oaks on the campus, or up in the dormitories,
the boys were assembled again for the fall term.

But this was not the time for backward glances. Grim work lay ahead
of them.

An hour later preparations were made to ascend and repair the damaged
periscopes. In response to a query from the ship's commander, Sammy
Smith said he could find no trace of any nearby or approaching vessels,
although he had given the submarine telephone its best test.

Gradually the _Dewey_ came to the surface as the ballast tanks were
emptied. The hatch was thrown open and the _Dewey's_ commander raised
himself to get a line on his surroundings.

A dense fog had commenced to settle over the water, blotting out the
stars and making a mist that hung over the sea like a great gray
blanket.

"Could not be better for our purposes had it been made to order,"
smiled McClure, as he gave orders for the repair crew to haul out the
reserve periscopes and get busy.

It was impossible to see more than a hundred yards from the sides
of the _Dewey_ in any direction, and there appeared nothing but the
rolling swell of the ocean. Nevertheless, overlooking no precaution,
McClure gave orders for all lights to be dimmed amidships. In the
darkness the crew went to work to substitute the new "eyes" of the
ship for the damaged tubes, climbing out on the superstructure and
working energetically.

Just as the forward periscope was being lowered into position and
secured, Commander McClure, supervising the work, was startled by a
voice out of the fog, a stentorian challenge through a megaphone, that
seemed almost on top of the submarine.

"What ship is that?" came the call in German.

For a moment it seemed that some one on the deck of the submarine must
be playing a prank on his friends. But Bill Witt, who was doing
lookout duty forward, declared that the cry was right at hand and
apparently from the deck of a warship.

Whispering to the repair crew to go quickly below McClure addressed
himself to the unknown voice in his best Deutsch.

"Dis iss das unterseeboot nein und zwanzig."

For a moment there was a deathless silence. Then again the heavy voice
to port:

"You speck not the truth. U-boat 29 is in der Kiel Canal. You are
English or Yankee. We call on you to surrender!"

McClure's answer was to slam down the lid of the conning tower and ring
for full speed in the engine room. Instantly he switched the rudder
to starboard as the _Dewey's_ propeller blades began to turn.

"Dive!" yelled the commander to his navigating officer, as he himself
slanted the submerging rudders.

Almost at the same moment the German warship's powerful searchlights
turned full upon the American submarine. Then came a great spit of
fire from a battery aboard the enemy vessel followed by the roar of
her guns and a salvo of shots.

"It's no use, boys," said the submarine commander to his officers.
"They have us trapped. Unless we surrender here we are going to be
blown out of the water in short order. We cannot submerge quick
enough to avoid that terrible gunfire."

Again and a shot from the enemy, and this time it struck in the water
just in front of the conning tower and flung a great spray that
blinded the portholes.

The _Dewey_ was just starting to submerge. With her diving rudders
inclined, the ship was tilted now until her bow pointed downward and
her stern reared up out of the water. She was shipping ballast in
her tanks rapidly, but the process was necessarily slow and, even
with her improved equipment, it must be one and a half to two minutes
before the hull could be submerged, let alone the conning tower.

"Hold her right there!" suddenly shouted the young lieutenant to his
navigating officer.

The latter was for a moment completely dumbfounded by the order.

"What---you don't mean---why---" he started to say, but instantly
withheld his speech at the frowning face of his superior officer.

"Up with that hatch!" the _Dewey's_ commander thundered, as his
executive officer stood aghast at the reckless procedure.

The latter hastened, however, to comply with the order.

"Wainwright!" shouted Lieutenant McClure.

Ted jumped into the conning tower beside his commander.

"You have already shown your bravery," began McClure hurriedly.
"Here's another test for you. Climb through the conning tower, run
forward and dive off the bow. But, first of all, grab a life-belt
and strap it to you. Don't ask questions. Have confidence in me.
When you get in the water, work your way rapidly around the bow
of the _Dewey_ to starboard. Float there in the shadow of our hull.
Keep close up. All will be well in a moment."

Obeying orders implicitly, Ted was strapping on the life-preserver.

"Ready?" called McClure.

Ted saluted.

"Right---go!" shouted the commander of the _Dewey_.

CHAPTER XII

YANKEE CAMOUFLAGE

To Ted it seemed as though he were following the mandate of some madman
as he emerged from the conning tower and, grasping the periscope pole,
steadied himself a moment before leaping down on deck. But, being a
loyal son of Uncle Sam, and realizing that the first requisite of a
sailor was to take orders implicitly from his officers, he sprang
nimbly on deck, rushed along the inclined steel plane, and as he came
splashing into the water that washed over the bow, flung himself into
the sea.

"I'll trust to 'Little Mack'," he said to himself.

Coming up to the surface he veered off sharp to the _Dewey's_ starboard
and with long strokes pulled himself into the shadow of the partially
submerged submarine. The life-belt held him secure in the water and
he floated at ease.

Ted turned his attention toward the _Dewey_.

There, he saw, his example was being followed by other members of the
crew. As their names were called off by their commander a number of
the crew leaped overboard.

One stood up on the rim of the conning tower and dived away from the
glare of the enemy searchlights into the black shadows of the submarine.
Suddenly the aft hatch was thrown open directly above the engine room
and in a moment several begrimed members of the engine crew scrambled
up the ladder in quick succession and threw themselves into the sea.
The enemy had ceased firing.

"What does it all mean?" pondered Ted as he floated, watching the
graphic picture.

Unable to solve the problem for himself, he turned his attention to
the nearest man in the water. He swam now only a few strokes away.
With little effort Ted drew up to him. It was Bill Witt.

"Reckon they rammed a shot into her," yelled Bill as they beheld their
ship sinking gradually.

"Looks that way, doesn't it?" answered Ted

The stricken submarine was gradually going down. McClure was there
in the conning tower, of course; that old tradition of the sea, about
every skipper going down with his ship, held true in the case of a
submarine as well. Jack was there, too, in all likelihood; he had
been standing by his commander as Ted and Bill hurried up to hurl
themselves from the deck. Ted gulped as he thought of his chum. Was
it all over with Jack? Would the Germans rescue the American lads
bobbing about in the water?

In another moment the _Dewey_ was completely under, leaving many of her
crew floating in the open sea, at the mercy of their enemies.

"Tough luck!" stammered Ted as he linked arms with Bill over their
life-belts.

Bill was dauntless even in the face of death.

"You never can tell," he said. "I am guessing that 'Little Mack' has
another card up his sleeve."

Down in the turret of the submerged _Dewey_ an extraordinary scene was
being enacted. McClure, Cleary and Jack were standing together as the
vessel glided away under the water.

"It worked---it worked!" shouted the young lieutenant as he ordered
the submerging process discontinued and the _Dewey_ held on an even
keel.

"What worked?" gasped his dazed executive, who had yet to grasp the
significance of his commander's action in ordering members of the
crew overboard.

"Why, don't you see? Those Germans think they sank us. When they
saw our boys leaping into the water they took it for granted one of
their shots had landed and we were done for. They think the boys
leaped overboard to escape death in the hold of a mortally wounded
Yankee. And here we are, safe and sound, under the water!"

"But what about those fellows swimming around up there?" asked Jack
in startled tones.

"We'll go back and get them in a few minutes after we've tended to
this Prussian gentleman that we hypnotized," shot back his commander,
as his jaw squared and his eyes flashed.

Jack and Officer Cleary stared at each other.

"Well, of all the nerve!" gasped Cleary.

"Great Scott, man! it takes a real honest-to-goodness Yankee like you
to get away with such a trick."

Veering off to port, the skipper steered a straight course for several
hundred yards. Then the _Dewey_ cut out into a short half circle and
in another moment came to a stop sixty-five feet below the surface.

"Put her up," came the order to the navigating officer at the ship's
air pumps.

There was an interval of strained silence as the commander waited until
the eye of the periscope had cleared the spray that dashed against
the glass.

"There they are!" he announced. "Light still turned on the spot where
we went down a minute or so ago. Guess they are waiting to see
whether we really are done for."

A signal to the _Dewey's_ engine rooms put the vessel in motion just
long enough for her commander to turn the nose of the craft slightly
to starboard, and then the submarine rested quietly again.

"Friends, Americans, and fellow patriots: my compliments to the
Imperial German Navy," began "Little Mack" as he leaned forward to
touch off a torpedo---and there was a rare smile on his lips.

For an instant the _Dewey_ quivered as the torpedo shot from the bow
of the submerged ship and raced away under the water. Her commander
hugged the periscope glass and watched for developments.

"Got him!" he shouted excitedly, dancing about wildly on the grating
of the conning tower. "It's a hit beyond all doubt. We struck her
almost amidships."

The German vessel had been dealt a deathblow. She was sending up
distress signals.

"She's afire now and can't last long," mused the _Dewey's_ commander
as he continued to survey the ship in distress. "Her magazines will
go in a minute."

The chief concern of the _Dewey_ now was the reclaiming of her sailors
from the sea.

There was little likelihood of gun fire from the sinking German warship.
Her crew were bent on launching lifeboats and getting away before
the final plunge that would carry the ship down to the bottom.
Accordingly, the Yankee submarine came to the surface and commenced
preparations for the rescue of her own crew. Lights were hung at
the mastheads fore and aft and a huge searchlight hurriedly adjusted
on the forepart of the conning tower and the electrical connections
made amidships.

Out of the mist that overhung the sea burst forth suddenly a great
glare. Through the fog loomed a white mass of flame like the blast
of a thousand furnaces, with tongues of fire piercing the night gloom.
The sea was rocked by an explosion that reverberated over the waters
like the crash of a million guns and tossed the submarine like a piece
of driftwood.

"One less warship for the Kaiser's navy," remarked McClure.

"And all because of your rare cunning, old boy," countered his executive
enthusiastically.

Out of the darkness came a shout for help close at hand. Switching
the searchlight in the direction of the cry, Commander McClure beheld
a head bobbing in the water only a few yards away. It was one of his
own crew, one of the electrician's helpers who had gone overboard
with the rest in the mad scramble to outwit the Germans. In a few
minutes he was hauled aboard, dripping wet, his teeth chattering from
the exposure in the water.

"They are all around here," the boy chattered. "We managed to keep
pretty close together in the water."

McClure grasped his hand.

"You are a brave lad," he said. "Every man of you has proved his
mettle by taking a daring chance. Go below now, son, get into warm
clothing and gets something hot to drink."

Coasting to and fro in the water, scanning the sea now to the right,
now to the left, the _Dewey_ continued the search for her crew.

Singly, in twos, and in one case three, men were picked up until it
seemed to the commander that every boy who had gone overboard had
been reclaimed from the sea.

"Call the roll below decks," the commander instructed his executive
officer. Jack and his commander remained in the conning tower still
operating the searchlight.

In a few minutes Officer Cleary returned.

"All safe?" asked "Little Mack."

"No; two still missing," was the executive officer's reply.

"Who are they?" McClure queried.

"Ted Wainwright and Bill Witt," came the answer.

CHAPTER XIII

THE SURVIVORS

Jack's knees sagged for a moment and it seemed his heart stood still.
His old Brighton chum and good old Bill Witt still unaccounted for!
Out there in the dark and the water somewhere they were floating alone!

Then he heard "Little Mack" speaking.

"We'll stay right here until we find them," he was saying.

Megaphones were brought on deck and the _Dewey's_ officers began
calling into the darkness of the sea. Another searchlight was run up
through the stern hatch and affixed aft to sweep the sea from that
end of the vessel. For a time there was no response to their calls;
then, when it seemed that all hope had fled, there came a hoarse cry,
now seeming far away, now closer and louder.

"Something there to starboard just off our bow!" shouted Jack, who had
climbed up on the conning tower.

McClure directed that both searchlights be flashed in the direction of
the muffled calls and was rewarded by the faint outlines of a small
boat buffeted about in the water like a cork.

"Well, they are not our boys," said the _Dewey's_ skipper listlessly.
Then, taking Jack's megaphone, he shouted: "Who are you?"

A tail, gaunt figure loomed up in the bow of the lifeboat. He was
waving a life-belt frantically with an appealing gesture for aid.

"Survivors from der German gunboat Strassburg," came the reply in
broken English.

McClure ordered them to come alongside and cautioned his men to be on
guard against any surprise attack.

Out of the gloom came the lifeboat like a weird specter, propelled by
the sweeping oars of half a dozen frantically working seamen. It was
crowded with a motley crew of bedraggled sailors. They presented a
pitiable spectacle as their craft slowly made its way toward the
_Dewey_ and into the bright rays from the searchlights.

"We have two of your men in here," shouted the leader of the party,
who was evidently an officer of the sunken warship. At the same
time two boys well to the stern waved their arms frantically toward
the group on the conning tower of the _Dewey_.

"Here I am, Jack, and Bill Witt is right with me," came the familiar
voice of Ted Wainwright.

"Hurrah!" the cry arose from the deck of the American submersible.
Overcome with joy, Jack could scarce restrain his emotions as he
clutched the periscope pole and shielded his eyes with his other
hand to make sure that his ears had not deceived him. Yes, it was
Ted---and there was Bill just behind him!

Making its way clumsily forward, the boat finally drew up alongside.
Willing hands helped Ted and Bill up the steep side of the _Dewey_
and they were tendered such a reception as they had never known before.
Then ensued a parley between the petty officer of the sunken gunboat
Strassburg and the commander of the _Dewey_.

"We are very happy to be your prisoners, under the circumstances,"
began the German officer in his best English.

"I thank you for rescuing my men," said McClure. "Sorry I can't take
you aboard, but I'll tow you to the Dutch coast or transfer you to the
first inbound trader. Satisfactory?"

"Thank you, sir," said the German.

Before making fast the towline from the lifeboat to the stern of the
_Dewey_ for the journey toward the coast McClure had Jean Cartier and
his commissary assistant bring up pots of steaming hot coffee and dole
it out to the forlorn Teutons.

Jack went below with Ted and Bill Witt to hear the story of their
escape. It appeared that they had floated around together in the
dark; had witnessed the sinking of the gunboat Strassburg and, when
it went down, had been caught in the swell of the water and carried
far from the lights of the _Dewey_. They had seen the submarine when
it turned on its powerful searchlights.

"Bill and I thought we were done for," said Ted between gulps of
coffee. "We had just about given up for good. We tried to swim,
but our clothes and the life-belts weighed us down, and our legs
and arms were so cramped we couldn't make any headway. Then while
we were trying to keep our eyes on the faint lights of the _Dewey_,
what should we see but a boat steering right at us! Without any
words, the Germans stooped right down and dragged us into their boat.
None of us could see each other very well, but we soon made out they
were Germans. They discovered our nationality about the same time
and they wouldn't believe us when we told them we were from the U.S.
submarine that had sunk them."

"Did they try anything rough on you?" put in Jack.

"No," continued Ted, "they were so thankful to be in that boat instead
of floundering in the sea they didn't care much about anything else.
When we told them our vessel was somewhere close by they wouldn't
believe it until we showed them the faint streaks of light from the
_Dewey_ through the fog. Then Bill Witt told them they would stand a
better chance for their lives if they got in touch with the American
submarine. They parleyed a while over that and finally decided they
would take Bill's tip. That's how we got up within range of you
fellows and got back here again. We might have floated around all
night and been picked up in the morning and then again we might not."

"Well, I'm glad you're back again, chum," added Jack with an affectionate
hug. He now hurried back to the conning tower to be within call of
his commanders. The _Dewey_ was headed due east; running on the
surface, with her boatload of prisoners trailing behind.

Two hours' running brought the _Dewey_ within the ten-mile zone of
the Dutch coast, and suddenly she ran into the hail of a huge
brigantine that appeared to be becalmed. She lay quiet in the water
without a tangible sign of life except her binnacle lights.

Watchful against any deception, McClure ordered the gun crews on deck
and the "Twins" ready for action. Then he challenged the sailing craft.

The answer came in German. Likely the watch thought his vessel had
been approached by a U-boat of the Central Powers. Challenged again
in English, the fellow went below and returned in a moment with an
English-speaking companion. Lieutenant McClure briefly made known
his desire to turn over the German prisoners.

"But we don't want them," came the reply.

Jack and Ted, standing out on deck together, grinned. This seemed so
unlike Dutch hospitality.

"Holland doesn't seem to be so fond of Germans, does she?" joked Jack.

"Can't much blame them," Ted replied soberly. "They have enough
mouths of their own to feed without any more outsiders."

Lieutenant McClure insisted, however, on putting the Germans aboard
the brigantine and finally won out. The lifeboat went alongside
and the _Dewey_ stood by until every Teuton had climbed up the side.

"Auf Wiedersehen and thank you, sir," called the German officer as
the _Dewey_ backed away and turned her nose out to sea again.

The days that followed were crowded with colorful incidents for the
band of Americans aboard the gallant little submarine. With the
arrival of Uncle Sam's submarines in the North Sea and their active
participation in the warfare against the Imperial German Navy the
forages of the cruiser and destroyer raiders out of Wilhelmshaven
and other German ports were decreasing in number.

The Belgian coast is but forty-two miles long, extending from Zeebrugge
at the northern extremity to Ostend---the Atlantic City of Belgium---at
the south, but there are a number of tiny harbors along the strip of
coastline, and these were infested by the light draft German warships,
particularly the destroyers. The American submarines in particular
were directing their attention toward these destroyers and seeking
to kill them off as they dashed out of their "fox holes" for flying
attacks against the allied navies.

One night, after a quiet day on patrol off the Belgian coast, the
_Dewey_ settled for the night close to shore at a point about five
miles southwest of the Belgian coast town of Blankenberghe, a tiny
fishing port with a small and almost land-locked harbor. It was a
strategic position directly on the course that would be taken by
German destroyers out of Zeebrugge bound for a raid off Dunkirk or
Calais. Lying under the sea, the _Dewey_ could hear approaching
vessels.

Furthermore, Lieutenant McClure had reason to believe that German
destroyers were making a rendezvous of the little harbor of
Blankenberghe. He was determined to find out and to "get somebody."

Jack was on duty in the conning tower and Executive Officer Cleary in
the control chamber underneath. Floating here at a depth of one
hundred and ten feet the _Dewey_ was to spend the night resting and
with a vigilant ear for any passing vessels.

Thousands of miles from home, more then a hundred feet deep down in
the North Sea, bottled up in a submarine while the rest of his churns
slept peacefully as though at home in their beds, the Brighton boy sat
alone in the conning tower of the submerged _Dewey_.

"Some difference between where I am now and where I was a year ago
this time!" he was reflecting, when he heard the night wireless
operator reporting to Executive Officer Cleary the approach of a
vessel overhead.

Jack descended into the control chamber and, at Officer Cleary's
direction, called Lieutenant McClure, who had turned in for several
hours' rest, leaving instructions that he be aroused in case any
ships were reported overhead.

CHAPTER XIV

ON THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA

Listening for a few moments at the microphones, McClure turned abruptly
and rang the crew to quarters.

The engine room was signaled to tune up the motors.

"From the way that fellow is hugging the coast I wouldn't be surprised
if he is a Hun raider poking along on a little reconnaissance,"
observed McClure to his executive officer.

Aroused from his slumber, Sammy Smith took charge of the electrical
receiving room and after listening for awhile gave his opinion that
the approaching ship was moving south along the Belgian coast and
distant from the _Dewey_ about a mile and a half. From the faint
registrations in the microphones he judged it to be a vessel of light
draft---probably a small cruiser or a destroyer.

"Well, we never lose an opportunity to do our duty, be the enemy large
or small fry," observed McClure.

After waiting for a few moments longer, and being advised of the
continued steady approach of the ship, the young lieutenant decided
to move in closer to get within better range, and then rise to the
surface and "look her over." It was well on toward four o'clock and
soon would be daylight.

Creeping along at half speed, the _Dewey_ veered slightly to starboard
and steered a course N.N.W. toward the oncoming craft. After cruising
thus for a quarter of an hour the submarine was stopped altogether
again and her captain conferred again with his wireless chief.

"She seems to have changed her course," announced Smith after listening
intently at both port and starboard microphones. "As near as I can
calculate she has turned off abruptly to port and is running due east
toward the coast."

"Fine!" exclaimed McClure. "A German for sure. And now perhaps we
can track her to her lair."

In a few moments the _Dewey_ thrust her periscopes up out of the sea
and set out in pursuit of the unknown ship. It was yet too dark to
make her out, except for a dim blur that showed faintly against the
background of the Belgian coast. By striking the _Dewey's_ latitude
and longitude they figured they were at a point five or six miles off
Blankenberghe.

"Where do you suppose she is heading for?" asked Cleary. He was
plainly puzzled.

"There probably is a canal near at hand that the Germans have dug out
since their occupation of Belgium, and which they now are using as a
retreat for their light draft vessels---possibly a submarine base,"
answered McClure.

For a time the _Dewey_ followed steadily on in the wake of the German.
It was not long until McClure, at the forward periscope, was able to
get a better look at the foe.

"A big destroyer," he announced. "I can make out her four funnels."

It was now apparent to the lieutenant that they were approaching close
to the coast and that very shortly the destroyer must turn again to
the sea or else take her way into some tortuous channel leading inland.

"Reckon we have gone as far as we can," he declared after a further
observation. He had in mind the fact that the approach to the waterway
for which the destroyer was headed most certainly was mined and
that without a chart of the course he was running the risk of driving
into one of the dangerous buoys.

He determined to chance a shot at the destroyer, submerge and go out
to sea again. Sighting on the dimly outlined destroyer he released
a torpedo and then, without waiting to observe the result of the
random shot, gave the signal to dive.

Down went the _Dewey_. And in another moment, as the gallant sub
slipped away into the depths, she lurched suddenly with a staggering
motion and brought up sharp with an impact that shook the vessel from
stem to stern. Officer Cleary was catapulted off his feet and crashed
into the steel conning tower wall, with an exclamation of pain.
The _Dewey_ seemed to have run hard against an undersea wall.

"Reverse the engine!" shouted McClure. "We must have run upon a
sandy shoal."

Frantically he rang the engine room to back away. But the order came
too late. With a slow ringing noise that plainly bespoke the grating
of the ship's keel on the bed of the ocean the submarine slid forward
and then came to a dead stop, quivering in every steel plate from the
tremendous throbbing of her engines.

"Great Scott, we've run aground!" exclaimed McClure as he stood
wild-eyed in the conning tower.

Jack was despatched to the engine room for a report from Chief Engineer
Blaine. He returned in a moment to say that the ship's engines were
reversed and the propeller shafts revolving to the limit of the
ship's power. Nevertheless, it was only too evident that the _Dewey_
was enmeshed in a treacherous shoal from which she was unable to
extricate herself.

Officer Binns was ordered to throw off all possible ballast.

One by one the tanks were emptied. The air pumps were working valiantly
but at each discharge of water ballast the officers of the stranded
vessel waited in vain for the welcome "lift" that would tell them
the ship was floating free again. The last ballast tank had now been
emptied and the depth dial still showed eighty-four feet.

"Looks as though we were stuck, all right," was McClure's solitary
comment as he gazed again at the depth dial.

The engines now were shut down, the air pumps had ceased working.
There was not a sound throughout the submersible, except the low
drone of the electric fans that swept the air along the passageways.
Every man waited in stoical silence a further word from his chief.

"Jonah had nothing on us," cried Bill Witt grinning, as the group
of boys retreated down the passageway leading forward from the conning
tower into the main torpedo compartment. Lieutenant McClure and
his officers were conferring together over the _Dewey's_ dilemma.

"This ship is no fish," ventured Ted timidly, his mind engrossed in
the new danger that threatened.

"Well, it's a whale of a submarine, isn't it?" continued Bill in a
brave effort to be funny.

Ted agreed, but was in no humor for joking, and hurried amidships to
join Jack, who had remained within call of his commander.

For some moments the boys discussed the predicament of the _Dewey_,
the unfortunate circumstances that had led her aground, and the
possibilities of being floated again. Jack confided to his chum the
fact that he had overheard Lieutenant McClure say the _Dewey_ probably
had ventured too close in shore and had run afoul of a sand bar.

"What's the next move?" queried Ted.

"You've got me, chum; I don't know what they will try next," answered
Jack, feeling a bit glum despite his natural cheerfulness.

Lieutenant McClure and his officers---Cleary, Binns, and Blaine---were
now making an inspection of the _Dewey_ fore and aft. As they returned
amidships the boys overheard snatches of the conversation.

"Propeller blades free, aren't they?" McClure was asking.

"Working free and easy or else the shafts wouldn't turn," Blaine
was saying.

From what the boys could gather from the conversation it was the
belief of the ship's officers that the _Dewey_ was grounded on a
heavy sand bar. She had sloughed down deep in the miry sea bottom
with her keel amidships firmly imbedded and her bow and stern floating
free. The suction of the mud prevented her from rising.

In the wireless room Jack, Ted, Sammy Smith and Bill Witt finally came
together and began speculating on the critical predicament of their
ship. Cooped up in their cage of steel, shut off from the outside
world of fresh air and sunshine, the crew of the _Dewey_ were held
prisoners like rats in a trap, dependent for life upon the air they
were breathing and the precious stores of oxygen in the emergency
tanks!

The next few hours were full of anxiety for the officers and crew of
the stranded _Dewey_. Several times during the morning the ship's
engines were set in motion and valiant efforts made to drag the ship
off the shoal. But each succeeding effort availed nothing, except
to eat up the precious electrical energy in the storage batteries.

In the petrol tanks was plenty of fuel for the engines, but it was
useless here on the bottom of the sea where only the electric motors
could be used in submerged locomotion.

Realizing the futility of these sporadic efforts at escape, Lieutenant
McClure decided to wait until one o'clock for another supreme effort.
It would be high tide at noon and he decided to make the great effort
shortly thereafter on the thin hope that he might get away with the
tide running out to sea.

The time passed drearily. Jack and Ted tried to get interested in a
game of chess, but with little success. Bill Witt sought with mouth
organ and banjo to buoy up the spirits of his downcast mates and
succeeded poorly. Noon mess was served at eleven forty-five and
even Jean Cartier, as he dispensed canned beans, brown bread, stewed
fruit and tea, forgot to smile as usual at his culinary tasks.

"We ought to get away now if we are to get off at all," Jack overheard
Lieutenant McClure say to Cleary after mess kits had been stowed and
preparations were under way for the "big drive."

In a few minutes more the _Dewey_ was primed for the test. Soon the
clatter of machinery aft indicated that the engines were in motion.

"Back away!" was the signal flashed to the engine room. Instantly
the full power of the motors was turned into the giant shafts and the
propellors threshed the ocean with the fury of a wounded whale. With
all the might she possessed the submarine strove to free herself and
float away to freedom.

Thrice were the engines stopped and started again. But every time the
quivering submarine failed to move an inch!

CHAPTER XV

THE HUMAN TORPEDO

"Looks as though we were up against it," remarked Executive Officer
Cleary to his chief as the _Dewey's_ engines died down into silence.

Lieutenant McClure, his youthful face wrinkled in deep thought, looked
up apprehensively.

"A very serious situation," he mumbled.

He spoke with marked gravity now, and there was no response from the
executive officer, nor from Navigating Officer Binns, as they stood
quietly and rigidly at attention, awaiting orders.

Inquiry in the engine room brought the information that the batteries
had been greatly depleted by the tremendous exertions of the _Dewey_.
The supply of "juice" certainly could not last much longer.

What next? Instinctively every man aboard the doomed ship was asking
himself the question. It was only too manifest that the _Dewey_ had
run hard aground. The best that could be hoped for now was that the
shifting currents of the sea might wash the submarine free before
death overwhelmed her imprisoned crew.

"Make yourselves as comfortable as possible; we are not done for
yet---not by a jugful," essayed McClure bravely as he sauntered into
the torpedo room where Chief Gunner Mowrey and his men were assembled
in hushed discussion of the _Dewey's_ plight.

Immediately "Little Mack" was surrounded by his men. They asked him
all manner of questions.

"Remember first, last, and always that you are Americans and members
of the United States Navy," continued their commanding officer. "We
have air supply in the reserve tanks sufficient to stay here for many
hours yet without danger of suffocation; and in the meantime quite a
number of things can happen."

Despite their commander's cheery remarks there was little comfort in
his words. Trusting implicitly their gallant chief, every man aboard
the stranded submarine was keenly alive to the seriousness of the
situation and mentally figuring on the possibilities of escape from
the prison ship in case it was found at last impossible to float
the vessel. The boys knew their dauntless commander, in a final
extremity, would resort to heroic measures of escape rather than
allow his men to be suffocated and overwhelmed by a slow death in
their trap of steel.

It was now more than twelve hours since the _Dewey_ had submerged
after the exciting events of the preceding night and the air supply
was still sufficiently impregnated with oxygen to enable the imprisoned
crew to breathe free and normally. The boys knew that the _Dewey_
could continue thus for at least thirty-six hours before her officers
would commence drawing on the reserve oxygen tanks.

In an atmosphere of suspense the long afternoon dragged into evening.
Every effort to free the vessel had been tried, but to no avail.
Evening mess was served amid an oppressive silence varied only by
the valiant efforts of bluff Bill Witt to stir a bit of confidence
in his mates. Another and final effort to get away was to be tried
at midnight with high tide. And then---if nothing availed---the boys
knew full well that with the morning Lieutenant McClure would resort
to some drastic measures.

Efforts at sleep were futile for the most part, although dauntless
spirits like Bill Witt and Mike Mowrey turned in as usual and dozed
away as peacefully as though no danger existed. Midnight and high
tide kindled fresh hopes as "Little Mack" steeled himself for a last
try with the _Dewey's_ hardworked engines. Jack and Ted had spent
the long evening in the wireless room with Sammy Smith, hearing not
so much as a trace of a passing vessel. Eagerly they awaited the
last herculean effort for freedom. At ten minutes to one the engines
were set in motion again and the signal given to back away as before.
Lieutenant McClure had resorted to the expedient of shifting
everything movable within the _Dewey_ to the bow bulkhead in the
hope that the submarine might be tilted forward at the supreme
moment. Now he ordered every man aboard ship, except the engineering
force necessary to operate the engines, into the torpedo chamber
forward.

"Whirr-r-r!" the roar of machinery reverberated throughout the hold.
The _Dewey_ struggled again in mad convulsion---but all to no avail.
The shifted cargo of humans and equipment made no difference; the
submersible remained fast.

There now was no doubt of the _Dewey's_ serious dilemma. No spoken
word was necessary to impress upon the men the critical situation.
Sleep was out of the question. Jack rambled into the wireless room,
where he tried to calm his restless spirits by rattling away on the
key at the code alphabet. Lately he had been giving much attention
to mastering the operation of the wireless apparatus and under the
direction of Sammy Smith had been making excellent progress.

He nervously fitted the microphone receivers to his ears---and the
next moment sat bolt upright. He was startled to hear the clicking
sound in the listeners that indicated the proximity of a moving vessel.

"Quick! Listen here!" he called out to Sammy Smith. The wireless
chief dashed down the receivers and hurried to find Lieutenant Mcclure.

"Ship approaching from the southwest," said Smith hurriedly. "Coming
up the coast and apparently about two miles away."

"Little Mack" adjusted the receivers and stood listening to the
revolving propellers of the craft that approached and passed overhead.
For a moment he debated the idea of releasing a torpedo that might
be noticed by the crew of the unknown vessel. But such a plan was
not feasible, for the ship would think only of being attacked and
would stand ready to repel an enemy rather than look for a submarine
in distress. Furthermore, such an expedient was out of the question;
for, gazing at his watch, he found that it was only four o'clock and
hardly light enough for a torpedo to be seen unless it passed very
close to the oncoming ship.

"There is one thing we might do," spoke up Jack Hammond. "Lieutenant,
I have a plan to suggest. We seem to be in a desperate situation
that demands some prompt action. That vessel up there may be an
American or British destroyer. It is up to us to find out while
there is yet a chance for our lives. Shoot me out the torpedo tube,
sir. I'm a good strong swimmer and I may be able to attract their
attention. The thing has been done before and I'm perfectly willing
to take a chance."

"Your proposal is in good faith, boy," interrupted his commander, "but
it strikes me as a foolhardy proposition. We are down here more than
eighty feet and, even though you got up to the surface, the chances
of your gaining the attention of that vessel are mighty slim."

Jack stepped forward eagerly. "It has been done before and I'm willing
to take that chance," he urged. "If we stay here we are done for.
Unless we find some way of floating the _Dewey_ within the next
twenty-four hours we've all got to take our chances on getting out of
here. Let me go now. It might as well be now as later on. We've
got to act quickly."

For a moment Mcclure stood motionless surveying the intrepid youngster.
It seemed such a desperate chance, and yet, under the circumstances,
something had to be done.

"You are a brave boy, Jack," said Mcclure finally, springing forward
and grasping the hand of his aide. "If you are willing I'll let you
do it, for, under the circumstances, we are forced to resort to some
heroic measures. God bless you, lad! And now let react quickly."

In short order the entire party repaired to the torpedo room forward
where Jack was to attempt his hazardous experiment. Taking off his
coat and shoes, which he fastened around his neck, Jack stood ready
for the ordeal. Mike Mowrey had opened the upper port chamber and
with the aid of his crew run out the torpedo that had been placed
therein ready for firing. All was in readiness for the youth to crawl
through the breech cap and stretch himself out like a human torpedo.

Lieutenant Mcclure was sure that the prow of the _Dewey_ lay free
of the sand bar on which the vessel was poised, and that there was
no obstruction in front of the bowcap. But to make doubly sure he
ordered the discharge of a torpedo from the lower starboard chamber.
It left the bowcap free and with full power, giving assurance that
no obstacle intervened beyond the mouth of the torpedo tubes.

Jack saluted his lieutenant, signifying his readiness to go.

"So longs Ted!" was his jaunty sally as he turned for an instant to
his old Brighton chum. For a few seconds the two boys gazed full
into each other's eyes, their hands clasped in a farewell.

"Good luck to you, old man!" said Ted, with a gulp in his throat.

"All ready now!" smiled Jack, as he turned first to his commander and
then inserted his head in the mouth of the torpedo tube, motioning
with his hands for his comrades to thrust him into the chamber.

CHAPTER XVI

IN THE WIRELESS STATION

In less time than it takes to tell, Jack was bundled into the long
steel case, his arms stretched over his head well forward toward the
bowcap. So tightly was he wedged in the aperture that his shoulders
rubbed against both sides of the tube. Before climbing into the
chamber he had hastily crammed a handful of waste inside his hat to
act as a cushion for the water pressure against his skull that would
be inevitable once his body was thrust out into the sea.

"Are you all ready, Mr. Hammond?" called his commander as he bent over
the mouth of the breech cap and reached forward to give the boy a
friendly tug at one foot.

"All ready, sir," answered Jack.

The breech cap was swung shut and Jack could hear the click of the
mechanism as he was locked in by his comrades and they prepared to
shoot their human torpedo out of the sunken submarine.

Now he was completely isolated in the dark, cold tube. The voices
of his companions were not audible. It was a time to test the nerve
of the most callous individual.

Whis-s-s-h! The compressed air came hurtling into the tube with a roar
as of a mighty Niagara. It enveloped him and seemed pressing against
his body like many tons of steel. Instinctively the lad inhaled
deeply and gritted his teeth.

In another moment the bowcap was swung open and then came a rush of air
that shot him forward at a dizzy velocity. As though driven by the
force of a thousand tornadoes the boy felt himself, catapulted out of
the tube and into the cold salt water that closed around him like a
great wall.

His senses reeled and his brain was numbed by the terrible roaring that
pounded in his ears. But he had the will to live and he began his fight.

He brought his legs into play and swam upward furiously. Would he
ever get there? It seemed an eternity as he battled through the mass
of the sea. His arms and legs were getting numb now; his lungs seemed
torn to shreds and his head throbbed with intense pain.

And then, when he was almost lapsing into unconsciousness, his head
shot up out of the waves, and the boy realized that he had reached
the crest of the mountain of water!

For a moment Jack felt paralyzed in every muscle. Then, as he breathed
again the cold pure air of the outside world, his senses came struggling
back through the haze into which he had felt himself drifting and he
was invigorated again. With a great effort the boy turned over on his
back with his face to the sky and floated luxuriously, with arms and
legs limp on the surface of the water.

Resting thus for a time, he turned finally and struck out with a bold
stroke, determined at once to make note of his position. It all came
back to him in a flash---the unknown ship that Sammy Smith had heard
working its way up along the coast.

Was it near? Was it friend or enemy? Would he be seen?

Jack lifted his head and scanned the horizon. It was early morning
and dawn was breaking out of the sky. The first thing that attracted
his attention was a heavy pall of smoke that hung over the water. The
sea was rough.

Carried up on the crest of a wave he beheld the ship that the microphone
had discovered for him in the wireless room. It was now a long way
past the spot where the _Dewey_ lay submerged and had passed northward,
several hundred yards nearer the coast. Carried fifty or a hundred
feet forward through the water by the force of the expulsion from
the torpedo tube, the youth had emerged in the widened wake of the
vessel. Apparently it was a German warship returning to its base
in Wilhelmshaven after a night raid off Dunkirk or Ostend. It was
hugging the coast fortifications now for protection.

Floating alone in the ocean, a mere speck in the water, Jack turned
toward land. It was his only salvation now.

Tearing off his hat and with it the wet waste he had inserted as a
cushion for his head, he struck out with long bold strokes. The fresh
air and the salt water invigorated him wonderfully after the long
confinement in the stifling atmosphere of the _Dewey_.

As he swam he thought of the boys back there in Uncle Sam's submersible
and how they, too, would be negotiating this same swim very
shortly---provided they escaped as safely as he had.

Before his mind flashed also the picture of what might happen to him
when at last his feet would strike bottom and he would make his way
through the surf to shore. He knew full well that practically all of
the Belgian seafront was held by the Germans. It was not likely he
could go very far without encountering a Hun coast patrol. But he
reserved to make the best of the situation and trust to luck.

After a hard swim he found himself in the surf and then his feet
touched bottom and he made his way shoreward through the breakers.
Fatigued by the trip, he threw himself down on the sand, puffing
and blowing from the effects of his fight in the water.

As he rested, he heard the murmur of a skyplane's motors and turned
to behold a giant Gotha machine heading up the coast. Stretching
himself out quickly, as though to simulate the posture of a drowned
man cast up by the waves, he lay wide-eyed watching the German birdman.
Undoubtedly, it was one of the aerial coast patrol.

Five hundred feet above, it lazily floated along. It came closer and
closer, finally flying almost directly overhead. With bated breath
the boy on the sand waited for its passage and heaved a great sigh of
relief as it purred onward in the direction of Blankenberghe without
giving any indication as to whether its pilot had noted the body on
the sand below.

Jack scrambled to his feet.

"Might as well find out what's doing here," he muttered to himself.
He peeled off his wet clothes. One at a time he wrung out his
garments and shook the water out of his long black hair. Then he
turned for a glance around him. In front of him loomed the sand
dunes, their weird shifting formations dotted here and there with
scraggly underbrush. Down the coast the picture was the same.

Turning, the lad gazed northward in the general direction where he
knew lay Holland and her neutral shores.

"That's where I go from here," he said cheerfully.

He had jogged along not more than a quarter of a mile when the coast
line veered sharply to right, leaving only the expanse of ocean
looming up beyond the stretch of sandy beach. Following along the
curve in the coast line, Jack found himself presently on the shore
of a small land-locked bay. The mouth of the inlet was barely wide
enough to permit the passage of a good-sized vessel.

But neither ship nor human being was in sight.

"Might be one of the secret passageways used by the undersea boats,"
Jack mused as he followed the curving line of the bay away from the
ocean.

Presently he came to an abrupt halt at a break in the beach where
the rolling sand dunes fell sheer away to the mouth of another
waterway---this time a small stream that wound its way inland through
a tortuous channel. It was no more than two hundred feet across.

Jack realized this must be one of the canals with which the coast
was known to be ribboned. For a moment he stood in contemplation
of the sight. Now he was more than ever convinced that he had
stumbled into a U-boat base. The love of adventure gripped him and
he determined to press on.

For the next ten minutes he threaded his way along the canal bank.
Suddenly, as he turned one of the snake-like twists in the course of
the waterway, he found himself facing an old stone windmill that stood
almost directly on the canal bank. It was only a stone's throw away.

Instinctively the boy threw himself upon the sandy loam. There was
not a sign of life about the abandoned structure. In the peaceful
days before the war it had, no doubt, been used by a Belgian farmer
to water his fields.

But now Jack saw something that set his heart a-flutter. From the
dome-like crest of the windmill stretched a number of wires tautly
drawn and leading away to some point beyond his range of view. For
a moment he contemplated the scene in silence with tingling nerves.
Satisfied at last that his presence was not yet known---if any human
being was within the stone tower---he struggled up to a kneeling
position and looked beyond the windmill.

What he saw now was a ramshackle farmhouse apparently deserted. Up
the side of the dilapidated building ran a great wide stone chimney
that reared its head through the gabled roof like a leaning Tower of
Pisa. To this chimney led the wires from the windmill.

"A secret wireless station!" exclaimed Jack to himself. "Undoubtedly
in the hands of the Germans and being used by them in the direction
of their U-boat fleets in the North Sea!" The boy's pulses quickened
at the thought.

Like an Indian on the trail he wormed his way forward until he came
at last within ten feet of the windmill. There was a window before
him. Slowly and cautiously he drew himself up to one side of the
casement and then peered in through the latticed shutter.

At a table, on which was spread out the wireless apparatus, was a
uniformed figure. A helmet lay on the floor and the man's head was
bowed in his arms. He was asleep. A lantern hung on the wall toward
the canal side and cast a dim flicker over the cramped interior of
the place. Stretching himself up on tiptoe, Jack surveyed the room,
but noted not another person in sight.

Quick as a flash the lad withdrew from the window. His plan of action
now was clear. He must get control of that wireless key and flash a
message to the United States fleet in the North Sea!

Stealthily he began to circle the stone structure. Momentarily he
expected to hear the challenge of a sentry; but he was not molested.

In a few moments his foot touched a large flat stone step before a
half closed doorway through which the light of the lantern cast its
flickering rays. Jack looked about him for a weapon of some kind
and noted a long piece of two-by-four that apparently had been used
to prop open the door of the wireless station. Stooping over he drew
the club toward him and then turned to face the door and the danger
that lay beyond it.

Fearlessly but with the lithe movement of the crafty panther Jack
stepped across the threshold. As he did so the German wireless
operator stirred in his sleep, lifted his head and gazed full upon
the American youth. With a snarl of rage and a muttered curse the
burly Teuton sprang to his feet and reached for a heavy revolver
that lay on the table.

But Jack was too quick for him. With a long leap forward and a
smashing blow he brought the heavy stick of wood down upon the head
of the surprised operator. The German sank in his chair and slipped
to the floor, the revolver rolling off the table with a loud clatter.

Pausing only long enough to note that his captive was completely
knocked out by the blow, the Yankee lad sprang to the wireless and
opened the key. Now he was grateful for the wireless instruction
good old Sammy Smith had given him back there on the _Dewey_.

"Z-z-z-z-z-z!" the wires snapped with their message, as he flashed
forth the code call of the United States fleet.

Would he be heard? Was there any vessel within range that would
pick up his random call. For five minutes the boy rattled away
and then closed the key to listen. What was his joy to get an almost
immediate response. It was the U.S.S. _Farragut_, a destroyer,
reporting her position and asking what was wanted.

In rapid-fire reply Jack related the sinking of the _Dewey_, gave her
latitude and longitude, and urged immediate assistance.

"But where in the world are you sending your radio message from?" came
the query out of the sky.

"In a German wireless station on the Belgian coast just about six miles
south-----"

But the message was never finished, for at that moment Jack heard a
slight movement behind him and turned to look into the revolver of a
bulky German who, in broken English, commanded the American to surrender!

CHAPTER XVII

UP FROM THE DEPTHS

Back in the hold of the sunken submarine whence Jack Hammond had made
his miraculous escape, stirring scenes were being enacted. Not a man
in the crew but envied Jack in his daring attempt to get away; every
man realized that soon it would be his turn. Either he must follow
the example of the one who had gone or face the alternate of a slow
and horrible death.

Ted Wainwright and Bill Witt were speculating on the fate of their chum.

"I hope he made it all right," sighed Ted after a long period of
silence that had followed the discharge of the "human torpedo."
Gloom pervaded the chamber of steel; every man was at the point of
despair.

"He's a good swimmer; he proved that when he plucked 'Little Mack'
out of the sea the day we ran afoul of that floating German mine,"
countered Bill. "If we are as near the land as Lieutenant Mcclure
thinks we are, then Jack will make it sure as anything."

Chief interest centered in the wireless room where Sammy Smith was
listening at the microphone. If, perchance, Jack had made the surface
and succeeded in arresting the attention of the passing vessel, then
the microphones would reveal the approach of the returning ship.

But, as Smith listened intently, the sound of the revolving propeller
blades gradually diminished and the commander and crew of the _Dewey_
knew only too well that either Jack had lost his life in the venture
or had been unnoticed as he floated in the sea.

"There don't appear to be anything doing up above," ventured Mike
Mowrey as he glided up alongside the two boys.

"Guess not," faltered Ted. "We seem to be right up against it."

All hope of rescue was abandoned. For nearly thirty-six hours now
the _Dewey_ had remained under water. Her crew of men, breathing over
and over again the same supply of air, were rapidly exhausting the
life-sustaining reserves of oxygen. Little by little the precious
stores had been liberated until now very little remained. Many of
the men were coughing asthmatically; several were languishing in a
dumb stupor from the fetid air.

Ted could not help turning his attention to the huge ventilator shaft
that fed fresh air into the _Dewey_ when she was cruising on the
surface. He remembered well that first undersea dive back home in
an American port when he and Jack had discussed the possibilities
of ever being lost on the bottom of the sea with the ship's air
supply cut off. Now he was face to face with that very situation.
The thought chilled his blood and he found it very hard to be brave
under the circumstances.

Jean Cartier, his face blanched and his hair ruffled, appeared in the
torpedo compartment, the picture of dismay.

"It ees ze veery hard thing to breathe back there," he gasped, pointing
over his shoulder toward the engine room aft.

Almost immediately the boys forward could hear Commander Mcclure
giving orders to open the reserve oxygen tanks. Under the emergency
measures adopted living conditions were for the time greatly relieved;
but every man aboard knew this relief was but temporary and realized
that in twenty-four hours more at the most the supply of oxygen
would be entirely exhausted.

The morning wore on to noon and mess was served to a crew of men who
cared little to eat. Grim disaster stared them in the face.

The meal over, Commander McClure called a council of his aides in the
control chamber. It lasted ten minutes, at the end of which time
"Little Mack" sent word to Chief Engineer Blaine to assemble all his
men with the remainder of the crew in the torpedo compartment. One
by one they came forward in response to the call until the entire
crew was assembled. Then the submarine skipper stepped forward.

"Men of the _Dewey_," he began, in slow even tones, "I want first of
all to thank every man here for the splendid work he has done since
we left God's country. We have established a record that, whether
we live or die, will become an essential part of the history of the
United States. The crew that we started with is intact, save for
one brave man---Jack Hammond---who, on his own petition, was the
first to be shot out of our stranded submersible in hopes that he
might bring us succor. What has happened to him it is impossible to
say, but what he has done, you can do, and it is the only thing you
can do." He spoke hopelessly. "I have tried every means I can
think of to float the _Dewey_, and we have been unable to move so
much as an inch. We are helpless---foundered. We are breathing
the last of our reserve stores of fresh air. By to-morrow morning
they will probably be exhausted, and you know what that means."

He paused for a moment amid a death-like silence, and then continued:

"There is but one course open to us. We shall draw lots. Then, in
turn, we shall attempt to make our escape while there is yet time.
Each man may have his own preference; you may either go out through
the torpedo tube as did Jack Hammond, or you may go through the
conning tower. Each man will please write his name on a slip of
paper and deposit it in this code book box. Officer Cleary will draw
the names from the box and Officer Binns will read them."

Slips of paper were produced by the ship's executive officer and
passed around the circle. Hardly a word was spoken during this
procedure, the usual debonair Bill Witt slouching against the hull
of the _Dewey_, a picture of abject despair. It took only a few
minutes to prepare the slips and they were collected by Officer
Cleary, who in turn deposited them in the code box. Captain McClure
stirred them around for a moment and then directed Officer Cleary to
begin drawing.

Every man in the group viewed the proceedings with a tense face. Not
a word was spoken as the executive officer thrust his hand into the
box and drew out the first slip and handed it to Officer Binns.

"Joe Sampson," read the navigating officer as he handed the slip
to Commander McClure, who, with pencil and paper, was ready to write
the names of his men as they were drawn. Joe was one of the
electricians, a boy of nineteen from New York who had shipped on
the _Dewey_ with Jack and Ted.

The drawing continued until every name had been polled. Mike Mowrey
was second on the list, Officer Binns third. Bill Witt was drawn as
No. 7 and Ted as No. 16.

"But where is your name?" asked Executive Officer Cleary, turning to
his chief.

"Little Mack" merely smiled and made no reply.

And then it dawned upon Ted, who suddenly realized that the name of
his gallant chief had not been called in the lottery. "Little Mack"
had purposely withheld his own name and meant to be the last man in
the _Dewey_ after every other man had gone!

There was a commotion in the excited group as various members of the
crew sought to take exception to their captain's voluntary omission
of his own name. But the young lieutenant held up his hand for silence.

"I am the captain of this ship and take orders, from no man," he
announced bravely. "One man has to stay behind and I reserve that
honor for myself."

He paused for an instant and then added:

"The first man will go out at three o'clock to-morrow morning. We
shall have to get busy at that time before we have exhausted the
compressed air that yet remains in our tanks. It will require
considerable pound pressure for this job and we might as well be
at it while there is yet time. As near as I can estimate we are
not more than a mile off shore. Once afloat, I would advise each
of you to swim for land and take your chances there. That's all."

And with a wave of his hand he dismissed his men.

The hours dragged on into the afternoon and evening. Some of the men
crouched alone in their quarters, facing in solitude the impending
ordeal; others conversed together in low tones debating how they would
choose their method of escape. Bill Witt, true to his inherent
optimism, toted out his old banjo.

"Old Black Joe," he sang, and all the old familiar home songs. And
then, while some of the braver spirits were singing he swung into
"The Star Spangled Banner."

Instantly every man was on his feet and standing at attention. Thus
they stood until Bill picked his way through to "the home of the brave."

Yes, the "home of the brave!" Here were sons of Uncle Sam, wrecked on
the bottom of the sea, exemplifying that bravery that has characterized
the boys of our army and navy in every stage of our history. Not a
man in the _Dewey_ but was inspired by the grand old song and steeled
to die bravely for Old Glory if necessary and uphold the fair
traditions of the U.S. Navy.

From that moment the mental atmosphere within the _Dewey_ was cleared.
Inspired by the national anthem, every man resolved that now, do or
die, he would perform his part bravely.

"Where do we go from here, boys?" Bill started to play, and immediately
a dozen lusty voices joined in the rag-time refrain.

So the merriment continued over evening mess and into the evening. Ted
had strolled into the torpedo room absent-mindedly and was leaning
with one arm over one of the torpedoes in the starboard rack when
suddenly there flashed through his mind a wild inspiration. Instantly
he straightened and gazed about him. One at a time he counted the
torpedoes in the hold of the _Dewey_. There were three loaded in the
tubes and two more in the port and starboard racks.

"I'll do it, I'll do it," he shouted aloud and raced aft immediately
to the control chamber where his commander sat writing at an improvised
table.

Lieutenant McClure turned as Ted stopped and came to a salute.

"If you please, sir," Ted began, "I've been hatching a crazy kind of
a notion in my mind. I'd like to offer it in the way of a suggestion,
if you don't mind, sir."

"Go ahead, lad," said "Little Mack" with a show of interest.

"All right, sir," replied Ted. "There are five torpedoes aboard the
_Dewey_. It occurred to me that you might load all four tubes. Start
the engines and reverse them and then when we are tugging with all our
might shoot out the four torpedoes one after the other in rapid
succession. We'll lighten our load a lot and the kick of the firing
may drag us off. That's all, sir, but it was just an idea and I
couldn't help telling you, sir."

The captain of the _Dewey_ sat bold upright in his chair.

"I never thought of trying such a plan. I'll try it---I'll try it,"
he shouted.

"Little Mack" jumped to his feet and pressed the buzzer for his
executive officer. In a moment Officer Cleary appeared and the plan
was unfolded to him.

In quicker time than it takes to relate it, the _Dewey's_ commander
had sent orders forward for Mike Mowrey to load the torpedo tubes
and for Chief Engineer Blaine to get his engines in motion.

"What's up?" cried Bill Witt as Ted came bouncing into the torpedo
room.

"Wait a moment and you'll see," replied Ted.

From the engine room aft came the purr of the motors as the last
precious stores of "juice" were turned into the engines and the
propellor shafts began to revolve amid the hum of machinery.

"Reverse and back away at full speed," was the next order flashed to
the engine room.

And then, while the _Dewey_ was straining in every steel sinew, her
commander reached forward and touched off the four torpedoes in rapid
succession.

The little submersible seemed torn by an internal explosion. As each
torpedo shot out into the water the vessel shook under the force of
the explosion, rocking to and fro under the concussion.

"We're off; we're off," shouted McClure as he bent over the depth
dial. The hands of the indicator began to spin around and the _Dewey_,
relieved of every pound of ballast, shot upward like a rocket.

"Hurrah, hurrah!" the cry reverberated through the ship.

In another two minutes the American submarine had gained the surface,
her hatches were thrown open and the men swarmed out on deck---to
life and freedom!

CHAPTER XVIII

IN THE RAT'S NEST

Trapped in the German wireless station with a burly Prussian at the
other end of the business-looking revolver, Jack Hammond was
completely at the mercy of his captor. For a moment the American
lad debated in his mind the advisability of knocking the weapon out
of the hand of the German; but he noted the forefinger firmly
pressed on the trigger and knew full well the least show of resistance
would take him out of life altogether.

"Where come you from?" asked the German in his best and gruffest English.

Jack declined to answer, but instead sat staring insolently at the
towering figure. His reply was a shrug of the shoulders.

From the wireless operator on the floor came a low moan as he slowly
regained consciousness. The fellow had been merely stunned. Now
he rolled over and struggled into a sitting posture.

The two Germans conversed together for a few minutes in their own
language. Jack, who had studied German at Brighton before the war,
was able to gather from their conversation that the wireless operator
was telling his companion of the surprise attack. Soon the wireless
man was able to get upon his feet and as he did so glowered at Jack
as though he would like to leap upon him.

Again they tried to question him; but he refused to answer their
questions. This only angered them the more. The wireless operator
shuffled over to a closet in the corner and returned in a moment with
a coil of rope which he handed to his superior, who was apparently the
officer of the guard.

"Sit down in that chair," commanded the German officer.

At that he thrust a revolver under Jack's ear and motioned with his
other arm for the American to wheel around facing the wireless with
his back to the door. Securely they bound him to the chair. His
arms and legs were pinioned so tightly that the rope cut into his
flesh. One of them now withdrew from the room and the other remained
on guard at the door. Every once in a while the German officer on
guard walked over to Jack and glared at him with a fiendish sort of
grin; kicking at the boy's bound legs and brandishing his revolver
in a menacing fashion.

"B-z-z-z-z," the wireless began to talk. But not for long, for the
German on guard, who apparently knew little about the operation of
the wireless apparatus, scurried over to the table and, after
fumbling about for a moment madly and in haste, succeeded eventually
in shutting off the key and stopping the flow of words that had
been filtering in over the wires. But not before Jack, alert to the
message in code that he had heard, was able to translate in part.
As near as Jack could make out it was the U.S. destroyer _Farragut_
speaking a United States battleship in the North Sea at something
like seventy-five miles away. But now the wireless was stopped and
the lad sat helplessly in the power of the enemy.

After about twenty minutes' wait Jack heard the sound of approaching
footsteps outside and the clink of accoutrements that denoted the
approach of an armed body of some sort. The sentry at the door came
to attention and saluted the leader of a file of some ten men who
halted and set their guns down with a thud that Jack could plainly
hear in the wireless station. There was a short exchange of words
at the door and then the commander of the detail stalked over and
took a look at the prisoner. Jack looked up to see before him a
brawny German in the uniform of a lieutenant of the Imperial German
Navy.

"Who are you?" the officer demanded.

Jack shook his head in reply.

"How did you get here?" came the command more sharply.

Still Jack kept silence.

"Search him!" ordered the officer, and after a search that revealed
nothing, he added in German:

"Take him away---we'll go into his record later. He's only a boy anyhow,
and boy spies are not worth bothering about in this man's war."

Jack was marched off to the canal bank and, following the towpath for
a time, the party reached a small fishing village of not more than
thirty or forty huts built upon the banks of a stream that Jack
realized immediately was the same waterway up which he had made his
way to the wireless station. Now he was a mile or more inland from
the lagoon and the seacoast.

In the water, moored alongside a wharf, was a huge submarine---one of
the latest type of U-boat. This, no doubt, was its hiding place and
the rendezvous of other U-boats. Like a flash it occurred to the
American boy that he had penetrated, or rather had been escorted, into
the heart of one of the submarine bases.

"If I ever get out of this mess," he resolved to himself, "I'll put
Uncle Sam wise to this rat hole."

Down into the village he was led and directly to the headquarters of
the base officer. The party paused before a cottage that once had
been the happy home of a Belgian fisherman. The German lieutenant
tapped him on the shoulder and motioned for him to follow. In a
moment Jack was ushered into the presence of a corpulent German
naval captain with sleepy eyes, who looked without interest at the
youthful prisoner and yawned as he heard the story of the capture.

"Shoot the wireless man who fell asleep," he drawled. "Lock up the
boy for the present. I'm not in the mood to cross examine a young
spy." And yawning again he waved dismissal.

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