Part 2 out of 3
"I can't tell you now. Perhaps I may later. But if you
don't mind, walk a little faster, please. I want to get to a
"I have just overheard something that I wish to
communicate to my employers, Bentley & Eagert."
"Overheard something? I don't see what it could be, unless
"You'll learn in good time," went on the submarine agent.
"But I must telephone at once."
A little later the two men had reached a trolley line that
ran into Atlantis, and they arrived at the city before Mr.
Damon and Tom got there, as the latter had to go by a
circuitous route. Mr. Berg lost no time in calling up his
firm by telephone.
"I have had another talk with Mr. Swift," he reported to
Mr. Bentley, who came to the instrument in Philadelphia.
"Well, what does he say?" was the impatient question. "I
can't understand his not wanting to try for the Government
prize. It is astonishing. You said you were going to
discover the reason, Mn Berg, but you haven't done so."
"What is it?"
"Well, the reason Mr. Swift and his son don't care to try
for the fifty thousand dollar prize is that they are after
one of three hundred thousand dollars."
"Three hundred thousand dollars!" cried Mr, Bentley. "What
government is going to offer such a prize as that for
submarines, when they are getting almost as common as
airships? We ought to have a try for that ourselves. What
government is it?"
"No government at all. But I think we ought to have a try
for it, Mr. Bentley."
"Well, I have just learned, most accidentally, that the
Swifts are going after sunken treasure--three hundred
thousand dollars in gold bullion."
"Sunken treasure? Where?
"I don't know exactly, but off the coast of Uruguay," and
Mr. Berg rapidly related what he had overheard Tom tell Mr.
Damon. Mr. Bentley was much excited and impatient for more
details, but his agent could not give them to him.
"Well," concluded the senior member of the firm of
submarine boat builders, "if the Swifts are going after
treasure, so can we. Come to Philadelphia at once, Mr. Berg,
and we'll talk this matter over. There is no time to lose.
We can afford to forego the Government prize for the chance
of getting a much larger one. We have as much right to
search for the sunken gold as the Swifts have. Come here at
once, and we will make our plans."
"All right," agreed the agent with a smile as he hung up
the receiver. "I guess," he murmured to himself, "that you
won't be so high and mighty with me after this, Tom Swift.
We'll see who has the best boat, after all. We'll have a
contest and a competition, but not for a government prize.
It will be for the sunken gold."
It was easy to see that Mr. Berg was much pleased with
Meanwhile, Tom and Mr. Damon had reached Atlantis, and had
purchased the oil. They started back, but Tom took a street
leading toward the center of the place, instead of striking
for the beach path, along which they had come.
"Where are you going?" asked Mr. Damon.
"I want to see if that Andy Foger has come back here,"
replied the lad, and he told of having been shut in the tank
by the bully.
"I've never properly punished him for that trick," he went
on, "though we did manage to burst his auto tires. I'm
curious to know how he knew enough to turn that gear and
shut the tank door. He must have been loitering near the
shop, seen me go in the submarine alone, watched his chance
and sneaked in after me. But I'd like to get a complete
explanation, and if I once got hold of Andy I could make him
talk," and Tom clenched his fist in a manner that augured no
good for the squint-eyed lad. "He was stopping at the same
hotel with Mr. Berg, and be hurried away after the trick he
played on me. I next saw him in Shopton, but I thought
perhaps he might have come back here. I'm going to inquire
at the hotel," he added.
Andy's name was not on the register since his hasty
flight, however, and Tom, after inquiring from the clerk and
learning that Mr. Berg was still a guest at the hostelry,
rejoined Mr. Damon.
"Bless my hat!" exclaimed that eccentric individual as
they started back to the lonely beach where the submarine
was awaiting her advent into the water. "The more I think
of the trip I'm going to take, the more I like it."
"I hope you will," remarked Tom. "It will be a new
experience for all of us. There's only one thing worrying
me, and that is about Mr. Berg having overheard what I
"Oh, don't worry about that. Can't we slip away and leave
no trace in the water?"
"I hope so, but I must tell dad and Mr. Sharp about what
The aged inventor was not a little alarmed at what his son
related, but he agreed with Mr. Damon, whom he heartily
welcomed, that little was to be apprehended from Berg and
"They know we're after a sunken wreck, but that's all they
do know," said Tom's father. "We are only waiting for the
arrival of Captain Alden Weston, and then we will go. Even
if Bentley & Eagert make a try for the treasure we'll have
the start of them, and this will be a case of first come,
first served. Don't worry, Tom. I'm glad you're going, Mn
Damon. Come, I will show you our submarine."
As father and son, with their guest, were going to the
machine shop, Mr. Sharp met them. He had a letter in his
"Good news!" the balloonist cried. "Captain Weston will be
with us to-morrow. He will arrive at the Beach Hotel in
Atlantis, and wants one of us to meet him there. He has
considerable information about the wreck."
"The Beach Hotel," murmured Tom. "That is where Mr. Berg
is stopping. I hope he doesn't worm any of our secret from
Captain Weston," and it was with a feeling of uneasiness
that the young inventor continued after his father and Mr.
Damon to where the submarine was.
Captain Weston's Advent
"Bless my water ballast, but that certainly is a fine boat!"
cried Mr. Damon, when he had been shown over the new craft.
"I think I shall feel even safer in that than in the Red Cloud."
"Oh, don't go back on the airship!" exclaimed Mn Sharp. "I
was counting on taking you on another trip."
"Well, maybe after we get back from under the ocean,"
agreed Mr. Damon. "I particularly like the cabin
arrangements of the Advance. I think I shall enjoy myself."
He would be hard to please who could not take pleasure
from a trip in the submarine. The cabin was particularly
fine, and the sleeping arrangements were good.
More supplies could be carried than was possible on the
airship, and there was more room in which to cook and serve
food. Mr. Damon was fond of good living, and the kitchen
pleased him as much as anything else.
Early the next morning Tom set out for Atlantis, to meet
Captain Weston at the hotel. The young inventor inquired of
the clerk whether the seafaring man had arrived, and was
told that he had come the previous evening.
"Is he in his room?" asked Tom.
"No," answered the clerk with a peculiar grin. "He's an
odd character. Wouldn't go to bed last night until we had
every window in his room open, though it was blowing quite
hard, and likely to storm. The captain said he was used to
plenty of fresh air. Well, I guess he got it, all right."
"Where is he now?" asked the youth, wondering what sort of
an individual he was to meet.
"Oh, he was up before sunrise, so some of the scrubwomen
told me. They met him coming from his room, and he went
right down to the beach with a big telescope he always
carries with him. He hasn't come back yet. Probably he's
down on the sand."
"Hasn't he had breakfast?"
"No. He left word he didn't want to eat until about four
bells, whatever time that is."
"It's ten o'clock," replied Tom, who had been studying up
on sea terms lately. "Eight bells is eight o'clock in the
morning, or four in the afternoon or eight at night,
according to the time of day. Then there's one bell for
every half hour, so four bells this morning would be ten
o'clock in this watch, I suppose."
"Oh, that's the way it goes, eh?" asked the clerk. "I
never could get it through my head. What is twelve o'clock
"That's eight bells, too; so is twelve o'clock midnight.
Eight bells is as high as they go on a ship. But I guess
I'll go down and see if I can meet the captain. It will soon
be ten o'clock, or four bells, and he must be hungry for
breakfast. By the way, is that Mr. Berg still here?"
"No; he went away early this morning. He and Captain
Weston seemed to strike up quite an acquaintance, the night
clerk told me. They sat and smoked together until long after
midnight, or eight bells," and the clerk smiled as he
glanced down at the big diamond ring on his little finger.
"They did?" fairly exploded Tom, for he had visions of
what the wily Mr. Berg might worm out of the simple captain.
"Yes. Why, isn't the captain a proper man to make friends
with?" and the clerk looked at Tom curiously.
"Oh, yes, of course," was the hasty answer. "I guess I'll
go and see if I can find him--the captain, I mean."
Tom hardly knew what to think. He wished his father, or
Mr. Sharp, had thought to warn Captain Weston against
talking of the wreck. It might be too late now.
The young inventor hurried to the beach, which was not far
from the hotel. He saw a solitary figure pacing up and down,
and from the fact that the man stopped, every now and then,
and gazed seaward through a large telescope, the lad
concluded it was the captain for whom he was in search. He
approached, his footsteps making no sound on the sand. The
man was still gazing through the glass.
"Captain Weston?" spoke Tom.
Without a show of haste, though the voice must have
startled him, the captain turned. Slowly he lowered the
telescope, and then he replied softly:
"That's my name. Who are you, if I may ask?"
Tom was struck, more than by anything else, by the gentle
voice of the seaman. He had prepared himself, from the
description of Mr. Sharp, to meet a gruff, bewhiskered
individual, with a voice like a crosscut saw, and a rolling
gait. Instead he saw a man of medium size, with a smooth
face, merry blue eyes, and the softest voice and gentlest
manner imaginable. Tom was very much disappointed. He had
looked for a regular sea-dog, and he met a landsman, as he
said afterward. But it was not long before our hero changed
his mind regarding Captain Weston.
"I'm Tom Swift," the owner of that name said, "and I have
been sent to show you the way to where our ship is ready to
launch." The young inventor refrained from mentioning
submarine, as it was the wish of Mn Sharp to disclose this
feature of the voyage to the sailor himself.
"Ha, I thought as much," resumed the captain quietly.
"It's a fine day, if I may be permitted to say so," and he
seemed to hesitate, as if there was some doubt whether or
not he might make that observation.
"It certainly is," agreed the lad. Then, with a smile he
added: "It is nearly eight bells."
"Ha!" exclaimed the captain, also smiling, but even his
manner of saying "Ha!" was less demonstrative than that of
most persons. "I believe I am getting hungry, if I may be
allowed the remark," and again he seemed asking Tom's pardon
for mentioning the fact.
"Perhaps you will come back to the cabin and have a little
breakfast with me," he went on. "I don't know what sort of a
galley or cook they have aboard the Beach Hotel, but it
can't be much worse than some I've tackled."
"No, thank you," answered the youth. "I've had my
breakfast. But I'll wait for you, and then I'd like to get
back. Dad and Mr. Sharp are anxious to meet you."
"And I am anxious to meet them, if you don't mind me
mentioning it," was the reply, as the captain once more put
the spyglass to his eye and took an observation. "Not many
sails in sight this morning," he added. "But the weather is
fine, and we ought to get off in good shape to hunt for the
treasure about which Mr. Sharp wrote me. I believe we are
going after treasure, he said; "that is, if you don't mind
talking about it."
"Not in the least," replied Tom quickly, thinking this a
good opportunity for broaching a subject that was worrying
him. "Did you meet a Mr. Berg here last night, Captain
Weston?" he went on.
"Yes. Mr. Berg and I had quite a talk. He is a well-
"Did he mention the sunken treasure?" asked the lad, eager
to find out if his suspicions were true.
"Yes, he did, if you'll excuse me putting it so plainly,"
answered the seaman, as if Tom might be offended at so
direct a reply. But the young inventor was soon to learn
that this was only an odd habit with the seaman.
"Did he want to know where the wreck of the Boldero was
located?" continued the lad. "That is, did he try to
discover if you knew anything about it?"
"Yes," said Mr. Weston, "he did. He pumped me, if you are
acquainted with that term, and are not offended by it. You
see, when I arrived here I made inquiries as to where your
father's place was located. Mr. Berg overheard me, and
introduced himself as agent for a shipbuilding concern. He
was very friendly, and when he said he knew you and your
parent, I thought he was all right."
Tom's heart sank. His worst fears were to be realized, he
"Yes, he and I talked considerable, if I may be permitted
to say so," went on the captain. "He seemed to know about
the wreck of the Boldero, and that she had three hundred
thousand dollars in gold aboard. The only thing he didn't
know was where the wreck was located. He knew it was off
Uruguay somewhere, but just where he couldn't say. So he
asked me if I knew, since he must have concluded that I was
going with you on the gold-hunting expedition."
"And you do know, don't you?" asked Tom eagerly.
"Well, I have it pretty accurately charted out, if you
will allow me that expression," was the calm answer. "I took
pains to look it up at the request of Mr. Sharp."
"And he wanted to worm that information out of you?"
inquired the youth excitedly.
"Yes, I'm afraid he did."
"Did you give him the location?"
"Well," remarked the captain, as he took another
observation before closing up the telescope, "you see, while
we were talking, I happened to drop a copy of a map I'd
made, showing the location of the wreck. Mr. Berg picked it
up to hand to me, and he looked at it."
"Oh!" cried Tom. "Then he knows just where the treasure
is, and he may get to it ahead of us. It's too bad."
"Yes," continued the seaman calmly, "Mr. Berg picked up
that map, and he looked very closely at the latitude and
longitude I had marked as the location of the wreck."
"Then he won't have any trouble finding it," murmured our
"Eh? What's that?" asked the captain, "if I may be
permitted to request you to repeat what you said."
"I say he won't have any trouble locating the sunken
Boldero," repeated Tom.
"Oh, but I think he will, if he depends on that map," was
the unexpected reply. "You see," explained Mr. Weston, "I'm
not so simple as I look. I sensed what Mr. Berg was after,
the minute he began to talk to me. So I fixed up a little
game on him. The map which I dropped on purpose, not
accidentally, where he would see it, did have the location
of the wreck marked. Only it didn't happen to be the right
location. It was about five hundred miles out of the way,
and I rather guess if Mr. Berg and his friends go there for
treasure they'll find considerable depth of water and quite
a lonesome spot. Oh, no, I'm not as easy as I look, if you
don't mind me mentioning that fact; and when a scoundrel
sets out to get the best of me, I generally try to turn the
tables on him. I've seen such men as Mr. Berg before. I'm
afraid, I'm very much afraid, the sight he had of the fake
map I made won't do him much good. Well, I declare, it's
past four bells. Let's go to breakfast, if you don't mind me
asking you," and with that the captain started off up the
beach, Tom following, his ideas all a whirl at the unlooked-
for outcome of the interview.
Trial of the Submarine
Tom felt such a relief at hearing of Captain Weston's ruse
that his appetite, sharpened by an early breakfast and the
sea air, came to him with a rush, and he had a second
morning meal with the odd sea captain, who chuckled heartily
when he thought of how Mn Berg had been deceived.
"Yes," resumed Captain Weston, over his bacon and eggs, "I
sized him up for a slick article as soon as I laid eyes on
him. But he evidently misjudged me, if I may be permitted
that term. Oh, well, we may meet again, after we secure the
treasure, and then I can show him the real map of the
location of the wreck."
"Then you have it?" inquired the lad eagerly.
Captain Weston nodded, before hiding his face behind a
large cup of coffee; his third, by the way.
"Let me see it?" asked Tom quickly. The captain set down
his cup. He looked carefully about the hotel dining-room.
There were several guests, who, like himself, were having a
"It's a good plan," the sailor said slowly, "when you're
going into unknown waters, and don't want to leave a wake
for the other fellow to follow, to keep your charts locked
up. If it's all the same to you," he added diffidently, "I'd
rather wait until we get to where your father and Mr. Sharp
are before displaying the real map. I've no objection to
showing you the one Mr. Berg saw," and again he chuckled.
The young inventor blushed at his indiscretion. He felt
that the news of the search for the treasure had leaked out
through him, though he was the one to get on the trail of it
by seeing the article in the paper. Now he had nearly been
guilty of another break. He realized that he must be more
cautious. The captain saw his confusion, and said:
"I know how it is. You're eager to get under way. I don't
blame you. I was the same myself when I was your age. But
we'll soon be at your place, and then I'll tell you all I
know. Sufficient now, to say that I believe I have located
the wreck within a few miles. I got on the track of a sailor
who had met one of the shipwrecked crew of the Boldero, and
he gave me valuable information. Now tell me about the
craft we are going in. A good deal depends on that."
Tom hardly knew what to answer. He recalled what Mr. Sharp
had said about not wanting to tell Captain Weston, until
the last moment, that they were going in a submarine, for
fear the old seaman (for he was old in point of service
though not in years) might not care to risk an under-water
trip. Therefore Tom hesitated. Seeing it, Captain Weston
"I mean, what type is your submarine? Does it go by
compressed air, or water power?"
"How do you know it's a submarine?" asked the young
inventor quickly, and in some confusion.
"Easy enough. When Mr. Berg thought he was pumping me, I
was getting a lot of information from him. He told me about
the submarine his firm was building, and, naturally, he
mentioned yours. One thing led to another until I got a
pretty good idea of your craft. What do you call it?"
"Good name. I like it, if you don't mind speaking of it."
"We were afraid you wouldn't like it," commented Tom.
"What, the name?,'
"No, the idea of going in a submarine."
"Oh," and Captain Weston laughed. "Well, it takes more
than that to frighten me, if you'll excuse the expression.
I've always had a hankering to go under the surface, after
so many years spent on top. Once or twice I came near going
under, whether I wanted to or not, in wrecks, but I think I
prefer your way. Now, if you're all done, and don't mind me
speaking of it, I think we'll start for your place. We must
hustle, for Berg may yet get on our trail, even if he has
got the wrong route," and he laughed again.
It was no small relief to Mn Swift and Mr. Sharp to learn
that Captain Weston had no objections to a submarine, as
they feared he might have. The captain, in his diffident
manner, made friends at once with the treasure-hunters, and
he and Mr. Damon struck up quite an acquaintance. Tom told
of his meeting with the seaman, and the latter related, with
much gusto, the story of how he had fooled Mr. Berg.
"Well, perhaps you'd like to come and take a look at the
craft that is to be our home while we're beneath the water,"
suggested Mr. Swift and the sailor assenting, the aged
inventor, with much pride, assisted by Tom, pointed out on
the Advance the features of interest. Captain Weston gave
hearty approval, making one or two minor suggestions, which
were carried out.
"And so you launch her to-morrow," he concluded, when he
had completed the inspection "Well, I hope it's a success,
if I may be permitted to say so."
There were busy times around the machine shop next day. So
much secrecy had been maintained that none of the residents,
or visitors to the coast resort, were aware that in their
midst was such a wonderful craft as the submarine. The last
touches were put on the under-water ship; the ways, leading
from the shop to the creek, were well greased, and all was
in readiness for the launching. The tide would soon be at
flood, and then the boat would slide down the timbers (at
least, that was the hope of all), and would float in the
element meant to receive her. It was decided that no one
should be aboard when the launching took place, as there was
an element of risk attached, since it was not known just how
buoyant the craft was. It was expected she would float,
until the filled tanks took her to the bottom, but there was
"It will be flood tide now in ten minutes," remarked
Captain Weston quietly, looking at his watch. Then he took
an observation through the telescope. "No hostile ships
hanging in the offing," he reported. "All is favorable, if
you don't mind me saying so," and he seemed afraid lest his
remark might give offense.
"Get ready," ordered Mr. Swift. "Tom, see that the ropes
are all clear," for it had been decided to ease the Advance
down into the water by means of strong cables and
windlasses, as the creek was so narrow that the submarine,
if launched in the usual way, would poke her nose into the
opposite mud bank and stick there.
"All clear," reported the young inventor.
"High tide!" exclaimed the captain a moment later,
snapping shut his watch.
"Let go!" ordered Mr. Swift, and the various windlasses
manned by the inventor, Tom and the others began to unwind
their ropes. Slowly the ship slid along the greased ways.
Slowly she approached the water. How anxiously they all
watched her! Nearer and nearer her blunt nose, with the
electric propulsion plate and the auxiliary propeller, came
to the creek, the waters of which were quiet now, awaiting
the turn of the tide.
Now little waves lapped the steel sides. It was the first
contact of the Advance with her native element.
"Pay out the rope faster!" cried Mr. Swift.
The windlasses were turned more quickly Foot by foot the
craft slid along until, with a final rush, the stern left
the ways and the submarine was afloat. Now would come the
test. Would she ride on an even keel, or sink out of sight,
or turn turtle? They all ran to the water's edge, Tom in the
"Hurrah!" suddenly yelled the lad, trying to stand on his
head. "She floats! She's a success! Come on! Let's get
For, true enough, the Advance was riding like a duck on
the water. She had been proportioned just right, and her
lines were perfect. She rode as majestically as did any ship
destined to sail on the surface, and not intended to do
"Come on, we must moor her to the pier," directed Mr.
Sharp. "The tide will turn in a few minutes and take her out
He and Tom entered a small boat, and soon the submarine
was tied to a small dock that had been built for the
"Now to try the engine," suggested Mr. Swift, who was
almost trembling with eagerness; for the completion of the
ship meant much to him.
"One moment," begged Captain Weston. "If you don't mind,
I'll take an observation," he went on, and he swept the
horizon with his telescope. "All clear," he reported. "I
think we may go aboard and make a trial trip."
Little time was lost in entering the cabin and engine-
room, Garret Jackson accompanying the party to aid with the
machinery. It did not take long to start the motors, dynamos
and the big gasolene engine that was the vital part of the
craft. A little water was admitted to the tanks for ballast,
since the food and other supplies were not yet on board. The
Advance now floated with the deck aft of the conning tower
showing about two feet above the surface of the creek. Mr.
Swift and Tom entered the pilot house.
"Start the engines," ordered the aged inventor, "and we'll
try my new system of positive and negative electrical
There was a hum and whir in the body of the ship beneath
the feet of Tom and his father. Captain Weston stood on the
little deck near the conning tower.
"All ready?" asked the youth through the
speaking tube to Mr. Sharp and Mr. Jackson in
"All ready," came the answer.
Tom threw over the connecting lever, while his father
grasped the steering wheel. The Advance shot forward, moving
swiftly along, about half submerged.
"She goes! She goes!" cried Tom
"She certainly does, if I may be permitted to say so," was
the calm contribution of Captain Weston. "I congratulate
Faster and faster went the new craft. Mr. Swift headed her
toward the open sea, but stopped just before passing out of
the creek, as he was not yet ready to venture into deep
"I want to test the auxiliary propellers," he said. After
a little longer trial of the electric propulsion plates,
which were found to work satisfactorily, sending the
submarine up and down the creek at a fast rate, the screws,
such as are used on most submarines, were put into gear.
They did well, but were not equal to the plates, nor was so
much expected of them.
"I am perfectly satisfied," announced Mr. Swift as he once
more headed the boat to sea. "I think, Captain Weston, you
had better go below now."
"Because I am going to completely submerge the craft. Tom,
close the conning tower door. Perhaps you will come in here
with us, Captain Weston, though it will be rather a tight
"Thank you, I will. I want to see how it feels to be in a
pilot house under water."
Tom closed the water-tight door of the conning tower. Word
was sent through the tube to the engine-room that a more
severe test of the ship was about to be made. The craft was
now outside the line of breakers and in the open sea.
"Is everything ready, Tom?" asked his father in a quiet
"Everything," replied the lad nervously, for the
anticipation of being about to sink below the surface was
telling on them all, even on the calm, old sea captain.
"Then open the tanks and admit the water," ordered Mr.
His son turned a valve and adjusted some levers. There was
a hissing sound, and the Advance began sinking. She was
about to dive beneath the surface of the ocean, and those
aboard her were destined to go through a terrible experience
before she rose again.
On the Ocean Bed
Lower and lower sank the submarine. There was a swirling
and foaming of the water as she went down, caused by the air
bubbles which the craft carried with her in her descent.
Only the top of the conning tower was out of water now, the
ocean having closed over the deck and the rounded back of
the boat. Had any one been watching they would have imagined
that an accident was taking place.
In the pilot house, with its thick glass windows, Tom, his
father and Captain Weston looked over the surface of the
ocean, which every minute was coming nearer and nearer to
"We'll be all under in a few seconds," spoke Tom in a
solemn voice, as he listened to the water hissing into the
"Yes, and then we can see what sort of progress we will
make," added Mr. Swift. "Everything is going fine, though,"
he went on cheerfully. "I believe I have a good boat."
"There is no doubt of it in my mind," remarked Captain
Weston, and Tom felt a little disappointed that the sailor
did not shout out some such expression as "Shiver my
timbers!" or "Keel-haul the main braces, there, you lubber!"
But Captain Weston was not that kind of a sailor, though his
usually quiet demeanor could be quickly dropped on
necessity, as Tom learned later.
A few minutes more and the waters closed over the top of
the conning tower. The Advance was completely submerged.
Through the thick glass windows of the pilot house the
occupants looked out into the greenish water that swirled
about them; but it could not enter. Then, as the boat went
lower, the light from above gradually died out, and the
semi-darkness gave place to gloom.
"Turn on the electrics and the searchlight, Tom," directed
There was the click of a switch, and the conning tower was
flooded with light. But as this had the effect of
preventing the three from peering out into the water, just
as one in a lighted room cannot look out into the night, Tom
shut them off and switched on the great searchlight. This
projected its powerful beams straight ahead and there, under
the ocean, was a pathway of illumination for the treasure-
"Fine!" cried Captain Weston, with more enthusiasm than he
had yet manifested. "That's great, if you don't mind me
mentioning it. How deep are we?"
Tom glanced at a gage on the side of the pilot tower.
"Only about sixty feet," he answered.
"Then don't go any deeper!" cried the captain hastily. "I
know these waters around here, and that's about all the
depth you've got. You'll be on the bottom in a minute."
"I intend to get on the bottom after a while," said Mr.
Swift, "but not here. I want to try for a greater distance
under water before I come to rest on the ocean's bed. But I
think we are deep enough for a test. Tom, close the tank
intake pipes and we'll see how the Advance will progress
when fully submerged."
The hissing stopped, and then, wishing to see how the
motors and other machinery would work, the aged inventor and
his son, accompanied by Captain Weston, descended from the
conning tower, by means of an inner stairway, to the
interior of the ship. The submarine could be steered and
managed from below or above. She was now floating about
sixty-five feet below the surface of the bay.
"Well, how do you like it?" asked Tom of Mr. Damon, as he
saw his friend in an easy chair in the living-room or main
cabin of the craft, looking out of one of the plate-glass
windows on the side.
"Bless my spectacles, it's the most wonderful thing I ever
dreamed of!" cried the queer character, as he peered at the
mass of water before him. "To think that I'm away down under
the surface, and yet as dry as a bone. Bless my necktie, but
it's great! What are we going to do now?"
"Go forward," replied the young inventor.
"Perhaps I had better make an observation," suggested
Captain Weston, taking his telescope from under his arm,
where he had carried it since entering the craft, and
opening it. "We may run afoul of something, if you don't
mind me mentioning such a disagreeable subject." Then, as he
thought of the impossibility of using his glass under water,
he closed it.
"I shall have little use for this here, I'm afraid," he
remarked with a smile. "Well, there's some consolation.
We're not likely to meet many ships in this part of the
ocean. Other vessels are fond enough of remaining on the
surface. I fancy we shall have the depths to ourselves,
unless we meet a Government submarine, and they are hardly
able to go as deep as we can. No, I guess we won't run into
anything and I can put this glass away."
"Unless we run into Berg and his crowd," suggested Tom in
a low voice.
"Ha! ha!" laughed Captain Weston, for he did not want Mr.
Swift to worry over the unscrupulous agent. "No, I don't
believe we'll meet them, Tom. I guess Berg is trying to work
out the longitude and latitude I gave him. I wish I could
see his face when he realizes that he's been deceived by
that fake map."
"Well, I hope he doesn't discover it too soon and trail
us," went on the lad. "But they're going to start the
machinery now. I suppose you and I had better take charge of
the steering of the craft. Dad will want to be in the
"All right," replied the captain, and he moved forward
with the lad to a small compartment, shut off from the
living-room, that served as a pilot house when the conning
tower was not used. The same levers, wheels and valves were
there as up above, and the submarine could be managed as
well from there as from the other place.
"Is everything all right?" asked Mn Swift as he went into
the engine-room, where Garret Jackson and Mr. Sharp were
busy with oil cans.
"Everything," replied the balloonist. "Are you going to
"Yes, we're deep enough for a speed trial. We'll go out to
sea, however, and try for a lower depth record, as soon as
there's enough water. Start the engine."
A moment later the powerful electric currents were flowing
into the forward and aft plates, and the Advance began to
gather way, forging through the water.
"Straight ahead, out to sea, Tom," called his father to
"Aye, aye, sir," responded the youth.
"Ha! Quite seaman-like, if you don't mind a reference to
it," commented Captain Weston with a smile. "Mind your helm,
boy, for you don't want to poke her nose into a mud bank, or
run up on a shoal."
"Suppose you steer?" suggested the lad. "I'd rather take
lessons for a while."
"All right. Perhaps it will be safer. I know these waters
from the top, though I can't say as much for the bottom.
However, I know where the shoals are."
The powerful searchlight was turned, so as to send its
beams along the path which the submarine was to follow, and
then, as she gathered speed, she shot ahead, gliding through
the waters like a fish.
Mr. Damon divided his time between the forward pilot-room,
the living-apartment, and the place where Mr. Swift, Garret
Jackson and Mr. Sharp were working over the engines. Every
few minutes he would bless some part of himself, his
clothing, or the ship. Finally the old man settled down to
look through the plate-glass windows in the main apartment.
On and on went the submarine. She behaved perfectly, and
was under excellent control. Some times Tom, at the request
of his father, would send her toward the surface by means of
the deflecting rudder. Then she would dive to the bottom
again. Once, as a test, she was sent obliquely to the
surface, her tower just emerging, and then she darted
downward again, like a porpoise that had come up to roll
over, and suddenly concluded to seek the depths. In fact,
had any one seen the maneuver they would have imagined the
craft was a big fish disporting itself.
Captain Weston remained at Tom's side, giving him
instructions, and watching the compass in order to direct
the steering so as to avoid collisions. For an hour or more
the craft was sent almost straight ahead at medium speed.
Then Mr. Swift, joining his son and the captain, remarked:
"How about depth of water here, Captain Weston?"
"You've got more than a mile."
"Good! Then I'm going down to the bottom of the sea! Tom,
fill the tanks still more.
"Aye, aye, sir," answered the lad gaily. "Now for a new
"And use the deflecting rudder, also," advised his father.
"That will hasten matters."
Five minutes later there was a slight jar noticeable.
"Bless my soul! What's that?" cried Mr. Damon. "Have we
"Yes," answered Tom with a smile.
"What, for gracious sake?"
"The bottom of the sea. We're on the bed of the ocean."
For a Breath of Air
They could hardly realize it, yet the depth-gage told the
story. It registered a distance below the surface of the
ocean of five thousand seven hundred feet--a little over a
mile. The Advance had actually come to rest on the bottom of
"Hurrah!" cried Tom. "Let's get on the diving suits, dad,
and walk about on land under water for a change."
"No," said Mr. Swift soberly. "We will hardly have time
for that now. Besides, the suits are not yet fitted with the
automatic air-tanks, and we can't use them. There are still
some things to do before we start on our treasure cruise.
But I want to see how the plates are standing this
The Advance was made with a triple hull, the spaces
between the layers of plates being filled with a secret
material, capable of withstanding enormous pressure, as were
also the plates themselves. Mr. Swift, aided by Mr. Jackson
and Captain Weston, made a thorough examination, and found
that not a drop of water had leaked in, nor was there the
least sign that any of the plates had given way under the
"She's as tight as a drum, if you will allow me to make
that comparison," remarked Captain Weston modestly. "I
couldn't ask for a dryer ship."
"Well, let's take a look around by means the searchlight
and the observation windows, and then we'll go back,"
suggested Mr. Swift. "It will take about two days to get the
stores and provisions aboard and rig up the diving suits;
then we will start for the sunken treasure.
There were several powerful searchlights on the Advance,
so arranged that the bow, stern or either side could be
illuminated independently. There were also observation
windows near each light.
In turn the powerful rays were cast first at the bow and
then aft. In the gleams could be seen the sandy bed of the
ocean, covered with shells of various kinds. Great crabs
walked around on their long, jointed legs, and Tom saw some
lobsters that would have brought joy to the heart of a
"Look at the big fish!" cried Mr. Damon suddenly, and he
pointed to some dark, shadowy forms that swam up to the
glass windows, evidently puzzled by the light.
"Porpoises," declared Captain Weston briefly. a whole
school of them."
The fish seemed suddenly to multiply, and soon those in
the submarine felt curious tremors running through the whole
"The fish are rubbing up against it," cried Tom. "They
must think we came down here to allow them to scratch their
backs on the steel plates."
For some time they remained on the bottom, watching the
wonderful sight of the fishes that swam all about them.
"Well, I think we may as well rise," announced Mr. Swift,
after they had been on the bottom about an hour, moving here
and there. "We didn't bring any provisions, and I'm getting
hungry, though I don't know how the others of you feel about
"Bless my dinner-plate, I could eat, too!" cried Mr.
Damon. "Go up, by all means. We'll get enough of under-water
travel once we start for the treasure."
"Send her up, Tom," called his father. "I Want to make a
few notes on some needed changes and improvements."
Tom entered the lower pilot house, and turned the valve
that opened the tanks. He also pulled the lever that started
the pumps, so that the water ballast would be more quickly
emptied, as that would render the submarine buoyant, and she
would quickly shoot to the surface. To the surprise of the
lad, however, there followed no outrushing of the water. The
Advance remained stationary on the ocean bed. Mr. Swift
looked up from his notes.
"Didn't you hear me ask you to send her up, Tom?" he
"I did, dad, but something seems to be the matter," was
"Matter? What do you mean?" and the aged inventor hastened
to where his son and Captain Weston were at the wheels,
valves and levers.
"Why, the tanks won't empty, and the pumps don't seem to
"Let me try," suggested Mr. Swift, and he pulled the
various handles. There was no corresponding action of the
"That's odd," he remarked in a curious voice "Perhaps
something has gone wrong with the connections. Go look in
the engine-room, and ask Mr. Sharp if everything is all
Tom made a quick trip, returning to report that the
dynamos, motors and gas engine were running perfectly.
"Try to work the tank levers and pumps from the conning
tower," suggested Captain Weston. "Sometimes I've known the
steam steering gear to play tricks like that."
Tom hurried up the circular stairway into the tower. He
pulled the levers and shifted the valves and wheels there.
But there was no emptying of the water tanks. The weight and
pressure of water in them still held the submarine on the
bottom of the sea, more than a mile from the surface. The
pumps in the engine-room were working at top speed, but
there was evidently something wrong in the connections.
Mr. Swift quickly came to this conclusion.
"We must repair it at once," he said. "Tom, come to the
engine-room. You and I, with Mr. Jackson and Mr. Sharp, will
soon have it in shape again."
"Is there any danger?" asked Mr. Damon in a perturbed
voice. "Bless my soul, it's unlucky to have an accident on
our trial trip."
"Oh, we must expect accidents," declared Mr. Swift with a
smile. "This is nothing."
But it proved to be more difficult than he had imagined
to re-establish the connection between the pumps and the
tanks. The valves, too, had clogged or jammed, and as the
pressure outside the ship was so great, the water would not
run out of itself. It must be forced.
For an hour or more the inventor, his son and the others,
worked away. They could accomplish nothing. Tom looked
anxiously at his parent when the latter paused in his
"Don't worry," advised the aged inventor. "It's got to
come right sooner or later."
Just then Mr. Damon, who had been wandering about the
ship, entered the engine-room.
"Do you know," he said, "you ought to open a window, or
"Why, what's the matter?" asked Tom quickly, looking to
see if the odd man was joking.
"Well, of course I don't exactly mean a window," explained
Mr. Damon, "but we need fresh air."
"Fresh air!" There was a startled note in Mr. Swift's
voice as he repeated the words.
"Yes, I can hardly breathe in the living-room, and it's
not much better here."
"Why, there ought to be plenty of fresh air," went on the
inventor. "It is renewed automatically."
Tom jumped up and looked at an indicator. He uttered a
"The air hasn't been changed in the last hour!" he
exclaimed. "It is bad. There's not enough oxygen in it. I
notice it, now that I've stopped working. The gage indicates
it, too. The automatic air-changer must have stopped
working. I'll fix it."
He hurried to the machine which was depended on to supply
fresh air to the submarine.
"Why, the air tanks are empty!" the young inventor cried.
"We haven't any more air except what is in the ship now!"
"And we're rapidly breathing that up," added Captain
"Can't you make more?" cried Mr. Damon. "I thought you
said you could make oxygen aboard the ship."
"We can," answered Mr. Swift, "but I did not bring along a
supply of the necessary chemicals. I did not think we would
be submerged long enough for that. But there should have
been enough in the reserve tank to last several days. How
about it, Tom?"
"It's all leaked out, or else it wasn't filled," was the
despairing answer. "All the air we have is what's in the
ship, and we can't make more."
The treasure-seekers looked at each other. It was an awful
"Then the only thing to do is to fix the machinery and
rise to the surface," said Mr. Sharp simply. "We can have
all the air we want, then."
"Yes, but the machinery doesn't seem possible of being
fixed," spoke Tom in a low voice.
"We must do it!" cried his father.
They set to work again with fierce energy, laboring for
their very lives. They all knew that they could not long
remain in the ship without oxygen. Nor could they desert it
to go to the surface, for the moment they left the
protection of the thick steel sides the terrible pressure of
the water would kill them. Nor were the diving suits
available. They must stay in the craft and die a miserable
death-unless the machinery could be repaired and the Advance
sent to the surface. The emergency expanding lifting tank
was not yet in working order.
More frantically they toiled, trying every device that was
suggested to the mechanical minds of Tom, his father, Mr.
Sharp or Mr. Jackson, to make the pumps work. But something
was wrong. More and more foul grew the air. They were
fairly gasping now. It was difficult to breathe, to say
nothing of working, in that atmosphere. The thought of their
terrible position was in the minds of all.
"Oh, for one breath of fresh air!" cried Mr. Damon, who
seemed to suffer more than any of the others. Grim death was
hovering around them, imprisoned as they were on the ocean's
bed, over a mile from the surface.
Off for the Treasure
Suddenly Tom, after a moment's pause, seized a wrench and
began loosening some nuts.
"What are you doing?" asked his father faintly, for he was
being weakened by the vitiated atmosphere.
"I'm going to take this valve apart," replied his son. "We
haven't looked there for the trouble. Maybe it's out of
He attacked the valve with energy, but his hands soon
lagged. The lack of oxygen was telling on him. He could no
longer work quickly.
"I'll help," murmured Mr. Sharp thickly. He took a wrench,
but no sooner had he loosened one nut than he toppled over.
"I'm all in," he murmured feebly.
"Is he dead?" cried Mr. Damon, himself gasping.
"No, only fainted. But he soon will be dead, and so will
all of us, if we don't get fresh air," remarked Captain
Weston. "Lie down on the floor, every one. There is a little
fairly good air there. It's heavier than the air we've
breathed, and we can exist on it for a little longer. Poor
Sharp was so used to breathing the rarified air of high
altitudes that he can't stand this heavy atmosphere."
Mr. Damon was gasping worse than ever, and so was Mr.
Swift. The balloonist lay an inert heap on the floor, with
Captain Weston trying to force a few drops of stimulant down
With a fierce determination in his heart, but with fingers
that almost refused to do his bidding, Tom once more sought
to open the big valve. He felt sure the trouble was located
there, as they had tried to locate it in every other place
"I'll help," said Mr. Jackson in a whisper. He, too, was
hardly able to move.
More and more devoid of oxygen grew the air. It gave Tom a
sense as if his head was filled, and ready to burst with
every breath he drew. Still he struggled to loosen the nuts.
There were but four more now, and he took off three while
Mr. Jackson removed one. The young inventor lifted off the
valve cover, though it felt like a ton weight to him. He
gave a glance inside.
"Here's the trouble!" he murmured. "The valve's clogged.
No wonder it wouldn't work. The pumps couldn't force the
It was the work of only a minute to adjust the valve. Then
Tom and the engineer managed to get the cover back on.
How they inserted the bolts and screwed the nuts in place
they never could remember clearly afterward, but they
managed it somehow, with shaking, trembling hands and eyes
that grew more and more dim.
"Now start the pumps!" cried Tom faintly. "The tanks will
be emptied, and we can get to the surface."
Mr. Sharp was still unconscious, nor was Mr. Swift able to
help. He lay with his eyes closed. Garret Jackson, however,
managed to crawl to the engine-room, and soon the clank of
machinery told Tom that the pumps were in motion. The lad
staggered to the pilot house and threw the levers over. An
instant later there was the hissing of water as it rushed
from the ballast tanks. The submarine shivered, as though
disliking to leave the bottom of the sea, and then slowly
rose. As the pumps worked more rapidly, and the sea was sent
from the tank in great volumes, the boat fairly shot to the
surface. Tom was ready to open the conning tower and let in
fresh air as soon as the top was above the surface.
With a bound the Advance reached the top. Tom frantically
worked the worm gear that opened the tower. In rushed the
fresh, life-giving air, and the treasure-hunters filled
their lungs with it.
And it was only just in time, for Mr. Sharp was almost
gone. He quickly revived, as did the others, when they could
breathe as much as they wished of the glorious oxygen.
"That was a close call," commented Mr. Swift. "We'll not
go below again until I have provided for all emergencies. I
should have seen to the air tanks and the expanding one
before going below. We'll sail home on the surface now."
The submarine was put about and headed for her dock. On
the way she passed a small steamer, and the passengers
looked down in wonder at the strange craft.
When the Advance reached the secluded creek where she had
been launched, her passengers had fully recovered from their
terrible experience, though the nerves of Mr. Swift and Mr.
Damon were not at ease for some days thereafter.
"I should never have made a submerged test without making
sure that we had a reserve supply of air," remarked the aged
inventor. "I will not be caught that way again. But I can't
understand how the pump valve got out of order."
"Maybe some one tampered with it," suggested Mr. Damon.
"Could Andy Foger, any of the Happy Harry gang, or the rival
gold-seekers have done it?"
"I hardly think so," answered Tom. "The place has been too
carefully guarded since Berg and Andy once sneaked in. I
think it was just an accident, but I have thought of a plan
whereby such accidents can be avoided in the future. It
needs a simple device."
"Better patent it," suggested Mr. Sharp with a smile.
"Maybe I will," replied the young inventor. "But not now.
We haven't time, if we intend to get fitted out for our
"No; I should say the sooner we started the better,"
remarked Captain Weston. "That is, if you don't mind me
speaking about it," he added gently, and the others smiled,
for his diffident comments were only a matter of habit
The first act of the adventurers, after tying the
submarine at the dock, was to proceed with the loading of
the food and supplies. Tom and Mr. Damon looked to this,
while Mr. Swift and Mr. Sharp made some necessary changes to
the machinery. The next day the young inventor attached his
device to the pump valve, and the loading of the craft was
All was in readiness for the gold-seeking expedition a
week later. Captain Weston had carefully charted the route
they were to follow, and it was decided to move along on the
surface for the first day, so as to get well out to sea
before submerging the craft. Then it would sink below the
surface, and run along under the water until the wreck was
reached, rising at times, as needed, to renew the air
With sufficient stores and provisions aboard to last
several months, if necessary, though they did not expect to
be gone more than sixty days at most, the adventurers arose
early one morning and went down to the dock. Mr. Jackson was
not to accompany them. He did not care about a submarine
trip, he said, and Mr. Swift desired him to remain at the
seaside cottage and guard the shops, which contained much
valuable machinery. The airship was also left there.
"Well, are we all ready?" asked Mr. Swift of the little
party of gold-seekers, as they were about to enter the
conning tower hatchway of the submarine.
"All ready, dad," responded his son.
"Then let's get aboard," proposed Captain Weston. "But
first let me take an observation."
He swept the horizon with his telescope, and Tom noticed
that the sailor kept it fixed on one particular spot for
"Did you see anything?" asked the lad.
"Well, there is a boat lying off there," was the answer.
"And some one is observing us through a glass. But I don't
believe it matters. Probably they're only trying to see what
sort of an odd fish we are."
"All aboard, then," ordered Mr. Swift, and they went into
the submarine. Tom and his father, with Captain Weston,
remained in the conning tower. The signal was given, the
electricity flowed into the forward and aft plates, and the
Advance shot ahead on the surface.
The sailor raised his telescope once more and peered
through a window in the tower. He uttered an exclamation.
"What's the matter?" asked Tom.
"That other ship--a small steamer--is weighing anchor and
seems to be heading this way," was the reply.
"Maybe it's some one hired by Berg to follow us and trace
our movements," suggested Tom.
"If it is we'll fool them," added his father. "Just keep
an eye on them, captain, and I think we can show them a
trick or two in a few minutes."
Faster shot the Advance through the water. She had started
on her way to get the gold from the sunken wreck, but
already enemies were on the trail of the adventurers, for
the ship the sailor had noticed was steaming after them.
In the Diving Suits
There was no doubt that the steamer was coming after the
submarine. Several observations Captain Weston made
confirmed this, and he reported the fact to Mr. Swift.
"Well, we'll change our plans, then," said the inventor.
"Instead of sailing on the surface we'll go below. But first
let them get near so they may have the benefit of seeing
what we do. Tom, go below, please, and tell Mr. Sharp to get
every thing in readiness for a quick descent. We'll slow up
a bit now, and let them get nearer to us."
The speed of the submarine was reduced, and in a short
time the strange steamer had overhauled her, coming to
within hailing distance.
Mr. Swift signaled for the machinery to stop and the
submarine came to a halt on the surface, bobbing about like
a half-submerged bottle. The inventor opened a bull's-eye in
the tower, and called to a man on the bridge of the steamer:
"What are you following us for?"
"Following you?" repeated the man, for the strange vessel
had also come to a stop. "We're not following you."
"It looks like it," replied Mr. Swift. "You'd better give
"I guess the waters are free," was the quick retort.
"We'll follow you if we like."
"Will you? Then come on!" cried the inventor as he quickly
closed the heavy glass window and pulled a lever. An instant
later the submarine began to sink, and Mr. Swift could not
help laughing as, just before the tower went under water, he
had a glimpse of the astonished face of the man on the
bridge. The latter had evidently not expected such a move as
Lower and lower in the water went the craft, until it was
about two hundred feet below the surface. Then Mr. Swift
left the conning tower, descended to the main part of the
ship, and asked Tom and Captain Weston to take charge of the
"Send her ahead, Tom," his father said. "That fellow up
above is rubbing his eyes yet, wondering where we are, I
Forward shot the Advance under water, the powerful
electrical plates pulling and pushing her on the way to
secure the sunken gold.
All that morning a fairly moderate rate of speed was
maintained, as it was thought best not to run the new
machinery too fast.
Dinner was eaten about a quarter of a mile below the
surface, but no one inside the submarine would ever have
known it. Electric lights made the place as brilliant as
could be desired, and the food, which Tom and Mr. Damon
prepared, was equal to any that could have been served on
land. After the meal they opened the shutters over the
windows in the sides of the craft, and looked at the myriads
of fishes swimming past, as the creatures were disclosed in
the glare of the searchlight.
That night they were several hundred miles on their
journey, for the craft was speedy, and leaving Tom and
Captain Weston to take the first watch, the others went to
"Bless my soul, but it does seem odd, though, to go to bed
under water, like a fish," remarked Mr. Damon. "If my wife
knew this she would worry to death. She thinks I'm off
automobiling. But this isn't half as dangerous as riding in
a car that's always getting out of order. A submarine for
mine, every time."
"Wait until we get to the end of this trip," advised Tom.
"I guess you'll find almost as many things can happen in a
submarine as can in an auto," and future events were to
prove the young inventor to be right.
Everything worked well that night, and the ship made good
progress. They rose to the surface the next morning to make
sure of their position, and to get fresh air, though they
did not really need the latter, as the reserve supply had
not been drawn on, and was sufficient for several days, now
that the oxygen machine had been put in running order.
On the second day the ship was sent to the bottom and
halted there, as Mr. Swift wished to try the new diving
suits. These were made of a new, light, but very strong
metal to withstand the pressure of a great depth.
Tom, Mr. Sharp and Captain Weston donned the suits, the
others agreeing to wait until they saw how the first trial
resulted. Then, too, it was necessary for some one
acquainted with the machinery to remain in the ship to
operate the door and water chamber through which the divers
had to pass to get out.
The usual plan, with some changes, was followed in letting
the three out of the boat, and on to the bottom of the sea.
They entered a chamber in the side of the submarine, water
was gradually admitted until it equaled in pressure that
outside, then an outer door was opened by means of levers,
and they could step out
It was a curious sensation to Tom and the others to feel
that they were actually walking along the bed of the ocean.
All around them was the water, and as they turned on the
small electric lights in their helmets, which lights were
fed by storage batteries fastened to the diving suits, they
saw the fish, big and little, swarm up to them, doubtless
astonished at the odd creatures which had entered their
domain. On the sand of the bottom, and in and out among the
shells and rocks, crawled great spider crabs, big eels and
other odd creatures seldom seen on the surface of the water.
The three divers found no difficulty in breathing, as there
were air tanks fastened to their shoulders, and a constant
supply of oxygen was fed through pipes into the helmets. The
pressure of water did not bother them, and after the first
sensation Tom began to enjoy the novelty of it. At first the
inability to speak to his companions seemed odd, but he
soon got so he could make signs and motions, and be
They walked about for some time, and once the lad came
upon a part of a wrecked vessel buried deep in the sand.
There was no telling what ship it was, nor how long it had
been there, and after silently viewing it. they continued on
"It was great!" were the first words Tom uttered when he
and the others were once more inside the submarine and had
removed the suits. "If we can only walk around the wreck of
the Boldero that way, we'll have all the gold out of her in
no time. There are no life-lines nor air-hose to bother with
in these diving suits."
"They certainly are a success," conceded Mr. Sharp.
"Bless my topknot!" cried Mr. Damon. "I'll try it next
time. I've always wanted to be a diver, and now I have the
The trip was resumed after the diving chamber had been
closed, and on the third day Captain Weston announced, after
a look at his chart, that they were nearing the Bahama
"We'll have to be careful not to run into any of the small
keys," he said, that being the name for the many little
points of land, hardly large enough to be dignified by the
name of island. "We must keep a constant lookout."
Fortune favored them, though once, when Tom was steering,
he narrowly avoided ramming a coral reef with the submarine.
The searchlight showed it to him just in time, and he
sheered off with a thumping in his heart.
The course was changed from south to east, so as to get
ready to swing out of the way of the big shoulder of South
America where Brazil takes up so much room, and as they went
farther and farther toward the equator, they noticed that
the waters teemed more and more with fish, some beautiful,
some ugly and fear-inspiring, and some such monsters that it
made one shudder to look at them, even through the thick
glass of the bulls-eye windows.
At the Tropical Island
It was on the evening of the fourth day later that Captain
Weston, who was steering the craft, suddenly called out:
"Where away?" inquired Tom quickly, for he had read that
this was the proper response to make.
"Dead ahead," answered the sailor with a smile. "Shall we
make for it, if I may be allowed the question?"
"What land is it likely to be?" Mr. Swift wanted to know.
"Oh, some small tropical island," replied the seafaring
man. "It isn't down on the charts. Probably it's too small
to note. I should say it was a coral island, but we may be
able to find a Spring of fresh water there, and some fruit."
"Then we'll land there," decided the inventor. "We can use
some fresh water, though our distilling and ice apparatus
does very well."
They made the island just at dusk, and anchored in a
little lagoon, where there was a good depth of water.
"Now for shore!" cried Tom, as the submarine swung around
on the chain. "It looks like a fine place. I hope there are
cocoanuts and oranges here. Shall I get out the electric
"Yes, you may, and we'll all go ashore. It will do us good
to stretch our legs a bit."
Carried in a sort of pocket on the deck of the submarine
was a small electric boat, capable of holding six. It could
be slid from the pocket, or depression, into the water
without the use of davits, and, with Mr. Sharp to aid him,
Tom soon had the little craft afloat. The batteries were
already charged, and just as the sun was going down the
gold-seekers entered the launch and were soon on shore.
They found a good spring of water close at hand, and Tom's
wish regarding the cocoanuts was realized, though there were
no oranges. The lad took several of the delicious nuts, and
breaking them open poured the milk into a collapsible cup he
carried, drinking it eagerly. The others followed his
example, and pronounced it the best beverage they had tasted
in a long time.
The island was a typical tropical one, not very large, and
it did not appear to have been often visited by man. There
were no animals to be seen, but myriads of birds flew here
and there amid the trees, the trailing vines and streamers
"Let's spend a day here to-morrow and explore it,"
proposed Tom, and his father nodded an assent. They went
back to the submarine as night was beginning to gather, and
in the cabin, after supper, talked over the happenings of
their trip so far.
"Do you think we'll have any trouble getting
the gold out of the wrecked vessel?" asked Tom of Captain
Weston, after a pause.
"Well, it's hard to say. I couldn't learn just how the
wreck lays, whether it's on a sandy or a rocky bottom. If
the latter, it won't be so hard, but if the sand has worked
in and partly covered it, we'll have some difficulties, if I
may be permitted to say so. However, don't borrow trouble.
We're not there yet, though at the rate we're traveling it
won't be long before we arrive."
No watch was set that night, as it was not considered
necessary. Tom was the first to arise in the morning, and he
went out on the deck for a breath of fresh air before
He looked off at the beautiful little island, and as his
eye took in all of the little lagoon where the submarine was
anchored he uttered a startled cry.
And well he might, for, not a hundred yards away, and
nearer to the island than was the Advance, floated another
craft--another craft, almost similar in shape and size to
the one built by the Swifts. Tom rubbed his eyes to make
sure he was not seeing double. No, there could be no mistake
about it. There was another submarine at the tropical
As he looked, some one emerged from the conning tower of
the second craft. The figure seemed strangely familiar. Tom
knew in a moment who it was--Addison Berg. The agent saw the
lad, too, and taking off his cap and making a mocking bow,
he called out:
"Good morning! Have you got the gold yet?"
Tom did not know what to answer. Seeing the other
submarine, at an island where he had supposed they would not
be disturbed, was disconcerting enough, but to be greeted by
Berg was altogether too much, Tom thought. His fears that
the rival boat builders would follow had not been without
"Rather surprised to see us, aren't you?" went on Mr.
"Rather," admitted Tom, choking over the word.
"Thought you'd be," continued Berg. "We didn't expect to
meet you so soon, but we're glad we did. I don't altogether
like hunting for sunken treasure, with such indefinite
directions as I have."
"You--are going to--" stammered Tom, and then he concluded
it would be best not to say anything. But his talk had been
heard inside the submarine. His father came to the foot of
the conning tower stairway.
"To whom are you speaking, Tom?" he asked.
"They're here, dad," was the youth's answer.
"Here? Who are here?"
"Berg and his employers. They've followed us, dad."
"We'll Race You For It"
Mr. Swift hurried up on deck. He was accompanied by
Captain Weston. At the sight of Tom's father, Mr. Berg, who
had been joined by' two other men, called out:
"You see we also concluded to give up the trial for the
Government prize, Mr. Swift. We decided there was more money
in something else. But we still will have a good chance to
try the merits of our respective boats. We hurried and got
ours fitted up almost as soon as you did yours, and I think
we have the better craft."
"I don't care to enter into any competition with you,"
said Mr. Swift coldly.
"Ah, but I'm afraid you'll have to, whether you want to or
not," was the insolent reply.
"What's that? Do you mean to force this matter upon me?"
"I'm afraid I'll have to--my employers and I, that is. You
see, we managed to pick up your trail after you left the
Jersey coast, having an idea where you were bound, and we
don't intend to lose you now."
"Do you mean to follow us?" asked Captain Weston softly.
"Well, you can put it that way if you like," answered one
of the two men with Mr. Berg.
"I forbid it!" cried Mr. Swift hotly. "You have no right
to sneak after us."
"I guess the ocean is free," continued the rascally agent.
"Why do you persist in keeping after us?" inquired the
aged inventor, thinking it well to ascertain, if possible,
just how much the men knew.
"Because we're after that treasure as well as you," was
the bold reply. "You have no exclusive right to it. The
sunken ship is awaiting the first comer, and whoever gets
there first can take the gold from the wreck. We intend to
be there first, but we'll be fair with you."
"Fair? What do you mean?" demanded Tom.
"This: We'll race you for it. The first one to arrive will
have the right to search the wreck for the gold bullion. Is
that fair? Do you agree to it?"
"We agree to nothing with you," interrupted Captain
Weston, his usual diffident manner all gone. "I happen to be
in partial command of this craft, and I warn you that if I
find you interfering with us it won't be healthy for you.
I'm not fond of fighting, but when I begin I don't like to
stop," and he smiled grimly. "You'd better not follow us."
"We'll do as we please," shouted the third member of the
trio on the deck of the other boat, which, as Tom could see,
was named the Wonder. "We intend to get that gold if we
"All right. I've warned you," went on the sailor, and
then, motioning to Tom and his father to follow, he went
"Well, what's to be done?" asked Mr. Swift when they were
seated in the living-room, and had informed the others of
the presence of the rival submarine.
"The only thing I see to do is to sneak away unobserved,
go as deep as possible, and make all haste for the wreck,"
advised the captain. "They will depend on us, for they have
evidently no chart of the wreck, though of course the
general location of it may be known to them from reading the
papers. I hoped I had thrown them off the track by the false
chart I dropped, but it seems they were too smart for us."
"Have they a right to follow us?" asked Tom.
"Legally, but not morally. We can't prevent them, I'm
afraid. The only thing to do is to get there ahead of them.
It will be a race for the sunken treasure, and we must get
"What do you propose doing, captain?" asked Mr. Damon.
"Bless my shirt-studs, but can't we pull their ship up on
the island and leave it there?"
"I'm afraid such high-handed proceedings would hardly
answer," replied Mr. Swift. "No, as Captain Weston says, we
must get there ahead of them. What do you think will be the
best scheme, captain?"
"Well, there's no need for us to forego our plan to get
fresh water. Suppose we go to the island, that is, some of
us, leaving a guard on board here. We'll fill our tanks with
fresh water, and at night we'll quietly sink below the
surface and speed away."
They all voted that an excellent idea, and little time was
lost putting it into operation.
All the remainder of that day not a sign of life was
visible about the Wonder. She lay inert on the surface of
the lagoon, not far away from the Advance; but, though no
one showed himself on the deck, Tom and his friends had no
doubt but that their enemies were closely watching them.
As dusk settled down over The tropical sea, and as the
shadows of the trees on the little island lengthened, those
on board the Advance closed the Conning tower. No lights
were turned on, as they did not want their movements to be
seen, but Tom, his father and Mr. Sharp took their positions
near the various machines and apparatus, ready to open the
tanks and let the submarine sink to the bottom, as soon as
it was possible to do this unobserved.
"Luckily there's no moon," remarked Captain Weston, as he
took his place beside Tom. "Once below the surface and we
can defy them to find us. It is odd how they traced us, but
I suppose that steamer gave them the clue."
It rapidly grew dark, as it always does in the tropics,
and when a cautious observation from the conning tower did
not disclose the outlines of the other boat, those aboard
the Advance rightly concluded that their rivals were unable
to see them.
"Send her down, Tom," called his father, and with a hiss
the water entered the tanks. The submarine quickly sank
below the surface, aided by the deflecting rudder.
But alas for the hopes of the gold-seekers. No sooner was
she completely submerged, with the engine started so as to
send her out of the lagoon and to the open sea, than the
waters all about were made brilliant by the phosphorescent
phenomenon. In southern waters this frequently occurs.
Millions of tiny creatures, which, it is said, swarm in the
warm currents, give an appearance of fire to the ocean, and
any object moving through it can plainly be seen. It was so
with the Advance. The motion she made in shooting forward,
and the undulations caused by her submersion, seemed to
start into activity the dormant phosphorus, and the
submarine was afloat in a sea of fire.
"Quick!" cried Tom. "Speed her up! Maybe we can get out of
this patch of water before they see us."
But it was too late. Above them they could hear the
electric siren of the Wonder as it was blown to let them
know that their escape had been noticed. A moment later the
water, which acted as a sort of sounding-board, or
telephone, brought to the ears of Tom Swift and his friends
the noise of the engines of the other craft in operation.
She was coming after them. The race for the possession of
three hundred thousand dollars in gold was already under
way. Fate seemed against those on board the Advance.
Directed by Captain Weston, who glanced at the compass and
told him which way to steer to clear the outer coral reef,
Tom sent the submarine ahead, signaling for full speed to
the engine-room, where his father and Mr. Sharp were. The
big dynamos purred like great cats, as they sent the
electrical energy into the forward and aft plates, pulling
and pushing the Advance forward. On and on she rushed under
water, but ever as she shot ahead the disturbance in the
phosphorescent water showed her position plainly. She would
be easy to follow.
"Can't you get any more speed out of her?" asked the
captain of the lad.
"Yes," was the quick reply; "by using the auxiliary screws
I think we can. I'll try it."
He signaled for the propellers, forward and aft, to be put
in operation, and the motor moving the twin screws was
turned on. At once there was a perceptible increase to the
speed of the Advance.
"Are we leaving them behind?" asked Tom anxiously, as he
glanced at the speed gage, and noted that the submarine was
now about five hundred feet below the surface.
"Hard to tell," replied the Captain. "You'd have to take
an observation to make sure."
"I'll do it," cried the youth. "You steer, please, and
I'll go in the conning tower. I can look forward and aft
there, as well as straight up. Maybe I can see the Wonder."
Springing up the circular ladder leading into the tower,
Tom glanced through the windows all about the small pilot
house. He saw a curious sight. It was as if the submarine
was in a sea of yellowish liquid fire. She was immersed in
water which glowed with the flames that contained no heat.
So light was it, in fact, that there was no need of the
incandescents in the tower. The young inventor could have
seen to read a paper by the illumination of the phosphorus.
But he had something else to do than observe this
phenomenon. He wanted to see if he could catch sight of the
At first he could make out nothing save the swirl and
boiling of the sea, caused by the progress of the Advance
through it. But suddenly, as he looked up, he was aware of
some great, black body a little to the rear and about ten
feet above his craft.
"A shark!" he exclaimed aloud. "An immense one, too."
But the closer he looked the less it seemed like a shark.
The position of the black object changed. It appeared to
settle down, to be approaching the top of the conning tower.
Then, with a suddenness that unnerved him for the time
being, Tom recognized what it was; it was the underside of a
ship. He could see the plates riveted together, and then, as
be noted the rounded, cylindrical shape, he knew that it was
a submarine. It was the Wonder. She was close at hand and
was creeping up on the Advance. But, what was more
dangerous, she seemed to be slowly settling in the water.
Another moment and her great screws might crash into the
Conning tower of the Swifts' boat and shave it off. Then the
water would rush in, drowning the treasure-seekers like rats
in a trap.
With a quick motion Tom yanked over the lever that allowed
more water to flow into the ballast tanks. The effect was at
once apparent. The Advance shot down toward the bottom of
the sea. At the same time the young inventor signaled to
Captain Weston to notify those in the engine-room to put on
a little more speed. The Advance fairly leaped ahead, and
the lad, looking up through the bull's-eye in the roof of
the conning tower, had the satisfaction of seeing the rival
submarine left behind.
The youth hurried down into the interior of the ship to
tell what he had seen, and explain the reason for opening
the ballast tanks. He found his father and Mr. Sharp
somewhat excited over the unexpected maneuver of the craft.
"So they're still following us," murmured Mr. Swift. "I
don't see why we can't shake them off."
"It's on account of this luminous water," explained
Captain Weston. "Once we are clear of that it will be easy,
I think, to give them the slip. That is, if we can get out
of their sight long enough. Of course, if they keep close
after us, they can pick us up with their searchlight, for I
suppose they carry one."
"Yes," admitted the aged inventor, "they have as strong a
one as we have. In fact, their ship is second only to this
one in speed and power. I know, for Bentley & Eagert showed
me some of the plans before they started it, and asked my
opinion. This was before I had the notion of building a
submarine. Yes, I am afraid we'll have trouble getting away
"I can't understand this phosphorescent glow keeping up so
long," remarked Captain Weston. "I've seen it in this
locality several times, but it never covered such an extent
of the ocean in my time. There must be changed conditions
For an hour or more the race was kept up, and the two
submarines forged ahead through the glowing sea. The Wonder
remained slightly above and to the rear of the other, the
better to keep sight of her, and though the Advance was run
to her limit of speed, her rival could not be shaken off.
Clearly the Wonder was a speedy craft.
"It's too bad that we've got to fight them, as well as run
the risk of lots of other troubles which are always present
when sailing under water," observed Mn Damon, who wandered
about the submarine like the nervous person he was. "Bless
my shirt-studs! Can't we blow them up, or cripple them in
some way? They have no right to go after our treasure."
"Well, I guess they've got as much right as we have,"
declared Tom. "It goes to whoever reaches the wreck first.
But what I don't like is their mean, sneaking way of doing
it. If they went off on their own hook and looked for it I
wouldn't say a word. But they expect us to lead them to the
wreck, and then they'll rob us if they can. That's not
"Indeed, it isn't," agreed Captain Weston, "if I may be
allowed the expression. We ought to find some way of
stopping them. But, if I'm not mistaken," he added quickly,
looking from one of the port bull's-eyes, "the
phosphorescent glow is lessening. I believe we are running
beyond that part of the ocean."
There was no doubt of it, the glow was growing less and
less, and ten minutes later the Advance was speeding along
through a sea as black as night. Then, to avoid running into
some wreck, it was necessary to turn on the searchlight.
"Are they still after us?" asked Mr. Swift of his son, as
he emerged from the engine-room, where he had gone to make
some adjustments to the machinery, with the hope of
increasing the speed.
"I'll go look," volunteered the lad. He climbed up into
the conning tower again, and for a moment, as he gazed back
into the black waters swirling all about, he hoped that they
had lost the Wonder. But a moment later his heart sank as he
caught sight, through the liquid element, of the flickering