Part 3 out of 4
"Is there anything to try?" asked Earle, in a faint voice. He
was on the point of fainting for lack of air.
Tom looked desperately around. There was one piece of heavy
machinery that might be moved to the other side of the engine
room. It was bolted to the floor, but its added weight, with that
of the crew and passengers, together with what had already been
shifted, might turn the trick.
"Let's try to move that!" said Tom faintly, pointing to it.
"It will take an hour to unbolt it," said one of the men.
"Koku!" gasped Tom, pointing to the heavy apparatus. "See if--
see if you--"
Tom's breath failed him, and he sank down in a heap. But he had
managed to make the giant understand what was wanted.
"Koku do!" murmured the big man. Striding to the piece of
machinery, the legs of which were bolted to the floor, Koku got
his arms under it. Bending over, and arching his back, so as to
take full advantage of his enormous muscles, the giant strained
There was a cracking of bone and sinew, a rasping sound, but
the machinery did not leave the floor.
"Him must come!" gasped the giant. "One more go!"
He took a hold lower down. Tom's eyes were dim now, and he
could not see well. Some of the men were unconscious.
Then, suddenly, there was a loud, breaking sound, and something
tinkled on the steel floor of the submarine engine room. It was
the heads of the bolts which Koku had torn loose. Like hail they
fell about the giant, and in another instant the big man had
pulled loose the machine, weighing several hundreds of pounds. In
another moment he shoved it across the floor, toward the elevated
side of the craft.
For a second or two nothing happened. Then slowly, very slowly,
the M. N. 1 began to heel over.
"She's turning!" some one gasped.
An instant later, freed by this turning motion from the grip of
the sand bank, the submarine shot to the surface. Up and up she
went, breaking out on the open sea as a great fish darts upward
from the hidden depths.
It was the work of only a few seconds for the man nearest it to
open the hatch, and then in rushed the life-giving air. Tom and
his companions were saved, and by Koku's strength.
"Me say him machine got to come up--him come up!" said the
giant, smiling in happy fashion, when, after they had all gulped
down great mouthfuls of the precious oxygen, they were talking of
"Yes, you certainly did it," said Tom, and due credit was given
"Never again will I travel without a gyroscope," declared Tom.
"I'm almost ready to go back and have one installed now."
"No, don't!" exclaimed the gold-seeker. "We are almost at the
place of the wreck."
"Well, I suppose we can travel more slowly and not run a risk
like that again," decided Tom. "I'll put double valves on the
emergency air tank, so no accident will release our supply
This was done, after the broken valves had been repaired, and
then, when the machine Koku had torn loose was fastened down
again, and the submarine restored to her former condition, a
consultation was held as to what the next step should be.
They were in the neighborhood of the West Indies, and another
day, or perhaps less, of travel would bring them approximately to
the place where the Pandora had foundered. The latitude and
longitude had been computed, and then, with air tanks filled,
with batteries fully charged, and everything possible done to
insure success, the craft was sent on the last leg of her
For two days they made progress, sometimes on the surface, and
again submerged, and, finally, on the second noon, when the sun
had been "shot," Tom said:
"Well, we're here!"
"You mean at the place of the wreck?" asked Mr. Hardley.
"At the place where you say it was," corrected Tom.
"Well, if this is the place of which I gave you the longitude
and latitude, then it's down below here, somewhere," and the
gold-seeker pointed to the surface of the sea. It was a calm day
and the ocean was the proverbial mill pond.
"Let's go down and try our luck," suggested Tom.
The orders were given, the tanks filled, the rudders set, and,
with hatches closed, the M. N. 1 submerged. Then, with the
powerful searchlight aglow, the search was begun. Moving along
only a few feet above the floor of the ocean, those in the
submarine peered from the glass windows for a sight of the sunken
All the rest of that day they cruised about below the surface.
Then they moved in ever widening circles. Evening came, and the
wreck had not been found. The search was kept up all night, since
darkness and daylight were alike to those in the undersea craft.
But when three days had passed and the Pandora had not been
seen, nor any signs of her, there was a feeling of something like
"Where is it?" demanded Mr. Hardley. "I don't see why we
haven't found it! Where is that wreck?" and he looked sharply at
"Mr. Hardley," began Tom calmly, as he took a seat in the main
cabin, "when we started this search I told you that hunting for
something on the bottom of the sea was not like locating a
building at the intersection of two streets."
"Well, what if you did?" snapped the gold-seeker. "You're
supposed to do the navigating, not I! You said if I gave you the
latitude and longitude, down to seconds, as well as degrees and
minutes, which I have done, that you could bring your submarine
to that exact point."
"I said that, and I have done it," declared Tom. "When we
computed our position the other day we were at the exact location
you gave me as being the spot where the Pandora foundered."
"Then why isn't she here?" demanded the unpleasant adventurer.
"We went down to the bottom at the exact spot, and we've been
cruising around it ever since, but there isn't a sign of the
wreck. Why is it?"
"I'm trying to explain," replied Tom, endeavoring to keep his
temper. "As I said, finding a place on the open sea is not like
going to the intersection of two streets. There everything is in
plain sight. But here our vision is limited, even with my big
searchlight. And being a few feet out of the way, as one is bound
to be in making nautical calculations, makes a lot of difference.
We may have been close to the wreck, but may have missed it by a
"Then what's to be done?" asked Mr. Hardley.
"Keep on searching," Tom answered. "We have plenty of food and
supplies. I came out equipped for a long voyage, and I'm not
discouraged yet. Another thing. The ship may have moved on
several fathoms, or even a mile or two, after her last position
was taken before she went down. In that case she'd be all the
harder to find. And even granting that she sank where you think
she did, the ocean currents since then may have shifted her. Or
she may be covered by sand."
"Covered by sand!" exclaimed the gold-seeker.
"Yes," replied Tom. "The bottom of the ocean is always changing
and shifting. Storms produce changes in currents, and currents
wash the sand on the bottom in different directions. So that a
wreck which may have been exposed at one time may be covered a
day or so later. We'll have to keep on searching. I'm not ready
to give up."
"Maybe not. But I am!" snapped out Mr. Hardley.
"What do you mean?" asked the young inventor.
"Just what I said," was the quick answer. "I'm not going to
stay down here, cruising about without knowing where I'm going.
It looks to me as if you were hunting for a needle in a
"That's just about what we are doing," and Tom tried to speak
"Then do you know what I think?" the gold-seeker fairly shot
"Not exactly," Tom replied.
"I think that you don't understand your business, Swift!" was
the instant retort. "You pretend to be a navigator, or have men
who are, and yet when I give you simple and explicit directions
for finding a sunken wreck you can't do it, and you cruise all
around looking for it like a dog that has lost the scent! You
don't know your business, in my estimation!"
"Well, you are entitled to your opinion, of course," agreed
Tom, and both Mr. Damon and Ned were surprised to see him so
calm. "I admit we haven't found the wreck, and may not, for some
"Then why don't you admit you're incompetent?" cried Mr.
"I don't see why I should," said Tom, still keeping calm. "But
since you feel that way about it, I think the best thing for us
to do is to separate."
"What do you mean?" stormed the other.
"I mean that I will set you ashore at the nearest place, and
that all arrangements between us are at an end."
"All right then! Do it! Do it!" cried Mr. Hardley, shaking his
fist, but at no one in particular. "I'm through with you! But
this is your own decision. You broke the contract--I didn't, and
I'll not pay a cent toward the expenses of this trip, Swift! Mark
my words! I won't pay a cent! I'll claim the money I deposited in
the bank, and I won't pay a cent!"
"I'm not asking you to!" returned Tom. with a smile that showed
how he had himself in command. "You put up a bond, secured by a
deposit, to insure your share of the expenses--yours and Mr.
Damon's. Very well, we'll consider that bond canceled. I won't
charge you a cent for this trip. But, mark this, Hardley: What I
find from now on, is my own! You don't share in it!"
"You mean that--"
"I mean that if I discover the wreck of the Pandora and take
the gold from her, that it is all my own. I will share it with
Mr. Damon, provided he remains with me--"
"Bless my silk hat, Tom, of course I'll stay with you!" broke
in the eccentric man.
"But you don't share with me," went on the young inventor,
looking sternly at the gold-seeker. "What I find is my own!"
"All right--have it that way!" snapped the adventurer. "Set me
ashore as soon as you can--the sooner the better. I'm sick of
the way you do business!"
"Nothing like being honest!" murmured Ned. But, as a matter of
fact, he was glad the separation had come. There had been a
strain ever since Hardley came aboard. Mr. Damon, too, looked
relieved, though a trifle worried. He had considerable at stake,
and he stood to lose the money he had invested with Dixwell
"This is final," announced Tom. "If we separate we separate for
good, and I'm on my own. And I warn you I'll do my best to
discover that wreck, and I'll keep what I find."
"Much good may it do you!" sneered the other. "Perhaps two can
play that game."
No one paid much attention to his words then, but later they
were recalled with significance.
"Get ready to go up!" Tom called the order to the engine room.
"Where are you going to land me?" asked Mr. Hardley. "I have a
right to know that?"
"Yes," conceded Tom, "you have. I'll tell you in a moment."
He consulted a chart, made a few calculations and then spoke.
"I shall land you at St. Thomas," answered the young inventor.
"I do not wish to bring my submarine to a place that is too
public, as too many questions may be asked. From St. Thomas you
can easily reach Porto Rico, and from there you can go anywhere
"Very well," murmured the malcontent. "But I don't consider
that I owe you a cent, and I'm not going to pay you."
"I wouldn't take your money," Tom answered. "And don't forget
what I said--that what I find is my own."
The other answered nothing. Nor from then on did he hold much
conversation with Tom or any others in the party. He kept to
himself, and a day later he was landed, at night, at a dock, and
if he said "good-bye" or wished Tom and his friends a safe
voyage, they did not hear him.
They were steaming along on the surface the next day, and at
noon the submarine suddenly halted.
"What's on now, Tom?" asked Ned, as he saw his chum prepare to
go up on deck with some of the craft's officers.
"We're going to 'shoot the sun' again," was the answer. "I want
to make sure that we were right in our former calculations as to
the position of the Pandora. The least error would throw us off."
Using the sextant and other apparatus, some of which Tom had
invented himself, the exact position of the submarine was
calculated. As the last figure was set down and compared with
their previous location, one of the men who had been doing the
computing gave an exclamation.
"What's the matter?" asked Tom.
"Look!" was the answer, and he pointed to the paper. "There's
where a mistake was made before. We were at least two miles off
"You don't say so!" exclaimed Tom, and, taking the sheet, he
went rapidly over the results.
THE SERPENT WEED
All waited eagerly for Tom Swift to verify the statement of the
other mathematician, and the young inventor was not long in doing
this, for he had what is commonly known as a "good head for
"Yes, I see the mistake," said Tom. "The wrong logarithm was
taken, and of course that threw out all the calculations. I
should say we were nearer three miles off our supposed location
than two miles."
"Does that mean," asked Mr. Damon, "that we began a search for
the wreck of the Pandora three miles from the place Hardley told
us she was
"That's about it," Tom said. "No wonder we couldn't find her."
"What are you going to do?" Ned wanted to know.
"Get to the right spot as soon as possible and begin the search
there," Tom answered. "You see, before we submerged as nearly as
possible at the place where we thought the Pandora might be on
the ocean bottom. From there we began making circles under the
sea, enlarging the diameter each circuit.
"That didn't bring us anywhere, as you all know. Now we will
start our series of circles with a different point as the center.
It will bring us over an entirely different territory of the
"Just a moment," said Ned, as the conference was about to break
up. "Is it possible, Tom, that in our first circling that we
covered any of the ground which we may cover now? I mean will the
new circles we propose making coincide at any place with the
"They won't exactly coincide," answered the young inventor.
"You can't make circles coincide unless you use the same center
and the same radius each time. But the two series of circles will
intersect at certain places."
"I guess intersect is the word I wanted," admitted Ned.
"What's the idea?" Tom wanted to know.
"I'm thinking of Hardley," answered his chum. "He might assert
that we purposely went to the wrong location with him to begin
the search, and if we afterward find the wreck and the gold, he
may claim a share."
"Not much he won't!" cried Tom.
"Bless my check book, I should say not!" exclaimed Mr. Damon.
"Hardley broke off relations with us of his own volition," said
Tom. "He 'breached the contract,' as the lawyers say. It was his
"He has put me to considerable expense and trouble, not to say
danger. He was aware of that, and yet he refused to pay his
share. He accused me of incompetence. Very well. That
presuggested that I must have made an error, and it was on that
assumption that he said I did not know my business. Instead of
giving me a chance to correct the error, which he declared I had
made, he quit--cold. Now he is entitled to no further
"An error was made--there's no question of that. We are going
to correct it, and we may find the gold. If we do I shall feel I
have a legal and moral right to take all of it I can get. Mr.
Hardley, to use a comprehensive, but perhaps not very elegant
expression, may go fish for his share."
"That's right!" asserted Mr. Damon.
"I guess you're right, Tom," declared Ned. "There's only one
more thing to be considered."
"What's that?" asked the young inventor.
"Why, Hardley himself may find out in some way that we were
barking up the wrong tree, so to speak. That is, learn we started
at the wrong nautical point. He may get up another expedition to
come and search for the gold and--"
"Well, he has that right and privilege," said Tom coolly. "But
I don't believe he will. Anyhow, if he does, we have the same
chance, and a better one than he has. We're right here, almost on
the ground, you might say, or we shall be in half an hour. Then
we'll begin our search. If he beats us to it, that can't be
helped, and we'll be as fair to him as he was to us. This
treasure, as I understand it, is available to whoever first finds
it, now that the real owners, whoever they were, have given it
"I guess you're right there," said Mr. Damon. "I'm no sea
lawyer, but I believe that in this case finding is keeping."
"And there isn't one chance in a hundred that Hardley can get
another submarine here to start the search," went on Tom. "Of
course it's possible, but not very probable."
"He might get an ordinary diving outfit and try," Ned
"Not many ordinary divers would take a chance going down in the
open sea to the depth the Pandora is supposed to lie," Tom said.
"But, with all that, we have the advantage of being on the
ground, and I'm going to make use of that advantage right away."
He gave orders at once for the M. N. 1 to proceed, and this she
did on the surface. It was decided to steam along on the open sea
until the exact nautical position desired was reached. This
position was the same Mr. Hardley had indicated, but that
position was not before attained, owing to an error in the
As all know, to get to a certain point on the surface of the
ocean, where there is no land to give location, a navigator has
to depend on mathematical calculations. The earth's surface is
divided by imaginary lines. The lines drawn from the north to the
south poles are called meridians of longitude. They are marked in
degrees, and indicate distance east or west of the meridian of,
say, Greenwich, England, which is taken as one of the centers.
The degrees are further divided into minutes and seconds, each
minute being a sixtieth of a degree and each second, naturally,
the sixtieth of a minute.
Now, if a navigator had to depend only on the meridian lines
indicating distance east and west, he might be almost any
distance north or south of where he wanted to go. So the earth is
further divided into sections by other imaginary lines called
parallels of latitude. As all know, these indicate the distance
north or south of the middle line, or the equator. The equator
goes around the earth at the middle, so to speak, running from
east to west, or from west to east, according as it is looked at.
The meridian of Greenwich may be regarded as a sort of half
equator, running half way around the earth in exactly the
opposite direction, or from north to south.
The place where any two of these imaginary lines, crossing at
right angles, meet may be exactly determined by the science of
navigation. It is a complicated and difficult science, but by
calculating the distance of the sun above the horizon, sometimes
by views of stars, by knowing the speed of the ship, and by
having the exact astronomical time at hand, shown on an accurate
chronometer, the exact position of a ship at any hour may be
By this means, if a navigator wants to get to a place where two
certain lines cross, indicating an exact spot in the ocean, he is
able to do so. He can tell for instance when he has reached the
place where the seventy-second degree of longitude, west from
Greenwich, meets and crossed the twentieth parallel of latitude.
This spot is just off the northern coast of Haiti. Other
positions are likewise determined.
It was after about an hour of rather slow progress on the
surface of the calm sea, no excess speed being used for fear of
over-running the mark, that Tom and his associates gathered on
deck again to make another calculation.
Long and carefully they worked out their position, and when, at
last, the figures had been checked and checked again, to obviate
the chance of another error, the young inventor exclaimed:
"Well, we're here!"
"Really?" cried Ned.
"No doubt of it," said his chum.
"Bless my doormat!" cried Mr. Damon. "And do you mean to say,
Tom Swift, that if we submerge now we'll be exactly where the
Pandora lies, a wreck on the floor of the ocean
"I mean to say that we're at exactly the spot Where Hardley
said she went down," corrected Tom, "and we weren't there before
--that is not so that we actually knew it. Now we are, and we're
going down. But that doesn't guarantee that we'll find the wreck.
She may have shifted, or be covered with sand. All that I said
before in reference to the difficulty in locating something under
the surface of the sea still holds good."
Once more, to make very certain there was no error, the figures
were gone over, Then, as one result checked the other, Tom put
away the papers, the nautical almanac, and said:
Slowly the tanks of the M. N. 1 began to fill. It was decided
to let her sink straight down, instead of descending by means of
the vertical rudders. In that way it was hoped to land her as
nearly as possible on the exact spot where the Pandora was
supposed to be.
"How deep will it be, Tom?" asked Ned, as he stood beside his
chum in the forward observation cabin and watched the needle of
the gauge move higher and higher.
"About six hundred feet, I judge, going by the character of the
sea bottom around here. Certainly not more than eight hundred I
should say." And Tom was right. At seven hundred and eighty-six
feet the gauge stopped moving, and a slight jar told all on board
that the submarine was again on the ocean floor.
"Now to look for the wreck!" exclaimed Tom. "And it will be a
real search this time. We know we are starting right."
"Are you going to put on diving suits and walk around looking
for her?" asked Ned.
"No, that would take too long," answered Tom. "We'll just
cruise about, beginning with small circles and gradually
enlarging them, spiral fashion. We'll have to go up a few feet to
get off the bottom."
As Tom was about to give this order Ned looked from the glass
windows. The powerful searchlight had been switched on and its
gleams illuminated the ocean in the immediate vicinity of the
As was generally the case, the light attracted hundreds of fish
of various shapes, sizes, and, since the waters were tropical,
beautiful colors. They swarmed in front of the glass windows, and
Ned was glad to note that there were no large sea creatures, like
horse mackerel or big sharks. Somehow or other, Ned had a horror
of big fish. There were sharks in the warm waters, he well knew,
but he hoped they would keep away, even though he did not have to
encounter any in the diving suit.
Slowly the submarine began to move. And as she was being
elevated slightly above the ocean bed, to enable her to proceed,
Ned uttered an exclamation and pointed to the windows.
"Look, Tom!" he cried.
"What is it?" the young inventor asked.
"Snakes!" whispered his chum. "Millions of 'em! Out there in
the water! Look how they're writhing about!"
Tom Swift laughed.
"Those aren't snakes!" he said. "That's serpent grass--a form
of very long seaweed which grows on certain bottoms. It attains a
length of fifty feet sometimes, and the serpent weed looks a good
deal like a nest of snakes. That's how it got its name. I didn't
know there was any here. But we must have dropped down into a bed
"Any danger?" asked Ned.
"Not that I know of, only it may make it more difficult for us
to see the wreck of the Pandora."
As Tom turned to leave the cabin the submarine suddenly ceased
moving. And she came to a gradual stop as though she had been
"snubbed" by a mooring line.
"I wonder what's the matter!" exclaimed Tom. "We can't have
come upon the wreck so soon."
At that moment a man entered the cabin.
"Trouble, Mr. Swift!" he reported.
"What kind?" asked Tom.
"Our propellers are tangled with a mass of serpent weed," was
the answer. "They're both fouled, and we can't budge."
"Bless my anchor chain!" ejaculated Mr. Damon. "Stuck again!"
THE DEVIL FISH
It was true. The long sinuous strands of ocean grass, known
under the name of "serpent weed," had caught around the whirling
propellers and there had been wound and twisted very tightly.
Just as sometimes the stern line gets so tightly twisted around a
motor boat propeller as to require hours of work with an axe to
free it, the seaweed was twisted around the blades of the
M. N. 1.
Slowly the undersea craft came to a stop, and there she
remained, floating freely enough, but a few feet above the bottom
of the ocean. There was a look of alarm on the faces of Ned and
Mr. Damon, but Tom Swift smiled.
"This is annoying, and may cause us delay," he announced, "but
there is no danger."
"How are we to get free from the weed?" asked Mr. Damon. "We
can't move if it's wound around our propellers, can we?"
"Not very well," Tom answered. "But all that will have to be
done will be for some of us to put on diving suits, go out and
chop the strands of weed away. We can do it more easily than
could an ordinary vessel, for they would have to go into dry dock
for the purpose. I think I'll go out myself. I want to look
around a little."
"I'll go with you," said Ned. "As long as we haven't seen any
sharks I don't mind."
"Nor gigantic starfish, either," added Tom with a smile, and
Ned nodded in agreement.
"We might try reversing the propellers," suggested the man from
the engine room, who had come in with the information about the
serpent weed. "The chief didn't like to try that. We saw the weed
from our observation windows and stopped as soon as we felt we
had fouled it."
"That was right," commended Tom. "Well, try reversing. It can't
do any harm, and it may make it easier for us to free the
propellers when we go out."
He went to the engine room himself to see that everything was
properly attended to. Slowly the motors were reversed, and only a
slight current was given them, as, with the resistance of the
tightly wound weed, too powerful a force might burn out the
Slowly the starting lever was thrown over. There was a low
humming and whining as the current jumped from the batteries, and
a slight vibration of the craft. Tom looked at the movable
pointer which showed the speed and direction of the propellers.
The hand oscillated slightly and then stopped.
"Shut off the current!" cried Tom. "It's of no use. The
propellers are held as tight as a drum! We've got to go out and
cut loose the serpent weed!"
The experiment of reversing the propellers had failed. But
still Tom did not believe his craft was in danger. He gave orders
for the engine room force to stand by and then arranged for
himself, Ned, and Koku to go outside in diving dress and cut the
weed off the shafts. There were twin propellers on the submarine,
each revolving independently by separate motors, and each capable
of being sent in forward or reverse direction.
"Start the engines as soon as we give the signal," Tom told the
machinist. "Two knocks on the hull with an axe will mean go
ahead, and three will mean reverse."
"I understand," said Weyth, the machinist. "But stand away from
the propellers after you give the signal. I'll give you three
minutes to move clear."
"That will be enough," Tom said. "But better make it half speed
in either case. My idea is that if we can partly cut the weed
off, starting the propellers, either forward or in reverse, will
finish the trick."
"It may," agreed Weyth.
Armed with axes and sharp steel bars, Tom, Ned, and Koku were
soon ready to step outside the submarine.
They entered the diving chamber. In the usual manner water was
admitted, and, when the pressure was equalized, the outer door
was opened and they walked out on the floor of the ocean, the
submarine having been allowed to settle down again on the bottom
of the Atlantic.
The powerful searchlight had been turned so that the beams were
diffused toward the stern. In addition to this Tom and his two
companions carried, attached to their suits, small, but
brilliant, electric torches. Of course they had their air tanks
with them, and also the telephones, by means of which they could
communicate with one another.
As they emerged into the warm waters surrounding the submarine
they disturbed thousands of small fish which were feeding all
about. Like ocean swallows, the creatures scattered in all
directions, some even brushing the divers as they slowly made
their way toward the stern of the craft.
"Nice place here," said Ned to Tom, as they walked along, Koku
coming just behind them.
"Yes. If we could take this up above and exhibit it in some
city park it would make a hit all right," answered the young
They were walking on the pure, white, sandy floor of the ocean,
some seven hundred feet below the surface, protected from the
awful pressure of the water by means of the specially constructed
suits which Tom had invented. About them, growing as if in a
garden, were great masses of coral, some so thin and sinuous that
it waved as do palms and ferns in the open air. Other coral was
in great rock masses.
Then, too, there was the unpleasant serpent weed. It did not
grow all over, but in patches here and there, as rank grass
springs up in a meadow.
And it had been the misfortune of the M. N. 1 that she poked
her tail into a mass of this long, tough grass, which was now
wound about her propellers.
In addition to the many wonderful vegetable forms that grew on
the ocean floor, some rivalling in beauty the orchids of the
tropics, and almost as delicate, there were the fishes, which
darted to and fro, now swiftly swimming beneath some coral arch,
and again poising around some mass of waving sea fronds.
"Well, let's get busy," called Tom to Ned through the
telephone. "We want to free the propellers and find the wreck of
the Pandora. She may be a hundred feet from us, or a mile away,
and in that case it's going to take longer to locate her."
Together they walked to the stern of the disabled craft. One
look at the propeller shafts, the examination being made by the
diffused glow from the searchlight, as well as from the electric
torches carried, showed that the diagnosis of the trouble was
Wound around both propellers was a mass of the serpent weed,
tightly bound because the machinery had whirled it around and
around after the grass had once been caught. It was almost as bad
as though manila cable had been thus accidentally fastened.
"Well, might as well begin to cut it loose," said Tom to his
companions. "Koku, you take the port propeller, and Ned and I
will work on the other. You ought to be able to beat us at this
"Me do," said the giant, as he got his axe ready for work.
Blows struck in water lose much of their force. This can easily
be proved by filling a bathtub full of water, rolling up the
sleeves, and then taking a hammer in the hand, immersing it
fully, and trying to strike some object held in the other hand.
The water hampers the blows.
It was this way with Tom and his friends. Nearly half of Koku's
great strength was wasted. But they knew they could take their
time, though they did not want to waste many hours.
The streamers of weed were like strands of tightly wound rope,
and this, under certain circumstances, acquires almost the
density of wood. Tom and Ned, working together, had managed to
chop a little off their propeller shaft, and Koku had done
somewhat better with his task, when Ned became aware of a shadow
passing above him.
Instinctively he looked up, and as he did so he could not
repress a start of horror. Tom, too, as well as Koku, saw the
menacing shadow. Ned grasped more tightly his sharp, steel bar
and spoke through the telephone to his companions.
"Devil fish!" he said. "The devil fish are after us."
A WAR REMINDER
To a large number of people the name devil fish brings to mind
a conception of an octopus, squid, cuttle fish, or a member of
that species. This is, however, a mistake.
The true devil fish of the tropics is a member of the sting ray
family, and the common name it bears is given to it because of
two prongs, or horns, which project just in front of its mouth.
His Satanic Majesty is popularly supposed to have horns, together
with a tail, hoofs and other appendages, and the horns of this
sting ray fish are what give it the name it bears.
The devil fish, some specimens of which grow to the weight of a
ton and measure fifteen feet from wing tip to wing tip, are armed
with a long tail, terminating in a tough, horny substance, like
many of the ray family members. This horn-tipped tail, lashing
about in the water, becomes a terrible weapon of defense.
Possibly it is used for offense, as the devil fish feeds on small
sea animals, sweeping them into its mouth by movements of the
horns mentioned. These horns, swirled about in the water, create
a sort of suction current, and on that the food fishes are borne
into the maw of the gigantic creature.
A whale rushes through a school of small sea animals with open
mouth, takes in a great quantity of water, and the fringe of
whalebone acts as a strainer, letting out the water and retaining
the food. In like manner the devil fish feeds, except that it has
no whalebone. Its "horns" help it to get a meal.
The "wing tips" of the devil fish have been spoken of. They are
not really wings, though when one of these fish breaks water and
shoots through the air, it appears to be flying. The wings are
merely fins, enormously enlarged, and these give the fish its
great size, rather than does the body itself. It is the whipping
spike-armed tail of the devil fish that is to be feared, aside
from the fact that the rush of a monster might swamp a small
It was two or three of these devil fish that were now floating
in the water above Tom and his companions, who were grouped about
the stern of the disabled submarine.
"They won't attack us unless we disturb them," said Tom through
his telephone, speaking to Ned and Koku. "Keep still and they'll
swim away. I guess they're trying to find out what new kind of
fish our boat is."
All might have gone well had not Koku acted precipitately. One
of the devil fish, the smallest of the trio, measuring about ten
feet across, swam down near the giant. It was an uncanny looking
creature, with its horns swirling about in the water and its
bone-tipped tail lashing to and fro like a venomous serpent.
"Look out!" cried Tom. But he was too late. Koku raised his axe
and struck with all his force at the sea beast. He hit it a
glancing blow, not enough to kill it, but to wound it, and
immediately the sea was crimsoned with blood.
The devil fish was able to observe under water better than its
human enemies, and it was in no doubt as to its assailant. In an
instant it attacked the giant, seeking to pierce him with the
These tails are not only armed with a tip of horn-like
hardness, they are also poisonous, and their penetrating power is
great. Fishermen have sometimes caught small sting rays, which
are a sort of devil fish. Lashing about in the bottom of a boat a
sting ray can send its tail tip through the sole of a heavy boot
and inflict a painful wound which may cause serious results.
The beast Koku had wounded was trying to sting the giant, and
the latter, aware of his peril, was striking out with the axe.
"Look out, Tom!" called Ned through his telephone, as he saw
one of the two unwounded devil fish swirl down toward the young
inventor. Tom looked up, saw the big, horrible shape above him,
and jabbed it with the sharp, steel bar. He inflicted a wound
which added further to the crimson tinge in the sea, and that
fish now attacked Tom Swift.
In another instant all three divers were fighting the terrible
creatures, that, knowing by instinct they were in danger, were
using the weapon with which nature had provided them. They lashed
about with their sharp-pointed tails, and more than one blow fell
on the suits of the divers.
Had there been the least penetration, of course almost instant
death would have followed. For the sea, at that depth and
pressure, entering the suits would have ended life suddenly. But
Tom had seen to it that the suits were well made and strong, with
a lining of steel. And however great a thickness of leather the
devil fish could send his sting through, it could not overcome
There was danger, though, that the slender tip might slip
through the steel bars across the windows in the helmets and
shatter the glass. And that would be as great a danger as if the
suits themselves were penetrated.
"We've got to fight 'em!" gasped Tom through his instrument,
and, seeing his chance, he gave another jab to the devil fish
attacking him. Koku, too, was standing up well under the attack
of the monster he had first wounded. Ned, watching his chance,
got in several blows, first at one and then at the other of the
huge creatures. The third devil fish, which had not been wounded,
had disappeared. Finally Koku, with a desperate blow, succeeded
in severing the tail from the beast attacking him, and that
battle was over.
As if realizing that it had lost its power to harm, the devil
fish at once swam off, grievously wounded. Then Koku turned his
attention to Tom's enemy. Ned, too, lent his aid, and they
succeeded in wounding the creature in several places, so that it
sank to the bottom of the sea and lay there gasping.
Slowly the red waters cleared and the three divers, exhausted
by the fight, could view the remaining creature--the one wounded
to death. It was the largest of the three, and truly it was a
monster. But it was past the power to harm, and in a few minutes
an under sea current carried it slowly away. Later it would
float, doubtless, or be devoured by sharks or other ocean pirates
before reaching the surface.
"Thank goodness that's over!" said Ned to Tom. "I don't want to
see any more of them."
"There may be more about," Tom said. "We'd better keep watch.
Ned, you lay off and Koku and I will work on the propellers. Then
you can take your turn."
This plan was followed. Koku, not being tired, did not need to
stop working, and he was the first to free his shaft partially of
the entangling weeds. Tom rapped a signal, the blades were slowly
revolved and then came free. A little later the second was in
"Now we can move!" said Tom, as they started back toward the
diving chamber. "I hope we don't run into another patch of that
"Nor see any more devil fish," added Ned.
"Same here!" echoed the young inventor.
Luck seemed to be with the gold-seekers after that, for as the
submarine was sent ahead, no more of the long, entangling grass
The search for the sunken Pandora was now begun in earnest,
since they were positive that they were at the right spot.
No immediate sign of her was found. But Tom and his friends
hardly expected to be as lucky as that. They were willing to make
a search. For, as Tom had said, a current might have shifted the
position of the wreck.
They followed the plan of moving about in ever-widening
circles. Only in this way could they successfully cover the
ground. It was the third day after the encounter with the devil
fish that Tom, Ned and Mr. Damon were in the forward observation
cabin. The eccentric man suddenly pointed to something visible
from the starboard window.
"There's a wreck, Tom!" he cried. "Maybe it's the Pandora!"
Tom and the others hurried to Mr. Damon's side and peered out
into the sea, illuminated by the great searchlight.
"That isn't the Pandora!" said the young inventor.
"But it's a wreck, isn't it?" asked Ned.
"Yes, it's a sunken vessel, all right," Tom assented. "But it's
a reminder of the Great War. Look! She has been blown up by a
There was no question about Tom's statement. They had
approached close to the side of a small, sunken and wrecked
steamer, and in her side was torn a great hole. In the light from
the submarine it could be seen that the plates bent inward,
indicating that the explosion was from outside.
"What are you going to do, Tom?" asked Ned, as he saw his chum
move the engine room telegraph signal to the stop position.
"Going to investigate," was the answer. "We might as well take
the time. We may learn something of value."
"Do you think there is any treasure in her?" asked Mr. Damon.
"There might be," answered Tom. "We'll put on the diving suits
and go outside."
"I hope there aren't any devil fish," remarked Ned.
"Same here," Tom agreed. "But I don't believe we'll meet with
any. Will you take a chance, Ned?"
"I surely will! I'd like to find out what sort of ship that is
--or rather, was, for there isn't much left of her."
He spoke truly, for indeed the torpedo had created fearful
havoc. The full extent of it was not observed until Tom, Ned,
Koku and two of the crew had put on diving suits and approached
the hulk. She lay on her side on the sandy bottom, heeled over
somewhat, and when the investigators had walked around her, as
they were able to do, they saw a second, and even larger hole in
the opposite side.
"Two submarines must have attacked her," said Ned, speaking
through his telephone to Tom.
"Either that, or else one sent a torpedo into her, dived, came
up on the other side and sent another."
"Well, let's see if she has any treasure aboard," Ned proposed.
"Wouldn't it be queer if we should discover two treasure ships?"
"More queer than likely," Tom answered. "We've got to be
careful going inside her."
"Why?" asked Ned. "Do you think we'll set off a hidden mine?"
"No, but part of the wreckage might be loosened if we climbed
over it, and we might fall and be pinned down. I've read of
divers being caught that way. We must be careful."
"Do you suppose a German sub did this?" Ned asked.
"I think very likely," Tom answered. "Maybe we can tell if we
can discover the nationality of this craft."
They made their way to a position just outside the gaping hole
in the starboard side of the craft. Evidently; it was, or had
been, a tramp steamer, and the torpedo hole on her starboard side
was about amidships. She must have filled and sunk quickly with
two such great holes torn in her.
Standing near the wound in the steel skin, Tom and his
companions tried to see what was inside. Their portable torches
did not give light enough to make out clearly the character of
the cargo carried, and it was too risky to venture into the mass
of wreckage that must be the result of the explosion of the
"Let's try the other side," suggested Tom, and they moved
around the stern of the craft. When they reached the place where
the name was visible Tom raised his electric torch and, in the
glow of it, they all read the painted inscription, Blakesly, New
"That's the vessel that disappeared so mysteriously!" exclaimed
Ned, speaking through his instrument. "I remember reading about
her. She sailed from New York for Brest, but was never heard of.
At last we have solved the mystery!"
"Yes," agreed Tom, "but without much avail. We are too late to
do any good."
"Not one of her crew or passengers was ever heard of," went on
Ned. "It was surmised that a German sub attacked her, and that
she was either sunk 'without a trace' or else her survivors were
taken aboard the submarine and carried to Germany."
"Perhaps we may learn something to that end," said Tom, as they
got around to the other side. The hole there was not quite so
big, and as it seemed safe to enter Tom and Ned prepared to do
so, the others remaining outside to give them aid in case of
It was comparatively easy to enter by this wound in the side of
the Blakesly, and, proceeding cautiously, Tom and Ned made the
attempt. They found they could not penetrate far, however,
because of the mass of wreckage scattered about by the explosion.
They could see through into the engine room, and there the
machinery was in every stage of destruction, while below the
boilers were disrupted.
"She must have gone down in a hurry," remarked Tom.
"Yes, and with part of her crew," added Ned, as he pointed to
where a heap of white bones lay--grim reminders of the Great War.
The engine room forces had been trapped and carried down to
"I wonder if, by any chance, she did carry gold," suggested
"It wouldn't be down here if she did," asserted Tom. "And if
she was a treasure ship, and the huns knew it, they wouldn't
leave any on board."
"That's just it," went on his chum. "They may not have known
it, and have ripped a couple of torpedoes at her without any
warning. It would be just like them."
"Granted," assented the young inventor. "Well, we can take
another look around outside. Maybe there's a way of getting on
deck, and so going below from there. I wouldn't chance it from
"Me, either," Ned answered.
They looked around a little more, a further view showing how
dangerous it would be to attempt to enter the shattered engine
room, where a misstep or a sudden change of equilibrium might
"Nothing there," Tom reported to Koku and the others waiting
for him outside.
"Rope by up go him stern," said Koku, motioning toward the
after part of the wreck.
"What does he mean?" Tom asked one of his crew.
"Oh, he went walking around outside while you were inside,
sir," was the answer, "and he seems to have found a rope ladder
or a chain, or something hanging from the stern."
"Let's go and see it," proposed Tom. "I've been wondering if we
could get on deck."
"Are we going to spend much time here?" Ned wanted to know.
"Not much longer," Tom replied. "Why?"
"Well, I was thinking we'd better keep on looking for the
Pandora. I don't want that fellow Hardley to get the bulge on
"Oh," laughed Tom, "he isn't likely to. But we won't take any
chances. As soon as I see if we can learn anything that may be
useful from this hulk, we'll go back and start on our way again."
The party of divers, led by Koku, who wanted to point out his
discovery, walked slowly along on the bottom of the sea, around
to the stern of the Blakesly.
"See!" said the giant through his telephone, and, as the
instruments were interchanging, all heard him.
Koku pointed to several ropes and chains that were dangling
from the stern of the sunken craft. Evidently they had been used
by those who sought to escape from the sinking ship after she had
"Wait a minute!" Tom telephoned, as he saw Koku grasp a chain,
evidently with the object of hoisting himself up on deck by the
simple method of going up hand over hand. He could easily do this
by adjusting the air pressure inside his diving suit to make
himself more buoyant.
"Koku go up!" said the giant.
"Better make sure that chain will hold you," cautioned Tom. The
giant proved it by several powerful tugs, and then began to raise
himself from the sandy bed of the ocean.
"Well, if it will hold him it will hold us," asserted Tom.
"Ned, we'll go up. You two stay here," he said to the members of
his crew. "We can't take any chances of all getting in the same
accident if there should be one."
A little later Tom, Ned, and Koku stood on the deck of the
sunken craft. Much of what she had carried had been swept off,
either in the explosions or by reason of currents generated by
storms since the fatality. But what seemed to be the cabin of the
captain, or of some of the officers, was in plain view and easy
of access from this level.
"Let's take a look!" said Tom.
Ned followed him to the door. It had been torn off, and inside
was a table made fast to the floor. From the appearance of the
room it was evidently the compartment where the charts were kept,
and where the captain or his officers worked out the reckoning.
But it was tenantless now, and if any maps or papers had been out
they were dissolved in sea water some time since.
"Let's see if we can find the log book," proposed Ned.
"Good idea," assented Tom.
Using the iron bars they carried, they forced open some of the
lockers, but aside from pulp, which might have been charts or
almost anything in the way of documents, nothing was come upon
that would tell anything.
Unless the log book was kept in a water-tight case the ink
would all run, once it was wet," Tom said, when they were about
ready to give up their search.
"I suppose so," agreed Ned. "But I would like to know whether
she carried treasure."
However, it was impossible to discover this, and dangerous to
look too far into the interior. So Tom and his party were forced
to leave without discovering the secret of the Blakesly, if she
Later, however, when they had returned home, Tom and Ned made a
report of what they had seen, and so cleared up the fate of the
vessel. They learned that she carried no treasure, and they were
glad they had not risked their lives looking for it. What had
happened to her crew was never learned.
They returned to the submarine and told what they had viewed.
And then, with a last look at the wreck, they passed on in their
search for the Pandora.
Several fruitless days followed, and though a careful search
was made in the vicinity of the true location given by Mr.
Hardley, nothing was discovered.
"How long will you keep at it before you give up?" asked Ned
one evening, as they went aloft to replenish the air tanks and
charge the batteries.
"Oh, another week, anyhow. I have a new theory, Ned."
"Ocean currents. I believe there are powerful currents in these
waters, and that they may have shifted the position of the
Pandora considerably. I'm going to study the currents."
"Good idea!" cried his chum.
And the next day they began observations which were destined to
have surprising results.
AN UNDERSEA COLLISION
Under the warm, tropical sun the submarine floated idly on the
surface of the calm sea. She had risen from the depths, her
hatches had been opened, and now the crew, the owner, and his
guests were breathing free air. The men were taking advantage of
the period above water to wash out some of their garments,
hanging them on improvised lines stretched along the deck. For
Tom Swift had said he would remain above the surface all day.
Some slight repairs were necessary to the electric motors, and
they could be made only when the craft was on the open sea. This,
too, would afford a chance to recharge the batteries and repair
one of them.
For the time being the search under the sea for the treasure
ship Pandora had been abandoned. But it was not given up
entirely. As Tom had announced to Ned, a new theory would be
worked out. So far, cruising about in the place where the
fillibuster ship was supposed to have gone down had resulted in
Mr. Damon, who had been below, shaving, came up on deck to see
Tom and Ned tossing into the water large pieces of cork taken
from spare life preservers. Tom tossed his in from one side of
the deck, and Ned from the other. Then, as the eccentric man
listened, he heard Tom say:
"I think mine is going to beat yours, Ned!"
"Then you've got another guess coming," declared the young
financial man. "Mine's going twice as fast as yours is now,
though yours did start off better."
"Bless my beefsteak!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "what's this, Tom
Swift? I thought we came on a treasure-hunting expedition, and
here I find you and Ned playing some childish game! I hope you
aren't laying any wagers on it!" Mr. Damon did not approve of
gambling in any form.
"No, we aren't doing that," laughed Tom, as he dropped another
bit of cork into the ocean.
"We are trying to arrive at some valuable scientific facts, Mr. Damon."
"Scientific facts--that childish play?"
"It isn't play," said Tom, turning to remark to Ned: "I think
we've settled it. The current has a decided twist to the north."
"Yes," agreed his chum. "You were right, Tom."
"If you don't mind explaining," began Mr. Damon, "I should like
"We're trying to determine the drift of the ocean currents in
this locality," Tom said.
"So we'll know better where to look for the Pandora," added
"Oh, so you haven't given up the hunt, then?" asked the
"By no means!" exclaimed Tom. "It's this way, Mr. Damon. We
went down at as nearly the exact spot where the treasure-ship was
sunk as we could determine by means of calculations. She wasn't
there, nor could we find her by going around in circles. Then it
occurred to me, and to some of the others also, including Ned,
that the ocean currents might have shifted the position of the
craft after she had sunk. There are powerful currents in the
ocean, as you know, the Gulf Stream being one and the Japan
Current another. Now there may be smaller ones in these waters
that would produce a local effect.
"So Ned and I have been dropping bits of cork of different
shapes into the water and watching which way they drifted. Our
conclusion is that the currents here have a decided set toward
"And what does that indicate?" asked Mr. Damon.
"That we should have begun our search some distance north of
the point where we actually did begin," answered Tom.
"How far north?" the eccentric man wanted to know.
"That's just what we have yet to ascertain," the young inventor
replied. "So far our conclusions have been arrived at merely from
surface data. Now we've got to go below."
"And play with bits of cork there?" asked Mr. Damon.
"No, we'll have to use something heavier than cork," Tom said.
"We'll probably use weights, and see how far they move along the
bottom in a given time. But we have established one thing, and I
begin to have hopes now that we may locate the Pandora."
The remainder of the day was spent in various ways aboard the
submarine, which continued to float idly on the waves.
It was toward evening, when the red, setting sun gave promise
of a fair day on the morrow that the submarine's deck lookout
approached Tom, and, waiting until he had the attention of the
young inventor, reported:
"There is a smudge of smoke dead astern, sir."
"Is there?" exclaimed Tom. "Let me have the glasses."
He took them from the lookout and made a long and careful study
of the slight, black smudge which was low down on the horizon.
"A steamer," decided Tom, "and coming on fast. We'll go below!"
he added. "Please make ready," he said to the officer in charge.
"What's up, Tom?" asked Ned, as his chum gathered up the papers
on which he had been figuring on an improvised table set under an
awning on deck.
"Some craft is coming, and I'd just as soon she wouldn't sight
us," was the answer.
"You mean she might interfere with our search for the treasure-
"Not exactly. But she might want to start a search on her own
account, and there's no use of giving our presence away, or
letting them guess at what might be right conclusions as to the
location of the Pandora."
"But, Tom, no one knows of the wreck! At least, no one is
supposed to but our party and--"
"Hardley. Exactly!" exclaimed Tom, as he saw his chum about to
utter the name.
"And you think he is coming?"
"I shouldn't be a bit surprised. Anyhow, it's just as easy for
us to submerge and let them do their own guessing. I was going
down soon, anyhow, and another hour won't make any difference.
Here, take a look, if you like."
Ned peered through the glasses, but his eyes not being trained
in sea interpretation, as were Tom's, he could make out nothing
but a black smudge, now larger and darker.
"It might be a cloud for all I can tell," he said, as he handed
the binoculars back to Tom.
"Well, it's a steamer all right, and she's under forced draft,
too, if I'm any judge. We'll go below before she sights us."
"Perhaps she has already," suggested Ned, as the crew began
clearing the submarine's deck.
"No, we lie too low in the water for that. Well, now we can
start our underwater observations of current trends."
It did not take long, once she started, for the M. N. 1 to go
down. Just as the sun sank below the horizon, and while the
smudge of smoke was becoming more distinct, the waves closed
over the steel deck of the submarine. Half an hour later she was
nearly a quarter of a mile below the surface, resting on the
bottom of the sea again.
On this trip Tom did not go to any such depths as he did on his
former voyage in the Advance. Not that the reconstructed
submarine was not capable of it, for she was even stronger than
when first built. But the wreck they were seeking did not lie in
so great a depth of water, and there was no need of running
"Well," remarked Ned, when they came to a stop, "I don't
believe any one will find us here."
"Not an ordinary diver, at any rate," Tom agreed. "And after
supper I'm going to have another go at the currents."
The meal was served as usual, and a very good one it was,
considering the fact that not as many supplies could be carried
in the rather limited space of a submarine as may be transported
in an ocean liner. Then, as it was still early, Tom and Ned, with
the help of some of the officers, got ready for a new series of
The big searchlight was set aglow, and, going out on the ocean
bed in diving suits, Tom and his friends dropped on the sand
various weighted objects.
These were made in the shape of the hull of a steamer, and in
proportion. Once they were on the sand, an iron rod was thrust
into the ocean bed near each object.
"Now," remarked Tom, as they all went into the submarine again,
"we'll let them drift until morning. Then we'll make new
calculations. I think we'll arrive at some results, too."
"Just what are you aiming to do?" asked Mr. Damon.
"See how far each one of those weighted objects drifts," Tom
replied. "We have planted them in different spots on the ocean
bed. Some will drift farther than others. Some are large and some
are small. By striking an average we may be able to tell about
how far from the supposed location of the Pandora we ought to
look for her."
The night passed without incident and as calmly and peacefully
as though they were all in some deep cave beneath a great
mountain. In the morning after breakfast Tom and his friends went
outside the submarine again and noted the weighted objects. Some
had drifted farther than others. Measurements were carefully
taken, and then began a series of intricate calculations.
The distance each object had drifted from the iron bar marker
was considered in reference to its size and shape. Also the
elapsed time was computed. The results were then compared, an
average struck, and then the size and weight of the Pandora, as
nearly as they could be ascertained, were figured. The resultant
figures were compared, and Tom announced:
"If we are anywhere near right in our conclusions we ought to
begin to search for the treasure-ship about four miles from here,
in a general northerly direction."
"Do you think she has drifted that far?" asked Ned.
"Fully that," Tom answered. "That is only our starting point--
the center of a new series of circles."
A moment later Tom gave the order to rise to the surface.
"Going up?" exclaimed Ned.
"Yes, I want to make some observations to determine our exact
"But suppose that other steam--"
"We'll have to take a chance. We can submerge quickly if we
have to, and I don't believe she's able to do that."
An observation was taken through the conning tower, however,
before the M. N. 1 went all the way up, and there was not a sail
nor a smudge of smoke on the horizon.
"So far so good," murmured Tom. "Now we'll 'shoot the sun,' and
after we submerge we'll begin our search in earnest. I think we
are on the right track now."
The observation was made at noon, and then, as nearly as
possible, the submarine was moved to a position approximately
four miles north of the place where the Pandora was supposed to
"Down we go!" exclaimed Tom, and down they went.
The depth gauge showed more than a thousand feet below the
surface when the M. N. 1 came to rest. This was deeper than Tom
had thought to find the wreck, but his craft was able to
withstand the pressure. A brief wait, to make sure that
everything was in readiness, was followed by the beginning of the
new search. In gradually widening circles the craft moved about
If the voyagers had expected to locate at once the treasure-
ship, they would have been disappointed. For the first day gave
no signs. But Tom had not promised immediate results, and no one
gave up hope.
It was shortly after noon on the second day of the search at
the new location that, as they were proceeding at rather greater
speed than usual, something happened.
Ned had just suggested that he and Tom might go out and try the
current-setting experiments again, when suddenly they were both
thrown off their feet by a terrific jar and concussion. The M. N.
1 seemed to reel back, as if from a great blow.
"Bless my safety razor!" cried Mr. Damon, "what's the matter,
"I think we've had a collision!" was the answer. "I must see
how badly we are damaged!"
Sudden and forceful had been the underwater collision in which
the M. N. 1 had participated. Either the lookout, aided though he
was by the focused rays of the great searchlight, had failed to
notice some obstruction in time to signal to avoid it, or there
was an error somewhere else. At any rate the submarine had rammed
something--what it was remained to be discovered.
"Bless my shotgun," cried Mr. Damon, "perhaps it was one of
those big whales, Ned!"
"It didn't feel like a whale," answered the young financial
"And it wasn't!" declared Tom, who was hastening to the engine
room. "It was too solid for that."
Following the collision there had been considerable confusion
aboard the vessel. But discipline prevailed, and now it was
necessary to determine the extent of the damage. This, Tom and
his officers and crew proceeded to do.
There were automatic devices in the various control cabins, as
well as in the main engine room, which told instantly if a leak
had been sprung in any part of the craft. In that serious
difficulty automatic pumps, controlled by an electrical device,
at once began forcing out the water. Other apparatus rushed a
supply of compressed air to the flooded compartment in order to
hold out the water if possible. For further security the
submarine was divided into different compartments, as are most
ships in these days. The puncturing or flooding of one did not
necessarily mean the foundering of the craft, or, in the case of
a submarine, prevent her rising.
But Tom had sensed that the collision was almost a head-on one,
and in that case it was likely that the plates might have started
in several sections at once. This he wanted to discover, and take
means of safety accordingly.
"How do you make it, Mr. Nelson?" cried the young inventor to
the captain in the engine room.
"Only a slight leak in compartment B 2," he answered, as Tom's
eyes rapidly scanned the tell-tale gauges. "The pumps and air are
taking care of that."
"Good!" cried Tom. "It doesn't seem possible that there isn't
more than that, though. We struck a terrible blow."
"Yes, but a glancing one, I think, sir."
"Send for the lookout," ordered Tom. "I can't under stand why
he didn't see whatever we've hit in time to avoid it."
The lookout came in, very much frightened, it must be admitted.
Only by a narrow margin had all escaped death.
"It was impossible to see it, Mr. Swift," he said. "We had a
clear course, not a thing in sight. The bottom was white sand,
and I could almost count the fishes. All at once there was a big
swirl of water that threw our nose around, and before I could
signal to slow down or reverse we were right into her."
"Into what?" asked Tom.
"Some sort of wreck, I took it to be. I shoved the wheel hard
over as quickly as I could, and we struck only a glancing blow."
"That's good," murmured Tom. "I thought that must have been the
explanation. But what's that about a sudden swirl of water?"
"It seemed to me like a change in the current," the lookout
answered. "It threw us right over against the wreck."
"I can very easily imagine something like that happening,"
admitted Tom. "Well, as long as we're not badly damaged I think
we'll go outside and take a look. If we hit a wreck--"
"Bless my looking glass!" cried Mr. Damon, "it may be the
"That's too good to be true!" cried Ned. "Anyhow, let's get out
and take a look."
Tom first made sure that the slight leak was not likely to
increase, and then arrangements were made for himself, Ned, Koku,
and some of the others to go outside in the diving suits. Mr.
Damon wanted to be of the party, but Tom was afraid to permit him
in that depth of water. Mr. Damon, in spite of his jollity, was
not as young as he had been.
Shortly after the collision, which had missed being a disaster
by a narrow margin, Tom and his companions were outside the
submarine, walking on the white, sandy bottom of the sea. Around
them was a myriad of fishes, some of large size, but seemingly
harmless, as they scudded rapidly away after a glance at the
strange creatures who appeared to have come to dispute with them
for possession of Father Neptune's element.
Moving more slowly than usual, because of the greater pressure
of water at that depth, Tom and the others made their way around
the nose of the submarine. And then, in the glow of the big
searchlight, they saw the dim outlines of a steamer, partly
imbedded in the sand. Her stern was toward the undersea craft
that had rammed her, and the name was not so obliterated but what
the young inventor could read it.
"The Pandora!" exclaimed Tom, speaking into his helmet
telephone transmitter, the others all hearing him. "We've found
the treasure-ship at last!"
And so they had. An accident had brought them to the end of
their quest, though it is probable they would have found the
Pandora anyhow, since they were making careful circles in her
"Yes, that's the Pandora," said Ned. "And now the thing to do
is to find out if she really has any treasure on board."
"That's what I'm going to do," declared Tom. "But first I want
to investigate this queer current. We can't feel it here, but we
may if we get out beyond the wreck. We don't want to be swept off
"Yes, we had better be careful," said one of the officers.
Accordingly they proceeded with caution along the length of the
sunken Pandora. And as they neared her bow they all began to feel
some powerful force in the current.
"This is far enough!" said Tom. "Don't get out beyond the
protection of the hull. I see what it is. The steamer has drifted
here from where she was originally sunk. And here two currents
meet, forming a very strong one. It was that which threw us off
our course. As long as we remain behind the wreck we'll be safe.
But beyond her we may be in danger. She's firmly held in the
sand, or, at best, is drifting only slightly. She'll be a sort of
undersea breakwater for us. And now to see if we can get on
This proved comparatively easy. Several lengths of chain and
one iron ladder were over the stern, evidently having been used
when the crew abandoned the ship in the storm that destroyed her.
By means of these Tom and his companions gained the main deck
near the stern.
The Pandora was a typical tramp steamer. She was high in the
bows and stern and low amidships, and it was evident that the
quarters of the officers and passengers, if any of the latter
were carried, were in the stern. Tom was glad to find the vessel
thus comparatively easy of access.
She lay on an almost even keel, and all he and his companions
had to do was to walk along the deck and enter the cabins. As
they did not have to look out for life lines or air hose they
could enter, and even go below decks, in comparative safety.
"Well, here's for it," said Tom to the others. "Let's go in.
"Where would the treasure be, if she had any?" asked Ned.
"Captain's cabin or the purser's strong room, I imagine," Tom
answered. "Hardley didn't actually see it, but he said those two
places were constantly guarded. I'm inclined to think the purser
would have charge of the gold. But we'll try both places."
It was easy to learn which had been the commander's cabin. It
had the name "Captain" on a brass plate over the door. Tom and
Ned entered. The place was in confusion, and confusion not all
caused by the ocean currents. A small safe in the room stood with
rusted door open, and the contents of the strong box were gone.
Drawers and lockers, too, were opened and empty.
"I guess the captain took as much with him as he could when he
got into his boat," commented Tom.
"And the gold, too," added Ned, pointing to the empty safe.
"That wouldn't have held two million dollars in gold," Tom
retorted. "I believe the purser's cabin is the place to look."
Making sure they were not missing anything in the captain's
room, they came out, to find Koku and the others waiting for them
"Nothing there," Tom reported. "Did any of you locate the
purser's strong room?" One of the men pointed to an open door to
"That's it!" exclaimed Tom. "Yes, and there's a safe here big
enough to hold gold for all the revolutions in South America," he
added. "I guess we're on the right track at last."
It needed but a look to show them that they had at last reached
the place of the treasure. The great safe stood open, and piled
inside were a number of small boxes, such as are generally used
to ship gold in. Ned, from his bank experience, recognized them
"There's the gold!" he exclaimed. "We've found the treasure!"
"They tried to take some of it with them," said one of the
submarine officers, pointing to some opened boxes which were
floating near the cabin ceiling. They were caught on some
projections which had prevented them from being washed out.
"Maybe they looted the whole safe," suggested Tom. "We'd better
have a look."
He tried to pull out one of the many boxes set in tiers in the
safe, but it was beyond his strength.
"Me do!" murmured Koku.
It was easy for the giant to pry out one of the boxes with his
iron bar, and with another blow from his bar he opened the cover.
"Gold!" cried Ned, as he saw a gleam of yellow showing in the
glow from his torch. "There's the gold!"
There was a table in the purser's cabin, made fast to the floor
so it had not floated away. At a sign from Tom, the giant turned
the box bottom side up on this table.
And then a murmur of wonder came from all who saw the result.
For aside from the top layer of gold pieces, the box was filled
with iron disks cut to the size of twenty-dollar gold pieces. In
an instant it was borne to all what this meant.
"A fake!" exclaimed Tom Swift. "If all the boxes are like this
there isn't enough gold on the treasure ship to pay the expenses
of this trip! Somebody has been fooled! Open another box, Koku!"
THE STEEL BOX
Perhaps the least of all affected by what had taken place was
the giant. Gold meant nothing to him. To serve Tom Swift was his
whole aim in life. Born in a savage country, he had not acquired
an overwhelming desire for wealth.
Consequently he was cool enough as he tore another box from the
many that were fitted into the safe. The water had swelled the
wood, and it was not easy to get them out.
A pressure of the giant's iron bar broke the sealed lid. On top
was the same layer of gold pieces, but when the box was emptied
the same trick was discovered. Iron disks made up the remainder
of the contents.
"Bilked! That's what I call it! Regularly bilked!" exclaimed
one of the divers, an Englishman who had been in Tom's service
several years. "Somebody's got the cream of this pudding before
"I'm inclined to agree with you," said Tom. "Unless it
transpires that not all the boxes have been thus camouflaged. We
must take time to examine."
Then began a period of hard work. Laboring in relays of divers,
every box that had been locked in the purser's safe was brought
out on the submerged cabin table, broken open, and the contents
examined. The hoax was even worse than indicated at first. For
after the front section of boxes had been taken out none of the
others remaining contained any gold at all. There were only iron
"Well, Tom, what do you think of it?" asked Ned of his chum,
when they had returned to the cabin of the submarine, leaving
some members of the crew to complete the examination. For this
the diving bell was used, as well as the suits.
"I don't think very much," was the answer. "It looks as though
we had been sold."
"Do you think Hardley knew that the gold had been changed to
iron--that is, all but a small part of it?"
"No, I don't believe he did," Tom answered. "If he were here
I'd warrant he would be as much surprised as we are. He certainly
believed the Pandora was a regular treasure-ship."
"Just how much did she really have in gold?" asked Mr. Damon,
looking at the double eagles on the table of the M. N. 1.
"Well, at a rough guess I'd say ten thousand dollars," Tom
answered. "We haven't brought it all out yet, and it's possible
they may find a full box in the safe. But, unless there is one, I
guess ten or fifteen thousand dollars will cover it."
"And Hardley said two millions!" exclaimed Ned. "Whew, what a
"Do you think he was in on the change?" asked one of the
"No," replied Tom. "I guess it was like a good many of these
filibustering plots. Somebody put up good money to be used to
gain control of a country--perhaps for the country's good. But
somebody else made the substitution, and the patriots were left.
I don't believe Hardley knew this."
"Well, you'll get a little out of it, Tom," Ned remarked.
"Nothing worth while," was the answer. "But I'm not
disappointed; that is, very much. Of course I could use the
money, but I don't really need it. The trip has been a wonderful
experience, and I have learned something I didn't know before.
I'm sorry for you, though, Mr. Damon. You invested considerable
with Hardley, didn't you?"
"About twenty thousand dollars, Tom. It will be hard to lose
it, but I guess I can stand it."
Tom privately made up his mind to see that his old friend did
not suffer financially, for the gold discovered on the Pandora,
while it was far from the amount hoped for, would almost
reimburse Mr. Damon. But the young inventor did not say anything
about that just then.
They were looking at the recovered gold and getting ready to
store it in some of the boxes that had been brought from the
wreck when the divers that had remained on the Pandora to bring
the last of the treasure returned through the chamber. Two of
them carried a small steel box.
"What's that?" asked Tom, when they had their helmets off.
"Don't know," was the answer. "It was in the purser's safe.
Stuck away in the far corner."
"Maybe it has jewels in it!" exclaimed Ned. "If it has--"
At that moment the lookout who had maintained his position in
the conning tower called for Tom on the telephone.
"What is it?" asked the young inventor.
"There's some sort of grappling iron, or cable with a hook on
it, being lowered from the surface, and it's near the wreck," was
the answer. "If it isn't any of your apparatus it may be some
other ship having a try for the gold."
"It must be Hardley!" cried Tom. "He's come back with another
ship, as he half threatened to do, and, instead of diving for the
wreck, which he can't get ordinary men to do in this depth, he's
trying to grapple for it. Come on, we'll have a look!"
Ned and Mr. Damon followed Tom to the conning tower. Looking
out through the heavy glass windows, while the searchlight
illuminated the waters, the young inventor and his friends saw a
great grappling iron swaying this way and that through the sea
not far from the wreck, and once, indeed, uncomfortably close to
their own craft.
"He's struck it uncommonly near," remarked Tom. "I guess it's
time for us to be leaving."
"Suppose it's Hardley up above there?" suggested Ned.
"I don't doubt but it is."
"Well, are we going off and leave the wreck--and possibly other
gold that may be hidden on her?"
"I wouldn't give ten dollars for the chance of searching for
any more gold!" Tom exclaimed. "We'll take this steel box--it may
contain something of value. The rest we'll leave to Hardley."
Preparations for rising to the surface were quickly made. Up
and up went the M. N. 1, leaving the ill-starred Pandora to
whatever else fate had in store for her.
Tom's craft broke water with gentle undulations of the waves.
The top of the hatch was thrown back, admitting the bright
sunshine on those who had been long in the shadow of the
underseas. And, as the young inventor and his friends went out on
deck, they saw a small steamer riding on the ocean not far away.
One look was enough to tell them it was from this craft that
the grappling iron had been let down, and as the submarine
drifted nearer the form of Hardley was seen on deck. He was
Some one must have called his attention to the M. N. 1, for he
hurried to the rail of the craft which he had evidently chartered
to seek the Pandora, and he exclaimed:
"What are you doing here, Swift?"
"The same thing you are, I believe," coolly answered Tom.
"Cleaning up the treasure ship. You might as well save your money
though, for we have all the gold there is!"
"Impossible!" cried the now irate man. "You cannot have found
"That's just what we did, though," answered Tom. "And, for your
information, I'll say that we took all the gold we found, though
it was considerably less than you stated."
"How dare you?" stormed the adventurer. "I'll have the law on
you for this!"
"I guess you forget," replied Tom, "that we parted company at
your request and that I told you I was on my own. Finding is
keeping. I didn't find what I expected to, and, on the other
hand, I got something I didn't look for."
"What do you mean
"The Pandora was rightly named," went on Tom. "If you recall
the old story, Pandora had a box of treasures. They all flew out
except Hope, which remained in the bottom. Well, most of the gold
seems to have flown away, but we found a box on the Pandora.
What's in it I don't know yet, as I haven't opened it. Still, if
it doesn't contain more than Hope I shall be disappointed."
The face of Hardley showed the rage felt.
"Give me that box! Give me that box!" he cried, shaking his
fist at Tom.
"Not today," was the cool answer of the young inventor. "I may
let you know what I find in it if you leave your address.
Tom waved his hand, gave orders to close the hatches and
submerge the M. N. 1, and a few moments later the sea closed over
her, leaving the other vessel to grapple uselessly for the
"What are you going to do, Tom?" asked Ned of his chum, as they
were all gathered in the main cabin half an hour later.
"Head for home as soon as we can. I've had enough of this, and
I want to get at something else I have in mind. But first I'm
going to see what's in this box."
It required the strength of Koku to open the small steel box,
but when it was torn apart, for the combination was impossible to
guess at, all that was seen were bundles of papers. The case
having been hermetically closed, no water had penetrated it,
though it had been submerged a long time.
"What are they?" asked Ned of his chum.
Tom did not answer for a moment. Then having quickly examined
the papers, he cried:
"We've struck it!"
"What?" they all wanted to know.
"The very thing Hardley was after. These are the missing papers
in the oil-well deal--the papers that prove Barton Keith has a
half share in property worth many millions of dollars. It was
these papers that Hardley was after. He may have thought he could
get the gold, too, but he wanted most these oil shares. Boys,