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Another Treasure Expedition







From: Tom Swift And His Submarine Boat

While Tom and Mr. Damon continued on to Atlantis after the oil, the
young inventor lamenting from time to time that his remarks about the
real destination of the Advance had been overheard by Mr. Berg, the
latter and his companion were hastening back along the path that ran on
one side of the sand dunes.

"What's your hurry?" asked Mr. Maxwell, who was with the submarine
agent. "You turned around as if you were shot when you saw that man and
the lad. There didn't appear to be any cause for such a hurry. From
what I could hear they were talking about a submarine. You're in the
same business. You might be friends."

"Yes, we might," admitted Mr. Berg with a peculiar smile; "but, unless
I'm very much mistaken, we're going to be rivals."

"Rivals? What do you mean?"

"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 long-distance telephone."

"What for?"

"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 that lad--"

"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, Mr Berg,
but you haven't done so."

"I have."

"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."

"Explain."

"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 himself.

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
he 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 said."

"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 happened."

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 his employers.

"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,
Mr 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 hand.

"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.





Next: Captain Weston's Advent

Previous: Mr Damon Will Go



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