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Doomed To Death







From: Tom Swift And His Submarine Boat

There was no room on the small deck of the submarine to make a stand
against the officers and crew of the Brazilian warship. In fact, the
capture of the gold-seekers had been effected so suddenly that their
astonishment almost deprived them of the power to think clearly.

At another command from the officer, who was addressed as Admiral
Fanchetti, several of the sailors began to lead Tom and his friends
toward the small boat.

"Do you feel all right, father?" inquired the lad anxiously, as he
looked at his parent. "These scoundrels have no right to treat us so."

"Yes, Tom, I'm all right as far as the electric shock is concerned, but
I don't like to be handled in this fashion."

"We ought not to submit!" burst out Mr. Damon. "Bless the stars and
stripes! We ought to fight."

"There's no chance," said Mr. Sharp. "We are right under the guns of
the ship. They could sink us with one shot. I guess we'll have to give
in for the time being."

"It is most unpleasant, if I may be allowed the expression," commented
Captain Weston mildly. He seemed to have lost his sudden anger, but
there was a steely glint in his eyes, and a grim, set look around his
month that showed his temper was kept under control only by an effort.
It boded no good to the sailors who had hold of the doughty captain if
he should once get loose, and it was noticed that they were on their
guard.

As for Tom, he submitted quietly to the two Brazilians who had hold of
either arm, and Mr. Swift was held by only one, for it was seen that he
was feeble.

"Into the boat with them!" cried Admiral Fanchetti. "And guard them
well, Lieutenant Drascalo, for I heard them plotting to escape," and
the admiral signaled to a younger officer, who was in charge of the men
guarding the prisoners.

"Lieutenant Drascalo, eh?" murmured Mr. Damon. "I think they made a
mistake naming him. It ought to be Rascalo. He looks like a rascal."

"Silenceo!" exclaimed the lieutenant, scowling at the odd character'.

"Bless my spark plug! He's a regular fire-eater!" went on Mr. Damon,
who appeared to have fully recovered his spirits.

"Silenceo!" cried the lieutenant, scowling again, but Mr. Damon did not
appear to mind.

Admiral Fanchetti and several others of the gold-laced officers
remained aboard the submarine, while Tom and his friends were hustled
into the small boat and rowed toward the warship.

"I hope they don't damage our craft," murmured the young inventor, as
he saw the admiral enter the conning tower.

"If they do, we'll complain to the United States consul and demand
damages," said Mr. Swift.

"I'm afraid we won't have a chance to communicate with the consul,"
remarked Captain Weston.

"What do you mean?" asked Mr. Damon. "Bless my shoelaces, but will
these scoundrels--"

"Silenceo!" cried Lieutenant Drascalo quickly. "Dogs of Americans, do
you wish to insult us?"

"Impossible; you wouldn't appreciate a good, genuine United States
insult," murmured Tom under his breath.

"What I mean," went on the captain, "is that these people may carry the
proceedings off with a high hand. You heard the admiral speak of a
court-martial."

"Would they dare do that?" inquired Mr. Sharp.

"They would dare anything in this part of the world, I'm afraid,"
resumed Captain Weston. "I think I see their plan, though. This admiral
is newly in command; his uniform shows that He wants to make a name for
himself, and he seizes on our submarine as an excuse. He can send word
to his government that he destroyed a torpedo craft that sought to
wreck his ship. Thus he will acquire a reputation."

"But would his government support him in such a hostile act against the
United States, a friendly nation?" asked Tom.

"Oh, he would not claim to have acted against the United States as a
power. He would say that it was a private submarine, and, as a matter
of fact, it is. While we are under the protection of the stars and
stripes, our vessel is not a Government one," and Captain Weston spoke
the last in a low voice, so the scowling lieutenant could not hear.

"What will they do with us?" inquired Mr. Swift.

"Have some sort of a court-martial, perhaps," went on the captain, "and
confiscate our craft Then they will send us back home, I expect for
they would not dare harm us."

"But take our submarine!" cried Tom. "The villains--"

"Silenceo!" shouted Lieutenant Drascalo and he drew his sword.

By this time the small boat was under the big guns of the San Paulo,
and the prisoners were ordered, in broken English, to mount a companion
ladder that hung over the side. In a short time they were on deck, amid
a crowd of sailors, and they could see the boat going back to bring off
the admiral, who signaled from the submarine. Tom and his friends were
taken below to a room that looked like a prison, and there, a little
later, they were visited by Admiral Fanchetti and several officers.

"You will be tried at once," said the admiral. "I have examined your
submarine and I find she carries two torpedo tubes. It is a wonder you
did not sink me at once."

"Those are not torpedo tubes!" cried Tom, unable to keep silent, though
Captain Weston motioned him to do so.

"I know torpedo tubes when I see them," declared the admiral. "I
consider I had a very narrow escape. Your country is fortunate that
mine does not declare war against it for this act. But I take it you
are acting privately, for you fly no flag, though you claim to be from
the United States."

"There's no place for a flag on the submarine," went on Tom. "What good
would it be under water?"

"Silenceo!" cried Lieutenant Drascalo, the admonition to silence
seeming to be the only command of which he was capable.

"I shall confiscate your craft for my government," went on the admiral,
"and shall punish you as the court-martial may direct. You will be
tried at once."

It was in vain for the prisoners to protest. Matters were carried with
a high hand. They were allowed a spokesman, and Captain Weston, who
understood Spanish, was selected, that language being used. But the
defense was a farce, for he was scarcely listened to. Several officers
testified before the admiral, who was judge, that they had seen the
submarine rise out of the water, almost under the prow of the San
Paulo. It was assumed that the Advance had tried to wreck the warship,
but had failed. It was in vain that Captain Weston and the others told
of the reason for their rapid ascent from the ocean depths--that Mr.
Swift had been shocked, and needed fresh air. Their story was not
believed.

"We have heard enough!" suddenly exclaimed the admiral. "The evidence
against you is over-whelming--er--what you Americans call conclusive,"
and he was speaking then in broken English. "I find you guilty, and the
sentence of this court-martial is that you be shot at sunrise, three
days hence!"

"Shot!" cried Captain Weston, staggering back at this unexpected
sentence. His companions turned white, and Mr. Swift leaned against his
son for support.

"Bless my stars! Of all the scoundrelly!" began Mr. Damon.

"Silenceo!" shouted the lieutenant, waving his sword.

"You will be shot," proceeded the admiral. "Is not that the verdict of
the honorable court?" he asked, looking at his fellow officers. They
all nodded gravely.

"But look here!" objected Captain Weston. "You don't dare do that! We
are citizens of the United States, and--"

"I consider you no better than pirates," interrupted the admiral. "You
have an armed submarine--a submarine with torpedo tubes. You invade our
harbor with it, and come up almost under my ship. You have forfeited
your right to the protection of your country, and I have no fear on
that score. You will be shot within three days. That is all. Remove
the prisoners."

Protests were in vain, and it was equally useless to struggle. The
prisoners were taken out on deck, for which they were thankful, for the
interior of the ship was close and hot, the weather being intensely
disagreeable. They were told to keep within a certain space on deck,
and a guard of sailors, all armed, was placed near them. From where
they were they could see their submarine floating on the surface of the
little bay, with several Brazilians on the small deck. The Advance had
been anchored, and was surrounded by a flotilla of the native boats,
the brown-skinned paddlers gazing curiously at the odd craft.

"Well, this is tough luck!" murmured Tom. "How do you feel, dad?"

"As well as can be expected under the circumstances," was the reply.
"What do you think about this, Captain Weston?"

"Not very much, if I may be allowed the expression," was the answer.

"Do you think they will dare carry out that threat?" asked Mr. Sharp.

The captain shrugged his shoulders. "I hope it is only a bluff," he
replied, "made to scare us so we will consent to giving up the
submarine, which they have no right to confiscate. But these fellows
look ugly enough for anything," he went on.

"Then if there's any chance of them attempting to carry it out," spoke
Tom, "we've got to do something."

"Bless my gizzard, of course!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "But what? That's
the question. To be shot! Why, that's a terrible threat! The villains--"

"Silenceo!" shouted Lieutenant Drascalo, coming up at that moment.




Chapter Twenty-One

The Escape


Events had happened so quickly that day that the gold-hunters could
scarcely comprehend them. It seemed only a short time since Mr. Swift
had been discovered lying disabled on the dynamo, and what had
transpired since seemed to have taken place in a few minutes, though it
was, in reality, several hours. This was made manifest by the feeling
of hunger on the part of Tom and his friends.

"I wonder if they're going to starve us, the scoundrels?" asked Mr.
Sharp, when the irate lieutenant was beyond hearing. "It's not fair to
make us go hungry and shoot us in the bargain."

"That's so, they ought to feed us," put in Tom. As yet neither he nor
the others fully realized the meaning of the sentence passed on them.

From where they were on deck they could look off to the little island.
From it boats manned by natives were constantly putting off, bringing
supplies to the ship. The place appeared to be a sort of calling
station for Brazilian warships, where they could get fresh water and
fruit and other food.

From the island the gaze of the adventurers wandered to the submarine,
which lay not far away. They were chagrined to see several of the
bolder natives clambering over the deck.

"I hope they keep out of the interior," commented Tom. "If they get to
pulling or hauling on the levers and wheels they may open the tanks and
sink her, with the Conning tower open."

"Better that, perhaps, than to have her fall into the hands of a
foreign power," commented Captain Weston. "Besides, I don't see that
it's going to matter much to us what becomes of her after we're--"

He did not finish, but every one knew what he meant, and a grim silence
fell upon the little group.

There came a welcome diversion, however, in the shape of three sailors,
bearing trays of food, which were placed on the deck in front of the
prisoners, who were sitting or lying in the shade of an awning, for the
sun was very hot.

"Ha! Bless my napkin-ring!" cried Mr. Damon with something of his
former gaiety. "Here's a meal, at all events. They don't intend to
starve us. Eat hearty, every one."

"Yes, we need to keep up our strength," observed Captain Weston.

"Why?" inquired Mr. Sharp.

"Because we're going to try to escape!" exclaimed Tom in a low voice,
when the sailors who had brought the food had gone. "Isn't that what
you mean, captain?"

"Exactly. We'll try to give these villains the slip, and we'll need all
our strength and wits to do it. We'll wait until night, and see what we
can do."

"But where will we escape to?" asked Mr. Swift. "The island will afford
no shelter, and--"

"No, but our submarine will," went on the sailor.

"It's in the possession of the Brazilians," objected Tom.

"Once I get aboard the Advance twenty of those brown-skinned villains
won't keep me prisoner," declared Captain Weston fiercely. "If we can
only slip away from here, get into the small boat, or even swim to the
submarine, I'll make those chaps on board her think a hurricane has
broken loose."

"Yes, and I'll help," said Mr. Damon.

"And I," added Tom and the balloonist.

"That's the way to talk," commented the captain. "Now let's eat, for I
see that rascally lieutenant coming this way, and we mustn't appear to
be plotting, or he'll be suspicious."

The day passed slowly, and though the prisoners seemed to be allowed
considerable liberty, they soon found that it was only apparent. Once
Tom walked some distance from that portion of the deck where he and the
others had been told to remain. A sailor with a gun at once ordered him
back. Nor could they approach the rails without being directed, harshly
enough at times, to move back amidships.

As night approached the gold-seekers were on the alert for any chance
that might offer to slip away, or even attack their guard, but the
number of Brazilians around them was doubled in the evening, and after
supper, which was served to them on deck by the light of swinging
lanterns, they were taken below and locked in a stuffy cabin. They
looked helplessly at each other.

"Don't give up," advised Captain Weston. "It's a long night. We may be
able to get out of here."

But this hope was in vain. Several times he and Tom, thinking the
guards outside the cabin were asleep, tried to force the lock of the
door with their pocket-knives, which had not been taken from them. But
one of the sailors was aroused each time by the noise, and looked in
through a barred window, so they had to give it up. Slowly the night
passed, and morning found the prisoners pale, tired and discouraged.
They were brought up on deck again, for which they were thankful, as in
that tropical climate it was stifling below.

During the day they saw Admiral Fanchetti and several of his officers
pay a visit to the submarine. They went below through the opened
conning tower, and were gone some time.

"I hope they don't disturb any of the machinery," remarked Mr. Swift.
"That could easily do great damage."

Admiral Fanchetti seemed much pleased with himself when he returned
from his visit to the submarine.

"You have a fine craft," he said to the prisoners. "Or, rather, you had
one. My government now owns it. It seems a pity to shoot such good boat
builders, but you are too dangerous to be allowed to go."

If there had been any doubt in the minds of Tom and his friends that
the sentence of the court-martial was only for effect, it was dispelled
that day. A firing squad was told off in plain view of them, and the
men were put through their evolutions by Lieutenant Drascalo, who had
them load, aim and fire blank cartridges at an imaginary line of
prisoners. Tom could not repress a shudder as he noted the leveled
rifles, and saw the fire and smoke spurt from the muzzles.

"Thus we shall do to you at sunrise to-morrow," said the lieutenant,
grinning, as he once more had his men practice their grim work.

It seemed hotter than ever that day. The sun was fairly broiling, and
there was a curious haziness and stillness to the air. It was noticed
that the sailors on the San Paulo were busy making fast all loose
articles on deck with extra lashings, and hatch coverings were doubly
secured.

"What do you suppose they are up to?" asked Tom of Captain Weston.

"I think it is coming on to blow," he replied, "and they don't want to
be caught napping. They have fearful storms down in this region at this
season of the year, and I think one is about due."

"I hope it doesn't wreck the submarine," spoke Mr. Swift. "They ought
to close the hatch of the conning tower, for it won't take much of a
sea to make her ship considerable water."

Admiral Fanchetti had thought of this, however, and as the afternoon
wore away and the storm signs multiplied, he sent word to close the
submarine. He left a few sailors aboard inside on guard.

"It's too hot to eat," observed Tom, when their supper had been brought
to them, and the others felt the same way about it. They managed to
drink some cocoanut milk, prepared in a palatable fashion by the
natives of the island, and then, much to their disgust, they were taken
below again and locked in the cabin.

"Whew! But it certainly is hot!" exclaimed Mr. Damon as he sat down on
a couch and fanned himself. "This is awful!"

"Yes, something is going to happen pretty soon," observed Captain
Weston. "The storm will break shortly, I think."

They sat languidly about the cabin. It was so oppressive that even the
thought of the doom that awaited them in the morning could hardly seem
worse than the terrible heat. They could hear movements going on about
the ship, movements which indicated that preparations were being made
for something unusual. There was a rattling of a chain through a hawse
hole, and Captain Weston remarked:

"They're putting down another anchor. Admiral Fanchetti had better get
away from the island, though, unless he wants to be wrecked. He'll be
blown ashore in less than no time. No cable or chain will hold in such
storms as they have here."

There came a period of silence, which was suddenly broken by a howl as
of some wild beast.

"What's that?" cried Tom, springing up from where he was stretched out
on the cabin floor.

"Only the wind," replied the captain. "The storm has arrived."

The howling kept up, and soon the ship began to rock. The wind
increased, and a little later there could be heard, through an opened
port in the prisoners' cabin, the dash of rain.

"It's a regular hurricane!" exclaimed the captain. "I wonder if the
cables will hold?"

"What about the submarine?" asked Mr. Swift anxiously.

"I haven't much fear for her. She lies so low in the water that the
wind can't get much hold on her. I don't believe she'll drag her
anchor."

Once more came a fierce burst of wind, and a dash of rain, and then,
suddenly above the outburst of the elements, there sounded a crash on
deck. It was followed by excited cries.

"Something's happened!" yelled Tom. The prisoners gathered in a
frightened group in the middle of the cabin. The cries were repeated,
and then came a rush of feet just outside the cabin door.

"Our guards! They're leaving!" shouted Tom.

"Right!" exclaimed Captain Weston. "Now's our chance! Come on! If we're
going to escape we must do it while the storm is at its height, and all
is in confusion. Come on!"

Tom tried the door. It was locked.

"One side!" shouted the captain, and this time he did not pause to say
"by your leave." He came at the portal on the run, and his shoulder
struck it squarely. There was a splintering and crashing of wood, and
the door was burst open.

"Follow me!" cried the valiant sailor, and Tom and the others rushed
after him. They could hear the wind howling more loudly than ever, and
as they reached the deck the rain dashed into their faces with such
violence that they could hardly see. But they were aware that something
had occurred. By the light of several lanterns swaying in the terrific
blast they saw that one of the auxiliary masts had broken off near the
deck.

It had fallen against the chart house, smashing it, and a number of
sailors were laboring to clear away the wreckage.

"Fortune favors us!" cried Captain Weston. "Come on! Make for the small
boat. It's near the side ladder. We'll lower the boat and pull to the
submarine."

There came a flash of lightning, and in its glare Tom saw something
that caused him to cry out.

"Look!" he shouted. "The submarine. She's dragged her anchors!"

The Advance was much closer to the warship than she had been that
afternoon. Captain Weston looked over the side.

"It's the San Paulo that's dragging her anchors, not the submarine!" he
shouted. "We're bearing down on her! We must act quickly. Come on,
we'll lower the boat!"

In the rush of wind and the dash of rain the prisoners crowded to the
accommodation companion ladder, which was still over the side of the
big ship. No one seemed to be noticing them, for Admiral Fanchetti was
on the bridge, yelling orders for the clearing away of the wreckage.
But Lieutenant Drascalo, coming up from below at that moment, caught
sight of the fleeing ones. Drawing his sword, he rushed at them,
shouting:

"The prisoners! The prisoners! They are escaping!"

Captain Weston leaped toward the lieutenant

"Look out for his sword!" cried Tom. But the doughty sailor did not
fear the weapon. Catching up a coil of rope, he cast it at the
lieutenant. It struck him in the chest, and he staggered back, lowering
his sword.

Captain Weston leaped forward, and with a terrific blow sent Lieutenant
Drascalo to the deck.

"There!" cried the sailor. "I guess you won't yell 'Silenceo!' for a
while now."

There was a rush of Brazilians toward the group of prisoners. Tom
caught one with a blow on the chin, and felled him, while Captain
Weston disposed of two more, and Mr. Sharp and Mr. Damon one each. The
savage fighting of the Americans was too much for the foreigners, and
they drew back.

"Come on!" cried Captain Weston again. "The storm is getting worse. The
warship will crash into the submarine in a few minutes. Her anchors
aren't holding. I didn't think they would."

He made a dash for the ladder, and a glance showed him that the small
boat was in the water at the foot of it. The craft had not been hoisted
on the davits.

"Luck's with us at last!" cried Tom, Seeing it also. "Shall I help
you, dad?"

"No; I think I'm all right. Go ahead."

There came such a gust of wind that the San Paulo was heeled over, and
the wreck of the mast, rolling about, crashed into the side of a deck
house, splintering it. A crowd of sailors, led by Admiral Fanchetti,
who were again rushing on the escaping prisoners, had to leap back out
of the way of the rolling mast.

"Catch them! Don't let them get away!" begged the commander, but the
sailors evidently had no desire to close in with the Americans.

Through the rush of wind and rain Tom and his friends staggered down
the ladder. It was hard work to maintain one's footing, but they
managed it. On account of the high side of the ship the water was
comparatively calm under her lee, and, though the small boat was
bobbing about, they got aboard. The oars were in place, and in another
moment they had shoved off from the landing stage which formed the foot
of the accommodation ladder.

"Now for the Advance!" murmured Captain Weston.

"Come back! Come back, dogs of Americans!" cried a voice at the rail
over their heads, and looking up, Tom saw Lieutenant Drascalo. He had
snatched a carbine from a marine, and was pointing it at the recent
prisoners. He fired, the flash of the gun and a dazzling chain of
lightning coming together. The thunder swallowed up the report of the
carbine, but the bullet whistled uncomfortable close to Tom's head. The
blackness that followed the lightning shut out the view of everything
for a few seconds, and when the next flash came the adventurers saw
that they were close to their submarine.

A fusillade of shots sounded from the deck of the warship, but as the
marines were poor marksmen at best, and as the swaying of the ship
disconcerted them, our friends were in little danger.

There was quite a sea once they were beyond the protection of the side
of the warship, but Captain Weston, who was rowing, knew how to manage
a boat skillfully, and he soon had the craft alongside the bobbing
submarine.

"Get aboard, now, quick!" he cried.

They leaped to the small deck, casting the rowboat adrift. It was the
work of but a moment to open the conning tower. As they started to
descend they were met by several Brazilians coming up.

"Overboard with 'em!" yelled the captain. "Let them swim ashore or to
their ship!"

With almost superhuman strength he tossed one big sailor from the small
deck. Another showed fight, but he went to join his companion in the
swirling water. A man rushed at Tom, seeking the while to draw his
sword, but the young inventor, with a neat left-hander, sent him to
join the other two, and the remainder did not wait to try conclusions.
They leaped for their lives, and soon all could be seen, in the
frequent lightning flashes, swimming toward the warship which was now
closer than ever to the submarine.

"Get inside and we'll sink below the surface!" called Tom. "Then we
don't care what happens."

They closed the steel door of the conning tower. As they did so they
heard the patter of bullets from carbines fired from the San Paulo.
Then came a violent tossing of the Advance; the waves were becoming
higher as they caught the full force of the hurricane. It took but an
instant to sever, from within, the cable attached to the anchor, which
was one belonging to the warship. The Advance began drifting.

"Open the tanks, Mr. Sharp!" cried Tom. "Captain Weston and I will
steer. Once below we'll start the engines."

Amid a crash of thunder and dazzling flashes of lightning, the
submarine began to sink. Tom, in the conning tower had a sight of the
San Paulo as it drifted nearer and nearer under the influence of the
mighty wind. As one bright flash came he saw Admiral Fanchetti and
Lieutenant Drascalo leaning over the rail and gazing at the Advance.

A moment later the view faded from sight as the submarine sank below
the surface of the troubled sea. She was tossed about for some time
until deep enough to escape the surface motion. Waiting until she was
far enough down so that her lights would not offer a mark for the guns
of the warship, the electrics were switched on.

"We're safe now!" cried Tom, helping his father to his cabin. "They've
got too much to attend to themselves to follow us now, even if they
could. Shall we go ahead, Captain Weston?"

"I think so, yes, if I may be allowed to express my opinion," was the
mild reply, in strange contrast to the strenuous work in which the
captain had just been engaged.

Tom signaled to Mr. Sharp in the engine-room, and in a few seconds the
Advance was speeding away from the island and the hostile vessel. Nor,
deep as she was now, was there any sign of the hurricane. In the
peaceful depths she was once more speeding toward the sunken treasure.




Chapter Twenty-Two

At the Wreck


"Well," remarked Mr. Damon, as the submarine hurled herself forward
through the ocean, "I guess that firing party will have something else
to do to-morrow morning besides aiming those rifles at us."

"Yes, indeed," agreed Tom. "They'll be lucky if they save their ship.
My, how that wind did blow!"

"You're right," put in Captain Weston. "When they get a hurricane down
in this region it's no cat's paw. But they were a mighty careless lot
of sailors. The idea of leaving the ladder over the side, and the boat
in the water."

"It was a good thing for us, though," was Tom's opinion.

"Indeed it was," came from the captain. "But as long as we are safe now
I think we'd better take a look about the craft to see if those chaps
did any damage. They can't have done much, though, or she wouldn't be
running so smoothly. Suppose you go take a look, Tom, and ask your
father and Mr. Sharp what they think. I'll steer for a while, until we
get well away from the island."

The young inventor found his father and the balloonist busy in the
engine-room. Mr. Swift had already begun an inspection of the
machinery, and so far found that it had not been injured. A further
inspection showed that no damage had been done by the foreign guard
that had been in temporary possession of the Advance, though the
sailors had made free in the cabins, and had broken into the food
lockers, helping themselves plentifully. But there was still enough for
the gold-seekers.

"You'd never know there was a storm raging up above," observed Tom as
he rejoined Captain Weston in the lower pilot house, where he was
managing the craft. "It's as still and peaceful here as one could wish."

"Yes, the extreme depths are seldom disturbed by a surface storm. But
we are over a mile deep now. I sent her down a little while you were
gone, as I think she rides a little more steadily."

All that night they speeded forward, and the next day, rising to the
surface to take an observation, they found no traces of the storm,
which had blown itself out. They were several hundred miles away from
the hostile warship, and there was not a vessel in sight on the broad
expanse of blue ocean.

The air tanks were refilled, and after sailing along on the surface for
an hour or two, the submarine was again sent below, as Captain Weston
sighted through his telescope the smoke of a distant steamer.

"As long as it isn't the Wonder, we're all right," said Tom. "Still, we
don't want to answer a lot of questions about ourselves and our object."

"No. I fancy the Wonder will give up the search," remarked the captain,
as the Advance was sinking to the depths.

"We must be getting pretty near to the end of our search ourselves,"
ventured the young inventor.

"We are within five hundred miles of the intersection of the

forty-fifth parallel and the twenty-seventh meridian, east from
Washington," said the captain. "That's as near as I could locate the
wreck. Once we reach that point we will have to search about under
water, for I don't fancy the other divers left any buoys to mark the
spot."

It was two days later, after uneventful sailing, partly on the surface,
and partly submerged, that Captain Weston, taking a noon observation,
announced:

"Well, we're here!"

"Do you mean at the wreck?" asked Mr. Swift eagerly.

"We're at the place where she is supposed to lie, in about two miles of
water," replied the captain. "We are quite a distance off the coast of
Uruguay, about opposite the harbor of Rio de La Plata. From now on we
shall have to nose about under water, and trust to luck."

With her air tanks filled to their capacity, and Tom having seen that
the oxygen machine and other apparatus was in perfect working order,
the submarine was sent below on her search. Though they were in the
neighborhood of the wreck, the adventurers might still have to do
considerable searching before locating it. Lower and lower they sank
into the depths of the sea, down and down, until they were deeper than
they had ever gone before. The pressure was tremendous, but the steel
sides of the Advance withstood it.

Then began a search that lasted nearly a week. Back and forth they
cruised, around in great circles, with the powerful searchlight focused
to disclose the sunken treasure ship. Once Tom, who was observing the
path of light in the depths from the conning tower, thought he had seen
the remains of the Boldero, for a misty shape loomed up in front of the
submarine, and he signaled for a quick stop. It was a wreck, but it had
been on the ocean bed for a score of years, and only a few timbers
remained of what had been a great ship. Much disappointed, Tom rang for
full speed ahead again, and the current was sent into the great
electric plates that pulled and pushed the submarine forward.

For two days more nothing happened. They searched around under the
green waters, on the alert for the first sign, but they saw nothing.
Great fish swam about them, sometimes racing with the Advance. The
adventurers beheld great ocean caverns, and skirted immense rocks,
where dwelt monsters of the deep. Once a great octopus tried to do
battle with the submarine and crush it in its snaky arms, but Tom saw
the great white body, with saucer-shaped eyes, in the path of light and
rammed him with the steel point. The creature died after a struggle.

They were beginning to despair when a full week had passed and they
were seemingly as far from the wreck as ever. They went to the surface
to enable Captain Weston to take another observation. It only confirmed
the other, and showed that they were in the right vicinity. But it was
like looking for a needle in a haystack, almost, to and the sunken ship
in that depth of water.

"Well, we'll try again," said Mr. Swift, as they sank once more beneath
the surface.

It was toward evening, on the second day after this, that Tom, who was
on duty in the conning tower, saw a black shape looming up in front of
the submarine, the searchlight revealing it to him far enough away so
that he could steer to avoid it. He thought at first that it was a
great rock, for they were moving along near the bottom, but the
peculiar shape of it soon convinced him that this could not be. It came
more plainly into view as the submarine approached it more slowly, then
suddenly, out of the depths in the illumination from the searchlight,
the young inventor saw the steel sides of a steamer. His heart gave a
great thump, but he would not call out yet, fearing that it might be
some other vessel than the one containing the treasure.

He steered the Advance so as to circle it. As he swept past the bows he
saw in big letters near the sharp prow the word, Boldero.

"The wreck! The wreck!" he cried, his voice ringing through the craft
from end to end. "We've found the wreck at last!"

"Are you sure?" cried his father, hurrying to his son, Captain Weston
following.

"Positive," answered the lad. The submarine was slowing up now, and Tom
sent her around on the other side. They had a good view of the sunken
ship. It seemed to be intact, no gaping holes in her sides, for only
her plates had started, allowing her to sink gradually.

"At last," murmured Mr. Swift. "Can it be possible we are about to get
the treasure?"

"That's the Boldero, all right," affirmed Captain Weston. "I recognize
her, even if the name wasn't on her bow. Go right down on the bottom,
Tom, and we'll get out the diving suits and make an examination."

The submarine settled to the ocean bed. Tom glanced at the depth gage.
It showed over two miles and a half. Would they be able to venture out
into water of such enormous pressure in the comparatively frail diving
suits, and wrest the gold from the wreck? It was a serious question.

The Advance came to a stop. In front of her loomed the great bulk of
the Boldero, vague and shadowy in the flickering gleam of the
searchlight As the gold-seekers looked at her through the bull's-eyes
of the conning tower, several great forms emerged from beneath the
wreck's bows.

"Deep-water sharks!" exclaimed Captain Weston, "and monsters, too. But
they can't bother us. Now to get out the gold!"




Chapter Twenty-Three

Attacked by Sharks


For a few minutes after reaching the wreck, which had so occupied their
thoughts for the past weeks, the adventurers did nothing but gaze at it
from the ports of the submarine. The appearance of the deep-water
sharks gave them no concern, for they did not imagine the ugly
creatures would attack them. The treasure-seekers were more engrossed
with the problem of getting out the gold.

"How are we going to get at it?" asked Tom, as he looked at the high
sides of the sunken ship, which towered well above the comparatively
small Advance.

"Why, just go in and get it," suggested Mr. Damon. "Where is gold in a
cargo usually kept, Captain Weston? You ought to know, I should think.
Bless my pocketbook!"

"Well, I should say that in this case the bullion would be kept in a
safe in the captain's cabin," replied the sailor. "Or, if not there,
in some after part of the vessel, away from where the crew is
quartered. But it is going to be quite a problem to get at it. We can't
climb the sides of the wreck, and it will be impossible to lower her
ladder over the side. However, I think we had better get into the
diving suits and take a closer look. We can walk around her."

"That's my idea," put in Mr. Sharp. "But who will go, and who will stay
with the ship?"

"I think Tom and Captain Weston had better go," suggested Mr. Swift.
"Then, in case anything happens, Mr. Sharp, you and I will be on board
to manage matters."

"You don't think anything will happen, do you, dad?" asked his son with
a laugh, but it was not an easy one, for the lad was thinking of the
shadowy forms of the ugly sharks.

"Oh, no, but it's best to be prepared," answered his father.

The captain and the young inventor lost no time in donning the diving
suits. They each took a heavy metal bar, pointed at one end, to use in
assisting them to walk on the bed of the ocean, and as a protection in
case the sharks might attack them. Entering the diving chamber, they
were shut in, and then water was admitted until the pressure was seen,
by gauges, to be the same as that outside the submarine. Then the
sliding steel door was opened. At first Tom and the captain could
barely move, so great was the pressure of water on their bodies. They
would have been crushed but for the protection afforded by the strong
diving suits.

In a few minutes they became used to it, and stepped out on the floor
of the ocean. They could not, of course, speak to each other, but Tom
looked through the glass eyes of his helmet at the captain, and the
latter motioned for the lad to follow. The two divers could breathe
perfectly, and by means of small, but powerful lights on the helmets,
the way was lighted for them as they advanced.

Slowly they approached the wreck, and began a circuit of her. They
could see several places where the pressure of the water, and the
strain of the storm in which she had foundered, had 'opened the plates
of the ship, but in no case were the openings large enough to admit a
person. Captain Weston put his steel bar in one crack, and tried to
pry it farther open, but his strength was not equal to the task. He
made some peculiar motions, but Tom could not understand them.

They looked for some means by which they could mount to the decks of
the Boldero, but none was visible. It was like trying to scale a
fifty-foot smooth steel wall. There was no place for a foothold. Again
the sailor made some peculiar motions, and the lad puzzled over them.
They had gone nearly around the wreck now, and as yet had seen no way
in which to get at the gold. As they passed around the bow, which was
in a deep shadow from a great rock, they caught sight of the submarine
lying a short distance away. Light streamed from many hull's-eyes, and
Tom felt a sense of security as he looked at her, for it was lonesome
enough in that great depth of water, unable to speak to his companion,
who was a few feet in advance.

Suddenly there was a swirling of the water, and Tom was nearly thrown
off his feet by the rush of some great body. A long, black shadow
passed over his head, and an instant later he saw the form of a great
shark launched at Captain Weston. The lad involuntarily cried in alarm,
but the result was surprising. He was nearly deafened by his own voice,
confined as the sound was in the helmet he wore. But the sailor, too,
had felt the movement of the water, and turned just in time. He thrust
upward with his pointed bar. But he missed the stroke, and Tom, a
moment later, saw the great fish turn over so that its mouth, which is
far underneath its snout, could take in the queer shape which the shark
evidently thought was a choice morsel. The big fish did actually get
the helmet of Captain Weston inside its jaws, but probably it would
have found it impossible to crush the strong steel. Still it might have
sprung the joints, and water would have entered, which would have been
as fatal as though the sailor had been swallowed by the shark. Tom
realized this and, moving as fast as he could through the water, he
came up behind the monster and drove his steel bar deep into it.

The sea was crimsoned with blood, and the savage creature, opening its
mouth, let go of the captain. It turned on Tom, who again harpooned it.
Then the fish darted off and began a wild flurry, for it was dying. The
rush of water nearly threw Tom off his feet, but he managed to make his
way over to his friend, and assist him to rise. A confident look from
the sailor showed the lad that Captain Weston was uninjured, though he
must have been frightened. As the two turned to make their way back to
the submarine, the waters about them seemed alive with the horrible
monsters.

It needed but a glance to show what they were, Sharks! Scores of them,
long, black ones, with their ugly, undershot mouths. They had been
attracted by the blood of the one Tom had killed, but there was not a
meal for all of them off the dying creature, and the great fish might
turn on the young inventor and his companion.

The two shrank closer toward the wreck. They might get under the prow
of that and be safe. But even as they started to move, several of the
sea wolves darted quickly at them. Tom glanced at the captain. What
could they do? Strong as were the diving suits, a combined attack by
the sharks, with their powerful jaws, would do untold damage.

At that moment there seemed some movement on board the submarine. Tom
could see his father looking from the conning tower, and the aged
inventor seemed to be making some motions. Then Tom understood. Mr.
Swift was directing his son and Captain Weston to crouch down. The lad
did so, pulling the sailor after him. Then Tom saw the bow electric gun
run out, and aimed at the mass of sharks, most of whom were congregated
about the dead one. Into the midst of the monsters was fired a number
of small projectiles, which could be used in the electric cannon in
place of the solid shot. Once more the waters were red with blood, and
those sharks which were not killed swirled off. Tom and Captain Weston
were saved. They were soon inside the submarine again, telling their
thrilling story.

"It's lucky you saw us, dad," remarked the lad, blushing at the praise
Mr. Damon bestowed on him for killing the monster which had attacked
the captain.

"Oh, I was on the lookout," said the inventor. "But what about getting
into the wreck?"

"I think the only way we can do it will be to ram a hole in her side,"
said Captain Weston. "That was what I tried to tell Tom by motions, but
he didn't seem to understand me."

"No," replied the lad, who was still a little nervous from his recent
experience. "I thought you meant for us to turn it over, bottom side
up," and he laughed.

"Bless my gizzard! Just like a shark," commented Mr. Damon.

"Please don't mention them," begged Tom. "I hope we don't see any more
of them."

"Oh, I fancy they have been driven far enough away from this
neighborhood now," commented the captain. "But now about the wreck. We
may be able to approach it from above. Suppose we try to lower the
submarine on it? That will save ripping it open."

This was tried a little later, but would not work. There were strong
currents sweeping over the top of the Boldero, caused by a submerged
reef near which she had settled. It was a delicate task to sink the
submarine on her decks, and with the deep waters swirling about was
found to be impossible, even with the use of the electric plates and
the auxiliary screws. Once more the Advance settled to the ocean bed,
near the wreck.

"Well, what's to be done?" asked Tom, as he looked at the high steel
sides.

"Ram her, tear a hole, and then use dynamite," decided Captain Weston
promptly. "You have some explosive, haven't you, Mr. Swift?"

"Oh, yes. I came prepared for emergencies."

"Then we'll blow up the wreck and get at the gold."




Chapter Twenty-Four

Ramming the Wreck


Fitted with a long, sharp steel ram in front, the Advance was
peculiarly adapted for this sort of work. In designing the ship this
ram was calculated to be used against hostile vessels in war time, for
the submarine was at first, as we know, destined for a Government boat.
Now the ram was to serve a good turn.

To make sure that the attempt would be a success, the machinery of the
craft was carefully gone over. It was found to be in perfect order,
save for a few adjustments which were needed. Then, as it was night,
though there was no difference in the appearance of things below the
surface, it was decided to turn in, and begin work in the morning. Nor
did the gold-seekers go to the surface, for they feared they might
encounter a storm.

"We had trouble enough locating the wreck," said Captain Weston, "and
if we go up we may be blown off our course. We have air enough to stay
below, haven't we, Tom?"

"Plenty," answered the lad, looking at the gages.

After a hearty breakfast the next morning, the submarine crew got ready
for their hard task. The craft was backed away as far as was practical,
and then, running at full speed, she rammed the wreck. The shock was
terrific, and at first it was feared some damage had been done to the
Advance, but she stood the strain.

"Did we open up much of a hole?" anxiously asked Mr. Swift.

"Pretty good," replied Tom, observing it through the conning tower
bull's-eyes, when the submarine had backed off again. "Let's give her
another."

Once more the great steel ram hit into the side of the Boldero, and
again the submarine shivered from the shock. But there was a bigger
hole in the wreck now, and after Captain Weston had viewed it he
decided it was large enough to allow a person to enter and place a
charge of dynamite so that the treasure ship would be broken up.

Tom and the captain placed the explosive. Then the Advance was
withdrawn to a safe distance. There was a dull rumble, a great swirling
of the water, which was made murky; but when it cleared, and the
submarine went back, it was seen that the wreck was effectively broken
up. It was in two parts, each one easy of access.

"That's the stuff!" cried Tom. "Now to get at the gold!"

"Yes, get out the diving suits," added Mr. Damon. "Bless my
watch-charm, I think I'll chance it in one myself! Do you think the
sharks are all gone, Captain Weston?"

"I think so."

In a short time Tom, the captain, Mr. Sharp and Mr. Damon were attired
in the diving suits, Mr. Swift not caring to venture into such a great
depth of water. Besides, it was necessary for at least one person to
remain in the submarine to operate the diving chamber.

Walking slowly along the bottom of the sea the four gold-seekers
approached the wreck. They looked on all sides for a sight of the
sharks, but the monster fish seemed to have deserted that part of the
ocean. Tom was the first to reach the now disrupted steamer. He found
he could easily climb up, for boxes and barrels from the cargo holds
were scattered all about by the explosion. Captain Weston soon joined
the lad. The sailor motioned Tom to follow him, and being more familiar
with ocean craft the captain was permitted to take the lead. He headed
aft, seeking to locate the captain's cabin. Nor was he long in finding
it. He motioned for the others to enter, that the combined illumination
of the lamps in their helmets would make the place bright enough so a
search could be made for the gold. Tom suddenly seized the arm of the
captain, and pointed to one corner of the cabin. There stood a small
safe, and at the sight of it Captain Weston moved toward it. The door
was not locked, probably having been left open when the ship was
deserted. Swinging it back the interior was revealed.

It was empty. There was no gold bullion in it.

There was no mistaking the dejected air of Captain Weston. The others
shared his feelings, but though they all felt like voicing their
disappointment, not a word could be spoken. Mr. Sharp, by vigorous
motions, indicated to his companions to seek further.

They did so, spending all the rest of the day in the wreck, save for a
short interval for dinner. But no gold rewarded their search.

Tom, late that afternoon, wandered away from the others, and found
himself in the captain's cabin again, with the empty safe showing dimly
in the water that was all about.

"Hang it all!" thought the lad, "we've had all our trouble for nothing!
They must have taken the gold with them."

Idly he raised his steel bar, and struck it against the partition back
of the safe. To his astonishment the partition seemed to fall inward,
revealing a secret compartment. The lad leaned forward to bring the
light for his helmet to play on the recess. He saw a number of boxes,
piled one upon the other. He had accidentally touched a hidden spring
and opened a secret receptacle. But what did it contain?

Tom reached in and tried to lift one of the boxes. He found it beyond
his strength. Trembling from excitement, he went in search of the
others. He found them delving in the after part of the wreck, but by
motions our hero caused them to follow him. Captain Weston showed the
excitement he felt as soon as he caught sight of the boxes. He and Mr.
Sharp lifted one out, and placed it on the cabin floor. They pried off
the top with their bars.

There, packed in layers, were small yellow bars; dull, gleaming, yellow
bars! It needed but a glance to show that they were gold bullion. Tom
had found the treasure. The lad tried to dance around there in the
cabin of the wreck, nearly three miles below the surface of the ocean,
but the pressure of water was too much for him. Their trip had been
successful.




Chapter Twenty-Five

Home With the Gold


There was no time to be lost. They were in a treacherous part of the
ocean, and strong currents might at any time further break up the
wreck, so that they could not come at the gold. It was decided, by
means of motions, to at once transfer the treasure to the submarine. As
the boxes were too heavy to carry easily, especially as two men, who
were required to lift one, could not walk together in the uncertain
footing afforded by the wreck, another plan was adopted. The boxes were
opened and the bars, a few at a time, were dropped on a firm, sandy
place at the side of the wreck. Tom and Captain Weston did this work,
while Mr. Sharp and Mr. Damon carried the bullion to the diving chamber
of the Advance. They put the yellow bars inside, and when quite a
number had been thus shifted, Mr. Swift, closing the chamber, pumped
the water out and removed the gold. Then he opened the chamber to the
divers again, and the process was repeated, until all the bullion had
been secured.

Tom would have been glad to make a further examination of the wreck,
for he thought he could get some of the rifles the ship carried, but
Captain Weston signed to him not to attempt this.

The lad went to the pilot house, while his father and Mr. Sharp took
their places in the engine-room. The gold had been safely stowed in Mr.
Swift's cabin.

Tom took a last look at the wreck before he gave the starting signal.
As he gazed at the bent and twisted mass of steel that had once been a
great ship, he saw something long, black and shadowy moving around from
the other side, coming across the bows.

"There's another big shark," he observed to Captain Weston. "They're
coming back after us."

The captain did not speak. He was staring at the dark form. Suddenly,
from what seemed the pointed nose of it, there gleamed a light, as from
some great eye.

"Look at that!" cried Tom. "That's no shark!"

"If you want my opinion," remarked the sailor, "I should say it was the
other submarine--that of Berg and his friends--the Wonder. They've
managed to fix up their craft and are after the gold."

"But they're too late!" cried Tom excitedly. "Let's tell them so."

"No," advised the captain. "We don't want any trouble with them."

Mr. Swift came forward to see why his son had not given the signal to
start. He was shown the other submarine, for now that the Wonder had
turned on several searchlights, there was no doubt as to the identity
of the craft.

"Let's get away unobserved if we can," he suggested. "We have had
trouble enough."

It was easy to do this, as the Advance was hidden behind the wreck, and
her lights were glowing but dimly. Then, too, those in the other
submarine were so excited over the finding of what they supposed was
the wreck containing the treasure, that they paid little attention to
anything else.

"I wonder how they'll feel when they find the gold gone?" asked Tom as
he pulled the lever starting the pumps.

"Well, we may have a chance to learn, when we get back to
civilization," remarked the captain.

The surface was soon reached, and then, under fair skies, and on a calm
sea, the voyage home was begun. Part of the time the Advance sailed on
the top, and part of the time submerged.

They met with but a single accident, and that was when the forward
electrical plate broke. But with the aft one still in commission, and
the auxiliary screws, they made good time. Just before reaching home
they settled down to the bottom and donned the diving suits again, even
Mr. Swift taking his turn. Mr. Damon caught some large lobsters, of
which he was very fond, or, rather, to be more correct, the lobsters
caught him. When he entered the diving chamber there were four fine
ones clinging to different parts of his diving suit. Some of them were
served for dinner.

The adventurers safely reached the New Jersey coast, and the submarine
was docked. Mr. Swift at once communicated with the proper authorities
concerning the recovery of the gold. He offered to divide with the
actual owners, after he and his friends had been paid for their
services, but as the revolutionary party to whom the bullion was
intended had gone out of existence, there was no one to officially
claim the treasure, so it all went to Tom and his friends, who made an
equitable distribution of it. The young inventor did not forget to buy
Mrs. Baggert a fine diamond ring, as he had promised.

As for Berg and his employers, they were, it was learned later, greatly
chagrined at finding the wreck valueless. They tried to make trouble
for Tom and his father, but were not successful.

A few days after arriving at the seacoast cottage, Tom, his father and
Mr. Damon went to Shopton in the airship. Captain Weston, Garret
Jackson and Mr Sharp remained behind in charge of the submarine. It was
decided that the Swifts would keep the craft and not sell it to the
Government, as Tom said they might want to go after more treasure some
day.

"I must first deposit this gold," said Mr. Swift as the airship landed
in front of the shed at his home. "It won't do to keep it in the house
over night, even if the Happy Harry gang is in jail."

Tom helped him take it to the bank. As they were making perhaps the
largest single deposit ever put in the institution, Ned Newton came out.

"Well, Tom," he cried to his chum, "it seems that you are never going
to stop doing things. You've conquered the air, the earth and the
water."

"What have you been doing while I've been under water, Ned?" asked the
young inventor.

"Oh, the same old thing. Running errands and doing all sorts of work in
the bank."

Tom had a sudden idea. He whispered to his father and Mr. Swift nodded.
A little later he was closeted with Mr. Prendergast, the bank
president. It was not long before Ned and Tom were called in.

"I have some good news for you, Ned," said Mr. Prendergast, while Tom
smiled. "Mr. Swift er--ahem--one of our largest depositors, has spoken
to me about you, Ned. I find that you have been very faithful. You are
hereby appointed assistant cashier, and of course you will get a much
larger salary."

Ned could hardly believe it, but he knew then what Tom had whispered to
Mr. Swift. The wishes of a depositor who brings much gold bullion to a
bank can hardly be ignored.

"Come on out and have some soda," invited Tom, and when Ned looked
inquiringly at the president, the latter nodded an assent.

As the two lads were crossing the street to a drug store, something
whizzed past them, nearly running them down.

"What sort of an auto was that?" cried Tom.

"That? Oh, that was Andy Foger's new car," answered Ned. "He's been
breaking the speed laws every day lately, but no one seems to bother
him. It's because his father is rich, I suppose. Andy says he has the
fastest car ever built."

"He has, eh?" remarked Tom, while a curious look came into his eyes.
"Well, maybe I can build one that will beat his."

And whether the young inventor did or not you can learn by reading the
fifth volume of this series, to be called "Tom Swift and His Electric
Runabout; Or, The Speediest Car on the Road."

"Well, Tom, I certainly appreciate what you did for me in getting me a
better position," remarked Ned as they left the drug store. "I was
beginning to think I'd never get promoted. Say, have you anything to do
this evening? If you haven't, I wish you'd come over to my house. I've
got a lot of pictures I took while you were away."

"Sorry, but I can't," replied Tom.

"Why, are you going to build another airship or submarine?"

"No, but I'm going to see-- Oh, what do you want to know for, anyhow?"
demanded the young inventor with a blush. "Can't a fellow go see a
girl without being cross-questioned?"

"Oh, of course," replied Ned with a laugh. "Give Miss Nestor my
regards," and at this Tom blushed still more. But, as he said, that was
his own affair.





Next: Lease To Doomsday

Previous: Captured



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