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Turning The Tables







From: Tom Swift And His Submarine Boat

When the young inventor informed his father what he had overheard Mr.
Berg saying, the aged inventor was not as much worried as his son
anticipated.

"All we'll have to do, Tom," he said, "is to keep quiet about where we
are going. Once we have the Advance afloat, and try her out, we can
start on our voyage for the South American Coast and search for the
sunken treasure. When we begin our voyage under water I defy any one to
tell where we are going, or what our plans are. No, I don't believe we
need worry about Mr. Berg, though he probably means mischief."

"Well, I'm going to keep my eyes open for him and Andy Foger," declared
Tom.

The days that followed were filled with work. Not only were there many
unexpected things to do about the submarine, but Mr. Sharp was kept
busy making inquiries about the sunken treasure ship. These inquiries
had to be made carefully, as the adventurers did not want their plans
talked of, and nothing circulates more quickly than rumors of an
expedition after treasure of any kind.

"What about the old sea captain you were going to get to go with us?"
asked Mr. Swift of the balloonist one afternoon. "Have you succeeded
in finding one yet?"

"Yes; I am in communication with a man think will be just the person
for us. His name is Captain Alden Weston, and he has sailed all over
the world. He has also taken part in more than one revolution, and, in
fact, is a soldier of fortune. I do not know him personally, but a
friend of mine knows him, and says he will serve us faithfully. I have
written to him, and he will be here in a few days."

"That's good. Now about the location of the wreck itself. Have you
been able to learn any more details?"

"Well, not many. You see, the Boldero was abandoned in a storm, and the
captain did not take very careful observations. As nearly as it can be
figured out the treasure ship went to the bottom in latitude forty-five
degrees south, and longitude twenty-seven east from Washington. That's
a pretty indefinite location, but I hope, once we get off the Uruguay
coast, we can better it. We can anchor or lay outside the harbor, and
in the small boat we carry go ashore and possibly gain more details.
For it was at Montevideo that the shipwrecked passengers and sailors
landed."

"Does Captain Weston know our object?" inquired Tom.

"No, and I don't propose to tell him until we are ready to start,"
replied Mr. Sharp. "I don't know just how he'll consider a submarine
trip after treasure, but if I spring it on him suddenly he's less
likely to back out. Oh, I think he'll go."

Somewhat unexpectedly the next day it was discovered that certain tools
and appliances were needed for the submarine, and they had been left in
the house at Shopton, where Eradicate Sampson was in charge as
caretaker during the absence of Mr. Swift and his son and the
housekeeper.

"Well, I suppose we'll have to go back after them," remarked Tom.
"We'll take the airship, dad, and make a two-days' trip of it. Is there
anything else you want?"

"Well, you might bring a bundle of papers you'll find in the lower
right hand drawer of my desk. They contain some memoranda I need."

Tom and Mr. Sharp had become so used to traveling in the airship that
it seemed no novelty to them, though they attracted much attention
wherever they went. They soon had the Red Cloud in readiness for a
flight, and rising in the air above the shop that contained the
powerful submarine, a craft utterly different in type from the
aeroplane, the nose of the airship was pointed toward Shopton.

They made a good flight and landed near the big shed where the bird of
the air was kept. It was early evening when they got to the Swift
homestead, and Eradicate Sampson was glad to see them.

Eradicate was a good cook, and soon had a meal ready for the travelers.
Then, while Mr. Sharp selected the tools and other things needed, and
put them in the airship ready for the start back the next morning, Tom
concluded he would take a stroll into Shopton, to see if he could see
his friend, Ned Newton. It was early evening, and the close of a
beautiful day, a sharp shower in the morning having cooled the air.

Tom was greeted by a number of acquaintances as he strolled along, for,
since the episode of the bank robbery, when he had so unexpectedly
returned with the thieves and the cash, the lad was better known than
ever.

"I guess Ned must be home," thought our hero as he looked in vain for
his chum among the throng on the streets. "I've got time to take a
stroll down to his house."

Tom was about to cross the street when he was startled by the sound of
an automobile horn loudly blown just at his side. Then a voice called:

"Hey, there! Git out of the way if you don't want to be run over!"

He looked up, and saw a car careening along. At the wheel was the
red-haired bully, Andy Foger, and in the tonneau were Sam Snedecker and
Pete Bailey.

"Git out of the way," added Sam, and he grinned maliciously at Tom.

The latter stepped back, well out of the path of the car, which was not
moving very fast. Just in front of Tom was a puddle of muddy water.
There was no necessity for Andy steering into it, but he saw his
opportunity, and a moment later one of the big pneumatic tires had
plunged into the dirty fluid, spattering it all over Tom, some even
going as high as his face.

"Ha! ha!" laughed Andy. "Maybe you'll get out of my way next time, Tom
Swift."

The young inventor was almost speechless from righteous anger. He wiped
the mud from his face, glanced down at his clothes, which were all but
ruined, and called out:

"Hold on there, Andy Foger! I want to see you!" for he thought of the
time when Andy had shut him in the tank.

"Ta! ta!" shouted Pete Bailey.

"See you later," added Sam.

"Better go home and take a bath, and then sail away in your submarine,"
went on Andy. "I'll bet it will sink."

Before Tom could reply the auto had turned a corner. Disgusted and
angry, he tried to sop up some of the muddy water with his
handkerchief. While thus engaged he heard his name called, and looked
up to see Ned Newton.

"What's the matter? Fall down?" asked his chum.

"Andy Foger," replied Tom.

"That's enough," retorted Ned. "I can guess the rest. We'll have to
tar and feather him some day, and ride him out of town on a rail. I'd
kick him myself, only his father is a director in the bank where I
work, and I'd be fired if I did. Can't afford any such pleasure. But
some day I'll give Andy a good trouncing, and then resign before they
can discharge me. But I'll be looking for another job before I do that.
Come on to my house, Tom, and I'll help you clean up."

Tom was a little more presentable when he left his chum's residence,
after spending the evening there, but he was still burning for revenge
against Andy and his cronies. He had half a notion to go to Andy's
house and tell Mr. Foger how nearly serious the bully's prank at the
sub marine had been, but he concluded that Mr. Foger could only uphold
his son. "No, I'll settle with him myself," decided Tom.

Bidding Eradicate keep a watchful eye about the house, and leaving word
for Mr. Damon to be sure to come to the coast if he again called at the
Shopton house, Tom and Mr. Sharp prepared to make their return trip
early the next morning.

The gas tank was filled and the Red Cloud arose in the air. Then, with
the propellers moving at moderate speed, the nose of the craft was
pointed toward the New Jersey coast.

A few miles out from Shopton, finding there was a contrary wind in the
upper regions where they were traveling, Mr. Sharp descended several
hundred feet. They were moving over a sparsely settled part of the
country, and looking down, Tom saw, speeding along a highway, an
automobile.

"I wonder who's in it?" he remarked, taking down a telescope and
peering over the window ledge of the cabin. The next moment he uttered
a startled exclamation.

"Andy Foger, Sam Snedecker and Pete Bailey!" he cried. "Oh, I wish I
had a bucket of water to empty on them."

"I know a better way to get even with them than that," said Mr. Sharp.

"How?" asked Tom eagerly.

"I'll show you," replied the balloonist. "It's a trick I once played on
a fellow who did me an injury. Here, you steer for a minute until I get
the thing fixed, then I'll take charge."

Mr. Sharp went to the storeroom and came back with a long, stout rope
and a small anchor of four prongs. It was carried to be used in
emergencies, but so far had never been called into requisition.
Fastening the grapple to the cable, the balloonist said:

"Now, Tom, they haven't seen you. You stand in the stern and pay out
the rope. I'll steer the airship, and what I want you to do is to catch
the anchor in the rear of their car. Then I'll show you some fun."

Tom followed instructions. Slowly he lowered the rope with the dangling
grapple. The airship was also sent down, as the cable was not quite
long enough to reach the earth from the height at which they were. The
engine was run at slow speed, so that the noise would not attract the
attention of the three cronies who were speeding along, all unconscious
of the craft in the air over their heads. The Red Cloud was moving in
the same direction as was the automobile.

The anchor was now close to the rear of Andy's car. Suddenly it caught
on the tonneau and Tom called that fact to Mr. Sharp.

"Fasten the rope at the cleat," directed the balloonist.

Tom did so, and a moment later the aeronaut sent the airship up by
turning more gas into the container. At the same time he reversed the
engine and the Red Cloud began pulling the touring car backward, also
lifting the rear wheels clear from the earth.

A startled cry from the occupants of the machine told Tom and his
friend that Andy and his cronies were aware something was wrong. A
moment later Andy, looking up, saw the airship hovering in the air
above him. Then he saw the rope fast to his auto. The airship was not
rising now, or the auto would have been turned over, but it was slowly
pulling it backward, in spite of the fact that the motor of the car was
still going.

"Here! You let go of me!" cried Andy. "I'll have you arrested if you
damage my car."

"Come up here and cut the rope." called Tom leaning over and looking
down. He could enjoy the bully's discomfiture. As for Sam and Pete,
they were much frightened, and cowered down on the floor of the tonneau.

"Maybe you'll shut me in the tank again and splash mud on me!" shouted
Tom.

The rear wheels of the auto were lifted still higher from the ground,
as Mr. Sharp turned on a little more gas. Andy was not proof against
this.

"Oh! oh!" he cried. "Please let me down, Tom. I'm awful sorry for what
I did! I'll never do it again! Please, please let me down! Don't You'll
tip me over!"

He had shut off his motor now, and was frantically clinging to the
steering wheel.

"Do you admit that you're a sneak and a coward?" asked Tom, "rubbing it
in."

"Yes, yes! Oh, please let me down!"

"Shall we?" asked Tom of Mr. Sharp.

"Yes," replied the balloonist. "We can afford to lose the rope and
anchor for the sake of turning the tables. Cut the cable."

Tom saw what was intended. Using a little hatchet, he severed the rope
with a single blow. With a crash that could be heard up in the air
where the Red Cloud hovered, the rear wheels of the auto dropped to the
ground. Then came two loud reports.

"Both tires busted!" commented Mr. Sharp dryly, and Tom, looking down,
saw the trio of lads ruefully contemplating the collapsed rubber of the
rear wheels. The tables had been effectually turned on Andy Foger. His
auto was disabled, and the airship, with a graceful sweep, mounted
higher and higher, continuing on its way to the coast.





Next: Mr Damon Will Go

Previous: Mr Berg Is Suspicious



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