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´╗┐Title: The Boy Allies under Two Flags
Author: Hayes, Clair W. (Clair Wallace), 1887-
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Boy Allies under Two Flags" ***

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THE BOY ALLIES UNDER TWO FLAGS

By Ensign Robert L. Drake



CHAPTER I

IN THE MEDITERRANEAN

"Boom!  Boom!"

Thus spoke the two forward guns on the little scout cruiser
H.M.S. Sylph, Lord Hasting, commander.

"A hit!" cried Jack, who, from his position in the pilot house,
had watched the progress of the missiles hurled at the foe.

"Good work!" shouted Frank, his excitement so great that he
forgot the gunners were unable to hear him.

"Boom!  Boom!  Boom!  Boom!"

The Sylph had come about, and now poured a broadside into the
enemy.

Then, from the distance, more than a mile across the water, came
the sound of many guns.  The German cruisers Breslau and Goeben
were returning the fire.

Shells, dropping in front, behind and on all sides of the Sylph
threw up the water in mighty geysers, as if it were a typhoon
that surrounded the little vessel.  Shells screamed overhead, but
none found its mark.

All this time the vessels were drawing closer and closer
together.  Now, as the little scout cruiser rose on a huge swell,
a single shock shook the vessel and a British shell sped true.

A portion of the Breslau's superstructure toppled; a second later
and the faint sound of a crash was carried over the water to the
Sylph.

"A hit!" cried Jack again.

A loud British cheer rose above the sound of battle, and the
gunners, well pleased with their marksmanship, turned again to
their work with renewed vigor.

"Lieutenant Templeton on the bridge!" came the command, and Jack
hastened to report to Lord Hastings.

"What do you make of that last shot, Mr. Templeton?" demanded the
commander of the Sylph.  "Is the enemy seriously crippled, would
you say?"

"No sir," replied Jack.  "I think not.  You may see that the
wreckage has already been cleared away, and the enemy is still
plugging away at us."

"Mr. Hetherington!" called the commander.  The first lieutenant
of the little vessel saluted.  "Yes, sir."

"I fear the enemy is too strong for us, sir. You will have to
bring the Sylph about."

"Very well, sir."

A moment later the head of the little scout cruiser began to
swing gradually to the left.

Jack returned to the wheelhouse.

"What on earth are we coming about for?" demanded Frank, as his
friend entered.

"Lord Hastings believes the enemy is too strong for us," was the
other's reply.

"But that's no reason to run, is it?"

"I don't think so, but it appears that Lord Hastings does.  I
guess he knows more about it than we do."

"I guess that's so; but I don't like the idea of running."

"Nor I."

At this instant there was a. hail from the lookout:

"Steamer on the port bow, sir!"

"What's her nationality?" bellowed Lord Hastings.

"British, sir," was the reply.

"Can you make her out?"

The lookout was silent for a moment and then called back.  "Yes,
sir; Cruiser Gloucester, sir!"

"Good!" shouted Lord Hastings. "Lieutenant Hetherington!  Bring
her about again."

The Sylph came back to her course as if by magic, and once more
rushed toward the enemy.  Several miles to port, could now be
seen the faint outline of the approaching British battle cruiser,
sailing swiftly, under full steam, as though she were afraid she
would not arrive in time to take part in the battle.

"Full speed ahead!" came the order from the Sylph's commander,
and the little craft leaped forward in the very face of her two
larger enemies.

A shell from the Goeben, which was nearer the Sylph than her
sister ship, crashed into the very mouth of one of the Sylph's 8
inch guns, blowing it to pieces.

Men were hurled to the deck on all sides, maimed and bleeding.
Others dropped over dead.  An officer hurriedly reported the fact
to Lord Hastings.

"We'll get even with her," said His Lordship grimly.  "Give her a
shot from the forward turret."

In spite of the tragedy enacted before his eyes only a moment
before, the British gunner took deliberate aim.

"Boom!"

There was silence, as all watched the effect of this one shot.

"Right below the water line," said Lord Hastings calmly.  "A
pretty shot, my man."

By this time the Gloucester had come within striking distance,
and her heavy guns began to breathe defiance to the Germans.  But
the Breslau and the Goeben had no mind to engage this new enemy,
and quickly turned tail and fled.

Lord Hastings immediately got into communication with the captain
of the Gloucester by wireless.

"Pursue the enemy!" was the order that was flashed through the
air.

The two British ships sped forward on the trail of the foe.  But
the latter made off at top speed, and in spite of the shells
hurled at them by their pursuers, soon outdistanced the
Gloucester.  The Sylph, however, continued the chase and was
gradually gaining, although, now that the battle was over for the
time being, the strain on the little cruiser relaxed.  Wounded
men were hurriedly patched up by the ship's surgeon and his
assistants, and the dead were prepared for burial.

Jack and Frank approached Lord Hastings on the bridge.  The
latter was talking to his first officer.

"They must be the Breslau and Goeben," he was saying, "though I
am unable to account for the manner in which they escaped the
blockade at Libau.  They were supposed to be tightly bottled up
there and  I was informed that their escape was impossible."

"Something has evidently gone wrong," suggested Lieutenant
Hetherington.

"They probably escaped by, a ruse of some kind," said Jack,
joining in the conversation.

And the lad was right, although he did not know it then.

The two German ships, tightly bottled up, even as Lord Hastings
had said, in Libau, had escaped the blockading British squadron
by the simple maneuver of reversing their lights, putting their
bow lights aft and vice versa, and passing through the blockading
fleet in the night without so much as being challenged.  This is
history.

"Well," said Frank, "we succeeded in putting our mark on them,
even if we didn't catch them."

"We did that," agreed Lieutenant Hetherington.

Darkness fell, and still the chase continued; but the Sylph was
unable to come up with her quarry, and the two German cruisers
succeeded in limping off in the night.

"We shall have to give it up," said Lord Hastings, when he at
last realized that the Germans had escaped.  "Mr. Hetherington,
bring the ship back to its former course."

The lieutenant did as ordered.

"Now, boys," said Lord Hastings, "you might as well turn in for
the night."

A few minutes later the lads were fast asleep in their own cabin,
and while they gain a much needed rest and the Sylph continues to
speed on her course, it will be a good time to introduce the two
young lads to such readers as have not met them before.



CHAPTER II

TWO FRIENDS

Frank Chadwick was an American lad, some 15 years old.  In Europe
when the great European war broke out, he succeeded, with his
father, in getting over the border into Italy, finally reaching
Naples.

Here the lad lost his father, and while searching for him, had
gone to the aid of a man apparently near death at the hands of a
sailor.  After thanking the lad for his timely aid, the man had
immediately shanghaied the lad, who, when he recovered consciousness,
found himself aboard a little schooner, sailing for he knew not where.

There was a mutiny on the ship and the captain was killed.  The
mutineers, putting in at a little African village for supplies,
attempted to fleece Jack Templeton, an English youth out of his
just dues.  Jack, a strapping youngster, strong as an ox, though
no older than Frank, succeeded in getting aboard the mutineers
vessel, and by displaying wonderful strategy and fighting
prowess, overcame the mutineers.

The boys became great friends.

After capturing the schooner from the mutineers, a prisoner was
found on board, who proved to be a British secret service agent.
The boys released him, and then, with Lord Hastings, who had come
to Africa in his yacht, succeeded in striking such a blow at the
Triple Alliance that Italy refused to throw her support to German
arms in spite of the strongest pressure the Kaiser could bring to
bear.

So valuable was the service the boys rendered in this matter,
that when they expressed their intentions of joining the British
navy, Lord Hastings, who had taken an immense liking to them,
secured them commissions as midshipmen.  Later they were assigned
to duty on his yacht, the Sylph, which, in the meantime, had been
converted into a scout cruiser.

The lads had already played an important part in the war.
Through them, a plot to destroy the whole British fleet had been
frustrated and the English had been enabled to deliver a smashing
blow to the German fleet at Heligoland.

In Lord Hastings the boys had found an excellent friend.
Although apparently but a commander of a small scout cruiser--unknown
to but a very few--he was one of the most trusted of British secret
agents.  He was a distant relative of the English monarch and,
as the boys had already learned, had more power in naval affairs
than his officers and associates surmised.  This fact had been
proved more than once, when he had given commands to men apparently
much higher in rank.

Following the brilliant victory of the British fleet off
Heligoland, in which a number of the Kaiser's most powerful sea
fighters had been, sent to the bottom, the Sylph had returned to
London for repairs.  Here Frank and Jack had been personally
presented to King George, who had thanked them for their bravery
and loyalty and raised them to the rank of Fourth Lieutenant.

Lord Hastings had been ill, but his illness had been of short
duration; and so it was not long before the two lads once more
found themselves pacing the deck of the Sylph, going they knew
not where; nor did they care much, so long as it took them where
there was fighting to be done.

It was on the very day that the Sylph lifted anchor for her
second cruise, that London heard of the prowess of the German
cruiser Emden, a swift raider which later caused so much damage
to British shipping as to gain the name "Terror of the Sea."  The
news received on the day in question told of the sinking of an
English liner by this powerful enemy.

When Frank and Jack sought to learn the destination of the Sylph
from Lord Hastings, he had put them off with a laugh.

"You'll know soon enough," he said with a wave of his hand.

"Are we likely to see action soon?" asked Jack.

"If we are fortunate," was the reply.

"Well, that's all we wanted to know," said Frank.  "Don't worry,"
replied His Lordship.  "You will see all the action you want
before this cruise is over, or I am very badly mistaken."

And with this the boys were forced to be content.

For two days they sailed about in the sunny Mediterranean,
sighting neither friend nor foe, and then suddenly had encountered
the two German cruisers, the Breslau and the Goeben, and the
skirmish with these two ships, described at the opening of this
story, ensued.

But now, as the enemy had succeeded in making off in the
darkness, and as Lord Hastings had ordered that the original
course of the Sylph be resumed, the little vessel was again--as
Jack said when they had started on their journey--"sailing
under sealed orders."

The two lads were about bright and early the morning following
the encounter with the German cruisers; and as they stood looking
out over the sea, Lord Hastings approached them.

"More news of the Emden," he said, as he came up.

"Another British merchant vessel sunk?" asked Jack.

"Worse," replied Lord Hastings.  "A cruiser this time!"

"A cruiser!" exclaimed Jack in surprise.  "I always thought that
any cruiser of ours was more than a match for a German."

"Well, you are wrong," was Lord Hastings' reply.  "From what I
have heard by wireless, our vessel attacked, but was sent to the
bottom by the Emden before she could do much damage to the
German."

"What was the name of the British ship?" asked Frank.

"I haven't heard," replied Lord Hastings; "but the action was
fought in the Indian Ocean."

"It seems to me," said Jack vehemently, "that it is about time
this German terror of the sea was sent to the bottom."

"So it is," declared Lord Hastings; "and mark my words, she will
be when one of our big ships comes up with her."

"May it be soon!" ejaculated Frank.

But it was not to be soon.  For almost another month the German
terror prowled about the seas, causing great havoc to British and
French merchantmen.

For three days the Sylph continued on her way without
interruption, and then turned about suddenly and headed for home.
Under full speed she ran for days, until the boys knew they were
once more in the North Sea, where they had so recently participated
in their one great battle.

"Will you tell us why we have come back so suddenly, sir?" asked
Frank of Lord Hastings.

"Why," said His Lordship, "the Germans seem to be growing
extremely active in the North Sea.  Only three days ago, a German
submarine, after apparently running the blockade, sank the
cruiser Hawke off the coast of Scotland.

"What?" cried both boys in one voice.

"Exactly," said Lord Hastings grimly, "and it is for the purpose
of attempting to discover some of these under-the-sea fighters,
or other German warships, that we have come back.  The whole
North Sea is being patrolled, and we are bound to come upon some
of the Germans eventually."

"Well, I hope we don't have to wait long," said Frank.

"And so do I," agreed Jack.  "I hope that every German ship
afloat will be swept from the seas."

The Sylph did not go within sight of the English coast, but for
two days cruised back and forth, east, west, north and south,
without the sight of the enemy.

This inaction soon began to pall upon the two lads, to whom a
fight was as the breath of life itself.

"I wish we had continued on our way, wherever we were going, and
not have come back here," said Jack to Frank one afternoon.

"This is about the limit," agreed Frank.  "I believe we would
have done better to have joined the army.  At least we would have
seen some fighting."

But the boys desire for action was to be soon fulfilled.  The
very next day some smoke and dots appeared on the horizon.
Quickly they grew until they could be identified as enemy ships.
The captain of the Sylph set out a wireless message requesting
help from any units in the area:

"Have sighted enemy; four vessels: approaching  rapidly," and
the exact position of the Sylph.

In a moment came the answer:

"Head north, slowly.  We will intercept the enemy when actively
engaged.  Remember the Hawke!"

Lord Hastings sent another message:

"How many are you?"

"Five," came back the answer.  "Undaunted accompanied by torpedo
destroyers Lance, Lenox, Legion and Loyal, as convoys."

"Good!" muttered Lord Hastings; then turned to Lieutenant
Hetherington:

"You may clear for action, sir!"

The gallant British sailors jumped quickly to their posts, the
light of battle in their eager eyes.  At Lord Hastings' command,
the Sylph was brought about, and soon had her stern toward the
enemy.

There came a wireless message from the German commander.

"Surrender!" it said.

"We will die first!" was the answer sent by Lord Hastings.

Steaming slowly, the Sylph apparently was trying to escape; at
least so figured the German commander.  To him it appeared that
he could overtake the little vessel with ease, and his squadron
steamed swiftly after it.

Gradually the Germans gained upon the little vessel, finally
coming close enough to send a shot after it.  They were not yet
within range, however, and the shell fell short.

"We'll have to let him get a little closer," muttered Lord
Hastings, "or he may draw off.  We'll have to face the danger of
a shell striking us."

A second shell from the Germans kicked up the water alongside the
Sylph.

"He'll have the range in a minute, sir," said Lieutenant
Hetherington.

"Bear off a little to the south," was the commander's reply.

For almost an hour the Sylph outmaneuvered the German flotilla,
and avoided being struck.  All this time Lord Hastings was in
constant wireless communication with the Undaunted, which was
even now coming to give battle to the Germans.

At last the lookout made them out.

"Battle fleet--" he began, but Lord Hastings keen eye had
already perceived what the lookout would have told him.

Well to the rear, perhaps three mile's north, came the British
cruiser Undaunted and her four convoys.  They were steaming
rapidly and in such a direction that they would intercept the
Germans should the latter attempt to return in the direction from
which they had come.

To escape, the Germans must come directly toward the Sylph.
Those on board the Sylph noticed a sudden slackening in the speed
of the German squadron.

"They have sighted our fleet, sir," said Jack, who had stood
impatiently on the bridge while all this maneuvering was going
on.

"So they have," said Lord Hastings, and then turned to Lieutenant
Hetherington.  "You may bring the Sylph about sir," he said
quietly.

Swiftly the little scout cruiser turned her face directly toward
the enemy, who even now had turned to escape toward the south, at
the same time heading so they would pass the Sylph at the
distance of perhaps a mile.

"Full speed ahead!" came the command on the Sylph.

The little vessel darted forward at an angle that would cut off
the Germans in the flight.  It was a desperate venture, and none,
perhaps, realized it more than did Lord Hastings; but he was not
the man to see the prey escape thus easily if he could help it.

Rapidly now the Sylph drew closer to the German torpedo
destroyers.  The gunners were at their posts, the range finder
already had gauged the distance, medical supplies for the wounded
were ready for instant use.  In fact, the Sylph was ready to give
battle, regardless of the number of her enemies.

There was a loud crash as the first salvo burst from the Germans,
but the Sylph was untouched.  Still the British ship drew nearer
without firing.  Then Lord Hastings gave the command: "Mr.
Hetherington, you may fire at will!"

The Sylph seemed to leap into the air at the shock of the first
fire.  One shell crashed into the side of one of the German
destroyers, and a cheer went up from the British.  Then came
several broadsides from the Germans, who had stopped now to
dispose of this brave little vessel, before continuing their
flight.

Suddenly the Sylph staggered, and her fire became less frequent.
A German shell had struck her forward turret with terrible force,
putting her biggest gun out of commission.  But the Sylph
recovered, and continued to fight on.

Jack and Frank darted hither and thither about the vessel,
carrying orders from Lord Hastings and Lieutenant Hetherington,
now and then taking a man's place at one of the guns as he
toppled over until another relieved them.

Two distinct shocks told that the Sylph had been struck twice
more.  Then Lord Hastings gave the command for his vessel to
withdraw.

In attacking the enemy as he had, in the face of terrible odds,
he had accomplished his purpose.  He had halted the Germans in
their attempt to escape, and had given the Undaunted and the
British torpedo boats time to come up.

Before the Germans could again get under full headway, there came
the heavy boom of a great gun.  The Undaunted was within range,
and had opened fire.

Lord Hastings summoned Jack to him.

"What damage do you find to the Sylph?" he asked.

"Forward gun out of commission, sir," replied the lad.  "Ten men
killed, and many wounded."

Frank also had had news to report.

The British flotilla and the German squadron were now at it
hammer and tongs.  Seeing that all hope of escape had been cut
off, the German commander turned to face his new foes, determined
to give battle to the last.

Steadily the British fleet bore down on the enemy, the great guns
of the Undaunted belching fire as they drew near.

Now Lord Hastings ordered the Sylph--still the closest of the
British vessels to the Germans--again into the fray, and in
spite of its crippled condition, the little cruiser once more
bore down upon the Germans.

Suddenly the nearest German destroyer launched a torpedo at the
Sylph.  By a quick and skillful maneuver, Lord Hastings avoided
this projectile, and a broadside was poured into the German.

Others of the German fleet were too closely pressed by the
Undaunted and her convoys to aid the one engaged with the Sylph,
and so the two were left to fight it out alone.

Closer and closer together the two vessels came, until they were
perhaps only a hundred yards apart.  It was evident to those on
the Sylph that a shell must have badly crippled the German, for
otherwise a torpedo would have put an end to the little British
craft.

Unable to check the advance of the Sylph, the German destroyer
turned suddenly and made off.

"After her!" shouted Lord Hastings, and the Sylph leaped ahead at
the word of command.



CHAPTER III

SAVED FROM THE SEA

The three other German vessels now singled out the Undaunted and
concentrated their fire upon her, thinking first to dispose of
the more formidable vessel and then to turn their attention to
the lighter craft.

A fierce duel ensued.  Suddenly there was a terrific explosion.
One of the German torpedo destroyers seemed to leap into the air,
only to fall back a moment later and disappear beneath the sea
with a loud hiss.

A heavy shell struck the Undaunted and carried away part of her
superstructure.  The two remaining torpedo boats of the enemy,
except the one being pursued by the Sylph, suddenly turned and
dashed directly at the Undaunted, evidently intending to ram her.

Captain Fox avoided a collision with promptness and skill, and
the torpedo boats sped by without touching her.  Now the Loyal
launched a torpedo at the first German craft.  It sped swift and
true, and a moment later there was but one German left in
condition to continue the fight.  Thinking to avoid unnecessary
loss of life, Captain Fox called upon the German to surrender.
The kindly offer was rewarded with a defiant reply, and the
German made another swift attack upon the Undaunted.

For a moment it seemed that a collision was unavoidable, but
Captain Fox managed to get his ship out of the way just as the
enemy plowed by.  It was close work and required great coolness.

Meantime the Sylph was close on the heels of the other German
vessel.  Salvo after salvo the British poured into the apparently
helpless German torpedo boat, which, however, continued its
flight rather than surrender.

Frank and Jack, both happening to be on the bridge at the same
moment, stood for a brief second to watch the effect of the
Sylph's fire.  The damage to the German had been terrific.  The
vessel listed badly, and seemed in imminent danger of sinking.

"By Jove!" ejaculated Jack, and would have said more but for a
sudden interruption.

There was a terrific explosion on the German vessel, and as if by
magic, it disappeared beneath the sea.  The Sylph's battle was
over.

"Get out the boats, men!" came Lord Hastings command.  "It may be
that we can save some of them."

Jack and Frank leaped quickly into the same boat, and a moment
later were rushing to the spot where the German torpedo destroyer
had disappeared.  For perhaps five minutes they cruised about,
unable to find a single survivor, and then both were startled by
the sound of something whistling overhead.

Looking up they beheld the cause of this trouble.  The last
German destroyer had come almost upon them, and the British
gunners, evidently not seeing the little boat, were continuing
their fire at the enemy.

The lads were in imminent danger of being struck by a British
shell.  The German launched a torpedo, and it went skimming right
by the little boat in which the boys sat.

"Quick!" cried Jack.  "We must get out of here or one of those
things will hit us."

The men bent to their oars; but they were not quick enough.
Struck by some missile, the boat suddenly sank beneath them, and
the boys found themselves in the water, swimming.

And still they were between the two fighting ships.

Looking over his shoulder, Jack could make out the Sylph, and
calling to Frank to follow him, he struck out in that direction.

They swain rapidly, but seemed to make little progress.  Lord
Hastings, standing on the bridge of the Sylph, discovered the two
forms in the water.  A second boat was hastily launched, and put
off toward them.

When it was within a few yards of them a fragment of a shell
struck it and it also disappeared.  It went to the bottom with
all on board, nor did any of its ill-fated victims come to the
surface again.

The two lads, now clinging to pieces of wreckage, continued at
the mercy of the sea, and also in constant danger of being struck
by an exploding shell, while they swam slowly toward the Sylph.

In one final despairing, attempt to sink the Undaunted, the last
German destroyer launched another torpedo.  By a wonderful
maneuver the British cruiser again avoided the projectile, which
sped on through the water.

Swimming, the boys could plainly follow its flight.  As the
Undaunted swung out of the way to avoid it they could see that
the missile had a clear path to the Sylph.

With a gasp the boys saw the torpedo speed toward the little
scout cruiser.  Lord Hastings had not seen the projectile
launched--because a view of the German ship had been obstructed
until the Undaunted swung out of the way--and no effort was
made to avoid it.

The torpedo crashed into the Sylph on the water line, and the
explosion which followed must have torn  through all the various
compartments to the engine room, for there was a second loud
explosion, steam leaped up on all sides of the Sylph, and when it
had cleared away, there was no Sylph to be seen.

The little scout cruiser had disappeared; vanished, had been
destroyed.

Of Lord Hastings and the other officers and men, the lads could
see nothing.

For a moment the boys were unable to speak, so astounded were
they at the suddenness of this terrible disaster.

"Great Scott!" gasped Frank at last.  "Do you realize what has
happened?"

Jack was more calm.

"Perfectly," he replied faintly, with a sob in his voice.  "The
Sylph has gone, and with her Lord Hastings and all on board--all
our friends, the only ones we have in the world."

The two boys unconsciously swam closer together.

"The fortunes of war," said Jack, more quietly now.  "It is a
terrible thing."

Further conversation was interrupted by the sound of another
terrific explosion.  Startled, the boys turned in the water just
in time to see the last German destroyer disappear beneath the
sea.

"Good!" exclaimed Jack, in fierce joy.  "I am glad of that."

Frank also gritted his teeth, and muttered fervent
congratulations to the British gunners.

And now the British ships proceeded on their course.  None had
been seriously damaged.  They turned their backs upon the scene
of the engagement and made off in the direction from which they
had come.

The boys shouted loud and long for assistance; but their cries
were not heard aboard the British ships of war, which, gradually
gathering more headway, steamed off to the south.  Not until they
were almost out of sight did the lads cease their shouting, and
resign themselves to their fate.

In despair, they turned to each other for comfort.  Jack was
first to speak.

"Well, Frank," he said quietly.  "We shall soon join Lord
Hastings and our other good friends in a place where there is no
war and no losing of friends."

"Isn't there something we can do?" asked Frank, trembling with
cold.

"I am afraid not."

There was a sudden stirring of the water beneath them.  Jack
cried out suddenly:

"What's that?"

Frank had regained his coolness now.

"Probably a shark come to finish us up quickly," he replied
calmly.

Both lads, with a last effort, swam desperately from the place.

But suddenly the waters of the North Sea parted, and a long,
cigar-shaped object came to the top and rested lightly on the
water.

"What is it?" asked Jack again in no little alarm

Before Frank could reply, a man suddenly appeared on the top of
the object, apparently from nowhere, and glanced about.  He
espied them, and as suddenly disappeared.  He reappeared almost
in an instant, however, followed by another.

And now both lads discovered what the object was, an object that
had arrived just in time to save them from a watery grave.  They
could see that the two men wore the uniform of the German navy.

The long, cigar-shaped object was a German submarine.



CHAPTER IV

ABOARD THE X-9

There was a hoarse command from aboard the submarine, and a
moment later a small boat floated alongside the two German
officers who clambered in.  Frank and Jack swam toward them as
rapidly as their exhausted condition would permit.

"What are you two lads doing here in the middle of the North
Sea?" asked one of the officers in great surprise, after the boys
had been pulled aboard the small boat.

"We're here because our ship was sunk by one of your blamed
torpedo boats," replied Jack, with some heat.

"Only one sunk?" inquired the officer in excellent English.

"Just one; it seems to me that is enough."

"Well, I agree that it is better than none," said the German
officer.  "We'll sink them one at a time.  How many of our ships
engaged you?"

"Four," replied Jack briefly, now beginning to smile to himself,
for he saw the German did not know what had happened.

"Which way did they go?" demanded the German.

"Straight to the bottom," replied Jack, with a note of
thankfulness in his voice.

"What!" exclaimed the officer, starting to his feet.

"To the bottom," Jack repeated.

"Impossible!" cried the officer.  "One British ship couldn't sink
four German torpedo destroyers."

"I didn't say there was only one," said Jack.  "We some
assistance."

"You must have had," said the German officer heatedly.  "How
many?  A dozen?"

"There were two or three," said Jack briefly,

He had no mind to tell the German officer the size of the British
squadron.

The German officer was silent for several minutes and then he
said: "Why didn't you tell me this in the first place?"

"You didn't ask me," replied Jack, with a tantalizing laugh.

The German brought his right fist into the palm of his left hand
with a resounding smack.

"You English will pay dearly for every German ship stink," he
exclaimed.

"Maybe so," replied Jack, dryly, "but it won't be a German fleet
that makes us pay."

"Enough of this!" broke in the second German officer.
"Lieutenant Stein, you forget yourself, sir.  And as for you,
sir," turning to Jack, "you show no better taste."

"I beg your Pardon," said Jack.  "I wouldn't have said anything
if he hadn't egged me on."

Lieutenant Stein was equally repentant.

"I apologize," he said quietly to Jack.  "I should not have
spoken as I did."

"Say no more about it," said Jack.  "I was just as much to
blame."

Frank now broke into the conversation.

"What vessel is this?" he asked, pointing to the low-lying bulk
of the submarine, against which the small boat now scraped.

"German submarine X-9," replied Lieutenant Stein, "where, until
we put into port again, you will be our prisoners."

The four now clambered to the top of the submarine.  Lieutenant
Stein led the way to the entrance through the combined bridge and
conning tower, and all went below.  At the foot of the short
flight of steps stood a man in captain's uniform.

"The sole survivors of a British cruiser, sir," said Lieutenant
Stein to the captain, indicating the two lads.  "I have not
learned their names nor rank."

The two lads hastened to introduce themselves.

"I am Captain von Cromp, commander of this vessel," said the
captain gruffly.  "You are my prisoners until I put into port and
can turn you over to the proper authorities."

Jack and Frank bowed in recognition of their fate.  The captain
turned to Lieutenant Stein.

"You will see that the prisoners are well cared for," he said.
"They are in your custody."

The lads glanced curiously about as they were led along toward
the lieutenant's cabin.  It was the first time either had been
inside a submarine vessel, and both felt a trifle squeamish.  The
boat was upon the surface of the sea now, however, and a dim
light penetrated below.

The lieutenant's cabin, well forward, was fitted up luxuriously.
There were several bunks in the little room, and the lieutenant
motioned to them.

"You will sleep there," he said quietly.  "Make yourselves
perfectly at home.  I guess there is no danger of your attempting
to escape.  However, you must remain below and not ascend to the
bridge under any circumstances."

He bowed, and left them.

"I don't know as I am particularly fond of this kind of travel,"
Frank confided to Jack.  "It's all right as long as we remain on
the surface, but I'll bet it would feel queer to be moving along
under the water."

"Right you are," replied Jack.  "However, we are here and we
shall have to make the best of a bad situation.  Then, too,
perhaps we can learn something that may prove of use to us later
on."

The lads dined that night at the officers' mess and became quite
well acquainted with all of them.  They found Captain von Cromp
not half so gruff as he had been when they first came aboard.
They were questioned about the service they had seen, and their
story greatly surprised all the officers.

Upon Lieutenant Stein's request, the commander granted the lads
permission to look over the vessel.

The lieutenant showed them how the vessel was submerged, by
allowing one of the tanks to fill with water; how it rose again
by forcing the water from the compartment by means of compressed
air; how the air was purified when a lengthy submersion was
necessary, and how the vessel was handled in times of action.

He showed them the periscope, and allowed them to peer through,
although there was no need to use this, as the vessel was above
water.

"When the submarine is submerged," explained Lieutenant Stein,
"the periscope is the eye of the vessel.  Peering over the waves,
it reflects what it sees into the watching human eye in the
conning tower.  Destroy it, and the submarine is a blind thing,
plunging to destruction."

"Then the periscope is the one weak spot in a submarine?" asked
Frank.

"Exactly," was the reply.  "Of course, if it were destroyed, the
vessel might rise immediately to the surface and so gain its
bearings.  But in the midst of battle it would probably mean
certain destruction; for when it rose the submarine would
naturally be so close to the enemy that a single big shell would
put it out of business."

The boys looked long at this strange mechanical eye.  Shaped like
a small pipe, it ran up from the conning tower and protruded
above the vessel.  A large lens at the top turned off as does an
elbow in a stove pipe.  This portion, when necessary, moved in
all directions.  When raised to its maximum height everything
within a radius of ten miles is reflected in it.

"The shaft can be lowered to within a few inches of the top of
the water," the lieutenant explained, "thus guarding against the
danger of being hit.  The officer in the conning tower peers into
the binoculars and sees just what the periscope sees."

"Will you explain just how it works?" asked Jack.               I

"Certainly.  The periscope consists, as you may see, of a slender
tubular shaft extending up through the conning tower of the
submarine.  Each submarine is equipped with a pair--thus if one
is shot away the other can be put in immediate use.  At the upper
end of the shaft is a mirror lens.  Upon this mirror lens is
reflected the surrounding surface of the ocean.  The image
reflected there is carried down the tube to other lenses and then
conveyed to enlarging binoculars.  Now do you understand?"

"Perfectly," replied Jack; "and now as to the manner in which a
submarine fights.  It is by torpedoes, as I understand it."

"Exactly," replied the lieutenant, "and the torpedo is the most
deadly, effective and, it may be also said, intelligent of modern
warfare.  One torpedo, striking the right kind of a blow, can
destroy a battleship.  The submarine has no other effective,
weapon than the torpedo, which is delivered from a small tube.
There is this advantage in favor of the battleship, however: the
submarine is a slow craft.  It is slower than the slowest
battleship when it proceeds under water.  When it gets to the
surface its speed is doubled, but then it is an easy target for
the guns of the threatened battleship and also for the swift
torpedo boats and torpedo destroyers which are always thrown out
as escorts when a submarine attack is anticipated.  Some
submarines are equipped with light rapid-firing guns, but these
are of no more use in attacking on-water boats than would be a
popgun.  Do I make myself clear?"

"Perfectly," said Jack.

"It is indeed interesting," said Frank.  "Can you tell us more?"

The lieutenant continued:  "Beyond these factors--the superior
speed, the protection of torpedo boats and the weakness of the
periscope--there has been no protection yet devised against the
attack of a submarine."

"But the torpedo nets--?" interrupted Frank.

"There is of course," the lieutenant went on, "a crudely
defensive measure called the torpedo net.  These are meshes of
strong steel which are dropped down from the side of the warship
and are supposed to catch the torpedo before it hits the side of
the ship."

"Well, don't they?" asked Frank.

"In theory," said the lieutenant, "the torpedo explodes within
the net and the force of its attack is more or less diminished.
As a matter of fact, however, torpedo nets are not dependable.
Why, most of our submarines are equipped with a formidable device
for cutting these nets.  This device, in one form, resembles an
enormous pair of sheers which cut through the nets like paper.
In another form they are equipped with powerful tearing arms
which drag the net away and expose the sides of the battleship to
the deadly messenger from the torpedo tube.  Am I tiring you?"

"I should say not," replied both lads in one breath, and Frank
added: "I don't just understand how a submarine sinks and rises."

"It's very simple," said the lieutenant, "and at the same time
I'll tell you something else.  The submarine is unaffected by
tempests, and for this reason also is more deadly than a
battleship.  The submarine can dive down into the depths where
there is no movement of the waves, and it can remain under water
for fourteen hours continuously.  This is accomplished by tanks
which can be filled with water and, overcoming what is known as
the 'margin of buoyancy,' submerge the vessel.  The air is
replenished by special purifying devices and by tanks of oxygen.
When the vessel wants to rise, it simply pumps out the water from
the tanks."

"It certainly is a wonderful invention," said Frank, when the
lieutenant had concluded his explanation.

"Indeed it is," agreed Jack.

"You should be aboard when we are in action," smiled the
lieutenant.  "I am sure you would be greatly interested."

"I don't doubt it," said Jack, "although from what you have told
us regarding the deadliness of submarines, I believe that I
should rather witness action on a British submarine."

"Nevertheless," said the lieutenant, "you are likely to see
action aboard the X-9, for I do not believe Captain Von Cromp
will return to port until he has at least tried the effect of his
torpedoes, on a ship or so of your countrymen."

"May he go to defeat if he tries it!" said Jack fervently.

"In which case," said the lieutenant with good natured tolerance,
"you would undoubtedly go with us."

"Even so," replied Jack, "I still could not wish to see you get
away."

The lieutenant glanced at him admiringly.

"I believe you mean it," he said.  "You are a brave lad.  But
come, we had all better turn in now."

"I guess you are right," said Frank; "and thanks for the trouble
you have taken to explain all this to us."

"It was a pleasure, I am sure," was the lieutenant's reply, and
they all made their way to the officer's cabin, where they
prepared to retire for the night.



CHAPTER V

UNDER THE SEA

But there was to be no sleep for any aboard the German submarine
X-9 that night.  As the boys were just about to tumble into their
bunks, there was the sound of a sudden commotion on the vessel.

Lieutenant Stein sprang to his feet, hastily donned what few
clothes he had removed, and dashed from the cabin.  With all
possible haste, the boys followed suit.

Men were rushing to and fro and no one heeded the boys' presence,
although they were rudely thrust aside by hurrying members of the
crew several times.

"Wonder what's up?" said Jack.

"Don't know," replied Frank, "unless they have sighted one of our
ships."

"By Jove!  Let us hope not," breathed Jack.

But this was indeed the cause of the excitement aboard the
submarine.  A British battleship had been sighted in the
distance, and Captain Von Cromp was preparing to attack the
unsuspecting vessel, which had failed to sight her enemy,
although the latter was fully exposed to view.

Frank and Jack approached the foot of the periscope, where they
stood awaiting developments.

Outside a sudden storm swept the water of the North Sea in angry
waves.  The water lifted up the little vessel with the regular
motion of a high-running sea.  All was pitch dark.

The fact that men were hurrying about on deck, was only shown by
the somber figures who now and then passed in front of a single
lantern.  From out the engine room, already under water, arose
the pound of heavy pounding and the weird crackling of the
engines, as they were tried out.

Jack glanced at his watch.  It was 10:30.  Suddenly there came a
shrill whistle from the little bridge of the submarine, standing
high above the vessel, and covered with heavy canvass.  The
officer in command, Captain Von Cromp himself, dressed hi heavy
oilskins, raised a hand, the signal to go ahead.

A short, sharp signal to the engine room, a loud whirr of the
motor, and the X-9 was speeding ahead.  On both sides of the ship
long waves formed, shimmering with light foam in the blackness of
the sea.  The X-9 moved westerly--toward the still unsuspecting
battleship.

The heavens were covered with clouds.  Not a star was visible.
It was impossible to see more than a few feet away from the
strange craft.  Captain Von Cromp, with his experienced eye,
tried in vain to penetrate through this wall of solid blackness.
The wind kicked up the sea and the bridge was entirely flooded
with water.  There was hot a sound to be heard, save the heavy
droning of the motor and the swish of the water passing along the
sides.

Suddenly, in the near distance, loomed up a great gray bulk,
swinging high above the submarine upon the water.  It was the
British battleship.

And now submarine X-9 had been discovered.  A heavy boom rang
out, but the little craft was not damaged.

Another signal came to the ears of the two boys.  Men rushed upon
deck and soon the submarine was prepared for action.  The
flagpole was taken down.  Part of the bridge was folded together
and securely fastened.  The periscope was fixed at its proper
height.  Then the entrance through the combined bridge and
conning tower was hermetically sealed.  A moment more and the
tanks were opened, telling the lads that the submarine was about
to submerge.  The gasoline motors stopped their endless song.
From now on electricity would drive the vessel forward.

Near Frank and Jack, at the periscope, stood Lieutenant Stein,
looking at the British ship.  The sailors took their stations
near the torpedoes.  The interior of the boat was now lighted
with two small electric bulbs.  They made the darkness visible,
but gave no light outside.  Everywhere was the stale smell of
oil.  The boys found it impossible to speak to each other because
of the noise of the engine and the water.  The heat was
oppressive.

From time to time the officer in command of the three torpedoes
looked at his watch or at the compass, both of which he carried
around his wrist.  Intently the men all watched the signboard on
the wall in front of them.  The storm without made itself felt
even in the depth.  Every motion of the water caused the
submarine to rock up and down and up and down again.

Jack found himself thinking of the advantage of the man on board
a warship.  He, at least, could go down with a last look at the
world about him.  Below, nothing could be seen, nothing could be
heard.  If the submarine went down, all would suffocate in the
darkness beneath the water.

It was plain to Jack that Frank, as well as all the sailors and
officers, was thinking along similar lines.  The expression on
all faces was plain proof of it.

Suddenly the sailors sprang forward, forgetting in an instant
heat, bad air and discomfort.  Following the gaze of the sailors,
the lads turned their eyes to the signboard.  There, as if by
magic, had sprung up the word:

"Attention!"

The officer in command of the torpedoes had his hand on the lever
which would release the first deadly projectile already in the
tube.  The sailors made ready to launch the second as soon as the
first was gone.

Several seconds passed.  Frank and Jack stood in deathlike
stillness.  Both realized the tragedy that was about to be
enacted, and both were aware of their powerlessness to avert it.

Into the minds of both flashed a thought of springing upon their
captors, but each, after a moment's reflection, realized the
futility of such an action.  It would merely delay the firing of
the first torpedo.

And so they stood while the seconds passed, the heart of each in
his throat.  Suddenly the first sign on the board disappeared.  A
moment later and a second command appeared.  Frank and Jack read
it simultaneously, and both started forward with a cry.

The word that now stared them in the face, in red, glowing
letters, was:

"Fire!"

With a single jerk, the officer released the first torpedo, even
as both lads, unable to endure the suspense and inaction any
longer, leaped upon him.  There was a short, metallic click, the
noise of water rushing into the empty tube, and it was over.  The
first torpedo had sped on its errand of destruction and death.

The German officer turned just in time to grapple with Jack, who
was now upon him.

"Seize them, men!" he cried, and struck out sharply at the lad.
But Jack was too quick for him, and his right fist went crashing
into the German's face.  Frank was with him now, and the two
turned to face the onrushing sailors.

Both struck out rapidly, but in spite of their resistance, they
were soon overpowered by the numerical superiority of their foes,
and thrown to the floor.

There, realizing the uselessness of further struggling, they gave
up and lay still.

The German officer, having struggled to his feet in the meantime,
now approached and stood over them.  Perceiving they were no
longer offering resistance, he motioned the sailors to let them
up.

The lads arose and faced the officer.

"I realize your position better than you are probably aware," he
said, speaking coldly, "and for that reason I shall overlook your
attack upon me.  I would have done as you did.  I could not stand
by and see a German ship sent to the bottom without raising a
hand to prevent it.  Go to your cabin, sirs."  The boys bowed,
and obeyed.

But while the boys were scuffling with the German officer and
some of the sailors, others had pushed a second torpedo into the
tube.  And a sailor shouted, making himself heard by dint of a
very powerful voice: "Did we hit her?"

Instinctively all kept count--one hundred meters, two hundred
meters, three hundred, four hundred.  Under the water no sound
penetrated.  Waiting was all that could be done.  For a few
moments nothing happened.

Then, suddenly, every man on the boat, Jack and Frank in the
cabin, the captain, officers and all, were almost thrown from
their feet by a terrific jerk of the submarine.  Another jerk,
and still another.

Then the submarine rolled as before--evenly.  A moment and the
regular purring of the engines was heard again.  The submarine
moved rapidly eastward.

She was on her way back home.

And an English battleship was at the bottom of the sea.



CHAPTER VI

THE AVENGERS


Frank picked himself up from the chair into which he had fallen
because of the sudden lurching of the vessel.

"What was that?" he asked in alarm.  "Have we been, hit?"

"I fear there is no such luck," replied Jack.  "What, I am sure,
is the answer to the German torpedo."

"What do you mean?"

"The lurching of this vessel was caused by the explosion of the
torpedo when it struck the British battleship."

"But wouldn't we have heard the explosion?"

"No; there is no sound under water."

There were tears in Frank's eyes, and he was ashamed of them, as
he said:

"Think of all the poor fellows aboard!  Do you suppose any of
them will be saved?"

"I am afraid not," replied Jack sadly.  "And to think that we had
to stand by unable even to warn them!"

"It is terrible!" said Frank, sinking into a chair.

For many minutes the lads were silent, each offering up a silent
prayer for the brave men who had gone to death for their country.

The silence was at length broken by the entrance of Lieutenant
Stein.  He noticed the boys' sadness, and spoke softly to them.

"It is the fortune of war," he said quietly.  "Remember, there
probably will be many German lives snuffed out just as easily.
Come, brace up!"

The lads brushed the tears from their eyes and rose to their
feet.

"I shall speak of it no more," said Jack, huskily.

"Nor I," said Frank.

"Good!" said the lieutenant.  "Now you had better turn in and get
some sleep.  You must be tired out."

"Sleep!" ejaculated Jack.  "I couldn't sleep now."

"No, I suppose you couldn't," replied the lieutenant
thoughtfully.  He was silent for some moments.  "I'll tell you
what I'll do," he said finally, "we have come to the surface
again I'll ask Captain Von Cromp to allow you to go upon the
bridge, if you wish.  He realizes your feelings as well as I do,
in spite of his apparent gruffness.  The cool air will do you
good."

"If you will be so kind, I am sure we shall appreciate it," said
Frank.

The lieutenant left the cabin.  Frank, espying something at one
end of the room, walked over to investigate.  He came back to
Jack, holding something gingerly in his hand.

"By Jove!" he exclaimed.

"What is it?" asked Jack.

Frank held the object up before his friend's eyes.

"Look at it!" he exclaimed.  "Do you know what it is?"

Jack took a long look and then stepped suddenly back, exclaiming:

"Put it down, quick!  Do you want to blow us all up?"

"What do you suppose it's doing here?" asked Frank, still holding
the object out at arm's length.

"How should I know?  But I suppose all submarines carry them.  I
have heard that many have been planted by submarines."

For the object that Frank held in his hand was a small melinite
floating mine!

"I suppose this would blow any ship to kingdom come, wouldn't
it?" asked the lad.

"I should say it would; so you had better put it down unless you
want to send us all there."

Frank leaned close to his chum, and whispered rapidly:

"See if you can't find a gun around before the lieutenant comes
back.  Quick!  A revolver, rifle, or anything!"

"What for?" demanded Jack, in surprise.

"Never mind what, for.  Look quick, while I hide this thing under
my coat."

Without knowing what Frank had on his mind, Jack did as
requested.  After rummaging through the lieutenant's desk, he at
last straightened up with a heavy revolver in his hand.

"Will this do?" he asked.

"All right," replied Frank, "but a rifle would be safer."

"Safer?  What do you mean?"

"Sh-h-h," whispered Frank.

Footsteps were heard on the outside.  Jack hastily shoved the
revolver into his pocket.  Frank by this time had concealed his
explosive under his coat.  It bulged out a bit, but the lad
folded his arms in front of him, and the bulge was not noticeable.

Lieutenant Stein entered the room.

"It's all right," he said. "Captain Von Cromp has given his
consent.  If you wish, I will conduct you up."

"Thanks," said Jack, and the two lads followed the officer.
Captain Von Cromp was on the bridge when the two boys emerged
from below, and he walked over to them.

"I regret," he said, "that you should have had to witness what
you have; but it is the fortune of war, you know."

"I have heard that before," said Frank dryly.

"Tell me, would you have blamed us had we put up a more stubborn
fight below a while ago?"'

"No," was the reply.  "I could blame you for nothing you did to
an enemy in time of war and especially under such a stress of
excitement."

Lieutenant Stein bade the boys good-night and went below.  After
some further talk, Captain Von Cromp followed him, and the boys
were left alone on the submarine, save for the single man on look
out.

Frank walked up to the latter and engaged him lit conversation.
A few moments later he turned Away, saying to the sailor that he
and his friend "would take a turn or two about before going
below."

Walking swiftly up to Jack, Frank said in a low voice:

"See if you can't find that small boat they used to pick us up."

"What--?" began Jack, but Frank interrupted him.

"Never mind the reason," he said.  "Help me find it, that's all.
We'll have to hurry.  Where do you suppose they put it?"

A few moments later they came upon the little craft, now above
water, placed where the sea could not reach it when the submarine
was submerged.  Luckily it was out of view of the German on the
bridge, and the two lads succeeded in unloosening it and getting
it overboard without being seen.

Then Frank walked quickly back to the spot where the periscope
protruded from below.  Opening his coat he took the explosive out
and, drawing a handkerchief from his pocket, tied it to the
diminutive mine and hung the latter on the tube.

"Now for this German," he said to himself.  "It wouldn't do for
him to see that before I am ready."

He approached the man once more and asked several questions.

"Well," he said finally, "I guess I shall have to say
good-night."

The German's reply was choked in his throat.  Frank sprang
forward, flung one arm around the man's, neck, and with the other
clutched him by the throat, to prevent an outcry.

Then he freed one arm and struck out heavily.  The German fell
without a murmur.  Frank ran across the deck to where he had left
Jack.

"Into the boat quick!" he exclaimed.

Jack needed no further urging.  Frank dropped lightly in after
him, and soon they were rowing rapidly away.

"Give me that gun," said Frank after they had pulled some
distance from the submarine.

"What are you going to do with it?" asked Jack.

"I'll show you," replied Frank grimly.  "Give me the gun!"

Without another word Jack passed the weapon to his friend.

"Now," said Frank, "lower yourself over the side of the boat and
when I say dive, dive!"

"See here," said Jack, taking Frank by the arm. "Have you gone
crazy?  What do you think you are going to do?"

"I don't think anything about it," replied Frank, more quietly
now.  "I know what I am going to do."

"Well, what is it then?  Out with it."

"Do you see that object hanging to the periscope tube on the
submarine?" asked Frank.

"Yes, I see it.  Why?"

"Don't you know what it is?"

"No; what is it?"

"Well, that's the little plaything I found in Lieutenant Stein's
cabin.  I'm going to bore a little hole through it with this gun
you were kind enough to get for me."

"Good Heavens!" exclaimed Jack  "You'll blow tip the submarine
with all on board!"

"My idea exactly," replied Frank carefully.

"But--" protested Jack.

"The fortune of war, you know," said Frank, with some sarcasm.
"You heard Captain Von Cromp say he wouldn't blame us for
anything we might do.  Besides, they didn't give the poor fellows
on that British battleship any warning, did they?"

"No," said Jack, "but--"

"Well, there are no buts here.  You climb overboard and get ready
to dive.  When this bullet goes through that little plaything
there will be an explosion that will kick up considerable
excitement hereabouts.  That's why I asked you if you couldn't
get a rifle.  We could have gone a little farther away then."

"Now see here," said Jack.  "I guess those fellows have it coming
to them.  They don't deserve any better than they will get.  As
you say, 'the fortune of war.'  I'm not kicking about that.  What
I want to know is if you can hit that thing."

"Hit it?  Of course I can hit it.  You dive when I say the word,
and when you come up, if you do, come up, I'll guarantee you
won't see any submarine."

"But how about you?" demanded Jack.  "If I dive before you fire,
how are you going to get away before the explosion?"

"I don't calculate I'll get away before it, but I'll be in the
water the minute I fire.  I won't wait to see whether I hit it or
not.  However, I'll drop the revolver in the boat, so in case I
miss the first time, it will be dry enough to use again."

"But--" began Jack.

Frank stood up in the boat and pointed the revolver directly at
the submarine.

"No more words," he said quietly. "Are you ready?"

Jack lowered himself over the edge of the boat, still holding to
it with his hands.

"Yes, I'm ready," he said, "but--"

"Then dive!" cried Frank and pulled the trigger.

With a single movement he dropped the revolver into the bottom of
the boat, and plunged deep into the sea himself.



CHAPTER VII

OFF ON A LONG CRUISE

At the very instant the lad disappeared beneath the water there
was a flash of fire above the submarine, followed by a violent
explosion-fearful, terrific.

The upper work of X-9 was blown high into the air and came down
in splinters, scattered to the four winds of heaven.  The deck
was rent and open up with a great, yawning scam, through which
the ocean rushed, driving the craft below the waves as though it
had been drawn down by some mighty whirlpool.  A minute later,
where had been one of Germany's most terrible fighters, there was
only a seething flood of water covered with floating wreckage.

The force of the explosion sent the water spouting high in the
air like giant gushers.  The sea boiled and lashed out angrily at
what was left of the German craft.  Not a living figure was to be
seen upon the wreckage.

The deadly melinite had done its work.

Beneath the waters of the North Sea, where Frank and Jack had
sought what shelter they could, the water tossed them about at
will, in spite of their frantic efforts to hold themselves steady
and remain below the surface.

Frank, not having time to take such a long breath as Jack,
because of the suddenness with which he had dived, was the first
to come to the surface.  He was tossed high on the still angry
waves, but by a Herculean effort, the lad managed to keep his
head above water.

His first thought was of the small boat he had so recently left.
Glancing around, he saw it floating, bottom up, about a hundred
yards away.  He swam rapidly toward it; and as he hurried along,
a head suddenly bobbed up directly in front of him.

It was Jack, struggling and gasping.  Frank swam rapidly to him,
and lent what assistance he could.  Soon Jack was swimming easily
with his friend toward the little upturned boat.

They laid hold of the little craft, and after a struggle,
succeeded in righting it and clambering aboard, where they sat
down, wet and weak,  Then, for the first time, Jack turned his
eyes toward the spot where so short a time ago had been the
German submarine.  He saw the mass of floating wreckage.

"Gone," he said simply, "and the poor fellows with it."  He
turned to Frank.  "You certainly did a good job.  I never knew
that you were so handy with a gun."

"I am a pretty fair shot," Frank admitted modestly.

"But if you had missed the first time--?" began Jack.

"I couldn't miss," replied Frank quietly.  "I knew that before I
pulled the trigger.  Some way, I felt certain the bullet would go
true.  Why, I hardly even aimed."

"Well," said Jack, "I'm sure I don't ever want you blazing away
at me."

"I guess we might as well get away from this spot," said Frank.
"I wonder where we are?"

Jack stood up in the boat and looked long across the sea.  Dawn
was just breaking, and in the faint morning light he could see a
considerable distance.

"No land in sight," he said finally, and sat down again.  "At a
guess, though, I should say we must still be off the coast of
Holland."

"Yes; but how are we going to tell which way the coast of Holland
is?"

"I'm sure I don't know.  We'll just have to take a chance at it
till the sun comes up, and then we can get our bearings.  We'll
have to be very careful though, for there are likely to be mines
floating about.  If we had some oars we could row a bit it would
warm us up."

But no oars were in sight, either near the boat or among the
floating wreckage.

"They must be at the bottom of the sea," said Frank, in some
despair.  "I should have thought to have made them fast."

"Never mind that," said Jack.  "The question now is, what are we
going to do?"

"Well, you know as much about it as I do," replied Frank.  "What
are we going to do?"'

"It looks to me as though we should have to drift and take a
chance of being, picked up," returned Jack.

"Or be blown up by a floating mine," said Frank.

"That's a chance we shall have to take," said Jack calmly.  "You
should have thought of that before you bored a hole through that
mine on the submarine."

Frank did not reply.  At length he rose to his feet and took off
his coat.  Then he turned to Jack.

"Give me yours," he said briefly.

Jack obeyed without question.

Tying the two coats securely together, Frank loosened one of the
thwarts in the little boat.  He pulled some strong string from
his pocket and soon had improvised a little sail.  Then tying one
sleeve to a cleat on one side and another sleeve to a cleat on
the other he soon had his sail bellying before the stiff breeze.

"It's pretty low," he said, leaning back and surveying his work,
"but it may move us along a little."

"How do we know we are going in the right direction?" asked Jack.

"We don't; but we might as well be moving as to stay here.  We'll
let her have her head and keep her steady as she goes."

Slowly the little craft, before the freshening wind began to make
headway.

"This does beat lying still," said Jack.  "I don't believe I
would have thought of rigging up such a sail as that."

"I guess you would if I hadn't," replied Frank.  "Now you try and
take a little snooze, while I keep a lookout for a vessel of some
kind."

"All right; only, you wake me up in a couple of hours and I'll
stand watch."

Frank agreed to this, and Jack rolled over in the bottom of the
boat, where, in spite of his wet clothing and the chilling wind,
he was soon fast asleep.  He was completely exhausted, and any
kind of a bed would have felt good to him right then.

Frank, holding the rudder of the boat, sat silent, with his eyes
scanning the distant horizon for the sign of a ship.  But his
watch was vain.  Not even the smoke of a patrolling vessel did he
see in the distance.  His two hours of watch up, he shook Jack
vigorously.

The latter was up in an instant, and soon Frank was occupying his
place in the bottom of the boat.

For an hour Jack scanned the horizon without making out a ship;
then, directly ahead, he saw a cloud of smoke.

"Must be a ship!" he muttered to himself, and turned to arouse
Frank.  Then he drew back, muttering: "No, there is no need to
wake him!  He's tired out.

"Besides, the ship may not sight us, in which case he would be
bitterly disappointed."

Slowly the cloud of smoke grew larger, until at length Jack was
certain that the vessel was bearing down on them.  As it drew
closer, he saw that the approaching ship was a cruiser; and as it
drew still closer, that it was British.

Then he bent over and aroused Frank.

"Look!" he said, pointing across the water, "what do you think of
that?"

Frank was wide awake in an instant

"A British cruiser," he ejaculated, "and coming right toward us.
If she keeps on her course we are sure to be seen."

Frank sprang to the little sail and tore it down.  Then each lad
picked up a coat, and standing at his full height, waved the
garment and yelled lustily.

For some moments this was unrewarded.  Then the boys saw signs of
excitement aboard the cruiser, and a big gun boomed--

"She's seen us!" cried Frank, and dropped into a seat, laughing
happily.

Both lads watched silently the oncoming cruiser.

"Can you make her out?" asked Frank at length.

Jack rose and looked sharply across the water.

"Yes," he said finally. "She is the Cumberland."

A small boat was lowered from the cruiser and put off toward
them.  Soon it scraped alongside the boys' craft, and they were
taken aboard where they were received with expressions of great
surprise, both by the officer in command and by members of the
boat's crew.

"How did you get away out here?" asked the surprised boatswain.

Briefly Jack explained.

"By Jove!" exclaimed the officer when the lad had concluded his
story.  "You certainly have seen excitement.  And so you blew up
the German submarine?"

"My friend here did," replied Jack, indicating Frank.

"Sure," said the boatswain, "Captain Marcus will be glad to hear
the yarn.  It's a good one you can spin."

The little boat now drew up against the cruise and quickly all
clambered aboard.

As Jack came over the rail, a man of great height--fully six
feet five inches--greeted him.  He was smooth-faced and ruddy,
and the fane-anchor on his collar proclaimed him captain.

"Captain Marcus?" queried Jack, as he leaped to the deck.

"At your service," came the reply in a hearty sailor-like voice.

"I am Lieutenant Jack Templeton, scout cruiser Sylph, sir," said
Jack, "and this," turning to Frank, "is Lieutenant Frank Chadwick
of the same vessel."

"What are you doing in a dingy in the middle of the North Sea?"
demanded the captain.

Briefly once more Jack explained.

"The Sylph sunk!" exclaimed Captain Marcus.  "And what of my old
friend Lord Hastings?"

"Gone down with his ship, sir," replied Jack, Patiently.

"Hastings dead!" cried the commander of the Cumberland.  "It is
impossible!"

"No, sir," said Frank.  "It is true."

For a moment the commander bowed his head in reverence.  Then he
raised his eyes and looked at the boys.

"He was my very good friend," he said simply, and motioned the
boys to follow him below.

Inside the cabin of the commander of the Cumberland, the captain
motioned the lads to seats.

"Now we shall see what is to be done with   you," he said.  "At
present, because of the loss of the Sylph, you are, of course,
unattached.  How would you like to go with me?"

"Where to, sir?" asked Jack.

"I'll explain," replied the captain.  "Until yesterday the
Cumberland was one of the blockading fleet off Heligoland.  You
can understand, therefore, that I have already heard of you lads.
I have been ordered to patrol the west coast of Africa, and, if I
mistake not, there will be fighting.  I have recently lost two of
my midshipmen through illness.  You may have their places.  What
do you say?"

Both lads had taken a great liking to Captain Marcus at first
sight, but it was Jack who made answer for both:

"Thank you, sir. We shall be glad to go with you."



CHAPTER VIII

PATROLLING THE SOUTH SEA

The boys learned from Captain Marcus that they had reckoned
rightly and that at the moment they were off the port of
Amsterdam, Holland.

"Our course," the captain explained, "will take us through the
English channel into the Atlantic, thence south to the African
coast.  How far south we shall go, I cannot say at present."

He called a midshipman to show the boys to the cabin which was to
be their quarters while on the Cumberland.  It was very
comfortable, but not much like the one they had aboard the Sylph.
"However," said Jack, "it's plenty good enough for anyone."

For several days the boys were not assigned to duty, Captain
Marcus declaring that they needed, a chance to rest up after
their strenuous experience with the submarine.  He introduced
them to all the officers, with whom they speedily became
favorites.  It was very evident to both the boys that their
relationship to Lord Hastings was well known to Captain Marcus
and they felt that the many little favors shown them was because
of this.  They frequently talked of their former commander and
friend and their hearts were sad at his untimely end.

In spite of their new surroundings, the days that they sailed
southward were somewhat monotonous, and the boys were more than
pleased when the Cumberland put into Lisbon, Portugal, for coal.
Here they were given a day ashore and bought a number of things
that they greatly needed as all their effects had gone down with
the Sylph.

Continuing her journey, the Cumberland sailed south through and
past the Tropic of Cancer, almost to the equator, without a sign
of an enemy.  It was in fact just a day's sail from the equator
before the Cumberland sighted another ship.

Quickly the wireless was put to working and it was found that the
approaching vessel was the small British cruiser Dwarf.  The
cruisers came to anchor a short distance apart and the commanders
of the two ships exchanged visits.

Upon Captain Marcus' return aboard the Cumberland, both ships
immediately got under way, the Dwarf taking the lead.

"Something up!" said Jack to Frank, as they stood leaning over
the rail.

"You are right," replied Frank, "and I'll bet you a little red
apple I can tell you what it is."

"You can?" exclaimed Jack in surprise.  "Let's have it then."

"In my spare moments," explained Frank, "I have been making a
study of the maps and charts.  We are now almost in the Gulf of
Guinea.  A small but nevertheless very deep, river called the
Cameroon, empties into the gulf.  Do you follow me?"

"Yes, but I don't see what you are driving at."

"Well, the Cameroon region is a German possession.  Its largest
town, several miles up this navigable river, is Duala, strongly
fortified.  This, if I am not badly mistaken, is our objective
point."

"Perhaps you are right," said Jack somewhat dubiously, "but won't
the forts be too strong for the cruisers?"

"Not these, I am sure."

"Well," said Jack, "I hope we see some action soon, whether it is
at Duala, as you call it, or some other place.  This is growing
monotonous."

Frank's prophecy proved correct.  Even now the Cumberland and the
Dwarf were well into the Gulf of Guinea and making all headway
toward the mouth of the river Cameroon, which point the vessels
reached early the following morning, intending to anchor in the
mouth of the stream.

At the approach of the cruisers, however, a fort guarding the
harbor broke into action.

A few well-directed shots from the big guns of the Cumberland,
and the fort was silenced.  Then, instead of coming to anchor,
the cruisers steamed slowly up the river.

Rounding a bend in the stream, Duala could be seen in the
distance; likewise the forts guarding the town, and a bombardment
of the fortifications was at once begun.

The shore batteries promptly returned the fire, but it soon
became apparent that the guns on the ships outranged them.

For several hours the bombardment continued, and then two
merchant steamers were seen making their way from the shelter of
the port directly toward the British ships.

"Wonder what's up now?" said Frank, who at that moment, having
been relieved from duty, stood beside Jack at the rail.

"Don't know," was the latter's brief reply.  Nor did anyone else,
so those on board the cruisers watched the movements of the
oncoming steamers with much curiosity.

When the approaching vessels were little more than a mile up the
river they came to a stop.  Small boats were lowered over the
sides and put off hurriedly in the direction from which they had
come.  Shortly after, a blinding glare rose to the sky, there was
the sound of two terrific reports, one immediately following the
other, and the two steamers slowly settled into the water.

Captain Marcus, on the bridge of the Cumberland, cried out:

"They have blockaded the river!"

It was true.  The ruse was plainly apparent now that it was too
late to prevent it.  The two sunken vessels made further progress
up the river by the British ships impossible.

"Wonder what we shall do now?" asked Frank.

"Haven't any idea," said Jack briefly.

Night drew on and still the British guns continued to hurl their
shells upon the German town.

With the fall of darkness there came an answer to Frank's
question.

Captain Marcus summoned Frank and Jack.

"The Germans have effectually blocked the river," he told them.
"Therefore we cannot capture the town that way.  Because of your
experience, I have called you two lads to undertake a most
dangerous mission.

"You," pointing to Jack, "will lead 400 sailors around through
the woods and attack the enemy from the flank.  You, Mr.
Chadwick," turning to Frank, "I shall put in command of a fleet
of four small boats, armed with rapid-firers, and it will be your
duty to try and crawl up the river without attracting the
attention of the forts.  Attacking from two sides, simultaneously,
we should take the town.  In the meantime we shall continue to
shell the town, stopping our bombardment at such a time as I
believe you will be prepared for a sudden attack.  Therefore,
when you reach your positions, you will not attack until the
bombardment ceases.  That shall be your signal. Do I make myself
clear?"

"Perfectly," both lads agreed.

"Good, then.  Everything shall be in readiness for you in an
hour."

The lads saluted and left the commander's cabin.

Two hours later found Jack, with 400 British sailors at his
command, already disembarked from small boats and stealing into
the woods.  Frank, with his little fleet, was picking his way
carefully up the river.

The lad easily found a channel between the two sunken
merchantmen, and the little boats pushed on.

"Careful of mines!" had been Captain Marcus' parting injunction
and the lad peered keenly ahead constantly.

He made out several small objects floating upon the water, and
these were carefully avoided.

By dint of careful rowing the boats finally drew up safely, not
more than a quarter of a mile from the German forts, where the
little party awaited the signal agreed upon.

Jack, in the meantime, had led his men through the dense woods,
and by making a wide detour, had penetrated almost to the rear of
the enemy's fortress, which, he figured, would be the most likely
to be improperly guarded.

Here he and his men lay down, awaiting the signal to attack.  But
still the British bombardment continued, and shells rained upon
the little African town.

Suddenly the sound of screeching shells ceased.  Jack sprang to
his feet and listened intently for a moment.  But the big guns on
the warships were now silent.  It was time to act.

"Attention!" called Jack, and his men stood ready about him.

Silently they crept forward to the very edge of the little town.
Here, moving figures in the glare of many fires gave evidence
that the German troops and their native allies were on the alert.
But as Jack had surmised, they were not expecting an attack from
this direction.

Approaching closer and closer, Jack finally gave the command:

"Fire!"

The crack of 400 rifles followed this command, and under the
withering fire of the British, the Germans were mowed down on all
sides.

At the same instant, from the river, the rapid firers in Frank's
command shattered the stillness of the night with their noise of
death.  Thus attacked on two sides, the Germans for a moment
stood as if paralyzed, men dropping on all sides.

But for a moment only.  Then they leaped forward ready to
encounter the unseen foe.  Under the command of their officers
they formed coolly enough, and volley after volley was fired into
the woods.

But Jack and his 400 British sailors were not to be stayed.
Right in among the Germans they plunged, shooting, cutting and
slashing.  The Germans at this end of the town were gradually
being forced back--back upon their comrades who already were
retreating before the rapid-firers of Frank's command at the
other end of the town.

Caught between two fires, they nevertheless fought bravely,
pouring in volley for volley.  Suddenly the British under Jack
ceased firing altogether and rushed upon the foe with cutlasses
and clubbed rifles.

The shock of this attack was too much for the Germans, and with
the fierce hail of bullets from Frank's end of the field, there
was but one thing for them to do.

The officer in command raised a handkerchief on the point of his
sword.  Jack could barely make it out in the half-light.  At the
same moment the officer commanding the Germans opposing Frank's
small force cried out:

"We surrender!"

Instantly the sound of firing ceased, and the German officer
walked up to Frank and delivered his sword.  At precisely the
same moment, the other German officer, who it turned out was in
command of the town, presented his sword to Jack.

Jack gallantly passed the weapon back to him, saying:

"Keep it, sir.  I could not deprive so brave a man of his sword.
However, I must ask you to accompany me back to my ship."

The German signified his assent, and Jack called out to Frank
whom he could now see approaching with his prisoner:

"Are you hurt, Frank?"

"No," came the reply, "are you?"

Jack made haste to reply in the negative.

The boys decided that Frank should stay with the sailors left to
guard the town, and that Jack should escort the German commander
to the Cumberland.  Accordingly the two took their seats in one
of the little boats, and were rowed back down the stream.

Frank, after giving the necessary orders to guard the town and
fort, established himself in the commander's quarters, where he
awaited some word from Captain Marcus.



CHAPTER IX

THE BOYS MAKE AN ENEMY

Jack with his prisoner returned aboard the Cumberland, where the
lad turned the German commander over to Captain Marcus.

"Shall I go back to the town, sir?" he asked, as the commander
signified that he might leave the cabin.

"If you like," was the reply.

"Have you any commands regarding the prisoners, sir?  Or as to
the manner of guarding the place against attack?"

"Yes; you may present my respects to Mr. Chadwick, and tell him
that you two are in joint authority until morning, when I shall
do myself the pleasure of paying you a visit.  You will take
whatever precautions necessary to guard against an attack from
any of the enemy who may move against you from Boak."

"Very well, sir," replied Jack, saluting.

"Boak, as you probably are aware," continued the commander, "is
another small German fortress further up the river.  I do not
anticipate an attack, but it is best to be prepared.  You may
also say to Mr. Chadwick that I am well pleased with his work,
and with yours."

"Thank you, sir," returned the lad, and saluting again, he turned
and left the cabin.

He was over the side of the Cumberland in a few moments, and was
soon being rowed swiftly back toward Duala.

Several hundred yards from the little landing, his cars caught
the sound of a great hubbub.  There were cries and shouts and
general confusion.

Rapidly the lad covered the intervening distance, leaped to the
ground and sprinted in the direction in which he could see a knot
of wildly gesticulating figures.

"Sounds to me like Frank was in trouble of some kind," he panted
to himself as he ran along, for at that moment he had detected
the sound of his friend's voice raised in anger.

Jack dashed up to the knot of men, all of whom lie now perceived
were British sailors, and as he saw his friend standing calmly in
the center of them unhurt, he paused on the edge of the crowd to
watch developments.

With a flush on his face, plainly evident in the red glow of a
camp fire, Frank stood facing a man.  The latter, in height,
topped the lad by a good three inches, and even from where he
stood Jack could see that the man's fingers twitched nervously at
his side.

"I am in command here until further notice," Frank was saying,
"and while I am, our captives will receive such treatment as is
due prisoners of war.  Do you understand that, Mr. Stanley?"

"Bah!" cried the other, whom Jack now recognized as an officer
aboard the  Cumberland; "by seniority I am your superior officer.
I am not answerable to you for my actions."

"Aren't you?" exclaimed Frank, taking a threatening step forward,
a peculiar glint in his eyes.  "We'll see about that later.  In
the meantime understand that I am in command here and that what I
say goes.  Molest another of the prisoners and you shall answer
to me."

"Is that so?" sneered Stanley.  "And what do you think you'll do
about it?"

"Try and see," said Frank grimly.

"Do you think I'm afraid of you?" cried Stanley.  "I'll show
you!"

With these words, he took a sudden step backward, and Jack was
able to see the cause of all the trouble.  Crouching between two
sailors was an old native, black of color and grizzled of hair.
Stanley doubled his fist, and before a hand could be raised to
stop him, drove it between the old native's eyes.

Jack sprang forward with a cry, but Frank forestalled him.  He
leaped upon the perpetrator of this inhuman act, and with a quick
blow knocked him to the ground.

Stanley rose with blood on his lips and evil in his eye.  Quickly
he stepped back a pace, and a revolver glinted in his hand.

"You--you--" he stuttered.

At that moment the revolver was twisted violently from his grasp,
and, turning, Stanley looked into Jack's angry countenance.

"What's the meaning of this?" Jack demanded.  "Would you become a
murderer?"

"He struck me," shouted Stanley angrily, "and he shall give me
satisfaction, and so shall you, you meddling upstart."

"So?" said Jack quietly.  "What kind of satisfaction do you want?
I'm perfectly ready to accommodate you."

Stanley took one look at Jack's stalwart figure, fully his own
height and equally as broad.  Evidently he decided he cared
nothing for a tussle with this opponent.

"I have nothing to say to you," he said.  "But this fellow,"
pointing to Frank, "struck me and I demand satisfaction."

"Well," said Frank, interrupting.  "You shall have it.  Pull off
your coat."

"I'm not a common bruiser," sneered Stanley.  "I will fight you
with revolvers at twenty paces."

"Enough of this," broke in Jack.  "I will permit no duel."

"I do not want to kill you," said Frank.

"So!" exclaimed the enraged officer, "a coward, eh?"

Frank stepped quickly forward, an angry gleam in his eye.

"Enough," he said.  "I'll fight you."

Again Jack started to protest, but Frank waved him aside and
turned to the men gathered about.

"Can I depend upon you men not to let this go any further?" he
asked.

"You can, sir," they answered in chorus.

"All right, then," said Frank.  "Get ready, sir."

One sailor volunteered to act as second for Stanley and Jack
stepped to Frank's side.  Then the two seconds met and decided
the details of the duel.  The principals were to be allowed one
shot each.  This was to be all, whether either man was hit or
not.

Before accepting the revolver from the hand of his second,
Stanley quickly drew his own revolver, and taking aim at a little
knob on a tree some fifty feet distant, fired quickly.  The
bullet splintered the bark on the tree and the pieces flew high
in the air.

"Half an inch away!" called a sailor who stood near the tree.

Stanley turned to Frank with a sneering smile on his face.

"Say your prayers," he taunted.  "They will be your last."

Frank smiled grimly.

"I heard a story once," he replied quietly, "about a man who
could hit a dime every shot at a hundred yards.  But when he
fired with a loaded pistol pointed at him he didn't come off with
such a good record."

The principals now stood back to back.  Each was to take twenty
paces forward--Jack had refused to make the distance any closer--turn
and lire when ready.

"Ready, go!" came Jack's voice, and slowly the two started away
from each other.

"Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen--" counted Frank, and at that
instant there was a sound of a shot and a bullet whistled over
his head, grazing the scalp.

Stanley, nervous because of the lad's coolness, had fired at the
count of nineteen.

"Twenty!" said Frank without a sign of nervousness in his voice.
He turned slowly, and aimed his revolver at the ground in front
of him.

Very slowly he raised the barrel of his weapon until it pointed
at the knees of his now shaking antagonist, then to his belt, to
his chest, and finally to his head.

Beads of perspiration stood out on Stanley's forehead.  Then,
with a quick movement, Frank raised the muzzle of his weapon
still higher, and fired over Stanley's head.

Then he calmly replaced the weapon in his pocket and walked back
to where Jack was standing.

Having thus escaped what appeared almost certain death, Stanley
became bold again.  Evidently he had not realized that Frank had
missed purposely.

"I demand another shot," he cried angrily.

"There will be no more duel so far as I am concerned," said Frank
quietly.

Jack walked angrily up to Stanley.

"He spared your life," he said heatedly.

"Bah!" replied Stanley.  "He missed cleanly, and he's afraid to
try again."

Frank walked quickly over to his late opponent.

"You fool!" he said quietly.  "Look here!"

Quickly he whipped his revolver out, and without taking aim,
fired twice in rapid succession.

Although three times as far away as Stanley had been when he gave
his exhibition of skill, the little knot on the tree leaped into
the air, and as it fell, the second bullet caught it in midair
and splintered it into little pieces.

Midshipman Stanley staggered back aghast.

"I could have killed you with ease," said Frank calmly, and
walking away, he picked up his coat and put it on.

"I--I didn't know he could shoot like that!" sputtered Stanley
to Jack.

"That's not so very good--for him," said Jack.

"Why, once--"

"Never mind," interrupted Midshipman Stanley, backing hurriedly
away, "I'll take your word for it.  But, remember, I am not
through with either of you yet.  My time will come, and when it
does--"

He broke off abruptly, an evil sneer in his voice, and walked
quickly away.

Now the sailors surrounded Frank and gave him three rousing
British cheers.

"You're all right, Frank!" they called, some of them slapping him
familiarly on the back.

Frank waved them laughingly aside, and turned to Jack.

"Any orders from Captain Marcus?" he asked, as though nothing out
of the ordinary had happened.

"Lead the way to your excellency's quarters, and I'll tell you,"
replied Jack with a smile.

Frank led the way.



CHAPTER X

AN EXPEDITION

Briefly Jack repeated Captain Marcus' orders to Frank.

"I took the liberty of making those preparations without awaiting
such a command," said Frank.  "I have thrown out outposts, and
there is no danger of a surprise tonight."

"You mean this morning," disagreed Jack, after a look at his
watch.  "It's after four o'clock now."

"Then it will soon be daylight," said Frank.  "You had better
turn in and get a little sleep.  I'll stand watch."

Jack well knew the futility of an argument over this matter, so
he turned in without further words by the simple process of
throwing himself on a pallet on the floor of the tent.  Frank
took his seat in the doorway, where he remained looking out into
the distance.

The sun was high in the heavens when Jack awoke.  He jumped up
with a start.  Frank was not there.  Jack made a hasty toilet and
set out to find his friend.  He came upon him at the river landing,
and, as the lad cast his eyes down the stream he made out
the launch of Captain Marcus coming, swiftly toward the camp.

He tapped Frank lightly on the shoulder.

"Why didn't you wake me up?" he demanded.

"Well, you were sleeping so comfortably I hated to disturb you,"
replied Frank.

"And I suppose you would have let Captain Marcus find me asleep?"

"I don't believe he would have minded.  He knows we all sleep
some time."

"I'll get even with you one of these days," said Jack laughing,
and both lads stepped to the very edge of the landing to give
Captain Marcus a hand as he clambered from the boat.

"How is everything?" he demanded, as he arose to his feet.

"First rate," replied Frank.

"No signs of the enemy?"'

"Not a sign, sir."

"Good! Evidently he doesn't know we have occupied the town.  I
believe that by a quick dash we can capture Boak.  What do you
think?"

"Fine!" exclaimed Jack with enthusiasm.

"Of course we can, sir," agreed Frank.

"All right, then; it shall be your job!"

Jack and Frank saluted.

"Thank you, sir," both said breathlessly.

Several hours later the two lads, in the captain's launch, found
themselves at the head of a small flotilla moving slowly up the
river.  Each boat was equipped with one rapid-fire gun and
carried twenty men.  In all there were twelve boats.

The farther up the river the little party progressed the narrower
became the stream, until finally it was little better than a deep
creek.  Foliage of large trees overhung the water, making it
almost as dark as night.  The water was black and murky.

Frank shuddered as he glanced at it.

"Looks like it might be full of all kinds of reptiles and
things," he said.

"It certainly does," Jack agreed.  "I would as soon think of
jumping into the bottomless pit as of diving into this black
stream."

Around bend after bend in the small stream the little flotilla
proceeded cautiously, and ever, as they progressed, the stream
became narrower and more fear-inspiring.

In some of the boats men began to grumble.  Jack turned and
called out angrily:

"Silence!"  Then he added more companionably: "It's all right,
men.  Where men have gone before men can go now without fear of
the unknown.  I'll admit it doesn't look very pleasant, but
surely an English sailor is not afraid to go where a German foot
has trod."

The men started a cheer at the lad's words, but he silenced them
by a motion of his hand, and called out:

"Silence!  We do not want to warn the enemy of our approach."

Now, rounding a little bend in the stream, the lads could make
out, some distance ahead, what appeared to be the huts of a
little village.  Also, they could see that, at that point, the
stream widened out considerably.

Apparently secure in the belief that the forts at Duala could
successfully ward off the attacks of any enemy, the German
commander at Boak had grown careless, and the lads could not see
a single sign of soldiers or sentries.

Frank glanced behind him and ordered softly:

"Take down all flags!"

The command was passed from one boat to another, and soon the
little flotilla was moving up the river, looking more like a
pleasure party than a hostile force, except for the uniforms of
the men.  However, these could not be plainly seen from the
village, because of the shadow cast by the dense foliage that
overhung the river.

Now, through their glasses, the boys could see several German
officers peering at them through long telescopes.

"They've seen us," said Jack.

"Yes," was Frank's reply.  "But evidently they believe us
friends, or they would open fire on us."

"Perhaps their guns are not of the heavy caliber of those at
Duala."

"By Jove!   I believe you have hit it!" exclaimed Frank.  "In
that case, with our rapid-firers, we should have little trouble
taking the village."

At the point where the stream widened out, Jack allowed two of
the craft behind to come up even and thus, three abreast, the
journey was continued.

Every man was now at his post.  The gunners were ready to open
with the rapid-firers at a moment's notice.  All held their
rifles ready.  Still the Germans did not fire, apparently
uncertain of the identity of the newcomers--or rather, seemingly
certain they were friends.

Suddenly a squad of six German soldiers wheeled a small,
old-fashioned cannon to the landing near the officers, and a
moment later a solid shot plowed up the water in front of the
first boat of the British flotilla.

"A signal to show our colors," said Jack grimly.  "What do you
say, Frank?  Are we ready to show them?"'

"Yes!" cried Frank.

An instant and the English Jack floated over each boat, while at
the same time the first three boats in the battle line opened
with their rapid-firers.

At the distance, scarcely two hundred yards, the execution was
terrible.  The German officers and the entire gun squad, riddled
with bullets, fell forward on their faces.

But this was only the beginning.

Swiftly moving German troops now came marching to the river
front, steadily, in spite of the withering British fire, and
sternly, to repel the foe.  Slowly they came into position, and,
dropping on their knees, poured a volley into the little
flotilla.

But, deadly as this fire was, that of the rapid-firers aboard the
boats was more so.  The British did not escape without considerable
damage, but the German loss was far heavier.

Steadily, in spite of the grilling German fire, the boats pressed
on.

Each man concealed himself as well as he could behind the low
sides of the boats, exposing just enough of his head to take aim
at the enemy.

The first boats were now but a scant hundred yards away.  For
some reason, evidently thinking to pick off the men in the boats,
the enemy had not brought artillery to bear.  But at this
juncture a squad sprang forward to serve the gun already used.

A charge was rammed home and the gun sighted; but, as the man
detailed was about to pull the lanyard, Frank sprang suddenly to
his feet in the boat and his revolver spoke.  The German flung
wide his arms and toppled to the ground.  Another sprang to his
place, but only to meet the same fate; and another, and still
another.

All this time the little rapid-firers were continuing their
deadly work, and at last a bugle sounded the call for the German
retreat.  Slowly they drew off, firing as they went, but, as the
British now moved up faster, the Teutons turned and ran.

Quickly the little flotilla came alongside the wharf and men
scrambled ashore.  It was but the work of a few minutes to land
the rapid-firers, half the British with rifles meanwhile holding
off the enemy.

Then, everything in readiness, Frank gave the order for an
advance.

Now, from all sides, came a withering German fire.  The enemy had
taken to the woods, seeking to pick off the English one at a
time; but, at a word from Jack, the machine-guns were turned upon
the trees, and this scattering fire soon turned the retreat into
a rout.

As the English at length poured into the streets of the little
village itself, from every house and hut came a German bullet.
Many British fell, and it was here that the heaviest losses were
sustained by the attacking party.

But Frank soon found a remedy for this.  The rapid-fire guns were
turned upon the huts and houses, and, as the bullets began to
find their way into the openings, the work of the snipers
stopped.

For some minutes there was a lull in the fighting, while
ammunition for the guns was brought up from the boats; when,
suddenly, down the street came a band of Germans at a charge.

Quickly the British formed to meet them, the rapid-fire guns for
the moment being useless.  Swords and bayonets were bared and
rifles were clubbed.  The Germans came on with a rush.  The
impact was terrific, but the British sailors stood firm, and gave
thrust for thrust, blow for blow--and more.

Being unable to force the British back, and, seeing that they
were getting the worst of this hand-to-hand encounter, the German
officers ordered a retreat.  This proved their complete undoing,
for, as they drew off at a run, the rapid-firers of the British
again came into action, and the enemy were mowed down like chaff.

More rapidly now the British pushed on through the heart of the
village, Frank telling off a few men here and there to give
notice of a possible approach of reinforcements from some other
direction.

But no reinforcements came, and the Germans finally retreated
before the victorious British until they were once again
sheltered by a dense forest.  Then Frank called a halt.

He threw a cordon around the town and dispatched three men in a
little boat to inform Captain Marcus of the success of his
expedition.

"Well," said Jack, with a laugh, "we've got the town all right.
What are we going to do with it?"

"That's the question," replied Frank.  "I guess, before making
any further move, we had better wait for orders."

"My idea, exactly," said Jack.

"Since we're agreed," replied Frank, "we'll wait."



CHAPTER XI

FINISHING UP THE WORK

It was not until somewhat late the following morning that Captain
Marcus, accompanied by the commander of the British cruiser
Dwarf, reached Boak.  Frank and Jack were at the little wharf to
greet him.

After expressing a few words of commendation for the manner in
which they had handled their men in the capture of the town, the
two British commanders took a turn about the village.

"It will be impossible for us to remain here for the sole purpose
of guarding these towns," said Captain Marcus.  "We have other
work to do.  So now the question arises as to what to do with
them."

"I would suggest," said the commander of the Dwarf, "that we put
a prize crew aboard the German merchantman still in Duala, iron
our prisoners, put them aboard her and send her home.  We can
make a thorough search of the town and destroy all arms and
ammunition to be found."

"But," said Captain Marcus, "we shall first have to dispose of
those Germans who escaped to the forest."

"That shouldn't be a hard job," replied the commander of the
Dwarf, "I do not imagine there are many of them."

"About how many would you say?" asked Captain Marcus, turning to
Frank, who, with Jack, had accompanied the two officers on the
tour of inspection.

"Not more than a hundred, sir," was the lad's reply.

"Good!" replied Captain Marcus.  "Do you feel equal to the task
of rounding them up?"

"Perfectly, sir," Frank made answer.

"So be it, then.  You may act at your own discretion; only see
that you make a good, swift job of it."

Frank and Jack saluted and hurried away.  Leaving half their
force to guard the village, the lads, with the other half, which
had dwindled to less than 100 by now, were soon lost to sight in
the forest.  They went quickly, but as silently as they could,
for they wished, if possible, to take the foe by surprise.

"This is likely to be, a wild goose chase," declared Jack, when,
at the end of an hour of forced marching they had seen no sign of
the enemy.  "There is no telling where the Germans are.  They
know the lay of the land and we don't.  If they continue to
retreat, there is no telling where we may come up with them, if
at all."

Frank's lips set grimly.

"We'll get 'em," he said, "if we have to follow 'em clear across
Africa."

They continued their march in silence.  At length Frank drew his
friends' attention to the fact that, a little to the left, the
grass had been recently trampled, apparently by a considerable
body of men.

"They can't be far ahead of us," he said.  "Evidently they are
not aware they are being pursued, for they apparently have been
traveling slowly."

The British became more wary.  Frank divided his men into two
bodies, one of which he placed under Jack's command, while he
himself led the other.

For another hour or more they continued, still without sign of an
enemy.

The two British forces were now separated by at least a quarter
of a mile, when Jack unexpectedly came to the edge of the forest.
There, just ahead of him, lay the entire German command in a
little opening surrounded on all sides by large trees.

Jack raised his hand and his men came to a halt.  Frank, at the
head of his command, perceived this movement, and also halted his
men.  Then he covered the distance to where his friend stood
peering through the trees as quickly as possible.

Without a word Jack pointed out the Germans.  Frank took a quick
look, and together the two boys drew back into the shelter of the
trees.  They had not been seen.

"I believe I have a plan that will deliver the whole bunch into
our hands, possibly without bloodshed," said Jack.

"What is it?" demanded Frank.

"Well," said Jack, "you will notice that the opening in which the
Germans lie is entirely surrounded by trees.  My idea is to
completely surround them, and, at a given signal, fire a volley
over their heads.  Believing that our force is much greater than
it is, and apparently cut off from escape in all directions, the
Germans may surrender."

"A good idea," exclaimed Frank.  "We will act upon it at once."

Quickly he scattered his men in a wide circle around the German
camp.  Then, when he felt that all was in readiness, he gave the
signal--a shot from his revolver.

Immediately there was a fierce volley from the British, aimed
high.  The German troops sprang to their feet in a moment; then,
at a command from their officer, dropped quickly to the ground
again.

Whatever idea Frank had had of a bloodless victory was quickly
dispelled, for the German troops--lying flat on their stomachs,
fired volley after volley into the woods at their unseen
opponents.

This was ineffective, however, because the British were well
protected by the great trees.  At a command from Frank, which was
passed rapidly along the British line, the sailors trained their
rifles upon the enemy and fired.

The effect was fearful.  Germans toppled over on all sides, and
some jumped to their feet and ran toward the trees.  Bullets
greeted them from all sides, however, and, after making one last
stand, the entire German force threw their weapons to the ground
as one man.

"We surrender!" called the officer in command.

Slowly the circle of British emerged from the forest and closed
in on them.  The German officer delivered his sword to Frank
without a word; then, at the lad's command, the British
surrounded the prisoners and started on their return journey to
Boak, where they arrived after a three hours' forced march, and
were greeted with acclaim by the sailors who had been left
behind.  Not a single sailor had been killed in the short but
decisive battle, though two had been wounded.

Captain Marcus, and the commander of the Dwarf also, complimented
the lads highly upon the quick success of their expedition.  The
village had been thoroughly searched for arms and ammunition
during their absence, and all was now ready for a quick
departure.

"Get the prisoners into the boats, and we will start down the
river at once," ordered Captain Marcus.

This was soon accomplished, and the little flotilla was on its
way back toward Duala.  At Duala a second search was made for
arms, ammunition and other munitions of war.  This done, the
commander of the Cumberland turned to Frank.

"You will go aboard that German merchantman in the harbor," he
said, "and take her to London.  You are in command, and Mr.
Templeton shall be your first officer.  The others you may select
yourself.  A prize crew will be put aboard immediately."

Frank was somewhat taken aback at this good fortune.

"But I am not a navigator," he said in some confusion, wishing
now that he was.

"That makes it different," was Captain Marcus' reply.

"But I am, sir," Jack interrupted.  "I have studied navigation
for years."

"Good then!" said Captain Marcus.  "In that event, I shall
appoint you to take command and your friend as first officer."

"But--" Jack started to protest, when Frank interrupted him.

"I shall be glad to serve under him," he said.

So it was arranged, and several hours later the two lads found
themselves aboard the German steamer Lena.  For the first time in
his life Jack trod the bridge of his own ship, and he could not
but be proud of that moment; Frank, too, was elated at his good
fortune.

With this parting injunction, Captain Marcus dropped over the
side of the Lena:

"Make straight for London.  Although you carry some guns, if
attacked do not fight back unless absolutely necessary.  Show the
enemy your heels, if possible.  However, if you do have to fight,
fight as the true sons of Great Britain."

"We shall, sir," replied both lads grimly, and Captain Marcus
realized that he could not have put the ship in better hands.

From among the crew Jack now selected a sailor named Jennings for
second officer, and another by the name of Johnson for third
officer.  There was a hissing of steam from below, slowly the
cable was loosened, and the Lena put off down the river.

The two British commanders followed in small boats.  At the
entrance of the river the steamer slowed down, and the boys
watched the two commanders go aboard their respective cruisers.

A moment later guns on both ships boomed loudly.  It was a
salute, carrying a cheery "Good luck" to the ears of the two
lads.  As they sailed out to sea they could perceive that the
cruisers also were getting under way, and were heading in the
same direction as the Lena.

The Lena quickened her pace and sped off toward the north,
heading for the open water.  Night fell and still she steamed
rapidly on, the cruisers following in her wake.

Frank took the first watch, and Jack turned in.  The sea was
perfectly smooth and the Lena steamed on, rolling gently on the
even swell of the waves.

At 7 o'clock, the sun streaming high in the heavens, Jack
appeared on deck.  A moment later Frank who had been relieved by
the second officer during the night, also emerged from his cabin.

Both turned their eyes over the stern, where the night before the
two British cruisers had been following, offering protection in
whatever danger threatened.

The cruisers were not in sight.  There was not even a cloud of
smoke to show their presence anywhere on the wide sea.  They had
turned off on another course during the darkness.

"Well," said Jack, "it's up to us to get into port safely.  We
have been thrown upon our own resources."

"Yes," Frank agreed. "Captain Marcus has put great confidence in
us.  It's up to us to make good."

"Well," declared Jack slowly, "we'll do it."

"Yes," said Frank, "we will!"



CHAPTER XII

QUELLING AN OUTBREAK

Among the prisoners who were being sent home to England on the
Lena was the German commander who had been captured at Duala,
Colonel Von Roth.  He had given his parole, and accordingly had
not been put in irons with the other prisoners in the hold, but
had been given a cabin to himself near the one which Frank and
Jack shared jointly.

Besides Jack and Frank and the two other officers, the crew of
the Lena was made up of fifty sailors, a chief engineer and his
assistant and a squad of stokers.  In all, there were probably
seventy-five British aboard.

All the prisoners captured had not been put aboard the Lena for
the reason that there were too many of them.  Some were aboard
the Cumberland, and the Dwarf was caring for the remainder.
However, there were probably a hundred prisoners aboard the Lena
besides the colonel.

Colonel Von Roth made himself very agreeable, said, in spite of
the fact that he was an enemy, the boys took quite a liking to
him.  He conversed fluently upon subjects pertaining to America,
where he said he had visited more than once, and also spoke
familiarly of that spot on the African coast where Jack had made
his boyhood home.

Having thus thrown the lads off their guard, Colonel Von Roth set
about finding a way in which he could recapture the ship.  Of his
parole he thought nothing.

"What's a parole worth when given to a couple of children?" he
had muttered to himself.

From the start the German officer made himself, perfectly at
home, and, although the boys had thought of remonstrating, he was
allowed the freedom of all parts of the ship.  He went below,
when, he felt so disposed, and returned when he was ready.

"It seems to me that our gallant colonel is taking things almost
too free and easy," Frank had remarked to Jack, at one of their
daily conferences.

"So he is," Jack had made reply, "I'll have to, speak to him
about it."

He did so, and was somewhat taken aback at the officer's manner
of receiving the rebuke.

"I meant no harm," he replied, with an air offended dignity,
"but, of course, if you do not wish me to go below, I shall not
do so."

However, he had quickly seemed to forget this and neither lad,
because of his apparent sensitiveness, had the heart to remind
him of it.

It had just struck four bells two days later a Jack stood on the
bridge alone.  Frank had gone to his cabin and lain down.  He
felt somewhat ill, and decided that a rest was what he needed to
put him in condition again.

Jack, having just ordered a slight alteration in their course to
the man at the wheel, signaled the engine-room for more speed.
There was no response to the signal, and Jack tried it again.
Still there wits no response.

"That's funny," said the lad to himself, "the bell was working
all right a moment ago.  Guess I'll go and see what's the
matter."

He called the second officer, who took the bridge while Jack went
below.  As he made his way to the engine-room, he was brought to
a sudden stop at the door.  He heard a familiar voice inside,
speaking in a tone of great satisfaction.

"Colonel Von Roth, or I'm much mistaken," Jack fold himself,
laying a hand on the door. "I wonder--"

Struck with a sudden thought, he drew back suddenly, and then
laid his ear to the door.

"You dogs!" came the colonel's voice from within.  "Thought to
get away with this ship, did you?  Well, I'll show you!"

Without a moment's hesitation Jack opened the door and sprang
inside.  The action almost cost him his life.  He had expected to
find no enemy but the German officer in the engine-room, but in
this he was sadly mistaken.  The room was full of men.

The colonel had laid his plans carefully, and they had worked out
to his satisfaction.

In a moment when the attention of the sentry guarding the
captives had been attracted elsewhere, Von Roth sneaked up on him
from behind and struck him a heavy blow with his fist.  Then,
tying the prostrate man, the colonel had possessed himself of the
guard's key and removed the irons from some of the German
prisoners.

He did not wait to release all of them, for he was too anxious to
try his plan of retaking the ship.  Therefore, when he had freed
twenty-five men, he led them quickly to the engine-room, thinking
first to capture their strategic point and to take care of the
rest of the ship's crew later.

He had burst into the engine-room so suddenly, with his men at
his heels, that the engineer and his assistants had been too
surprised to resist, in spite of the fact that not one of the
prisoners, save the colonel himself, was armed--the colonel
having appropriated one of Frank's revolvers.

When Jack sprang into the room it was with his revolver held
ready for instant use.  In a trice lit took in the situation, and
realized that it was no time for talk.  The stokers, the engineer
and his assistant were standing helpless, evidently awed by the
larger number of Germans.

Jack's revolver spoke, and Colonel Von Roth's hat leaped from his
head.  In his hurry Jack's aim had been poor.

The German officer whirled and his revolver also rang out.  Jack
felt a sting in his left arm, but he did not pause.

Right into the middle of the crowd of Germans he sprang, his
revolver spitting fire as he leaped.  Down went three Germans,
and then Jack was in among them.  The tenth and last shot of his
automatic went squarely into the face of a German soldier.

Battling desperately the Germans leaped upon him and overwhelmed
him.  So closely entwined were the struggling men that Jack was
unable to take the time to draw his second revolver; but he was
not daunted.  His fighting blood was up, and he hurled his six
feet of height and 178 pounds of weight into the thick of the
conflict.

His revolver reversed in his hand, he struck out often and
fiercely.  Here and there the sound of a crunch told him a blow
had landed.  But he had no time to investigate; the press was too
thick.

By this time the engineer, his assistant and the stokers had
recovered from their surprise and rushed to Jack's aid.  Friend
and foe alike grabbed up whatever weapon they could lay their
hands on wrenches, hand-bars and heavy iron pokers.

Guarding his head as well as he could with one upraised arm, Jack
struck right and left with his revolver butt.  A man sprang at
him with a heavy wrench, but the lad caught it, by a quick move,
on his revolver.  It saved his head, but the weapon went to the
floor in a thousand pieces.

Jack grappled with this antagonist, and, by a quick twist of the
arm, whipped the wrench from his opponent's hand.  It rose and
fell and the German toppled over.

Colonel Von Roth, now the only man in the room armed, stood off
to one side, trying in vain to bring his revolver to bear upon
Jack.  He was afraid to fire, however, for fear of hitting one of
his own men.  Hither and thither he darted around the struggling
mass of men, attempting to get a clear shot at the lad.

Suddenly Jack stooped near the door of one of the furnaces and
picked up a heavy iron poker.  With this he laid about him right
lustily, and in a moment had cleared a little circle about
himself.  The rest of the English, driven back by the Germans,
were still fighting desperately at the opposite side of the room.

Now that Jack was standing alone, he made an excellent target for
Colonel Von Roth's revolver and the colonel was not slow to
realize it.

Quickly he raised the revolver and fired; but at that same moment
Jack suddenly took two rapid steps forward, and the bullet
whistled harmlessly over his head.

The lad raised his eyes from the rest of his opponents for a
brief instant, and in that instant realized that the colonel had
singled him out for his bullet.

With a sudden fierce bellow he raised his heavy poker in both
hands, and plunged into the thick of the conflict.  There was no
stopping him now.  His rush was irresistible.  He bore down upon
the foe like a human catapult.

Heavy wrenches, pieces of steel, nuts and bolts were hurled at
him.  Some struck him and some flew past.  But to these he paid
no heed.  Strong as a lion he fought his way on.  The Germans
retreated before this fighting figure of sinew and muscle; they
quailed before his grim set mouth and the gleam in the eye of
him.

With mighty strokes he swept them aside with broken heads and
arms and limbs.  His object now was Colonel Von Roth, who still
stood at the far end of the room, his revolver raised, ready to
fire.

Taking heart from the gallant action of their commander, the
British stokers sprang forward anew, and now the Germans tried to
escape.  The English pushed them back rapidly.

Straight for Colonel Von Roth went Jack.  The colonel, with
upraised revolver, saw him coming and turned pale.  He aimed
quickly and fired.  Jack staggered back a step and then came on
again.  A second time the colonel fired, but this time the lad
did not even pause.

The heavy iron poker seemed to whirl about his head; there was
the sound of a blow.  Colonel Von Roth went to the floor with a
groan, and Jack fell sprawling on top of him, unconscious.

Even as the lad fell, the one German soldier who still remained
in the room, picked up a heavy wrench and sprang forward.
Quickly he raised his arm, and was in the very act of hurling it
at the head of the unconscious lad when there was the sound of a
revolver shot.  The German threw up both arms, spun rapidly
around once or twice, and fell to the floor.

In the doorway stood Frank.  Aroused from his slumber by the
sounds of scuffling below, he had sprung up suddenly.  At first
he could not make out the cause of the disturbance.  Then there
suddenly flashed before his face a vision of Colonel Von Roth.

This vision spurred him to instant action.  Leaping from his bunk
he ran on deck.  There all was serene and quiet.  He paused for a
moment, undecided.  Then, urged on by some uncanny foresight, he
dashed toward the engine-room.

On the steps he met the first of the retreating German soldiers.
With a cry over his shoulder to the third officer, who had
followed him, he plunged in among them, striking out swiftly
right and left.  At the door of the engine-room he halted.

At first he could not make out Jack's unconscious figure lying,
on the floor.  But, as the German stooped to pick up the wrench,
the lad divined his purpose.  He had fired just a moment before
the wrench would have crushed out his friend's life.

Quickly Frank bent over his chum and gently raised his head to
his knee.  There was no sign of life in the still body and Frank
quickly placed his hand over the lad's heart.  A faint fluttering
was his reward.

"Thank God! he's alive!" he said.

Exerting himself to the utmost, he lifted Jack to his own
shoulders, and started toward the door.  At that moment the third
officer came rushing down the steps.  Together they carried Jack
to his cabin, where they laid him on his bunk.  Then Frank
hastily summoned the surgeon.

The lad bent over his friend anxiously as the physician examined
him.

"Will he live, doctor?" he asked anxiously.

The surgeon shook his head doubtfully.

"Bullet just grazed his temple," he said.  "Also he is badly
bruised about the body.  So far as I can see there are no broken
bones; but he may be injured internally."

"Is there anything I can do, doctor?"

The surgeon looked at the lad's white face.

"Yes," he replied.  "Go and see that the prisoners are safely
secured.  I can work better without your presence here."

Frank started to protest, but the surgeon raised a warning hand.
Without another word Frank left the cabin.

Making sure that all the unwounded prisoners had been safely
secured, Frank gave orders that Colonel Von Roth's body be
prepared for burial.  An hour later he returned to the cabin.

"How is he, doctor?" was his first question.

"Still unconscious, as you may see," was the reply.  "However, I
have made a thorough examination, and I believe that you need
have no fear; but he must have perfect quiet for several days.
Some one must be with him constantly.  It would be well to have
someone come now and wait here until he regains consciousness.  I
have other work to do."

"I'll sit here myself," said Frank quietly.  "As you go out will
you tell the second officer to keep the bridge until further
notice?"

The surgeon bowed and left the cabin.  Drawing up a chair, Frank
sat down beside his unconscious friend and took up his silent
vigil.



CHAPTER XIII

PURSUED

It was hours later that Frank first noticed signs of returning
consciousness in his wounded comrade.  Jack's pale face took on a
little color, his eyelids fluttered, and a minute later he opened
his eyes.

Frank bent over him.

"How do you feel, old fellow?" he asked gently.

It was some seconds before Jack replied.  His gaze roved about
the cabin, and Frank could see that for the moment his friend was
unable to recognize his surroundings.  At last, however, a look
of understanding passed over his face, and he spoke:

"It was a great old scrap, wasn't it?" and he smiled up at his
friend.

"It was all of that," replied Frank.  "But tell me, how do you
feel?"

"Well, I don't feel tip top, and that's a fact," replied Jack
feebly, moving about on his bed.

He made as if to sit up, but Frank held him down.

"You stay where you are," he ordered.

"What's the matter?" demanded Jack.  "Can't I get up if I feel
like it?"

"No," replied Frank, "you can't.  You'll stay where you are until
the doctor says you are out of danger."

"Danger!" echoed Jack.  "You ought to know by this time that I
was not made to be killed so easily."

"Nevertheless," said Frank, "you are badly wounded.  It will be
several days before you will be able to get about."

"Several days!" cried Jack in dismay.  "You take my word for it,
I'll be up tomorrow."

"You'll stay right where you are until the doctor gives his
permission for you to get up," said Frank firmly, "if I have to
hold you in."

"Don't you believe it," cried Jack.  "I'll be up and out of here
tomorrow, or I'll know the reason why."

But he wasn't; for, as Frank had said, he was too badly wounded
to be able to get about.  The next day and the following one,
while the Lena continued steadily on her course toward England,
Jack was forced to lie in his bed.

It was not until the dawn of the third day that the surgeon gave
him permission to go on deck.  Supported by Frank's arm, the
injured lad made his way to the bridge, where he took a deep
breath of the invigorating air.

"By Jove! this feels good," he exclaimed, as a stiff breeze swept
across the ship.  "Think I'll camp out up here a while."

"Oh, no, you won't," replied Frank.  "Just one hour, and then
back to bed for you."

"By George! you'd think I was a baby the way you tell me what to
do," said Jack, with some show of temper.

"You'll go back when your hour is up, if I have to drag you,"
said Frank.  "And I don't believe you are in condition to put up
much resistance."

"I guess you are right," replied Jack ruefully.

His hour up he returned to his cabin and Frank once more tucked
him comfortably in bed.

It was several days before Jack was able to get about the ship
with his accustomed alacrity; and then the Lena was well out of
African waters, steaming up the coast of Portugal--the English
channel and London now not far away.

Jack had now resumed command of the ship, and the boys, standing
together on the bridge one fine morning, were congratulating
themselves upon the success of the voyage, when from the lookout
came a cry:

"Cruiser off the starboard bow, sir?"

"How is she headed?" demanded Jack.

"Coming right this way, sir."

"Can you make her out?"

"Not yet, sir."

"Let me know as soon as you can," was Jack's command.

It was fully half an hour later, and the cruiser was not yet
plainly discernible to the naked eye, when the lookout called:

"She's British, sir."

"I wouldn't be too sure," muttered Jack to Frank.  "She may be
flying the English flag and still be an enemy.  I don't trust
these Germans much."

"Nor I," agreed Frank.  "However, we will soon know whether she
is friend or foe."

Slowly the cruiser drew nearer.  Now the boys were able to make
out the British flag flying at her masthead.  There came a puff
of smoke from the stranger, and a shot passed over the bow of the
Lena.

"Signal to show our colors," muttered Frank.

At his command the British ensign soon fluttered gaily in the
breeze.

Came another shot from the cruiser.

"What's the matter now, do you suppose?" asked Frank.  "That's a
signal to heave to.  If she's British, what does she want us to
heave to for?"

The vessels were still a considerable distance apart, and night
was drawing on.  The answer to Frank's question came from the
approaching vessel.

The British ensign flying at the masthead of the approaching
cruiser suddenly came fluttering down, and a moment later the
Red, white and Black of Germany fluttered aloft in its stead.

"By Jove!" exclaimed Jack.  "I was afraid of it!"

At the same moment another shot crossed the Lena's bow.

Jack acted with decision and promptness.  At a quick command the
Lena raised the German flag.  Then, as the German commander
hesitated, fearing to fire lest the vessel really be of his own
country, Jack signaled the engine-room for full speed ahead.

The Lena seemed to leap forward, and in a moment had turned her
stern to the enemy, thus making her a harder target to hit.  The
German, evidently taken by surprise, could not bring her guns to
bear in a moment, and that moment undoubtedly saved the Lena.

The small guns on the Lena, at Frank's command, were made ready
for instant use, and the men were piped to quarters.  Although
well aware he was outranged by the enemy, Jack determined to
fight his ship to the last.

"They'll know they have been in a battle unless they sink us
before they come in range of our guns," said Jack grimly.

"You bet they will," replied Frank.

"Everything ready?" demanded Jack.

"All ready, sir," replied Frank, with a slight smile and a
salute.

The second and third officers made their reports.  The British
were ready for instant action, and eager for the fray.

"We'll run as long as we can," said Jack, "but, if we can't
outrun them, we'll turn about and give them a fight, anyhow."

This word was passed along to the crew, and a loud British cheer
rang out across the waters of the North Atlantic.  Frank and Jack
were forced to smile.

"The British sailor would always rather fight than run," said
Frank.

"Right," said Jack.  "This running rather goes against me, too."

Now the forward guns of the German cruiser were brought into
action, and heavy detonations rang out across the water.  But the
German gunners had not yet found the range, and the fact that the
Lena was so maneuvered as to keep her stern to the enemy made the
task of the enemy that much harder.

Darkness fell, and still the flight and pursuit continued, but so
far the Lena had not been struck by a single shell.  She had
fired but one shot at the foe--from one of her small guns aft--but
this had shown that the German cruiser was not yet within
range of the Lena's guns.

Now that darkness had fallen the huge searchlight of the German
cruiser played full upon the Lena.  Suddenly Jack and Frank felt
a terrific shock, and the Lena, for a moment, seemed to pause in
her stride.  A shell had struck the stem of the vessel. There was
an explosion and a single high mast crashed to the deck.

Quickly a score of sailors sprang forward, and at a word from
Frank, cleared away the wreckage and tumbled it overboard.

"Nothing serious, sir," reported the second officer, after a
hurried investigation.

"Good!" said Jack calmly.

Then, so suddenly that it appeared to be the hand of magic, the
searchlight of the German cruiser faded from view.  Darkness fell
over the Lena intense darkness.

The glare of the searchlight had vanished so suddenly that for a
brief moment Frank did not determine the cause of it.

"What is it?" he demanded anxiously.

"Fog," replied Jack laconically, "and just in time.  With luck,
we may make our escape."

The course of the Lena was quickly altered, and she once more
headed toward the coast of England.



CHAPTER XIV

MISFORTUNE

At full speed the Lena continued her voyage through the dense
fog.

"Is there any danger of our colliding with another ship, speeding
along like this without knowing what is ahead?" asked Frank in
some anxiety.

"Certainly," replied Jack.  "However, it is a chance we must
take.  We know what lies behind, and the way I figure it is that
it is better to take a chance on what may lie before rather than
on what we know lies behind."

"Right," said Frank, and he became silent.

All night the Lena forged ahead at full speed through the fog,
which hung thick and dismal overhead and all about; and all this
time the boys did not leave the bridge.

The men were allowed to rest at their posts, but were kept on the
alert, for, as Jack said, "we must be prepared for anything."

Jack looked at his watch.  It was 8 o'clock in the morning; and,
even as he glanced at his timepiece, the fog lifted as suddenly
as it had enveloped them.

"This is better--" Frank began, and broke off with a cry of
amazement.

Not a hundred yards to the leeward his eyes fell upon the dark
hull of the German cruiser which had pursued them the night
before.  Evidently the commander of the vessel had anticipated
the course of the Lena and had taken the same route.  There is no
telling in what imminent danger the two had been of a collision
during the night, as both had sped along silently, each fearing
to betray his presence to the other.

Jack espied the enemy at the same instant that Frank cried out;
and he acted upon the instant.

Hoarse commands were shouted across the decks of the Lena, and a
moment later her small guns burst into sound.  In spite of the
fact that the enemy must have been on the lookout for the Lena,
it was apparent that the Lena had been the first to realize the
presence of the other.

"Boom!  Boom!  Boom!  Boom!" spoke the Lena's guns, and the sound
went hurtling out across the sea.

"Crash!  Crash!"

At this close range a miss was almost out of the question, and
the Lena's shells crashed into the sides of the German cruiser.
The German vessel staggered and reeled, but in a moment her big
guns answered the smaller caliber ones of the Lena.

The Lena quivered like a human thing under the deadly hail of
fire from the enemy.  The great guns raked the merchant ship from
stem to stem, pierced her until her sides resembled nothing more
than a sieve.  Men fell everywhere, many prisoners being killed
by fragments. But still the Lena continued to fight back.

Standing upon the bridge Jack directed the fighting of his ship.
He realized in the first moment of contact that the doom of the
Lena was sealed.  She was no match for the German cruiser, but,
before going down, it was his intention to do as much damage as
possible to the enemy.  And the fire of the Lena was doing
terrific damage.

Men fell on the cruiser as well as on the Lena.  Shells crashed
aboard, tumbling down masts, bursting in the mouths of the guns
and hurling showers of iron about.  Grimy-faced men ran hither
and thither about the decks of both vessels.  They had long since
lost all resemblance to human beings, and all fought like demons.

The German commander did not call upon the British to surrender.
Evidently he did not wish to be bothered with prizes.  To sink
the enemy--that was his sole aim.

One by one the guns of the Lena were put out of action, until
finally but two remained to reply to the fire of the enemy.
Slowly the head of the Lena swung round, to permit of these last
two guns being brought to bear.

"Boom!  Boom!"  They spoke their last message, and two shells
pierced the very heart of the German cruiser.

There was a sudden, terrific explosion.  A fierce red sheet of
flame leaped from the German cruiser, and shot high in the air.
The center turret rose with the flame and fell back to the waters
of the North Atlantic in a million pieces.

The magazine of the cruiser had blown up!  Her vitals were opened
and the waters engulfed her.

The two lads stood on the bridge of the Lena, open-mouthed, awed
by this spectacle.  Both were too surprised to speak.  At the
very moment when the battle seemed lost, one well-directed shot
had turned the fortunes of war in favor of the arms of the
British.

At length Frank spoke.

"It is a miracle!" he exclaimed.

"No," replied Jack calmly, "not a miracle; rather, the courage
and bravery of the sons of Britain are responsible for this good
fortune."

He turned his eyes upon the floating wreckage.  Not a survivor
was in sight.  "Poor fellows!" he said, half aloud, "may they
rest in peace!"

At this moment the chief engineer came rushing on deck.  Blood
streamed down his face and one arm hung limp at his side.

"The engines are out of commission, sir," he reported, "and there
is three feet of water in the engine-room.  The ship is sinking!"

Jack drew himself up to his full height and shouted out his
orders:

"Man the boats!" he cried.

He called the second and third officers.

"Look after the wounded," he commanded.  "See that they are all
placed in the boats.  Release the prisoners, but they must shift
for themselves."

"And the dead, sir?" questioned the second office.

Jack lifted his cap from his head.

"The dead," he said softly, "must be left to the mercy of the
sea.  We can do them no good."

The second officer saluted and hurried away.

Frank and Jack superintended the lowering of the boats.  Each
small craft already contained a quantity of provisions and water,
and, at Jack's command, such small arms as could be hurriedly
secured were thrown overboard.  The wounded were lifted gently
into the boats--the dead left where they had fallen.  The last
act was to release the prisoners.  That was all that could be
done for them.

At last all the boats were manned, and, at a word from Jack, they
put away from the ship.  Each boat was crowded, for some had been
damaged in the battle with the German cruiser and made unfit for
use.

Slowly the boats pulled away from the Lena.

"Which way?" asked Frank.

"Due east," replied Jack.  "We must be some place off the coast
of France, and, unless a storm arises, we stand a good chance of
reaching land safely."

He cast his eyes toward the Lena.

"And hurry!" he commanded.  "The Lena is likely to go down any
moment, and, if we do not put some distance between us, she is
likely to carry us under also."

The men in the boats bent to their work with a will, and soon
they were out of danger.

"There she goes!" exclaimed Frank suddenly, and, standing up in
the boat, he pointed a finger toward the Lena.

Slowly the ship had been settling by the head.  Now she sank
lower and lower in the water.  A terrible hissing arose and went
forth across the sea.  The water had reached her boilers.

Then the bow of the ship climbed clear out of the water, for a
moment pointed almost straight toward the sky--it seemed that
she would turn completely over--then suddenly lurched heavily
forward, and dived.

The water foamed angrily white, parted quietly for the Lena, as
she took her death plunge, rose high in the air; then, its fury
over, closed calmly over her.  The Lena was gone.

"And so," said Jack sadly, "goes my first command!"

Frank laid his hand on his friend's arm.

"It's pretty tough," he said, "but there is no use crying over
spilt milk.  What can't be cured must be endured, you know."

"You are right," replied Jack, "and the thing do now is to try
and reach land."

Standing up in the boat and shading his eyes with one band he
looked eastward across the water for a long time.  Then he sat
down.

"See anything?" Frank asked.

"No."

"Have you any idea how far we are from shore?"

"I don't believe we can be very far away.  With clear weather and
steady rowing I believe we should make land within twenty-four
hours, at least."

"Well," said Frank, "when we get ashore, what then?"

"Why," replied Jack, "we must return to London if we can and
report to the Admiralty."

"And then what?"

"Then," said Jack slowly, "I hope we shall once more be assigned
to a ship that is going into battle, that we may avenge ourselves
for the loss of the Lena, and, yes, the death of Lord Hastings!"



CHAPTER XV

UNDER THE TRICOLOR

It was to be many a long day before Frank and Jack were destined
to see London again.

All day, following the loss of the Lena, the little boats bobbed
up and down on the smooth sea, as they headed eastward as fast as
strong British arms could drive them.  All day the sun shone
brightly, but as night drew on the air became cold and penetrating.
The men wrapped themselves up as tightly as they could but even
this did not keep out the chill.

Frank and Jack took turns sleeping and in keeping watch.  At
length the darkness began to give way to light; and, in the cold
gray dawn of another day Jack, standing watch in the first boat,
made out something in the distance that caused him to utter a
loud cry.

Because of the intense darkness they had approached thus close
without having gained a glimpse of what Jack now saw.

It was land.

Frank, aroused by Jack's cry, was on his feet in an instant and
echoed his friend's cry of joy.

"Where do you suppose we are?" he asked.

"At a rough guess, I should say off the coast of France," was
Jack's reply.

"Good!  Then we should be perfectly safe."

"I wouldn't be too sure of that," said Jack.  "You never can tell
what is going to happen in times like these.  However, we will
land as soon as possible."

The sun was high in the sky when the first of the little boats,
rounding a sharp promontory, came in sight of a large vessel.
She was plainly a ship of war, anchored a mile off the coast in a
little bay.  Beyond the lads could make out the houses of what
appeared to be a small town.

"Wonder what place that is?" said Frank.

"I don't know," replied Jack, "but we'll soon find out.  See!
Our presence has been discovered."

Frank looked in the direction Jack pointed.  It was true.  They
were close enough to the vessel now for the lads to make out
several figures standing upon the deck, pointing toward them and
gesticulating.

A moment later and the guns on the vessel shone in the sunlight,
as the ship came about.  They were pointed squarely at the little
British flotilla.

A flag was quickly, run up to the masthead.  The boys made it out
in an instant--the tricolor of France.  A cheer went up from
the British sailors, and in one of the boats a sailor sprang to
his feet and waved a British ensign above his head.

This was seen from the deck of the French vessel, and several
small boats were hurriedly manned and came toward the British.
Within hailing distance a voice cried out in French:

"Who are you and where from?"

"British prize crew aboard German merchantman, which was sunk by
a German cruiser yesterday," Jack shouted back.

The French boats approached closer.  The men in them were all
armed, and it was plainly apparent they were not too confident of
the identity of the British.  They held their rifles ready for
instant use, and small rapid-firers in the prow of each craft
were ready for business.

But now that the French had approached close enough for their
commander to distinguish the faces of the English sailors the
tenseness of the French sailors relaxed, and they came on more
confidently.  The French officer ran his boat close to the one
occupied by Frank and Jack and leaped lightly aboard it.  The
lads rose to greet him.

All three saluted, and the French officer said:

"I'm glad to see you."

"Not half as glad as we are to see you," replied Jack with
enthusiasm.  "This time yesterday we didn't know whether we would
ever see land again or not."

"You have been adrift all that time?" questioned the officer.

"Yes, sir."

"You said something about having been sunk by a German cruiser.
Why didn't they pick you up?"

"Because they were already at the bottom of the sea," replied
Jack calmly.

"You mean that you sunk them with the small guns of your ship?"
asked the officer in great wonderment.

"Yes," replied Jack briefly.  "We were fortunate enough to do
that with our last shot."

"Good for you!" ejaculated the officer.  "But come!  You must go
aboard the Marie Theresa.  Captain Dreyfuss will indeed be glad
to greet two such gallant Englishmen."

It was fully half an hour later, the lads in the meantime having
seen to the disposition of the British sailors aboard the French
cruiser, before Jack and Frank were seated in the commander's
cabin, relating their experiences to him.

"And what do you plan to do now?" asked the commander, after he
had complimented the boys upon their gallant conduct.

"Well," replied Frank, "we had thought of returning to London.
By the way, just whereabouts are we?"

The commander swept an arm in the direction of the little town.

"That," he said, "is St. Julien, on the southern coast of France.
Bordeaux is to the north, and, in the event that you are planning
to return to London, it will be necessary to go that way.  If I
were bound that way, I would gladly land you there, but I am
not."

"May I ask which way you are going?" asked Frank.

"I am bound for the Adriatic," replied the commander, "to join
the rest of the French fleet blockading the Austrians there."

"By Jove!" ejaculated Jack suddenly, struck with a sudden idea.
"Why cannot we go with you, Captain Dreyfuss."

"Go with me?" echoed the commander of the Marie Theresa.

"Yes," cried Frank, falling in with the idea at once.  "May we,
captain?"

The captain mused silently for some time.

"It would be very irregular," he said at length.

"We would certainly be pleased to see service under another
flag," persisted Jack.

"Indeed we would," agreed Frank; "and we would be willing to go in
any capacity.  If we go to London we may have a long wait before
being assigned to another ship."

Suddenly Captain Dreyfuss slapped his leg with his hand and got
to his feet.

"It shall be done," he said; "and, I may say that I shall be glad
of your company.  I will have you shown your quarters.  As it
happens, I am short handed.  I shall see that your crew is set
ashore and given passage for London."

At his signal a young midshipman entered the cabin and came to
attention.

"I place these young men in your charge," Captain Dreyfuss said
to him.  "You will show them quarters.  From this time on they
will be your shipmates."

The young Frenchman saluted, and the lads followed him from the
commander's cabin.

He showed them to very neat quarters and said abruptly:

"You will bunk here."

He departed without another word.  Frank and Jack stared after
him in some surprise.

"Nice, pleasant companion he'll make," said Frank with fine
sarcasm.

"I should say so," answered Jack.  "From his actions you'd think
we had done something to offend him."

"Oh, well," said Frank, "I guess we don't need to worry a whole
lot about him."

"No," said Jack, "but just the same I would rather be on good
terms with all on board."

The British sailors had now been gathered on deck and Frank and
Jack went up to bid them goodbye.  As they were rowed away in the
direction of the little town the sailors stood up in the boats
and gave three lusty cheers for both lads.  The lads waved their
hats at them.

"You'd think these English were somebody," came a voice from
Frank's elbow, and turning the lad saw several French midshipmen
standing nearby.  "They leave us to do all the fighting,"
continued one, whom Frank now recognized as the one who had
escorted them to their quarters.  "If they fought as well as they
talk, this war wouldn't last long."

Frank took a quick step toward the speaker, but Jack's hand fell
on his arm and stayed him.

"Quiet," said Jack.  "We don't want to have any trouble with
them.  Besides their words do not apply to you.  You are
American."

"You are right," said Frank, and turned away.

Suddenly Captain Dreyfuss' voice rang out on the bridge.
Instantly all became bustle and confusion.  The Marie Theresa was
about to get under way.  Not yet having been assigned to their
duties, Jack and Frank stood a little to one side.

Slowly the big battle cruiser got under way.  With her flag
flying proudly, she turned her stern toward the shore and made
for the open sea.  Soon she was heading southward at full speed.

Now a second midshipman approached the lads.

"I am instructed to show you your duties," he said, without
enthusiasm, and the boys could see that he was not well pleased
with his task.

Frank stepped up to him and held out his hand.  "See here," he
said, "why can't we be friends?"

The Frenchman took the proffered hand and shook it
half-heartedly.  He glanced furtively about, evidently in fear
that some of his comrades might see him in this compromising
situation.  Then, as rapidly as possible, he instructed the lads
in their tasks.

"And now," he concluded, "dinner is ready.  You will mess with
the other midshipmen.  Come, will show you the way."

Without a word the lads followed him.  The long table was already
filled. + But there were still some vacant seats.  Frank and Jack
dropped into these.

"Midshipman Templeton and Midshipman Chadwick," said their
escort, introducing them to the rest, with a sweep of his arm.

Frank and Jack rose from their seats and bowed.  The young
Frenchmen barely acknowledged the introduction with nods of their
heads.

Frank's face flushed, and he made as if to rise, but, again Jack
stayed him, and they fell to eating in silence.  Several times
during the meal some Frenchman inadvertently made a remark
derogatory to the fighting ability of the English.

Frank held his temper, though his face burned,'' and Jack was
fearful that his friend would soon be mixed up in trouble again.
However, the meal finally came to an end, and Jack and Frank
arose with the others to leave the room.

To the deck below, where the midshipmen were wont to spend most
of their leisure hours, the lads followed the Frenchmen.  Here
some drew cigarettes from their pockets, and, in spite of the
regulations against this practice, proceeded to light up in most
approved style.

Then they broke up into little knots, and Jack and Frank found
themselves left to themselves.

"Come," said Jack at length, "we might as well go on deck."

He took Frank by the arm and started away.  As they neared the
door, a big, hulking Frenchman suddenly stretched forth a foot,
and Frank, who had not noticed this obstruction, tripped and fell
heavily to the deck.

He was up in a moment, his face a dull red.  He turned on the now
giggling midshipmen, angrily.

"Who did that?" he demanded, taking a step forward and doubling
up his fists.

A laugh went round the room, but there was, no reply.

"Who did that?" demanded Frank again.

The big French middie who had tripped the lad stepped forward.

"I did it," he replied, thrusting out his face.  "What of it?"

"Just this," replied Frank, and started forward.  Jack stopped
him.

"Here's where I get into this," he said quietly.  "I tried to
keep out, but it's no use.  Stand aside, Frank, can't you see you
are no match for him."

"Step aside nothing," said Frank, struggling, in Jack's grasp.
"I never saw a Frenchman yet I couldn't lick."

"Well," said Jack calmly, "this is one you won't lick.  I'm going
to do it myself.  It's my fight, anyway in vain did Frank
struggle.  He was like a child in his friend's strong hands."

The big Frenchman thrust his face forward again.

"So you are going to interfere, are you?" he said.

"Yes," said Jack pleasantly, "and you'll wish I hadn't."

"Then take that," cried the Frenchman, and struck out suddenly.

Jack leaped back quickly, but he was not swift enough to entirely
avoid the blow.  A tiny stream of blood trickled from his nose.
Without a word he calmly drew a handkerchief from his pocket and
wiped away the red drops.  Then he stepped forward and spoke to
all.

"Now," he said quietly, "this chap is going to pay for that.  Are
you gentlemen here?  Will you see that this is conducted in a
proper manner, or is it to be a rough-and-tumble?"

One of the French middies stepped forward suddenly.  He offered
Jack his hand.

"I'll see that it is conducted ship-shape," he said.  "You
impress me as a brave man, and I'll see that you get fair play."

"Thanks," said Jack laconically, accepting his hand.

"I might as well tell you, however," continued the Frenchman,
"that you are up against more than your match.  This man is one
of the heavyweight aspirants for the championship of the French
navy, and has several scalps to his credit."

"I guess he hasn't bumped up against an Englishman," was Jack's
reply.

"What's it to be?" asked the Frenchman.

"Anything suits me," said Jack.

"To a finish," grumbled Jack's antagonist.

Quickly a square was marked off, and, enjoining the spectators to
silence, the young Frenchman who appeared more friendly than the
rest as self-appointed referee called time.

Jack and his opponent squared off.



CHAPTER XVI

JACK MAKES A NAME FOR HIMSELF

Frank, who had never seen Jack exhibit his prowess in the fistic
art, and who was rather a skillful boxer himself, though by no
means a heavyweight, muttered to himself:

"Why didn't I insist on taking him on myself?  Jack is due for a
good lacing.  He's strong enough, but he hasn't the science, I'm
afraid."

He stood nervously in his friend's corner.

The Frenchman opened the fight with a rush, and his friends
uttered subdued cheers and encouragement as he dashed at Jack.
In size, it appeared that the two were about evenly matched,
although the Frenchman was a shade taller than his opponent.

That his comrades believed him a master of the fistic art was
evinced by their cries:

"Finish him up quickly."

"Let him stay a couple of rounds."

"No; one round's enough."

The Frenchman rushed, evidently having decided to finish the
fight as quickly as possible.  His expression showed that he had
no doubt of his ability to polish off the Englishman and of his
superiority as a boxer.

Jack met the first rush calmly, and with a slight smile on his
face.  His guard was perfect and not a blow reached him.  The
Frenchman landed blow after blow upon Jack's arms, with which the
lad covered first his face and then his body.

Frank, having a knowledge of boxing, realized that he was
witnessing a defense that was indeed remarkable, and muttered
happily to himself.  But to the rest of the spectators it
appeared that their idol was hitting his man at will, and they
continued to encourage him with low words, at the same time
hurling epithets at Jack.

So far Jack had not attempted to strike a blow; nor had he given
ground.  He had presented a perfect defense to his opponent, who
danced rapidly about him, striking from this side and that.  The
round ended, and still Jack had not offered at his opponent.

The Frenchman himself, however, skillful boxer that he was, was
not deceived.  He realized, as he rested in his corner, that he
had met a foeman worthy of the best he had to offer.  As yet,
though, he had no means of telling what the lad had in store for
an attack of his own; but he realized that Jack's defense was
well-nigh perfect.

Therefore, when they advanced to the middle of the ring for the
second round, he was more wary, for he had no mind to let Jack
slip over a hard  blow through carelessness.  Suddenly Jack led
with his right, then made as if to land with his left.  The
Frenchman threw up his arm to guard the latter blow, and Jack's
right, which had not been checked--the feint with the left
having made the desired opening--caught the Frenchman flush on
the nose.

The Frenchman staggered back.  Jack followed this advantage with
a quick left and then another right to the Frenchman's face.
Both blows had steam behind them, and his opponent, plainly in
distress, covered up quickly and cinched.

In the clinch he attempted to deliver several short arm blows,
but Jack was prepared for this kind of fighting, and blocked them
with ease.  Finally the two broke, and the Frenchman stood on the
defensive.

It was apparent to all who were not too prejudiced that he now
stood in awe of his opponent's hitting power.

Then they stood off and boxed at long range, and Jack trimmed his
adversary beautifully.  Tiring of this, the Frenchman rushed, but
time was called as he swung wildly.  In swinging he left a wide
opening. Jack, starting a hard blow, turned it aside when the
referee called time.

"Where did you learn to box?" asked Frank breathlessly between
rounds.

"Why," said Jack, with a smile, "from my father.  He was rather
proficient in the use of his fists."

"He must have been," said Frank dryly.  "Why didn't you tell me
you could box?"

"You never asked me," replied Jack calmly.

He arose and walked slowly to meet his opponent as the referee
again called time.

"Now, my friend," said Jack to his opponent, "I am going to give
you as good a licking as you ever have had."

He feinted with dazzling rapidity several times, and drove a
straight left to the Frenchman's ear.  With lightning-like
quickness he played a tattoo upon the Frenchman's face and body.
Bewildered, his opponent dashed into a clinch.

"If you say so, we'll call this off right here," said Jack.

The Frenchman suddenly freed himself, and his reply to this
kindly offer was to send a jab to Jack's nose, drawing blood.

"Just for that," said Jack quietly, who felt somewhat ashamed at
having been caught off his guard, "I'll finish this fight right
now.  There is no need prolonging it."

Once, twice, he rocked the Frenchman's head, and then, as the
latter came forward in a last desperate effort, Jack pivoted on
his heel, and, starting his left low, swung.  The Frenchman
checked himself in his attack, and desperately tried to leap
back.

But it was too late.  Through his guard went the blow, and,
catching the Frenchman on the point of the chin, it lifted him
from his feet and into the air.

At least four feet through the air went the Frenchman, and came
to the deck, head first, at the feet of his friends.  He lay
there while the referee counted him out.

Quickly Jack leaped forward, and, kneeling, raised his late
opponent's head.

"Water, some of you," he called.

It was quickly brought, and Jack, wetting his handkerchief,
bathed the Frenchman's face.  His efforts were at last rewarded
by a slight groan, and finally the unconscious man opened his
eyes.

"What hit me?" he asked in a faint whisper.

"It's all right, old man," said Jack.  "You'll be all right in a
second."

Slowly the light of comprehension dawned in the Frenchman's eyes.
He struggled to his feet, where he stood uncertainly for a few
moments, looking at his conqueror.

Jack extended a hand.

"I'm sorry I had to do it," he said, a pleasant smile lighting up
his face.

The Frenchman looked at him in silence for a full minute, then,
stepping forward, he grasped the outstretched hand.

"What are you," he demanded, grinning, "a prizefighter?"

"No," said Jack, with a laugh, "but I guess I have had better
training than you."

"Well," said the Frenchman, "if you ever need anybody to help you
out, you can count on me.  Maybe some day you will bump up
against someone who can best you, but I believe the two of us
together can put him down."

"Thanks," laughed Jack, "I'll remember that offer when the time
comes."

The other French middies now gathered found and shook Jack and
Frank both by the hand, while the one who had first made himself
odious apologized profusely for his actions.

"Say no more about it," exclaimed Frank.  "I'm glad we're all
friends at last."

Further conversation was interrupted by the sudden sound of a
bugle on deck.  It was the call to quarters.

Quickly all sprang to their posts.  Men dashed hither and
thither, and in almost less time than it takes to tell it the
Marie Theresa was cleared for action.

Then, at last having time to glance about, the two lads made out
the cause of this sudden call.  Several miles across the water
could be seen two small cruisers.  A closer look showed the boys
the German flag flying at the masthead of each.

"Now," said Frank to Jack, "we'll have an opportunity of seeing
how the French fight."

"They'll fight," said Jack briefly.  "You may make sure of that."

"Nevertheless I would rather that we had an English crew."

Now the range was signaled to the gunners, and the Marie Theresa
quivered and recoiled as the first of her big guns spoke.  The
shot fell short.  Again the range was signaled, and once more the
shot fell short, though nearer, the first of the German cruisers.

The third shot plowed up the water under her bow.

"We have the range now," said Jack, "we'll hit her next time."

His words proved true.  A solid shot, hurled by one of the Marie
Theresa's forward guns, struck the first German cruiser squarely
in the side.  The two following ones hit her just below the water
line.

"That's pretty good shooting, if you ask me," said Frank
enthusiastically.

But now the Germans also had succeeded in finding the range, and
a shell burst over the Marie Theresa, hurling its fragments upon
the deck.  Five men went down, never to rise again.

As the battle progressed the two German cruisers drew farther and
farther apart, until now they poured their fire upon the Marie
Theresa from two directions.  To avoid this cross fire, the
commander of the Marie Theresa signaled full speed ahead, and
dashed straight for the nearest of the enemy.

In spite of the galling fire from both of the enemy, the Marie
Theresa bore down on the German cruiser.  Too late the latter
turned to flee from her larger opponent; but her guns continued
to pour in her fire.

Although raked from stem to stern, the Marie Theresa had not been
hit in a vital spot.  The first German cruiser turned to run,
but, by a quick maneuver, Captain Dreyfuss plowed into her as she
turned.  The sharp prow of the Marie Theresa crashed into the
German amidships, and so terrific was the impact that the French
ship recoiled.

But it was the death-blow of the German cruiser.  Men leaped into
the small boats and put off from the ship, or flung themselves
head first into the sea.  The Marie Theresa drew off and turned
her attention to the other German cruiser.

But the latter had had enough.  She turned quickly and headed
west.  Boats were lowered from the Marie Theresa and hurried to
the aid of the survivors of the enemy.  Many were picked up and
taken aboard the French ship.

On the bridge of the German cruiser' now settling fast, could be
seen the German commander.  Several officers were gathered about
him.  They were gesticulating violently, but to each the captain
shook his head negatively.

"They'll all be drowned if they don't hurry," said Captain
Dreyfuss anxiously.  "Why don't the fools jump!"

Suddenly the German commander drew a revolver from his pocket,
and pointed it directly at the protesting officers.  They drew
back.  The German commander followed them.

One by one they threw themselves into the sea all but one.  At
him the commander pointed revolver, and shook his head vigorously.
The latter protested.

Finally the German commander hurled his weapon far into the sea,
and held out his hand.  The officer took it, and, arm in arm, the
two walked, back to the bridge.

The German cruiser lurched heavily, but the two German officers
were unmindful of it.  Calmly the commander drew two cigars from
his pocket, and offered one to the officer.  The latter accepted
it, and, taking a match from his pocket, struck it calmly.

He held the match so his commander could get a light, then
lighted his own cigar.  Thus the two stood, calmly smoking, as
the cruiser settled.

Slowly the fatally wounded craft sank lower and lower in the
water, until nothing was visible below the bridge.  Then, with a
sudden lurch, this to disappeared--nothing but the mast
remained--then nothing at all.

The German commander had gone down with his ship--as had so
many before him--as would so many after him.

The commander of the Marie Theresa lifted his cap, uttering no
word--a silent tribute to a hero.



CHAPTER XVII

IN THE ADRIATIC

The Marie Theresa had not escaped unscathed in the combat, but,
although her injuries were not serious, they were such as to
prevent a pursuit of the second German cruiser, which was dashing
away at full speed.

The crew set to work with a will wreckage, and finally the vessel
was shipshape once more.  Then, at a command from Captain
Dreyfuss, she was put on her course toward the south.

Several uneventful days passed, during which Frank and Jack
struck up quite a friendship with their fellow middies.  The
unkindly spirit of the young Frenchmen gave way to real
comradeship, and all were now on the best terms.

It was on a bright, sunny morning that the Marie Theresa steamed
through the entrance to the Adriatic Sea, where the French fleet,
with one or two British warships, had the entire Austrian naval
force cooped up.  The Austrians had made several dashes, in an
attempt to run the blockade, but so far all such efforts had been
unsuccessful.

As the Marie Theresa steamed up to the other vessels of the
fleet, she was greeted with a salute.  A short time later Captain
Dreyfuss put off for the flagship in a small boat to pay his
respects to the admiral.

It was late when he returned aboard the Marie Theresa, and
immediately he set foot on board a subdued air of excitement
became apparent.  The midshipmen, not being in the confidence of
the superior officers, at first could not account for this; but
they soon learned its cause.

The Marie Theresa had been ordered to try and get closer to the
Austrian fleet.

It was a well-known fact that all the Austrian ports had been
mined, and that the heavy shore batteries of the enemy were more
than a match for the big guns on the cruiser--that they
outranged them--but, nevertheless, the crew of the Marie
Theresa made what preparations were necessary with enthusiasm.

It was well after nightfall when the French cruiser moved slowly
between the other vessels of the allied fleet, heading for the
enemy.  Not a light shone aboard the vessel, and there was not a
sound to break the stillness of the night.

Beyond the rest of the fleet the Marie Theresa was forced to go
more slowly, feeling her way cautiously to avoid being blown up
by one of the many floating mines.

"This is ticklish work," said Jack to Frank, they moved slowly
along.

"You bet," was the latter's reply.  "This thing, of floating
along, not knowing the next minute you are liable to be on the
bottom, would try anybody's, nerves.  By Jove!  I can feel my
hair standing end now."

"I guess it's not as bad as all that," laughed Jack.

"Well, I have a bad case of nerves, anyhow," replied Frank.

Suddenly, at a subdued cry from forward, the Marie Theresa came
to a halt.

"Vessel of some sort dead ahead," the word was passed along.

A moment later a voice of command rang out:

"Pass the word for Mr. Chadwick and Mr. Templeton."

"Wonder what's up?" asked Frank, as they made their way to the
bridge, where Captain Dreyfuss was standing.

"I guess we'll know soon enough," was Jack's reply.

They halted before their commander and came to attention.

"If I am not mistaken," said Captain Dreyfuss, pointing ahead,
"that dark hull there is an Austrian vessel, whether a warship or
not I cannot say.  Now, the success of this venture depends upon
silence.  A shot from a big gun aboard that ship would mean
failure for us.  I have called you two lads to ask if you would
like to undertake a dangerous task?"

"Yes, sir," replied Jack quietly.

"We shall be only too glad," said Frank eagerly.

"Well, then," continued, Captain Dreyfuss, "I believe that by a
quick and silent dash you may be able to board her.  If You are
successful in getting aboard, your first duty will be to prevent
the firing of one of the big guns.  Luckily, we are still far
from shore, so the sounds of a hand-to-hand struggle are not
likely to be overheard.  Are you willing to undertake this
mission?"

"Yes, sir," replied both lads in a single voice.

"Good!  You shall have fifty men.  With the effect of a surprise,
I believe this should be enough."

Half an hour later, while the Marie Theresa remained stationary,
not even showing a light, Frank and Jack, with five small boats
at their command, were creeping silently toward the Austrian
vessel.  Nearer and nearer they approached, and at length the
first boat scraped the side of the larger vessel.

So far their presence had not been discovered.

Softly and silently Jack led the way to the deck of the enemy,
which, it was now plain, was a small Austrian cruiser.  Frank and
the French sailors followed close at his heels.

As Jack's head came even with the rail, he paused to look about.
And it was well that he did so.  For not ten paces from him stood
an Austrian sailor.

His eyes were turned in the opposite direction, and so stealthily
did Jack now lower himself to the deck that he was not heard.

"I hate to do this," he muttered to himself, "but--"

A moment later his revolver butt crashed down on the Austrian's
skull.  The man dropped like a log.  Hastily the lad led the way
to the bridge, where, by quick action, the man on watch was
overcome without the sound of a struggle.

Then half of the French turned their attention to the commander's
cabin, while the others hastened to see that all means of egress
from below were barred.

With drawn revolver Jack entered the cabin first.  His eyes fell
upon two officers playing checkers, one evidently the commander
of the cruiser.  So quietly did the lad enter the room that his
presence was not discovered until he spoke.

"Hands up!" he commanded.

The officers leaped to their feet with a single movement, and the
hand of the commander fell upon his revolver, while the other,
unarmed though he was, dashed straight at Jack.

Jack's revolver spoke sharply once, and the second Austrian
officer tumbled in a heap to the deck.  Before the commander
could draw his weapon Jack had him covered.

"None of that," he said sharply, as the commander made another
move as though to draw.

The Austrian commander evidently thought better of his act, for
his hands flew above his head.  Jack advanced quickly and
relieved him of his weapons.  Then he marched him to the bridge.

"Now," said Jack calmly, "you will signal the engine-room for
half-speed ahead."

The officer started to protest, but at the sight of Jack's
revolver, leveled right at his head, he reconsidered and did as
ordered.  Jack now motioned Frank to stand guard over the
Austrian commander, and himself took the wheel.

Slowly the Austrian cruiser, her head describing a wide circle,
gathered speed and turned in the direction of the allied fleet.
Evidently those below had no idea that anything was wrong, for
not a sound reached the ears of those on deck.

Now, at Jack's command, the commander signaled the engine-room
for full speed ahead, and the pace of the cruiser increased.
Swiftly she dashed along in the night, but was suddenly checked
in her flight by a hail from across the water:

"What ship is that?"

Jack recognized the voice of Captain Dreyfuss, and called back:

"Captured Austrian cruiser, sir.  This is Templeton.  What shall
I do with her?"

"Take her on to the fleet," came the reply.

"Good work!   I shall not wait for you to return but will
continue immediately."

This was a disappointment to the two lads, who had banked on
being aboard the Marie Theresa in her raid.  However, orders were
not to be disobeyed.

Day was breaking when the Austrian cruiser steamed in among the
French ships.  Jack went aboard the admiral's flagship and
reported.  It was while he was standing beside the admiral that a
fearful commotion broke out on board the captured Austrian
cruiser.

There was the sound of a big gun, and a shell screamed overhead.

"The fools!" exclaimed the admiral.  "Can't they understand they
have been captured?"

Evidently the Austrians could not, for a second shell screamed
overhead.

Quickly the flagship signaled the French aboard the captured
vessel to leave, and when they were over the side and well out of
harm's way the French dreadnought opened fire on the cruiser.

Men now emerged from below on to the deck of the captured vessel,
and rushed rapidly about.

An officer leveled a glass and took in the imposing sight of the
French gathered about on all sides of him.

In another moment a white flag was run up at the masthead.  It
was the sign of surrender.

The French admiral complimented both lads highly on the success
of their venture; and congratulated them again personally that
night, when the Marie Theresa, after a successful raid into the
very midst of the Austrian fleet, returned unscathed--leaving
at the bottom of the sea two Austrian torpedo boats.



CHAPTER XVIII

THE BATTLE IN THE ADRIATIC

The French and Austrian fleets were steaming into battle in the
Adriatic. This coming struggle, while it was to be by no means
decisive, was nevertheless the first engagement of any magnitude
to be fought in southern waters; also it was the first in which
fighters of the air were to play an important part.

The Marie Tieresa, back from her successful raid, was one of the
foremost in the French line of battle.  Now, as she steamed
forward with the rest of the fleet, her hydroplanes were made
ready for action.

Captain Dreyfuss summoned Jack and Frank before him.

"You will each take a seat in one of the hydroplanes," he
ordered.  "Your duties will be to drop bombs on the enemy.  Each
machine carries two men, one a pilot.  Therefore you will each
take separate machines."

Frank and Jack saluted, and a moment later were in their places.
What was Jack's surprise to find that the pilot of his machine
was none other than the French midshipman he had so lately
engaged in fistic combat.  The latter, whom the boys had learned
to call Pierre, greeted him with a smile.

"I'm glad I am to have you along," he said simply.

"Thanks," was Jack's brief reply.

The French hydroplanes, at least fifty of them, from all the
battleships, now skimmed over the water, and a moment later
soared in the air.  Flying on beyond the French ships, a smudge
of smoke came into view, then another, and then many more.  Ships
of all kinds, Jack could see, dreadnoughts, cruisers, torpedo
boats and scout ships, advancing toward them.

Then, as they drew nearer, Jack made out other vessels, lying low
in the water, without smoke, approaching.  These were the
Austrian submarines.  Jack counted the enemy--sixteen ships of
all classes, and opposed to these the French had offered almost
an equal number.  The forces of both sides under and above the
sea, of course, he could not count.

Some of the airships from both sides now came into contact, and
brisk skirmishes ensued.  Rifles flashed from them, and suddenly
one tumbled into the sea.  It was an Austrian craft, and it was
first blood for the French.

Now the aircraft, at a signal, returned to their respective
fleets, and hovered over them.  The speed of both squadrons was
reduced together.  The submarines of both fleets suddenly sank
from sight, and it was evident to Jack that the first blows
probably would be struck from under water.

The aircraft once more advanced, flying low, seeking to learn the
positions of the submarines, and to point them out to the gunners
on the big battleships and cruisers.  A periscope, extending a
few feet above water, gave Jack a good target, and the lad
dropped a bomb.

There was a terrific explosion below the water.  The periscope
disappeared.  There was one Austrian submarine less.

The two squadrons of ships meantime were drawing nearer together.
The first French battleship, flagship of the squadron, was now
engaged with the first ship of the Austrian squadron.  They were
engaged gun for gun.

Now the second ships of each fleet came into action, and then the
third.  Ship after ship engaged the enemy, until the battle
became general.  For an instant, after each salvo, the rival
squadrons were hidden from each other by the smoke of battle, but
a brisk wind soon blew this away, and the cannonading continued.

Now one of the French vessels steered aside and dropped behind
the line of battle.  She was disabled.

The next ship moved up, and the French advance continued as
before.

The torpedo craft of the French, gathered behind the French
battle line dashed forward suddenly, headlong for the Austrian
fleet.  For two miles they sped on, apparently unnoticed by the
enemy, then the great turret guns of the Austrians opened on
them.  The French torpedo craft began to suffer.  Two together
swung broadside to the Austrians, riddled with holes; the boiler
of a third burst, the ship broke in two and sank almost
instantly.  But the others raced on.

Toward the big Austrian battleships they dashed.  Austrian
torpedo boats rushed out to meet them.

A shell from a French warship struck one of these, and she went
to the bottom immediately.  Others suffered by the French fire.

Four thousand yards from the Austrian fleet the French torpedo
boats launched their torpedoes; then they fled back to the
protection of the battleships, still engaged with the Austrian
pursuers with small guns.

But they had done their work.  A hundred torpedoes, driven by
their motors of compressed air just below the surface, were
steering automatically for the Austrian battleships.

Suddenly the fourth ship of the Austrian line staggered; a white
spray of water leaped high in the air, and the Austrian vessel
split into many pieces.  The first torpedo had gone home.  The
fifth and sixth Austrian battleships also now leaped from the
water, and then sank from sight.  Farther back another Austrian
ship dropped from the line of battle.

Now a school of Austrian torpedo craft dashed forward again.
They were met by a fierce hail of fire from the French, but in
spite of this they succeeded in launching their torpedoes, and
the French battleship, far back, suddenly disappeared from the
surface of the Adriatic.

Now the battle grew so terrific that individual ship movements
could not be kept track of.  The Austrian torpedo craft retreated
and the French gave chase.  Jack and Frank saw all this, soaring
above the sea, a part of it, and yet not a part of it, for so far
they had had little to do.

Pierre, seated in front of Jack, suddenly uttered a shout.
Following the direction of the pilot's eyes, Jack perceived a
great, gray, pencil-shaped object approaching through the air.
He recognized it instantly--a German war dirigible, sent to
help the Austrians.  Under it flew smaller forms, aeroplanes
accompanying it as guard.  And now a second Zeppelin appeared--and
then a third.

Swiftly they swept over the sea.  A moment and they had passed
over the broken line of Austrian battleships, and sped on toward
the French fleet.  The French perceived the menace, and their
special quick-firers, elevated for aeroplane defense, came into
action.

But the Zeppelins bored on, and their powerful guns fired down
macarite shells.  The first French battleship, already stripped
by the raking fire of the Austrian fleet, seemed to crumple up,
and a moment later disappeared altogether.

The rain of shells from above found breaches in the armor of a
second French ship, caught a magazine forward and exploded it,
almost at the same time blew up a magazine aft, and the ship,
broken in two, sank.

The first dirigible, having passed over the French fleet, now
turned and came back.  The shells of the ships burst harmlessly
below it.  As the torpedo boats had gathered for an attack
against the Austrian fleet, so now did the French aircraft gather
for an assault upon these enemies of the air.

But the enemy's airmen did not wait for them.  They charged.
Machines met, wing against wing, and toppled into the water.
Others, their propellers crushed, met the same fate.  But some of
the French machines burst through, only to be met by the deadly
fire of the Zeppelins and sent into the sea.

Yet a few survived, and their rifle bullets riddled the gas
chambers of the big balloons, but these tiny perforations availed
nothing.  The French flyers who survived darted beyond the
Zeppelins and withdrew.  The attack had accomplished little, for,
while some of the Austrian aeroplanes had been sent into the sea,
the dirigibles were still intact.  A mean for successful attack
against these giants of the air had not been found.

But now, in response to a word of command from Jack, Pierre
nodded his head in understanding.  In the meantime the French
birdmen had re-formed and had rushed forward in another gallant
attack.  But the result was the same, and, while they succeeded
in accounting for some of the smaller planes' the Zeppelins
continued to fight as before, dropping their powerful shells upon
the French fleet below.

But this time there was one plane that did not swerve as it burst
through the Austrian line of small planes, and darted toward the
first dirigible.  Straight on it rushed, absolutely reckless, and
crashed into the first giant balloon, head-on-collapse the great
forward gas chamber, setting it on fire, exploding it, blowing
all the mighty war balloon to atoms.

In this plane were Jack and Pierre.  It was Jack's eye that had
made out the only means of effective attack against the
dirigible.  Even as he had ordered the attack, the lad knew that
it meant almost certain death, but he had not hesitated.  He
realized that the French aircraft must be shown some means of
destroying these huge air fighters, and knowing that there was
time to convey his ideas to the other, had acted at once.

Now, this accomplished, the plane in which Jack and Pierre had
performed this success, driven deep into the flaming mass of
wreckage, was falling with the broken war balloon down into the
sea.

The wreck fell slowly, for the fabric, yet unconsumed, parachuted
and held in the air.  Then, finally, hissing and splashing, it
fell into the sea.

To Jack's ears, as he came again to the surface, came the cries
of men wounded and burning.  An arm flung toward the sky sent his
eyes in that direction, even as he swam.

He saw the two remaining dirigibles fighting together against
another aeroplane attack.  But the way had been shown, and no
longer did the French sheer off when they broke through the
Austrian air line.  Two small planes crashed into the dirigibles,
one into each, and exploded them.

They fell to the sea, burning, men tumbling out upon all sides.
A form struck the water close to where Jack, miraculously
uninjured, swam.  The latter stretched out an arm, and grasped
the body by the shoulder, as it reappeared upon the surface.
Then a cry of amazement burst from his lips.

The form that he thus clutched so tightly was that of his friend
Frank.



CHAPTER XIX

FROM THE DEAD

At Jack's cry of amazement Frank slowly opened his eyes.  His
constitution was not nearly as strong, as that of his huge
friend.  He was almost unconscious as the result of his terrible
fall.  But he recognized his chum in an instant, smiled feebly,
and then his muscles relaxed.  He lay a dead weight in Jack's
arms.

Quickly the lad looked round for some sign of a vessel, or a
piece of wreckage to which to cling until he could be picked up.
There was none, so still carrying his friend he struck out in the
direction of the nearest ship, which could even now be seen
approaching.

The sounds of battle still continued, but they gradually grew
less as the Austrian fleet, or what was left of it, retired to
the protection of its land batteries.

Four warships sent to the bottom of the sea, three submarines
missing, and undoubtedly gone forever, and a half score of
torpedo boats sunk, was the Austrian loss.  The French had lost
two battleships, a submarine and three torpedo boats.  The
heaviest losses sustained by both sides had been to the air
fleets.

Now the approaching vessel drew closer to Jack, and he at length
realized that he had been seen.  A small boat put off to him.
Strong arms gripped him and pulled him and Frank into the boat,
and a hearty voice exclaimed in English:

"By Jove!  They're English!  Now, how do you suppose they got
here?"

Jack was conscious of a pleasant sensation at hearing his native
tongue spoken thus, but he was too exhausted to take much
interest in it then.  He fell back unconscious.

But, if the lad was surprised at thus being addressed in English,
there was still a greater surprise and joy in store for him--and
for Frank.

When Jack reopened his eyes, he lay in a small but well-furnished
cabin.  Frank lay near him.  He already had returned to
consciousness, and even now was glancing curiously about.

He glanced at Jack as the latter opened his eyes.

"By George!" he ejaculated.  "I was afraid you were done for, you
lay there so quietly.  How did I come here?"

"Why," said Jack, "you toppled into the sea right beside me, and
I grabbed you and held on until we were picked up."

"Then," cried Frank excitedly, "you were aboard the first plane
that dived into the dirigible?"

"I was there," replied Jack briefly.

"By Jove!  I thought so.  It looked like some your doings.  And,
if you hadn't thought of that method of attack, the whole French
fleet probably would have been sunk!"

"Well, somebody had to do it," said Jack modestly.  "I notice you
weren't far behind yourself."

"Well," said Frank quietly, "I am glad we accomplished the task
successfully. Where are we now?"

"I don't know exactly," replied Jack.  "But, as we were picked
up, I heard someone talking in English.  I believe that we are on
an English ship that happened on the scene just in time to get
into the battle."

"Well--" began Frank, and stopped suddenly, staring open-mouthed
at a figure now framed in the doorway of the little cabin.

Jack turned his eyes in that direction, and also was stricken
speechless.

"Am I dreaming?" muttered Frank at last.  "It--it can't be."

"'But it is," exclaimed a well-known voice, and a dignified and
military figure marched into the room--the figure of Lord
Hastings, whom the boys had so long mourned as lost.

In spite of their exhausted condition, both boys were upon their
feet instantly, and each had him by the hand.

"But you went down with the Sylph," protested Jack.

"You were drowned," declared Frank.  "I saw you go down."

"So you did," replied Lord Hastings, laughing a little.  "But I
came up again.  I came up near a piece of floating wreckage, to
which I clung for more than twenty-four hours before I was
finally picked up by a British torpedo boat."

There were tears in the eyes of both boys as they clung to their
old commander.

"But what happened to you?" Lord Hastings continued.  "I inquired
everywhere, and could find no trace of you.  I was certain that
you had gone down, and I was never so surprised and overjoyed in
my life as when you were lifted aboard the Sylph a few hours
ago."

"The Sylph!" ejaculated Jack.

"Yes," replied His Lordship, smiling a little, "I have christened
this vessel the Sylph II, but I always speak of her as the Sylph.
But come, tell me about yourselves."

Briefly Frank related the experiences they had gone through since
the Sylph had been sunk.

"Nothing you do can surprise me any more," declared Lord
Hastings, when Frank had finished his narrative.  "But now, as to
the future, do you wish to remain aboard the Marie Theresa, or
would you like to come with me?"

"Would we!" ejaculated Jack fervently.

"I should say we would!" declared Frank decisively.

"Well," said Lord Hastings, "I have no doubt that it can be
arranged.  I shall speak to Captain Dreyfuss at once."

"Is Lieutenant Hetherington alive?" asked Jack suddenly.

"No," replied Lord Hastings sadly, "we three are the sole
survivors of the Sylph."

"But what are you doing in these waters?" demanded Frank.

"Well," replied Lord Hastings, "it's somewhat of a secret, but I
don't mind telling you.  I am on the trail of the German cruiser
Emden."

"The Emden!" ejaculated both lads.

"Exactly.  She has become a terrible menace to British shipping.
While she is probably more than a match for the Sylph, if I come
up with her I shall stay on her trail until I can raise a cruiser
big enough to tackle her.  My job is to find her, and, when I do,
I guarantee I shall never lose sight of her."

"Good!" cried Jack.  "Now, if you can fix it up with Captain
Dreyfuss, we are ready to go with you."

"Would you like to accompany me?" asked the commander of the
Sylph.

The lads signified their assent.  An hour later they were all
seated in Captain Dreyfuss' cabin aboard the Marie Theresa.

"And where is Pierre?" demanded Captain Dreyfuss of Jack.

"Gone!" replied the lad quietly.  "He died the death of a hero."

"And do you mean to tell me," demanded the captain, "that you two
lads were in the machines that dived head first into the enemy?"

"It was Jack who conceived the idea and made the first attack,"
replied Frank.

Captain Dreyfuss turned to Lord Hastings.

"And these are the two lads you are asking me to give up to you,
eh?" he said severely.

"Well," replied Lord Hastings, "I certainly should like to have
them back again.  But, of course, if you do not give your consent--"

Captain Dreyfuss interrupted him with a wave of the hand, and
turned to the boys.

"And what do you say, sirs?" he demanded.  "Have you not been
treated well aboard my ship?"

"Yes, sir," replied Jack, "but--"

Frank's heart fell.  From the captain's tone, it was apparent
that he did not intend to let them go.

"And you, sir?" demanded the captain of Frank.

"We have no cause to complain," replied Frank.  "But Lord
Hastings--"

"Enough!" interrupted Captain Dreyfuss.  "It shall be as you
say."  He turned to Lord Hastings.

"Take them," he said, "and I am sure you will never find two
braver lads."

"Thank you, sir," said both boys.

The commander of the Marie Theresa arose to his feet, signifying
that the interview was over, and extended a hand to each lad.

"Good luck," he said simply.  "You may go now.  I have some
matters to discuss with your new commander."

The boys saluted and went on deck, where they awaited Lord
Hastings.

It was several hours later before they returned aboard the Sylph.
No sooner were they aboard, however, than Lord Hastings ordered
that the vessel be put under way immediately.

"I have wasted time enough here," he told the lads.  "I must get
on the trail of the Emden at once."

The lads were given quarters corresponding to the ones they had
had on the old Sylph.  The vessel was built along the same lines
as the Sylph I, and had been fitted out just as luxuriously and
comfortably.  It was, in times of peace, well adapted for a
pleasure yacht.

The Sylph II carried a goodly array of fighting material,
however, and a crew of 150 men.

It was while dining that night that Lord Hastings gave the boys
the surprise of their lives.

"I presume you know," he said quietly, "that as the two surviving
officers of the Sylph, you now move into the vacancies left by
the death of my first and second officer?"

"What!" exclaimed both lads in the greatest surprise.

"Oh, you heard me," replied Lord Hastings.  "But which of you is
to be which?"

"But how about your present officers?" demanded Jack.

"They will understand when I explain to them," replied Lord
Hastings.  "Now, which is to be my first officer?"

"Jack, sir," said Frank.

"Frank, sir," said Jack.

"Come," said His Lordship, "I have a way to decide."

He took two toothpicks, and broke one off a little shorter than
the other.  He put them behind his back for a moment, and then
held his hand out in front of him.

"Whoever draws the shortest stick," he said, "shall be my first
officer.  Draw!"

Jack took one of the toothpicks and Frank the other.  Then they
compared them.

Frank dropped his and slapped Jack heartily on the back.

"Good!" he said joyfully, "you've won."



CHAPTER XX

THE "EMDEN"

"The Emden," said Lord Hastings to Jack and Frank, "has probably
done more damage to British, French and Russian shipping than all
of the other German raiders and fleets at large."

"Has she accomplished anything lately?" asked Frank.

"Yes," replied Lord Hastings, "she has indeed.  I suppose you
have not heard the story of her raids?"

"No," replied both lads, and Jack added: "Will you tell us what
you know of her?"

"Well," began Lord Hastings, "the Emden is commanded by Captain
Karl von Mueller, a courteous gentleman and a competent officer--also,
by the way, in times of peace, a friend of mine."

"Then you know him well?" asked Frank.

"Very well," returned Lord Hastings.  "He has visited me more
than once, and I have been his guest in Berlin.  But to proceed.
The first report of the activity of the Emden was received on
August 6, when word came that the German cruiser had sunk the
steamer City of Winchester the day before.

"The Emden has contributed to the history of the war one of its
most remarkable chapters.  For sheer audacity and success it has
few parallels.  Twenty-two ships, mostly British, have been sunk
and one has been captured by this German cruiser, rightly named
'The Terror of the Sea.'

"Since early in August the Emden has been at work.  Most of this
time she has been preying on shipping in the Indian Ocean.  The
vessels destroyed by Captain von Mueller had a total value of
about $4,000,000, exclusive of their cargoes.  The Emden's
largest guns, according to the best figures obtainable, are only
4-inch, and of these she has ten.  Her speed of 24.5 knots is her
greatest asset, but the Sylph has the heels of her.  She has been
able to run down merchant ships with ease and then escape from
larger but slower vessels that pursued her.  British, Russian,
French and Japanese warships in the East have been trying for
weeks to put an end to her, but without success."

"But," Frank broke in, "how has she been able to keep to sea
month after month without replenishing her coal supply?"

"That," said Lord Hastings, "is a mystery that is as yet
unsolved.  It is assumed, however, that she has obtained
sufficient food and fuel to meet her needs from captured ships.
In at least one instance this is known to have been done.  The
captain of the British steamer Exford, captured by the Emden,
informed his owners that Captain von Mueller said that before he
sank the Exford he intended to take on board his cruiser the
7,000 tons of steam coal with which the Exford was laden."

"Captain von Mueller must indeed be a capable officer," said Jack.

"He is," said Lord Hastings.  "But to continue.  After sinking
the City of Winchester the Emden steamed into the Bay of Bengal,
five days later, and sent two more British vessels to the bottom.
Within three days she had sunk four vessels there.  She was
accompanied by the Markommania, a converted liner, as a collier.
The collier was sunk off Sumatra October 16 by a British cruiser.

"Leaving the Bay of Bengal, the Emden sank three British steamers
in the Indian Ocean on September 14.  September 22 she appeared
off Madras and shelled the city, and, extinguishing her lights,
disappeared when the forts replied.  Then she renewed her
activity in the vicinity of Rangoon, where more British ships
fell to her prey.  Where she is now I don't know."

"How large a vessel is she?" asked Jack, greatly interested.

"She has a complement Of 361 men," replied Lord Hastings.  "Her
armament, besides the ten 4-inch guns I referred to before,
consists of eight five pounders and four machine guns.  She is
also understood to be equipped with two submerged 17.7-inch
torpedo tubes.  She displaces 3,600 tons.  She is 387 feet long
and has a beam of 43 1/3 feet.  She was built in 1908.  That's
about all I can tell you about her."

"And Captain von Mueller," said Frank, "is he an elderly man?"

"No," replied Lord Hastings, "I should hardly call him that.  I
don't know his age, of course, but he is under forty.  I
understand that the Germans are bailing him as the modern Nelson
and Paul Jones, in memory of two of the greatest sea fighters of
all time."

"Well they may," declared Jack, "for he must be a man of
exceptional ability.  I should like to see him."

"So you may, with good fortune," said Lord Hastings.  "It is my
hope to see him again before he has done further damage to
England."

Lord Hastings' account of the brief history of the Emden made
quite an impression on Frank and Jack.  The brief though active
career of probably the greatest of German sea fighters interested
them greatly, as it should all young readers.

The boys talked much of the gallant German captain as the Sylph
II continued on her course from the Adriatic into the sunny
Mediterranean once more, through the Suez Canal into the Red Sea,
after a stop for coal at Port Said, and on into the warm waters
of the Indian Ocean.

And more news of the Emden was not to be long forthcoming.  Lord
Hastings had no means of knowing just in what part of the sea the
Emden might be in so, after two days of fruitless cruising, he
put into the port of Penang, on Malacca Straits.  Here Lord
Hastings received first-hand information concerning the
whereabouts of the German "Terror of the Sea."

There were two Russian cruisers, two French destroyers and one
British vessel in the harbor, under the guns of the little fort,
when the Sylph steamed in.  These vessels also had been in search
of the Emden, and had put in for coal.

The commanders of the various ships exchanged visits.  The Emden
was practically the sole topic of their conversation.  The
Russian commander had just returned aboard his own ship after a
visit to Lord Hastings.  There came a call from the lookout-on
the Sylph.

"Cruiser coming into the harbor, sir!"

Lord Hastings, Frank and Jack hurried to the bridge.

"She shows no colors," muttered Frank.  "Wonder who she is?"

"Maybe the Emden come to pay a little social call," said Jack.

"No," said Lord Hastings; "this cruiser has four smokestacks; the
Emden has but three."

"They could easily rig up another one," said Jack.

"Lord Hastings, some way I feel that all is not right."

"Nonsense," replied Lord Hastings.

There was the sound of a shot from one of the Russian cruisers.

"She'll show her colors now," said Lord Hastings.

All glanced toward the approaching vessel.  A flag was run tip
the masthead.  Lord Hastings made it out immediately.

"Japanese," he said, unconsciously breathing easier.

Slowly the cruiser came closer, heading right for the other ships
of war in the harbor.  Lord Hastings returned to his cabin and
Frank followed him.

Jack continued to gaze over the rail at the cruiser.  Suddenly,
why he never knew, he rushed hurriedly after his commander.

"I am sure that is not a Japanese cruiser, sir," he cried.  "I
don't know why, but something tells me it is an enemy."

"Nonsense," said Lord Hastings again.  "You are a bit nervous.
That's all."

"No, sir, it isn't that," replied Jack.  "I--"

He was interrupted by the boom of a single big gun followed by a
heavy outbreak of cannonading.  Lord Hastings jumped to his feet
and dashed to the bridge, Jack and Frank close at his heels.

They glanced quickly at the supposed Japanese cruiser.  But the
Japanese ensign had been hauled down, and now there floated from
the cruiser the flag of Germany!  And the cruiser's fourth smoke
stack had come down.

"The Emden!" cried Lord Hastings.

Bugles were sounding on all the allied ships, of war in the
harbor, calling the men to quarters.  Caught thus unprepared, the
allied vessels were at an immense disadvantage.

Suddenly there was a loud explosion aboard one of the Russian
cruisers, and a moment later it burst into flames.  Now the other
ships poured broadsides into the Emden, but she stuck to her
post.  One of the two French destroyers suddenly dived,
head-first, into the sea, one of the Emden's submerged torpedoes
having dealt her a deathblow.

A shell sped over the stern of the Sylph, but did no damage.
Then, calmly, almost ignoring the remaining ships of the allied
fleet, the Emden put about, and made off.  Her raid had been
successful, and it was another victory for the Kaiser.

The Emden continued to rain shells at her foes until she was out
of range.  Not minded to take any unnecessary risk, Lord Hastings
let the Emden get well out of range, before he gave the command
for the Sylph to follow.

Then, stripped for action, the Sylph set out upon the trail of
the German cruiser.

"We are on the trail at last," said Lord Hastings, "and on the
trail we'll remain until the Emden has been sent to the bottom."
He turned to Jack.  "Hereafter," he said, "I'll place faith in
your premonitions."

The Sylph kept just far enough in the rear of the Emden to be out
of range.  After three hours, it became apparent that the
commander of the German cruiser was aware that he was being
followed.  He slowed down, waiting the Sylph to come within range
and give battle.

But while Lord Hastings was a brave man, he had no idea of
accepting battle now.  For had the day gone against him, the
Emden would have been able to disappear once more.  With the
superior speed of the Sylph, Lord Hastings knew that he could
remain on the trail, using his wireless to pick up some British
vessel big enough to put an end to the "Terror of the Sea."

Accordingly, the Sylph also slowed down.  After waiting in vain
for the little scout cruiser to approach closer, the Emden again
set out on her course, at full speed.  The Sylph also quickened
her pace, and the Emden was unable to shake her off.

Then the Emden slowed down again.  So did the Sylph.  The
wireless operator approached Lord Hastings with a message.

Lord Hastings read it aloud:

"Remain where you are till I come up, or I shall sink you.
Signed, von Mueller."

Followed by the two lads Lord Hastings made his way to the
wireless room, and ticked off this message himself:

"The Emden is doomed.  Signed, Hastings."



CHAPTER XXI

ON THE TRAIL

A reply to this message was not long coming.  It read:

"Lord Hastings: Sorry you are aboard, but I must sink you."

To this Lord Hastings replied:

"It can't be done."

Now the Emden put about and headed for the Sylph.  Quickly also
the Sylph came about and headed westward.

"If he'll only follow long enough, we'll lure him into the path
of some British vessel," said Lord Hastings.

"Well," said Jack, "I don't believe he will.  As soon as he finds
he cannot overtake us, he'll continue on his way."

"And he'll try to lose us in the night," said Frank.

"That is my idea," said Lord Hastings.  "To prevent that we must
be on the alert continually.  We'll follow him for months, if
necessary.  At nights we shall have to close up a bit, and take a
chance that they cannot hit us."

It was nearing dusk when the Emden finally gave up the chase of
the Sylph as futile, and once more put about.  Immediately also
the Sylph's head came about, and she once more set out, to trail
the German.  Occasional messages were exchanged between Captain
von Mueller and Lord Hastings.

Night fell, and now the Sylph began to draw closer to her quarry.
She closed up the distance gradually, until Lord Hastings decided
that they were near enough; and this position the Sylph
maintained, her searchlight playing upon the Emden and making her
as light as day.

All night and all the following day the Sylph followed the Emden.
Several times the Emden put about, and made as if to give chase,
but on each occasion the Sylph also changed her course.  The
relative positions of the two vessels remained the same, except
that in the light of day the Sylph put more distance between her
and her quarry.

Night drew on once more, and again the Sylph approached closer.
It was plain that this remorseless pursuit was worrying the
commander of the Emden and that he did not know which way to turn
to avoid his pursuer.

Lord Hastings sniffed the air.

"Feels like there would be a fog tonight," he said.  "I hope it
is not so dense as to dim the glow of the searchlight."

But in this he was doomed to disappointment.  The fog descended,
but still those on the Sylph could dimly make out the outline of
the Emden.  But with the approach of morning, while Jack had the
bridge, the fog suddenly thickened, and blotted out the pursued
vessel entirely.

Quickly Jack summoned Lord Hastings.

Immediately Lord Hastings ordered the searchlight extinguished
and all lights on board put out.

"We don't want to let him know where we are," he said.  "I feel
absolutely certain that Captain von Mueller will double back and
try to come up upon us in the fog.  We must avoid that at all
hazards, and at the same time must so maneuver as to be near
enough to pick him up when the fog lifts."

Lord Hastings altered the course of the Sylph slightly, but
continued to go forward.  Six o'clock came and no sign of the
Emden, and then seven.  And then the fog lifted as suddenly as it
had descended, and at that moment there was the sound of a big
gun and a shell whistled over the stern of the Sylph.

A mile in the offing, having put about, was the Emden.  She had
maneuvered even as Lord Hastings had figured, and had run clear
by the Sylph in the darkness.

"Full speed ahead!" commanded Lord Hastings.

The Sylph leaped quickly forward, as the bell tinkled the signal
to the engine-room, running rapidly to get out of range of the
Emden's guns and torpedoes.

Several times, without reducing the speed of his ship, Lord
Hastings swerved in his course, and thus spoiled the aim of the
German gunners.  And then the Emden's shells began to fall short.
The Sylph was out of range.

For an hour the Emden continued her pursuit, and then once more
put about and herself became the pursued, the Sylph following
relentlessly on her heels.

It was near noon when the wireless operator aboard the Sylph
approached Lord Hastings.

"Have just picked up the Australian cruiser Sydney, sir.  I gave
him our identity and Captain Glossop pays his respects to you,
sir."

Lord Hastings jumped to action in a moment.

"Where is he now?"

The operator gave the position of the Sydney.

"A hundred miles away," mused Lord Hastings.

He led the way to the wireless room.

"Send this in code," he told the operator, handing him a slip of
paper on which he had written a few words, "and instruct him to
reply in code."

The operator did as he was commanded.

The reply was plain to Lord Hastings, himself an operator upon
occasion.

"Good!" he said to himself.

He turned to the boys.

"I gave the Sydney our position and told him we were trailing the
Emden.  He replied that he would head for us immediately; for us
to keep up the chase and keep him constantly informed of our
position."

"But don't you suppose the Emden has picked up the message, sir."

"Undoubtedly; that is why I sent it in code.  Von Mueller may
surmise what we are up to, but he cannot be sure."

That the commander of the Emden had picked up the message became
apparent a few moments later.

"Emden has signaled the Sydney her presence not needed, sir,"
said the operator, "and signed the message Hastings."

Lord Hastings scribbled rapidly.

"Send this," he ordered.

The message read:

"Disregard all communications not in code.  Emden trying to throw
you off the track."

The Sydney acknowledged the receipt of this message, and Lord
Hastings and the two lads returned to the bridge.

"What do you suppose Captain von Mueller will do now?" asked
Jack.

"Run as long as he can," replied Lord Hastings.

"However, the Sydney is considerably faster, so it is only a
question of time till we get him."

The Emden now headed east, on a course that eventually would land
her, if she maintained it, somewhere along the Malay archipelago.
The Sylph gave chase.

Continual messages were flashed between Lord Hastings and the
commander of the Australian cruiser, and it became apparent that
the latter gradually overhauling them.

Came a message to Lord Hastings from the commander of the Emden:

"Sorry you were afraid to fight it out."

Lord Hastings wired back:

"I wasn't afraid, but I will take no chance of losing you."

All day and all another night the chase continued; and it was
near noon of the following day that the lookout gave the welcome
cry:

"Ship off the stern, sir!"

Quickly all eyes were turned in the direction indicated.  A
smudge of smoke could be seen off the horizon.  Came a message
from the Sydney:

"Have sighted you."

But the Sydney was still far in the rear when land came in sight.

"What do you make it, sir?" asked Frank of Lord Hastings.

"I should say it is one of the Cocos Islands group," was the
reply.

The Emden headed straight for it.  Two hours later she landed,
and the Sylph stood off.

"Do you suppose Captain von Mueller will desert the ship or sink
her?" asked Jack.

"Not without a fight," replied Lord Hastings positively.

It was three hours later before the Emden lifted anchor and put
to sea again.  Those on board did not know it then, but a landing
party from the Emden had destroyed the wireless station on the
island while there.

Slowly but surely the Sydney overhauled the Sylph, and at length
drew up on even terms with her.  Then she forged slowly ahead,
drawing closer and closer to her prey.

Now, realizing that escape was impossible, the Emden turned.
Brought to bay, Captain von Mueller had decided to give battle.

"Will we go into action, sir?" asked Jack of Lord Hastings
eagerly.

"Not unless it is absolutely necessary," replied the commander of
the Sylph.  "The Sydney can handle the Emden alone."

Both lads were disappointed, for they had felt certain, that when
the Emden was brought to bay they would have a hand in putting an
end to her.

"Well," said Jack, "we can at least see the battle."

"Right," said Frank, and fortifying themselves with glasses, they
took posts of vantage.

Now the Emden steamed forward to meet the Sydney, and the Sylph
hove to.  The crew, relieved from duty, scattered about the
decks, seeking advantageous places to witness the encounter.

Slowly the two cruisers approached each other.

The Emden already has been described, and a few words here
concerning the Sydney will not be amiss.

The Australian cruiser Sydney carried a main battery of eight
6-inch guns, thus giving her an advantage over the German ship.
She had a complement Of 400 men.  She was 400 feet long and was
much greater in the beam than her antagonist.  She carried
several smaller guns and a number of rapid-firers.  As did the
Emden, the Sydney carried two submerged torpedoes.

Across the water came the call of a bugle, as the crew of the
Sydney made ready for action.  She was almost within range now.
There was no question but that she outranged the Emden slightly,
but the German cruiser was steaming rapidly forward to overcome
this disadvantage as quickly as possible.

Now there was a puff of smoke from the bow of the Sydney.
"Boom!" came the sound of a big gun.

The Sydney, within range at last, had opened the battle.



CHAPTER XXII

THE BATTLE

"Now for it!" cried Jack, as the first shell from the British
cruiser splashed up the water only a few yards in front of the
Emden.

A second concussion was heard and an English shell struck the
heavy armored side of the German cruiser.

The sailors and officers raised a loud cheer.  It was first blood
for the Sydney, and the sailors aboard that vessel also let out a
yell of delight.

So far the Emden had not answered the Sydney's fire.  However,
she was dashing rapidly ahead, seeking to get within range.  Two
more shells from the Sydney struck the Emden before she finally
managed to get within range, and opened fire with the 4-inch guns
in her forward turrets.

The results of the first salvos from the German guns were nil.
The range finders on the Emden had evidently not calculated
properly.  The water leaped into white sprays ahead of the
Sydney, indicating that the Emden's first fire had been wasted.

But the next attempt o the Emden met with better success.  A
solid shot struck the Sydney, squarely on the bow.  The Sydney's
armor was, too strong for the German guns at this distance,
however, and while the vessel staggered slightly, she was not
damaged to any extent.

It became apparent early in the battle that the marksmanship of
the Sydney's gunners was much superior to that of the foe.  The
range-finders were attending to their work with coolness and
precision.  The fire was deliberate and accurate.  It was slower
than that of the Emden, but far more deadly.

A shell struck upon the Emden's deck near the forward smokestack
and burst.   Iron and steel flew high in the air and came down in
a deadly hail, killing and maiming many members of the crew.
The smokestack toppled to the deck, pinioning many more beneath
it.

Quickly a squad of men sprang forward and soon cleared away the
wreckage.  But the carrying away of the smokestack now hampered
the draught of the Emden and made progress much more difficult.
Nevertheless, she still continued to pour her shells against the
armored sides of the Sydney.

Now the first shot landed among the gun crew of the Sydney,
putting one of the guns out of commission, killing three of the
crew and wounding several others.  Those three men were the only
ones killed on the Sydney in the whole course of the battle.

Suddenly those aboard the Sylph became aware that the fire of the
enemy was not as rapid as before.  The reason for this they soon
made out.   One of the forward guns of the Emden had been,
silenced by the well-directed fire of the Sydney.

A moment later another of the enemy's guns became silent--and
then another.  Up to this moment the Emden had been rushing as
rapidly as possible toward the Sydney, but now she paused in her
advance, almost stopped, swung about in a wide circle, and made
off in the other direction.

It was plain that she had had enough.  A cheer went up from the
British sailors, both on the Sydney and aboard the Sylph.  But
Captain Glossop, of the Sydney, had no mind to let his prey
escape.  The Sydney dashed in pursuit of the enemy at full speed,
and a fierce running battle ensued.

The Emden's stern guns continued to play upon the Sydney as she
made a wild dash for the distant shore.  She was headed for the
nearest point of land, and the question that now rose in the
minds of the spectators aboard the Sylph was whether the Sydney
could come up with her before she could find a certain amount of
refuge in what appeared to be a small cove.

The excitement aboard the Sylph was intense.  Men shouted and
yelled, calling words of encouragement and advice to the fellow
sailors aboard the British battle cruiser, forgetting their
voices could not be heard.

As the Emden turned and made off, Jack cried out:

"She's running!  She's liable to get away!"

"Don't you believe it!" called Frank excitedly.  "The Sydney'll
catch 'em!"

"What's the Emden heading that way for?" asked Jack of Lord
Hastings, who stood beside the lads.

"My idea is," replied the commander of the Sylph, "that von
Mueller intends to beach the ship."

"In that event will he and his men try to escape inland?"

"I suppose so."

The Sydney continued her chase, seeming to gather additional
speed at every furlong.  Her heavy shells played a merry tattoo
upon the stem and deck of the fleeing German cruiser.

But the Emden was now gradually drawing toward land.  Suddenly,
she swerved and headed straight for a huge reef that could be
seen protruding above the surface of the water.  A cry of dismay
went up from those aboard the Sylph.

But the cry was uncalled for.  For even as the Emden swerved in
her course, a British shell burst squarely upon the bridge of the
German cruiser.

At the same instant a second found 'its way through the various
compartments to the engine-room.

There was the sound of terrific explosion, and a red sheet of
flame sprang above the cruiser.  Even above the cries of battle
came the cries of German sailors, maimed and suffering horribly.

Another salvo from the Sydney put the steering apparatus of the
Emden out of commission, and now instead of steering straight for
the rocky reef, she turned her broadside toward it.

Swiftly she floated toward this dangerous projection.  Almost
helpless as she was, Captain von Mueller evidently had no thought
of surrender.  The three guns still in commission aboard the
vessel continued to hurl their messages of defiance at the
Sydney.

Suddenly rapid movements of those aboard the Emden told that one
of the submerged torpedoes, still undamaged, was about to be
launched.  Quickly the Sydney maneuvered a trifle to the left,
and the huge explosive sped on to the sea beyond, doing no
damage.  Now the second torpedo was launched, but it had no
better success.

Now the Sydney made use of her own torpedo tube, and a moment
later this engine of destruction sped through the water toward
the Emden.  There was no need for a second.  A terrible explosion
told that the torpedo had found its mark.

High above the burning cruiser a second sheet of flame flared up,
and at almost the same instant the Emden beached.  There was a
loud crunching sound as the cruiser grounded on the rocky reef
and was battered by the heavy waves against the uneven projections.

To launch the small boats in this place and make for the shore
was impossible.  The boats were launched, and the crew tumbled
in.  One made off toward the shore, but it could not live in the
fierce breakers, and in a moment disappeared.

The other boats, warned by the fate of the first, put off toward
the open sea.

"Do you suppose Captain von Mueller will remain and perish with
his ship?" asked Frank of Lord Hastings.

"I do not believe so," was the reply.  "There is no need for it.
If the ship were sinking, it would be another matter, but as you
see, it is not.  It appears to be caught hard and fast on a
ledge, and is burning up."

It was true.  Stuck suddenly fast on a rocky ledge, the Emden was
almost stationary.  Flames continued to leap on all sides of her,
and it was plainly apparent that it would not be long before they
would reach her magazine; and when they did reach it, that would
be the end.

As the German small boats headed seaward, the Sydney ceased
firing at the now helpless vessel, and bore down on them.  It was
plain that Captain Glossop was bent upon capturing the survivors.

Small boats and the Australian cruiser were now probably a mile
from the burning vessel, and the Sylph had started forward also
to pick up some of the German sailors.

At this moment the flames reached the magazine of the Emden.
There was a blinding flash, a terrific detonation.  The Emden
sprang from the sea like a thing alive, seemed to hang in the air
for a brief moment, then turned and dived head-first into the
sea.  The waters closed over her with an angry hiss, and the
German cruiser Emden, for months a terrible menace to British,
French and Russian shipping, "The Terror of the Sea," was no
more.

"A fitting end for so noble a vessel," was Lord Hastings' only
comment as the cruiser disappeared from the world's ken.

The Sylph was nearing the little flotilla of small boats, and
several were put off from the vessel to join the small craft of
the Sydney and take the surviving Germans prisoners.

Frank and Jack were in the first boat.  As they, drew closer,
Jack made out a uniformed figure in one of the German boats that
he felt sure was the commander of the Emden.

He steered his boat closer.  It was plain that there would be no
further resistance from the Germans, and Jack finally managed to
steer his boat alongside that of Captain von Mueller.

The latter made no protest when Jack ordered him to step aboard
the Sylph's small boat, and did so without a word.  Immediately,
the little craft turned about and put back to the Sylph, leaving
the other small craft to attend to the rest of the German
survivors.

Of the Emden's crew Of 361 officers and men, there were less than
75 left alive.  Dead and wounded alike had gone to a deep-sea
grave when the German cruiser took her death plunge.

Lord Hastings stood at the rail of the Sylph as the little boat
drew alongside.

Jack and Frank clambered over the side of the ship ahead of the
German commander and, with Lord Hastings, stood waiting to
receive him.



CHAPTER XXIII

CAPTAIN VON MUELLER

As Captain von Mueller clambered over the rail, Lord Hastings
advanced to meet him with outstretched hand.

"It is indeed a pleasure to receive you aboard the Sylph!" he
exclaimed, with real pleasure in his voice.

Captain von Mueller grasped the outstretched hand and wrung it
heartily.

"And I am glad to see you," he returned quietly, "though I would
rather it were under more fortunate circumstances.  But the
battle is over and with your permission, we will not refer to it
again."

"Agreed," replied Lord Hastings, and led the way to his cabin,
motioning for Captain von Mueller, Frank and Jack to follow.

He introduced the lads to the great German commander, and the
latter expressed his pleasure at seeing them.  At this moment the
third officer entered and spoke to Lord Hastings.

"Launch from the Sydney coming alongside, sir," he said.

"Show Captain Glossop here when he comes aboard," he said.

The third officer withdrew.  He appeared again a moment later,
however, followed by the commander of the Sydney.  Introductions
followed.

"Captain von Mueller," said Lord Hastings at length, "it will be
necessary for me to turn you over to Captain Glossop.  You will
go with him aboard the Sydney.  Were I returning direct to
England, it would give me pleasure to have you accompany me.
However, the Sydney will go straight back to Melbourne, and you
will be taken there and held as a prisoner of war."

Captain von Mueller signified his understanding of the situation.
He expressed pleasure at having met Lord Hastings again, and that
the fortunes of war had made him the prisoner of such gallant
Englishmen.

After some further talk, Captain von Mueller and Captain Glossop
disappeared over the side of the Sylph, and put off toward the
Sydney.  Before either vessel proceeded on its way, several
further messages were exchanged between the commanders of the
Sydney and the Sylph; but at length the Sydney began to draw away
toward the east.

"And so," said Lord Hastings to the two lads, as they stood
leaning over the rail, after the Sylph was once more under way,
"so goes the 'German Terror of the Sea.'"

The Sylph now turned her head once more to the west, and started
on her journey back toward the Mediterranean.  She steamed along
slowly, Lord Hastings, greatly satisfied with the success of his
mission, being in no particular hurry.  They put in at Ceylon for
coal; then once more resumed their journey.

It was the second day after leaving Ceylon that the lookout made
a startling discovery.

"Submarine off the starboard bow, sir!" he called.

Instantly there was excitement on board the Sylph, for there was
no telling whether the submarine were friend or foe.  At length
those on the bridge were able to make out the periscope of the
vessel, close to the water.  And at this very moment it stood
higher and higher in the water.  The submarine was coming to the
surface.

The Sylph had been quickly stripped for action, for Lord
Hastings had determined to give battle should the submarine prove
to be an enemy.  All available guns were turned upon the spot
where the submarine was rising.

But hardly had the under-sea craft come to the surface than a
British ensign was run up.

Lord Hastings breathed easier.

"Good!" he exclaimed.  "I wouldn't care much to encounter a
submarine."

The commander of the submarine, Captain Nicholson, came aboard
the Sylph to pay his respects to Lord Hastings.

"I suppose you are aware," he said during the course of the
conversation, "that Turkey has declared war on England, France
and Russia?"

"What!" cried Lord Hastings.  "Turkey has declared war!  I hadn't
heard of it."

"Well, it's true, nevertheless," replied Captain Nicholson.

Lord Hastings smiled grimly.

"I guess it will be 'The Sick Man of Europe's' last illness," he
said pointedly.

Captain Nicholson laughed.

"It will," he said briefly.

"But what are you doing in these waters?" asked Lord Hastings,
having already explained his own presence there.

"Well," said Captain Nicholson, "I understand that there are at
least three Turkish cruisers anchored in the mouth of the
Euphrates, in the Persian gulf.  I suppose they are there to
protect Bassora, about 70 miles up the river, from possible
attacks.  I had thought of attempting to sink them."

"What, alone?" said Lord Hastings.

The captain of the submarine shrugged his shoulders.

"Why not?" he wanted to know.

"Well," said Lord Hastings, "it's a desperate venture, but if you
are successful, it will be a feather in your cap."

"I'm not looking for glory," replied Captain Nicholson.  "But I
would give my right arm to destroy those Turkish cruisers,
guarded as they are by a fort.  And I mean to have a try at it."

"I'd like to go with you," said Lord Hastings, "but the Sylph
would be worse than useless in such an encounter."

"True," said Captain Nicholson.  "But I have an idea.  Have you
ever been aboard a submarine in action?"

"I have been aboard many submarines, yes," replied Lord Hastings,
"but one in action, no."

"Then why not come with me?"

"I would like to," said Lord Hastings, "but what of the Sylph?"

"Your first officer could take command until you returned."

"No," said Lord Hastings, "it can't be done."  He was struck with
a sudden idea, and turned to Jack and Frank.  "How would you two
lads like to make such an excursion?" he asked.

"We would like nothing better, sir," replied Frank.

"Indeed, we would like it immensely," agreed Jack.

Lord Hastings turned again to Captain Nicholson.

"Why not take these two lads as substitutes for me?" he asked.

The commander of the submarine looked somewhat dubious.

"Oh, I'll guarantee they won't be in the way," said Lord Hastings
with a laugh, and he proceeded to relate to the astounded
commander some of the things the lads had already accomplished.

Captain Nicholson arose, and took each lad by the hand.

"I shall account it an honor to have you with me,"' he said
quietly.

"So be it, then," said Lord Hastings.  "I shall remain here with
the Sylph until you return."

Both lads thanked Lord Hastings heartily for giving them this
opportunity of seeing something of under-the-sea fighting aboard
a British vessel.

"How soon do you plan to start?" Lord Hastings inquired of
Captain Nicholson.

"Immediately," replied the commander of the submarine Y-3.

"And how long do you figure it will be before you can return
here?"

"Not more than thirty-six hours."

Lord Hastings turned to the two lads.

"You had better take a few clothes with you," he told then.  "Do
you prepare now, while I have a few words with Captain Nicholson."

The lads hastened to their own quarters, and rapidly threw a few
belongings together, so anxious were they to be off.

"Lord Hastings is a brick!" exclaimed Jack.

"I should say he is!" agreed Frank.  "He agrees to wait in this
outlandish spot two days just to give us this opportunity.  How
many other commanders do you suppose there are who would go to
all that trouble?"

"Not many," replied Jack dryly.

"I guess not.  Are you ready;"'

"Yes."

"Come on then, let's go back to Lord Hastings' cabin."

Captain Nicholson was already on his feet, ready to go, when the
lads re-entered the commander's cabin.

"I see it didn't take you long," he observed.

"We are very anxious to go, sir," Jack explained.

"They are always quick and prompt," said Lord Hastings.

"An excellent trait," commended Captain Nicholson.

Lord Hastings accompanied Captain Nicholson and the two lads to
the rail.

"All you two lads have to do," he said, "is to, look on.  You are
not supposed to do any fighting, just keep out of everybody's way
and make no trouble.  Also, keep out of mischief."

"Very well, sir," replied Jack.

The three clambered over the rail and dropped into the little
boat that was rising and falling gently with the swell of the
waves on the sea below.

Quickly the launch put off toward the submarine.

Lord Hastings raised his voice and shouted after them.

"I'll wait here until you return.  Don't be gone any longer than
you can help."

"We'll be back within the time I mentioned," Captain Nicholson
called back.

Lord Hastings signified that he was satisfied, and waved his hand
to the departing boat.

Jack and Frank waved in return.



CHAPTER XXIV

UNDER THE SEA AGAIN

"I have not yet told the men what I propose to do," Captain
Nicholson informed the boys, ass they made their way aboard the
Y-3.

Captain Nicholson introduced the lads to the man at the helm.

"Old Jansen," he said with a flourish of his arm.

The boys acknowledged this introduction, and Old Jansen touched
his cap.

"Jansen," said the commander, "we are going to attack the Turkish
battleships at the mouth of the Euphrates."

The old man let out a siren-like yell, and turned crimson all
over his pink and white face.

Captain Nicholson turned the submarine over to him, and, followed
by the two lads, made his way below.

"I never knew eighteen throats could make so much noise," said
Frank to Jack, after the crew had been informed of their project.

And it was indeed a terrific noise the men made when they learned
they were about to go into action.

"The 'subs' aren't like the big ships," Captain Nicholson
explained.  "With such a small crew I know the men personally,
and I know I can count on each and every one of them, particularly
Old Jansen, and Brown, the gunner's mate.  I need not caution the
engine-room crew for special watchfulness.  Every oiler aft knows
a warm bearing would condemn him forever in the eyes of his
shipmates."

A few moments more and the submarine was racing along toward the
mouth of the Euphrates, where the enemy was known to be.  Just as
dusk was setting in, Brown, the gunner's mate, reported an
aeroplane to leeward.  Captain Nicholson, Jack and Frank, who
stood on the bridge, could just make it out with binoculars.

"I hate to use any electricity out of my batteries now," said
Captain Nicholson, "for it is likely to be very precious later.
However, I don't want to run chances of being discovered.  We'll
dive."

The three made their way below.  The entrance was hermetically
closed, and soon the tanks were being filled.  A moment later the
Y-3 began to submerge.

At a depth of 60 feet Captain Nicholson trimmed down, and f or an
hour the vessel ran along at eight knots, the commander wishing
to make sure of complete darkness before coming up.

"How do you manage to keep your course under water, captain?"
asked Frank.

"Simple," was the reply.  "Gyroscopic compass."

At that moment the man on watch at the bell receiver reported the
sound of a ship's propellers above.  Captain Nicholson turned his
place at the periscope over to his first officer and listened
himself.

The steady rhythmic beat was well off the port bow.

At Captain Nicholson's command, the main ballast tank was emptied
until the conning tower was well awash.  Then the commander,
Frank and Jack went up to have a look around, for the airship, as
well as for the vessel.

"Those sky pilots," said the commander, "maintain that they can
see us and get us with bombs at any depth.  However, I see
nothing of our friend.  Looks like he had lost his bet this
time."

They returned below, and Frank put his eye to the periscope.

Almost instantly he made out the outline of large vessel of some
kind.  He reported this to Captain Nicholson, who brushed him
quickly aside and peered into the periscope himself.

"Merchant vessel of some kind," he said aloud.  "We haven't time
to fool with him now.  May be able to get him as we come back."

Once more now the three made their way to the bridge.  The clouds
had gradually thickened and it was very dark.

"I wish it would rain," mused Captain Nicholson, "or that we
would at least have a dull sunrise, for it will be better suited
for our work.  Brown says he's sure we'll be favored with
suitable weather because of the righteousness of our cause; but I
am pinning my faith to the barometer, which has already fallen
two points."

"Well, I hope everything goes all right," said Jack.

"It will," said the commander grimly.  "You can bank on that,
son.  Might as well give the men a little rest," he added.

He poked his head down and called out:

"Turn in and pipe down!"

Then the commander and the two lads stood watch on the bridge.

At 2 o'clock, according to the captain's reckoning, the submarine
was well off the mouth of the Euphrates.

"Can we find our way in by the navigation lights?" asked Frank.

"Not much," replied Captain Nicholson.  "We'll stand off and on
near where I place the shore line till we have daylight enough to
see what we are about.  Anyhow, I don't suppose there will be any
lights, or if there are, they will likely be misplaced, to lure
somebody to death."

Now the commander went below and bent over the charts for perhaps
the hundredth time.

"About two miles off yet!" he muttered.

The chart gave the bottom on the sandbar in front of the entrance
as shell and hard sand.

"Lucky," Captain Nicholson told the boys when he returned to the
bridge.  "This will allow us to run with very little under our
keel in no fear of rocks."

"Is it very deep along here?" asked Jack.

"No," replied the commander.  "That's what worries me.  The chart
shows a bare six and a half fathoms over the bar, continuing
slightly deeper until it sheers off into the deep basin that is
the inner harbor."

"And how much water does the Y-3 draw?"' asked Frank.

"From the top of her periscope to the bottom of her keel,"
replied Captain Nicholson, "the Y-3 displaces exactly 20 feet.
It will be ticklish work to navigate in those six and a half
fathoms (39 feet) without being drawn down by suction and
striking bottom so hard as to rebound up to the surface, where
the Turks are sure to see us."

At 4:30 o'clock in the morning there was light enough to make out
the small gray fort guarding the entrance to the Euphrates.  The
submarine did not lie more than a mile away.

"It's up to us to get out of sight before the fort watchers see
us," said Captain Nicholson.

Being satisfied of how far his run should be and verifying his
course by the compass while still on the surface, Captain
Nicholson quickly ordered the vessel trimmed down to a depth of
60 feet, and then started forward at about four knots--as low a
speed as was consistent with good handling.

"Lucky it's high tide; just beginning to ebb," said Captain
Nicholson.  "We'll find all the water on the bar that is ever
there."

There was to be no more sleep now on the Y-3.  From the gunner's
mate down every man of the crew was on the qui vive.

As the submarine neared where the bar was charted, it came up
till the pressure gauge showed only ten feet of water above.

"Ten feet to hide us from the forts' lookouts and guns,"
explained Captain Nicholson.

Suddenly there was a jar that stirred all on board off their
feet.  There was a sensation of sinking.  As previously
instructed, the diving rudder man immediately gave the submarine
up-rudder.  Captain Nicholson ordered full speed ahead, although
he knew it would mean that the vessel's periscope would show,
giving the enemy a good look at the vessel.

"If we hadn't come up," said Captain Nicholson, "we would have
been sucked down solidly into the sand, and good-bye to our
chances at those men-o-war inside."

He was silent a moment and then added: "This is what I call tough
luck.  We shall have to porpoise."

In a second the submarine was again down in the deep basin beyond
the bar.  The vessel hadn't been up long enough for the commander
even to get a look around.

"Here's where we get busy," said Captain Nicholson.  "It's up to
us to rush the work along before the men in the fort, who must
have seen us, can take measures against us."

The submarine ran along at a speed of ten knots at a depth of
forty feet and in almost no time at all had covered the mile from
the entrance to where the men-of-war lay.

"Now's the time," said Commander Nicholson.

Quickly the torpedoes, 18-inch superheaters, were placed in the
tubes.  It only remained to arise, sight the enemy and fire.

Quickly the little vessel rose until her periscope gave the
commander a view of the first Turkish cruiser.  The commander
gave the word for a quick rise and the submersion, and took a
firm grip on the periscope.

Through the spray that broke, the keen eyes of the commander made
out the form of his first target.  There, on the port side of the
submarine, was a large Turkish cruiser, stern to.

Midstream, to starboard, lay a light cruiser of the first class,
and 800 yards up the basin, between the two, a small armored
cruiser.

The flat country was thickly veiled with mist and a drizzling
rain.  A choppy sea added to the chances of making the first
attack on the Turks unobserved.

Captain Nicholson steered a course straight to the starboard side
of the first Turkish cruiser, to launch the torpedo just forward
of amidships at a distance of about 300 yards.

The lookout on the cruiser had not picked up the submarine.
Captain Nicholson saw an officer at the stern, sighting the fort
with his glass.  The Y-3 crept on unnoticed.

Suddenly a seaman on the forecastle of the cruiser made out the
periscope of the submarine, waved his cap frantically and ran
toward an officer.

All this, as it progressed, Captain Nicholson repeated to the
lads, who stood just behind him.

Jack glanced at the range scale.  It read 349 yards.

The cross wires of the periscope were on her middle funnel.
Captain Nicholson jerked the firing valve for No. 1 torpedo.
There was a hiss of air and a rush of water.

The first torpedo had been launched!



CHAPTER XXV

A SUCCESSFUL RAID

Without pausing to learn the effect of the first shot, Captain
Nicholson sent the submarine below with a lurch, ordered the helm
hard a-starboard and made for mid-channel, where he knew the
second first-class cruiser lay at anchor, stern to and nosing the
strong ebb-tide.

All members of the crew, as well as Frank and Jack, were
jubilant.  The men insisted that they had heard a roar that meant
the explosion of the cruiser, though this was highly improbable.
Jack and Frank had heard nothing, and they turned to Captain
Nicholson.

"Did you hit her, sir?" asked Jack eagerly.

"Sure," was the reply.  "The shot couldn't have failed to go
home."

But the work was only one-third done, even less than that, when
the fact that the submarine had to get out of the harbor again is
considered.

The submarine, well down, now ran across the harbor at an angle,
aiming to come up to the starboard of the second cruiser.
Captain Nicholson explained his reason for doing this:

"I figure they will expect us on the side nearest the first
cruiser," he said.  "Therefore, I believe we stand a fair chance
of surprising them by attacking on the starboard.  At the same
time, we will have our movements masked from the third and
smaller cruiser by our second victim itself."

This sounded reasonable to the two lads, but they made no
comment.

To foster an appearance of an attack off the second cruiser's
port side, Captain Nicholson let go a decoy periscope to float
with the tide's decided sweep to the left shore and draw the fire
of the enemy in that direction.

Slowly the submarine advanced, and presently those on board could
hear the unmistakable boom of heavy guns.  The ruse had
succeeded, and the cruisers and guns of the fort were aiming at
the spot in the water where the decoy periscope led them to
believe the submarine was floating.

The submarine rose so that the periscope took in the scene above
the water.  Captain Nicholson, glancing through the instrument,
saw that he was at least 500 yards to the starboard of the second
cruiser.  Under full speed, the Y-3 ran straight up to her
enemy's bow.

The periscope, protruding above the water, was quickly sighted by
the cruiser, but before the vessel's guns could be brought to
bear, Captain Nicholson released the second torpedo.  Immediately
the Y-3 dived again.

But before the submarine had entirely disappeared under the
water, there came a loud roaring boom.  The second torpedo had
gone home.

"Magazine must have gone too," said Captain Nicholson briefly.

Frank and Jack glanced curiously at the members of  the crew.
Not at all nervous themselves, they were nevertheless surprised
at the apparent coolness of the British sailors.

Captain Nicholson noticed the expression on their faces, and took
time to remark:

"I suppose we should all be thinking with pity of the dead and
dying above us, but when you're a hundred feet or so below, the
shots and cries of battle are neither exciting nor gruesome."

The gallant commander was now steering a course for the third of
the Turkish cruisers.

"Guess I won't go so close this time," he remarked.  "I'll fire
at longer range, so we won't have so far to go among the wreckage
of all three when we leave."

Ten minutes, later the submarine came within the desired range,
unobserved by the cruiser, which was lowering her boats to go to
the help of the others.  Captain Nicholson stood with his hand on
the toggle of the firing valve, reading the range scale.

Suddenly there was a terrific shock.  Every man on board the
submarine was knocked off his feet, and the submarine went
rapidly to the bottom.  Jack was knocked unconscious by the
suddenness and force of the shock.

When he opened his eyes again, Frank was bending over him.

"What's the matter?" he gasped.

"Shot hit us, I guess," was Frank's calm reply.

The lad was right.  Two small Turkish gunboats, whose presence in
the harbor was not known to Captain Nicholson, had approached the
scene of battle, and making out the submarine's periscope, had
opened on her with the big guns.  One shot had gone true, and it
was this that had sent the Y-3 careening to the bottom.

"Are we going to sink?" asked Jack.

"We've already sunk," replied Frank.  "Whether we'll get to the
surface again or not I don't know."

The lads heard the hiss of air through the vent in the manifold.
Brown was letting water into the ballast tank to keep the
submarine down.  He turned as Captain Nicholson walked over to
him.

"They got our periscopes, I think," he said coolly.  "But our
torpedo went just the same!"

Sure enough the tube was empty.  The force of the shock had
caused Captain Nicholson to launch the torpedo before he was
ready, and there was no knowing whether it had been aimed true or
not.

The commander now took account of the casualties.  One of the men
had an ugly gash across his forehead from being thrown against a
stanchion, another had a bleeding and probably broken nose.
Brown applied first aid to the injured, while Captain Nicholson
got the submarine under way again and headed for the mouth of the
harbor.

"I wonder if that last torpedo went home," said Frank.  "Do you
suppose it did, captain?"

"I don't know," was the reply.  "We are blind now, our periscope
having been shot away, and there is no way of telling without
going to the surface and exposing ourselves to gunfire."

"Is there any danger of our being sunk?" asked Jack.

"Danger!" he repeated.  "You bet there's danger.  Still, thanks
to a tight hull and a true compass, we have a fighting chance."

The Y-3 was now making ten knots, for, as Captain Nicholson said,
"there was no use wasting time and giving the enemy time to plant
a barrier."

Still five hundred yards from the sandbar which must be crossed,
there was a jar, a moaning, grinding sound, and the motors went
instantly dead.  From the battery compartment there was a rush of
water into the living quarters.

It was but the work of a moment for the crew to "dog down" the
doors of that compartment to segregate the damage and prevent the
flooding of other compartments.  But even then, the Y-3 was in a
bad way, and all on board realized it.

"I guess we are gone this time," said Frank quietly to Jack.

"Looks like it," was Jack's cool reply.  "However, while there is
life there is hope."

Captain Nicholson noticed the look of anxiety on the lads' faces.

"Don't you worry," he said cheerily.  "We'll get out of here
yet."

But now the deadliest foe of the submarine was at work--chlorine
gas.  The action of the salt water on the sulphuric acid
of the battery cells was generating it with fatal quickness.
Already the boys could feel a deadly burning sensation in their
throats and noses.

Fifteen minutes of that atmosphere would have left all on board
the submarine gasping and stifling sixty feet below the fresh air
that meant life.  There was but one thing to do--come to the
surface and run for it in the face of the fort.

Captain Nicholson realized that it would be the end if the upper
exhaust of No. 3 cylinder failed now, for with the electric
engines gone, running on the surface with the Diesels was the
only hope.  He acted on the instant.

The submarine rose rapidly to the surface, and when well awash,
the engines were started at full speed.  The hatches were opened
and the ventilating fans started, blowing out the gases and
letting in the cold, damp air.  All on board drew a  breath of
this invigorating air, and then Captain Nicholson turned his
attention to escaping from beneath the big guns of the fort.

From his place in the conning tower he cold plainly see the
activity of the fort when the lookout made out the submarine.
Now the two lads, at a sign from the commander, joined him.

Glancing in the direction he pointed, they made out the fighting
tops of the first two cruisers, victims of the submarine's daring
raid, just reaching out of the water.  The third cruiser was
afloat, but from her heavy list to starboard, it was plain that
she was badly damaged and sinking fast.

The fort was getting the range now, and shells fell all around
the Y-3.  One struck the water nearby, hurling water over the
conning tower and drenching the three who stood there.

"Well," said Captain Nicholson, "they may get us, but we got
three of them."

"And there is some satisfaction in that, anyhow," said Frank.

"You bet there is," Jack agreed.

The submarine was halfway across the bar, and had not been hit,
and every instant meant that much more chance for life.  The
helmsman stuck nobly to his post, head down, and without a look
at the fort. The submarine shook and trembled with the vibrations
of the hard-pushed engines, straining to get the submarine to
deep water.

The gallant lads in the engine-room were doing their best.  A
shell from long range, with most of its force expended, glanced
off the port bow of the submarine, carrying away the towing
pennant.  The nose of the Y-3 ducked under a bit, but came up
serenely in half a second.

The commander of the vessel, perceiving deep water ahead, encouraged
the helmsman with a cry.  Already the vessel was almost over the bar.
The fire from the fort was decreasing.  Only the longer range guns
could come into play now.

Looking back, the lads saw two destroyers racing in the wake of
the submarine, preceded by a small gunboat.

The first shells of the gunboat whizzed by the submarine.
Captain Nicholson slammed down the hatch.

"Water armor for us!" he cried.

A moment later the submarine was on the safe haven of the bottom
with 100 feet of solid protecting water between it and hostile
shells.

"That was pretty ticklish," said Frank, drawing a breath when
they were out of reach of the gunboat's fire.

"It was," was the commander's response, "and we are not safe yet
by any means."

"Why--?" began Frank.

"We can't go up again now, can we?" demanded Captain Nicholson.
"We shall have to stay down here until they believe we have
escaped.  Then we will rise and try to sneak out."

"But surely we are safe enough down here."

"Don't you believe it.  They'll trawl for us all day; but luckily
for us they don't know we have lost our batteries, so they'll
probably search over a wide area, and we run that much more
chance of not being discovered."

"But surely no shell would reach us here," said Frank.

"No," replied the commander grimly, "but if they discover us,
they are likely to dump a few barge loads of pig iron or
something down on us and crush our steel plating."

But the submarine was not discovered by the enemy and remained
below the water all the rest of the day "went to sleep on the
bottom," as the phrase goes.  And that is what literally was
done, for all on board were tired out.

An hour after sunset, the Y-3 came once more to the surface.
There was no sign of an enemy.  The sky was still banked with
heavy clouds, and there was a choppy sea running.

Captain Nicholson started to run for safety at full speed ahead.
Having no batteries for submerged running now, the Y-3 had to
remain on top of the water, or else sink to the bottom and lie
still; and for this reason Captain Nicholson kept prepared for a
quick submersion.

Mines were the worst dangers the Y-3 bad to encounter now, and a
careful watch was kept and the speed of the vessel reduced.
Twice the vessel was picked up by the searchlight on the fort,
and each time submerged.

But the engines stood up well, and at last Captain Nicholson said
quietly to the two lads:

"Well, we're safe at last."

"Good," said Frank, "but I wouldn't have missed this experience
for a fortune."

"Nor I," declared Frank.

"You take my advice," said Captain Nicholson, as he headed the
Y-3 for the spot where they had left the Sylph almost 40 hours
before, "and stay on the top.  Don't spend any more time on a
submarine than you have to."



CHAPTER XXVI

CRUISING AGAIN

It seemed long hours to Frank and Jack before they once more made
out the form of the Sylph, still cruising slowly to and fro close
to where they had left her nearly two days before.  The submarine
drew up to her rapidly, and soon Captain Nicholson ordered a
small boat launched.

Into this climbed first a seaman, then Captain Nicholson and
Frank and, Jack.  Lord Hastings greeted the boys warmly as they
dropped over the rail of the Sylph.

"I was beginning to fear something bad gone wrong," he said.  "I
certainly am glad to see you back safe and sound.  Was the raid a
success?"

"It was indeed," replied Frank.

"Three Turkish cruisers sent to the bottom," said Jack briefly.

"Good!" cried Lord Hastings enthusiastically.  "And the submarine
wasn't damaged, eh?"

"Oh, yes, it was," broke in Captain Nicholson, and proceeded to
relate the details of the encounter.

"And how did the two lads behave themselves?" questioned Lord
Hastings.

"Admirably," was Captain Nicholson's reply.  "We were in a pretty
ticklish situation for a moment, but they never lost their
nerve."

The lads blushed at this praise.

"Well," said Captain Nicholson, after some further talk, "I guess
I shall have to say good-bye."

He shook hands all around, and was soon on his way back to his
own vessel.  Immediately the Sylph was got under way, and
proceeded on her course westward.  But she had gone hardly a mile
when the wireless operator rushed up to Lord Hastings, and handed
him a message.

"Relayed by the Gloucester and Terror, Sir," he said.

Lord Hastings read the message:

"Strong German squadron somewhere off coast of South America.
British fleet on watch.  Get in touch."

The message was signed by Winston Spencer Churchill, first Lord
of the Admiralty.

Lord Hastings pursed his lips and whistled expressively.

"Another long cruise," he said briefly.

Soon the Sylph's head was turned toward the South, and for
several days thereafter she pursued her uneventful way down the
coast of South Africa.  Rounding the Cape of Good Hope, she
steamed straight for the distant coast of South America.

Lord Hastings stopped to coal once or twice, and so it was some
days before the lookout picked up, land ahead.

"Should be the Argentine coast, if we have not drifted off our
course," Lord Hastings informed the two lads.

He was right, and the following day the Sylph put in at one of
the small South American ports for coal.

"We'll have the ship looked over a bit," said Lord Hastings.  "We
are permitted to stay in this, port 24 hours, and at the
expiration of that time we must leave or be interned."

It was in this place that Lord Hastings and the members of the
Sylph's crew learned of the disaster that had overtaken several
British cruisers in those parts.  Here, for the first time, they
heard of the defeat of a small British squadron by the Germans,
and of the death of Admiral Sir Christopher Craddock, who had
gone down fighting to the last.

"Never fear," said Lord Hastings, "Sir Christopher's loss shall
be avenged, and that shortly, or I am badly mistaken."

The following day the Sylph put to sea again, and headed down the
Argentine coast.

It was late the next afternoon, when the wireless operator aboard
the Sylph picked up a message.

"German squadron some place near, sir," he said laconically, as
he handed a message to Lord Hastings.

The commander of the Sylph glanced at the message.  In regular
maritime code, it read:

"Close in."

"I haven't been able to pick up the position of the ship that
sent that, sir," the operator volunteered.

"If you can do so," said Lord Hastings, "let me know
immediately."

"Do you know what German ships are supposed to be in these
waters?"  Jack asked of Lord Hastings.

"Why, yes," was the latter's reply.  "The armored cruisers
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau, the former the flagship of Admiral
Count von Spee, and the protected cruisers Leipzig, Dresden and
Nurnberg.  Why?"

"Well," Jack explained, "judging by the message just picked up,
they must be separated.  Couldn't we, by representing ourselves
as one of these vessels, possibly pick up a little useful
information?"

"By Jove!" said Lord Hastings.  "We could."

"But how are we to know which ship sent that message?" asked
Frank.  "We wouldn't want to make a mistake, and we might try to
pass ourselves off as the very cruiser that flashed that
message."

"The message was undoubtedly sent from the flagship," said Lord
Hastings, "so we are safe enough there.  Come with me."

He led the way to the wireless room, where the operator was
making unsuccessful efforts to pick up more messages from the
air.

Now, at Lord Hastings' direction, he tapped his key.

"Scharnhorst!  Scharnhorst!" the instrument called through the
air.

There was no reply, and the call was repeated.

"Scharnhorst!  Scharnhorst!"

A moment later and there was a faint clicking of the Sylph's
apparatus.  The call was being answered.  The operator wrote it
off.

"What ship is that?  Admiral von Spee orders all to close in,"
and the exact position of the German flagship was given.

"'Dresden!" flashed back Lord Hastings.  "Signed, Koehler."

"I happen to know Captain Koehler commands the Dresden," Lord
Hastings confided to the boys.

He sent another message to the German admiral:

"Where are you headed?"

"Falkland Islands," came back the answer.

"To attack the British?" was the message Lord Hastings sent
through the air.

"Will sink one British ship in harbor and destroy Wireless
plant," was the answer to this query.

"Good!" said Lord Hastings to the lads.  "We now know his
objective point, and if we could pick up the English fleet we
would be prepared to receive them."

"Is there a British fleet in these waters?" asked Jack, in some
surprise.

"Yes," replied the commander of the Sylph.  "Vice Admiral Sir
Frederick Sturdee, chief of the war staff, is hereabouts with a
powerful fleet.  The fact has been generally kept a secret, but I
am in possession of that much information."

"Do you make the Germans' position closer to the Falkland Islands
than ours?" asked Frank.

"No," replied Lord Hastings.  "Judging by the action of the
wireless, I should say we are fifty miles closer."

"Then," said Frank, "why cannot we make a dash for the Islands?
We can put in there and give warning.  Besides, it may be that
some of the British fleet is near there."

"A good idea," replied Lord Hastings.  "It shall be acted upon at
once."

Under full speed the Sylph dashed forward toward the Islands.

"I don't expect we shall pick up the Falklands before morning,"
said Lord Hastings, "and we shall have to keep a sharp lookout
tonight, for we are likely to bump into a German cruiser prowling
about here some place."

"Scharnhorst trying to raise the Dresden again," said the
wireless operator to Lord Hastings, with a grin.

"Let her try," replied Lord Hastings.  "Guess Admiral von Spee
will think it funny he gets no reply, but he'll think it funnier
still when he finally does raise the Dresden and learns that it
was not she who answered his other call."

And it was not long until the real Dresden did reply.  The
Sylph's operator picked up the messages that were exchanged.

"Dresden, Koehler!" came the response to one of the flagship's
calls.

"What is the matter?" came the query.  "Why did you cease
communicating?"

"Don't understand," was the reply.  "Have not communicated with
you before."

"Didn't you acknowledge my call fifteen minutes ago?"

"No!"

Even the ticking of the wireless instrument now grew nervous, and
it was plain that the sender was laboring under stress.

"Received message signed 'Dresden, Koehler, fifteen minutes ago,"
came from the flagship.  "Did you send it?"

"No," was the reply flashed back.  "Picked you up now for the
first time."

"Enemy must have picked up call and answered then," flashed the
flagship.  "Heed only code messages in future, and answer in
kind."

Thereafter, although the operator picked up the messages passing
between the two ships, they were only a jumble.  In spite of all
attempts of Lord Hastings and the two lads to decipher the code,
they remained in ignorance of further communication between the
enemy's ships.

"Well," said Lord Hastings.  "We have scared them up a little
bit, anyhow."

"I should say we have," replied Jack.  "They don't know whether
we are one or a dozen."

"But," said Frank, "they probably will make for the Falklands now
faster than ever."

"Right," replied Lord Hastings, "and it's up to us to get there
well ahead of them."

"Other cruisers coming within zone, sir," reported the wireless
operator.

"Can you make out their conversation?" inquired Lord Hastings.

"No, sir," was the reply.  "They have reported to the flagship,
and after being warned, have continued in code."

"Did you pick up their identities?"

"Yes, sir.  Besides the Dresden, the Gneisenau, Leipzig and
Nurnberg have reported."

"That's all of 'em," said Lord Hastings dryly, "and they make a
pretty powerful squadron.  Here's where we have to begin to
hustle."

The Sylph seemed to go forward even faster than before.



CHAPTER XXVII

TRAPPING THE ENEMY

"Land ahead!" came the cry of the lookout.

It was now early morning, and Lord Hastings, Jack and Frank stood
on the bridge taking a breath of the fresh, invigorating air.

Glasses were quickly leveled, and soon the distant shore was made
out.

"What port are we making for, sir?" asked Jack.

"Port Stanley," was Lord Hastings' reply.

Rapidly the Sylph steamed on, and finally, rounding into the
little harbor, they made out a welcome and unexpected sight.
Frank and Jack cried out in surprise, and even Lord Hastings was
moved to an expression of wonder.

In the little harbor, screened from the sea, riding gently on the
swell of the tide, were eight British ships of war!

"Oh, my!" exclaimed Frank joyfully, doing a little clog dance on
the bridge, "won't we give it to the Germans now!"

Jack was equally as enthusiastic, though he was not given to such
outbursts of emotion, being naturally more quiet.

"It looks like the end of the German squadron to me," he said
simply.

As the Sylph steamed into the little harbor, one of the British
war vessels turned slightly, and a shell screamed over the
Sylph's bow.

"Want to know who we are," explained Lord Hastings.

The British ensign was quickly run up, and there followed a loud,
cheer from the sailors of the fleet.

On the ship closest to shore flew the flag of Vice Admiral
Sturdee.

"I guess I had better pay my respects to the admiral at once,"
said, Lord Hastings.  "Would you boys care to come with me?"

"Nothing would please us more," replied Frank, speaking for both.

The Sylph steamed close to the British fleet, and then the three
put off for the flagship in a small boat.  Aboard, they were
shown immediately to the admiral's cabin, where the nearness of
the German squadron was rapidly related.

"Fortunate!" cried Admiral Sturdee.  "I feared I would have to
chase them all over the sea.  I didn't expect them to come to me.
Have you a plan to suggest, Lord Hastings?"

"I fear, Sir Frederick," replied Lord Hastings, "that if you put
to sea to give battle, the Germans will turn and flee upon
recognizing the power of the British fleet."

"True," mused the admiral.

"May I offer a suggestion, Sir Frederick?" asked Jack.

The admiral glanced at the lad sharply, but Jack bore up bravely
under the close scrutiny.

"Speak, sir," ordered the admiral.

"Then I would suggest, sir," said Jack, "that one of your
cruisers be sent out so the enemy may be able to get a bare
glimpse of her.  Believing that she is alone, they undoubtedly
will approach to attack.  Let the cruiser, retiring slowly, give
battle.  When she has drawn the enemy close enough, the remainder
of the fleet can make a dash and nab the Germans before they have
time to flee."

"An excellent plan!" cried the admiral, springing to his feet.
"It shall be put into execution."

With a wave of his hand he signified that the interview was over,
and Frank, Jack and Lord Hastings made their way back to the
Sylph.

That Admiral Sturdee was a man of action became apparent in a few
moments.  Unaware just how far off the German squadron was, Sir
Frederick took the necessary steps immediately.

Less than an hour after Lord Hastings and the two lads had
returned aboard the Sylph, the British battleship Canopus got
under way, and steaming away from her sister ships, made for the
entrance to the little harbor, going slowly.

Here she took up her position, steaming slowly back and forth.
As yet, however, there was no sign of the enemy.  Meantime, other
vessels in the fleet continued to coal swiftly.  Steam was gotten
up and every ship prepared for action.

Against the German fleet of five ships--the armored cruisers
Scharnhorst and Gneisenau and the protected cruisers Leipzig,
Dresden and Nurnberg, accompanied by two colliers--the British
admiral, besides the Sylph, would go into battle with eight ships
of war--the battle cruisers Invincible and Inflexible, the
former Admiral Sturdee's flagship, the cruisers Kent, Cornwall,
Carnarvon, Bristol and Glasgow, and the battleship Canopus.

At Sir Frederick's command, every sailor in the English fleet was
given a light meal, and then each man took a cold bath.
Following this, those who were not on watch, turned in for a
brief rest.  And to show the hardihood and bravery of the British
tar, there was not a man who showed signs of nervousness or fear.

There was a signal from the Canopus--a signal by flags, for the
British did not wish to betray their presence by the use of the
wireless, which could be as easily picked up by the enemy.

"Enemy approaching," read the signal.

Admiral Sturdee signaled back.

"Engage him when he has approached so close that he believes you
are unable to get away."

The commander of the Canopus signified his understanding of this
command, and continued steaming to and fro, ostensibly guarding
the harbor.

At last the first gray form of a German cruiser came within sight
of those on the Sylph.  It was steaming slowly forward,
apparently in no hurry and secure in its belief that there was no
enemy near to be feared.

The Sylph had been stripped for action with the rest of the
British fleet, for Lord Hastings had no mind to keep out of the
battle.

"We've come a long ways to see an engagement," he told the lads,
"and I think we are entitled to a hand in the affair."

"Hurrah!" shouted Frank.

"Good!" said Jack, quietly.  "I was afraid we would have to stand
off and look on."

"That's what I was afraid of, too," declared Frank.

"Well, we won't," said Lord Hastings.  "Not this time, at any
rate. I guess you will see all the fighting you wish presently."

Still the German squadron came on, apparently unconscious of the
presence of the British battleship Canopus, the only English
vessel that could be seen from the open sea.  All seven ships--five
vessels of war and the two colliers--could be plainly discerned now.

"What's the matter with 'em?" demanded Frank.  "Surely they can
see the Canopus."

"I guess they are figuring she hasn't spotted them yet," said
Jack.  "Believing he has only one enemy to contend with, Admiral
von Spee evidently is trying to get as close as possible without
being seen."

Indeed, this seemed a plausible explanation.  At any rate, in
lieu of a more reasonable one, it answered.  Men on the Canopus
now rushed hurriedly to and fro, officers darted hither and
thither.  The Canopus was ready for instant battle.

All the other ships of the British fleet also had come to life.
Men who had been sleeping hurried to their posts.  The gun crews
stood at their places, the range finders were at their posts, and
the officers stood ready to repeat the signal for advance as soon
as Admiral Sturdee should give it.

Stripped to the waists, in spite of the chilly atmosphere
outside, the crew of the Sylph also was ready.  There was grim
determination written plainly on the face of every man.  In spite
of the apparent superiority of the British fleet, each man
realized that the battle would be to the death.

They knew that, although surprised, the Germans would not give up
without a struggle--that they would battle desperately for
supremacy although outnumbered.  Confident of their own prowess
and marksmanship, they nevertheless did not discount the ability
of the foe.

"It will be a furious battle," said Lord Hastings to the lads,
who stood beside him.

"I have an idea," said Frank, "that when the enemy finds he is
outnumbered, he will not engage all his ships, but will try to
protect the flight of most of them with one or two."

"By love!" said Lord Hastings.  "I hadn't considered such a
contingency.  I wouldn't be surprised if you have hit it."

"I believe he has," said Jack.

"Well," said Lord Hastings grimly, "we will make that our
business.  Admiral Sturdee can take care of the fighting part of
the fleet, and we will try to intercept any vessel that tries to
escape."

"But do you suppose we can?" asked Frank.

"We can try," replied the commander of the Sylph, with slightly
compressed lips.  "As soon as the Germans engage the Canopus, we
will try to get out ahead of the rest of the fleet and, keeping
out of the thick of battle, steam to sea.  Then if any of the
enemy try to get away, with our superior speed we can at least
head them off and engage them until help arrives."

"A first-class plan," Jack agreed.  "However, I shouldn't be
surprised if Admiral Sturdee had anticipated such a maneuver by
the enemy."

"Even if he has," said Lord Hastings, "we probably wouldn't be
selected to accomplish the work, and that's what we want to do.
Therefore, we will act without being ordered."

"Good," said Jack.

In the meantime the German fleet had been approaching steadily.
It was apparent that the presence of the British battleship
Canopus, in the entrance to the harbor, had at last been
discovered.  A wireless message flashed through the air.

"Surrender or I shall sink you!" it read.

"An Englishman never surrenders!" was the reply flashed back by
the commander of the Canopus.

The German admiral tried again.

"I would avoid all unnecessary loss of life," he signaled.

"Thanks," was the laconic response of the Canopus.  "We are able
to take care of ourselves."

To this there was no reply, and still the German squadron came on
without firing a shot.

"Wonder why they don't shoot?" asked Jack.

"Guess they want to get as close as possible first," replied
Frank.  "Remember, they believe they have only one to deal with."

"True," said Jack.  "But why doesn't the Canopus fire?"

"I suppose," replied Frank, "it's because the commander wishes to
draw the enemy so close that escape will be impossible."

And the lad had hit upon the exact reason.  Mindful of his
instructions to draw the enemy in as close as possible before
engaging him, the commander of the Canopus had no mind to open
the battle.

And ever the German squadron was steaming closer and closer to
destruction.  But there is an end to everything, and so there
finally came an end to this inaction.

"Boom!"

A single German gun had opened the battle.

There was no reply from the Canopus.

"Boom!  Boom!  Boom!  Boom!"

Two of the enemy's ships cut loose at the Canopus.

Still the British battleship did not reply.

But the Germans had not yet found the range, and the Canopus was
untouched, although several shells struck near her.

Then: "Boom!  Boom!  Boom!  Boom!"

The Canopus had at last opened fire on her foes.  And, even as
the first British shell sped across the water, the Canopus turned
and began to retreat.

Fearful of losing their prey, the German vessels increased their
speed and steamed rapidly after her, their big guns continuing to
hurl shells across the water.

The Canopus was replying gun for gun, now, and with each moment
the roar of battle increased.

And then, suddenly, in perfect battle formation, imposing and
majestic in their advance, out of the little harbor steamed
proudly the battle fleet of Great Britain, moving swiftly forward
to engage the enemy!



CHAPTER XXVIII

THE ENGAGEMENT

The enemy perceived the advance of this formidable squadron in an
instant, and there was a lull in the fire of the German ships.
Then the guns opened with redoubled vigor, and the entire German
fleet turned to flee.

Not unwilling to take advantage of the apparent fact that they
had but one enemy to encounter--the Canopus--now that the
odds were somewhat against them there was a different story.
Evidently the German admiral held five German ships against one
British vessel fair odds, but he was not minded to have the odds
eight to five against him.

But the German fleet, secure in the belief that it had but one
enemy to contend with, had advanced too far.  Escape now was
impossible.  The greater speed of the British ships became
apparent as the chase continued, the English ever gaining.

At last, realizing that there was no hope of escape, Admiral von
Spee turned to give battle.  The Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and
Leipzig immediately formed in battle line.

Immediately the British ships slowed up.  The Nurnberg and
Dresden, the two smaller German cruisers, did not join the other
three German ships in battle formation, but continued their
flight.

This was what those on board the Sylph had expected, and the
little scout cruiser, making a slight detour, to avoid, as far as
possible, shells from the three German cruisers, started in
pursuit, full speed ahead.  The German vessels, however, had
considerable of a start, and it was plain that the Sylph would
not overhaul them for hours.

In the meantime the battle was raging fiercely.  From the first
the British concentrated their fire on the German flagship.  The
huge thirty-four centimeter guns of the British fleet, as against
the twenty-one centimeter guns of the enemy, made the outcome of
the engagement certain from the first.  All that remained was to
see how well the Germans could fight, and what damage they could
inflict on Admiral Sturdee's fleet before being sent to the
bottom.

A huge shell from the British flagship dropped squarely aboard
the Scharnhorst and exploded with a deafening detonation.  Metal
and bodies flew high in the air, shattered, and dropped into the
sea for yards around.  But the Scharnhorst had not been hit in a
vital spot, and she continued to fight back desperately.

Now a shell from the Canopus struck the Scharnhorst amidships; a
second from the Inflexible and a third from the Invincible
followed in quick succession, and every one went home.  The
marksmanship of the British gunners was remarkable.

But the British were not escaping unscathed.  A shell from the
Leipzig struck the Cornwall just below the waterline and pierced
her armor, and then exploded.  Two men were killed by flying
pieces of steel, and several others were wounded.  So far this
was the only loss sustained by the English.

As the battle progressed the fire of the British became more and
more deadly.  Hardly a shot was wasted now.  The Scharnhorst,
wounded unto death, fought back with the courage born of
desperation.

A well-directed shell burst aboard the Invincible, killing three
men outright and maiming practically every member of a gun crew
near which it struck.  But new men were in their places in a
second, and the gun did not even pause in its fire.

Gradually the fire of the Scharnhorst became slower and slower,
as one after another her guns were silenced by the accurate fire
of the British gunners.

Then came the sound of a terrific explosion aboard the German
flagship, and she staggered perceptibly.  There was a lull in the
British fire, as a demand was made for the Scharnhorst to
surrender.

The German admiral hurled back a message of defiance to his foes,
and the few remaining guns on his flagship continued to spout
fire and smoke.  He had determined to fight to the last, and go
down with his ship, if need be.

The fire from the British ships, the demand for surrender having
been refused, broke out afresh, and finally, struck in a vital
part, the Scharnhorst burst into flames, at the same time
beginning to settle in the water.

Admiral Sturdee could not but admire the way in which the German
sailors stuck to their posts in the face of certain death, and he
ordered the fire against the Scharnhorst to cease, that those on
board might have a chance for life.

But of this chance neither the German admiral nor his men would
take advantage.  There were still several guns fit for action,
and these continued to rain shells at the British.  And, as the
ship burned like a raging furnace, at the same time settling
lower and lower in the water, these brave men continued to fire
their guns.

Now the last gun had either been silenced or had disappeared
below the water.  Admiral von Spee appeared upon deck, in full
view of his enemies.  His officers and surviving members of the
crew gathered about him.  The sweet music of a band carried
across the water.  The Germans stood erect about their commander,
as the flames crept close and the ship settled.

Suddenly it was all over.  With a startling movement the
Scharnhorst disappeared beneath the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
Her commander and crew had stood with bared heads to the last,
and had gone to death, standing as though drawn up for inspection.
There was a faint cheer from them as the ship disappeared beneath
the waves.

The sinking of the German flagship Scharnhorst had required just
a few minutes less than an hour.

Now the entire British fleet concentrated its fire upon the
Gneisenau.  In spite of the loss of the flagship and their
admiral, the Germans would not give up; in fact, they seemed
determined to rejoin their companions in the world beyond a
watery grave.

The fire from both German cruisers became fiercer.  Shells played
a merry tattoo on the armored sides of the Canopus, upon which
the two German cruisers were concentrating their fire, but the
shells rattled harmlessly off the well-protected sides, and the
Canopus was not damaged.

Gradually now the British squadron closed in on the Gneisenau and
Leipzig, spreading out in a half circle as they advanced.  Both
German ships had been vitally wounded, but they continued to
fight back gamely.  Shell after shell burst on their decks,
pierced them below the waterline, or carried away their fighting
tops or superstructure.

Battered almost to pieces, and their decks strewn with dead and
dying, they nevertheless fought on.

 There would be no surrender.  This fact was apparent to the
British, and they directed their fire so as to end the battle as
quickly as possible.

The Gneisenau staggered, and seemed about to go under.  She
recovered her equilibrium in an instant, however, and renewed the
battle with even greater vigor than before.

Now the two German cruisers, crippled and battered as they were,
steamed as rapidly they could right toward the British fleet,
making a final effort to inflict a serious blow upon the British
before themselves going to the bottom.

Closer and closer they came, their guns hurling shells at all the
British vessels without favor.  A shell struck squarely upon the
bridge of the Canopus, killing an officer; and the splintering
wood that flew about accounted for two more, making the British
death list now eight.

And still the German cruisers came on; and then the Gneisenau
wavered, halted and staggered back.  A shell had pierced through
to her boilers.  There was an explosion, followed by a great
hissing sound.

Without steam the Gneisenau could steam neither forward nor
backward.  Stationary, rising and falling on the swell of the
waves, she continued to pour in her fire, even as the Leipzig
continued on alone.

A British shell struck the Leipzig's steering gear, rendering it
useless, and the German cruiser staggered about at the mercy of
the sea.  Still the gunners continued to hurl shells at the
British whenever the guns could be brought to bear.

But this was not often, for the fact that she could not be
steered properly rendered the work of the British much easier.

Admiral Sturdee, greatly impressed with the bravery of the
Germans, decided to give them one more chance for life.  He
ordered a cessation of firing and called upon the two cruisers to
surrender.

The merciful offer was met with a cry of defiance, and a shell
burst over the admiral's flagship, dropping half a score of men,
two of whom never arose.

Now the British ships closed in on the two German cruisers, and
poured broadside after broadside into the almost defenseless
hulls.

Suddenly the Gneisenau disappeared beneath the waves, with all on
board, the last that was heard of her being a cheer from her
crew.

The Leipzig lasted but a moment longer.  She was listing badly,
and now, suddenly rising on her beam's end, she dived beneath the
water.

The battle of the Falkland Islands, the greatest British sea
victory since the battle off Heligoland, was over.

Boats were quickly lowered from the British ships to rescue, if
possible, survivors of the German ships.  A few were picked up,
but not many.  Of the more than 1,800 men aboard the three German
cruisers, at least 1,700 had gone to the bottom.

The Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau were the largest cruisers of
the German fleet.  They were sister ships, of 11,600 tons'
displacement, 450 feet on the waterline, and were rated at a
speed of 22 1/2 knots.  Each carried a complement of 765 men, and
was armed with eight 8.2-inch guns, six 6-inch guns, twenty
24-Pounders, four machine-guns and four torpedo tubes.

The Leipzig had a displacement of 3,250 tons and carried 286 men.
She was 341 feet long on the waterline, had a beam of 43 1/2 feet,
and was rated at 23 knots.  Her largest guns, of which she
carried ten, were 4-inch.  She had also ten 1-pounders, four
machine-guns and two torpedo tubes.

And these were the three mighty vessels of the battle fleet of
the Emperor of Germany which, after having preyed for months upon
British shipping, had finally been sent to the bottom of the
Atlantic by Admiral Sir Frederick Sturdee, chief of the British
War Staff.



CHAPTER XXIX

RULE BRITANNIA

Meanwhile, what of the Sylph?

When the German cruisers Dresden and Nurnberg had fallen back in
an attempt to escape, the Sylph dashed after them at full speed.

"'Will you engage both of them?" asked Frank of Lord Hastings.

"If necessary,"' replied the Sylph's commander.  "We at least may
be able to hold them off until help arrives."

The Sylph sped on; but it became apparent that the Dresden was
gradually drawing ahead of the Nurnberg.  Jack noticed this, and
spoke to Lord Hastings.

"If we stay well behind, and give them the impression that we are
not fast enough to overtake either of them," he said, "the
Dresden may leave the Nurnberg to take care of herself.  Then we
can get them one at a time."

"A good idea," said Lord Hastings.

The speed of the Sylph was reduced somewhat.  Still the Dresden
continued to draw away from her consort, and, after hours of
tireless pursuit, finally was almost out of sight.

All that night the pursuit of the Nurnberg continued, and it was
early morning, and the sun was streaming over the sea, when the
Sylph, having increased her speed during the darkness, finally
drew within range of the Nurnberg.

A shot from the Sylph's forward gun brought the Nurnberg to a
sudden halt, and she turned immediately to give battle.  This was
what Lord Hastings had hoped for.

The first shell from the Nurnberg kicked up the water a good half
mile in front of the Sylph.

"We have the range of her," said Lord Hastings calmly.

The Sylph slowed down, and continued to plump shells and solid
shot upon her opponent at long range.  Some of these struck home,
and it was plain to the two lads, who stood on the bridge, that
some of them had done considerable damage.

Realizing that he was outranged, the commander of the Nurnberg
ordered full speed ahead and dashed toward the Sylph, that he
might get within range before the Sylph had crippled him with her
long-distance fire.

Before she managed to get within range, however, her fighting top
had been shot away, she had been pierced in vital spots several
times and was otherwise very badly crippled.

But now a shell came screaming over the bridge.  Involuntarily
both lads ducked, so close had the shell passed to their heads.
It sped on over the Sylph and plowed up the water over the stern.

"Close call," said Jack briefly.

"It was, indeed," agreed Frank.

So close were the two vessels now that the machine-guns on both
vessels were brought into play, and a perfect hail of shot fell
upon both ships.

So far the Sylph had not been hit, but suddenly the little
cruiser staggered back.  A shot had struck her squarely in the
bow.  The damage was not serious, and she again leaped forward.

For two hours the battle continued, with advantage to neither
side.  Both vessels were badly battered by this time, and one of
the Sylph's smokestacks had been shot away.  Now, glancing
suddenly astern, Frank uttered a joyous cry.

"British cruiser coming up, sir," he informed Lord Hastings.

The commander of the Nurnberg had noticed the approach of the
British cruiser at the same instant, and, realizing that he could
not successfully battle with another enemy, he ordered the
Nurnberg put about, and made off as fast as his crippled
condition would permit, his stern guns still playing upon the
Sylph.

Evidently the Nurnberg's commander figured that the Sylph, being
as badly crippled as he was, could not successfully pursue.  The
British cruiser was still some distance off, and he hoped to be
able to outrun her also.

But he was doomed to disappointment.  No sooner had the Nurnberg
turned to flee, than the Sylph made rapidly after her.  At the
same moment there came a wireless from the British cruiser, which
proved to be the Glasgow.

"Stick to her close," the message read, "we'll be with you in a
jiffy."

So, at Lord Hastings' command, the Sylph stuck closely.  For
perhaps an hour the commander of the Nurnberg tried to shake off
the pursuer; and then, realizing that this could not be done, and
that the Glasgow was also rapidly gaining on him, he once, more
turned to give battle.

The Nurnberg came about suddenly and dashed straight at the
Sylph.  In fact, so sudden was this maneuver that the Sylph was
caught unprepared, and for a moment was at a disadvantage.
However, this disadvantage did not last long.

Lord Hastings ordered the Sylph put about, and turned to flee.

"What on earth are we running for?" demanded Jack.

"Why," replied Lord Hastings, "if the Nurnberg will chase us,
we'll run her right up to the Glasgow.  And, if she puts about
and makes off again, we have gained just that much time."

"I see," said Jack.

The Nurnberg refused to chase the Sylph.  Instead, she put about
and continued her flight.  Immediately the Sylph was after her
again.  Once more the Nurnberg came about and made a dash at the
Sylph, and again the Sylph turned and ran.

But this time the Nurnberg did not turn to run again.  Lord
Hastings' maneuver had succeeded so well that the Glasgow was now
within striking distance, and a shell fired at long range dropped
close to the Nurnberg.  The Sylph came about again and dashed
forward, hurling her instruments of death at her opponent as
rapidly as her crippled condition would permit.

From the Glasgow came a command for the Nurnberg to surrender,
but the commander of the German ship did not even take the
trouble to reply to this message.  The Sylph and her enemy came
close together rapidly.

Shells were dropping aboard both vessels, and it seemed
miraculous that both did not go to the bottom.  The blood of both
commanders was up and neither would give an inch.  It all
depended now upon which ship was struck in a vital spot first.

Fortunately for those aboard the Sylph it was the German who
suffered.  A shell pierced the Nurnberg's side and penetrated the
engine-room, where it exploded the Nurnberg's boilers with, a
thundering roar.  On the instant the Nurnberg seemed to turn into
a sheet of flame.

Another explosion followed, and still another, and almost quicker
than it takes to tell it, the German cruiser Nurnberg, the fourth
of Admiral von Spee's fleet, disappeared beneath the waves.

While the Sylph lay waiting for the Glasgow to come up a hasty
examination was made.  One man had been killed and two injured
That was, the extent of the damage to the Sylph.  Every man of
the German crew of 300 men had gone to the bottom.

"Nothing serious the matter with us, sir," Jack reported, after
an investigation.

"Good!" replied Lord Hasting.

"Nothing broken that cannot be fixed in two hours, sir," Frank
reported.

"Good!" exclaimed Lord Hastings again.

Half an hour later the commander of the Glasgow came aboard the
Sylph, and was speedily closeted with Lord Hastings in the
latter's cabin.  Soon, however, the two emerged on deck, and
approached where Frank and Jack were standing.

"I understand," said the commander of the Glasgow to the two
lads, "that it was your plan Admiral Sturdee acted upon when he
lured the German fleet to give battle.  Also that it was your
idea that has resulted in the sinking of the Nurnberg.  I am glad
to know you."

He extended a hand to each, and the boys grasped them heartily.

"Now," continued the commander of the Glasgow, "it is up to us to
follow and sink the Dresden.  Besides her there is but one German
ship in these waters--the Karlsruhe, and we'll get her before
we are through."

"Have you any idea where she is?" asked Frank.

"I imagine she has gone around the Horn into the Pacific."

"In that case," said Jack, "the Dresden has probably gone to join
her."

"By Jove!" exclaimed the commander of the Glasgow.  "I believe
you are right.  What do you think, Lord Hastings?"

"I believe Mr. Templeton has hit the nail on the head, as usual,"
replied the commander of the Sylph.  "Therefore, I should say
that we had better head in that direction."

"Agreed!" returned the commander of the Glasgow, and, after some
further talk, he put over the side and returned to his own
vessel.

Several hours were now spent on board the Sylph repairing the
damage caused by the German shells and getting the little vessel
in shipshape again.  Then, at last, the Sylph was once more under
way, beading for the Pacific.

A mile to the stern followed the British cruiser Glasgow.  For
two days and nights, after rounding the Horn, the two British
vessels sought some trace of the Karlsruhe and the Dresden.  They
put into port after port, but could get no trace of her.

But at last they came upon the German cruiser.  It was the fourth
day after rounding the Horn, and the German ship was just putting
out of a little Chilean port.  The commander was not unaware of
the presence of the British ships outside, for it had been
reported to him; but he had already been in the port for
twenty-four hours, and the laws of neutrality demanded that he
either put to sea again or that his ship be interned.

Captain Koehler, of the Dresden, was a man of action.  Therefore,
he spurned the suggestion of having his ship interned.  And his
last words to the German consul, as he stepped aboard his ship
and ordered that she be put to sea were:

"We are going to join our comrades!"

Well out of neutral waters, the Sylph and the Glasgow lay in wait
for the enemy.  Outside the port the Dresden attempted to flee;
but, after an hour's chase, Captain Koehler realized the futility
of this, and, at last brought to bay, turned to fight.

In the action that followed, an action that lasted for more than
two hours, the Dresden put up a terrific battle.  But there could
be but one end.  Outnumbered, she fought well, but at length the
waters of the calm Pacific closed over her.

"Only one left," said Frank to Jack, as they stood upon the
bridge after the sinking of the Dresden.

"Only one--the Karlsruhe."

"And we'll get her, too!" said Jack quietly.

Slowly the two British cruisers, the Sylph and the Glasgow, their
damages having been repaired, turned their noses north, and set
out on their search for the only German vessel remaining in
American waters.

As they sail away over the mysterious Pacific we shall for a
brief period take our leave of Frank Chadwick and Jack Templeton,
than whom no more courageous lads (nor men, either, for that
matter) engaged in the greatest war of all history.

But we shall meet them again; and, if the readers of this volume
are interested in their further adventures and exploits, as well
as in the personal side of the great war, they will find it all
in the third volume of The Boy Allies with, the Battleships
Series, entitled, "The Boy Allies with the Flying Squadron; or
The Naval Raiders of the Great War."

THE END





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