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´╗┐Title: Boy Scouts in a Submarine : or, Searching an Ocean Floor
Author: Ralphson, G. Harvey (George Harvey), 1879-1940
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 "Boy Scouts in a Submarine : or, Searching an Ocean Floor" ***

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[Illustration: But the Sea Lion was equal to the task set for her, and
all the remainder of the night the chase went on.]


BOY SCOUTS IN A SUBMARINE

OR

SEARCHING AN OCEAN FLOOR

By G. HARVEY RALPHSON

Author of
BOY SCOUTS IN AN AIRSHIP
BOY SCOUTS IN MEXICO
BOY SCOUTS IN THE NORTHWEST
BOY SCOUTS ON MOTOR CYCLES



CONTENTS



I.     LOST ON AN OCEAN FLOOR
II.    A CONFLICT OF AUTHORITY
III.   "THE DANDY SUBMARINE"
IV.    A WOLF ON THE TRAIL
V.     TWO WOLVES IN A PEN
VI.    NIGHT ON AN OCEAN FLOOR
VII.   THE SECRET OF THE HOLD
VIII.  ON GUARD UNDER THE SEA
IX.    "JIMMIE'S FOOLISH--LIKE A FOX"
X.     A CHASE ON THE OCEAN FLOOR
XI.    JIMMIE GOES OUT HUNTING
XII.   JACK MAKES A DISCOVERY
XIII.  JIMMIE DEMANDS A MEDAL
XIV.   A BOY SCOUT WITH A "PUNCH"
XV.    A DESPERATE PRISONER
XVI.   A BLUFF THAT DIDN'T WORK
XVII.  BAD FOR THE SEA CREATURES
XVIII. "MAKING A GOOD JOB OF IT"
XIX.   ON THE EDGE OF DISASTER
XX.    AN ENDING AND A BEGINNING



CHAPTER I

LOST ON AN OCEAN FLOOR



The handsome clubroom of the Black Bear Patrol, Boy Scouts of America,
in the City of New York, was ablaze with light, and as noisy as
healthy, happy boys could well make it.

"Over in the Chinese Sea!" shouted Jimmie McGraw from a table which
stood by an open window overlooking the brilliantly illuminated city.
"Do we go to the washee-washee land this time?"

"Only to the tub!" Jack Bosworth put in.

"What's the answer?" asked Frank Shaw, sitting down on the edge of the
table and rumpling Jimmie's red hair with both hands.

Jimmie broke away and, after bouncing a football off his tormentor's
back, perched himself on the back of a great easy chair.

"The answer?" Jack said, after peace had been in a measure restored,
"I thought everybody knew that the Chinks wash their clothes in the
Gulf of Tong King and hang them out to dry on the mountains of Kwang
Tung! Are we going there, Ned?" he added, turning to Ned Nestor, who
sat by a nearby window, looking out over the city. "Are we going to
the gulf of Tong King?"

Ned left his chair by the window and walked over to the table.

"I hardly know," he said, taking a roll of maps and drawings from his
breast pocket and spreading them out on the table. "When Captain Moore
arrives we shall know more about it."

"Who's Captain Moore?"

This from Jimmie, still sitting on the back of the chair, elbows on
knees, chin on palms.

"Is he going to be the big noise?"

This from Jack Bosworth, who was reaching out with his foot in a vain
effort to tip Jimmie's chair and send him sprawling.

"Is Captain Moore going with us?"

This question was asked by Frank Shaw with a show of anxiety. When out
on their trips the Boy Scouts did not relish having older men about to
show authority.

"One question at a time!" laughed Ned. "To answer the first query
first, Captain Moore is the Secret Service officer who is to post us
with regard to our mission to Chinese waters. Second he will, to use
the slang adopted by Jack, be the 'Big Noise' as long as he is with
us. Third, I don't know whether he is going on the journey with us or
not."

"Here's hopin' he don't!" cried Jimmie.

"He'll want us to sit in baby chairs at tables and object to our
takin' moonlight walks on the bottom of the sea! Is he covered all
over with brass buttons, an' does he strut like this?"

Jimmie bounded to the floor and walked up and down the room with a
mock military stride which set his companions into roars of laughter.

"I have never seen him," Ned replied. "He is coming here tonight, and
you must judge for yourself what kind of a man he is."

"Here?" asked Frank. "Here to this club-room? The boys won't do a
thing to him if he puts on dog!"

"Is he a submarine expert?" asked Frank.

"Sure!" replied Jack. "He wouldn't be sent here to post us if he
wasn't, would he?"

"I don't believe he knows any more about a submarine, right now, than
Ned does," Jimmie exclaimed. "Ned's been taking walks on the bottom of
the Bay every mornin' for a week!"

Jack and Frank turned to Ned with amazement showing on their faces.

"Have you, Ned?" they asked, in chorus.

"Have you been out training without letting us know about it?"

"You bet he has!" Jimmie grinned. "I've been with him most of the time
too. This Captain Moore, whoever he is, hain't got nothin' on Ned when
it comes to makin' the wheels go round under the water."

"Oh, you!" laughed Jack, pointing a finger at Jimmie. "You can't run a
submarine, even if Ned can."

"You wait an' see!" retorted the boy, indignantly. "You wait until we
get into the Chinese sea, then you'll see what I know about boats that
travel on ocean beds!"

"Can he run a submarine, Ned?" asked Jack.

"Well," was the laughing reply, "he did pretty well on the last trip.
If some one hadn't interfered with his steering I reckon he would have
tipped the Statue of Liberty into the Atlantic!"

Jimmie winked when the others roared at him and then looked
reproachfully at Ned.

"You promised not to tell about that!" he said, accusingly.

At that moment a knock came on the door of the clubroom, which was on
the top of the palatial residence of Jack Bosworth's father, and a
moment later a tall, military-looking man with a white, stern face,
thin straight lips and cold blue eyes was shown in. He paused just
outside the doorway, and the boy who did not catch the sneer on his
chalky face as he looked superciliously over the group must have been
very unobservant indeed.

"Gee! He don't seem to like the looks of us!" Jimmie whispered to
Frank Shaw, as Ned stepped forward to greet the newcomer.

"Looks like a false alarm!" Frank replied, in an aside. "I hope we
don't have to lug him along with us."

"We won't need any cold storage arrangement on the submarine if he
does go!" Jimmie went on. "That face of his would freeze hot steel."

Captain Moore of the United States Secret Service remained standing
near the door until Ned reached his side. Then he lifted a single
glass, inserted it in his eye-orbit and stood gazing at the boy who
had advanced to welcome him.

Ned stepped back, coldly, and Jimmie nudged Jack delightedly when he
saw the lad's face harden into bare civility.

"Aw," began the visitor, "I'm looking for--ah!--Mr. Nestor!"

"I'm Ned Nestor," said the boy, shortly.

"Fawncy!"

Ned pointed toward the table where the other boys were sitting and
moved away.

"Fawncy!" repeated the visitor.

Ned made no reply. Instead, he marched to the table, drew a chair
forward, and motioned Captain Moore to be seated.

Before complying with this gracious invitation the Captain glanced
around the apartment with the supercilious sneer he had shown on
entering. The boys watched him with heavy frowns on their faces.

"If we've got to take this along in the submarine," Jimmie whispered
to Jack, "I hope the boat will drop down into a deep hole and stay
there. Look at it!"

"Hush!" whispered the other. "It has ears!"

Those who have read the first and second volumes of this series will
understand without being told here that it was a very fine clubroom
upon which the frosty blue eyes of the Secret Service man looked.

The walls were adorned with all manner of hunting and fishing
paraphernalia, together with many trophies of the chase. Foils,
gloves, ball bats, paddles and many other athletic aids were scattered
about the large room.

This clubroom, that of the Black Bear Patrol, as has been said, was
the handsomest in New York, the members of the Patrol being sons of
very wealthy men. The father of Frank Shaw was editor and owner of one
of the important daily newspapers of the metropolis. Jack Bosworth's
father was a prominent corporation lawyer, while Harry Stevens, a lad
with a historical hobby, was a prominent automobile manufacturer.

Ned Nestor, the boy just now trying to entertain the very formal
Captain Moore, was a member of the Wolf Patrol, also of New York, as
was also Jimmie McGraw, who had been a Bowery newsboy before joining
fortunes with Ned.

As is well known to most of our readers, Ned had, at one time and
another, undertaken and successfully accomplished delicate and
hazardous enterprises for the United States Government. Accompanied by
Frank, Jack, Jimmie, Harry, and other members of the Boy Scout Patrols
of the United States, he had visited Mexico, the Canal Zone, the
Philippines, the Great Northwest, had navigated the Columbia river in
a motor boat, and had covered the continent of South America in an
aeroplane.

He was now about to enter upon, perhaps, the most important mission
ever assigned to him by the Secret Service department. The story of
the quest upon which he was about to enter will best be told in the
conversation which now took place in the clubroom of the Black Bear
Patrol on this evening of the 11th of September.

Presently Captain Moore transferred his gaze from the apartment to the
boys gathered about the table and grouped about the place. As a matter
of course all conversation in the room had ceased on the arrival of
the Captain. While the boys who were not fortunate enough to be
planning on the trip in the submarine were too courteous to openly
stare at their guest of the moment, it may well be believed that his
every look and word was closely noted.

Concluding his rather rude observations, Captain Moore dropped his
glass, shrugged his shoulders, which were heavily padded, and gave
utterance to his feelings in the one word of comments which he had
twice used before:

"Fawncy!"

Ned said not a word, but waited for the visitor to lead out in the
talk. Captain Moore was in no haste to begin, but he finally broke the
silence by asking:

"You are Ned Nestor?"

Ned bowed stiffly. He did not like the man he was supposed to do
business with, and did not try to conceal the fact.

"The Ned Nestor who undertook the Secret Service work in the Canal
Zone and South America?"

Ned nodded again.

"Fawncy!"

"You said that before?" broke in Jimmie, who was fuming under the idea
that the Captain was not treating his chum with proper courtesy.

The Captain brought his glass into use again and looked the boy over,
much as he would have inspected a curio in a museum. Jimmie glared
back, and the eyes of the two fenced for a moment before a twinkle of
humor appeared in those of the Captain.

"You are Jimmie, eh?" the latter demanded.

Jimmie would have made some discourteous reply only for the tug Ned
gave at his sleeve. As it was he only nodded.

"Aw, I've heard of you!" the Captain said, then. "Quite remarkable--quite
extraordinary!"

"You came to deliver instructions regarding the submarine trip?" Ned
asked, feeling revolt in the air of the room.

Unless something was done, the boys, all resenting the manner of the
Captain, would be beyond control, and then the Secret Service man
would be likely to leave the place in anger.

This, in turn, might endanger the adventure already planned and
prepared for, for the chief of the department might see fit to adopt
whatever recommendations Captain Moore made in the matter.

The visitor might have sensed the hostility, for he hastened to take
from a pocket a sheaf of papers and place them on the table. The next
moment the boys all saw that they had not gained a correct estimate of
the Secret Service man.

The instant he began talking of the matter which had brought him to
the clubroom his manner changed. He was no longer the drawling,
supercilious naval officer in resplendent uniform. He was a
keen-brained mechanical expert, questioning Ned regarding his knowledge
of submarines.

"You are fairly well up in the matter," the Captain said, going back
to his old drawl, in a few moments. "I shall not object to your going
on the Diver with me."

The boys all gasped. So their worst fears were coming true! The
Captain was indeed going with them! He would be the commander, and Ned
would be obliged to work under his orders if he went at all!

Would Ned do this? Would he submit to the authority of another while
practically responsible for the results of the trip? Frank, Jack, and
Jimmie saw their cherished plans go glimmering.

Ned made no reply whatever. Instead he began asking questions
concerning the Diver as the submarine the Captain had in view was
named, and also about the object of the expedition.

"A short time ago," the Captain said, "the Cutaria, a fast mail boat,
went down in the Gulf of Tong King, carrying with her many passengers,
the United States mails, and $10,000,000 in gold consigned to the
Chinese Government. We are to search the ocean floor for the gold, and
also for information sought by the Department of State."

"Who got careless and dropped $10,000,000 on an ocean floor?" asked
Jimmie.



CHAPTER II

A CONFLICT OF AUTHORITY



The Captain gazed at Jimmie for a moment without answering. Then he
parted his thin lips and uttered the old, familiar word:

"Fawncy!"

"The Cutaria went down as the result of a collision?" Ned hastened to
ask, observing that Jimmie was growing flushed and angry.

"Yes," was the reply, "and it is asserted in the diplomatic circles of
foreign governments that she was rammed by the orders of a power
alleged to be friendly to our Government, and that our department of
state does not dare remonstrate and ask for reparation for the reason
that an investigation would reveal the fact that the $10,000,000 in
gold which was lost was not really, as alleged, on its way from the
sub-treasury in New York to the treasurer of the Chinese Empire."

"But why should Uncle Sam be sending money over there?" asked Ned.

"It is asserted that the money was sent at the command of men high in
influence in Washington who understood that it was to be seized while
in transit, after reaching Chinese soil, and used to assist the
radical fomentation now going on in China."

"An indirect way, a sly and underhand way, of assisting the
revolutionary party in China to get control of the government, eh?"
asked Ned.

"Aw, that is what is claimed," was the reply.

"And you are to have charge of the expedition?" asked Ned, quietly,
his eyes fixed keenly on the face of the visitor.

"Orders," was the slow reply.

"And the Diver has been chosen as the boat?"

"At my request, yes."

"But," Ned then said, by way of protest, "I have made all my trial
trips in the Sea Lion."

"You will soon learn to help handle the Diver," was the lofty reply.

"The Diver is no more like the Sea Lion than she is like the Ark," was
Ned's reply. "It will take me another fortnight to learn to run her,
I'm afraid."

"You can take lessons from my son on the way over," was the
unsatisfactory reply.

"Why, the submarine is not going to sail across the Pacific," said the
boy. "As I understand it, we are to take passage in a mail steamer at
San Francisco and find the submarine in some harbor of the island of
Hainan, after she arrives on the other side in a man-of-war which will
be detailed to carry her over."

"I have changed all that," said the Captain.

Ned said no more on that phase of the matter at that time, but the
boys knew that he had not given up his original intention of making
the explorations in the Sea Lion, the submarine which the Secret
Service chief at New York had placed at his disposal soon after his
return from South America.

"You will be permitted to take one of your--ah, Boy Scouts with you,"
the Captain went on. "Baby bunch, the Boy Scouts, what?" he added,
lifting his glass and surveying the boys grouped about in a manner
which brought the hot blood to their cheeks.

"I'm afraid you have never investigated the Boy--"

Ned's conciliatory remark was cut short by Jimmie.

"Will the Boy Scout who goes with him be allowed to breathe?" the boy
asked.

Captain Moore eyed the lad critically through his glass.

"You needn't concern yourself about that, bub," he said, after an
exasperating silence, "for you won't be the one to go, don't you know--not
the Boy Scout to go."

Jimmie was about to make some angry reply, but Frank seized him by the
arm and marched him to a distant part of the large room.

"You'll queer the whole thing!" Frank said.

Jimmie shook himself free of the detaining hand and faced the Captain
with flashing eyes.

"I don't care if I do!" he said. "That thing is not going to make ugly
remarks about the Boy Scouts without bein' called for it. He's an old
false alarm, anyway. I'll bet he never heard a real gun go off!"

Captain Moore heard the insulting words and arose.

"If you'll, aw, come to my office tomorrow morning," he said, to Ned,
"we'll discuss the, aw, mattah. I cawn't remain here and quarrel with
boys who ought to be, aw, spanked and put, aw, to bed as soon as the
sun goes down."

Ned did not rise from his chair to escort the Captain to the door. His
face was pale and there was a dangerous light in his eyes.

"It won't be necessary for me to visit you in the morning," he said.

The Captain fixed his glass.

"Fawncy!" he exclaimed.

"Anything you like!" Ned said.

"Fawncy!" repeated the Captain.

"As you please," Ned smiled. "Fawncy anything you like--anything
agreeable, you know."

"And why won't you come to my office in the morning?" asked the
Captain, with a tightening of his thin lips.

"I have decided to withdraw from the enterprise," was the quiet reply.
"I'm out of it."

The boys gathered about Ned with cheers and words of encouragement.

"Go it, old boy!" cried one.

"Don't let him bluff you!" cried another.

"Dad will buy you a submarine!" Frank Shaw put in.

The Captain stood in the middle of the group, gazing in perplexity
from face to face.

"My word!" he said, presently.

"What about it?" asked Jimmie, edging closer.

"Not going?" continued the Captain; "why?"

"I've changed my mind," was the unsatisfactory reply.

"But the submarine is waiting," urged the Captain.

"I shall never go to the bottom in the Diver," Ned replied.

"My word!"

The Captain loitered, as if anxious to reopen the whole matter, but
Ned turned his back and seemed inclined to consider the case closed.

"And so we're not going?" asked Frank.

"Rotten shame!" declared Jack.

"So fades me happy, happy dream!" chanted Jimmie.

The Captain stuck his glass in his eye and moved toward the door, an
expression of satisfaction on his stern face.

No one opened the door for him, and when he opened it for himself, he
found a slender, middle-aged man with a pleasant face and brilliant
eyes confronting him. His supercilious manner vanished instantly, and
the military cap he had already donned came off with a jerk.

"Admiral!" he exclaimed.

The boys gathered about the doorway, all excitement. A real, live
admiral in the Boy Scout clubroom! That was almost too much to expect.

The admiral saluted and stepped inside the room.

"Pardon me," he said, addressing Ned rather than the Captain, "but I
must confess that I have been doing a discourteous thing. I have been
listening at your door."

"I sincerely hope you heard all that was said," the Captain ventured.
"I have been shamefully insulted here."

"Did you hear all that was said?" asked Nestor.

The Admiral bowed.

"I think so," he said.

"I'm glad of that," Frank said, "for this Captain does not tell the
truth."

Captain Moore frowned in the direction of the speaker but said not a
word.

"When I reached the door," the Admiral said, "I heard Captain Moore
saying that the trip was to be made in the Diver, and that he was to
have charge."

"That is the way I understand it," Captain Moore hastened to say.
"And," continued the Admiral, "he said, further, that only one Boy
Scout would be permitted to accompany Mr. Nestor."

"That will be quite enough, judging from the samples we see here," the
Captain observed, with a vicious glance toward Jimmie, whose face was
now set in a broad grin.

"Those are the statements made by Captain Moore," Ned said. "I refused
to accept them."

"Quite right!" said the Admiral.

Captain Moore stuck his glass in his eye again and, saluting, turned
toward the door.

"Wait!" commanded the Admiral.

The angry Captain turned back, a scowl on his face.

"Mr. Nestor," the Admiral continued, "goes in charge of the
expedition, and in the Sea Lion, the submarine he has been
experimenting with. He will be permitted to take three of his
companions with him. Any officer who goes in the Sea Lion will
necessarily remain under Mr. Nestor's orders."

"Then I ask for a transfer," scowled the Captain.

"Granted," answered the Admiral. "You may go now."

Captain Moore lost no time getting out of the door, and then the
Admiral seated himself and motioned Ned to do likewise. The boys
gathered about, but Ned asked them to proceed with their sports, and
only the ex-newsboy remained at the table.

"I'm sorry to say," the Admiral began, "that there are hints of the
most despicable disloyalty and treachery in this matter. I don't like
to cast suspicions on Captain Moore, who really is an expert submarine
officer, but it appears to me that he went beyond his authority in
changing the plans for the cruise."

"He had no authority for changing from the Sea Lion to the Diver?"
asked Ned.

"Not the slightest."

"Or for changing from a steamer ride to China to a long journey on the
submarine?"

"Not at all."

"But he was sent here by the Secret Service department to instruct
me," Ned said.

"Exactly, and that is all he was expected to do in the case. I don't
understand his conduct."

Jimmie, who had been looking over an afternoon newspaper which lay on
the table, now broke into the conversation.

"Just look here," he said. "This tells why Captain Moore butted into
the game wrong. Just read that."

The Admiral took the newspaper into his hand and read, aloud:

"The Diver, the famous submarine boat invented by Arthur Moore, the
talented son of Captain Henry Moore, of the United States navy, is
soon to be put in commission for a most extraordinary voyage. Under
the command of Captain Moore, who will be accompanied by the inventor,
his son, the Diver will make the trip from San Francisco to China,
almost entirely under water. It is understood that the submarine goes
on secret service for the Government."

"There you are!" cried Jimmie.

"I rather think that does explain a lot," laughed Ned.

"The Diver," said the Admiral, thoughtfully, "has not yet been
accepted by the Government, and I see trouble ahead for the Sea Lion."



CHAPTER III

"THE DANDY SUBMARINE"



The Sea Lion was a United States submarine, yet she was not
constructed along the usual naval lines. It was said of her that she
looked more like a pleasure yacht built for under-surface work than
anything else.

It is not the purpose of the writer to enter into a minute description
of the craft. She was provided with a gasoline engine and an electric
motor. She was not very roomy, but her appointments were very handsome
and costly.

There were machines for manufacturing pure air, as is common with all
submarines of her class, and the apparatus for the production of
electricity was modern and efficient. Every compartment could be
closed against every other chamber in case of damage to the shell.

The pumps designed to expel the water taken into the hold for the
purpose of bringing the craft to the bottom were powerful, so that she
seemed to sink and rise as easily as does a bird on the wing. At top
speed she would make about twenty miles an hour.

On a trial trip taken by Ned on the day before the visit of Captain
Moore to the Black Bear clubroom, the double doors and closet which
enabled one to leave or enter the boat while under water had been
thoroughly tested and found to work perfectly.

The diving suits--which had been manufactured to fit Ned and Frank,
Jack and Jimmie--were also found to be in perfect condition.

On the whole, the Sea Lion and her appurtenances were in as perfect
condition as science and experience could make them on the day the
four boys, accompanied by a naval officer, left the train at Oakland
and proceeded to the navy yard up the bay.

By the middle of the afternoon the boys were on board, receiving their
final instructions from Lieutenant Scott, who had arranged for the
transportation of the Sea Lion from New York and attended to all other
details connected with the trip.

After a long talk regarding the perils to be encountered, Lieutenant
Scott drew forth a map of peculiar appearance and laid it on the table
in the chamber which was to serve as a general living room.

"I have retained possession of this map until the last moment," the
officer said, "because it is most important that no eyes but those of
the occupants of the Sea Lion should rest upon it. It shows where the
lost vessel went down, shows the drift there, the depths, and various
other details of great moment.

"The Cutaria, as you doubtless know, went down off the Taya Islands, a
small group to the east of the large island of Hainan, which, in turn,
is off the coast of China, being separated, if that is a good word to
use in this connection, from the eastern coast by the Gulf of Tong
King.

"Immediately following the sinking of the ship divers were sent down.
They found the lost ship resting easily in about sixty feet of water.
A few days later, however, when other divers went down, the wreck was
not at the place described by the first operators.

"There are drift currents there, but it is remarkable that so heavy a
wreck should have been shifted so suddenly. There are no indications
that the vessel has been buried in the sands of the bottom. Your duty
is to search the ocean floor then and locate the wreck. Having done
this you are to secure the treasure, if possible. In case you cannot
do this, you are to steam to Hongkong and report what assistance you
require.

"And remember this: You are not to destroy or mislay any documents you
may find in the gold room. You are not to reveal the purpose of your
mission at any port you may touch on the way out, or at any port you
may visit for the purpose of reporting progress.

"If at any time you have reason to believe that another submarine is
working or loitering about in the vicinity of the wreck, you are to
report the fact without delay and a man-of-war will be sent to you."

"And that means--"

Ned did not complete the sentence, for the officer hastened to explain
the meaning of the warning.

"The Diver," he said, "is somewhere on this coast."

Ned gave a quick start of surprise.

"I knew it!" shouted Jimmie. "I just knew we were in for somethin' of
the kind! There'll be doin's."

"I reckon we can take care of the Diver," said Frank, "and Mr. Arthur
Moore, son of Captain Henry Moore, with it."

"Don't underestimate the Diver," warned Lieutenant Scott. "She is a
peach of a submarine, and Mr. Arthur Moore knows how to operate her.
She is almost the latest thing in submarines."

"Why didn't the Government buy her, then?" demanded Jack.

"Principally because she was withdrawn from the market," was the
reply.

"I begin to understand," Ned said.

"Then that son of Captain Moore is after the gold?" asked Jack.

"That is what we suspect."

"Well," Frank said, then, "it wouldn't be any fun to go after the old
wreck if all was clear sailing."

"Right you are!" cried Jimmie.

"But how did they get the Diver here so quickly?" asked Ned.

"The same way I got the Sea Lion here," was the Lieutenant's reply.
"They engaged a special train, took the boat to pieces as far as
practicable and sent her over."

"But she is something of a whale as compared with the little Sea
Lion," urged Ned. "It was easy enough to get our boat across the
continent."

"Not quite so easy as you think," laughed the officer. "Still," he
added, "here she is, all ready for the trip. There are plenty of
provisions, and everything is in fine working order. You, Mr. Nestor,
took a hand in taking the submarine to pieces, and you ought to know
all about her."

"I think I do," was the reply, "still, I should have liked the chance
of putting her together again."

"It is all right as it is," was the reply. "You doubtless had a good
time in New York while the work was being done here. When I left for
the big city to ride over with you she was nearly ready, and now, on
our arrival, she is, as you see, right and fit."

"But I thought we were to cross the Pacific in a steamer and pick up
the Sea Lion over there," Ned observed.

"Right you are," the Lieutenant answered, "but the Sea Lion is to be
taken over by the big steamer, too."

"Then they've got to take her to pieces again," wailed Jimmie, "and it
will be weeks before we get started."

"You are wrong there," the officer replied. "The Sea Lion will be
picked up by something like a floating dock and towed over. How does
that strike you?"

"Out of water?" asked Frank.

"Of course. Novel way of carrying a submarine, eh?"

"I should say so."

"Over there," the Lieutenant went on, "there would be no facilities
for assembling the parts. That is why the work was done here."

"Of course," laughed Frank.

"And this floating dry dock," continued the officer, "will be roofed
over and its contents kept secret. A short distance from the Taya
Islands, she will be shucked of her shell and take to the water. No
one will know what her mission is."

"It seems to me that everything is pretty cleverly planned," Ned
remarked. "I hope all my plans will come together as nicely as the
plans of the Government have."

"That will be a big tow for a steamer," Jimmie suggested.

"Yes, it is awkward, but there seemed to be no other way. The Diver
will be far in the rear and you take water off the Taya Islands."

"And on the way over," Ned said, "I can live in the Sea Lion and
continue my studies of the machinery."

"That is the idea," said the Lieutenant.

"When are we to be picked up?" asked Jack.

The Lieutenant lifted a hand for silence.

From outside, seemingly from underneath the keel of the Sea Lion, came
a grating sound, which was followed by a slight, though steady,
lifting of the vessel.

"Gee!" cried Jimmie, springing to his feet. "I guess we're up against
an earthquake!"

The boys were all moving about now, but Lieutenant Scott remained in
his chair, a smile on his face.

The Sea Lion rose steadily, and there was a slight tip to port. Ned
sat down with a shamed look on his face.

"I should have known," he said.

"Say," Jack exclaimed, "was the submarine put together on the float
that is going to carry her across?"

"Of course she was," laughed the Lieutenant. "The pieces brought on
from New York were assembled on the float. Some of the larger pieces,
the ones most difficult to handle, were made here from patterns sent
on from the east. Then, when all was ready, the float was dropped out
of sight so the submarine would lie on the surface, as we found her."

"And now they're lifting the float?" asked Jimmie.

"Exactly," was the reply. "Suppose you go outside, on the conning
tower, and look about."

"You bet," cried Jack, and then there was a rush for the stairway, or
half-ladder, rather, leading to the tower.

The Sea Lion was still lifting, though where the power came from no
one could determine. While Ned studied over the problem Lieutenant
Scott laid a hand on his shoulder.

"You want to know what makes the wheels go round?" laughed the
officer. "Well, I'll tell you. The bottom of the float forms a tank.
Now do you see?"

"And there's a large hose laid from the tank to the shore, and the
water is being pumped out! I see."

"That's it," replied the Lieutenant. "Now that we are getting up high
and dry, you boys can step down on the floor of the float and look
about. I don't think there was ever a contrivance exactly like this.
Go and look it over."

Night was falling, and a chill October wind was blowing in from the
Pacific. There were banks of clouds, too, and all signs portended
rain. It would be a dismal night.

Leaving Lieutenant Scott in the conning tower, the boys all clambered
down to the floor of the float to examine the blockings which kept the
submarine on a level keel. They were gone only a short time, but when
they climbed up the rope ladder to the conning tower again the light
was dim, and a slow, cold rain was falling. The Lieutenant was not on
the conning tower, and Ned at once descended to the general living
room of the submarine. Before he reached the middle of the stairs the
lights, which had been burning brightly a moment before, suddenly went
out, and the interior of the submarine yawned under his feet like a
deep, impenetrable pit.

Fearful that something was amiss, Ned dropped down and reached for his
electric searchlight, which he had left on a shelf not far from the
stairs. Something passed him in the darkness and he called out to the
Lieutenant, but there was no answer. Then, out of the darkness above,
came a mingled chorus of anger and alarm.



CHAPTER IV

A WOLF ON THE TRAIL



"That isn't Ned!" cried Jack's voice, in a moment.

"Don't let him get away! He's been up to some mischief!"

That was Frank Shaw's voice.

"Soak him!"

That could be no one but Jimmie!

Ned, groping about in the darkness, heard the voices faintly. He
seemed to be submerged in a sweep of pounding waves, the steady
beating of which shut out all individual sounds.

He knew that he staggered and stumbled as he walked. Moving across the
floor his feet came in contact with some soft obstruction lying on the
rug and he fell down.

There was a strange, choking odor in the place, and he groped on his
hands and knees in the direction of the shelf where his searchlight
had been left. His senses reeled, and for an instant he lay flat on
the floor.

Then he heard the boys clambering down the stairs from the conning
tower and called out, feebly, yet with sufficient strength to make
himself heard above the sound of shuffling feet.

"Go back!" he cried. "Don't come in here! Leave the hatch open, and
let in air. Go back!"

Jimmie recognized a note of alarm, of suffering, in the voice of his
chum and dropped headlong into the black pit of the submarine. Ned
heard him snap the catch of a searchlight, and then, dimly, heard his
voice:

"Gee!" the voice said. "What's comin' off here?"

The round face of the electric searchlight showed at the end of a
cylindrical shaft of light which rested on Ned's face, but the boy did
not realize what was going on until he felt a gust of wind and a
drizzle of rain on his forehead.

Then he opened his eyes to find himself on the conning tower of the
submarine, with the boys gathered about him, anxiety showing in their
speech and manner. It was too dark for him to see their faces.

"You're all right now," Jimmie said. "What got you down there?"

Then Ned remembered the sudden extinction of the lights as he moved
down the stairs, the stifling, choking odor below, and the deadly grip
of suffocation which had brought him to the floor.

"Go back into the boat," he said, gaining strength every moment. "I am
anxious about Lieutenant Scott."

"We've just come from there," Frank said. "We've done all that can be
done for him."

"What do you mean by that?" demanded Ned, moving toward the hatch
which sealed the submarine.

"The poison which keeled you over got him!" Jack said.

"Do you mean that he's dead?" asked Ned, a shiver running through his
body as he spoke.

"I'm afraid so," was the reply. "We got you out just in time. You
would have perished in a moment more."

"Dead!" said Ned. "Lieutenant Scott dead! And he was so gay and so
full of life a few moments ago!"

Jack, who had left the little group a moment before, now returned.

"The poison seems to have evaporated from the interior," he said, "so
we may as well go below. I'll go ahead and turn on the lights." The
body of the naval officer lay in a huddle at the foot of the stairs
leading to the conning tower, just far enough to the rear so that the
free passage was not obstructed. With all the lights turned on and
every aperture which might transmit a ray to the world outside closed,
the boys, after placing the body on a couch, began a close examination
of the boat.

There were no wounds on the body, so it seemed that he had died from
suffocation. There was still a sickening odor in the boat, but the
constant manufacture of fresh air was gradually doing away with this.

The door to the room where the dynamos and the gasoline engine were
situated was found wide open, and Ned instructed the boys to leave it
so and leave everything untouched.

"The first thing to do," he said, "is to discover any clues the
assassin may have left here. It is an old theory that no person,
however careful he or she may be, can enter and leave a room without
leaving behind some evidence of his or her presence there. We'll soon
know if this is true in this case."

"There was some one in here, all right," Jimmie said. "He passed us on
the conning tower, skipping like to break the speed limit for the
city. I tried to trip him as he passed me, an' got this."

The lad turned a bruised face toward his companions. In the confusion
no one had observed the cut on his cheek.

"You did get something!" Jack exclaimed. "Why didn't you say something
about it?"

"Nothin' doin'!" answered the boy. "Only a scratch!"

Notwithstanding the boy's claim that the wound was of small
importance, Ned insisted on its being dressed at once.

"Now," Ned said, after the cut had been properly cared for, "what sort
of a man was it that passed you boys on the conning tower? The
circular platform is so small that he must have crowded you pretty
closely when he stepped out."

"He did," Jimmie answered. "I thought it was you, and stepped aside to
make room for him."

"And then?"

"I had a feeling that it wasn't you. Then, he was makin' for the wharf
so fast that I thought it would do no harm to have a look at him, and
so called out."

"Then's when you got the slash across the cheek?"

"Yes; he cut me then."

"What about the size of the fellow?" asked Ned.

"Oh, I should think he was slender and light, the way he bounded off
the platform and made for the wharf."

"Do you think he went there to kill Lieutenant Scott?" asked Jack, a
moment later.

"It is more probable that he came here to put the Sea Lion out of
commission," Frank replied.

"I'll bet well find somethin' all busted up!" Jimmie predicted.

"Ned can soon determine that," Jack remarked.

"Yes," Ned went on, "but the first thing to do is to see if this
murderer left any visiting cards here. After that, we must notify the
Coroner and have the body removed."

Ned went into the dynamo room and looked about.

"Here is where any enemy would have to do his work," he said, "so we
must look for clues here. Keep your hands off the machinery, for he
may have left finger marks somewhere."

Ned searched long and carefully without reward. Finally he turned to
the waiting boys.

"There's quite a lot of waste lying around," he said. "Secure every
fiber of it and examine it under the microscope. You would better
attend to that, Frank, as you are familiar with the instrument. If you
discover anything foreign to a place like this, let me know."

While Ned continued his search about the interior of the submarine,
Frank busied himself inspecting the bits of waste the other boys
brought to him. At last an exclamation of astonishment brought Ned to
his side.

"There's something funny about this," Frank said, as Ned bent over his
shoulder. "That stuff is not oil, and I'd like to know how it got in
here."

"What does it look like?" asked Ned.

"I can't say," was the hesitating reply.

Ned took the microscope and looked at the object to which his
attention had been called.

"Rubber!" he said, in a moment.

"Rubber!" repeated Frank. "How could rubber be in the waste in that
shape?"

"All the same," Ned replied, "this is some rubber composition, and it
has been wiped into the waste. Now, what could any person want with
rubber here?"

"It is used quite a lot around electric apparatus," suggested Frank
Shaw.

"But not in this form," Ned replied.

Then, remembering certain smooth blurs on the polished machinery he
had recently examined, he took the microscope and made another
examination of the spots. Presently he called Frank to his side.

"Look through the glass," he said, handing the instrument to Frank,
"and tell me what you see."

"Rubber!" cried the boy, after a short examination. "There are a few
traces here of the same rubber composition I found on the waste. Can
you tell me what it means?"

"Quite simple," Ned replied, as the boys gathered about him. "The use
of rubber composition by men engaged in nefarious undertakings dates
back to the time of the utilization of the whorls and lines of the
human fingers as aids in the detection of crime."

"I guess I know what you are going to say," cried Frank.

"When the thumb- and finger-print experts got busy with their
photographs and their enlarged reproductions, the criminals began
studying on methods to offset this dangerous aid to detective work."

"I knew it," cried Frank.

"And so," Ned went on, "they conceived the idea of filling the lines
on the fingers and hands and making them perfectly smooth. This is
rubber paint," he went on. "The man who was hidden in here when we
came in did not care to leave any finger marks behind him."

"But he did leave smooth blurs on the machines where his fingers
touched them!" said Jack.

"Certainly, and so pointed out the location of his efforts. Still, I
do not think he meditated disabling the Sea Lion. It is more probable
that he believed Lieutenant Scott to be the expert in charge of the
boat and sought to kill or disable him."

"See where the chump wiped his hands on waste," Jimmie cried.

Ned now made a still closer inspection of the room and was rewarded
for his thoroughness by discovering a tiny pool of the rubber
composition on the floor, close to the giant iron frame of the big
dynamo. Looking at the pool through his glass he discovered bits of
wool mixed with it. He put up his glass with a smile.

"We ought to be able to find this fellow now," he said, "if we get
busy before he has time to change his clothes."

"Got him, have you?" asked Jack.

"I think I could pick him out of a thousand provided he is captured in
the clothes he wore while here. His hand trembled while he was putting
the rubber composition on his fingers and some of it dropped on his
clothing and dripped off to the floor.

"There are shreds of blue wool in this composition on the floor--so
you see he wore a blue woolen garment--probably a coat or pair of
trousers. And, see here, the fellow lost all caution when he bounded
out of the submarine, after extinguishing the lights, on my entrance.

"He had already wiped the rubber off his hands on the waste, and so
his finger marks showed on the steel railing of the staircase. I'll
just take a photo of them."

When this was accomplished, Ned and Jimmie drew the Sea Lion's boat to
the edge of the float and launched it. Then, leaving Frank and Jack in
charge of the submarine, with instructions to keep a close watch for
suspicious characters, they turned the prow of the rowboat toward
South Vallejo. The distance to the wharf was not great. In fact, the
intruder seemed to have cleared it in a minute, either in a boat,
which was improbable, or by swimming.

The Sea Lion lay off the United States Navy Yard, on the west of Mare
Island, in the straits of the same name. The nearest landing place on
the mainland, therefore, was South Vallejo.

It was after 8 o'clock when the boys reached the main street of the
town and encountered a policeman in uniform. Ned at once asked for the
office of the Coroner of Salano County.

"What's doing?" asked the policeman.

"I have business with him," Ned replied, not caring to create a
sensation by reciting there in the street the details of what had
taken place.

"Well," replied the policeman, "if you're so mighty close-mouthed
regarding your business with the Coroner, you may find him yourself."

"All right," Ned replied. "I'll go to police headquarters. Perhaps the
night desk man won't be so fresh."

"Say," growled the policeman, "you needn't get gay. I know my duty.
So, if you don't mind, I'll take you to headquarters, saving you the
trouble of asking for the place."

"I refuse to go with you," Ned replied.

"Oh, well," announced the other, "I'll take you along, just the same.
I'm used to kids of your stamp. You're both under arrest, so you'd
better come along without making any trouble."

As he spoke the policeman seized both boys roughly.



CHAPTER V

TWO WOLVES IN A PEN



"Take it quietly," Ned advised Jimmie, as the little fellow began
struggling with the arm of the law. "We'll come out on top in the end,
I take it."

"I'd like to knock the head off this fool cop!" Jimmie cried. "What
right has he to go an' arrest us?"

"If it will take any load off your mind," the policeman replied, as
the three waited on a corner for a patrol wagon, "I'll tell you what
right I had to arrest you. There's a report at the office that a man
who went into that submarine of yours never came out again."

"When was this report sent in?" asked Ned.

"Just a few moments ago," was the reply. "All the officers in the city
are either watching for you or heading toward the boat. What have you
done with Lieutenant Scott?"

"Who sent in the report?" asked Ned.

"I don't know his name, but the chief does. He says he went to the
water front, on the island side, with the Lieutenant, that the
Lieutenant went on board the Sea Lion with you and the others, and
that he has not been seen since. What about it? Better confess and get
an easy sentence."

"The officers who are on their way to the submarine will find out why
the Lieutenant never came out," Ned said. "But about this man who made
the report. Why was he waiting for Scott to leave the boat?"

"Said he had an understanding with him that he was to watch outside,
as Scott did not exactly trust you New York kids. A little while ago
he heard a commotion and calls for help on board, so he came up to
report."

"Thank you for the information," Ned said. "Now, you can't get us to
headquarters any too quickly."

"Where is Scott?" asked the officer.

"Dead," was the reply.

"Holy smoke!" cried the policeman. "Then I've arrested a couple of
murderers!"

"If you'll hurry us to headquarters," Ned replied, "and the man who
made this report is still there, I'll help you to arrest a real
murderer. Here comes the wagon."

"Drive fast," ordered the policeman as the three entered the patrol
wagon and the driver turned to inspect the boys. "I've got the fellows
we're after," he added.

"Great luck!" the driver replied. "There'll be a big reward."

"Oh, I guess I know my business!" said the policeman, with a boastful
chuckle.

The station was soon reached, and, without the least ceremony, the
boys were pushed along to the cell block and locked up. Ned's demand
that they be taken before the chief was not heeded.

"This is fine!" Jimmie said, from the next cell to the one occupied by
Ned. "I like this."

Before Ned could reply, the chief of police made his appearance in the
corridor outside, a great ring of keys in one hand. He unlocked the
cell doors without speaking a word and motioned the boys out into the
corridor.

Then, still without speaking, he pointed the way to his private
office, ushered the lads in, closed and locked the door.

"Well?" he said, then.

"Will you send for the Coroner?" asked Ned.

"So Scott is dead?"

"Yes."

"Why did you kill him?"

Before opening his mouth to reply, Ned caught sight of a dark stain on
the arm of the chair in which he was seated.

"Have you a microscope handy?" he asked.

The chief opened his eyes in amazement.

The question, coming at that time, seemed almost the raving of a mad
man. This is the view the chief took of it, and he decided to
conciliate the maniac.

"What do you want of a microscope?" he asked.

"I want to see if this spot is caused by the application of a certain
rubber composition, and if there are shreds of blue wool mixed with
it."

"I guess," the chief said, "that your proper place is the foolish
house."

"While your men are bringing the microscope," Ned went on, coolly, "I
want to ask you a few questions."

"Go ahead," laughed the chief, wondering what sort of insanity this
was.

"Who sat in this chair last?" asked Ned.

"Why, the last visitor, of course."

"Can you now recall his name?"

"Curtis."

"How was he dressed?"

"In a blue suit."

"Where is he now?"

"I don't know. He said he would return as soon as the officers came
back from the submarine."

"Yes he will!" Jimmie broke in.

"Does he belong here?" asked Ned.

The chief pointed to the west.

"Over in the navy yard," he said.

"So the blue suit he wore was a naval uniform?"

"Exactly."

The chief touched a bell on his desk and a policeman opened the door
at the back of the room, connecting with the sergeant's room, and
looked in.

"Get a microscope," the chief ordered, "and keep quiet about what is
going on in here."

The sergeant nodded and went out.

"What did you say about that smear on the arm of the chair?" asked the
chief, then.

He was beginning to understand that there was something besides mental
trouble at the bottom of Ned's inquiries.

"I think," was the reply, "that an inspection of the spot will reveal
a rubber composition used principally by the thieves of Paris as a
paint to prevent palm and finger lines and whorls showing on things
they take hold of."

The chief looked at the spot critically.

"Also, shreds from a blue uniform," Ned continued.

"We shall see," replied the chief.

The microscope was soon brought in, and then a close examination of
the spot on the arm of the chair was made by the chief.

"What do you find?" asked Ned.

"I really can't say what it is," was the reply.

Ned took from a pocket a bit of the waste he had brought from the
dynamo room of the submarine.

"Look at this," he said, "and see if the material in it appears to be
the same as that on the chair. I mean, of course, the smudge on it."

The chief turned his instrument on the waste.

"It is the same," he declared, in a moment, "and I'd like to know
where you got it."

"Do you find blue threads--well, not threads, exactly, but bits of
fuzz--in the waste, too?"

"Yes, but the trace is faint."

"Well," Ned said, "the man who killed Lieutenant Scott is the man who
gave you the information you speak of. He sat in this chair not long
ago. I would advise a search for him."

"But he agreed to come back." "Of course he never will," Ned said.
"Now, here is another point. You are going to have the Sea Lion
searched?"

"Yes."

"Well, your men will find the body of Lieutenant Scott lying on a
couch there. In that case, they will doubtless arrest the two boys I
left on watch there?"

"Certainly."

"And that will give the man who left this blur on the arm of this
chair not long ago a chance to make off with the boat. I reckon you'll
do well to look after that part of the case, for the submarine belongs
to the Secret Service department of the Government, and Uncle Sam has
use for it just at this time."

"The Secret Service department?" repeated the chief. "He said she was
a scout boat Lieutenant Scott was going to coast south with."

"Did he say why he suspected that Lieutenant Scott was in danger?"
asked Ned.

"He said you boys were suspicious characters who claimed to be able to
operate a submarine, and that Scott was inclined to try you out."

Ned took a long envelope from a pocket of his coat and passed it,
unopened, to the chief.

"Read the letter inside," he said, "and then get me to the Sea Lion as
quickly as possible."

The chief opened the envelope and read the single sheet of typewritten
paper it held.

"From the Secretary of the Navy!" he exclaimed.

"Exactly."

"I don't need to ask if you are the Ned Nestor mentioned in the
letter, then. I saw a picture of you in a San Francisco newspaper, not
long ago, and now recognize you as the boy referred to."

"Then take us to the submarine," urged Ned.

"It won't do no good to take us there after that cheap skate has
geezled the boat," Jimmie cut in.

"And you are Jimmie," the chief went on. "I saw your picture, too.
Well, this is quite a surprise for me," the chief added.

"You'll get a greater surprise if you let that murderer get off with
the Sea Lion," Jimmie remarked.

The chief called the sergeant again and in a moment all was confusion
in the police station. A wagon was called, and the chief and his
ex-prisoners were soon on their way to the wharf, followed by the eyes
of the policemen left behind.

"That's Ned Nestor, of New York," the boys heard one of the men on the
iron steps in front saying as they passed, "and the little fellow is
Jimmie McGraw. Great hit Preston made arresting them!"

But the minds of the boys were too full of anxiety regarding the fate
of Scott and the Sea Lion to pay much attention to the words of
flattery they overheard. If the unknown murderer succeeded in securing
the arrest of Jack and Frank and getting away in the submarine, the
whole trip would have to be abandoned, at least for the present.

Besides, Ned had no idea of going back to New York and reporting that
he had been robbed of his boat under the very guns of the Mare Island
Navy Yard. He urged the driver to make greater speed, and in a short
time the wharf was in sight.

Half a dozen policemen were gathered about the end nearest the float
which upheld the Sea Lion, and the figure of another showed at the top
of the conning tower. As the police wagon dashed up to the wharf
another rig came up on a run and halted close at the side of it.

"Hello," called the chief, recognizing a man on the seat, "how did you
manage to get here so soon?"

"Some one 'phoned for me," was the hurried reply. "Where is the dead
man?"

"In the submarine," answered an officer who had drawn closer to the
official's buggy.

Without another word the newcomer leaped out and was conveyed to the
Sea Lion in the rowboat Ned had left tied to the wharf.

"That's the Coroner," the chief said, in explanation. "He'll soon get
at the bottom of this."

"Suppose we get aboard the Sea Lion," suggested Ned.

"Of course," said the chief, "you'll remain here a few days and assist
in the capture of this fellow?"

"I shall have to ask for instructions from Washington," was the reply.
"I really ought to get away on the steamer which sails in the
morning."

When the three, using a boat an officer found nearby, reached the main
cabin of the Sea Lion they found Jack and Frank sitting by the table,
handcuffed, repeating over and over again their individual and
collective opinion of the police of Vallejo. Jimmie seemed to take
great delight in taunting them.

"Black Bears in chains!" he roared.

"Huh, where have you Wolves been?" demanded Jack. "These cops said
they had you in a pen!"

While the Coroner was making his examination the chief ordered the
irons removed from the wrists of the boys. For a time the Coroner
appeared to be puzzled. He lifted the hands of the apparently dead man
and dropped them again. Then he held a pocket mirror before his lips.

"Look here," he said, presently, "I don't believe this man is dead."

"I hope you are right," Ned said, hopefully. "Still, the poison I got
near killed me, while he must have gotten much more."

There was a short silence, during which the Coroner held his watch.



CHAPTER VI

NIGHT ON AN OCEAN FLOOR



"Over there, straight to the west," Ned said, pointing from the
conning tower of the submarine, "is the coast of China, not far from
seventy-five miles away."

"And there, to the north," Frank said, "lie the Taya Islands. The big
fellow beyond is Hainan."

The sun was going down into the Gulf of Tong King like a ball of red
fire, and the night was far from cool.

Jimmie declared he could hear the water hiss as the sun dipped its red
rim under the waves. The boy now stood by Ned's side, looking over the
wonderful scene.

"We've been somewhere near here before," he said. "You remember the
time we came over to this side of the world and found a key to a
treaty box? Well, we wasn't far from this spot at one time."

"Right you are," Frank replied. "Only we hope to find something more
important than a key now. I hope they've had use for a cell key in
connection with that mix-up at Mare Island Navy Yard."

"It was rotten to let that fellow get away!" Jimmie declared. "I just
knew they would."

"We were all so astonished at the recovery of Lieutenant Scott," Ned
observed, "that we overlooked a few things we ought to have kept in
mind. Wasn't it glorious! Think of Scott coming out of it all right at
last!"

"Well, he said he was a fixture on the coast until he found the man
who came so near killing him," Frank said, in a moment, "and I hope
he'll make good."

"Huh," Jimmie interrupted, "if you think that fellow is on the Pacific
coast yet, you've got another think comin'. You remember the Diver
left San Francisco just about the time we did."

"What has that to do with it?"

"Most nothin' at all, only he sailed in her."

"You're a wise little man!"

"And, what's more, we'll see the Diver come pluggin' along here before
we get this job done," Jimmie went on. "That Captain Moore and his son
are out for blood."

"But the Diver will require at least a couple of months to get here,"
urged Frank. "We can get away before that time."

"You don't know what the Moores will do," Ned said. "I rather agree
with Jimmie, that we shall see something of the Diver before we leave
this part of the world."

"I hope so," Frank said.

"Well, who's for the bottom of the sea?" demanded Jimmie. "I want to
see what's down there before the Bogy Man gets me."

"I don't mind going down," Ned said. "Come on, we'll close the top
hatch and drop to the bottom, then, if conditions are right, we'll
enter the water closet, put on the diving suits, and take a walk on
the floor of the big water."

"Suppose we all go," suggested Frank.

"Perhaps it may be well for two to remain aboard in order to help the
others out, if necessary," Ned observed.

"All right," Frank said. "Catch a fish by the tail and bring him in
for supper."

"To-morrow," Jimmie said, "you can take a run on the riparian rights
an' chase whales."

"I'll wait and see whether you boys come out alive," laughed Frank.
"I'm a little leary about mixing with the funny little fishes. Some of
'em may bite!"

After a thoroughly interesting voyage, the boys had at last reached
the scene of their labors. It was now the 20th of October. The Sea
Lion had rode securely on the float, and Ned and his companions had
spent most of the time during the journey under the great hood which
covered the submarine, studying the mechanism and making themselves
thoroughly familiar with the big machine.

Arriving off the Taya Islands, the float had been submerged by opening
the sluiceways and filling the tanks with water. The Sea Lion behaved
admirably when she came to the surface after cutting away from the
companion of her voyage.

As there were no appliances for lifting the big float, she was now at
the bottom of the sea for all time, unless broken away from the
water-filled tanks by divers, in which case the upper works would come to
the surface. It was with feelings of keen regret that the boys saw the
great barge, as it might well be called, lying, deserted, on the ocean
floor.

As has been shown by the conversation between the boys in the conning
tower, Lieutenant Scott had fully recovered from the effects of the
poisonous fumes he had inhaled in the submarine on the night of Ned's
arrest at South Vallejo. Physicians stated at the time that his
recovery was due to the fact that the conning tower hatch was open
when the deadly gas was released. Ned, it was also stated, would have
been dead in a few moments if the hatch had been closed.

Search had been made, both by the police and the naval detectives, for
the author of the mischief, but he had not been found. It was believed
that his purpose in reporting the result of his own deviltry to the
chief of police was to secure the arrest of the boys on the Sea Lion
and make off with her.

Ned did not say so, when discussing the matter with the officers, but
he was satisfied that the Moores were at the bottom of the trouble.
The Captain had resigned, and had been observed lounging about the
wharf in New York where the Sea Lion lay, and had, it was afterwards
learned, been seen in San Francisco on the day before the arrival of
Lieutenant Scott and the Boy Scouts.

In reaching this conclusion Ned assigned envy as the prime motive on
the part of the Captain and his son. They had expected to be assigned
the duty of searching the ocean floor for the wreck of the mail
steamer. In their great disappointment nothing was more probable than
that they had resolved to hamper the efforts of their successful
rivals in every way.

But there was still another view of the case which might be
considered. The gold in the hull of the wrecked steamer would become
the spoil of the first submarine to reach her.

With the double incentive, greed joined to a thirst for revenge, it
would not be at all strange if the Moores had risked everything in
their efforts to prevent the Sea Lion leaving the Navy Yard on her
long trip. It was Ned's private opinion, too, that the son had been
the one to sneak into the submarine and attack the Lieutenant with the
poisonous gas.

Leaving Frank and Jack in the machine room, Ned and Jimmie entered the
water chamber and closed the door, which, however, was provided with a
plate glass panel of great thickness, so that light from the other
room supplied plenty of illumination.

It was not designed to submerge the Sea Lion until the boys were all
ready to step out. Four deep-sea suits hung on hooks in the water
chamber, one for each of the boys.

These suits were not much different from those usually worn by deep-sea
divers. They were of seamless rubber composition, braced across
the breast with bars of steel in order to offset the great pressure of
the lower levels and give the lungs plenty of room for expansion.

The helmets, which fitted on the neck of the suits, were lighter than
those in ordinary use, but fully as strong. The cords attached to the
helmets were very long, and the air-hose admitted of a range of at
least three hundred feet.

By the side of each suit lay an electric searchlight of special
construction and a long steel pole, shaped something like a crowbar,
but very slender and strong. This latter for defense in case attack
should be made by some monster of the deep.

"Say," Jimmie grinned, slipping on his suit, "these spring suits look
to me like someone to button us up in the back."

"I don't see where you find buttons," replied Ned.

"Look here, then!"

The boy pointed to the screws designed to secure the helmets.

"You button me up, and I'll button you up," Ned laughed. "We've got to
learn to do such things."

"I'll catch a shark an' get him to learn how," cried Jimmie. "I wonder
how I would look in this suit walkin' down the Bowery. Gee! I bet the
boys would jump out of their skins if they saw me comin'. They'd think
their master had come to claim 'em!"

The boys worked industriously for a time, settling themselves in the
rather clumsy suits, and then all was ready save putting on the heavy
helmets. Jimmie pointed to a belt about the waist of his suit.

"What's that for?" he asked, pulling at a hook which was suspended
from the steel circlet.

"That's to hang your searchlight on," was the reply. "There may come a
time when you'll want both hands to operate that spike thing you've
got to carry."

At last the helmets were adjusted, the cords and air-hose attached,
and then Ned motioned to the boys, watching with grinning eyes through
the plate glass panel, to turn on the air. The first sensation on
receiving the air was one of exhilaration, but this soon passed off.

Ned saw, by looking through the immense goggles which Jimmie wore,
that the lad was almost bursting with laughter, but he knew that this
effect would soon pass away. He pushed a button, and signaled to Frank
to fill the water tanks.

As the water chamber filled the boys felt a cold circle rise from
their toes to their heads. They felt a sinking motion, and soon the
mysterious life of the ocean became visible through the outer glass
door of the water chamber.

The Sea Lion dropped evenly to the bottom. The supply of air was as
perfect as it could well be. When the faint jar told Ned that the
submarine was at last resting on the bed of the tropical sea he
released a heavy bar which held the door, pushed it back against
considerable pressure, and stepped out.

Jimmie followed, and Ned stopped long enough to point to the lines as
a warning that they should not be allowed to become tangled, and
struck off. It was early in the evening, and there was a moon, almost
at the full.

The depth at that point was not great, scarcely more than sixty feet.
The pressure of the water overhead made walking rather difficult, and
the boys were strange to the lines they were drawing after them, but
they made good progress until they came to the end of the air-hose.

It was not as dark under the waves as might have been expected. The
light of the sun penetrates, ordinarily, to a depth of not far from
forty feet, and the moon's rays on this night were very strong. It was
not light enough for the boys to see objects around them, but there
was a soft illumination above their heads not dissimilar to the faint
haze of light which lies over a country landscape situated at no great
distance from a city bright with electricity.

By using the searchlights, however, the boys were able to distinguish
objects directly about them. They were on a level plain of pure white
sand. Ages and ages ago this pavement laid so smoothly on the ocean
floor had existed in the form of rocks.

Through countless years it had faced the assaults of the waves, until
at last, in utter defeat, it had succumbed to the mighty force and
dropped in fine grains to the lower levels of the world. It seemed to
Ned that it had lain there for centuries, with never a storm to pile
it into ridges or break its level surface into pits.

The scene about the boys was indescribably beautiful. The inhabitants
of the sea rivaled the rainbow in brilliancy of coloring. There were
more forms of life in sight than either of the boys had ever imagined
in existence.

Queer-shaped sea creatures with long tails darted about the rubber-clad
figures, and now and then an inquisitive fish with curious eyes
poked its nose against the eye plates, as if intent on discovering
what sort of creature it was that carried a sunrise in its head.

There were monster creatures in sight, too, and Jimmie jabbed at one
of them and brought blood. This brought others, and in a short time
the boys found themselves surrounded by a school of sharks.

Ned threw himself down on the sandy bottom and motioned to Jimmie to
do likewise. This seemed to surprise the sharks, for they nosed around
for only a moment longer. Seeing no opportunity of getting under their
prospective dinners, they switched their tails angrily, like a cat in
a temper, and swam off about their business, if they had any.

But Ned had little interest in the sea life about him. At another
time, and under other conditions, he would have enjoyed the novelty of
the scene to the fullest, but now he was anxiously watching for some
indication of the presence of the wreck of the Cutaria.

He was as certain as it was possible to be that the Sea Lion had
descended almost at the exact spot where the ill-fated vessel went
down. The hull should be out there in the sand somewhere, and he lost
no time in making his investigations.

But there was nothing on the smooth surface to show that any vessel
had ever rested there. Away to the north, however, the boy finally saw
what looked like an elevation.

His flashlight, however, would not throw its beams to the point of
interest, and he decided to return to the Sea Lion, rest for the
remainder of the night, and shift the submarine in the morning.

Motioning to his companion, therefore, he turned toward the door to
the water chamber. They had proceeded only a few steps when something
seemed to pass over their heads.

It was as if a heavy cloud had drifted over a summer sky, outlining
its shape on the fields below for an instant and then passing on.
Jimmie caught Ned's arm and pointed upward.

It was plain that the little fellow had caught sight of something his
companion had missed, but of course he could not explain then and
there what it was. Ned hastened his steps, and soon stood at the door
of the water chamber, which had been left open.

As Jimmie pushed into the water-filled apartment by his side and Ned
was about to close the door and expel the water from the chamber, as
well as from the tanks of the submarine, something which flashed like
polished steel hurtled through the water and struck the bottom just
outside the doorway.

Ned stepped out and picked it up. It was a keen-edge knife, such as
sailors carry. On the handle was a single initial--"D."

Ned knew what that meant. Through some strange agency, by means of
some unaccountable assistance, the Diver had reached the scene of the
proposed operations of the Sea Lion.

From this time on, it would be a battle of wits--perhaps worse!



CHAPTER VII

THE SECRET OF THE HOLD



In response to Ned's hand on the lever, the water door closed and the
pumps in the next compartment soon cleared not only the sea vestibule
but the tanks of the submarine of seawater.

In a moment the Sea Lion lifted to the surface, and Ned lost no time
in relieving himself of his helmet. Then, still attired in the rubber
suit, he hastened to the conning tower, where he found Jack, glass in
hand, sweeping the moonlit sea eagerly. There was a faint haze off to
the west, but nothing more. Whatever had passed above the submerged
boat, on the surface, had wholly disappeared, though the time had been
very short.

"What did you see?"

Ned asked the question because Jack's manner indicated excitement, if
not anxiety.

"Just a shadow," was the reply.

"It might have been a shadow, passing over the moon, the shadow of a
cloud, or a cloud itself," suggested Frank, sticking his head out of
the hatchway.

Ned pointed to the sky. There was not a cloud in sight.

"It must have been something of the kind," Jack mused, "for no boat
could get out of sight so soon."

"Not even a submarine?" asked Ned.

"What do you mean by that?"

"Did you see a submarine?"

Both questions were asked in a breath.

"No," replied Ned, "I did not see a submarine, but I don't believe any
cloud passing over the sky would drop anything like this."

He passed the knife to Jack and took the glass. Jack opened his eyes
wide as he examined the weapon and noted the initial on the handle. He
turned impulsively to Ned.

"Where did you get it?" he asked.

"At the bottom."

"Did you find it lying there?"

"It fell just as I reached the water chamber."

"Then how the dickens did the Diver get away so soon?" demanded the
boy.

"It sure did fall from the Diver," agreed Frank, taking the knife and
examining it.

"It would seem so," Ned replied, "but, of course, the initial may be
merely a coincidence."

"I guess we're in for it."

"But how did the Diver get here so soon after our arrival?" asked one
of the boys.

Ned looked grave for a moment, and then replied, his manner showing
how fully he appreciated the importance of his words:

"What I fear is that she got here first."

"And found the wreck?"

"She might have done so."

"Did you see anything of the Cutaria down there?" asked Frank.

"Not a bloomin' thing," answered Jimmie, making his appearance on the
conning tower.

"The Diver might have towed it away," suggested Jack.

"Impossible!" cried the others, in chorus.

"Anyway," Jack continued, "we're up against the real goods now. If the
Diver is here we'll have a scrap."

"But suppose it should be some other outfit?" asked Frank. "Some
pirate outfit after the gold?"

"Still there would be a scrap."

"That's one advantage of goin' with Ned," Jimmie edged in. "You most
always get into a scrap!"

"Well," Ned said, presently, "we may as well drop down and keep our
lights low. If the Diver is here, the Moores are aware of our
presence, and we must be prepared for anything."

In ten minutes the submarine lay at the bottom of the sea, with no
lights showing, every plate glass window having been shuttered on the
outside by a system of protection which was one of the best features
of the craft. Then Ned explained that he had seen, at some distance,
an apparent elevation rising from the sand.

"That may be the wreck," he said.

"I move we go and see," shouted Jimmie.

"In the darkness?" asked Frank.

"It is as light out there now," Jack declared, "as it will ever be,
unless some subterranean volcano lights up and makes fireworks on the
bottom, so we may as well be off."

"All right," Ned said, in a moment. "I was meditating a little rest
to-night, but it may be advisable to get to work at once. For all we
know the Moores may be stripping the wreck, even now."

"What I can't understand," Jack said, sticking to the first
proposition, "is how the Diver got here in such good time."

"As has been said, it may be some other craft," Frank consoled.

"Don't believe it," insisted Jimmie. "The boat that dropped that knife
is a submarine, else how could she disappear so suddenly? She may be
watching us now."

"Or her divers may be prowling around the Sea Lion!" Jack created a
little sensation by saying.

"What would be the use of prowling around outside the boat?" asked
Jimmie. "They couldn't hear anything, or see anything."

"But a torpedo will act under water," suggested Frank. "Those chaps
are equal to anything."

"Shall we go out and look around?" asked Jack.

Ned hesitated. He really was alarmed at the situation. He knew how
desperate the Moores must be, and he had no doubt that in some strange
way the Diver had been brought to the scene of the wreck.

"If you and Frank are partial to a moonlight stroll under sixty feet
of water," he finally said, "you may as well put on your water suits
and look around."

"Leave Jimmie here to watch the boat and come with us," urged Jack.

"Go on," Jimmie advised. "I can run this shebang, all right. Go on and
see what you can see."

"If we are going out to-night," Ned said, after reflection, "we may as
well shift the Sea Lion and inspect the bottom over where we saw the
apparent elevation."

"Yes; that may be the wreck," Jack admitted.

So the submarine was moved a short distance to the north, about the
space which had seemed to separate the boys from the elevation, and
preparations were made for going out. Jimmie was rather pleased at the
idea of being left in charge of the submarine.

"Of course you'll not touch the machinery," Ned warned. "All you can
do is to see that the air pumps are kept going. Any motion of the
boat, you understand, might break or disarrange the hose carrying the
air to us, so be careful."

"Oh, I guess I don't want to murder any of you," laughed the little
fellow. "Go ahead and I'll run things all right on board the boat. I
could operate her anywhere."

The Sea Lion was lifted only a trifle in order to make the change to
the new location. As she moved along she was not much more than a
fathom from the level sand below.

This was done by regulating the water in the tanks to the pressure at
the depth it was desired to navigate. The delicate mechanisms designed
to show depth, pressure, air value, and all the important details of a
submarine were absolutely perfect.

So the three boys entered the water chamber, leaving Jimmie grinning
through the glass panel. When the boat was brought to the bottom they
opened the outer door and stepped out.

The Sea Lion had traversed only a short distance, yet the surface upon
which the lads walked seemed very different from the smooth sand level
Ned had seen before. There were now little ridges of sand, and now and
then a pit opened up almost under their feet.

A dozen yards from where they emerged from the submarine they came
upon the elevation which Ned had observed on his first trip out. It
was not, however, a submerged rock or a bit of harder soil in the
desert of sand. It was the hull of a wrecked vessel.

Ned moved along one side of the wreck, as far as his air-hose would
permit him to go, and was satisfied that he had found the lost mail
ship. The sand was already drifting against her sides, but she was
still far from buried.

On the port side, about a third of the way to the stern from the bow,
the boy discovered the wound which had brought the stately vessel to
her present position. She lay, tilted about a quarter, in eighty feet
of water.

Ned wondered why passing vessels had not discovered her. The tall
stacks had been beaten down, probably snapped off at the collision,
but the superstructure was high, and not far below the surface, Ned
thought.

After motioning Jack and Frank to remain at the break in the side of
the ship, Ned clambered up and, being careful to protect his air-hose
and line from the jagged edges of the wound, crept inside. His
electric flashlight revealed the interior only a short distance ahead
of him, but at the very outset he saw that some of the air-tight
compartments remained intact.

There was a lifting, swaying motion occasionally which told him that
there was still air imprisoned in the broken ship. At that distance
from the surface there would be no wave motion to produce the
oscillations he observed.

"It is very strange," he mused, as he clambered over bales, chests and
boxes in the hold, "that the ship should have gone down so quickly.
Telegraphic reports at the time of the accident--if it was an
accident--stated that she sank slowly. It would require only a little
assistance to bring her to the surface."

The boy made his way as far into the interior as he could with his
comparatively short air-hose, and then turned back to where he had
left Jack and Frank. He had found it impossible, on account of the
shifting to the prow of the hold cargo, to reach the cabin and the
captain's offices without entering from the top deck.

As he turned around he stopped an instant, his attention attracted by
a sound which seemed to come from beyond the bulkhead back of him. It
sounded almost like the hiss of escaping steam. The lad knew that it
must be a strong vibration which could thus make itself felt at that
distance below the surface and through the heavy helmet he wore.

The more he considered the matter the clearer became the fact that it
was actually uniform sound he heard. That is, sound brought to his
ears by the water.

Some force might be moving the water, and the motion might be
conveying to his ears, through the thin sides of the air-hose, the
story of the action of the waves, if waves could be created at that
depth.

As he listened to the steady beating he became convinced that some
unknown power was at work in the wreck. What it was he could not even
guess.

Then he heard sharper sounds which seemed to be created by steel
striking steel. The jar brought the sound waves to his ears quite
distinctly.

"Either I'm going daffy," the boy mused, "or there is some one at work
on the wreck."

He left the hold and, without giving the others to understand that he
had discovered anything of importance, began an examination of the
sand along the line of the bottom. His air-hose was not long enough to
admit of passing entirely around the vessel, so he motioned to the
boys to accompany him and turned back to the submarine.

"Did you hear anything down there?" asked he as soon as the helmets
had been removed.

"What are you talking about?" asked Frank, with a laugh. "Water would
not convey sound to the ear."

"But the jar of water would," observed Jack. "I heard a jar while I
was down there."

"I don't believe it!" Jimmie cut in.

"When in swimming," said Frank, "did you ever sit on the bottom of the
swimming hole and pound two stones together?"

"Of course," laughed the little fellow.

"And you heard a noise?"

"I believe I did, but it was not such a noise as one would hear from
the same cause in the air."

"Well," Ned went on, "I heard noises down there, too, and I'll tell
you right here that I'm alarmed."

"Scared!" roared Jimmie.

"Alarmed at what?" demanded Frank. "I didn't see anything to be
alarmed at."

"I have no theory as to what it was I heard," Ned went on, "but I'm
going to get a longer air-hose, shift the Sea Lion so she will hang
over the wreck, and go down again right away."

"I'm ready!" laughed Jack. "I want to hear that noise again."

"Do you think there are men down there removing the gold?" asked Jack.



CHAPTER VIII

ON GUARD UNDER THE SEA



"If there is anybody at work on the wreck," Ned replied, "they may be
removing the gold or they may be searching the vessel for
incriminating documents."

"I guess any documents found down there will be pretty wet," laughed
Jack.

"They may be in sealed boxes," Ned replied. "Anyway, if there are
important documents on board they might be rendered legible by proper
and judicious handling." "Here we go, then," Jack exclaimed. "I'll
expel the water in the tanks until the Sea Lion rests at the right
altitude, over the wreck, and we can enter by way of the decks."

"But what will the other fellows be doing while we are getting into
position?" asked Frank.

"Gettin' ready to cut our lines, probably," interposed Jimmie.

"That's a fact," Jack said. "If there are men working in the ship they
must be supplied with air by a submarine. How could that be done, I'd
like to know."

"They might anchor the submarine some distance away," replied Ned,
"and lay an air-hose along the bottom. If attached to the hose leading
into the helmets before being placed, two or three might work from
such a supply, and such a system, too, would obviate a good deal of
the danger to be feared from crossed lines."

"You've got it all figured out!" cried Jimmie.

"Well," Frank intervened, "I'll bet that he has it right. Those Moore
persons were not born yesterday."

"That's right," Jack admitted. "We saw enough of the Captain in the
Black Bear club-room in New York to know that he is an expert in the
submarine business. He may be an imitation fop and a bounder, as he
would say, but he certainly is next to his job."

"Why wouldn't it be a good idea to sneak around in our water suits
until we find the lines an' cut them?" asked Jimmie.

"That would be plain murder," Ned replied.

"I guess they wouldn't hesitate long if the conditions were reversed,"
Frank suggested, "still, I wouldn't like to be in with anything as
brutal as that."

"Come to think of it," Jimmie admitted, "I wouldn't, either."

"I don't get the idea of these incriminating documents," Jack said, in
a moment. "That is one thing I did not pay attention to in the talk
with Captain Moore at the clubroom."

"What he said was this," Ned explained. "The Government is accused, in
certain hostile foreign circles, of conspiring with the leaders of the
revolution now brewing in China. He declared that the Washington
officials were even charged with sending the gold to the rebels by the
roundabout way of the present Chinese Government."

"You'll have to come again!" laughed Frank. "I'm dense as to that part
of it. It is too subtle for me."

"Me, too," Jimmie asserted.

"All I know about it," Ned answered, "is that Captain Moore declared
that the rebel leaders were purposely posted as to the shipment of the
gold, and that they were to seize it as soon as it left the protection
of the American flag, if they could. At least they were to be given a
chance to do so."

"Even in that case," Frank reasoned, "the Washington people wouldn't
be foolish enough to place incriminating papers with the shipment. The
whole scheme might fail, you know."

"It does look pretty fishy," Ned remarked, "but the ways of diplomacy
are often crooked ways. Anyway, it is claimed by some that the mail
boat was rammed, that it was no accident that sent her to keep company
with McGinty at the bottom of the sea."

Jack expelled the water from the tanks of the Sea Lion until the
instruments in the machine room showed her to be near the surface,
and, as Ned estimated, directly above the wreck. Then an anchor was
sent out, to prevent any possible drifting, and Ned, Frank and Jack
put on their helmets again.

The lines used for signaling and the air-hose had both been spliced,
and it was figured that any part of the wreck could now be visited.
The drop lines were also longer, and the machinery for hauling the
divers up on signal was made ready for use.

"We can't walk out and in the Sea Lion now," Ned said, "and a good
deal depends on the vigilance of the boy left in the boat. Watch for
the slightest signal, Jimmie," he warned.

The touching of a lever unwound the lifting and lowering lines when
all was ready, and in a minute the three boys found themselves on the
upper deck of the wreck. It was tilted at an angle of about twenty
degrees, so great care was exercised in traversing it.

As Jimmie swung the lever which lowered the three boys he peered out
of a darkened window. He saw only the dim surface light.

"They've got sense enough not to show any light," he mused, "so the
thieves won't know what is going on unless they see the shadow
overhead, or run into one of the fellows."

Leaving Frank, as the most cautious of the boys, to guard the lines
and air-hose when they touched sharp angles, Ned, accompanied by Jack,
advanced down the main companionway and was soon in the large and
handsomely furnished cabin.

Then the electric searchlights were put to use, and the great
apartment lay partly exposed to view. Their entrance into the room
seemed to create something like a current in the water, and articles
of light weight came driving at them.

Ned turned sick and faint as a dead body lifted from the floor and a
ghastly face was turned toward his own. A few unfortunate ones had
gone down with the ship, and most of the bodies lay in this cabin.

Those who had remained on deck until the final plunge had, of course,
drifted away. However, the boy soon recovered his equilibrium, and
went about his work courageously, notwithstanding the fact that many
terrifying forms of marine life swam and squirmed around him.

Clinging to heavy tables and chairs to prevent slipping, the boys made
their way to that part of the ship where, according to their drawings,
the captain's cabin had been. Their first duty was to make search for
any sealed papers which might be there.

The room was located at last, and then Ned motioned to Jack to
extinguish his light. The boy obeyed orders with a feeling of dread.

It was dark as the bottomless pit in the cabin now, and fishes and
squirming things brushed against his legs and rubbed against the line
which was supplying him with air.

In all the experiences of the Boy Scouts nothing like this had ever
been encountered before. In Mexico, in the Philippines, in the Great
Northwest, in the Canal Zone, in the cold air far above the roof of
the world, they had usually been in touch with all the great facts of
Nature, but now they seemed separated from all mankind--buried in a
fathomless pit filled with unclean things.

The door of the captain's cabin was closed. Ned put his ear against
it, then reached out and took Jack by the arm. The latter understood
the order and crowded close.

From the other side came sharp blows, and through the keyhole came the
glow of illuminated water. Ned's worst fears were realized. Some one
had reached the wreck in advance of his party.

He knew that he could not justly be censured for the activity of his
enemies, and yet the thought that he was in danger of failing in his
mission brought the hot blood surging to his head. He did not stop at
that time to deliberate as to how the hostile forces had gained this
advantage in time.

He did not even try to solve the problem as to the personality of the
hostile element. The men working on the other side of the door to the
captain's cabin might have crossed the Pacific in the Diver, or they
might have been recruited from foreign seaports.

The question did not particularly interest him. The point with him was
that they were there.

And, now, what course ought he to pursue? For a time, as he stood
against the door, he could reach no conclusion.

Directly, however, the important question presented by the unusual
situation came to the boy's mind. It was this:

Where was the boat into which the workers on the other side of the
door proposed to remove the plunder?

The Diver, or some other efficient submarine must be close at hand.
The men who were searching the captain's room were being supplied with
air from some source.

And here was another question:

Had the gold already been removed?

It seemed to Ned that the first thing for him to do was to locate the
submarine. For all he knew, prowlers from her might be nosing around
the Sea Lion.

He had left the door to the water chamber open, of course, and so it
must remain until he returned. Jimmie, owing to a defect afterwards
corrected, could not expel the water while the door was open, nor
could he close the door from the interior.

Fearful that some mischief was on foot, he grasped Jack by the arm and
hastened back to where Frank had been left. His first care should be
to find the exact location of the hostile submarine and then see that
no air-hose reached from her to the Sea Lion.

The three boys passed out of the wreck and came to the stern of the
once fine ship. She had gone down prow first, and the stern was a
little above the level sand floor of the sea.

Instead of passing around the stern and coming out on the other side,
the boys halted and crouched down, so as to see under the keel. As the
outer shell of the ship was here at least a yard above the bottom, it
was plain that the cargo had swept forward when she went down, thus
holding her by the nose.

There was no longer any doubt as to what was going on. There, only a
few yards away, lay the dark bulk of a submarine. Only for a light
glimmering through the closed door of the water chamber it could not
have been seen at all.

The men who were working in the wreck had taken no chances in leaving
the boat. Their lines and air-hose passed through the outer door in
well-guarded openings, and the interior was as safe from intrusion as
a walled-in fortress.

Ned regretted that he had not observed the same precaution in leaving
the Sea Lion, still he did not believe that his boat had been
attacked. After a few moments devoted to observation, Ned crept around
the keel and looked down the side of the ship which lay toward the
submarine. Men with electric lamps in their helmets were working
there.

They appeared to be forcing an entrance into the lower hold of the
ship through a small break in the shell. This led him to the
conclusion that the way to the very bottom was blocked from the
inside, and that the gold--if it had been stored there--had not yet
been removed.

He returned to his chums and all three started back to the Sea Lion.
The men about the wreck were all so busy that it did not seem to Ned
that they knew of the presence there of his submarine.

Still, he searched the bottom, as he passed along, with both hands and
feet for any line which, leaving the stranger, might be leading to her
rival. Finally he discovered, much to his annoyance, a hauling line
and an air-hose leading in the direction he was going.

"I'm afraid," he thought, "that Jimmie is in trouble."



CHAPTER IX

"JIMMIE'S FOOLISH--LIKE A FOX"



Left alone in the Sea Lion, Jimmie spent most of his time watching
from a darkened window. He could distinguish little in the faint
sifting of moonlight which dropped down from the sparkling surface of
the sea, but there was companionship even in that.

He had been instructed by Ned to keep the interior dark, and so he
watched the ocean floor for the lights which his chums might be
obliged to turn on. As the reader knows, however, the exploring party
showed no lights at all until the interior of the wreck had been
gained.

Listening and waiting, half inclined to admit that he was just a
little bit lonesome, the boy stood at his post for about a quarter of
an hour. Then he saw an opaque object moving toward the submarine.

It was not a shark or other monster of the sea, for it walked upright
and seemed to move up and down as it came to the little undulations in
the ocean floor. When it came nearer Jimmie moved toward the door of
the water chamber.

"That must be Ned," he thought, "comin' back alone. Now, I wonder if
anythin' has happened to Frank an' Jack?"

For a moment the heart of the lad throbbed wildly, then he calmed
himself with the thought that in case of accident he would have been
notified by the lifting lines. The air machine was working perfectly,
too, and this indicated that all was well below.

Finally the moving object came to a position about ten yards distant
from the submarine and stopped. He was now about fifty feet below the
window out of which Jimmie looked, for the Sea Lion, as has been said,
lay well up from the bottom, not exactly over the wreck but not far
from it.

In a moment the boy saw the glimmer of a lamp down where the man was,
and saw that it was moving about on the bottom. Lights, of course, do
not show in water as they do in air, and so it was only a faint
illumination that Jimmie observed.

Still, he could see that whoever was carrying the light was fumbling
about on the bottom. He watched intently for a moment and then saw the
man coming toward him, swimming straight up.

"I guess it's one of the boys," Jimmie mused. "He must have lost his
line, and when I saw him fumbling he must have been removing the
weights designed to hold him down in spite of the air in the helmet."

This appeared to be a good explanation, and the boy stood with his
face pressed against the glass panel of the water chamber door,
waiting for whoever it was to enter, close the apartment, and push the
lever that controlled the exhaust which emptied the chamber.

At last the swimmer clambered into the chamber, and the waiting boy
was about to switch on a light when a suspicious action on the part of
the other caused him to hesitate. He could observe the actions of the
man in the water on the other side of the glass panel quite clearly
now, and was alarmed at what he saw him doing.

Instead of drawing his air-hose in with him and coiling it carefully
so as to clear the doorway and still leave free passage for the air
which was being pumped into it, he laid the hose carefully in a
slide-covered groove in the edge of the door. The hose did not seem to
be quite large enough to fill the groove, and the fellow took something
soft and pliable from a pocket and wrapped around it.

Then he closed the door and pushed the lever which released the power
that forced the water out of the chamber. Only one inference was to be
drawn from the scene which Jimmie had witnessed.

The man in the water chamber was a stranger. This was merely an
attempt to get possession of the Sea Lion.

The fellow was breathing air pumped into his hose by some other boat
than the Sea Lion. He had cast off his weights in order to gain the
chamber, which neither one of the boys would have found necessary, as
they would have been carried up by the machinery which worked the
lifting and descending lines.

Another thing the boy realized, as he waited with anxiety for the next
move. The man, whoever he was, was thoroughly familiar with the plan
of the Sea Lion.

The grooves in the edge of the door had been planned so as to give
entrance to visitors who were not receiving their air from the Sea
Lion. No one was believed to know anything about this arrangement--no
one save the builders and the Secret Service men.

While Jimmie watched, the intruder moved the lever and the water in
the chamber began to lower. When the water was forced out fresh air
was automatically forced in.

Before long the intruder disconnected his hose with his helmet and
threw the end over a hook provided for that purpose. When the water
was all out he knocked heavily on the door leading to the room where
Jimmie stood.

"There'll be doings here directly," the boy thought.

Again and again the visitor beat upon the door, but Jimmie gave no
sign. He could not well observe the man now, for, with the water out
of the chamber, the light carried by the man inside shone brightly
against the glass panel, and the boy would have been observed had he
stood close to it.

Jimmie grew more anxious as the seconds passed. He was trying to put
away the thought that the intruder had cut the air-hose attached to
the helmets of his friends.

For all he knew all three boys might be lying drowned, on the floor of
the ocean. The thought was unbearable, and he resolved to banish it in
action.

His first impulse was to disconnect the exhaust and fill the chamber
with water. The man in there had disconnected his air-hose and would
soon drown.

But the brutality of such a course soon presented itself, and Jimmie
cast about for some other method of meeting the dangerous situation.
He could hear the visitor fumbling at the door, and wondered if he
knew the secret of opening it.

After a time it seemed to the listening boy that the fellow was
feeling in the right locality for the hidden spring which would open
the door from the other side, and sprang for the bar which secured it
against such entrance. Then he dropped the bar and stood wiping the
sweat from his forehead.

"If I bar the door," he mused, "that robber will cut the air-hose
protecting the boys outside, if he has not already done so. I've just
got to let him in here an' take chances."

He hastened to the back of the room and brought a long coil of rope.
Making a running noose in one end, he released several loops from the
big coil and held them loosely in his hand.

"I wonder if I can assist him into our princely apartments?" thought
the boy, whimsically. "If I can get this rope around his body and over
his arms, I'll be the boss of the precinct! I expect he'll tumble
around a good deal, but I guess I can quell him!"

The boy waited in the darkness until a faint click told him that the
intruder had discovered the spring. This was followed by a slam as the
sliding door fell back.

Then all was still. Jimmie, hidden in the shadows, prepared to throw
his lasso as soon as the visitor left the doorway.

"Hello!"

The voice carried a hoarse challenge.

"Any one here?"

The man was still in the doorway, and was swinging his light about so
as to give him a better view of the room.

"If he would only drop his arms!" Jimmie mused. "I'd like to hit him
with a ballclub!"

Directly the fellow did drop his arms, and at the same moment stepped
out of the shelter of the doorway. This was what Jimmie had been
waiting for, and he lost no time in acting.

The rope cut the air and descended over the intruder's head and arms.
The lad's hours of practice while playing cowboy now proved to be of
great worth.

Jimmie gave a quick jerk as the rope landed and he ran to the back of
the room. He heard the other fall, and knew by the weight that he was
dragging him.

When he gained the wall he switched on the light and reached to a
shelf for a weapon. When he faced his captive he held an automatic
revolver in his hand.

By this time a torrent of expletives was coming through the helmet
opening where the air-hose had entered. The prisoner rolled about on
the floor, trying to get to his feet.

"Whoo-pee!" shouted the boy. "Look what one can catch out of the
ocean!"

A roar of rage was the only answer.

"Take off that helmet!" commanded the boy.

A muffled challenge came from the interior.

"All right," said the boy, "then I'll take it off for you. But I'll
have this gun handy, and if you try any foolishness you won't hold
water when I get done shootin'."

Before long the helmet was off, and Jimmie was looking into as evil a
face as he had ever seen. It was the face of a stranger, and yet there
seemed something familiar about it.

"What sort of a game is this?" demanded the captive. "If you know
what's good for you, you'll quit this cowboy business."

"Who are you?" asked Jimmie.

A snarl was the only reply. The enraged man was tugging fiercely at
the rope.

"Quit it!" warned Jimmie. "I'll have to put you to sleep if you try
that."

"You don't dare!"

"Don't four-flush!" the boy advised.

"Release me!"

Jimmie sat down and leveled the weapon at the struggling man.

"I guess I'd better shoot," he said, calmly. "I suppose you've cut the
boys' air-hose, and I'll have to get back to New York the best way I
can--alone. So, you see, I can't be bothered with you."

The captive ceased his struggles and managed to rise to a sitting
position. His eyes were not so threatening as before.

"No," he declared, "I didn't cut the hose."

"Why? You're equal to such a trick."

"I was told not to."

Jimmie hesitated a moment. He wished devoutly that he could believe
what the fellow said.

"Who told you not to?" he then asked.

The captive shook his head.

"I don't know his name," he said.

"And you are sailing with him?"

"All I know is that he is called the Captain."

"I see," said the boy. "Now, how comes it that you know so much of the
plans of the Sea Lion?"

"What makes you think I do?"

"You found the groove in the door, and also the spring that opens the
door to the water chamber."

"Oh, that!"

"Well?" the boy flourished his weapon, though nothing could have
induced him to fire on the unarmed man.

"I was told what to do when I got here," was the reply.

"Did you see my chums on the way here?" The captive nodded.

"Where?"

"At the wreck."

"Where is your boat?" was the next question.

"On the other side of the wreck."

"And you are after the gold?"

"Of course."

"And important papers?"

"I know nothing about that."

"What is the name of your boat?"

"The Shark."

"Appropriate name that!" laughed Jimmie. "Used to be the Diver, didn't
she?"

"I don't know."

"What did you come here for?"

"To get the boat."

"And remove it?"

"Of course."

"That would have meant death to the boys who are out in the water at
this time?"

"I suppose so. Say, there's something wrong with your air machine. I
know something about such contrivances, and this one acts as if a hose
out in the sea had been cut!"



CHAPTER X

A CHASE ON THE OCEAN FLOOR



Jimmie listened for an instant. There certainly was something the
matter with the air machine.

"Get a move on!" shouted the captive, "or we'll all be food for the
sharks directly."

"Remain quietly where you are, then," Jimmie said, with a significant
flourish at the gun which he had no intention of using, except in a
case of the direst necessity.

"Go!" shouted the other.

Jimmie did not know what to do. While he had learned a good deal about
the submarine, he was by no means an expert in the handling of her.
His experience with the air machines had been very slight, as the boys
had made little use of them.

"It's getting close in here already!" cried the captive in alarm. "Why
don't you do something?"

"What is there for me to do?" asked the boy.

"Release me and I'll fix it," suggested the other.

Before Jimmie could explain the foolishness of this proposition, he
heard a pounding at the outer door of the water chamber. He bounded
through the open doorway and looked out.

There was a helmeted face against the pane. The boy was motioning for
the door to be opened.

"Now," mused Jimmie, "I wonder how he got up there? The lifting lines
haven't moved. Why didn't he let me know he was coming up?"

"Hurry!" called the captive.

Jimmie knew, from the flounderings on the floor, that the fellow was
again trying to get rid of the rope. He stepped to the door and lifted
a hand in warning, then slid the bolts and guards so the water chamber
door would open from the outside, then stepped back into the larger
apartment and closed the door.

He heard a rush of water and knew that some one was entering. Then,
satisfied that all was well, he turned to his prisoner.

The fellow was half out of the rope, and one hand was sneaking toward
a heavy ax which lay not far off.

"Cut that!" cried the boy.

He stood guarding the man while the water chamber filled and emptied.
Then the door opened and Ned came in, helmet in hand. First, he turned
a screw and the trouble at the air machine ceased.

"What the dickens!"

Ned stopped short in the middle of the room as he turned and gazed in
amazement at the prisoner.

"I've been fishin'," Jimmie explained, with a chuckle.

"What is it you caught?" asked Ned.

"This," said Jimmie, "is the original sea serpent!"

"Looks to me like Moore, Jr.," Ned said.

"No?" exclaimed the boy.

"Are you the son of Captain Moore?" asked Ned.

The other nodded.

"I thought you'd recognize me," he grunted. "I was a fool to come
here."

"That's about the only true word you've said since you came on board,
I take it," Ned went on.

Young Moore scowled and bent his eyes to the floor.

Ned now turned to Jimmie and asked:

"Why didn't you draw us up?"

"Why," replied the little fellow, "I never got the signal."

"Guess you were too busy getting your sea serpent," smiled Ned.

"Did you pull?" asked Jimmie.

"Sure. Jack and Frank are out there now, ready to beat you up for
keeping them out so long."

The prisoner turned his face away from the two and sulked.

"There's the boys now," Jimmie said. "Let them in."

In ten minutes Jack and Frank were in the large room, busily engaged
in taking off their deep-sea clothes.

As Frank threw his helmet into a corner he held up the end of a line.

"You see," he said, glancing angrily at the prisoner, who had moved as
far away as possible. "The line was cut."

"Aw, it would have come away in your hand when you pulled, then," said
Jimmie. "You'd have found that out quick enough."

"I tell you it was cut," Frank insisted. "It was cut and tied to a
rock that lies at the bottom. When we pulled we pulled at the big old
boulder we saw lying there on the sand. Now, what do you think of
that?"

"Why did you do it?" asked Ned, turning to Moore.

"I didn't," was the reply.

"Who did?"

"I don't know."

"I don't believe you."

"There were others besides me," insisted Moore.

Ned made an examination of the end of the three cords. All had been
cut. All had been tied to something, for the ends were frayed as if by
being twisted about in the hands.

"I presume you thought you were cutting the air-hose?" asked Ned,
tentatively.

"I reckon I know a line from a hose," was the reply.

"So you did cut them?"

Frank sprang toward the prisoner with flashing eyes. "I'll show you
what such sneaks get here."

Ned drew the enraged boy away.

"He'll get what's coming to him at some other time," he said. "Let him
alone for the present."

"But he did attempt to cut the hose!" Jack exclaimed. "We ought to
throw him out to the sharks."

"Not now," said Ned, coolly.

"Anyway," Frank said, a smile showing on his face, "he made us swim to
the boat."

"He did that himself," laughed Jimmie, "and lost his weights."

"That's the worst of it," Jack remarked, "we've lost our weights, and
there's no knowing how we are to get more."

Jimmie now pointed to the air machine.

"Was there something wrong with it?" he asked.

Ned shook his head.

"Working perfectly," he said. "There wasn't a screw loose."

"Well, he," pointing to the prisoner, "said there was something wrong,
and I began to think he was right."

"Imagination!" laughed Jack.

Ned now faced Moore and asked:

"Have you taken the gold out of the wreck?"

A shake of the head was the answer.

"Have you discovered any important papers? You know what I mean by
'important.'"

"We have not."

"You came in the Diver?"

"Yes."

"Run her across?"

"No; came on a tow-line."

"I thought so. What steamer towed you over?"

"I can't answer that."

"Why?"

"I'm not permitted to."

"It was a Japanese boat?"

"Well, yes, it was."

"And she kept you out of sight all the way over and dropped you here
to do this dirty work?"

"She didn't put a brass band on board of us," replied the captive,
sullenly. "What is the meaning of this third degree business? Who do
you think you are?"

"Your people know that we are here, of course?"

"Oh, yes, we're not fools. We saw you from the first."

"And they know where you started for?"

"Sure."

"Is your father in the Diver?"

"I refuse to answer any more questions," Moore stormed. "You've got
the upper hand now, but the time will come when things will be
reversed. Release me!"

"Of course," replied Ned, "we'll release you and give you the run of
the boat! You came here to murder us, and so are entitled to the most
courteous treatment!"

"Well, quit asking impertinent questions, then," snarled the other.
"You can at least do that."

Ned hunted up two pairs of handcuffs, ironed the prisoner, and then
conveyed him to a little room used for storage purposes. Moore did not
appear to like this program.

"If anything should happen," he declared, "I'd be left here to die
like a dog."

"And serve you good an' right!" Jimmie consoled.

"What do you expect is going to happen?" asked Jack.

"Oh, I don't know," was the hesitating reply. "Something might, you
know."

The boys went out and shut the door, leaving young Moore protesting
against the treatment he was receiving.

"Now," Ned said, when the boys were assembled in the large room, "it
is plain that the rascals on board the Diver are preparing to attack
us, or do something to imperil our lives. You saw how frightened Moore
was when he was locked in that room."

"Yes, he seems to fear that he will be brought to death by his own
friends," Frank said.

"What do you suggest?" asked Ned.

"Stay an' fight!" urged Jimmie.

"Hide away from them!" Frank proposed.

"Wait here until we see what they propose doing," Jack ventured.

"I think," laughed Ned, "that we'll bunch your advice and utilize it
all. We'll hide in some deep spot until we see what they're up to, and
then we'll fight."

"I reckon they are about five to one."

This from Frank, who preferred meeting the enemy on dry land.

"Oh, we can't come to a hand-to-hand battle," Ned replied. "We've got
to fight submarine fashion."

Without attempting any explanation of this observation Ned proceeded
to make a careful inspection of the boat. There was a torpedo tube at
the prow, and this he studied over for a long time.

"Goin' to blow 'em up?" asked Jimmie.

"I was thinking," was the reply, "that we might use this as a bluff if
we come to a tight place."

"Aw, what's the use?" demanded Jimmie. "You don't make bluffs! You get
the winning hand before you call! If I had my way, I'd blow 'em out of
the water!"

"Yes, you would!" Frank said. "You'd be the first one to kick if we
should attempt to put that thief in there out of the boat. You're the
tender-hearted little child of the bunch!"

All the boys laughed, including Jimmie, for they knew that what Frank
said was the truth. Jimmie liked to talk of merciless measures, but he
was not inclined to put them into practice.

"Well," Ned said, presently, "the Diver people will soon understand
that something has happened to Moore, and will be after us. We may as
well take a moonlight stroll."

The water tanks were filled, the power turned on, and the Sea Lion,
with no lights in sight, save the one at the prow from which Frank
watched the level ahead, began feeling her way to the south.

"The charts show a deep pit not far off," Ned said, "and we'll hide
there for a time and see if they give up the job of looting the wreck.
The loss of young Moore may scare them out."

"Why not go to the surface and air out the boat?" asked Jack. "Our air
apparatus is all right, of course, but I like the real thing better.
We can drop down again in a few minutes."

"That's a good idea," Ned replied, and in a moment the Sea Lion was
lifting to the surface.

In half an hour she was down again, dark and silent, in the pit of
which Ned had spoken. Occasionally the submarine was lifted a few
fathoms in order that anything unusual in the vicinity of the wreck
might be observed.

Sometime near morning the Diver was seen making her way to the north
as if setting out for a long voyage. The lights of the craft showed
plainly--that is, as plainly as lights ever show at that depth--and
the Sea Lion had no difficulty in following her.

"She's steamin' up!" Jimmie cried, presently. "I believe she knows
we're after her."

But the Sea Lion was equal to the task set for her, and all the
remainder of the night the chase went on.



CHAPTER XI

JIMMIE GOES OUT HUNTING



"I hope she'll make for some port where there is an American man-of-war,"
Ned said, as the sea grew shallower.

"You bet she won't," Jack replied. "She'll make for some out-of-the-way
place where she can get rid of her plunder."

"Why don't we go back an' see if she took all the plunder out of the
wreck?" asked Jimmie.

"If we lose sight of her now," Ned answered, "we may have hard work
picking her up again. If there is anything left in the wreck it will
keep. The thing to do now is to catch her and recover what she took
away, then have her held to await the action of the Washington
authorities."

"But we ain't catchin' her!" urged the little fellow.

"Well, we are not losing her," Jack replied, "and that is the
principal thing."

"She may give us a long chase," Ned went on, "for she undoubtedly
knows that we are in pursuit, so we must get ready to travel over a
good deal of ocean floor before we get our hands on the thieves."

The chase went on all day and all the ensuing night. At dawn of the
second day the Diver ran up into what seemed to be a little bay
protected by two long points of land. The Sea Lion halted outside and
waited. Once she came to the surface in order to purify the boat, and
Ned took observations.

"Where are we?" Jimmie asked.

"We're here!" laughed Jack.

"This is all new land to me," Ned replied.

Frank clattered down the staircase into the bowels of the submarine
and brought out a map, which he spread out on the floor of the conning
tower. It was pretty crowded there, with the three boys grouped about
it, for the hatch was still open.

"We've been going north all the time?" he asked.

"Just a trifle east of north," Ned answered.

"And we've been running at the rate of about twenty miles an hour for
24 hours," continued Frank. "Figure that out."

"Not far from 480 miles," cried Jimmie.

"Then measure," Frank continued. "This map shows about 400 miles to
the inch. Now, where would a run of 480 miles bring us?"

"To the coast of Kwang Tung," suggested the little fellow.

"But this is an island," Ned explained, looking through his glass. "I
can see water where the main land ought to be."

"Figure it out, then," persisted Frank. "We've come to an island in
the China Sea by running 480 miles a little east of north. Where would
that bring us?"

"Hailing island," suggested Jimmie.

"Wise little chap!" laughed Frank. "You've hit it!"

Ned was silent for a moment. He was wondering why the Diver, or the
Shark as she was now appropriately called, had put in there. Could it
be that she was expecting to be met there by some vessel commissioned
to remove the plunder she had taken from the wreck?

Or was it true that the plot had included a hiding of the plunder on
the shore and the delivery of the documents--if any had been found--to
some official of the accusing power?

These thoughts were disquieting. The boy had already missed the
opportunity of searching the wreck in advance of all others, though
the fault was not his own. The best he could do now was to secure the
plunder from the pirates who had removed it.

In case assistance came to the people of the rival boat at that
distant point, he would not be able to do this. The conspirators might
hide the gold in the country near the port and deliver the papers and
he would be powerless to prevent.

"I wonder," he mused, "if anything can be gotten out of young Moore?
It is possible that he has been in solitary confinement long enough to
comb down that sneering attitude."

Leaving the boys on the conning tower, therefore, he hastened to the
room where Moore was incarcerated, although the irons had been removed
from his hands and feet.

"Well," snarled the young man, "you've come to the jumping off place,
have you?"

"What do you mean by that?"

"You've chased the Shark to her lair, eh?" Moore added, with a leer.

"How do you know that we've been chasing the Shark?" demanded Ned.

"Oh, you wouldn't be running full speed unless you were after her."

"How do you know that we're not in Hong-kong harbor, ready to
communicate with Washington and an American man-of-war?"

Ned thought the fellow's face turned a shade whiter as the suggestive
words were spoken. However, he said nothing.

"Do you know where we are, if, as you seem to think, we have followed
the Shark?" asked Ned.

"How should I know?"

Moore had evidently reached the conclusion that he had said too much
at the opening of the conversation.

"You know where the Shark was headed for?" asked Ned.

"She's headed for a place where you can't butt in on her," answered
the young man with a snarl. "When are you going to turn me loose? Aw,
what's the matter with you?" he continued, assuming an air of
good-fellowship. "I never did anything to you. Why can't you let me
go, and say nothing about it?'

"Because," Ned answered, "you are a dangerous person to be at large.
The next time you attempt to murder the crew of a submarine you may
have better luck."

"Well, you keep right on," Moore scowled, "and you'll come to a place
where there'll be no such word as luck in your dictionary. You might
save yourself now by letting me go."

"You're a snake," cried Ned. "I wouldn't trust you with the life of a
rat I cared for. Such people as you ought to be smothered at birth."

"Pile it on, now that you have the inning," said Moore. "Pretty soon
you'll be playing second fiddle."

Ned went out of the temporary prison and locked the door without
further talk. He had gained the point he sought.

Nothing could be clearer, now, than that the Shark was to meet fellow
conspirators there. The boy was up against a tough proposition.

He believed that the Shark had secured the important papers. She would
hardly have left the wreck without them.

The gold did not matter so much, yet he did not like the idea of his
rival taking it out from under his very nose. He did not believe that
all the gold had been secured, and figured that the Shark would go
back after the remainder--but not until the important papers had been
delivered to the conspirators.

In order to clear her skirts of the false accusations being whispered
through foreign court circles, the Government must get possession of
those documents. Ned had no idea where they were, where they had been
stored, but he believed that, somewhere in the shipment of gold, full
instructions for its use had been given.

The papers might have been tucked away in a keg or package of gold
coins. At least they would have been placed where the revolutionary
leaders could find them, and where the Chinese federal officers could
not--or would not be apt to--find them in case the plans of the
conspirators failed in any way.

It struck Ned as a crude arrangement from start to finish. The idea of
shipping gold to the Chinese government in such a way that the
revolutionary leaders were sure to seize it looked too childish for
diplomats to entertain. The fact that it had miscarried was proof that
it was not well conceived.

A certain foreign nation, put wise to the conspiracy, had sent a ship
out to ram the gold bearing craft, and there she lay at the bottom of
the China Sea, with all sorts of rumors concerning her cargo and
mission circulating through Europe--greatly to the loss of Uncle Sam's
reputation as a square-dealing old chap.

Ned had no doubt that the foreign government which was kicking up the
most noise over the affair had sent the Shark to the China Sea to
search for the papers in the hope that they would bear out the
accusations that had been made. In case they did not the papers would
doubtless be destroyed--and the charges would continue to be made--the
charges that the subtreasury in New York had shipped the gold to aid
the revolutionary junta in making a republic of China.

So it will be seen that Ned was in no position to give further
attention to the wreck, or the gold it might or might not contain
until he had done everything in his power to secure the papers, if any
had been found, before they could be destroyed or delivered.

And now the question was this:

"How can I get to the Shark and have a look through the plunder taken
from the wreck?"

The decision was that he could not accomplish such a mission. It would
be impossible for him to board the Shark, or make a search even if he
should succeed in getting into the rival submarine.

What next? The men on board the Shark would undoubtedly go ashore if
the boat remained long in the bay. Why not land and watch about the
island for the arrival of the foreign conspirators?

The island was not a large one, and there were few inhabitants, so a
meeting such as Ned believed was set for the place could not fail to
attract some attention. Well, the first thing to do, he reasoned, was
to discover if the Shark was sending her men on shore.

"Jimmie," he said, as he returned to the conning tower, "how would you
like to go hunting in the bottom of the sea?"

"Fine!" shouted the lad.

"Bring in a catfish with a bunch of kittens," Frank laughed. "I'm
afraid we have mice in the provision room."

"I'll find a dogfish with a couple of puppies," replied Jimmie, "so we
can have plenty of bark to build fires with."

"A bad joke," Frank replied. "If you'd quit studying up slang and read
the best authors you wouldn't inflict such pain-giving jolts."

"Who's going with the kid?" asked Jack, sticking his nose up through
the open hatchway.

"I am," replied Frank, calmly. "It is not safe to trust him on the
island alone."

"What do you want me to hunt?" asked Jimmie, turning his back on the
two boys.

"Information."

"I can get that in a book," said Jimmie, with a wink at Frank.

"Get into your promenade suit," Ned continued, "and I'll let you out
on the bottom. Then I'll warp the Sea Lion around that point of land,
so you can see where the Shark lies and what is going on, if
anything."

"Carry me around the point of land before you drop me," suggested the
little fellow.

"No," Ned answered. "I want you to search the ocean floor on the way
around the point. The rascals may have laid mines there, or the people
on board may be making trips to the point, just to see what we are up
to. Understand?"

"Oh, yes, I see the point, all right," was the reply. "And you want me
to go out in the wet and inspect another point?"

"Cut it out!" cried Jack.

Jimmie ran off, laughing, to put on his deep-sea suit, and in a moment
was back asking Ned to set his helmet in place.

"When you get down to the bottom," Ned said, before attaching the
heavy headpiece, "keep hold of your lifting line and signal stop or
forward, just as you find it easy or difficult to make your way along
the level. One jerk for stop and two to go ahead. You won't forget
that. Think of the signals on the surface cars in little Old New
York."

"And keep your eyes out for signs of air-hose and lines on the
bottom," Frank put in.

"All right," the boy cried, cheerfully.

"You have a long air-hose and a very long line," Ned went on, "so you
can go up the bay where the Shark lies quite a distance after we stop
the Sea Lion at the point."

The helmet was now put on, the lad passed through the water chamber,
and directly there came a signal on the line--two quick jerks.

The submarine moved slowly ahead, and Jimmie almost crawled on the bed
of the ocean. The water was not very deep, not more than ten fathoms,
and the bright sunlight enabled the boy to see quite well.

Fishes, large and small, sea reptiles, hideous in aspect and
attractive as to coloring, swam around him, and terrifying forms rose
from the bottom and rubbed against his helmet windows. He felt safer
on the bottom, for then the creatures could come at him in only one
way.

Presently the sand in front of him showed commotion. It stirred and
clouded the water. Jimmie stopped and looked, drawing his weapon--the
razor-pointed steel bar--to the front as he did so. Then he felt
something close about an ankle and draw him down. A serpent's head
showed on a level with his shoulder.



CHAPTER XII

JACK MAKES A DISCOVERY



"Now," Ned said, when the Sea Lion stopped in response to a quick pull
from below, "who is going to shore with me?"

"Me for the shore!"

Both boys spoke at once.

"But one must remain on board," declared Ned.

"Then let Frank stay," laughed Jack. "Somehow, I always get into
trouble when I am left on guard."

Frank looked disappointed, but said nothing, and Ned and Jack prepared
to go ashore. When they were ready the submarine was carefully raised
so that the conning tower was out of water.

The boys did not know, while they were doing this, that the signal to
stop was an involuntary one on the part of the boy who was exploring
the ocean floor. They did know, however, that Jimmie had a very long
air-and signal-system, and that under ordinary circumstances it could
do no harm to lift the Sea Lion to the surface. The exact effect of
this action on the little fellow will be seen in a short time.

When the conning tower was out of water, the point showed still ahead
of the submarine, and Ned wondered why Jimmie had ordered a halt
there. In one way this was an advantage, as the people at the head of
the bay, if any were there, would not be able to see what was going on
at the spot where the Sea Lion lay.

As soon as the hatch was opened Ned and Jack brought up a small boat
and launched it. It was a narrow boat and seemed almost too small to
carry two husky boys, but she was capable of harder service than that.

"Keep a sharp watch for the line," Ned warned, as they left Frank
looking sadly over the rim of the tower. "Jimmie would be in a bad box
down there if you should forget him."

"All right!" Frank answered, cheerfully. "I'll take care of the little
scamp, but I don't believe there is water enough in the ocean to drown
him!"

The boys, paddling the boat softly, proceeded to the west of the point
of land near which the Sea lion had stationed herself. Ahead of them
they saw a sloping shore, running white and smooth as to surface for
some distance from the water. Then, at the back, rose a line of wooded
hills. There were no natives in sight.

"I'd like to know what kind of people live on this island," Jack said
as they landed and drew the boat up on the beach. "Whoever they are,
they don't appear to have houses."

They crossed the white rim of beach, keeping their eyes on the boat as
they advanced, and came to an elevation in the wild country beyond.
From this elevation a small clearing showed to the east, and in the
clearing were a number of buildings, some residences of a poor type
and some evidently erected for business purposes.

"There," Ned said, pointing, "if we could get down into the cluster of
buildings, with an interpreter, we might find out whether the Shark
fellows have landed yet, and whether there are strangers loitering
about the island."

"Yes," Jack answered, "the place is so small that any strange faces
would be instantly noted. Suppose I skip down there and see what I can
learn?"

"I think that a good idea," replied Ned, "only you're such a reckless
chap that you're likely to get into trouble."

"I'll be the good little lad," laughed Jack. "You remain here and see
that no one steals the boat while I size up that burg."

Jack was off, creeping through the undergrowth, before Ned could utter
a warning, and the latter sat down to wait for his return. The cluster
of buildings was not very far away, and Jack could not be gone very
long.

Ned was pretty well satisfied with the arrangements made to corner the
men who had plundered the wreck. With Jimmie watching operations from
the bottom and Jack investigating from the land, it seemed to him that
the robbers could not well make any important move without being
observed.

In the meantime Jack was making his way toward the little town, if
such it may be called, at the head of the bay. He could see people
moving about in the one lane-like street, but there was no one nearer
him than that--as he at first believed.

Presently, however, he heard a low whistle, coming, apparently, from a
thicket just ahead. It seemed to be an amazed whistle, at that, and
Jack paused in wonder.

Who could it be? If any of the people on the Shark had come onto the
island they certainly wouldn't be whistling to attract his attention.

More likely, he thought, they would be lying in wait for him with a
gun. What he hoped was that some American, familiar with the island
and friendly with the natives, had strayed into the thicket.

Jack whistled in reply and then stepped back out of sight. He had an
idea that he wanted to see the other fellow first.

Before long a voice came out of the thicket, a voice which might have
come from a tenement on Thompkins Square, in the city of New York.

"Vot iss?" were the words Jack heard.

"Show yourself!" commanded Jack.

"Py schimminy," came the answer, "you gif me in the pack one, two,
dree pain. What?"

"You're Dutch!" said Jack.

"Chermany!" corrected the other. "Come a liddle oudt."

Jack stepped out of the shelter and soon saw a boy of about seventeen
do likewise. The boy was short, round, fat, muscular, and big and red
of face. He was dressed in a checkered suit of ready-mades which did
not fit him, and his blond head was covered with a cap such as German
comedians use on the stage.

"Hello, Dutch!" Jack called out.

"Irish!" exclaimed the other.

Jack threw out his right hand in full salute, wondering if the German
boy was a member of the Boy Scout army, and was pleased to see him
make an awkward attempt to respond.

"I got it my headt in," the German said, "but I can't get it oudt. It
shticks. Vot is? I'm the Owl Padrol, Philadelphia."

"No one from Philadelphia ever does remember," laughed Jack. "What are
you doing here?"

The boy took himself by the back of the trousers with his right hand
and by the back of his neck with the other, then bounced himself
forward, as if being thrown out of a vessel or a building.

"You mean that you got fired off a ship here?" asked Jack, almost
choking with laughter.

"You bet me I didt!" exclaimed the other. "I hidt in a lifeboad to get
me pack to Gott's goundry, an' they foundt me. Shoo! Kick! Den I
schwim! Gott un himmel! Vot a goundry!"

"Where did you get aboard the ship?" asked Jack.

"Hongkong."

"What's your name?"

"Hans Christensohnstopf--"

"Never mind the rest of it," laughed Jack. "I'll call you Hans. How
long have you been here?"

Hans ran his hands around his waist as if counting time by the number
of meals he had missed.

"Month," he finally said.

"Where are you stopping?"

Hans explained that there was one English trader in the place, and
that he was giving him about half what he needed to eat and a place to
sleep in return for about ten hours work each day.

"Do you want to get away?" asked Jack.

"Aindt it?" cried Hans. "I think I'm foolish to stay here. You schwim
here?"

Jack knew that it would take a long time to make Hans understand the
means of transportation he had used in reaching that part of the
world, so he merely shook his head and went on:

"If you'll do something for me, Hans, I'll take you off the island."

"Me--sure!" was the quick reply.

Jack then explained that he wished to know if there were any strangers
in the town, and if anything had been seen of the submarine people.
Hans listened attentively.

"I'll remain here until you come back," Jack said, after concluding
his instructions. "Get the information and I'll take you off the
island and land you in Philadelphia."

"Sure!" cried Hans, and disappeared from view in the thicket.

Jack lay a long time watching the sky and listening to the singing
leaves about him. He wished that he had instructed Hans to return to
the place where he had left Ned and gone there himself to await the
information he sought. The time passed heavily on his hands.

Once he moved out to the place where he had entered the thicket and
looked down toward the spot where Ned was. There was a certain amount
of companionship in that. He did not dare leave the thicket entirely,
for fear Hans would miss him on his return from the village.

When he returned to his waiting place, after this visit, and looked
down on the village, shimmering in the hot sun, he saw that something
unusual was going on there. Natives, clad in the long skirts worn by
many Chinamen, were flying up and down the street, and Jack recognized
three Europeans mixing into the excitement.

Then he saw people running toward the little wharf at the head of the
bay. Hans did not appear to be within the range of Jack's vision.

"There are doings of some kind down there," Jack mused, "and it seems
to me that the foreigners created the row, whatever it is. I wonder if
Hans will get out of it alive?"

The next moment Hans was there to answer for himself.

Jack saw the German lad chasing through the undergrowth as if the very
Old Nick was after him, swinging his cap as he ran, and shouting out
some words which he could not understand.

Finally Hans turned square about, pointed in the direction from which
he had come, and resumed his flight toward Jack.

"I guess some one is chasing the boy," Jack concluded, stationing
himself close to a slender path which Hans was certain to follow.

In a moment the wisdom of this remark and this arrangement became
apparent. Hans came nearer, puffing and grunting, and a second after a
runner who was gaining on the German shot around an angle of
undergrowth and reached out for Hans.

Hans had passed the spot where Jack crouched by this time, and the
pursuer was proceeding to foot it after him when Jack stuck out a leg
and brought him to the ground. Hans saw the action and fell flat on
the ground, blowing like a fat man on a thousand-step climb.

The man who had fallen, apparently an Englishman, middle aged, well
dressed for that country, and with a red, passionate face, sat up and
scowled at Jack.

"Wot the bloomin' mischief did ye do thot f'r?" he asked.

"To stop you," replied Jack.

"You're bloody roight ye stopped me!" cried the other, trying to get
on his feet. "An' now I'll be stoppin' of ye!"

Jack placed his hand on the man's shoulder and pushed him back to the
ground.

"Rest yourself," he said.

"You just wait, you bounder!" threatened the Englishman.

"What's it all about?" asked Jack, as Hans arose and cautiously
approached.

"Don't let that bloody robber get away!" shouted the Englishman,
trying once more to get up.

Jack presented his automatic, which he would not have used under any
circumstances, unless his life was actually in danger.

"Keep quiet," he said.

"I'll have your head for this!" bawled the other.

"What is it, Hans?" asked Jack, paying no attention to the threat of
the angry Englishman.

"I'll tell you what it is!" cried the Englishman. "That Dutch bounder
stole from my safe. I chased him up here an' you took occasion to
hinterfere, worse luck. Who are you, anyhow?"

"Did you steal anything from him, Hans?" asked Jack.

Hans shook his head.

Then explanations settled the trouble. A man from the submarine had
met another at the trader's store. Hans, in his anxiety to hear what
was being said, had crawled in behind a counter, near the safe, and
had been discovered there.

The event had created no little excitement in the town, for the chase
through the street had been witnessed by and participated in by about
half the population. To satisfy the Englishman, Hans was searched, and
nothing found. Then Ned asked him a question:

"Where did the submarine people go?"

"Back to their boat," was the prompt reply.

"And the man who met them there?"

"He went with them."

"Where did the latter come from?"

"From Hongkong, he said."

"How long ago?"

"Something over a week."

"He was waiting for the submarine?"

"I think so."

"What, if anything, did the submarine land?"

"Nothing at all."

"You are certain of that?"

"Oh, yes, of course. The submarine man brought some sealed papers with
him, and the discussion was all about them. The submarine man wanted
money, I guess, and the other wouldn't give it."

"So the submarine people still have the papers?"

"Yes."

"But the other man went on board?"

"Yes, that is the way of it."

"Do you know who that Hongkong man is?"

"He is an Englishman."

"Now," said Jack, "I wish you would come down to the beach with me. I
have a friend there I want you to talk with."

The Englishman, seeing that something interesting was in the air, went
without objection, but when they reached the beach they saw Ned making
for the Sea Lion in the boat. And just before he reached her, they saw
the conning tower disappear beneath the surface of the water.



CHAPTER XIII

JIMMIE DEMANDS A MEDAL



Jimmie's first thought, as he saw the flattened head of the sea
monster sliding upward toward his helmet, was that he had encountered
the original sea serpent. There seemed to be a coil about the boy's
leg, and he dropped down lower to see what the chances were for
cutting it away with his weapon.

The prospects did not seem favorable, for his steel bar, while very
sharp at the point, was not intended for chopping work. He could
pierce the body of the reptile, but could not weaken its strength so
that the coil would drop away.

It was when he dropped down that the spasmodic jerks on the line were
given. The sea monster had included the line in his coil, and it drew
as the boy bent lower.

The air-hose seemed to be clear, but Jimmie was afraid that the
flounderings of the serpent might break it. The horror was certain to
do some thrashing about when he felt the keen edge of the steel.

The only way was to strike some vital spot. That would end the combat
at once. The serpent's head lowered with the boy, as if he had great
curiosity to find out exactly what sort of a being it was that had
invaded his kingdom.

The boy was cheered by the thought that the submarine had stopped,
although he did not realize at the time that the signal had been given
by the action of his enemy. If the boat had continued on her course,
the air-hose and the lifting line must both have been broken in a
short time, as the boy's progress was stopped by the great weight of
his terrifying foe. Then the end would have come instantly.

The coil about the leg was drawing tighter now, and the boy was in
considerable pain. Also the coils were ascending as the head of the
sea monster swung around.

It was not only the pain and the deadly danger that brought a
momentary shiver to the boy. It was the fact that the repulsive body
of the serpent was winding closer and closer about him.

He seemed to feel the slimy skin of the deep sea terror slipping
through his waterproof suit, although his common sense told him that
such could not be the case. He even thought he scented the sickening
odor which he had now and then experienced in the Central Park Zoo. He
knew, too, that this was purely imaginary, but the horror of a
nightmare was on him, and for only an instant he lost his nerve.

Once more the head swung around and the boy presented his weapon and
struck with all his might. The needle-like point entered the throat of
the serpent and passed through just at the back of the long, spotted
head.

There was a great switching in the water for an instant, and then the
coils loosened. The blow, as Jimmie afterwards discovered, had broken
the spinal cord.

While not yet dead, the serpent was incapable of moving the lower part
of his body. With a sense of loathing he pulled at the coils until he
was clear of them.

The water where he stood was now taking on a faint reddish hue, and
Jimmie hastened away. At first, weakened and shaken as he was by the
disgusting encounter, he determined to return to the submarine, then
the thought of what his chums would say to him if he gave up caused
him to proceed in the direction of the Shark.

He moved over the level bottom, looking for lines which would indicate
that the Shark people were out watching the movements of their rival,
but found none. When he came to the end of his line he signaled for
the submarine to go ahead.

In this manner, by slow degrees, and always keeping his eyes out for
creatures similar to the one he had vanquished, he advanced until he
saw the bulk of the Shark only a short distance away. Then he called
for a stop.

He remained there some moments, watching the Shark lift to the
surface. Then a dark object passed shoreward, and the boy was certain
that a boat had been sent to the little wharf.

"I guess that will be about all," he thought. "I've secured the
information Ned wants, and may as well go back."

To tell the truth, he was delighted at the thought of getting out of
the water again. His encounter with the serpent had considerably
lessened his enthusiasm for deep-sea work.

The Sea Lion dropped down when Jimmie gave the signal, and he was soon
in the water chamber, where he found Frank in sea dress. The two were
out of the water in a short time, with the chamber empty again.

"What did you do that for?" asked Jimmie, as soon as the helmets were
removed.

"Do what?" asked Frank, with a smile.

"Drop down and wait for me in the water chamber."

"Did you notice the color of the water?" asked Frank.

"Yes, down there, but up here--say," he added, "the blood of that
champion sea serpent never got to the surface, did it?"

"Just enough of it to cause me to think a shark was making a meal down
there," replied Frank.

Jimmie told the story of the encounter, laughing at the peril which
was past, but Frank looked grave.

"We'll have to be more careful how we wander about on the bottom of
the sea," he said. "It was just luck that brought you out alive. You
might wound a serpent a hundred times with that steel bar and never
again strike a vital spot."

"Then," Jimmie laughed, "when we get back to New York you put in a
claim for a Carnegie medal for me! It would look fine on the front of
me hat." "I'll have Ned make you a medal out of a fish's fin," laughed
Frank.

"All right!" cried Jimmie. "It will be all right, just so it is a
medal."

Then Jimmie told of what he had seen in the vicinity of the Shark, and
Frank complimented him on his courage and good judgment in keeping
down until he had secured the desired information.

"We know now," he said, "that the Shark people are communicating with
the shore. Perhaps Ned and Jack will learn just what they are doing
there. If they do, we shall know just what course to pursue."

"What's the answer?" asked the little fellow.

"Why, if the Shark people dispose of the documents--if there were any
documents in the plunder--we'll have to chase after the men who take
them. The gold doesn't count."

"Yes," laughed Jimmie, "and I suppose we'll leave the Sea Lion and go
over the mountains in an open boat! I'm goin' to stick to the little
old Sea Lion."

"Well," Frank remarked, after a short wait, "we must get back to the
spot where Ned left us."

"Never thought of that!" Jimmie cried. "He may be yelling his head off
because he can't come on board."

The boys lost no time in getting back to the first position, and then
lifted to the surface. The conning tower, as before, was out of sight
of anyone on the bay, the point of land intervening.

As the time passed the boys became anxious about Ned and Jack. They
might have returned while the Sea Lion was away, they thought, and
gone into the interior thinking that some accident had happened to the
submarine.

"Anyway," Jimmie declared, "Ned told us to move along as my line gave
out, and he must know that we'd come back to pick him up."

While the lads speculated on the possible outcome of the visit to the
shore there came a sharp collision which keeled the Sea Lion over to
port. Both were active in an instant.

"That's the Shark!" exclaimed Jimmie.

"It must be," Frank agreed.

Jimmie hastened to the stern and looked out of the plate glass panel
there.

"What do you see?" asked Frank, nervously.

"It is the Shark, all right," was the reply, "and she is backing off.
She may be going to ram us."

"Then it's us for the bottom," cried Frank.

"Why the bottom?" asked Jimmie.

Frank did not answer for a moment. He was still standing back of the
little fellow and looking over his shoulder, out of the glass panel.

"Because," he said, "the Shark takes chances in bumping us at a
considerable depth. She is higher than we are, and her prow sits a
great deal above our vulnerable parts. If she strikes us when we are
nestling on the bottom, her blow will glance off."

"If she knows it, then," Jimmie said, "she won't follow us down. What
will she do?"

"Chase herself off."

"I hope so!" cried Jimmie.

"It beats the Old Scratch why Ned and Jack don't come," Frank said,
presently. "I'm afraid something has happened to them."

"There is no use of their staying ashore," Jimmie said, "for I found
out what Ned wanted to know. He asked me to find out if the Shark
communicated with the shore, and I did it. He ought to know I wouldn't
fall down on a little thing like that," the boy added, with a grin.
"I'm the only original snake charmer!"

While this sharp exchange of ideas had been going on, Frank had been
working the various levers which controlled the altitude of the
submarine, and the gauge showed that she was close to the bottom as
the last word was spoken.

Jimmie turned away from the panel and caught hold of a railing which
ran along in front.

"Look out for the bumps!" he cried!

Then there came a shock which threw both boys off their feet. The
staunch craft shivered for an instant, then righted, swaying just a
little under the heavy pressure of the depth she was in.

Frank sprang to the delicate machinery which controlled the air supply
and the lights. No harm seemed to have been done to them.

"The Shark can't do that again!" Jimmie said, with a sigh of relief.
"We're on the bottom now, and her prow would slip over our back. The
only mischief she would do would be to knock off our conning tower,
and that would not disable us."

"Can you see her now?" asked Frank.

"Sure," replied the boy. "Her lights are on."

"What is she doing?"

"Rolling on the bottom. Say, 'bo, I believe she hurt herself when she
tried to soak us."

The ex-newsboy moved away from the panel and Frank took his place as
lookout.

"She's crippled, all right," the latter said, after a moment's
inspection of their rival, "but I can't see what's the matter."

"Course you can't. The hurt's on the inside."

"Anyway, she doesn't seem to be able to move. I know she is trying to
get off by the way the water changes around her stern."

"Bump her!" advised Jimmie.

"I reckon that would settle her," Frank replied, "but I'm not in the
pirate business just now."

The boys watched the Shark for half an hour or more, and then saw her
move slowly away.

"She's going toward Hongkong," Frank said, "and we may as well bid her
good-by."

"Not!" exclaimed Jimmie. "We've got to follow her."

"And leave Ned and Jack?"

Jimmie's jaw fell. This was something he had not thought of. The boys
were still on the island--might be in great peril.

"Well, jump up to the surface," the lad said, then, "and I'll go to
the island and see what's up."

"Fine chance you'd stand!" laughed Frank.

"Bet I can go ashore an' find a Boy Scout!" returned Jimmie. "We've
found 'em in every part of the world."

The Shark was still in view, her lights creating faint mists under the
water, but the boys did not consider her a formidable opponent now, so
they lifted to the top of the ocean.

Jimmie was first out on the conning tower. The sun was still shining
brightly and the water lay as quiet as the surface of a pond on a
still day.

When the boy turned to the white line of sand at the rim of the sea he
saw Ned and Jack standing there with two others. He waved his hat and
Jack swung back from where he stood.

"Guess they've found some one worth talking with," Frank remarked,
stepping up on the conning tower.

"Guess they have," responded Jimmie, "but there's some one creeping up
to 'em from the thicket," he added, lifting his glasses. "Look out,
boys!" he shouted, waving one hand frantically. "Look out! There's
some one makin' a sneak on you!"

"They don't catch what you say!" Frank exclaimed. "Look there!"



CHAPTER XIV

A BOY SCOUT WITH A "PUNCH"



When Ned saw the conning tower of the submarine drop out of sight he
rowed over to the spot where she had gone down and tried to look into
the depths of the sea.

The water was fairly clear, and he could see two great bulks below
instead of one. He knew then what was taking place.

"The Shark is bent on murder," he mused. "Perhaps they wouldn't be so
ready to sink the Sea Lion if they knew that the manager of the whole
rotten business was a prisoner on her."

He could not see clearly, of course, but he waited and watched for
some moments. Then the Shark crashed with the Sea Lion and fell off,
apparently crippled.

"So that's the reason Frank dropped to the bottom!" thought Ned. "He
knew the Shark couldn't get a good crack at the Sea Lion when she lay
on the bottom. Wonder if the Shark is injured seriously?"

He watched until the Shark turned to the east, curving around the
point of land which she had passed to the attack, then turned toward
the shore. Jack was still there, and he must find him before
nightfall.

Much to his surprise, he saw Jack, Hans and the Englishman, Hamblin by
name, watching him from the beach. He waved his hat and shouted to
them, wondering all the time where Jack had picked up his
acquaintances. In five minutes he was on the beach.

"Is this the boy you wanted me to talk with?" asked Hamblin, as Ned
drew up his boat and approached the group.

"The same," laughed Jack, "only you mustn't call him a boy! He's a big
man in his own country."

Hamblin eyed Ned critically for a minute and extended his hand. Ned
laughed as he took it.

"I've met you before!" he said.

"In a cheap lodging house on the Bowery," said Hamblin. "You were
looking for a man who had robbed a bank an' made a run for it."

"Exactly," Ned said.

"An' the bloomin' moocher was in the next room to mine, an' you got
him. I was bloody well glad to get the five p'un' note you tipped me
then. Stone broke I was."

"You earned it," Ned replied.

"It put me on me legs again," Hamblin went on. "An' I took ship an'
come out to this blasted country. I wish I was on the Bowery again,
blast me eyes if I don't."

"What are you doing here?" asked Ned.

"Runnin' a bloomin' store an' scrappin' with the Chinks," was the
reply. "It's a bally bad game, out here."

"Rotten!" echoed Hans.

Hamblin made a break for the German.

"You thief!" he shouted.

"Hold on," cried Jack, "let me tell you about it," and he proceeded to
inform the Englishman of the exact situation of affairs.

"I thought he was a bloomin' moocher," said Hamblin, in a moment. "He
acted like one."

"Who is he?" asked Ned of Jack, pointing toward Hans, who now sat on
the sand with his knees hunched up in his hands.

"That's Hans," laughed Jack.

Hans threw out his hand in Boy Scout salute.

"Owl Padrol, Philadelphia!" he said.

"Looks like an Owl, eh?" asked Jack.

"He is an Owl!" roared the Englishman. "He works for me, an' he wants
to sleep all day an' sit up all the bloomin' night. He's an Owl all
but the wise look."

"You loaver!" cried Hans, well knowing that Hamblin would not be
permitted to attack him again. "You starf mine pelly! You put bugs to
sleep in mine ped! How should the nights get me sleep when the ped is
one processions of pugs?"

Jack now called Ned aside and told him of the meeting of the
conspirators at the Hamblin store, of the sealed packet, and of the
seeming quarrel, as described by Hans. Ned turned to the Englishman.

"They met there by appointment," he asked, "the man from the Shark and
the man who waited for him?"

"Yes, by appointment."

"It was about papers?"

"Yes, and gold."

"Where did the man who waited here come from?"

"Some point in China."

Jack gave a low whistle.

"China!" he cried. "I wouldn't have believed it."

"Did you know either of the men who met there--ever see either of them
before?" asked Ned, then.

"One of them--a Captain Moore, formerly of the United States Navy,"
was the astonishing reply.

"Where had you seen him?" asked Ned, motioning to Jack to remain
silent.

"He first came here on a man-of-war about six months ago."

"Well, the documents were taken back on board the Shark, then?" asked
Ned.

"Yes, I think so."

"You don't know what the packet contained?"

"Papers, they said."

"Then it's all right!" Jack cried. "We can now bunch our hits! The
papers and the men we want are on board the Shark. All we've got to do
is to catch the Shark!"

Just then the Sea Lion rose out of the ocean and they saw Frank and
Jimmie waving to them.

"So they're all right," Ned said. "A moment ago the Shark was ramming
them!"

"Why don't we go on board, then?" demanded Jack. "If there's going to
be a fight on the bottom I want to be in on it. Bet your sweet life I
do! Hurry on board!"

"Look a liddle oudt!" cried Hans at this moment. "They say with their
hats unt hands somedings. Look a liddle oudt!"

Ned did "look a liddle oudt" just then, and saw Captain Moore and a
dozen or more natives crowding through the thicket, the Captain
carrying a revolver in a threatening manner.

"Stand quiet," the ex-naval officer said. "I don't intend to harm any
of you. Especially you, Mr. Hamblin. I only want to know where my son
Arthur is."

"I haven't got your son!" blustered Hamblin.

"Make me a search!" cried Hans.

"I'm not talking to you two," snarled the Captain. "I'm directing my
talk to this sneak," pointing a shaking finger at Ned, whose muscles
drew under the insult.

Hans flushed and started forward, but the natives closed about the
ex-naval officer.

"Where is my son?" demanded Moore, flourishing his gun nervously.

"Where did you see him last?" asked Ned.

"That is neither here nor there," the Captain replied. "I want to know
what you have done with him."

"You sent him on a dangerous mission--a mission of murder," Ned said,
presently.

"I don't know what you are talking about."

"You sent him to wreck the Sea Lion."

"That is not true. I have not been on board the Shark."

"Well, some one sent him. Anyway, he came on board the Sea Lion and
got caught. Now, what would you have done under the circumstances? You
would have given him a banquet, I presume, if he had tried to murder
you and got caught at it."

"I don't care what he has done," stormed the Captain. "I want to know
where he is now."

"He's at the bottom of the sea!" Jack cut in.

The Captain staggered and turned a white face to the speaker. Ned was
about to explain by saying that young Moore was at the bottom of the
sea in the Sea Lion when Moore sprang toward him.

"You murdered him!" shouted the enraged Captain. "You murdered him,
and I'll have your life."

He lifted his pistol and fired, but the bullet went whistling through
the air instead of finding the mark intended for it. Hans, seeing the
peril Ned was in, had stepped forward and landed a knock-out blow on
the Captain's jaw.

"You loaver!" he shouted, standing over him.

The natives rushed forward as the Captain fell, uttering a jargon
which no one understood save the trader. Hamblin saw the danger in the
threatening looks of the fellows and sprang for the gun, which had
dropped from Moore's hand.

He reached it not a second too soon, for a brawny native was already
snatching at it. The fellow seized the trader's wrist as he lifted the
weapon and uttered a few words in a menacing tone.

This was enough for Hans, who stood close by, rubbing the bruised
knuckles of his right hand. He struck out again, throwing the whole
weight of his body into the blow. The native went down and the others
drew away from the group about him.

"Great clip!" shouted Jack, as the trader threatened the natives with
the gun. "You seem to be the White Man's Hope!"

Hans rubbed the knuckles again and grinned, such a bland grin that
both Ned and Jack burst into laughter.

"You sure have a punch!" Jack went on. "Where did you get it?"

"Py the verein just," was the reply.

"You're all right, anyhow," Ned said.

The trader was now addressing the natives in a language--if it was a
language--which the boys could not at all understand. They noted the
result of the talk with joy, however, for the black-skinned group
turned toward the village and soon disappeared in the thicket, taking
the knocked out fellow with them.

Captain Moore now opened his eyes and staggered to his feet. His face
was deadly pale and his eyes flashed like those of an enraged wolf.

"You shall pay for this!" he shouted.

"Jack did not finish his sentence when he told you that your son was
at the bottom of the sea," Ned said, thinking that the deception had
gone far enough. "He should have added that he was safe in the Sea
Lion."

"Then I demand his release!" shouted the other.

"I can't bring him to you," Ned said, "but I'll take you where he is."

"And if I refuse to go?"

"You'll go just the same."

"A prisoner?"

"Certainly--a prisoner charged with piracy on the high seas."

"You're a meddling fool!" roared the Captain.

Ned paid no attention to the personal abuse of the angry man, but
turned to Hamblin.

"I want to talk with you," he said, "but I must get this man on board
the Sea Lion first. You'll wait here?"

Before the trader could reply, a shout came over the water from the
submarine, and a column of smoke came out of the open hatch.

"I guess you've got all the trouble on the Sea Lion you need there,"
snarled Moore, "without taking me on board. Your ship's on fire!"



CHAPTER XV

A DESPERATE PRISONER



Just as the attention of Frank and Jimmie was called to the Captain
and the natives advancing upon Ned and Jack from the thicket, they
heard a great beating on a door or wall below. There was only one
person in the submarine save themselves, and so they knew that it was
the captive who was kicking up the row.

"He knows something unusual has been going on," Jimmie observed, "and
wants to turn whatever takes place to his own advantage. Suppose we go
below and see what he's doing."

"He's frightened half to death, I take it," Frank surmised. "The two
bumps the Sea Lion got from the Shark must have given him the
impression that we had collided with a rock or reef."

"Serves him right," Jimmie replied. "He ought to be willing to take a
little of his own medicine occasionally. He tried to kill us when he
came on board."

The pounding below continued, and the boys went down to the door of
the room where young Moore was held captive. The noise came from
within, sure enough.

"What do you want?" demanded Frank, calling loudly so that his voice
might penetrate the thick door.

"Let me out!"

"You've got your nerve!" answered Jimmie.

"Let me out, please!" continued the prisoner.

"Why?" asked Frank.

"Open the door and you'll see," was the reply.

Jimmie sniffed at the air in the larger apartment and pulled Frank by
the arm.

"Smell anything?" he asked.

"Something does seem queer," the latter replied.

In a second there was an unmistakable odor of burning cloth in the
room, and the boys began hunting about for the source of it. The
pounding on the door continued.

"Open up!" young Moore shouted. "Open up if you don't want to lose
your ship."

"I'll bet the fire's in there," Jimmie ventured. "I'm goin' to open
the door and find out."

He turned the key, which was in the lock on the outside, and in a
second the door was open. A burst of smoke shot out into the larger
apartment.

Through the thick veil of the smoke, in a corner of the room, the boys
saw a spurt of flame. It was running along the floor, nipping at the
fringe on an expensive rug.

When the door was opened young Moore dashed out, as if desiring to
pass the two boys before they got the smoke out of their eyes. Frank
caught him by the arm and held him fast.

By this time the large room where the boys stood was well filled with
smoke, and Jimmie opened every avenue by which it might travel to the
main hatch in the conning tower. In a few moments the interior of the
submarine was comparatively free from smoke.

Jimmie took a pail of water from the tap and tossed it on the creeping
flame in the little room. It served its purpose and the danger was
over. Frank, still holding Moore by the arm, pointed to a chair. The
young fellow seemed to have no notion of taking the seat, however, for
he made a dash for the hatch, which was wide open.

In order to gain the staircase it was necessary for him to pass the
place where Jimmie stood. As he came up to the boy he struck out with
all his force and continued his flight--for a second.

When the boy saw him getting by, he dropped to the floor and seized
him by the ankles, with the result that both were rolling about in the
rich rug in no time.

"Go to it!" shouted Jimmie, as Moore tried to break away from him.
"Catch him, Frank!" he continued, as the stronger man pulled away.

It was quite a neat little battle, but in the end numbers won, and
Moore was ornamented with the irons once more.

"Why didn't you say the boat was on fire?" asked Frank. "You might
have smothered in there."

"Wish I had!" gritted Moore.

"Go back and do it over again," Jimmie suggested. "You can have all
the time you want!"

"Why didn't you let us know at first?" insisted Frank.

"Well, if you must know," the captive replied, "I was afraid you would
extinguish the fire by flooding the room, if I told what the trouble
was. Besides, I thought I could get away if you opened the door."

"Did you set the fire?"

"I was lighting a cigarette, and--"

"That's enough," Frank said. "Any one who will smoke cigarettes
deserves to be burned alive. Wish we had flooded the room after you
got well scorched and left you in it."

"You may wish so before you have done with me," threatened the other.
"I'll get you yet--both of you."

"Well, get back into the den," Frank commanded. "We have had about all
the lip we can stand from you. You tried to murder Lieutenant Scott at
Mare Island Navy Yard, you attempted our lives when you came to this
boat, and now you set us on fire and attempt to run away. You've got a
long account to settle, young man."

"You can bluff now," Moore retorted, "but that is all you can do. My
father is on the lookout for you and that wise guy you call Ned
Nestor. When you go back, without the gold, he'll get you good and
plenty. You know it! Now lock me up and go away, for I'm sick of the
sight of your impudent faces."

Jimmie forced the prisoner into his room and closed the door.

"You'll have to make a supper off that smoke!" he called out through
the keyhole. "You're too fly a guy to take food to."

"I'll charge it up to you!" came back from the den.

"Nervy chap!" Frank said, as the two boys hastened back to the conning
tower to see what had become of Ned and Jack.

"Cheekiest fellow I ever saw!" Jimmie added. "He really thinks he's
goin' to give us the slip. He really believes we daren't do a thing to
him. I'll show him!"

When the boys came in sight of the beach again they saw Captain Moore
threatening Ned with a revolver. Then they saw the Captain tumble over
on the sand, with the German standing over him.

"Gee!" Jimmie shouted. "Prize fight!"

"Looks like it."

There was silence in the conning tower for a second, then both boys
shouted out their joy as they saw Ned and Jack getting the upper hand
of Moore and the natives.

"Now they'll soon be on board," Frank observed, "and we'll find out
what they've been up to."

"Bet they didn't find out any more than I did," Jimmie cried. "I'll
bet they had a scrap too, and that's the only thing I wanted that I
didn't get."

"Wonder who that Dutch-looking fellow is?" Frank mused. "I believe Ned
is putting him into the boat!"

"I'll go a dollar to a doughnut that it's a Boy Scout!" laughed
Jimmie. "Don't look the part, though, does he?"

"Why do you think it is a Boy Scout?"

"Because we've always found one. If we should go to the North Pole,
we'd find one there--always busy an' ready to do a fellow a good turn,
too. You know it!"

"And that big fellow, with the paunch and the important look seems
familiar to me," mused Frank. "Don't you recognize him?"

"Sure," was the reply. "That is Captain Moore. Don't you remember the
bluff he put up in the Black Bear clubroom before we left little old
New York?"

"I believe you are right."

"Well, we'll soon know all about it," said the boy. "Ned is bringin'
the Captain an' the Dutch guy off to us. Funny you'll see so many rare
specimens when you hain't got no gun!"

Hans grinned delightedly when he set foot on the conning tower of the
submarine and glanced inquisitively into the interior. His round, baby
blue eyes protruded in wonder as they fell on the comfortably
furnished apartment below.

"Jump down, Dutch!" Jimmie laughed. "There is where they make men out
of Dutchmen. Don't be afraid."

"Iss dot so?" grunted Hans. "Vell, if mens iss madt dere, vy dondt you
go pelow?"

"Good for you, Dutch!" cried Frank. "Hit him again. He's too fresh,
anyway."

"Where did you get it, Ned?" asked Jimmie. "You'll have to bake it
when we get back to New York."

"Better look out, lad," Ned replied, "this boy has the kick of a mule
in his left. Let him alone."

During this short by-play Captain Moore stood scowling on the conning
tower, crowded close against the boys, for the platform was a small
one. He now faced Ned angrily.

"What is the proposition?" he demanded.

"I have brought you here to see your son," Ned replied. "If you'll
step down the stairs I'll show you where he is."

"He ought to be at the bottom of the sea," Frank said, "for he tried
to fire the boat."

"I have no doubt that he resents his treatment," said Moore. "I,
myself, would sink your craft this moment if it lay in my power."

"No doubt of it," Ned said. "You've come to the end of your rope,
though. All the mischief you can do now is to yourself."

Moore snarled out some reply intended to be exasperating, but which
made no impression on the boys, and set his feet to the stairs. The
boys followed him, but the ex-naval officer reached the floor first,
and, with a bound, reached the mechanism which gave forward motion to
the submarine, the prow of which was turned toward the beach.

Ned sprang forward, but the boat was already under motion. It was
unquestionably the intention of the prisoner to wreck her on the
beach, hoping to rescue his son and make his own escape in the
confusion.

Moore struck savagely at Ned as he attempted to draw him away from the
lever, but missed. In a second Jimmie had his arms about those of the
Captain and they went down together.

Ned leaped to the lever and shut off the power. In three minutes more
the Sea Lion must have been wrecked on the shelving shore. As it was
she stopped within a few yards of the danger line.

"You're a pair of murderers!" said Ned, coolly, as he seized Moore by
the throat and flung him into the room where his son was incarcerated.

Young Moore's face appeared at the door as his father was forced in,
and angry words between the two followed as the door was closed.

"There'll be a social session in there now," laughed Ned. "Each one
will blame the other for the predicament they are in!"

"Let 'em fight it out," Jimmie advised, rubbing a bruise on his arm,
which had been somewhat injured in the fall.

Hans was now gazing about the boat with something more than curiosity
in his eyes. He had observed how quickly the submarine had responded
to a touch of the lever, and was actually wondering if he wasn't on
board one of the magic ships he had read of in the nursery.

"Sit down outside this door and see that nothing more happens in the
kick line," Ned directed, thinking to give the uneasy youth something
to occupy his mind. "If they get the door open, give them one of those
left-hand jolts."

With another glance about the German sat down contentedly. Then Ned
went to the stern and looked out of the glass panel.

"Is the Shark still in sight?" asked Frank. "Look out to the east and
you'll see her if she's anywhere about."

"I'm afraid she's too far away by this time," Ned replied.

"Then we'd better be moving!" Frank said. "I'll take the boat and go
after Jack, then we'll be off."

"Don't lose any time," advised Ned.

Frank, accompanied by Jimmie, was off in the rowboat in short order,
and before long Jack was on board.

"Hamblin, the trader, wants to talk with you, Ned," he said as he came
down into the cabin.

"He'll have to wait until we catch the Shark," Ned said. "I'm afraid
we have lost too much time now."

Jack's report had shown him that the sealed packet was still on the
Shark, and it was his purpose to keep after the submarine until he
caught up with her. Just what would take place then he did not know,
but he was willing to take great risks in order to get hold of the
packet.

He did not know what it contained, but he did know that it was claimed
by the enemies of his government, that it held papers which, if
brought out, might smash several international treaties. His own
belief was that the packet would establish the fair dealing of the
Washington officials, but this was only a matter of opinion.

While the Sea Lion was dropping down and getting under way he talked
the matter over with Frank. That young man was inclined to be rather
pessimistic over the matter.

"If the papers in the packet are of the sort you think they are," he
declared, "they will destroy them before they will permit you to get
hold of them."

"They might do so only for the fact that this is a money-loving world
we are living in," Ned declared, with a smile. "Those papers, whatever
they are, are worth a lot of cash to some one, and they will not be
destroyed."

The submarine was soon moving swiftly through the water, only a few
yards from the sandy bottom. The general direction was east, toward
the harbor of Hongkong.

Just before the night fell Jack, who was on the lookout in front,
peering through the glass panel, declared that the Shark, or some
other submarine, was in sight.

"She's crippled, too," he cried. "She advances a few paces and then
stops. They are having all kinds of trouble with her. Just lie still a
short time, and you'll see her mounting to the surface."

The Sea Lion was brought to a halt, and the boys watched the dark bulk
ahead with all their eyes. Their own boat was dark, but directly
lights flared out ahead.

"There she goes to the top!" Jimmie cried.

"And there," exclaimed Frank, "is a signal from Hans which shows that
there's something doing with the prisoners!"



CHAPTER XVI

A BLUFF THAT DIDN'T WORK



Leaving the prow, Ned hastened down a little passage and came out in
the room where Hans sat, grinning, before a door behind which there
was a great commotion. The pounding was incessant, and the voices of
the prisoners came clearly through the solid panels.

"Open!" cried the voice of Captain Moore. "There's danger ahead for
you. Open the door."

"Little he cares for our hides!" Jimmie commented. "If there was any
danger he'd be the last one to warn us."

"Just a crack," pleaded Moore. "Just a crack, and I'll tell you what
you are facing."

Ned opened the door a trifle and saw Moore's face there, looking
almost frantic in the strong light.

"Well?" Ned asked.

"There's death for us all if you go ahead," the Captain declared.
"Stop where you are."

"Soh!" grunted the German.

"Oh, I'm not pretending that I care for your rascally lives," Moore
went on, vindictively. "I'd kill you all this moment if it lay in my
power to do so. I'm thinking of my own safety."

"Well?" repeated Ned. "What is it?"

"The boat you are chasing has dynamite on board, and a tube gun. If
you go nearer, she'll blow you out of the water."

"That's cheerful," Jimmie grinned. "Why didn't she do it before?"

"Probably because she thought to get away. I've been watching her
through the little port and I know that she is now waiting for you to
come up and receive a dynamite ball."

"It strikes me," Ned replied, "that she is halting because her running
gear is out of whack. She rammed us not long ago and got the worst of
it."

Captain Moore thrust his head close to the little opening between the
casing and the door and almost screamed:

"Do you mean that she is crippled so that she can't get away from
you?"

"I said that I thought she had injured herself in trying to destroy
the Sea Lion," was the reply.

"Well, even if she can't get away," the Captain went on, with a change
of expression, "she can blow you out of the water."

"We'll have to take our chances on that," Ned replied.

After some further talk, the boy entered the room where the prisoners
were and closed the door, leaving Hans on guard outside. Captain Moore
frowned as he seated himself by the port.

"It is bad enough to be confined here without being obliged to endure
your company," he said.

"What a snake you would have made!" commented Ned. "I never saw a
fellow loaded to the guards with venom as you are. Will you answer a
few questions?"

"Depends on what they are," was the reply.

"If they will aid you, you will answer them, eh?"

"Of course."

"And if they will assist me, you won't?"

The Captain nodded.

"All right," laughed Ned. "Suppose the correct answers would help us
both? What then?"

"Oh, what's the use of all this nagging?" demanded the son. "If you
have anything to say, say it, and get out."

"And you're a pretty good imitation of this other snake," Ned said,
glancing at the young fellow. "If you interfere in the talk again I'll
put you in the dungeon and forget to feed you."

Captain Moore motioned to his son to remain quiet.

"This cheap Bowery boy has the upper hand now," he said. "Wait until
conditions are reversed."

"Captain," began Ned, paying no attention to the venom of the other,
"will you tell me what the packet that was rescued from the wreck by
the pirates under your command contained?"

"What packet?" demanded the Captain, surprise showing on his drawn
features. "What packet do you refer to?"

"The mysterious packet you came to this part of the world to obtain.
You know very well what I mean."

"We came, under contract, for the gold," was the reply.

"Yet your boat went away and left most of it on the bottom after the
packet was discovered."

"She came to this harbor after supplies."

"And neglected to secure them!"

"Well, there was trouble with the trader."

"You met a Shark man, on the island?"

"Of course. I came here to meet him, to receive a report as to the
success of the expedition."

"You received such a report?"

"Yes."

"You were told that the gold had been found intact?"

"That is not for discussion here."

"You were astonished when your son did not make his appearance?"

"Frankly, yes."

"You expected that he would bring you the report?"

"Yes; he was in charge of the Shark."

"If he had been in charge when the man landed, he would have given you
the packet?"

"If he had had a packet, or anything else taken from the wreck, he
would have turned it over to me."

"But the man you met refused to do so?"

"How do you know what took place?"

"That is immaterial, so long as I do know. Tell, me, what was the
difficulty at the store--money?"

The Captain did not answer.

"Now," Ned went on, "you stated a moment ago that you came here under
contract to get the gold. Who are your principals?"

No reply was received.

"What will the man now in charge of the Shark do with the packet he
refused to deliver to you?" was the next question.

"He will transfer it to me as soon as we meet again."

"You are sure of that?"

"Reasonably sure."

"Then what will you do with it?"

"Anything given to me will be turned over to my principals."

"But, suppose the contents of the packet are not favorable to your
side of the case? Suppose they clear the United States Government of
suspicion?"

Captain Moore gave a quick start of amazement.

"I don't know what you are talking about," he said.

"In that case," Ned went on, "I presume you will destroy the papers?
If you can't entangle the Government that fed you so long in some
trouble, you won't play."

"You've been reading some of the red-covered detective stories, and
think you're a sleuth!" snarled the Captain.

"You may as well tell me all about it," Ned urged.

"I have told you all I know about the condition of the wreck."

"And the packet?"

"There was a long envelope, but I did not see what it contained."

"Yet you came here to make sure that it should not get out of your
hands unless it would aid you in your treachery?"

The prisoner was silent.

"Why didn't you obtain a knowledge of its contents?"

"The man who held it refused to make delivery."

"In other words, he demanded more money than you were authorized to
pay him?"

"I have nothing to say about that."

"He took the packet back to the Shark?"

"Of course."

"And made an appointment to meet you at Hongkong?"

"It does not matter to you what our arrangement is."

"Oh, yes it does, for I'm telling you now that the appointment will
never be kept."

"You don't know what peril you are in this minute," snarled the other.
"There are bombs under your keel now!"

Ned did not like the tone of satisfaction in which the words were
spoken. The Shark had passed slowly over the spot where the Sea Lion
now lay, and torpedoes and bombs might have been laid.

"Thank you for the hint," he finally said. "I'll go out and see about
it."

"When you want further information," frowned the Captain, with a
scornful laugh, "come in and I'll give it to you--just as I have on
this occasion."

"No trouble to show goods!" broke in the son.

Ned opened the door and motioned to Hans and Jack, who were just
outside, watching and listening to such few words as came through the
heavy panels of the door.

"Take this impertinent young murderer to the den," he said, as Hans
and Jack stepped up, "and leave him there in darkness. Don't feed him
until I give the word."

The young man's struggles only increased the violence which was used
in his removal. The boys would have killed the man who had attempted
the lives of all the crew if they had been directed to do so.

Then Ned turned back to the Captain, now foaming with rage and calling
to his son to remain docile until his turn should come.

"You pride yourself on having put me off without any information
whatever," the boy said. "You advise me to come again and meet with
the same treatment. Now, let me tell you, for your information, that I
came in here to get answers to only two questions."

"Did you get them?"

"Indeed I did," was the reply.

The Captain looked disgusted.

"What were they?" he asked.

"I wanted to know if the man who landed from the Shark had the packet,
and if he took it back on board with him. You gave me the information
I sought. You even told me that the packet had not been opened when
you saw it."

The Captain stormed up and down the little room in a towering rage.

"If I could turn a lever now and blow us all into eternity," he
shouted, "I would do it!"

"Your mind seems to run on blowing up somebody."

Moore gritted his teeth and made no reply.

Ned locked him in again and went out to Frank, who was in charge of
the boat.

"Get her over to the west a few yards," he said. "Our friend the
Captain says the Shark is sowing torpedoes along here, and we can't
afford to be blown up just now."

"The Shark is at the surface now," Frank said. "Anybody on the
bottom?"

"Not so far as I can see, but it is pretty thick down here."

"Why not go to the surface?" asked Jack.

"Yes; she knows we are here, all right," Frank added.

"Well, keep to the bottom until you change position, then come to the
top and keep dark. Not a light in sight, understand, and the tower up
just high enough to keep out the water."

"What are you going to do?" asked Frank.

"I want to get aboard the Shark," was the cool reply.

"Yes; I see you doing it," Frank said.

"I can only try," was the reply. "The boat is headed for Hongkong,
where she is to deliver the packet we want. She is to deliver it to
Captain Moore on the payment of a certain sum of money, but if the
Captain is not there she will turn it over to whoever has the price.
We can't allow that."

"Of course not; but how are you going to get on board the Shark? If
you don't watch out you'll be served as you served young Moore."

"The minute the Shark strikes Hongkong," Ned replied, "we will have a
thousand places to search for those papers. Before she lands, we have
only one."

"You are always right!" cried Frank. "When are you going to make the
attempt?"

"That depends. In the meantime, we must get to the surface and in a
position where we cannot be seen. If she thinks we have gone away, so
much the better."

"I guess our little picnic isn't over with yet!" laughed Frank. "Are
you going to take me on board with you?"

"I'll be lucky if I can take myself on board," was the reply.

By this time the Sea Lion was some distance from the Shark, and the
hatch in the conning tower was open. It was a clear, starlit night,
and there would be a moon later on.

There seemed to be great confusion on board the Shark. The boat was
brilliantly lighted, and the conning tower stood high above the water.
The ports on the side toward the Sea Lion were open, as if to admit
the pure, cool air of the night.

"I believe there's something the matter with her air supply," Ned said
to Frank as the two stood together on the tower. "The ramming she gave
us must have done her a lot of mischief. Looks like she was stuck
there until help comes."

"The help she ought to have is right here," Frank replied. "I'd like
to get that crew on board a man-of-war."

"We have the real criminals," Ned replied.

The boys watched the Shark for a long time. They could see people
moving about on the inside, and occasionally a group assembled on the
conning platform, which was much larger than that of the Sea Lion.

"I believe some one is going down in a water suit," Ned said,
presently. "The water chamber is on the other side, but she lists as
if a weight was pulling at her."

"Listen!" Frank cautioned. "There's the machinery working. That would
be the lowering apparatus. Some one is going down, all right. Now,
what for?"

Ten minutes passed, and then the waters surged about the Sea Lion, and
a great roar and rumble came with the waves which swept into the open
hatch. The Shark, too, rocked on the crest of a great wave.

"Dynamite below!" Ned said. "Will there be more than one?"



CHAPTER XVII

BAD FOR THE SEA CREATURES



As Ned spoke there came another upheaval of water, and a louder roar
from the sea. The Shark and the Sea Lion both swayed perilously. Ned
and Frank closed their hatch and clung to the railing around the
conning tower platform.

"Those are torpedoes, all right," Frank said.

"But I don't understand--"

Ned cut the sentence short as a third reverberation came from beneath
the water.

"They think we are down there yet!" Frank said. "I wonder how the man
who went down came to make such a mistake?"

"Cheerful sort of people to fight!" Ned said. "Every man on that boat
is a murderer at heart."

A pounding on the under side of the hatch was now heard, and Jimmie's
face showed when it was lifted.

"Say," the little fellow said, "Captain Moore wants to speak to you,
Ned. These here earthquake shocks have got him goin'. He acts like a
crazy man."

Ned paid no attention to the request.

"He wants to say that he told me so," Ned said to Jimmie. "Go back and
tell him that he ought not to be afraid of his friends on board the
Shark."

"Gee!" the little fellow replied. "If he don't behave himself, I'll
turn the hose on him. He ought to have a salt water bath, anyway. For
a long time he's been tryin' to give us one!"

"Let him alone," Ned ordered.

This second upheaval of the water had swung the Shark around so that
the door to the water chamber was in view from the Sea Lion. The boys
saw that it was open, probably left in that way for the return of the
man who had gone down in the water suit.

The light, shining from the main cabin, filtered through the chamber,
which was, of course, under water, only a few inches of the conning
tower of the submarine now being above the surface.

"Can they shut that door from the cabin?" Frank asked.

"I presume so," Ned replied. "They ought to be able to shut the door
and empty the room as well."

"That can't be done on the Sea Lion," Frank said.

"No, but that is a detail that was overlooked in the construction of
the boat. I was just learning to run the craft, and did not observe
the deficiency."

"Well," Frank went on, "they are closing the door, but they are not
doing a good job at it. Say," he added, grasping Ned's arm, "I'll bet
the machinery connecting with the door from the cabin is broken!"

"Then the man who is down below will have to come up and do the
opening after he gets up, and after he shuts the outer door and
exhausts the water."

"I don't believe the outer door can be closed."

"What I'm interested in just now," Ned said, "is whether the diver is
still alive. If he was anywhere near where the torpedoes exploded he
is dead."

"And the Shark can't close her water chamber! I see a chance, Ned,"
Frank exclaimed. "Suppose I drop out and enter that water chamber?"

"What for?" asked Ned.

"Why, they would think I was the other fellow and let me in."

"With your line and hose unconnected with the mechanism inside?" asked
Ned.

"Never thought of that."

"The only way for us to get into that boat," Ned went on, "is to get
in from the top."

"But how?"

"That's just what I'm trying to study out."

"I presume the man who went down is there for good," Frank suggested.

"He probably went down to see why the torpedoes didn't go off and got
caught," Ned replied.

"Perhaps the Shark will go down to see about it directly," the other
ventured.

"I hardly think she could lift again with that water chamber door open
and the chamber full of water," Ned went on. "It is my opinion that
they will remain on top."

"I should think she'd be afraid of the traps she set for us, anyway. I
wish she would get caught in one of them."

"Not while she has that mysterious packet on board," smiled Ned. "We
have traveled a long way to get that."

No more submarine explosions came, and the boys sat on the dark
conning tower until nearly midnight, watching the people on the Shark
flying about, evidently laboring under great excitement.

The diver had not returned. The machinery was evidently out of order
and the Shark might as well have tied to the bottom for all the speed
she could make.

"I'm afraid some ship friendly to these pirates will come along," Ned
said, after a long silence. "I think I'd better go aboard the Shark
and find out what she intends doing."

"I see you doing it!"

"I can only try."

"And try only once," Frank muttered.

"I think they are ready for a compromise by this time."

"Well, then, I'll go with you," Frank decided.

"Get up the boat, then."

Jack and Jimmie were not inclined to favor the scheme, but they
assisted in launching the boat and stood with half-frightened faces
while Ned and Frank stepped into her.

Just as they were pushing off, Hans made his appearance on the little
platform, his china-blue eyes filled with excitement.

"Mine friendts," he said, "vot iss if I goes py the poat?"

"No more room," said Frank.

"Now, you hold on," Jimmie called out. "You know what sort of a left
hand punch this baby has? Well, then, you may need him when you get
over to the Shark. See?"

"That might be," Frank muttered, looking inquiringly at Ned.

"Then let him come along," the latter said, so Hans entered the boat
and took up the oars. "Rows like a steam engine!" Jimmie observed as
the boat sped away. "That Dutchman is stronger than a mule."

It was still and lonely on the Sea Lion after the departure of the
boys. The lights of the Shark were in sight, but they did not bring
cheerful thoughts. The boys sat on the railing of the conning tower
and waited in no little anxiety.

Occasionally the pounding of the prisoners reached their ears, but
they paid little attention to it.

"They are suffering the tortures of the lost," Jack said. "Every
minute they think they're going to the bottom. Let them take their
medicine!"

"I wish they were going to the bottom," Jimmie responded. "When we see
snakes like they are we ought never to let them get away from us. If
we don't get bitten, some one else will."

Jack rested his chin on his palms and regarded the boy quizzically for
a moment.

"How do you like it, as far as you've got?" he asked, then.

Jimmie looked down into the interior of the submarine, out over the
sea, sparkling in the moonlight, then up to the heavens, bright with
stars. Presently he answered:

"I don't like it."

"Why not?" "We ain't havin' any fun. We've been down in that old hold
for a long time, and haven't got anywhere. I'd rather take a trip
through South America, or through China. I want the ground under my
feet part of the time, anyway."

"It seems to me that it is getting stale and unprofitable," Jack
admitted. "Suppose we get up power and drift up closer to the Shark.
Then we can at least see what's going on."

"All right, 'bo!" cried Jimmie, starting down the stairs.

"Well," called Jack, "don't be in such a hurry! We want to make sure
that Ned has attracted the attention of the Shark people before we
move. If they see us moving up on them before Ned gets a chance to
talk with them, they may do something rash to the boys."

"Guess you are right," Jimmie admitted.

"So far as I can see," Jack continued, "they are over there now. Do
you hear that voice?"

"Ned's, all right."

The boys listened, but the voice came no more.

"They've pulled him into the boat!" cried Jimmie. "Hurry up and get
started!"

When Jack went below to handle the motive power machinery he heard
Captain Moore thumping on the door of his prison.

"What do you want?" he demanded.

"Come to the door."

Jack did as requested, but did not open the door.

"Now, what is it?" he asked.

"Is that Nestor?"

"It's Jack," was the reply.

"Well, ask Nestor if he'll let both of us go if well give up the whole
scheme. Will you?"

"And the papers?"

"I'll help him get the papers."

"I'll tell him," said Jack.

"Send for him at once," urged the Captain. "If we remain here much
longer, we'll be blown out of water. You heard those explosions?"

"They harmed no one but the sea creatures," Jack replied. "They were
bad for them."

"Where is Nestor?" was then asked.

"Visiting on the Shark," was the reply.

"If they've got him, he'll never come back," gritted the Captain.

"But they haven't," said the boy. "We're going to run the Sea Lion
over to the Shark now and help them entertain him."

"You're a fool!" roared Moore. "Don't you tell them that we are on
board--my son and myself."

"Don't they know it?"

"How should they know it? Don't you tell them. If you do they will
raid your ship and get us."

"So you've been playing some dirty trick on them, have you?" asked
Jack. "Well, what about your meeting them at Hongkong?"

"That was a lie."

"You are out with them?"

"They are out with me. They claim I am keeping them out of a lot of
money. Don't tell them I am here."

"In all your life"--asked Jack--"in all your life, did you ever do
business with any man, woman, or child you didn't cheat and betray?
You ought to be hanged."

"If Nestor comes back, you send him here and I'll tell him the whole
story if he'll let us go. And I'll tell him how to get the papers he
is after. Will you see that he comes--if he gets back?"

"I think it would do you more good," laughed Jack, "to have a talk
with the people on the Shark."

Ignoring the prisoner's further demands, Jack turned on the power and
directed the Sea Lion toward the Shark. In a moment Jimmie called down
through the hatchway:

"Slow up, now, unless you want to bunt the other boat."

Jack, accordingly, shut off the power and went up to the platform. The
boat was still drifting ahead a trifle, and the boy went below again
and dropped an anchor.

If the advance of the submarine had attracted the attention of those
on the Shark's conning tower they gave no evidence of the fact. The
boat Ned had taken lay swinging on the easy sea close to the tower,
with Frank and Hans sitting near the stern.

Directly voices came from the other submarine. The first speaker was
Ned, then a heavier voice exclaimed, angrily:

"You have no right to suppose anything of the kind. We are here on
legitimate business, and must not be interfered with."

"What did you take from the wreck?" asked Ned.

"What is it to you?" came the stronger voice. "You can't make any
bluff work with me."

"Then I may as well go back to my ship," Ned said.

"Go back to your ship!" snapped the other. "Not if I know myself. You
have come aboard without leave or license, and you'll stay until we
get good and ready to let you go."

The boys saw Hans and Frank spring for the platform, and then a shout
of triumph came from half a dozen throats. Ned surely was in trouble.



CHAPTER XVIII

"MAKING A GOOD JOB OF IT."



"I guess they've got Ned!" Jimmie cried, as the heavy hatch of the
Shark closed with a slam. "If they have, we'll ram 'em to the bottom."

"You just wait!" Jack advised. "There's a good deal of a racket going
on over there. I guess Hans is putting his educated left into motion.
Look at him!"

There was indeed a great commotion on the platform. Presently the
hatch was lifted and one of the contestants disappeared.

"Do you mind that, now!" shouted Jimmie. "Ned has captured the boat
for keeps! There! Now he's tellin' them where to head in at!"

Through the still night air they heard Ned's voice:

"You people down there know what I am here for. If the thing I want is
destroyed you'll all be hanged for piracy. Understand?"

Then the hatch was jammed down again, and Ned and Frank stepped into
the rowboat, leaving Hans on the platform. Jimmie threw up his cap
when the two boys stepped on the Sea Lion's platform.

"You captured the bunch!" he yelled, "and you stole the boat. You sure
made a good job of it."

"What's the proposition?" asked Jack.

"I thought I'd tow the old tub into a port where I can communicate
with an American man-of-war," replied Ned.

"This is luck!" Frank exclaimed. "Luck for us, and trouble for the
pirates. I wonder if they've got much gold on board."

"If they have," laughed Ned, "Hans will see that they don't get away
with it. They're nailed down hard."

"Talk about the luck of the British army!" roared Jack. "It is blind
adversity to the luck of the Boy Scouts! Here we've got the pirates
bunched! As soon as we communicate with a man-of-war, we'll turn 'em
over to Uncle Sam and go back and get the gold."

"The Shark," Frank observed, "was a derelict when we picked her up,
wasn't she? She couldn't move a foot. Well, then, we're entitled to
salvage. We'll put in a bill that will eat up the whole business!"

"If we get her into port," Ned replied. "The old tub is in bad shape
owing to the bunting she gave the Sea Lion. I'm afraid she'll go down
before morning."

"Cripes!" Jimmie broke out. "What will we do, then, with all them
bold, bad men? We've got our penitentiary full now!"

"And the prisoners are making all kinds of trouble, too," Jack added.
"If the door wasn't good and strong, it'd be in splinters by this
time. That young Moore is the worst."

"We won't cross any bridges until we come to them," Ned remarked. "The
Shark may last until we get to Hongkong. Anyway, I'm counting on quite
a run before she goes down."

"How many are there on board?" asked Jack.

"Six, not counting Hans. I think we can accommodate them all on board
the Sea Lion, if we have to."

The Sea Lion towed the Shark all through the night, keeping to an
easterly direction with the idea of going to Hongkong, something over
150 miles away. All along the eastern coast of Kwang Tung, from the
slender peninsula which separates the Gulf of Tongking from the China
Sea to the bay which penetrates almost to Canton, there is a
succession of little islands, so the submarine and her prize were
always in sight of land.

Just at dawn there came a cry from the platform of the Shark, and Hans
was discovered waving his cap excitedly in the air.

"Vater! Vater!" he cried. "Dis iss droubles! Make us off dis
durdle--gwick!"

"Sinking?" Ned called back.

Further talk with the German informed Ned that water was seeping into
the different compartments of the Shark, and that the inmates were
already perched on tables and on the stairs leading to the platform.

The boy attached the towing cable to a windlass on the platform of the
Sea Lion, turned on the power, and the sinking craft soon lay
alongside. She was indeed in a bad predicament. Another half hour
would see the last of her.

"Now," Ned said, "we don't know what those fellows will try to do when
the hatch is lifted. I've known snakes to sting the hand that fed and
warmed them. Anyway, we'll take no chances."

Following his orders, the boys got out their automatic revolvers and
ranged themselves on the platform. Then Ned lowered the rowboat,
making a bridge between the two. The hulls of the boats met under
water, but the platforms, owing to the bulge, were some little
distance apart. The railings of the conning towers were not much above
the surface.

His arrangements for securing the prisoners without trouble completed,
Ned went over to the Shark and lifted the hatch. He was greeted with a
chorus of threats, supplications, and questions.

"You'll get yours for sinking the Shark!" one shouted.

"For God's sake let us out; we are drowning!" whined another.

"What's the matter with the boat?" asked a third.

"Listen," Ned said. "The Shark may go down in ten minutes, or she may
float, under tow, for a long time. Anyway, you are better out of her.
I'll take you all out if you promise to behave yourselves. Come out of
the hatch one at a time and be searched for weapons. The man that
carries a weapon of any kind on his person will be thrown back, to
feed the fish. Do you understand?"

They understood, and not even a penknife was found when search was
made. Five of the rescued ones were plain seamen, with little
knowledge of submarine work. The other was the captain of the Shark.
Under the direction of young Moore he had attempted to make off with
everything of value on the wreck, including the papers.

This man was a fair type of marine officer, had, in fact, resigned
from the United States service with Captain Moore. He was by no means
an ill-looking man, but his snaky eyes and treacherous mouth told Ned
to look out for him.

He came out of the hatch last and was stepping onto the rowboat when
Ned stopped him with a question:

"Where are the papers?"

"What papers?" snarled the other, Babcock by name.

"The papers you took from the wreck."

"They are below, soaked with water."

"Get them!"

"But--"

"Get them! Quick!"

"But they are afloat, and--"

"Get them!"

Babcock went down the staircase with murder in his eyes. He returned,
in a moment, with a sealed packet, which was perfectly dry. Ned broke
the seal and glanced at the sheets inside.

The one which met his eyes first was headed:

"General instructions, to be opened only when the demand for the coin
is made."

"Now," Ned went on, "where are your sailing orders?"

"Lost!" was the reply.

"Get them!" Ned said, quietly.

"They are--"

"Get them," came again from the boy's lips.

Again Babcock went into the submarine, now rapidly filling with water.
He returned dripping with sea water, holding in his hand a water-tight
tin box which was secured by a brass padlock.

"You now have everything I held concerning the mission of the boat and
the disposition of the gold," he said. "I suppose I may get out of the
water now?"

Ned stepped aside and Babcock passed over to the Sea Lion. Ned
attached a buoy to the tower of the Shark and cut loose from her.

"We'll let some of Uncle Sam's boats pick her up," he said. "I'm for
Hongkong with these papers."

The five sailors were not locked up, but were given the run of the
cabin, the machine room only being closed against them.

"I'm not going to have them mixing things down here," Jack, who was in
charge that day, said.

Babcock, however, was locked up with Captain Moore. When the door
closed on the two men the boys heard them both talking at the same
time, and their language was not at all complimentary to each other.

"You're a blackmailer!" Moore yelled.

"You're a liar!" was the reply.

"Fight it out!" Jimmie shouted from the door.

"Get to going and see who's to blame for this!"

Then the voices quieted down, and no more words were heard.

"Did you hear what they called each other?" asked Jack. "Well, I'm
betting they are both right."

Ned went to his cabin and opened the tin box. He lingered over what he
found there until noon and then called Frank into conference with him.

"There's a plot which involves officers at Canton," he said, "and we
may as well bag the whole bunch."

"Of course. We ought to make a good job of it, as Jimmie says."

Ned examined his map and called Frank over to the table where it was
spread out.

"If we go to Canton," he said, "we'll have to run into the lake-like
mouth of the Si River. Guess that's its name. It looks dim on the map.
Fifty miles to the north the little stream on which Canton is situated
runs into the larger stream.

"We can run to that point and leave the Sea Lion while we go to
Canton. I guess the prisoners won't object to a few days more of
imprisonment. Anyway, we may meet a ship we can turn them over to."

"They are objecting, right now, it seems," cried Frank, opening the
door and looking out into the main cabin. "Hans is sitting on one of
the sailors and Jack and Jimmie are holding the others back with their
automatics."

Both boys leaped out. The sailors, doubtless alarmed at the arrival of
the leaders, sprang for the hatchway. The boys did not fire at them as
they passed, and directly splashes in the sea told those on the stairs
that the sailors had leaped into the water.

Hans arose, scratching his head, and looked down on the man he had
been sitting on. The fellow looked up into the lad's face with a queer
expression in his eyes.

"Vot iss?" demanded Hans. "Go py the odders if you schoose! Py
schimminy, dose shark haf one feast!"

"Not on your life!" cried the prisoner. "I'm not anxious to get away.
I was shanghaied on the Shark, and it's glad I am to be out of that
bum crowd."

Jimmie, who had followed the sailors to the platform, now came back
with the information that three of them had been picked up by a native
canoe which had now disappeared from sight in a group of islands. The
other, he said, had gone down.

"How much do those sailors know?" asked Ned of the man Hans had taken
prisoner.

"They know a lot," was the reply. "They were all in together. What one
knew, all knew, I guess. It is too bad they got away, for they had a
definite plan to operate if there was trouble and any got away. They
will lay in wait for you when you land."

"They'll have to travel fast if they do!" Frank laughed.



CHAPTER XIX

ON THE EDGE OF DISASTER



The Si River is not a river at all where its waters flow into the
China Sea. It is a wide, salt-water inlet, a bay, a great delta, like
that of the Amazon. This great bay is miles in width in places and
extends at least fifty miles into the interior.

Almost at the end, it is joined by a narrow little stream upon which
Canton, the capital city of Kwang Tung, is situated. The city is
something less than fifteen miles from the mouth of the river upon
which it stands.

It was for Canton that the boys were headed. Some of the papers Ned
had found in the private box of Captain Babcock made reference to a
place of meeting there which the boy desired to investigate. He was
now convinced that the plot against the Government had been a vicious
one, backed by people of influence and standing in the world of
diplomacy. It would bring the case on which he was working to a very
satisfactory finish if he could include in his report the story of a
meeting of the conspirators.

While the boy sat alone on the platform of the conning tower that
evening the sailor who had remained on board the Sea Lion at the time
of the escape of the others came to him. The fellow was an American,
and seemed to be honest in his desire to assist Ned.

"The men who escaped," he said, "will not lose track of the Sea Lion.
There are men on shore who will send the news of what has taken place
on faster than you can travel. Wherever you go they will be waiting
for you, and they are a bad lot."

"They have plenty of money behind them, I presume?" asked Ned.

"They appear to have," was the reply.

"Especially with the prospect of the loot from the wreck in mind," Ned
suggested.

"They didn't get much gold out of the wreck," explained the other.
"They pulled the yellow boys out until they came to the sealed parcel,
and then they made off."

"They knew that we were on the ground, watching them?"

"Oh, yes, but they had a plan for getting rid of you."

"The plan young Moore attempted to carry out?"

"Yes."

"That meant murder?"

"Yes."

Ned was silent for a moment, thinking gratefully of the
resourcefulness of the ex-newsboy. To this they all doubtless owed
their lives. He promised himself that the lad should be properly
remembered when the time of settlement with the Government came.

"Do you know where the conspirators are to meet at Hongkong?" he then
asked.

"At Canton, I said," answered the other, with a twinkle in his eyes.
"You thought to trip me?" he asked.

Ned, in turn, smiled quietly. He had indeed been testing the man.

"Well," he added, "do you know where they are to meet at Canton?"

"Oh, I heard the name of the street, but it sounded more like the
clatter of falling crockery than a name, so I don't remember it."

"Perhaps a landmark was mentioned?"

"Yes, come to think of it, there was. The place of meeting is in the
rear of a curio shop next door to an English chop house. That ought to
be easy to find."

The visit to Canton promised to be a dangerous one, especially as the
men who had escaped would send on word of what had taken place on the
Shark. The fellows had been picked up by natives in canoes, and were
probably at that time on the main land, within reach of a telegraph
wire, or some other means of communication with Canton.

While the boy studied over the matter Frank came on the platform and
the seaman went below. Ned laid the proposition before the newcomer.

"Well," Frank said, "you have the papers, you have the private orders
of Captain Babcock, of the Shark, and you have the two main rascals,
Captain Moore and his precious son. What more do you want?"

"I want the foreigner who put up the job."

"That does seem worth while," Frank mused.

"It's this way," Ned went on. "The sealed packet doubtless contains
instruction to one of the revolutionary leaders regarding the
disposition of the money. You see, they were sure the rebels would be
on hand to grab the shipment as soon as it left the ship. The loss was
to fall on the Chinese government and the revolutionists were to
profit by it.

"The instructions make it look mighty bad for our Government, for the
gold was drawn directly from the subtreasury the day it was shipped.
It looked as if we were plotting against a friendly government."

"I see."

"But some one leaked. The story of the shipment got out, and the
vessel was rammed one night by a steamer which has never been
identified. The idea, of course, was to prevent the revolutionists
getting the money, without telling what was known, or bringing the
nation which butted into the case into prominence at all."

"Then some nation friendly to the Emperor of China did that?"

"I don't know. Anyway, the nation that did it bribed Captain Moore and
Captain Babcock to get the gold--and to recover the sealed packet.
With this in their hands, they might have made Uncle Sam a great deal
of trouble."

"I understand, and now you want to get the men who conspired with the
Moores and Captain Babcock?"

"That's the idea, not so much in the hope of bringing them to
punishment as to locate the source of their inspiration."

"Then, I reckon well have to go to Canton," Frank remarked. "We'll see
the town then, anyway."

The boy remained silent for a moment and then asked:

"What can you do to the chief conspirators if you catch them?"

"Nothing. I can only file my report with the government and drop out
of the case."

"And the Moores and Babcock?"

"I'll turn them over to the first American man-of-war I meet."

"And then go back after the gold?"

"That depends on instructions."

"That's the difficulty of working on diplomacy cases," said Frank. "We
have to take all manner of risks, and then, sometimes, see the real
rascals get off free--on account of international complications. I'd
like to work on a real old detective case on the Bowery."

Ned laughed softly but made no reply.

The Sea Lion made slow time, for the crippled Shark--which still
floated--rolled and tumbled heavily--in her wake and the sea was
rougher than it had been before for many days. At last, however, she
entered the long inlet leading up to Canton and cast anchor.

"Ever been in these waters?" Ned asked of the American sailor.

"Sure," was the reply. "That is why they shanghaied me in San
Francisco."

"How far can I go up?"

"Clear to the mouth of the river."

Proceeding leisurely, the Sea Lion passed up the inlet. It was early
morning when she came to the mouth of the river. They had passed many
vessels on the way, some native, some foreign, but had not been
molested, though many curious eyes were turned toward the tow and the
odd-shaped craft doing the pulling.

When anchor was cast in a little bay at the mouth--a quiet little
stretch of water sheltered by old warehouses which had been erected
years before by native traders--Jack came running up the stairs to
meet Ned.

"Captain Moore," he said, "is weeping himself to death for lack of
your sweet society. He's all running out under the door!"

"Jack," Ned laughed, "if your imagination wasn't too strong, you'd do
well writing fiction. As it is it is so strong that anything you might
put on paper would not be believable. Anyway, I'll go and see what the
Captain has on his mind."

Captain Moore had fear on his mind. Ned saw that the second the door
was open. His face was white as paper and his eyes roved about like
those of a madman. "You are going on to Canton?" the Captain asked, in
a trembling tone of voice.

"I was thinking of it," Ned answered.

"When?"

"To-night."

"And leave the submarine here?"

"If I could take her with me," smiled Ned, "I would do so, but I'm
afraid I can't."

"This is no joking matter," snapped Moore.

"I knew you would begin to look at the matter in that light before you
had done with it."

"You are going to the chop house in Canton?"

"I hope to be able to find it."

"Alone?"

"Of course not."

"Well," the Captain added, wiping his dry lips with the back of his
hand, "do you know what will happen to the Sea Lion while you are
gone?"

"Nothing serious, I hope."

"She will be blown up, and me with it!" almost screamed the Captain.
"The power that is handling this matter would do more than that to get
the papers you have secured out of the way, and to get rid of Babcock,
my son, and myself."

"They seek to murder you?"

"I believe it."

"Why?"

"For two reasons. We know too much, and we failed."

"You haven't named the power," suggested Ned.

"I am unable to do so. I don't know. I have done all my work with a
go-between."

"I see," Ned said.

"If you must go to Canton," the Captain went on, "first turn us over
to the authorities here--to the American consul, if you please."

"That would protect the boat?"

"It would protect us."

"For the present, yes."

"And take the papers with you!"

"Why?" laughed Ned, thoroughly amused.

"Because that will draw the search off the boat."

"Then you believe that I shall be watched and followed?"

"Yes, and killed."

"You're a cheerful sort of fellow!" laughed Ned.

Jimmie now came to the door and announced a warship flying an American
flag.

"She's signaling you," he added.

Ned was pretty glad to see the ship come to a halt lower down the
inlet. She was not a large vessel, but she looked as big to Ned as all
Manhattan island.

In an hour he was on board the ship, in earnest conversation with the
captain, who had been ordered by cable to look the Sea Lion up and
report to Ned. In another hour the prisoners were on board the
warship, and the Sea Lion was anchored under her guns.



CHAPTER XX

AN ENDING AND A BEGINNING



Captain Harmon, of the warship Union, was a brave and capable officer.
He understood at once the necessity for the trip to Canton. The
conspirators must be identified. The United States Government must be
informed as to the foreign power which had so nosed into her affairs.

"The power that is doing this," the Captain said, "will resort to
other tricks when this one fails. We want to know who she is. On the
whole, I think, I'll go to Canton with you--with your permission, of
course."

"That's kind of you," Ned replied, pleased at the offer. "I can leave
three of the boys on the Sea Lion and take one with me. I should be
lost without that little rascal from the Bowery."

"And I'll send a file of marines on board the Sea Lion," the captain
continued. "That will make all safe there. Now, about the papers. You
have the packet?"

"Yes, of course."

"What does it contain?"

"Instructions which show the hand of private parties only. They
completely exonerate our Government."

"And the other parties?"

"I regret that I must not mention names, sir."

"Very well," laughed the Captain. "You have performed your mission
well. The slanders must now cease. But one thing more remains to be
done--the meddling nation must be identified, as I have already said.
We must go to Canton."

And so, leaving the Moores and Babcock safely locked in the den on
board the Union and the important papers secure in the Captain's safe,
Ned, accompanied by the Captain and Jimmie, set out for Canton by
boat. The way was not long, and they arrived at noon, an early start
having been secured.

Ned was entirely at sea in the city, but Captain Harmon had been there
a number of times, and the English chop house was soon found. Next
door to it was the curio shop mentioned to Ned.

The three lounged about the chop house nearly all the afternoon. The
Captain was in plain clothes, and the trio seemed to be foreigners
waiting for friends to come. After a long time Ned saw a man pass the
chop house and turn into the curio shop who did not seem to be a
Chinaman.

"Jimmie," he said to the little fellow, "suppose you go in there and
buy a dragon, or a silk coat, or a tin elephant. Anything to give you
a notion as to what is going on in the shop." The lad was off in a
moment, and then the Captain turned to Ned.

"Why did you send the boy?" he asked.

"Because we may both be wanted outside," was the reply.

"You mean that others may come--others who should be followed and
observed?"

"That's the idea," Ned replied.

Directly two more men, evidently not Chinamen, passed into the shop,
then Jimmie came running out.

"They're going into a back room," he said.

Ned strolled into the shop, and in a moment the Captain followed.
Jimmie remained at the door.

The two worked gradually back to the door of the rear room, and Ned
"accidentally" leaned against it. It was locked. With the impact of
the boy's shoulder against the panels came a scraping of chairs on the
floor of the room beyond.

"You've stirred them up," whispered the Captain.

Then some one called from the inside.

"What do you want?"

"A word with you," Ned replied.

The shopkeeper now drew near and motioned the two away. When they did
not obey he motioned toward the street, as if threatening to call
assistance.

"Who is it?" was now asked.

"A messenger from Captain Henry Moore and his son," Ned answered, with
a smile at the Captain.

There was a long pause inside.

"Where is he?" was asked.

"A prisoner. He wished me to come here."

Then the door was opened a trifle and the two saw inside. The
shopkeeper, thinking that all was well, went back to the front of the
shop.

When the door swung open both Ned and the Captain threw themselves
against it. It went back against the wall with a bang, and the two
nearly fell to the floor.

When they straightened up again they saw a servant standing between
them and the still open doorway. At a round table in the back end of
the apartment were three men--all Europeans.

Ned stepped forward to address them, but Captain Harmon drew him back
and motioned toward the door.

"What do you want?" one of the three asked, in English. "Why this
intrusion?"

Then Ned observed the face of the speaker, for the light was strong
upon it. It was a face he had often seen pictured in reports of
diplomatic cases. It was the face of one of the keenest diplomats in
the world.

"I come from Captain Moore," Ned said, almost trembling at the thought
of standing in the presence of the powerful man who had spoken.

"Can you send him here?" was asked.

"I'll try," was the reply.

"Who is your friend?" asked the other, pointing to Captain Harmon.

Ned turned toward the Captain and was amazed at the change which had
taken place in his friend's appearance. The erect naval officer was no
longer at his side. Instead, a shambling, bent figure stood there,
with face bent to the floor.

"A seaman who is on sick leave," Ned replied.

"Well, step outside while we consider what to do in the matter," said
the diplomat. "Chang!" he called.

The shopkeeper appeared at the door.

"Watch these fellows," came the orders. "Watch them, understand!"

The words were spoken in French, a language which Ned understood
something of. The boy glanced keenly toward the man who had answered
to the name of Chang. He decided that he was not a Chinaman.

The three stepped out into the shop together, Ned watching the seeming
Chinaman closely. It was his idea that the fellow would give a signal
which would call a score or more of mercenaries to his assistance. He
believed that it was not the intention of the men in the rear room to
let them leave the place.

When the three neared the center of the shop the alleged Chinaman
lifted a whistle to his lips, as if about to signal. Ned snatched the
whistle away and seized the fellow by the throat.

"Now, Captain," he whispered.

The Captain, now his old self, sprang forward and the shopkeeper was
soon tied fast, gagged, and laid behind one of the counters. Then the
two walked calmly out of the place.

Jimmie paused long enough to lean over the counter and make a face at
the prisoner, then followed on.

"You know the truth now?" asked Ned, as the two stopped on a street
corner not far away.

"Yes."

"The name of the meddlesome power is no longer a mystery?"

"Yes, I understand that, but what are we to do?"

"Make our report."

"Then you think the case is closed?" asked the Captain.

"Well," replied Ned, "we have all the documents, and we have the name
of the diplomat who was waiting for Moore. What more do you want?"

"Rather a clean job of it," mused the Captain. "I wonder what the
Washington people will say when the papers are laid before them; with
the name of the man Moore was doing business with?"

"What will be done about it?"

"Nothing. All Uncle Sam can do is to block such games."

"And the Moores and Babcock?"

"They may be punished for attempting to wreck the Sea Lion."

"I don't like diplomatic cases," Ned said. "The rascals usually get
free of punishment."

"Well," Captain Moore said, "suppose we go on board the Union while we
can. As soon as the alleged shopkeeper is found behind the counter,
there will be the dickens to pay. They will know that the identity of
the big gun has been established, and every attempt to murder us will
be made."

"You think the man knew you?" asked Ned.

"I don't know. You noticed how I changed my attitude all I could when
he looked at me. I rather fancied he saw something military about me
before that."

"Then we may as well go aboard," Ned said.

"You have made a wonderful success of the mission," the Captain said,
that night. "You have done everything expected of you and more. Has it
been easy?"

"Well," was the reply, "we have been kept busy!"

The Captain laughed and pointed to the shore of the inlet in which the
Union lay.

"There are people who want to come aboard!" he said. "See the
commotion on shore?"

"Shall you permit them to board?"

"Decidedly not. I have cabled to Washington for instructions. Until
they arrive I shall keep everybody off the boat."

"That listens good to me," Ned said.

Boats which seemed to have no business there prowled around the
warship all night, and once a sneak was caught hanging to the forward
chains. However, no one succeeded in getting aboard.

In the morning the Captain came to Ned's cabin with a number of
cablegrams, all from Washington.

"I have orders for you," he said.

Ned yawned and shook his head.

"Not for a submarine trip," he said.

"I am going north," the Captain said, "north through the China Sea,
into the Yellow Sea, and so on to the Gulf of Pechili. Do you know
where that is?"

"It is the highway to Peking," laughed Ned. "I hope you are not going
there."

"Sure, and you are going with me."

"What for?" asked the boy.

"To find the two men who sat at the table with the diplomat at
Canton," was the reply. "The Government wants them."

"We might have taken them, a few hours ago," mused Ned.

"Doubtful," said the Captain. "Besides, there is other work for you in
the Imperial City. Your friends are going with us, and the Sea Lion is
to be left here."

"And the prisoners?"

"They remain on board. In fact, the Government has a surprise for the
conspirators. We may want Babcock and the Moores at Peking."

"And you'll send the papers to Washington?"

"Yes. Write your report, briefly, for they now know a lot about the
wonderful success you have had."

"But how are we to get from the coast to Peking?" asked Ned. "It is
quite a trip, and the diplomats will be after us."

"Motorcycles have been provided," was the reply, "and a flying
squadron of my boys will go with you."

"Whoopee!" yelled Jimmie, who entered the cabin just in time to hear
the latter part of the talk. "Me for the Chink land! I'll go and tell
Frank and Jack."

The boy dashed off, and all preparations for the trip were made.

That night the Union sailed out of the China Sea. The case of the
missing papers was closed. The gold was still at the bottom of the
sea, but that was not Ned's fault. He had followed orders. However,
the gold could be taken out at any time. The discovery of the men who
had conspired with the famous diplomat could not wait.

What the boys did, the luck they had, and the adventures they met
with, on the way from the coast to the Imperial City, will be told in
the next volume of this series, "Boy Scouts on Motorcycles; or, With
the Flying Squadron."

THE END.





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