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´╗┐Title: Motor Matt's Quest - or Three Chums in Strange Waters
Author: Matthews, Stanley R.
Language: English
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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.

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  MOTOR STORIES

  THRILLING
  ADVENTURE

  MOTOR
  FICTION

  NO. 16
  JUNE 12, 1909

  FIVE
  CENTS


  MOTOR MATT'S
  QUEST

  _OR_ THREE CHUMS
  IN STRANGE WATERS

  _By THE AUTHOR OF "MOTOR MATT"_

  [Illustration: _"HELUP, OR I VAS A GONER!" YELLED CARL,
  LEAPING INTO THE WATER AS MOTOR MATT
  MADE READY TO HURL THE HARPOON._]

  _STREET & SMITH,
  PUBLISHERS,
  NEW YORK_



MOTOR STORIES

THRILLING ADVENTURE MOTOR FICTION

_Issued Weekly. By subscription $2.50 per year. Entered according to
Act of Congress in the year 1909, in the Office of the Librarian of
Congress, Washington, D. C., by_ STREET & SMITH, _79-89 Seventh Avenue,
New York, N. Y._

  No. 16.      NEW YORK, June 12, 1909.      Price Five Cents.



Motor Matt's Quest;

OR,

THREE CHUMS IN STRANGE WATERS.

By the author of "MOTOR MATT."



CONTENTS


  CHAPTER I. IN THE DEPTHS.
  CHAPTER II. OUT OF THE JAWS OF DEATH.
  CHAPTER III. THE SEALED ORDERS.
  CHAPTER IV. THE AMERICAN CONSUL.
  CHAPTER V. MOTOR MATT'S FORBEARANCE.
  CHAPTER VI. "ON THE JUMP."
  CHAPTER VII. THE LANDING PARTY.
  CHAPTER VIII. CARL IN TROUBLE.
  CHAPTER IX. A FRIEND IN NEED.
  CHAPTER X. STRANGE REVELATIONS.
  CHAPTER XI. ONE CHANCE IN TEN.
  CHAPTER XII. BY A NARROW MARGIN.
  CHAPTER XIII. WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN.
  CHAPTER XIV. MOTOR MATT'S GREAT PLAY.
  CHAPTER XV. ON THE WAY TO BELIZE.
  CHAPTER XVI. A DASH OF TABASCO.
  Mischievous Ned.
  TERRIBLE FATE OF A DARING INDIAN.
  STUMBLING UPON GOLD MINES.
  YEAR OF THE COCK.



CHARACTERS THAT APPEAR IN THIS STORY.


  =Motor Matt=, a lad who is at home with every variety of motor, and
  whose never-failing nerve serves to carry him through difficulties
  that would daunt any ordinary young fellow. Because of his daring
  as a racer with bicycle, motor-cycle and automobile he is known as
  "Mile-a-minute Matt." Motor-boats, air ships and submarines come
  naturally in his line, and consequently he lives in an atmosphere of
  adventure in following up his "hobby."

  =Dick Ferral=, a young sea dog from Canada, with all a sailor's
  superstitions, but in spite of all that a royal chum, ready to stand
  by the friend of his choice through thick and thin.

  =Carl Pretzel=, a cheerful and rollicking German boy, stout of frame
  as well as of heart, who is led by a fortunate accident to link his
  fortunes with those of Motor Matt.

  =Hays Jordan=, United States consul at Belize. A man of pluck and
  determination, who furnishes valuable information about his friend,
  Jeremiah Coleman, and even more valuable personal services during the
  rescue of Coleman.

  =Jeremiah Coleman=, another United States consul who has been
  spirited away by Central American revolutionists in the hope of
  driving a sharp bargain with the United States Government for the
  release of a captured filibuster named James Sixty.

  =Tirzal=, a half-breed mahogany-cutter who serves Jordan in the
  capacity of spy, and who has been a pilot along the coast.

  =Speake, Gaines and Clackett=, part of the crew of the _Grampus_.

  =Cassidy=, mate of the _Grampus_ who, because of a fancied grievance,
  takes the wrong trail at the forks of the road. An old friend whom
  Matt found to be an enemy and then made a friend again.

  =Abner Fingal=, skipper of the notorious schooner, _North Star_, and
  brother of James Sixty, to whose evil nature Motor Matt owes most of
  his present troubles.

  =Captain Nemo, Jr.=, skipper of the submarine, _Grampus_, and who
  falls victim to a sudden illness. Because of the captain's sickness,
  Matt is placed in command of the _Grampus_.

  =Ysabel Sixty=, an old acquaintance who plays an important part in
  the story.



CHAPTER I.

IN THE DEPTHS.


"Motor Matt!"

"What is it, captain?"

"We are in St. George's Bay, ten miles from the Port of Belize, British
Honduras. Two days ago, while we were well out in the gulf, I opened
the letter containing the first part of my sealed orders. Those orders,
as you know, sent us to Belize. Before we reach there and open the
envelope containing the rest of our orders, I think it necessary to
test out the _Grampus_ thoroughly. Unless I am greatly mistaken, the
instructions yet to be read may call for work that will demand the last
ounce of preparation we can give the submarine. I have stopped the
motor, and we are lying motionless on the surface of the sea. The lead
shows that there are two hundred and twenty-five feet of water under
us. The steel shell of the _Grampus_ is warranted to stand the pressure
of water at that depth. Do you follow me?"

"Certainly, captain."

"Now, Matt, I have been watching you for a long time, and I believe
that you know more about the gasoline motor than I do, and fully as
much about maneuvring the submarine. We are going to dive to two
hundred and ten feet--the deepest submersion by far the _Grampus_ ever
made. I wish you to take entire charge. If you get into difficulties,
you must get out of them again, for I intend to stand by and not put
in a word unless tragedy stares us in the face and you call on me for
advice."

A thrill ran through Motor Matt. The submarine, with all her
complicated equipment, was for a time to be under his control. This
move of Captain Nemo, Jr.'s, perhaps, was a test for him no less than
for the _Grampus_.

For a brief space the young motorist bent his head thoughtfully.

"Do you hesitate, Matt?" asked Captain Nemo, Jr.

"Not at all, sir," was the calm answer. "I was just running over in
my mind the things necessary to be done in making such a deep dive.
The pressure at two hundred and ten feet will be terrific. At that
depth, the lid of our hatchway will be supporting a weight of more than
thirty-two tons."

"Exactly," answered the captain, pleased with the way Matt's mind was
going over the work.

"If there happened to be anything wrong with the calculations of the
man who built the _Grampus_, captain, she would be smashed like an egg
shell."

"We are going to prove his calculations." The captain seated himself
on a low stool. "Gaines is at the motor, Clackett is at the submerging
tanks, Speake has charge of the storage batteries and compressed
air, and Cassidy is here in the periscope room with us to drive the
_Grampus_ in any direction you desire."

"Dick Ferral is with Gaines," added Matt, "and Carl Pretzel is with
Clackett."

"Exactly. Every man is at his station, and some of the stations are
double manned. Now, then, go ahead."

Matt whirled to a speaking tube.

"We're going to make a record dive, Clackett," he called into the tube,
"and Captain Nemo, Jr., has placed me in charge----"

"Bully for the captain!" came back the voice of Clackett, echoing
weirdly distinct in the periscope room.

"Hoop-a-la!" bubbled the exultant tones of Matt's Dutch chum. "Der king
oof der modor poys iss der poy for me."

"Our submergence will be two hundred and ten feet," went on Matt. "You
and Carl, Clackett, will put the steel baulks in place. I'll have Dick
and Gaines help you."

Another order was called to the engine room, and presently there
were sounds, forward and aft, which indicated that the metal props,
to further strengthen the steel shell, were being dropped into their
supports.

"Cassidy," said Matt, "see that the double doors of the hatch are
secured."

"Aye, aye, sir," answered the mate, darting up the conning-tower ladder.

"Speake," ordered Matt, through another tube, "see that the tension
indicators are in place."

"Double doors of the hatch secured," reported Cassidy a moment later.

"Pressure sponsons in place," came rattling through the tube from
Clackett.

"Tension indicators in position," announced Speake.

"Dive at the rate of twelve yards to the minute, Clackett," ordered
Matt.

A hiss of air, escaping from the ballast tanks as the water came in,
was heard. A tremor ran through the steel fabric, followed by a gentle
downward motion. Matt kept his eyes on the manometric needles. Twenty
yards, twenty-five, thirty, and forty were indicated. A pressure of ten
pounds to the square centimeter was recorded.

"Plates are beginning to bend, captain," called Speake.

This was not particularly alarming, for the baulks would settle down to
their work.

"Close the bulkhead doors, Dick!" called Matt.

"Aye, aye, old ship!" returned Dick, and sounds indicated that the
order was immediately carried out.

"Sixty yards," called Clackett; "sixty-five, seventy----"

"Hold her so!" cried Matt.

"What is the danger point in the matter of flexion, captain?" asked
Matt, turning to Nemo, Jr., whose gray head was bowed forward on his
hand, while his gleaming eyes regarded the cool, self-possessed young
motorist with something like admiration.

"Ten millimeters," was the answer.

"We still have a margin of three millimeters and are at the depth you
indicated."

"Bravo! We are five yards from the bottom. Do a little cruising, Matt.
Let us see how the _Grampus_ behaves at this depth."

The entire shell of the submarine was under an enormous pressure.

Matt gave the order to start the motor, and the popping of the engine
soon settled into a low hum of perfectly working cylinders. A forward
motion was felt by those in the submarine.

"Not many people have ever had the novel experience of navigating the
ocean seventy yards below the surface," remarked the captain, with a
slow smile.

"It's a wonderful thing!" exclaimed Matt. "The _Grampus_ seems equal to
any task you set for her, captain."

The air of the periscope room was being exhausted by the breathing of
Matt, Nemo, Jr., and Cassidy. Matt ordered the bulkhead doors opened,
in order that fresh oxygen might be admitted from the reservoirs. Just
before the doors were opened, Captain Nemo, Jr.'s face had suddenly
paled, and he had swayed on his seat, throwing a hand to his chest.

"You can't stand this, captain!" exclaimed Matt, jumping to the
captain's side. "Hadn't we better ascend?"

The captain collected himself quickly and waved the youth away.

"Never mind me, my lad," he answered. "I feel better, now that a little
fresh oxygen is coming in to us. Go on with your maneuvring."

All was silent in the submarine, save for the croon of the engine,
running as sweetly as any Matt had ever heard. Aside from a faint
oppression in the chest and a low ringing in the ears, the _Grampus_
might have been cruising on the surface, so far as her passengers could
know.

Cassidy was at the wheel, steering, his passive eyes on the compass.

Matt turned away from the manometer with a remark on his lips, but
before the words could be spoken there was a shock, and the submarine
shivered and stopped dead.

"Shiminy grickets!" whooped the voice of Carl. "Ve must haf run indo
vone oof der moundains in der sea."

"Full speed astern, Gaines," cried Matt.

The blades of the propeller revolved fiercely. The steel hull shook and
tugged, but all to no purpose.

Captain Nemo, Jr., sat quietly in his seat and never offered a
suggestion. His steady eyes were on Motor Matt.

The king of the motor boys realized that they were in a terrible
predicament. Suppose they were hopelessly entangled in the ocean's
depths? Suppose there was no escape for them, and the shell of the
_Grampus_ was to be their tomb?

These reflections did not shake the lad's nerve. His face whitened a
little, but a resolute light gleamed in his gray eyes.

"How are the bow plates, Speake?" he demanded through one of the tubes.

Speake was in the torpedo room.

"Right as a trivet!" answered Speake.

After five minutes of violent and useless churning of the screw, Matt
turned to Cassidy. The mate, grave-faced and anxious, was looking at
him and waiting for orders.

"Rig the electric projector, Cassidy," said Matt calmly.

"Aye, aye, sir," replied the mate.

When the little searchlight was in position, a gleam was thrown
through one of the forward lunettes out over the bow of the _Grampus_.
Matt, feeling keenly the weight of responsibility that rested on his
shoulders, mounted the iron ladder to the conning tower and looked
through one of the small windows.

To his intense astonishment he found the bottom of the sea pervaded
with a faintly luminous light, perhaps due to some phosphorescence
given off by the marine growth. Through this glow traveled the brighter
gleam of the searchlight.

The _Grampus_ was lying in a dense forest of nodding, moss-covered
stems. The _algae_ of the ocean bed, with its lianes and creeping
growth, twisted all about the submarine, fluttering and waving in the
currents caused by the swiftly revolving propeller.

A gasp escaped Matt's lips, however, when he fixed his attention
forward. For a full minute he stood on the ladder, taking in the weird
and dangerous predicament of the _Grampus_.

Then an exclamation fell from his lips, and he looked down to see
Captain Nemo, Jr., slowly mounting to his side.

"Look!" whispered Matt hoarsely, nodding toward the lunettes.

The captain pressed his eyes against the thick glass and then dropped
back.

"A ship!" he exclaimed. "We have rammed an old Spanish galleon and are
caught in her rotting timbers!"

He looked upward, his startled eyes engaging Matt's, and the two
staring at each other.



CHAPTER II.

OUT OF THE JAWS OF DEATH.


What the captain had said was true. The _Grampus_, cruising in those
great depths, had had the misfortune to hurl herself bodily on into an
ancient wreck.

The wreck, which must have lain for centuries there on the bottom, was
covered with marine growth, yet, nevertheless, seemed wonderfully well
preserved. The high bow and poop, covered with serpent-like lianes and
creeping weeds, were erect in the water, for the galleon lay on an even
keel. The ship's two masts and steep bowsprit had been broken off, and
the decks were a litter of weeds, and shells, and sand.

The _Grampus_, cleaving the heavy submarine growth, had flung her sharp
prow into the galleon's side and was embedded almost to the flagstaff.

The captain and Matt descended silently into the periscope room.

"We jammed into an old wreck, did we?" queried Cassidy, calmly but with
a look on his face which reflected the perturbation of his mind.

"Yes," answered Matt. "Some Spanish ship went down here--perhaps loaded
with treasure for across the sea."

"Hardly loaded with treasure, Matt," spoke up the captain. "This is
the Spanish Main, and the reefs off Honduras offered shelter for many
a pirate in the old days. This galleon, I am inclined to think, was
stripped of her treasure by some buccaneer and sunk. It is too bad that
she was sunk in the course we happened to be taking."

The rack of the useless motor ceased on an order from Matt; in the
deep, death-like silence that intervened, a wail came up from the tank
room.

"Vat's der madder mit us, Matt? Dit ve run indo a cave in der ocean?
Oof ve can't ged oudt vat vill pecome oof us?"

"We ran into an old Spanish ship, Carl," answered Matt, "and we are so
jammed in the side of the hulk that we haven't been able, so far, to
back out."

"Ach, du lieber! Meppy ve von't nefer be aple to pack oudt! Meppy ve
vas down here for keeps, hey? Nexdt dime I go down in some supmarines,
you bed my life I make a vill pefore I shtart."

Carl, white as a sheet and scared, came rolling into the periscope
room. Dick likewise showed up from forward.

"Strike me lucky, old ship," said he, "I hadn't any notion this was to
be our last cruise."

"It's not," answered Matt. "We'll get out of this."

He turned to Captain Nemo, Jr., who was again seated quietly, his calm
eyes on the king of the motor boys.

"The power of the screw, unaided," said the captain, "will not serve to
get us clear of the wreck. What are you going to do, Matt?"

Matt thought for a moment.

"Am I to have my way, captain?" he asked.

"Certainly. I want to see what you can do."

"Speake! Gaines! Clackett!" called Matt. "Come up here, at once."

From the engine room, the torpedo room, and the ballast room came the
rest of the submarine's crew. Their faces were gray with anxiety, but
they were men of pluck and determination, and could be depended on to
fight for life until the very last.

"Men," said Matt, "we have rammed an old hulk that has been lying for
centuries in the bottom of St. George's Bay. The nose of the _Grampus_
is caught and held in the wreck's side, and the full power of the
engine is not sufficient to pull us out. We shall have to try something
else--something that will put a great strain on the steel shell of the
submarine, considering the pressure the boat is under at this enormous
depth. I am going to give some orders, and on the swiftness with which
they are carried out our lives may depend. You will all go back to your
stations, Carl with Clackett and Dick with Gaines; and when I shout the
word 'Ready!' the engine will be started with all power astern. At the
same instant, Clackett and Carl will open the pipes and admit air into
the ballast tanks, and open the valves that let out the water. We may
have to do all this several times, if necessary, but you fellows have
got to be prompt in doing what you are told."

Again was admiration reflected in Captain Nemo's pale face. Leaning
back against the steel wall of the periscope room, he settled himself
quietly to await developments.

"Count on me," said Clackett, as he and Carl disappeared.

"And on us," said Gaines, leaving the periscope room with Dick.

Cassidy merely gave a nod and turned to his steering wheel. Matt went
up into the tower and placed himself at one of the lunettes.

His heart was beating against his ribs with trip-hammer blows, but his
brain was cool and clear.

When he had given the crew sufficient time to gain their stations, he
lifted his voice loudly.

"_Ready!_"

The word rang through the periscope room and echoed clatteringly
through the steel hull.

The propeller began to whirl like mad, and the sudden opening of the
ballast tanks depressed the free rear portion of the submarine.

For a full minute the wild struggle went on, and so shaken was the boat
that it seemed as though she must fly in pieces. Then, abruptly, the
_Grampus_ leaped backward and upward, clearing the forest-like growth
of seaweed at a gigantic bound.

The upward motion was felt by every one in the boat, and cries of
exultation came to Matt's ears in clamoring echoes.

Slipping like lightning down the ladder, he shouted to Gaines to stop
the madly-working engine and reverse it at a more leisurely speed.

Like a huge air bubble, the _Grampus_ swung up and up, and when she
emerged above the surface, and Matt could see sunlight through the
dripping lunettes, he turned off the electric projector, opened the
hatch and threw it back, and gulped down deep breaths of the warm,
fresh air.

Once more slipping down the ladder, he saluted the captain.

"I turn the ship over to you, sir," said he, and collapsed on a stool,
mopping the perspiration from his face.

"You're a brick!" grunted Cassidy, picking up the course for Belize.

"Hooray for Motor Matt, king of the motor boys!" came a thrilling shout
from somewhere in the bowels of the craft.

For an instant, the steel walls echoed with the jubilant yells of Carl,
Dick, Gaines, Speake, and Clackett.

"It came near to taking the ginger all out of me, captain," breathed
Matt. "The novelty of the thing was mighty trying."

Captain Nemo, Jr., still strangely pale, was regarding the youth
fixedly. For some moments after the cheering ceased he said nothing;
then, leaning abruptly forward, he caught Matt's hand.

The captain's flesh was as cold as ice.

"Captain!" the young motorist exclaimed, starting up, "there's
something wrong with you! Do you feel----"

The captain waved his hand deprecatingly, and the calm, inscrutable
smile hovered about his thin lips.

"Let that pass for a moment, my lad," said he. "I was testing the
_Grampus_, but, more than that, I was likewise testing _you_. Since
we picked up Carl and Dick, off the _Dolphin_, and before that, while
we were cruising about trying to find them,[A] you have been serving
your apprenticeship on the submarine. I have always had the utmost
confidence in you, Motor Matt, and I have now, I think, tested your
knowledge of the _Grampus_ in a manner which leaves no room for
doubt. You are able to run the boat, and to extricate her from any
difficulties in which she might become entangled, as well, if not
better, than I could do myself."

[A] This reference of Captain Nemo, Jr., has to do with the thrilling
experiences of Carl and Dick while they were at swords' points with
Captain James Sixty, the filibuster, for an extended account of which
see No. 15 of the MOTOR STORIES, "Motor Matt's Submarine; or, The
Strange Cruise of the _Grampus_."

Matt, from the captain's manner, had suspected that the gray-haired
inventor of the craft had tried to bring out all that was in him.
Captain Nemo, Jr., of course, had not been able to forecast the trouble
that was to overtake the submarine in the bottom of the bay, but this
dangerous experience had served only to show Matt's resourcefulness to
better advantage.

"You are cool-headed in time of danger," proceeded the captain, "and,
no matter what goes wrong, your ability is always on tap and can be
brought to bear instantly upon anything you desire to accomplish."

The red ran into Matt's face and he waved a hand deprecatingly.

"I'm not a particle better than a lot of other fellows," said he, "who
try to use their eyes, and hands, and brains."

"I expected you to say that, Matt," continued the captain. "The test,
in your case, was hardly necessary, for I have watched your work in
a lot of trying situations--and it has always been the same, steady,
resourceful, reliable. Just now, we are going to Belize, British
Honduras, to carry out some work for our government. As I have already
told you, I don't know what that work is. Two sealed envelopes were
given me by Captain Wynekoop of the U. S. cruiser _Seminole_. The first
one told us to proceed to Belize. The next one, which I have here in my
pocket, will instruct you relative to the work in prospect, and----"

"Instruct _me_?" broke in Matt, startled.

The captain nodded.

"I have not recovered from the strange illness which overtook me in
New Orleans, as a result of inhaling the poisonous odor given off by
the head of that idol. I feel that another attack is coming upon me--I
have felt it for several hours--and, inasmuch as the government is
watching the work of the _Grampus_ with the intention of buying her at
a good round price if she makes good, our sealed orders must be carried
out. For this work, Matt, you are my choice; you are to command the
_Grampus_, do everything that you think--that you think----"

Captain Nemo, Jr., paused, struggled with the words for a space, then
drooped slowly forward and fell from his seat to the floor of the room.
There he lay, unconscious and breathing heavily.



CHAPTER III.

THE SEALED ORDERS.


For a brief space Motor Matt and Cassidy stood looking down at the
prostrate form crumpled at their feet. The captain had been stricken so
suddenly that they were astounded.

Cassidy took a look through the periscope and lashed the wheel; then he
hurried to help Matt, who was lifting the unconscious man to a long
locker at the side of the room.

"He ain't never been right since he was sick in New Orleans," muttered
Cassidy. "He jumped into work before he was well enough."

The captain's former illness had been of a peculiar nature. An idol's
head, steeped in some noxious liquor that caused the head to give off
a deadly odor, was, according to his firm belief, the cause of his
sickness. Carl had also come under the influence of the poisonous odor,
but it had had no such effect upon him. However, no two persons are
exactly alike, and sometimes a thing that will work havoc with one may
have no effect upon another.

"His heart action is good, Cassidy," said Matt.

"He's a sick man for all that," replied the mate. "I've noticed for
several hours he was nervous like. We'll have to take him ashore at
Belize, and you'll have to be the captain while we're doing the work
that's to be done."

There was an under-note in Cassidy's voice that caused Matt to give him
a keen look. The mate was a good fellow, but he was second in command,
aboard the _Grampus_, and it was quite natural for him to expect to be
the one who stepped into the captain's shoes.

"You heard what Captain Nemo, Jr., said?" asked Matt.

"Sure, I did," returned the mate gruffly.

"I had not the least notion he was picking me for any such place."

"He's a queer chap, the cap'n is," said Cassidy, averting his face and
getting up from the side of the locker. "I'll go get him a swig of
brandy--maybe it'll bring him round."

When Cassidy returned from the storeroom with the brandy flask, Matt
could hardly avoid detecting that he had himself sampled the liquor.
Matt was disagreeably surprised, for he had not known that the mate was
a drinking man.

While they were forcing a little of the brandy down the captain's
throat, Dick and Carl came into the periscope room.

"Vat's der madder mit der gaptain?" asked Carl, as he and Dick crowded
close to the locker.

Matt told of the illness that had so suddenly overtaken the master of
the submarine.

"Shiver me, but it's main queer!" exclaimed Dick.

"For the last hour," went on Matt, "the captain's hands have been like
ice and his face pale. I knew he didn't feel well, but I hadn't any
idea he was as bad as this."

"Tough luck!" growled Cassidy.

"Will we need a pilot to take us into Belize?" asked Matt.

"We can't get very close to the town, but will have to lay off and go
ashore in a boat. I know the place well enough to take the _Grampus_ to
a safe berth."

"Then you'd better go up in the lookout, Cassidy, and see to laying us
alongside the town."

A mutinous look flickered for an instant on Cassidy's weather-beaten
face. He hesitated, and then, without a word, turned away and climbed
into the conning tower.

A moment more and the captain had revived and opened his eyes.

"How are you feeling, sir?" queried Matt.

"Far from well, my lad," was the answer, in a weak voice. "Are we off
Belize?"

"Not yet, sir, but we are drawing close."

"We are close enough so that we can read the second half of our sealed
orders."

The captain lifted a hand and removed from the breast pocket of his
coat a sealed envelope, which he handed to Matt.

"Open it, Matt," said he, "and read it aloud."

The young motorist paused.

"Captain," said he, "wouldn't Cassidy be the right man for carrying out
the work that brought us into these waters? He is the mate, you know,
and I think he expects----"

"Cassidy is here to obey orders," interrupted the captain. "Cassidy
has a failing, and that failing is drink. No man that takes his liquor
is ever to be depended on. As long as I'm around, and can watch him,
Cassidy keeps pretty straight, but if I'm laid up at Belize, as I
expect to be, I prefer to have some one in command of the _Grampus_
whom I can trust implicitly. Read the orders."

Matt tore open the envelope and removed the inclosed sheet.

            "On Board U. S. Cruiser _Seminole_, at Sea.

  "CAPTAIN NEMO, Jr.,

       "Submarine _Grampus_.

  "SIR: Acting under orders from the Secretary of the Navy, I have
  the honor to request that the _Grampus_ lend her aid to the rescue
  of United States Consul Jeremiah Coleman, who has been sequestered
  by Central American revolutionists, presumably under orders from
  Captain James Sixty, of the brig _Dolphin_, who is now a prisoner
  in our hands. Mr. Hays Jordan, the United States consul at Belize,
  will inform you as to the place where Mr. Coleman is being held.
  This is somewhere up the Rio Dolce, in a place inaccessible to even
  gunboats of the lightest draught, and it is hoped the _Grampus_ may
  be able to accomplish something. Present this letter to Mr. Jordan
  immediately upon reaching Belize, and be guided in whatever you do by
  his knowledge and judgment. I have the honor to remain, sir,

            "Your most obedient,

       "ARTHUR WYNEKOOP, Captain Cruiser _Seminole_."

A movement behind Matt caused him to look around. Cassidy had descended
quietly from the conning tower and was steering the ship entirely by
the periscope.

"We are off Belize, sir," announced Cassidy, "and two small sailboats
are coming this way. We are to anchor at the surface, I suppose?"

Matt did not know how long the mate had been in the periscope room, but
supposed he had been there long enough to overhear the instructions.

"Certainly," said the captain.

Cassidy touched a jingler connected with the engine room. The hum of
the motor slowly ceased.

"Get out an anchor fore-and-aft, Speake," the mate called through one
of the speaking tubes.

"Aye, aye, sir," came the response through the tube.

A little later a muffled rattling could be heard as a chain was paid
out through the patent water-tight hawse hole. Presently the rattling
stopped, and the _Grampus_ shivered and swung to her scope of cable.
More rattling came from the stern, and soon two anchors were holding
the submarine steady in her berth.

"I want you to go ashore, Matt," said Captain Nemo, Jr., "and see the
American consul. Find a place where I can be taken care of; also, show
that letter to the consul and tell him you are my representative.
Better take Dick with you."

"Very good, sir," replied Matt.

A bluish tinge had crept into the pallor of the captain's face. Matt
had been covertly watching, and his anxiety on the captain's account
had increased. The captain must be taken ashore as quickly as possible
and placed in a doctor's hands.

"Come on, Dick," called Matt, starting up the conning tower ladder.

With his chum at his heels, Matt crawled over the rim of the conning
tower hatch and lowered himself to the rounded steel deck.

The port of Belize, nestling in a tropical bower of cocoanut trees, was
about a mile distant. Owing to her light draught, the _Grampus_ had
been able to come closer to the town than other ships in the harbor.
The submarine lay between a number of sailing vessels and steamboats
and the line of white buildings peeping out of the greenery beyond the
beach.

Two small sailboats, manned by negroes, were approaching the _Grampus_.
Matt motioned to one of them, and her skipper hove-to alongside, caught
a rope thrown by Dick, and pulled his craft as near the deck of the
submarine as the rounded bulwarks would permit. A plank was pushed over
the side of the sailboat, and Matt and Dick climbed over the lifting
and shaking board.

"Golly, boss," grinned the negro, "dat's de funniest boat dat I ever
seen in dis port. Looks like er bar'l on er raft."

"Never mind that," said Matt, "but lay us alongside the wharf as soon
as you can."

The two negroes comprising the sailboat's crew were Caribs. They talked
together in their native tongue, every word seeming to end in "boo" or
"boo-hoo."

"A whoop, two grunts and a little blubbering," said Dick, "will give a
fellow a pretty fair Carib vocabulary. What ails Cassidy?"

"I think he sampled the flask of brandy when he brought it to the
captain," replied Matt.

"That was plain enough, for he had a breath like a rum cask. But it
wasn't that alone that made him so grouchy. There's something else at
the bottom of his locker."

"Well, he's the mate," went on Matt, dropping his voice and turning
a cautious look on the two negroes, "and I suppose he thinks Captain
Nemo, Jr., ought to have put him in command. To have a fellow like me
jumped over his head may have touched him a little."

"Mayhap," murmured Dick, "but it's a brand-new side of his character
Cassidy's showing. I never suspected it of him. Do you think the
captain's trouble is anything serious?"

"I hope not, Dick, but I'm worried. The sickness came on so suddenly I
hardly know what to think."

"Probably he has some of the poison from that idol's head still under
his hatches. Main queer, though, that he should be so long getting over
it, when Carl cut himself adrift from the same thing so handsomely."

"Things of that kind never affect two people in exactly the same way."

The negroes brought their boat alongside the wharf. As Matt paid for
their services, and climbed ashore, Dick called his attention to the
_Grampus_. Cassidy could be seen on the speck of deck running the Stars
and Stripes to the top of the short flagstaff. The other sailboat, to
the boy's surprise, was standing in close to the submarine.

Having finished with the flag, Cassidy could be seen to throw a rope to
the skipper of the sailboat, and then, a moment later, to spring aboard.

"What does that move mean?" queried Dick.

"Give it up," answered Matt, with a mystified frown. "Probably we shall
know, before long. Just now, though, we've got to think of the captain
and send off a doctor to the _Grampus_."

Turning away, he and Dick walked rapidly to the shore and on into the
town.



CHAPTER IV.

THE AMERICAN CONSUL.


"There's a bobby," cried Dick, catching sight of a policeman, "a real
London bobby, blue-and-white striped cuffs and all. We'll bear down on
him, Matt, and ask the way to the American consul's."

The policeman was dark-skinned, but kind and obliging for all that.
Drawing the boys out into the street, he pointed to a low, white
building with the American flag flying over the door. There were palms
and trees around the building, and a middle-aged man in white ducks
was sitting in a canvas chair on the veranda. He was Mr. Hays Jordan,
and when the boys told him they were from the submarine _Grampus_, the
consul got up and took them by the hand.

Matt lost not a moment in telling of the captain's illness, and of
his desire for a doctor and of comfortable lodging ashore. The consul
seemed disappointed by the news.

"I reckon that puts a stop to the work that brought the _Grampus_
here," said the consul.

"Not at all," replied Matt. "The _Grampus_ is at the service of the
government within an hour, if necessary."

"But who's in charge of the boat?"

"I am."

Mr. Hays Jordan looked Matt over, up and down, and started to give an
incredulous whistle. But there was something in the youth's bearing,
and in the firm, gray eye that caused him to quit whistling.

"Well!" he exclaimed. "Pretty young to be skipper of a submarine,
aren't you?"

"Belay a bit, sir," spoke up Dick. "He's old for his age, if I do say
it, and Captain Nemo, Jr., is a master hand at taking the sizing of a
fellow. He selected Motor Matt to engineer this piece of work, and, if
you keep your weather eye skinned, it won't be long until you rise to
the fact that the captain knew what he was about."

"The captain ought to have a doctor without loss of time," interposed
Matt, impatient because of the time they were losing, "and he must have
a place to stay."

"We'll not send a sick man to the hotel," said Mr. Jordan, "but to a
boarding house kept by an American. And we'll also have an American
doctor to look after him." He slapped his hands. In answer to the
summons a negro appeared from inside the house. "Go over to Dr.
Seymour, Turk," said the consul, "and ask him to come here."

"We might be able to save time," put in Matt, "if my friend went with
your servant and took the doctor directly to the submarine."

"Fine!" exclaimed the consul, and Dick and the negro hurried away.

"Sit down, my boy," said the consul, waving his hand toward a chair,
"and we'll palaver a little. I don't reckon I ought to say much to you
until I talk with Captain Nemo, Jr., and make sure everything is right
and proper. Still----"

"Here are my credentials," said Matt, and handed over the letter which
he had recently read aloud in the periscope room of the _Grampus_.

The consul glanced over the letter.

"I'll take you on that showing, Motor Matt," said he heartily, as he
handed the letter back. "If anything is done for my friend Coleman,
it's got to be done with a rush. The dinky little states all around us
are able to have a revolution whenever some one happens to think of it.
There's one on now, and Captain James Sixty was to help on the fighting
by landing a cargo of guns and ammunition. Sixty's work, as I reckon
you may know, was nipped in the bud, and the revolutionists are having
a hard time of it. But they're still active, and about two weeks ago,
when Sixty failed to arrive with the war material and they were afraid
he had been captured by the United States authorities, the hot-headed
greasers planned reprisal. That reprisal was about the most foolish
thing you ever heard of. They spirited away my friend Coleman; then
they sent me a letter saying that Coleman would be released whenever
the United States Government gave up Sixty--and, at that time, Sixty
wasn't in the hands of the authorities, at all. He had just simply
failed to show up with the contraband of war, and the revolutionists
imagined he had been bagged. I communicated with Washington at once,
and it was that, I reckon, that gave the State Department a line on
Sixty."

"Is Mr. Coleman in any danger?" asked Matt.

"You never can tell what a lot of firebrands will do. They're bound
to hear of Sixty's capture, and of the confiscation of his lawless
cargo. The news will get to them soon, and when that happens Coleman
is likely to have trouble. If possible, he must be rescued from the
revolutionists ahead of the receipt of this information about Sixty
and the lost guns. It's a tremendously hard piece of work, and only
a submarine boat with an intrepid crew, to my notion, will stand any
show of success. If a small boat from a United States warship was to
try to go to the rescue, the revolutionists would learn she was coming
and would immediately take to the jungles of the interior with their
captive. See what I mean?"

"Mr. Coleman's captors are somewhere on the sea coast?"

"Not exactly. They have a rendezvous on the river Izaral, which runs
into the gulf of Amatique, to the south of here. The revolutionists
have tried to make people think that they have Coleman somewhere on
the Rio Dolce, but that would put the whole unlawful game in British
territory, and wherever the British flag flies you'll find lawbreakers
mighty careful."

The consul looked around cautiously and then hitched his chair closer
to Matt's.

"I haven't been idle, Motor Matt," he went on, lowering his voice. "I
have had spies at work, and one of them has reported the exact location
of the revolutionists' camp. Acting as a log-cutter, he came close to
the place. This man will lead you to the exact spot--and, as good luck
has it, he's a pilot and knows the coast."

"I should think," hazarded Matt, "that the United States government
could make a demand on the president of the republic where all this
lawless work is going on, and force him to rescue Mr. Coleman."

The consul laughed.

"You don't know Central America, my lad," he answered. "It's as hard
for the president of the republic to get at the revolutionists as for
anybody else. Meanwhile, Coleman's in danger. We can't wait for a whole
lot of useless red-tape proceedings. We've got to strike, and to strike
hard and quick. But we've got to do it secretly, quietly--getting
Coleman away before the revolutionists know what we're doing.
Understand?"

Matt nodded.

"We'll not do any fighting if it's possible to avoid it," proceeded the
consul, "for that would merely complicate matters. Besides, what could
a handful of strangers do against a horde of rascally niggers? Softly
is the word. We've got to jump into 'em, and then out again quicker
than scat--and when we come out we've got to have Coleman."

"Are you going with us, Mr. Jordan?" asked Matt.

The consul started and gave Matt a bored look.

"Going with you?" he drawled. "Why not? It isn't often we have anything
exciting, here in Honduras, and I wouldn't miss the chance for a farm.
Coleman lives where he never knows what minute is going to be his next,
and he's continually guessing as to where the lightning is going to
strike, and when. About all I do is lie around in a hammock, fight
mosquitoes, take a feed now and then at Government House, and drop
in at an English club here every evening for a rubber at whist. It's
deadly monotonous, my lad, to a fellow who comes from the land of snap
and ginger."

"I'll be glad to have you along," said Matt. "When had we better start?"

"This afternoon." The consul picked his solar hat off the railing of
the veranda and got up. "I'm going over to the boarding house," he
added, "to make arrangements for Captain Nemo, Jr. It's just around the
corner and I'll only be gone a few minutes. Make yourself comfortable
until I return."

"I'll get along all right," answered Matt.

Jordan got up, descended the steps, swung away down the street and
quickly vanished around a corner.

The scenery was all new and strange to Matt, and he allowed his eyes to
wander up and down the street. The houses were white bungalows, some
of them surrounded by high white fences, and with tufted palms nodding
over their roofs.

Negro women passed by with baskets on their heads, dark-skinned
laborers in bell-crowned straw hats slouched up and down, and a group
of tawny soldiers from a West India regiment, wearing smart Zouave
uniforms and turbans, jogged past.

As soon as Matt had exhausted the sights in his immediate vicinity, he
lay back in the chair and gave his thoughts to the captain.

He had always liked Nemo, Jr. The captain had been a good friend to
Motor Matt and his chums, and the young motorist hoped in his heart
that his present illness would not take a serious turn.

While Matt was turning the subject over in his mind, two men came
along the walk and started for the steps leading to the veranda of the
consulate.

Matt, suddenly lifting his eyes, was surprised to note that one of the
men was Cassidy. The other was a white, sandy-whiskered individual in a
dingy blue coat and cap and much-worn dungaree trousers.

Both were plainly under the influence of liquor. They came unsteadily
up the steps and Cassidy made a bee-line for Matt.

Cassidy's weather-beaten face was flushed and there was an angry,
unreasoning light in his eyes.

"I'm next to you, Matt King," growled the mate, posting himself in
front of the youth and clinching his big fists. "You've pulled the wool
over the old man's eyes in great shape, but you can't fool _me_!"

Cassidy, when his mind was clear and when he was not under the delusion
of a fancied wrong, was a good fellow. He had cared for Captain Nemo,
Jr., when he was lying ill in New Orleans, and countless times he had
given Matt and his chums proof of his friendship for them. Cassidy was
off his bearings now, but Matt felt more like arguing with him than
showing authority.

"You are not yourself, Cassidy," said the young motorist. "Why did you
leave the _Grampus_?"

"That's my business," snarled the mate.

"Well, take my advice and go back there. No one is trying to deceive
the captain."

"You've wormed yourself into his confidence, and what has he done to
me?" There was bitterness in the mate's voice. "I'm the one that ought
to be cap'n of the submarine, and, by thunder, I'm going to be!"

Matt got up from his chair, his eyes flashing.

"You're going to obey orders, Cassidy," said he, "if you want to stay
with the _Grampus_. I'm in command, and I'll give you just a minute to
leave here and make for the wharf. If----"

At that moment the mate's crazy wrath got the better of him. With a
hoarse oath, he lurched forward and struck at Matt with his fist.

Matt avoided the blow with a quick side-step.

"Now's yer chance, Cassidy," breathed the husky voice of the man who
had come with the mate. "It's now or never if you want to put him down
an' out."

The fellow, as he spoke, slouched toward Matt with doubled fists. Matt
had not the same consideration for this stranger that he had for the
mate, and immediately after evading Cassidy's blow he whirled about.

"Who are you?" he demanded sharply.

For answer, the man tried to get in a blow on his own account. But he
was not quick enough. With a nimble leap forward, Matt swung his own
fist straight from the shoulder. The dingy blue cap flew off and its
owner reeled against the side of the building. Just then Matt felt the
arms of the mate going around him from behind.

At the same moment, however, footsteps came swiftly along the walk,
mounted the steps, and Cassidy was caught by the throat in a firm grip.



CHAPTER V.

MOTOR MATT'S FORBEARANCE.


"What's all this? Jupiter! Two webfeet sailing into one lone-handed
youngster! And he seems to be holding his own pretty well, at that. Let
go, you!"

With that, Jordan wrenched Cassidy away and flung him heavily against
one of the veranda posts.

The stranger, scowling and nursing a bruise on his chin, was gathering
up his blue cap. Cassidy, panting and wheezing, was leaning against the
post and glaring wrathfully at the consul.

"That man," said Matt, pointing toward the mate, "is Cassidy, second in
command aboard the submarine. He takes it hard because Captain Nemo,
Jr., placed me in charge, and he came ashore without authority. Who the
other fellow is I don't know, but I presume it is some trouble maker
the mate picked up."

"Trouble maker is right," went on Jordan. "That describes the rascal to
a t, y, ty. I know him. He's Fingal, master of a shady schooner called
the _North Star_, an all around bad one, and the authorities in a dozen
ports in Central America will tell you the same. We'll land him in the
skookum house. And as for Cassidy, it's against regulations for an
officer to attack one who outranks him. We'll put _him_ in the cooler,
too."

The consul was about to call some one from the house with the intention
of sending for an officer, when Matt interposed.

"I don't want to do anything like that, Jordan. These men have been
drinking."

"That's no excuse."

"But Cassidy, when he's not half-seas over and got a fancied grievance,
is a good fellow. He has proved that to me a hundred times. Besides,
Captain Nemo, Jr., thinks a lot of him."

"Well, he can't think much of the captain," answered the consul dryly,
"or he'd pay more attention to his orders. What do you want to do with
the two men?"

"Let Fingal go about his business, if he has any. As for Cassidy, he
can go back to the submarine and give his brain a chance to clear.
After that he'll see things differently."

"I know my rights," snapped Cassidy, shuffling around belligerently,
"and I'm going to hold out for 'em. I've been mate of the _Grampus_
ever since she was launched. And now that the old man's laid up, I
ought to be master. This here Motor Matt hasn't been on the submarine
more'n two weeks, put together."

"Did you hear Captain Nemo, Jr., say that Motor Matt was to be put in
charge of the craft?" queried Jordan.

"I heard it, but----"

"Did the rest of the crew hear it?"

"Yes, only they----"

"Everybody understands the situation, then?"

"I guess they do, if----"

"Then this is a case of all cry and no wool. You're making a fool of
yourself, Cassidy, let alone showing mighty poor taste. Motor Matt is
showing a whole lot more forbearance than I'd ever do, in the same
circumstances. You made an attack on your commanding officer----"

"I don't admit he's that," broke in Cassidy fiercely.

"Nonsense, man!" cried the consul, out of patience. "You'd admit it
quick enough if you wasn't drunk."

"What business you got buttin' into this, anyway?"

Jordan pointed to the flag.

"This is a patch of American soil right in the middle of a foreign
country," said he. "That flag is yours and mine, and I'm here to adjust
just such differences as this between my fellow-countrymen. Motor Matt
is captain of the _Grampus_, and you've heard his orders. If you and
Fingal don't clear out, I'll call a policeman and have the pair of you
taken to the lock-up."

Fingal edged away toward the veranda steps. As he drew close to
Cassidy, he muttered something. The mate gave a thick response, and the
two lurched down the steps and out of sight along the walk.

"Fingal," said Jordan, after watching the two out of sight, "is setting
the mate up to act as he's doing. His influence is bad, particularly as
the mate appears to be a good deal of a numskull without much reasoning
ability of his own."

"He has always been a first-rate hand," returned Matt regretfully, "up
in his duties and entirely reliable. This sudden move of his is one of
the biggest surprises I ever had sprung on me."

"That's the way with some people. Give 'em the idea that they've been
imposed on, and they're just weak enough in the head to make all sorts
of trouble. If you've got the rest of the crew with you, though, it
will be easy enough to take care of Cassidy. However, if he wanted to
he could make lots of trouble for this expedition."

"I'll see that he doesn't do that. If he shows a disposition along that
line, I'll have him locked in the torpedo room. Why he ever came here
and set upon me like he did, is a mystery. I guess it was because he
was too drunk to know what he was doing."

"That's an easy way to explain it," was the consul's sarcastic comment.
"On the other hand, he may have come here with the expectation of doing
something to you that would make it necessary for you to be left in
Belize with Captain Nemo, Jr."

"No," answered Matt firmly, "I can't believe that."

"You're altogether too easy," proceeded the consul. "If you were hung
up here with a couple of fractured ribs, or a broken arm, Cassidy would
be the only one left to command the _Grampus_."

Matt shook his head.

"Cassidy isn't a brute," said he. "I'd like to know, though, why this
chap, Fingal, is putting in his oar."

"He's got an axe to grind. Drunk or sober, Abner Fingal always has his
eye on the main chance."

"Who is he?"

"He's a Yank, from somewhere up in Maine, but he's been in these waters
so long he's about half Spanish. Crooked as a dog's hind leg--that's
Fingal for you. Sometimes he hoists the flag of Costa Rica, sometimes
that of Nicaragua, and now and then the cross of St. George, but no
matter what colors he sails under he's the same old sixpence. Too bad
Cassidy fell in with him. But there's no use of our wasting any time on
those fellows. We've got the job of our lives ahead of us, and we've
got to get the work started. Any arms aboard the _Grampus_?"

"I thought you said there wasn't to be any fighting?"

"I hope there won't be, my lad, and we'll do everything possible to
avoid it, but there's always a chance of being slipped up in our
calculations. How's the submarine armed?"

"There's a Whitehead torpedo in the torpedo room."

"We'll not use any torpedoes. If there's a scrap, it will be on the
land and hand to hand. Any rifles or ammunition aboard?"

"None that I know about."

"Then I'll bring a few guns, merely to be on the safe side. You'll
attend to the other equipment?"

"About all we'll need is a barrel of gasoline. I can pick that up and
have it taken off to the boat."

"I'll come aboard, bringing this pilot I was telling you about, and
the rest of the plunder, along toward evening. We'll drop down the
coast to-night and start for the rendezvous of the revolutionists
in the morning. It will be well, I think, to go up the river with
the _Grampus_ submerged. In that manner we shall be able to hide our
approach. However, that is something we can settle later. If you----"

The consul paused, his eyes down the street.

"Well," he muttered, "here comes your friend, Ferral, and he appears to
be in a tearing hurry. I wonder if anything has gone wrong with Nemo,
Jr.?"

This thought was uppermost in Matt's mind as he sprang to the top of
the steps and watched Dick running toward the consulate along the
street.

"What's up, Dick?" he asked anxiously, as his chum came close. "Is the
captain all right?"

"They're bringing him on a stretcher, and the doctor thinks he'll be
all right in a few days," Dick answered. "It wasn't that that made me
clap on all sail, matey, but something else."

"What else?"

"Why, Cassidy. As we were coming ashore with the captain I saw the mate
pulling off to a schooner that was anchored half a mile t'other side
the _Grampus_. There was a chunk of a man with him in a blue cap and
coat. They were aboard the schooner when we hit the landing, and before
we started for town, the schooner's anchor was tripped and she was off
down the coast with every rag of sail hoisted and drawing. What does
that mean? What's Cassidy up to?"

Matt was astounded. Turning blankly on Jordan, he saw that his face was
clouded and ominous.



CHAPTER VI.

"ON THE JUMP."


"You say the schooner got away to the south, Ferral?" asked Jordan.

"Aye, aye, and looked as though she was bound for down the coast. Looks
like Cassidy had deserted, Matt."

"We ought to have jailed him," commented Jordan. "Did Cassidy know
anything about the sealed orders, Matt?"

"Captain Nemo, Jr., had me read the orders aloud in the periscope
room," Matt answered. "Cassidy had been in the conning tower, but when
I finished with the letter I saw that he was in the room with us."

Jordan's face grew even more foreboding.

"This looks bad!" he exclaimed. "I wouldn't trust that Fingal man
around the corner, and here he's run off with Cassidy and headed down
the coast. There's something in the wind, and if our game is tipped off
before we get to where we're going it will be a case of up-sticks with
Coleman."

"I don't think Cassidy would dare tip off our work to Fingal!"
exclaimed Matt, somewhat dashed by the course of events.

"A drunken man is liable to do anything."

"But what would Cassidy have to gain by telling Fingal our business to
the southward?"

"Why, as for that, Fingal has been suspected of helping those same
revolutionists. If he can help the scoundrels hang onto Coleman, they
might make it worth his while."

"The letter I read in the periscope room," said Matt, after a moment's
thought, "spoke of the Rio Dolce as the place where Coleman was being
held. This, you tell me, is wrong. In that event, and assuming that
Cassidy heard the whole of the letter, then he has a clue that's not to
be depended on."

"Fingal must know the Rio Dolce is not the place. The fact that the
schooner bore away to the south proves that some one has correct
information. No, Matt, Fingal has learned through Cassidy just why
the _Grampus_ put in at Belize; and Cassidy, intoxicated as he is
and worked up over a fancied grievance, has cast in his lot with the
schooner. The pair of them are off to the south to make trouble for us,
take my word for it. What we must do is to get away as close on their
heels as possible. We can't wait until evening, but must proceed on the
jump and get away without losing any more time than necessary."

"Avast a minute," spoke up Dick. "You remember, Matt, that there was a
schooner took Captain Sixty off the fruiter _Santa Maria_, and sailed
with him to find the derelict brig. That schooner was to take off the
arms and ammunition from the wreck, and would have done so if the
submarine hadn't shown up and been backed by the cruiser _Seminole_."

"I remember that," said Matt. "What of it, Dick?"

"Well, matey, I'm a Fiji if I don't think the schooner that took
Cassidy and the other swab south is the same one that figured in our
affairs a few days ago."

To all appearances the consul had had news relative to these events in
the gulf. As soon as Dick had finished, he slapped his hands excitedly.

"Jupiter!" he exclaimed. "This is more proof that Fingal is
hand-and-glove with the revolutionists. This new move, Matt, means that
that pair of scamps are off for the south to put a spoke in our wheel.
We can't delay the start an instant longer than we find necessary to
finish our preparations."

Before Matt could answer, an open carriage drove along the street.
The doctor was in the rear seat supporting the captain. The latter
looked like a very sick man indeed, and was leaning feebly against the
doctor's arm.

"Don't tell him anything about Cassidy's running away," cautioned Matt,
starting down the steps and toward the road. "It would only worry him,
and we'll carry out the work that has been given to us, in spite of
Cassidy and Fingal."

"He knows about it already," said Dick. "We discovered Cassidy and the
other chap making for the schooner while we were coming ashore."

"Did the captain give Cassidy permission to leave the submarine?"

"No. Carl said that the captain became unconscious just when the mate
started up to hoist the flag, and that the mate took another pull at
the flask and went on up the conning tower ladder. It was French leave
he took, nothing less. As soon as Dr. Armstrong got to the _Grampus_ he
wasn't any time at all in bringing the captain to his senses, and the
first man Nemo, Jr., asked about was Cassidy."

By that time the carriage, which was proceeding slowly, was opposite
Matt, Dick, and Jordan, who formed a little group on the sidewalk. In
response to a gesture from the captain, the vehicle came to a halt.

"You are the American consul?" asked the captain, making an effort to
straighten up.

"Yes," replied Jordan.

"I am Captain Nemo, Jr., of the submarine _Grampus_. My unfortunate
illness puts me out of the work that lies ahead of the boat and her
crew, but Motor Matt, there, is perfectly capable of discharging the
duties of master. I should feel quite sure of the outcome if it was not
for the mate. He has deserted, and I am positive he intends to make
trouble. You must get away as soon as possible, Matt. Cassidy went the
other way from the Rio Dolce--which is a move I can't understand, if he
is planning to interfere with the rescue of Coleman."

Matt and Jordan exchanged quick looks. The captain, having no
information to the contrary, was still under the impression conveyed by
the sealed orders, viz.: that the captured consul was on the Rio Dolce
instead of the river Izaral. Neither Matt nor Jordan attempted to set
the captain straight.

Evidently the captain had talked more than was good for him, for
when he finished he collapsed, and had hardly strength enough to say
good-by. As he was driven off, Matt gazed after him sympathetically.

"Strange that a few hours should make such a difference in Captain
Nemo, Jr.," he murmured.

"The climatic change perhaps had something to do with it, Matt,"
suggested Jordan. "But we can't stand around here, my lad. We've got to
hustle--and this isn't a very good climate to hustle in, either. It's
the land of take-it-easy. You get the submarine in shape, and I'll hunt
up the pilot, get together the war plunder and my own traps, and join
you just as quick as the nation will let me. On the jump, my lad, on
the jump."

Jordan, suddenly energetic, turned and hastened back into the consulate.

"There's a whole lot to that land lubber, matey," remarked Dick. "He's
as full of snap and get-there as any chap I ever saw. But what's the
first move? You're the skipper, now, and it's up to you to lay the
course."

"We've plenty of stores aboard for the trip we're to make, with the
exception of gasoline. The _Grampus_ will be in strange waters on a
secret mission, and we must make sure of an abundant supply of fuel at
the start-off."

The boys were not long in finding a place where they could secure the
gasoline, and but little longer in getting a negro carter to convey the
barrel to the landing. Here the same colored boatman who had brought
Matt and Dick ashore was waiting, and the barrel was loaded and carried
out to the submarine.

The sailboat hove-to as close alongside the _Grampus_ as she could get,
and both vessels were made fast to each other by ropes. The gasoline
barrel was tapped, a hose run out from the conning tower hatch, and the
negroes laid hold of a pump and emptied the barrel into the gasoline
reservoir of the submarine.

Dick took charge of the transfer of the gasoline, while Matt went down
into the periscope room and called up Speake, Clackett, and Gaines.

"Friends," said the king of the motor boys, "we're off on a short
cruise in strange waters--a cruise that will probably call for courage,
and will certainly require tact and caution. Mr. Hays Jordan, the
American consul, is going with us, and when he comes aboard he will
bring a pilot who knows where we are to go and will take us there. You
men know that it is Captain Nemo, Jr.'s order that I take charge of the
work ahead of us. Have you any objection to that?"

"The captain knew his business," averred Gaines heartily, "and whatever
is good enough for him is good enough for us."

Speake and Clackett likewise expressed themselves in the same
whole-souled manner.

"Thank you, my lads," said Matt. "I suppose you have heard how the mate
went off in a huff. That makes us short-handed, in a way, although the
pilot we're to take on will help out. Our work is government work,
something for Old Glory, and I feel that we will all of us do our best.
We shall have to run all night, and I will arrange to have Ferral
relieve Gaines, and Carl relieve Clackett. As for Speake, he will have
abundant opportunity to rest, as most of our night work will be on the
surface. Speake may now get us something to eat, and after that you
will all go to your stations."

Speake was not long in getting his electric stove to work. There were
only a few provisions he could prepare without causing an offensive
odor, and the limited menu was quickly on the table. Hardly was the
meal finished when a boat hove alongside with Jordan. Matt, Dick, and
Carl went up on deck to assist the consul in getting his traps aboard.

Jordan had exchanged his white ducks for a trim suit of khaki. Two
belts were around his waist, one of them fluted with cartridges, and
the other supporting a brace of serviceable revolvers. With him came
three Mauser rifles and a box of ammunition.

The pilot was an unkempt half-blood named Tirzal. He was bareheaded and
barefooted, and had a ferret-like face and shifty, bead-like eyes.

As soon as the impedimenta was stowed below decks, Matt instructed
Tirzal in the steering of the submarine. The boat could be maneuvred
either from the conning tower or from the periscope room. When
maneuvred from the conning tower, the pilot stood on the iron ladder,
using his eyes over the top of the tower hatch; when steered from
below, compass and periscope were used.

Tirzal grasped the details with surprising quickness, his little eyes
snapping with wonder as they saw the panorama of ocean, shore and
shipping on the mirror top of the periscope table.

While these instructions were going forward, Gaines and Dick had gone
into the motor room, Clackett and Carl had posted themselves in the
place from which the submerging tanks were operated, and Speake had
gone forward into the torpedo room.

"We're all ready," said Matt. "Take to the conning tower, Tirzal, and
give your signals."

The half-breed, as proud as a peacock to have the management of this
strange craft under his hands, got up the ladder until only his bare
feet and legs from the knees down were visible.

Matt, posting himself by the periscope, divided his attention
between the panorama unfolded there and the work of Tirzal. He was
considerably relieved by the handy manner in which the half-breed took
hold of his work.

With ballast tanks empty, and the _Grampus_ riding as high in the water
as she could, the motor got to work the instant the anchors were off
the bottom and stowed.

"We're off, Jordan!" cried Matt.

"Off on one of the strangest cruises I ever took part in," returned the
consul, his face glowing with the novelty of the situation; "and it's
a cruise, my boy," he added, a little more soberly, "which is going
to demand all our resourcefulness in the matter of tact, skill, and
courage. Even then there's a chance that----"

Jordan did not finish, but gave Matt a look which expressed plainly all
that he had left unsaid.



CHAPTER VII.

THE LANDING PARTY.


During that night run down the coast the _Grampus_ was driven at full
speed. The electric projector was fitted against the lunettes of the
conning tower, and threw an eye of light far out over the dark water.

It was the hope of those aboard the submarine that they would be able
to overhaul and pass the schooner, _North Star_, which, presumably, was
rushing on ahead of them to interfere in some manner with the work cut
out for the _Grampus_.

The schooner had about three hours' start of the submarine, but the
latter craft was keeping to the surface and traveling at such a speed
that it was thought she would surely overtake the other boat before the
mouth of the Izaral was reached.

However, in this Matt and Jordan were disappointed. They passed one
steamer, creeping up the coast, but not another craft did they see.

"The _North Star_ won't be able to ascend the Izaral, anyhow,"
commented Jordan. "If Fingal communicates with the revolutionists, he
will have to send a small boat--and perhaps we can overhaul that boat
before it reaches the headquarters of the insurgent force."

There was a certain amount of sleep for everybody aboard the _Grampus_,
that night, but Motor Matt, Dick and Carl slept the first half of the
night, and, after that, relieved Gaines and Clackett; Speake caught cat
naps off and on; Jordan stretched himself out on top of the locker in
the periscope room and took his forty winks with nothing to bother him;
and Tirzal, when the submarine was in a fairly clear stretch of her
course, was relieved by Matt and sent down to curl up on the floor and
snore to his heart's content.

The tireless motor hummed the song familiar in Matt's ears, and the
excitement of the work in prospect kept him keyed to highest pitch in
spite of his loss of rest.

In the gray of early morning, an hour after Matt had turned off the
electric projector, he sighted the mouth of a river with high, bluffy
banks on each side. On one of the banks, peeping out from a covert of
royal palms, was a small village. Directly across the stream from the
village, commanding both the river and the small harbor in front of the
town, was a rude fort.

Matt called Tirzal.

"She's de ruvver, all right, you bet," declared Tirzal, after taking a
look at the periscope. "Stop um boat, boss," he added. "We no want de
people in de town to see um."

Matt halted the submarine with the touch of a push button.

"We'd better submerge, Matt," called Jordan. "That's the way we've got
to get up the river, and it's our proper course for dodging around the
town. Can you see anything of the schooner?"

"There are only a few small native boats in the harbor," answered Matt.
"The schooner isn't in sight."

"Beats the deuce what's become of the boat," growled the consul. "If
she sent a launch up the river, the schooner ought to be somewhere
around waiting for the launch to get back."

"She may have pulled off down the coast just to keep clear of us. How's
the water in the river?"

"Him planty deep to where we go, boss," spoke up Tirzal. "Sometime him
t'irty feet, mos'ly fifty feet. Eberyt'ing go fine if we keep in de
channel."

"We'll be on the safe side," went on Matt, "and just swing along with
the water over our decks and the top of the conning tower. Ten foot
submergence, Clackett," he added through a speaking tube connecting
with the tank room.

"Aye, aye, sir," came back the voice of Clackett.

The hiss of escaping air as the water came into the tanks was heard,
and Matt secured the hatch and came down the ladder.

The hissing ceased suddenly.

"We're ten feet down, Matt," reported Clackett through the tube.

"Take the wheel, Tirzal," said Matt.

With head under the periscope hood and one hand on the wheel, Tirzal
rang for slow speed ahead. Matt and Jordan likewise gave their
attention to the periscope mirror and watched, with curious wonder,
while the tropical river unfolded beneath their eyes like a moving
picture.

The Izaral was bank-full. As the _Grampus_ rounded the northern bluff
and swerved into the river channel, the high, steep banks, covered with
dense foliage, resembled a narrow lane with a blank wall at its farther
end. When the boat pushed into the stream, however, and fought the
current for three or four hundred yards, the seemingly blank wall gave
place to an abrupt turn.

The submarine took the turn and entered upon another stretch of the
lane.

This part of the river was as perfect a solitude as though removed
thousands of miles from human habitations. At a distance of perhaps
two miles from the coast the high banks dwindled to low rises, and on
each side was an unbroken forest; the banks were overflowed; the trees
seemed to grow out of the water, their branches spreading across so as
almost to shut out the light of the sun and were reflected in the water
as in a mirror.

Birds of gaudy plumage fluttered among the trees, and here and there in
a bayou alligators could be seen stretching their torpid bodies in the
black ooze.

Tirzal kept his eyes glued to the periscope. The channel was crooked
and dangerous, and a moment's neglect might hurl the submarine into a
muddy bank, causing trouble and delay, if not actual peril.

For two or three miles farther Tirzal kept the river channel. Finally
they came close to a spot where a deep, narrow stream entered the
Izaral on the right. Tirzal turned into this branch and, after
ascending it for some fifty yards, had the propeller slowed until it
just counteracted the current and held the _Grampus_ stationary.

"We got to de place, boss," said Tirzal, lifting himself erect with
a deep breath of relief. "Now we come to de top an' tie de boat to a
couple ob trees on de sho'."

"Where are the revolutionists?" asked Matt.

"Dey a good ways off, boss. We hab to take to de bank an' go find um. I
know de way. Here's where de boats come. You see um pitpan close by de
bank? Him rebel's boat."

"Do you suppose," queried Matt, turning to the consul, "that the
schooner sent word to the rebels by means of the pitpan?"

Jordan shook his head perplexedly.

"They wouldn't do that. The pitpan is no more than a mahogany log,
hollowed out, and would be a poor sort of craft to row against the
current of the Izaral while it's at the flood. I can't understand why
we don't see or hear something connected with the schooner. Perhaps,"
and the consul's face brightened, "Fingal and Cassidy are on the wrong
track, after all."

"You go to de top, boss," put in Tirzal, "an' me swim asho' wid rope;
den we warp um boat close to de bank."

As a preparation for his swim, the half-breed began to divest himself
of his clothes.

Matt gave the order to empty the ballast tanks by compressed air, and
the _Grampus_ arose to the surface to the tune of water splashing from
the tanks.

"A party will have to land for the purpose of reconnoitring the
position of the rebels," said Jordan. "I would suggest, Matt, that the
landing party consist of myself, Tirzal, of course, and some other
person who you think can be easily spared. A strong force will have
to remain with the _Grampus_, for our situation is encompassed with
dangers. Before we can plan our dash successfully, we shall have to
know something of the lay of the land and the disposition of the force
that is guarding Coleman."

"You are right," returned Matt. "I ought to remain with the
submarine----"

"And get a little sleep," cut in the consul. "You've been on duty all
night and must rest up so as to be ready for the sharp work when it
comes."

"I'll have Speake go with you and Tirzal," said Matt. "How long will
you be gone, Jordan?"

"Not more than two or three hours at the outside."

By then the _Grampus_ was at the surface, and Matt climbed the ladder
and threw back the hatch. Gaining the dripping iron deck, he looked
and listened. The thick forest lay on every side, and the silence was
broken only by the flapping of wings, and the lazy splash of alligators
in a near-by bayou.

Tirzal, a rope around his waist, scrambled clear of the conning tower
and slipped from the deck into the water. He swam swiftly and silently
to the bank, pulled himself up, untied the end of the rope from about
his waist and passed it around a tree.

Dick gained the deck, made the boat end of the rope fast to an iron
ring in the bow, and watched while Tirzal lay back on the cable with
all his strength and hauled the bow shoreward, a foot at a time.

"The bank lays steep-to, matey," announced Dick, "and we can run the
nose of the old flugee right into solid ground."

"That will make it easier for Jordan and Speake to effect a landing,"
said Matt.

A few minutes of pulling on Tirzal's part brought the point of the
submarine's bow against the bank. Speake had come up on deck with one
of the rifles. A moment later Jordan followed him, with Carl trailing
along in his wake.

Jordan carried two rifles, one for himself and one for Tirzal, and also
Tirzal's bundle of clothes.

"We're taking all the rifles, Matt," said Jordan, "but I have left my
cartridge belt and six-shooters in the periscope room. If you should be
attacked--which I hardly expect--your best defense will be to sink to
the bottom of the river. We'll be back in three hours. If we're not,
you'll know something has gone wrong with us. But don't fret about
that. Tirzal knows the country, and he'll steer us clear of trouble."

Speake and Jordan made their way to the point of the bow and sprang
ashore. As soon as Tirzal had slipped into his clothes and grasped the
rifle, the three comprising the landing party waved their hands to
those on the deck of the boat and vanished into the forest.

"Dose fellers vas going to haf all der fun," grumbled Carl.

"I don't think anybody is going to have a monopoly of the 'fun,' as you
call it, Carl," said Matt grimly. "You and Dick stay on deck and keep a
sharp watch for rebels. I'm going to the periscope room to take a nap.
In order to be on the safe side, Dick, you'd better let the _Grampus_
slide back toward the middle of the stream. Leave the cable on the tree
and pay it off from the bow of the boat."

"Aye, aye, matey," answered Dick.

"Call me if anything happens," said Matt, climbing into the conning
tower.

On reaching the periscope room, he signaled Gaines to stop the motor,
and told him and Clackett that the submarine was moored, and that they
could either sleep or go on deck, as they preferred.

Matt, thoroughly tired out by his long night vigil, stretched himself
on the locker and was soon sound asleep.

How long he slept he did not know, but he was suddenly aroused by a
pounding of feet on the steel deck, startled cries and a tremendous
splashing of water.

Thinking that Dick and Carl, who had comprised the anchor watch, had
been caught napping, and that the revolutionists were making an attack
on the boat, he leaped up, caught the first weapon he could lay hold
of, and darted for the iron ladder.

The weapon happened to be an old harpoon belonging to Speake, who had
once had a berth aboard a whaling ship.

When Matt lifted his head above the rim of the conning tower hatch, a
strange scene met his eyes.



CHAPTER VIII.

CARL IN TROUBLE.


The most prominent object that met Motor Matt's startled eyes was a
big bull alligator. The creature was thrashing about in the water, now
striking the sides of the _Grampus_ with its powerful tail, and now
making an attack on the pitpan, or dugout canoe, which has already
been referred to.

Carl Pretzel was in the canoe, and he was wildly anxious to get back to
the submarine. The alligator, however, was floundering around in the
stretch of water between Carl and the _Grampus_.

"Helup!" whooped Carl. "Der olt man-eader vill ged me oof you don'd do
somet'ing."

It hadn't seemed to occur to the Dutch boy that he could go
ashore--being much nearer the bank, in fact, than the submarine.

Dick had a hatchet which he had picked up from somewhere on the deck.
He rushed back to the conning tower and climbed into it, thus securing
an elevated position which offered some advantage in case he hurled the
hatchet at the big saurian.

"Paddle ashore, Carl!" called Matt.

"Dot's so," gasped Carl; "meppy I vill. Coax der pig feller avay; I
don'd like how he uses dot tail oof his."

Carl fell to work with his paddle. By that time, however, the
alligator's temper was aroused, and, before Carl had got the pitpan
turned, the big creature glided forward, opened its ponderous jaws and
closed them about the forward end of the dugout.[B]

[B] The common supposition that an alligator uses only his tail as a
weapon of offense and defense is erroneous. His tail is for swimming
purposes, and his big jaws are his main reliance in combat.

There was a frightful crash, and the sides of the pitpan were stove in
like an eggshell. One end of the wrecked boat was pushed high in the
water, and Carl, at the other end, was in sore straits.

"Helup, or I vas a goner!" yelled Carl, leaping into the water as Motor
Matt made ready to hurl the harpoon.

Carl's predicament had become serious in the extreme. If the enraged
reptile turned on him, his doom was sealed. The task for Matt and Dick,
which they recognized on the instant, was to wound the alligator and
take its attention from the boy in the water.

The harpoon left Matt's hand, and the hatchet left Dick's, at the same
moment. The hatchet was turned by the reptile's scaly coat as by so
much armor plate. The harpoon, however, by a chance, struck just back
of the alligator's fore-leg in the place where the hide was not so
thick. The big fellow had lifted head and shoulders out of the water
in the fierceness of the attack on the pitpan--which fact alone made
Matt's blow possible.

Dick, tumbling out of the conning tower, seized one end of a coil of
rope and hurled it toward Carl. The Dutch boy grabbed it, and Dick drew
him in rapidly, hand over hand.

The alligator, meantime, had whipped away around the bow of the
_Grampus_, half its head only on the surface, and leaving a reddened
trail in its wake.

Carl, sputtering and gasping, fell dripping on the submarine's deck.

"Be jeerful, be jeerful," he mumbled. "I tell you somet'ing, dot vas
der glosest call vat efer I hat mit meinseluf. Dot's righdt."

He pulled himself up by means of the periscope mast, and shook his fist
after the alligator, which was returning to the bayou.

"You don'd make some meals off me, I bed you!" he taunted. "Nexdt dime
you do a t'ing like dot, meppy I vill haf a rifle hanty. Den, py
shinks, I gif you more as you can dake care oof."

"You'll have to pay Speake for that harpoon, Carl," laughed Matt.

"Mit bleasure," answered Carl. "Id vas der harboon vat safed my life."

"How did you come to get in that fix?"

"Veil, I t'ink I vould like to look at dot bitban, so Tick he bulls on
der rope und prings der supmarine glose inshore. I shdep off der pow,
valk along der pank und ged indo der tugoudt; den I bick oop der baddle
und t'ink I vill row pack, as Tick hat let der supmarine oudt indo
der rifer again. Schust as I got shdarted, dot pig alligador pobs oop
righdt py der poat. I say 'shoo' aber he von'd shoo vort' a cent. Den
I drow vone oof der baddles ad him, und he geds madt as some vet hens
und pegins vorking dot dail aroundt. Den I vished dot I vas some blace
else, und make some yelling. Der resdt iss vat you know. Ach, blitzen!
Der bitban iss gone oop, und I vas poody near gone oop meinseluf.
Anyhow, a miss iss as goot as a mile, don'd it?"

"It's just as well, I guess," said Matt, "that the dugout has been
destroyed. If we were attacked here by the rebels, the boat would have
helped them. But you should not have left the submarine, Carl. The
noise we have made here may have been heard. In that event, we can
expect trouble."

Just at that moment, Clackett and Gaines came up through the hatch.

"What's been going on?" Clackett asked.

"You've missed the fun, matey," returned Dick. "Carl had a little
trouble with an alligator, and just got out of it by the skin of his
teeth."

"Clackett an' me was asleep," said Gaines. "Blamed funny, though, we
didn't hear the rumpus. What woke me was you fellows, talking and
walking over the deck. Haven't Speake and Jordan shown up yet?"

"What time is it?" asked Matt.

"It was a little after twelve when Clackett an' me left the torpedo
room."

"Great spark plugs!" exclaimed Matt, startled. "I must have slept
longer than I supposed. It was nine o'clock when Jordan and the others
went ashore. Jordan said they'd be back in three hours, at the outside.
More than three hours have passed and they're not back."

Matt's eyes, suddenly filled with anxiety, swept the tree-covered bank.

"Tirzal knew the country, mate," said Dick, "and I guess those fellows
are wise enough to steer clear of the rebels while they're trying to
locate Coleman."

"Something may have gone wrong with them, for all that. If Cassidy and
Fingal managed to get word to the revolutionists, then quite likely
Jordan, Speake, and Tirzal got into a snare. If they did, and if----"

Matt was interrupted by the distant report of a rifle, echoing and
re-echoing through the dense timber. There was just one report, and
then silence fell again; but, during the silence, the troubled glances
of those on the _Grampus_ met questioningly.

"Our landing party has been discovered," declared Matt, who was first
to collect his wits. "Dick and I will go ashore and see if we can be of
any help. I'll leave you in charge of the _Grampus_, Gaines. As soon
as we are off the boat, you, and Clackett, and Carl cast off from the
shore, go below and sink until the periscope ball is just awash. You
may have to put out an anchor to hold the boat against the current.
One of you keep constantly at the periscope, watching the left-hand
bank. If you see one of us come there and wave his arms, you'll know we
want you to come up and take us aboard. Be as quick as you can, too,
for we may be in a hurry."

"Depend on me, Matt," said Gaines.

"Depend on all of us," added Clackett.

Matt turned to his sailor chum.

"Go into the periscope room, Dick," said he, "and get those two
revolvers of Jordan's. Never mind the belts. Empty out some of the
cartridges and put them in your pocket. Hustle, old chap."

Dick was only gone a few minutes. During that time Gaines and Clackett
were busy with the rope, hauling the submarine back to the bank, and
Matt was listening for more firing.

No more reports came from the timber, however, and when Dick reappeared
and handed Matt one of the revolvers, both hurried to the bow of the
submarine and sprang ashore.

"Don't forget your orders, Gaines," cautioned Matt.

"You can bank on it that I won't, Matt," answered the motorist. "You
and Dick look out for yourselves. Don't make a bad matter worse by
letting the revolutionists get a grip on you. If they did, we'd be in
hard shape for sure."



CHAPTER IX.

A FRIEND IN NEED.


At the point where Jordan, Speake and Tirzal had vanished into the
wood, Matt and Dick found a faint path--a path so little traveled and
so blind that it could not be seen from the deck of the _Grampus_, even
when she was hauled close to the shore.

"It's as plain as a hand spike," remarked Dick, as he and Matt made
their way along the path, "that Jordan and the others took a slant in
this direction."

"That's the kind of a guess I'd make," said Matt. "By following the
path, though, we don't want to forget that they got into trouble. When
you're on a road that leads to trouble, Dick, you've either got to
leave it or else be mighty careful."

"I don't know how we'd get through this jungle if we didn't follow the
path. Tirzal claims to know the country. If that's a fact, then it's
main queer he couldn't pilot Jordan and Speake around any stray groups
of insurrectos."

"Our failure to see anything of the schooner while we were off the
coast, or anything of a launch from the schooner while we were coming
up the river, rather gave Jordan the idea that Fingal and Cassidy were
on the wrong track. But I'm inclined to think Jordan was wide of his
trail. They must have sent word here and enabled the revolutionists to
fix up some sort of a trap."

"Shiver me! I can't begin to tell you how surprised I am at the way
Cassidy is acting--that is, if he's gone into cahoots with this swab of
a Fingal for the purpose of backcapping our plans to save one of our
own countrymen. What sort of a two-faced bandicoot is Cassidy, anyhow?
He must be mighty sore to act like that. But mayhap you're mistaken,
Matt."

"I hope I am," returned Matt gravely. "I always liked Cassidy, and I
hate to see a good man go wrong in such a way as that."

The boys had dropped their voices to an undertone. While they talked,
they hurried ahead along the dim, winding path, keeping their eyes
constantly ahead.

Owing to the close growth of trees, but very little sun filtered to the
ground below, and a twilight gloom hovered over the narrow way. Matt
was in advance, and suddenly he halted, whirled on Dick and pulled him
behind a matted vine that hung from a tree beside the path.

"Hist!" whispered Matt, in his chum's ear. "I can hear voices around
the turn in the path ahead. Some one is coming this way. Crouch down
and perhaps they'll go past without seeing us."

Scarcely breathing, the two boys knelt behind the matted vine, each
holding his weapon ready in case they should be discovered and
compelled to fight for their freedom.

It was not long before the men whom Matt had heard came straggling
around the turn in the path. To their amazement, no less a person than
Fingal was at the head of the column. The light was none too good for
making observations at a distance, but there could be no mistaking the
burly form in the dingy blue cap and coat and dungaree trousers.

Fingal slouched along with the thwartship roll of a sailor with stable
ground under him. At his back came half a dozen nondescript men, of
various shades of color from coal black to light yellow.

These men, no doubt, formed part of the rebel army. They were all
barefooted, their clothes were ragged, and they wore straw hats. Each
had a machete strapped about his waist, but there the uniformity of
their accoutrements ceased. Two had no arms apart from the machetes;
one of the remaining four had a long-barreled, muzzle-loading rifle,
and the other three had revolvers. Fingal had no rifle, but there was a
belt about his waist that supported a six-shooter over his hip.

The file was still talking as it passed the two boys, but it was
Spanish talk and neither Matt nor Dick could understand anything that
was said.

Without seeing the boys, the file swept on and vanished around another
bend. Matt drew a long breath of relief.

"We're out of that mess, Dick," he murmured, getting up and stepping
back into the path. "I guess we've settled all doubts about Cassidy and
Fingal. Fingal's here, and I'll bet something handsome Cassidy can't be
very far off."

"Cassidy's trying to down us," growled Dick, "and that's as plain as
the nose on your face. The old Sou'wegian! He ought to be trussed up at
a grating and pounded with the 'cat' for this. I never thought it of
the old sorehead! Where do you suppose that pack is going?"

"They're looking for the _Grampus_, I guess."

Dick chuckled.

"And the old _Grampus_ is ten feet under water! If Gaines is next
to his job, he's fixed things so they won't be able to see even the
periscope ball."

"Trust Gaines to do everything possible. I don't think the submarine
is in any particular danger, but we couldn't help her any if she was.
We'll keep on and see where this trouble road lands us."

"Aye, aye, old ship! Luck seems to be on our side, so far, and here's
hoping that it will stay with us."

Matt once more took the lead and set the pace. The ground they were
covering had a slight inclination upward, and the path continued to
wriggle, serpent fashion, through the dense growth of timber.

It was the almost impenetrable screen of the woods that suddenly
plunged the boys into difficulties. Rounding an abrupt turn, beyond
which it was impossible to see because of the dense foliage, Matt and
Dick plunged recklessly into full view of an encampment. It was a large
encampment, too, and pitched in the midst of a big clearing. The place
was not a hundred yards off, and Matt, pulling himself short up, got
a glimpse of black soldiers lolling and smoking under rough canvas
shelters.

For an instant he halted and stared; then whirled face about.

"Back, Dick!" he exclaimed. "Run, run for your life!"

The words were hardly necessary. The boys had been seen and a wild
clamor came from the encampment. A fizzing sputter of firearms awoke
echoes in the timber, and scraps of lead could be heard slapping and
zipping through the leaves.

"We might be good for three or four," panted Dick, as he stretched his
legs along the path, "but we have to knock under when the whole rebel
army gets after us."

"Save your breath!" cried Matt. "Run!"

"Where'll we run to? That other pack, with Fingal, is ahead."

"Never mind. The largest force is behind."

The dark-skinned rebels were tearing along like mad. The boys, looking
over their shoulders, could see them wherever the path straightened out
into a short, straight-away stretch. At such times, too, some one of
the pursuing rabble let fly with a bullet. The bullets went wild, for
there is no such thing as accurate shooting by a man who is on the run.

The boys were holding their own--perhaps doing a little better.

"We can distance 'em," puffed Dick, "if they'll only give us a little
time. We'll be around the next turn and halfway to the one beyond
before they show up again."

Dick had hardly finished speaking before he came to a sudden halt.

"Keep on!" panted Matt.

"Can't! We're between two fires, matey. That other gang has heard the
firing and is coming back. Let's get behind trees and do the best we
can for ourselves. Oh, this _is_ a rum go!"

Matt was able to hear the men racing along in advance of them, and the
larger force behind was drawing nearer and nearer.

The outlook was dark, and the only thing left for the boys to do seemed
to be to dig into the dense undergrowth and take their chances of being
tracked down.

With one accord they sprang toward the left-hand side of the path. The
timber, in that direction, seemed a trifle less thick than on the right.

Before they had vanished they heard a guarded voice calling from the
right.

"Matt! Motor Matt!"

Startled at hearing his name, the young motorist paused and whirled
about. His astonishment grew. A woman--a young woman--had emerged
through the trailing creepers and was beckoning wildly.

"This way!" she called, still in the same guarded tone. "Quick, if you
want to save yourselves."

A moment more and Matt and Dick both recognized the speaker. She was
not one whom they would have trusted had circumstances been other than
they were. Just then, however, but little choice was left them.

"It's that or nothing," muttered Dick, and he and Matt charged back
across the path and followed the girl into a tangle of bushes.

Hardly had they vanished when both parties of pursuers pushed into
sight from right and left.



CHAPTER X.

STRANGE REVELATIONS.


It was in New Orleans that an attractive young lady, with liquid
Spanish eyes, had called to see Motor Matt and had told him many things
which were not true. Because of this misinformation, Motor Matt had
been lured into the hands of Captain Jim Sixty, the filibuster. The
girl who had been instrumental in carrying out this plot against the
king of the motor boys was Ysabel Sixty, Captain Sixty's daughter.

The distrust of Matt and Dick, even at the moment when they were hemmed
in on both sides by the revolutionists, will be understood when it is
explained that their "friend in need" was none other than Ysabel Sixty.

The boys were amazed to see her there in that rebel-haunted wilderness,
but they repressed their excitement and curiosity until the girl had
led them unerringly to a little cleared space in the heart of the woods.

Here there was a rude shelter constructed of a ragged tarpaulin, and an
_olla_, or earthen water jar, suspended from the branches of a tree.

The girl turned and faced the boys as soon as they reached this
primitive camp.

"You are safe, for the present," said she. "I am glad I could do
something to help you."

"Strike me lucky!" growled Dick, his keen eyes on the girl's face. "Are
you helping us, Ysabel Sixty, or luring us into another trap, like you
did up in New Orleans?"

A look of sadness and contrition swept over the girl's face. It was a
pretty face--not so pretty as it had been in New Orleans, for now it
was worn and haggard--and that ripple of sorrow touched it softly.

"I have paid for all that," said the girl slowly. "I have paid for it
with more bitter regrets than I can tell. Now, maybe, I can help to
undo the wrong. What I did in New Orleans I did not do willingly. My
father threatened to kill me if I failed to carry out his wishes. Now
he is in the hands of the law, you are free, and I am adrift in this
wild country."

There was something in the girl's voice that touched both Matt and
Dick. It could not be that she was again playing a part, for there was
that in her words and manner which told of sincerity.

"How do you happen to be here?" asked Matt.

"My father, as I suppose you have heard, left the steamer _Santa Maria_
to go on the schooner _North Star_ and hunt for his water-logged brig.
I continued on to Belize on the _Santa Maria_, with orders from my
father to take the first boat from Belize to Port Livingstone, at
the mouth of the Izaral. There I was met by some of General Pitou's
soldiers, and brought out to this camp to wait until my father, or my
uncle, should come. My father did not come, and will not. My uncle
has already arrived, and it is to avoid him that I have come away by
myself, into this part of the woods."

"Who is your uncle, Ysabel?" asked Matt.

"Abner Fingal."

This took the breath of both of the boys.

"Fingal!" exclaimed Matt.

"His real name is Sixty," explained the girl, "and he is my father's
brother. He is captain of the schooner that has been helping the
revolutionists, and he has sworn vengeance on all those who had
anything to do with my father's capture."

"That means us, matey," and Dick turned for an apprehensive look
through the timber in the direction of the path. "I never dreamed of
anything like that," he added.

"It's not generally known," said the girl, "that Captain Fingal and
Captain Sixty are in any way related. They have both been helping the
revolutionists, and, if the uprising was a success, they were to be
rewarded."

"You ran away from the rebel camp in order to avoid Fingal?"

"Yes."

"Why was that?"

A flush ran through the girl's haggard face.

"My uncle wants me to marry General Pitou, a Frenchman who is in
command of the revolutionists. When I marry," and the words came
spitefully and with a stamp of the foot, "I shall marry to please
myself, and not some one else."

"Right-o, my lass!" approved Dick. "Don't let 'em bullyrag you into
marrying a Frenchie, anyhow."

"I heard that my uncle was expected to reach the camp soon," went on
the girl, "and I ran away last night. Pedro, a Mexican who used to be a
sailor on my father's brig, helped me to get away. He fixed that little
tent for me, and this morning, when he brought me breakfast, he told me
some news."

"What was that?" inquired Matt, scenting something of importance.

"Why, Pedro said that my uncle, together with another man named
Cassidy, had come over from Port Livingstone on a little gasoline boat
which they had stolen from the custom-house officer in the town. They
brought information that a boat that travels under water was coming
to release the American prisoner. Of course," and the girl smiled a
little, "I knew who it was that was coming in that under-water boat, so
I made Pedro tell me everything he knew.

"He said the boat was coming from Belize, and that the American consul
to British Honduras might come with it. He told me that Fingal informed
the general that it would be possible to entrap the other consul, and
that this would give the rebels two valuable prisoners to hold until
the American government would exchange Captain Sixty for them. The plan
was to capture the under-water boat and all on board. Fingal and this
man Cassidy were to have the boat, and Fingal was to be allowed to do
whatever he pleased with all the prisoners except the consul."

"We know what that meant, matey," said Dick, making a wry face. "The
old hunks wanted to make us walk the plank for the part we played in
the capture of Jim Sixty."

"Pedro said," went on Ysabel, "that General Pitou doubled the guards
all around the camp so that those who came to rescue Coleman would not
only fail, but would be captured themselves."

"The plan must have worked out pretty well," observed Matt. "Did Pedro
tell you whether any of the rescuers had been captured?"

"He came very early this morning," answered Ysabel, "before the
general's plans had been carried out."

"Mr. Coleman is with the insurgents?" asked Matt.

"He has been with them for a long time."

"Is he well treated?"

"As well as he can be. The rebels are half starved, but Mr. Coleman
shares their rations with them."

"Where is he kept?"

"In a tent in the middle of the encampment. He is constantly under
guard, but, while I was in the camp, I was able to talk with him. We
were the only ones who could speak English, and the soldiers were
not able to understand us. I told Mr. Coleman that I was going to
run away, and he said it was the best thing I could do. He asked me,
before I left, to take a letter from him to the customs officer at Port
Livingstone. But he wasn't able to write the letter before Pedro helped
me get away."

Here was great news, but not wholly satisfactory. The captured consul
was alive and well cared for; but he was also well guarded in the heart
of the insurgents' camp.

"That puts me in a blue funk," muttered Dick. "I wouldn't give a
hap'orth for our chances of doing anything for Coleman. If we get away
from here ourselves, we'll be doing well. And then, too, what's become
of Jordan, Speake and Tirzal? I hate to make a guess, for it fair
dashes me."

Matt was also very much alarmed on account of their missing companions;
in some way, however, he hoped through Ysabel Sixty to be able to
accomplish something--if not for Coleman, then at least for Jordan and
the two with him.

"How did you happen to be so close by, Ysabel," queried Matt, "when
Dick and I were so sorely in need of help?"

"Pedro said that you would probably make a landing in the Purgatoire,
which is a branch of the Izaral, and that the general was watching
closely the path that led from the branch to the encampment. I heard a
number of rifle shots, and that led me to hurry toward the path. I got
there just in time to see you. I am sorry for what I was compelled to
do in New Orleans, and if I can help you any now I wish you would let
me."

"You have already been a lot of help to us," said Matt. "Whether you
can help us any more or not remains to be seen. Perhaps, Ysabel, we may
be able to help _you_ a little."

"How?" she returned, leveling her lustrous black eyes upon him.

"You can't remain here, in this poor camp, indefinitely," went on Matt.
"Pedro is taking a good many chances, I should think, coming here to
smuggle food to you. What would happen if General Pitou was to catch
Pedro? In that case you would be left without any one to look after
you."

"I know that," answered the girl, drawing a long face, "but anything is
better than being compelled to marry the general. I _won't_ do that!"
and again she stamped her foot angrily.

"What are your plans?" asked Matt.

"Pedro is going to try and get a pitpan for me and send me down to Port
Livingstone. He says there is a pitpan on the Purgatoire, and that,
just as soon as the hour is favorable, he will start me for the town."

"That pitpan has been stove in and destroyed," said Matt, "so you can't
count on that. Why not go down the river with us, in the _Grampus_?
Have you friends in Port Livingstone?"

"No," replied the girl, a flash of pleasure crossing her face at Matt's
suggestion that she go away in the submarine, "but I have good friends
in Belize--my mother's people. They will take care of me. I should have
stayed there instead of coming on to Port Livingstone as my father told
me."

"Then it's settled," said Matt definitely; "we're going to take you
with us when we go."

"When are you going?" asked the girl.

"Just as soon as we can find out what has become of the rest of our
party and do something to help them."

"The rest of your party? Who are they?"

Thereupon Matt began to tell the girl about Jordan, Speake and Tirzal,
how they had come ashore to reconnoitre and had not returned. Barely
had he finished when a low whistle, like a signal, floated out of the
depths of the wood. Matt and Dick jumped and clutched their revolvers.

"It's Pedro!" whispered the girl. "You have nothing to fear from him,
but he mustn't see you. Hide--over there, behind those bushes--and wait
till he goes away."

Matt and Dick hurried in the direction of the girl's pointing finger.
They had no sooner got safely out of sight than Pedro came running
breathlessly into the little clearing.



CHAPTER XI.

ONE CHANCE IN TEN.


Pedro was as ragged as all the rest of the rebels, but he was brown,
not black or yellow. He was barefooted and wore on his head a battered
straw hat. His only weapon was a machete, fastened about his waist by
a piece of rope. He was a man of middle age, and from his manner there
was not the least doubt of his loyalty to the daughter of his former
captain. He carried a small parcel, knotted up in a dusty handkerchief,
and laid it on the ground near the water jar; then, drawing off and
keeping close watch of the timber behind him, he began speaking
hurriedly in Spanish.

The girl's face lighted up as she listened. Once in a while she
interrupted the torrent of words pouring from Pedro's lips to put in a
question, then subsided and let the torrent flow on.

For five minutes, perhaps, Pedro talked and gesticulated. At the end of
that time he pulled off his tattered hat, extracted a scrap of folded
paper from the crown and handed it to the girl. Then, with a quick,
low-spoken "_Adios!_" he vanished into the forest.

As soon as he was safely away, Ysabel turned toward the bushes where
the boys had been concealed and clapped her hands.

"Come!" she called; "I have something to tell you."

Matt and Dick hurried to join her.

"What's it about?" asked Dick eagerly.

"It's about your friends, of whom you were telling me when Pedro came.
They have been captured----"

"Keelhaul me! There's nothing very pleasing about that."

"Didn't you expect it?" the girl asked. "You knew something must have
happened to them when they failed to return to the boat."

"Yes," spoke up Matt, "we expected it, but I think both of us had a
hope that they had merely been pursued into the wood and were working
their way back to the _Grampus_."

"The men General Pitou had set to watch the path from the Purgatoire
were the ones who captured them. Mr. Jordan had time to fire just one
shot before they were seized, but that bullet wounded a captain, one
of the general's best men. Pedro says General Pitou is very angry, and
that he is going to keep all the prisoners and not release them until
the United States government gives up my father."

"The government will never do that," said Matt. "Our country is too
big to be bullied by a handful of rebels, 'way down here in Central
America."

"Then General Pitou says the prisoners will all be killed."

There was little doubt in Matt's mind but that this irresponsible rebel
general would be reckless enough to carry out his threat.

"Oh, but we've made a monkey's fist of this, all right," growled Dick.
"We come down here to rescue Coleman, and, instead of doing that, we
leave Jordan, Speake and Tirzal in the enemy's hands. A nice run of
luck this is!"

Matt was equally cast down.

"Tirzal is to be shot as a spy," went on Ysabel.

"Poor chap! But what could you expect? I hope the president of this
two-by-twice republic will capture every man-jack of the rebels and
bowse every last one of them up to the yardarm. That's what they're
entitled to, from General Pitou down."

"Did Pedro have anything to say about us?" inquired Matt.

"That's where the good part of it comes in," went on the girl. "The
rebels think you're in the woods, somewhere to the north of the path.
All the general's force, excepting about twenty-five armed men who
are guarding the prisoners at the encampment, are hunting through the
timber in the hope of catching you. Fingal is helping in the search,
and vows he will make you pay dearly for the part you played in the
capture of my father."

"I fail to see anything pleasant in all this, even yet," continued
Dick. "I thought you said that here was where the good part comes in?"

"Can't you see?" cried the girl. "If all the rebels, outside the
encampment, are looking for you in the timber the other side of the
path, why, that leaves the way clear to the submarine. We can go there,
right off, and get away from General Pitou and his men."

There was a short silence after this. Matt and Dick were both turning
the subject over in their minds. When their eyes sought each other,
dogged determination could be read in each glance.

"As you say, Ysabel," said Matt, "we have an opportunity to get back to
the submarine, but we can't go and leave our friends behind us."

"You--can't--go?" breathed the girl, staring at Matt as though she
scarcely understood his words. "Why can't you go?" she went on, almost
fiercely. "Your friends are captured, and how can you hope to get them
away from twenty-five armed men? Don't be so foolish! Get away while
you can--pretty soon it will be too late, and if you are caught you
will be shot."

"What's in that handkerchief, Ysabel?" queried Dick, pointing to the
parcel Pedro had placed on the ground near the water jar.

"Food," said the girl curtly. "Eat it, if you want to. I'm not hungry."

She was in a temper because Matt and Dick would not hurry away to the
submarine. She could not understand why they should delay their flight
when it was manifestly impossible for them to be of any help to their
captured friends. As if to further emphasize her displeasure, she
turned her back on the boys.

Dick stared at her, and then swerved an amused glance upon his chum.

"Didn't Pedro give you a note, Ysabel?" asked Matt gently.

"Yes. It was from Coleman. He managed to write it and give it to Pedro
for me. It is mine."

"Suppose you read it? Perhaps there is something in it that is
important."

Ysabel partly turned and threw the note on the ground at Matt's feet.

"You can read it," she said.

Matt picked up the scrap and opened it out. It was written in lead
pencil, on the back of an old envelope.

  "I hope you can get away some time to-day in that pitpan Pedro was
  telling you about. If you can do that, you can help all the prisoners
  now in General Pitou's hands. Some time soon we are to be taken down
  the Izaral halfway to Port Livingstone, where the rebels have another
  camp which they consider safer than this one. We will all go in the
  gasoline launch which was stolen, early this morning, by Fingal and
  Cassidy. Tell this to the customs officer at Port Livingstone, and
  ask him to do his best to intercept the launch and help us. I cannot
  write more--I have not time."

This was the note.

"Shiver me!" muttered Dick dejectedly, "if the old cutthroat, Pitou,
has his prisoners taken farther back in the jungle, there'll be no
possibility of rescuing them. We're on the reefs now, for sure."

Matt turned to Ysabel. Her anger was passing as quickly as it had
mounted, and she seemed anxious to meet any question Matt should ask
her.

"When Fingal and Cassidy came up the river in the gasoline launch,"
said Matt, "did they turn into the Purgatoire branch?"

"No. Pedro said that they went on up the Izaral, and got across to the
encampment by another road through the woods."

"Then, if the prisoners are brought down in the launch they'll have to
pass the mouth of the Purgatoire?"

"Yes."

"Dick," said Matt, "there's a chance that we can do something to that
boat load of prisoners."

"What?" queried Dick, pricking up his ears.

"We can go back to the submarine, drop down the Purgatoire and wait
there, submerged, until the gasoline launch comes down."

"Then what, matey?" asked Dick.

"Then we'll do whatever we can. There'll be five of us on the
submarine, and I don't see why we couldn't accomplish something."

But Dick shook his head.

"You don't know, matey," said he, "that Coleman's information is
correct. It's hardly likely that Pitou would blow the gaff to one of
his prisoners."

"Coleman may have found it out in some other way than from General
Pitou."

"Well, the launch may already have dropped down the river."

"Hardly, I think, when most of the rebels are out looking for us.
There's a chance, Dick."

"One chance in ten, I should say, matey."

"That's better than no chance at all, which seems to be what we have
here."

"We've worse than no chance at all, out in this scrub with the rebel
army looking for us. If we're caught, we'll be done browner than a
kippered herring. Although I haven't much hope, I'm for making a quick
slant in the direction of the _Grampus_."

"Then you're going to the submarine?" asked Ysabel joyfully.

"Yes, and we'd better start at once while the coast seems to be clear."

The girl clapped her hands and started for the timber.

"Do you want this?" asked Dick, lifting the bundle from beside the
water jar.

"No, it's only food--my dinner that Pedro brought me. You have plenty
on the submarine, haven't you?"

"Yes," Matt laughed.

"Then hang that to a tree branch for Pedro. Probably he robbed himself
to help me. He'll come back and get it."

Dick twisted the knots of the handkerchief into the end of a branch
and they all started hurriedly back toward the path.

The difficulties of the way made it necessary for them to travel in
single file. Matt went ahead, Ysabel followed him, and Dick brought up
the rear.

In ten minutes they were back in the path and hurrying swiftly in the
direction of the Purgatoire. But ill luck was still following them,
like an evil spectre.

They had not gone far along the course before a rebel soldier sprang
from the timber into the path at Matt's side.

The surprise was mutual, and, for an instant, Matt and the negro
stared at each other. Fortunately the negro had no firearms. He drew
his machete, but before he could aim a stroke with it, Matt had leaped
forward and struck his arm a fierce blow with the butt of Jordan's
revolver.

A yell of pain fell from the negro's lips, his arm dropped at his side
and he jumped backward into the woods.

"Quick," shouted Matt to those behind. "There may be others with him
and we'll have to make a dash for the _Grampus_. Run on ahead, Dick,
and get the submarine up and close to the bank. I'll follow you with
Ysabel."

Dick would have demurred at this arrangement, but a chorus of wild
yells, issuing from the wood, proved that the negro had spread the
alarm.

"The boat will be ready for you," shouted Dick, as he passed like a
streak along the path.

Seizing the girl's arm, and keeping the revolver in hand, Matt started
on as rapidly as the girl could go.



CHAPTER XII.

BY A NARROW MARGIN.


Ysabel made poor work of the flight.

"Go on," she begged; "don't try to save me. You can get away if you
don't have to bother to help me along."

"I'll not leave you," answered Matt firmly, taking a quick look over
his shoulder. "The soldiers have not yet reached the path and there's a
good chance for us. Do your best, Ysabel!"

The girl struggled along as well as she could, Matt bounding ahead and
dragging her by main force. The shouts behind were growing louder. A
rifle was fired and the bullet hissed spitefully through the air above
their heads.

"Fingal will kill you if he catches you," panted the girl.

"I'm not going to let him catch me," answered Matt.

"He will catch you if you try to take me with you! Leave me, I say. I
won't be hurt. Perhaps, if I turn around and run toward them, I can do
something to help save you."

"You're wasting your breath," said Matt finally. "Save it for running."

Ysabel was a girl who was accustomed, in some things, to having her
way. She thought that, if Matt persisted in burdening himself with her,
he would surely be captured, and she was anxious to save him at all
costs. Thus, in a fashion, she could atone for what she had done in New
Orleans.

Suddenly, while Matt was dragging her onward, she threw herself upon
the ground.

"I can't go another step!" she cried breathlessly. "Leave me and save
yourself."

He made no reply, but bent down and picked the girl up in his arms.
Then, thus burdened, he staggered on along the path.

The pursuers were coming closer and closer. Two or three shots rang
out, so close together that they sounded almost as one. Matt stumbled
and nearly fell.

"You're hurt!" cried the girl, noticing how his left arm dropped at his
side, releasing her.

"Nicked, that's all," he answered. "The shock of it came near to taking
the strength out of me for an instant. I'm all right now, although the
arm isn't much good for the present."

"I'll run along beside you," said the girl, in a strangely subdued tone.

Her ruse to get Matt to leave her--for ruse it was--had not succeeded.
On the contrary, it had cost Matt something. The girl, all contrition,
ran at his side and did much better than she had done before.

A turn in the woods put them out of sight of their pursuers and
presented a screen against the vicious firearms.

"Just a little farther," breathed the girl. "The river is close now."

"We'll make it," returned Matt cheerily.

His face was a trifle pale, but the same dogged look was in his gray
eyes which, more than once, had snatched victory from seeming defeat.

"Does your arm hurt, Matt?" the girl asked.

"It's feeling better now," and Matt lifted it.

A little stream of red had run down his hand. The girl stifled a cry as
she looked.

He laughed lightly.

"A scratch, that's all," he assured her. "Let's see how quick we can
get around that next turn. When we pass that, we'll have a straight run
to the river."

They called on every ounce of their reserve strength, and were around
the bend before their enemies had had a chance to do any more firing.

Matt was wondering, during that last lap of their run, whether they
were to be defeated at the very finish of their plucky flight.

They had delayed too long in leaving the girl's camp. He saw that,
plainly enough, and yet he would not have started back to the boat at
all unless he had received the news contained in Coleman's note.

Had Dick reached the river in time to attract the attention of those
on the submarine and have the craft brought to the surface, ready and
waiting for Matt and the girl?

If not, if the slightest thing had gone wrong and caused a delay, then
Matt and his companion must surely fall into the hands of Fingal and
General Pitou.

Yet, harassed though he was by these doubts, Matt's nerve did not for a
moment desert him.

The rebels were behind them, and firing, when he and Ysabel reached the
bank of the river. But the soldiers were firing wildly now, and their
bullets did not come anywhere near their living targets.

And there, plainly under Matt's eyes, was the _Grampus_. She was at the
surface, he could hear the throb of her working motor, and Dick was
forward, swinging back on the cable and holding her against the bank.
Carl was half out of the conning tower, tossing his hands frantically.

"Hurry oop! hurry oop!" clamored Carl. "Don'd led dose fellers ged you,
Matt. Schust a leedle furder und----"

Matt was about to yell for Carl to drop out of the tower and clear the
way, but a bullet, fanning the air close to Carl's head, caused him to
disappear suddenly.

"You'll make it!" yelled Dick, reaching over to help the girl to the
rounded steel deck.

"Into the tower hatch with you, Ysabel!" cried Matt. "Help her, Dick,"
he added. "There's no use hanging onto the rope now."

As Matt scrambled to the deck, the impetus of his leap flung the bow
of the submarine away from the bank. Dick was already pushing and
supporting Ysabel toward the tower hatch.

The bullets were now flying too thickly for comfort, but Matt drew
a long breath of relief when he saw the girl disappear behind the
protection of the tower.

"In with you, Dick!" shouted Matt, the _pingity-ping_ of bullets on the
steel deck giving point to his words.

"But you're hurt, matey," answered Dick.

"No time to talk!" was Matt's brief response.

Dick, without delaying matters further, dropped through the top of the
tower. The firing suddenly ceased. As Matt mounted the tower and threw
his feet over the rim, he saw the reason.

Four of the ragged soldiers had leaped from the bank to the submarine's
deck. More would have come, but the gap of water had grown too wide for
them to leap across it. These four, scrambling and stumbling toward
Matt, caused their comrades to hold their fire for fear of injuring
them.

Just as Matt dropped down the iron ladder, the foremost of the negro
soldiers reached the tower. His big hands seized the rim as he made
ready to hoist himself upward and follow the fugitives into the
interior of the boat.

Matt had yet to close the hatch, and the negro's hands were in the
way. With his clenched fist he struck the black fingers. His work was
somewhat hampered from the fact that his left arm was still not to be
depended on, so he had to use his right hand entirely.

With a howl of pain the negro pulled away his hands. Thereupon, quick
as a flash, Matt reached upward and closed the hatch. Not a moment too
soon was this accomplished, for the other three soldiers had reached
the tower and were preparing to assist their comrade.

Matt pushed into place the lever holding the hatch shut.

"Fill the ballast tanks!" he shouted. "Pass the word to Clackett, Dick.
Lively, now! Ten-foot submersion! We've got to clear the decks of these
negroes. If they should break one of the lunettes we'd be in a serious
fix."

Down below him Matt could hear Dick roaring his order to Clackett. With
eyes against one of the narrow windows Matt watched the rebel soldiers.

They were beating on the hatch cover with their fists, and kicking
against the sides of the tower. On the bank, their comrades were
running along to keep abreast of the boat and shouting suggestions.

The _Grampus_, steered by Dick with the aid of the periscope, had
turned her nose down-stream in the direction of the Izaral.

The hissing of air escaping from the ballast tanks as the water came in
was heard by the four ragamuffins on the outside of the steel shell.

From their actions, they began to feel alarm. This strange craft was
more than their primitive minds could comprehend.

Slowly the submarine began to sink. As the water crept up the rounded
deck, the negroes lifted their bare feet out of it gingerly and pushed
up higher. One of them leaped onto the conning-tower hatch.

Then, suddenly, the _Grampus_ dropped below the water. A mud-colored
blur closed Matt's view through the lunette, and as he slid down the
ladder into the periscope room, he heard faint yells from the negroes.

Dick, hanging over the periscope table, twirling the steering wheel,
was laughing loudly.

"Look, Matt!" he cried. "If you ever saw a lot of scared Sambos, there
they are, up there in the Purgatoire!"

Matt stepped to Dick's side and peered down upon the mirror. Far
behind, in the trail of bubbles sent up from the _Grampus_, the four
negroes were swimming like mad toward the shore. Their comrades on the
bank were leaning out to help them, and it was evident that they would
all be saved.

"We can laugh at the affair now," said Matt, "yet it was anything but
a laughing matter a while ago. Eh, Ysabel?"

"You saved me, Motor Matt," replied the girl, "and now let us see how
badly you are hurt."

"A bandage will fix that in a little while, Ysabel," said the other;
"just now I've got something else to attend to, and the arm can wait."

Turning back to the periscope, he watched the river bank sliding away
behind them, and waited for the moment when they should draw close to
the Izaral.

Their work--the work which they had one chance in ten of
accomplishing--must be looked after.



CHAPTER XIII.

WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN.


Ysabel sank down on the top of the locker. Carl had turned on the
electric light in the periscope room and was staring at the girl in
unconcealed amazement.

"How vas dis?" he asked. "Miss Harris, iss it you, sure enough?"

"Not Miss Harris," answered the girl with a flush, "but Miss Ysabel
Sixty."

"You bed you," returned Carl, slightly abashed. "Miss Sixdy, dis vas
kevite a surbrise. I hat no itee dot you vas in dis part oof der vorld.
How id vas----"

"Slow down your motor, Gaines!" shouted Matt, through one of the tubes.
"Make ready the bow anchor, there, Clackett--you don't need to bother
with the tanks, because we're going to anchor under the surface. Carl,"
he added, turning to his Dutch chum, "below with you and make ready to
let go the stern anchor when I give the word. Sharp on it now!"

Carl jumped for the bulkhead door leading to the after-part of the ship.

Every one on board, with the exception of Dick and Ysabel, were
astounded at these maneuvres of Motor Matt's. However, Matt was in
charge, and all hands obeyed him without question.

With his eyes on the periscope, Matt stood and watched, now and then
calling a direction to Dick, at the wheel.

When the _Grampus_ shot from the Purgatoire into the Izaral, she went
broadside on against the current of the larger stream. The steel hull
heaved over a little under the mass of flowing water, but the screw and
the rudder held her stiffly to her course.

"Now," shouted Matt into the speaking tube, "let go your anchors!"

The swishing clank of chains, paying out under water, came to the ears
of those in the periscope room.

"Anchor's down!" cried Clackett.

"Dot's der same here!" yelled Carl, his voice ringing from aft.

"Stop the motor, Gaines!" ordered Matt.

The humming of the cylinders ceased, and the _Grampus_, anchored
broadside on across the Izaral, tugged at her mooring chains.

"Where are we, Matt?" came the voice of Gaines through the motor-room
tube. "I thought we were making a run to get away from the
revolutionists."

"Hardly, Gaines," answered Matt. "We don't want to run away and leave
our friends in the hands of the rebels. Come into the periscope room,
all of you, and I'll explain what we are doing and why we are doing it."

"And while you're explaining," said Ysabel quietly but firmly, "I'll
take care of your arm. Where is something I can use for a bandage? And
I'd like a sponge and a basin of water."

"You'll find a bandage in that locker you're sitting on, Ysabel," said
Matt.

"I'll get the water," said Dick.

By the time Matt had been divested of his coat, and had had his shirt
sleeve rolled up, Gaines, Clackett and Carl were in the periscope room,
sitting on the low stools that served for chairs. Dick was back, also,
with the basin of water and the sponge, and Ysabel began dressing the
wounded arm.

"Great guns, Matt!" exclaimed Gaines. "Are you hurt?"

"A scratch, nothing more," Matt answered. "The bullet simply left a
mark and then went on. I brought you up here, friends," the young
motorist continued, "to tell you where we are. We're anchored,
broadside on to the current, in the middle of the Izaral River, our
periscope ball some three or four feet above the surface of the water.
We are going to stay here and wait for something to happen."

"What's to happen?" asked Clackett.

"Well, we've got news that a motor launch is coming down the Izaral
loaded with prisoners. If possible, we must intercept the launch. Dick
says we've a chance in ten of winning out, but we can't neglect even so
slim a chance as that, inasmuch as it happens to be our only one."

Gaines, Clackett and Carl were even more deeply puzzled than they had
been.

"Who are the prisoners?" inquired Gaines.

"Coleman, for one--the man we came to rescue. Then there are Jordan,
Speake, and, I hope, Tirzal."

"Jordan and those with him were really captured?" demanded Clackett.

"Yes."

"Ach, du lieber, vat a luck!" wailed Carl. "Ve come afder vone Amerigan
consul und lose anodder! Dey vas hootoos, dose consuls."

Matt, carefully watching the periscope as he talked, repeated
the experiences that had overtaken him and Dick while they were
reconnoitring to find some trace of Jordan's party.

The presence of Ysabel had aroused much curiosity in all of them, and
the explanation as to how she came to be on the boat straightened out
that part of the matter to the satisfaction of every one. Carl, in
particular, was highly pleased. He had dried himself out, after his
fall in the river, and was feeling easy in his mind, now that Matt and
Dick, at least, had been kept out of the hands of General Pitou.

"You dit a pig t'ing, Miss Sixdy," said Carl, "ven you safed Matt und
Tick, und Matt dit some more pig t'ings ven he safed you, so dot vas
efen. Now, oof ve don'd make some misdakes in our galgulations und
are aple to resgue dot poat loadt oof brisoners, eferypody vill be so
habby as I can'd dell. Oof gourse, I don'd vas in id, ad all. I hat my
drouple mit an allikator, und hat to shday pehindt und dake care oof
der supmarine."

"Do you feel pretty sure, Matt," queried Gaines, "that the motor launch
with the prisoners will come down the Izaral?"

"All we have to go on, Gaines, is Coleman's note," answered Matt. "I
may say that this move constitutes our only hope. If something doesn't
happen, about as we expect and hope it will, then we'll have to give up
all thought of doing anything for Coleman, or our friends."

"We'll hope something will happen, mate," said Dick. "In case the
launch comes down the river, what are you intending to do?"

"I have my plans, Dick," said Matt. "If every one carries out his
orders on the jump, I feel pretty sure the plan will carry. The main
thing is to keep a keen watch for the launch."

"That's easy enough during daylight, with the periscope ball
elevated as it is," remarked Gaines, "but if the launch happens to
come down-stream in the night--which, it strikes me, is altogether
likely--then the boat is apt to get past us."

"Not if a good lookout is kept."

"How will you keep a good lookout if you don't go to the surface?"

"Well, what the eye can't see the ear will have to tell us. The hollow
ball and the hollow periscope mast will bring the _chug_ of the motor
boat's engine into the submarine. The craft ought to be heard a good
distance away. One man will have to be at the periscope all the time,
and all the rest of you must be at your stations, ready to carry out
orders at a second's notice. You go down to the motor room, Gaines,
and Clackett, you go to the tank room. I will stay on the lookout. At
midnight, I will have Carl and Dick relieve both of you, but all hands
must be on the alert to turn out at a moment's warning. Carl will get
some supper for us, and pass it around."

Matt, as usual, had made no arrangement whereby he could secure any
rest for himself. But he felt that he could not rest, even if he had
the chance.

The rescue of Coleman meant much to Captain Nemo, Jr., for on the
performance of the _Grampus_ might depend the sale of the submarine to
the United States government. While the failure to rescue Coleman, and
even the loss of Jordan, Speake and the pilot had nothing to do with
the boat's capabilities, yet failure, nevertheless, would spoil a sale
and fill the authorities in Washington with distrust.

The _Grampus_ was not a passenger boat, and she had now a lady
passenger to take care of. Matt finally solved the difficulty by having
Ysabel conducted to a small steel room abaft the periscope chamber.
This was set aside entirely for the girl's use, and she arranged a
fairly comfortable bed on the floor.

After supper had been eaten, Ysabel retired to her cabin, and Carl and
Dick nodded drowsily on the looker in the periscope room. Matt, wide
awake as a hawk, kept his eyes on the periscope table and his ears
attuned for the first sound of the launch's motor.

Night, however, closed in without bringing any sign of the boat. The
gloom, of course, put the periscope out of commission as it deepened,
but still Matt watched the table top, looking for possible lights and
listening for the clank of machinery.

Dick took Matt's place for an hour or two, while Matt lay down and
tried to sleep. Although he had had only three hours' sleep in two
days, yet the young motorist found it impossible to lose himself in
slumber. He was keyed up to too high a pitch, and was too worried.

At midnight he sent Dick and Carl to relieve Gaines and Clackett, and
was alone with his vigils in the periscope room.

From midnight on the night seemed an eternity; and the gloomy hours
passed without anything happening. Matt had believed with Gaines that
night would be the time the captors would choose for coming down the
river with their captives. Inasmuch as they had not come, did this mean
that they were not coming at all? that General Pitou had changed his
plans?

Desperately Matt clung to his last shred of hope and watched the coming
day reflect itself in a gray haze over the top of the periscope table.

Slowly the trees along the river stood out with constantly increasing
distinctness, and the bosom of the rolling river took form beneath his
eyes. Up-stream he could see nothing, but--what was that he heard?

Scarcely breathing, he gripped at the table top and listened intently.
_Chuggety-chug_, _chuggety-chug_--there was absolutely no doubt of it!
A motor boat was coming down-stream--his ears had heard it before the
periscope had been able to pick it up.

"At your stations, everybody!" Matt shouted. "Dick! up here in the
periscope room with you! _The motor launch is coming!_"



CHAPTER XIV.

MOTOR MATT'S GREAT PLAY.


Instantly all was commotion on board the submarine, but it was orderly
commotion. Clackett jumped to his ballast tanks, Gaines "turned his
engine over," and Carl and Dick hastened into the periscope room.

"Aft with you, Carl," called Matt, "and stand by to take in the stern
anchor. Clackett," and Matt's lips passed to the tube leading to the
tank room, "forward, and be ready for the bow anchor. Dick," Matt's
eyes were again on the periscope table, "bring all the loose coils of
rope you can find and lay them on the locker."

Dick had no notion what the ropes were wanted for, but he went for
them, and soon had four coils laid along the top of the locker. After
that, he passed to the steering wheel, standing shoulder to shoulder
beside Matt in front of the periscope table.

There was an atmosphere of expectancy all through the submarine. Every
nerve was strained, and each person stood at his post almost with bated
breath. Ysabel, without speaking, came into the periscope room and
watched Matt with steady eyes.

"There she is!" cried Dick, his eyes on the periscope mirror; "I see
her coming!"

Matt also saw the motor launch, breaking into sight against the
background of indistinct foliage, far up the stream. The boat was
comparatively small, and well loaded. Fingal was in the bow thwarts,
with a rifle across his knees; in the stern was Cassidy and a negro
soldier, both likewise armed with rifles. Between Fingal, and Cassidy
and the negro, were the prisoners. There were four of them--Jordan,
Speake, Tirzal and a slender, full-bearded man in a battered solar hat.
Cassidy was close to the gasoline engine and was evidently looking
after it. Fingal, from the bow, was doing the steering.

"They're all there," said Matt, in a calm, matter-of-fact tone. "Come
here, Ysabel."

The girl stepped obediently to his side. Matt pointed to one of the
prisoners reflected in the mirror.

"Is that Coleman?" he asked.

"Yes," was the answer.

"You'd better go back and sit down, Ysabel," said Matt. "Pretty soon
we're going to need all the space we have in this vicinity."

Matt was easy, almost smiling. A great relief had come to him, for the
launch was in sight with four captives and three captors, and now it
lay with Matt alone whether his friends and Coleman should be released
or not.

"Why don't you do something, matey?" implored Dick, his hands shaking
with excitement.

"I'm waiting for the right time," was the cool answer.

"We've only two revolvers," muttered Dick, "and there are three rifles
in that boat. What can we do?"

"Nothing with firearms. We've got to make a different play, Dick."

A moment longer Matt waited, studying the approach of the launch with
calculating eyes; then, suddenly, he turned.

"In with the anchors, Clackett, you and Carl," he called. "See how
quick you can get them off the bottom. Start your engine, Gaines," he
added.

The lifting of the anchors caused the _Grampus_ to drift with the
current. But only for a moment. Soon the screw took the push and Dick,
under orders from Matt, headed the craft up-stream and the propeller
worked just fast enough to hold her steady.

"Anchor's stowed!" called Clackett.

"Same vay mit me!" came from Carl.

"Jump for the tank room, Clackett!" called Matt. "Carl, up here with
you."

As Carl came rolling excitedly into the periscope room, Clackett
reported, by tube, that he was back at his usual post.

Matt turned to Dick.

"Keep the _Grampus_ pointed for the launch, Dick," said he. "Carl, take
a coil of rope and climb to the conning-tower hatch. The moment the
tower's awash, open the hatch, get out on the deck and do what you can
with the rope."

Carl was bewildered. What was he to do with the rope? "I don'd know no
more as a mu-el," he said to himself, but nevertheless he obeyed orders.

Matt continued to watch the periscope table and to calculate. Then,
again suddenly, he whirled to the tube communicating with the tank
chamber.

"Empty the tanks by compressed air, Clackett!" he called. "See how
quick you can do it! _Everything depends on you!_"

The hiss of the air was heard ejecting the water. The submarine began
to rise.

"Bring her up under the launch, Dick!" cried Matt. "Make no mistake,
old chap! _Under the launch_, mind!"

A thrill ran through Dick Ferral's nerves. At last he understood what
his old raggie was about! Had he had time, Dick would have liked to
give Motor Matt a hug from sheer admiration.

"When the tanks are empty," shouted Matt to Clackett, "come up, take a
coil of rope and rush for the deck."

"Aye, aye, sir!" called Clackett.

The periscope revealed a strange situation. The launch was almost upon
the periscope ball. Too late those in the motor boat recognized the
device. Before the boat could sheer off, the _Grampus_ had risen under
her bodily and lifted her clear of the water. The steel hull of the
submarine shivered, and wild cries came from those in the motor boat.

Dick grabbed a coil of rope and leaped for the iron ladder.

"Up with the hatch, Carl!" he yelled. "Out on the deck and see how many
you can pull out of the river."

"Hoop-a-la!" cried Carl, wrenching back on the lever and throwing up
the dripping hatch cover.

He scrambled out.

"Steer from the tower, Dick," Matt called, racing up the ladder, "as
soon as the hatchway is cleared."

Clackett followed Matt, and Ysabel Sixty followed Clackett. The thrill
of the moment was in the girl's nerves. She could not have held herself
back if she had wanted to. Armed with a coil of rope, she climbed over
the rim of the hatch and onto the slippery plates of the deck.

What Matt saw, when he struck the deck, was an overturned launch in the
water, and two men clinging to the bow of the _Grampus_. One of these
was Cassidy, and the other was Tirzal. The former was clinging to the
flagstaff, and the other to one of the wire cable guys. By an accident,
they had held to the curved deck instead of slipping back into the
water.

Dick, from the tower, was able to direct the boat so as to facilitate
the picking up of those in the river.

Carl tossed a rope to Speake, Matt got one to Coleman, and Clackett
succeeded in getting a line in the hands of Jordan. Ysabel tossed one
end of her rope to Fingal, but he flung it aside with an oath. The
negro soldier reached for it, but Fingal struck his hand fiercely
aside, seized the soldier by the neck and began swimming with him
toward the river bank.

While the rescued prisoners were being hauled aboard, Matt watched
Fingal and the negro. The current was swift, but both men were strong
swimmers. To Matt's satisfaction he saw the two gain the bank and get
safely upon dry ground. Fingal's move was characteristic of him, for,
as soon as he could lift himself, he shook his clenched fist at the
submarine and those on her deck. If he had had a rifle, undoubtedly he
would have done some shooting.

"Motor Matt!" cried Jordan.

He was sitting on the deck, his back against the side of the conning
tower, shaking the water out of his ears.

"Well?" asked Matt.

"Did you come up under that launch by accident, or did you do it
purposely?"

"I had that all figured out, Jordan," laughed Matt.

"It was the greatest play I ever heard of!"

"It was the only one we could make that would stand any show of
winning. When you, and Speake, and Tirzal left the _Grampus_, you took
all the rifles. We were left with only a brace of six-shooters. Of
course I knew better than to try to get the best of Fingal, Cassidy and
the soldier with two popguns when they were armed with rifles."

"Of course you did!" chuckled Jordan. "I'm as wet as a drowned rat,
but I'm happy--oh, yes, happier than I ever thought I should be, a
few minutes back. By the way, Matt, that gentleman with the dripping
whiskers is Jeremiah Coleman, the fellow we came to rescue, and just
missed leaving a few more prisoners to keep him company. Jerry, shake
hands with Motor Matt. He was cracked up pretty high in those messages
from New Orleans, and I must say that he fills the bill."

"Glad to meet you, Motor Matt," smiled Coleman, as he leaned to
take Matt's hand. "You've done a fine thing for all of us, and it's
something that won't be forgotten in a hurry."

"Dose iss der kindt oof t'ings vat he alvays does," bubbled Carl.

"Cassidy and Tirzal seem to have come aboard without gettin' wet,"
remarked Clackett, with a glance of contempt in the direction of the
mate.

Cassidy sat on the deck with his head bowed, as abject a figure as Matt
ever saw.

"Which way now, Matt?" asked Dick.

"Belize," replied Matt. "Go down the ladder and let Tirzal take the
wheel until we all get below; after that, Tirzal can steer from the
tower. Go below, gentlemen," said Dick. "You'll feel more comfortable
after you dry your clothes, and then we can have a talkfest. There are
a lot of things I've got to find out."

Ysabel led the descent into the periscope room; Coleman followed her,
then Tirzal, then Speake, and then Jordan. Clackett and Carl brought
up the rear of the procession, both, with their eyes, telling the
melancholy Cassidy what they thought of him as they dropped down the
tower hatch.

"Better go below, Cassidy," said Matt calmly.

For answer, the mate jerked a revolver from a belt at his waist and
lifted the muzzle to his breast.

In a twinkling, Matt had hurled himself across the slippery deck and
knocked the weapon out of Cassidy's hand.

"You're less of a man than I thought you, Cassidy," cried Matt
contemptuously, "to think of such a thing as that!"



CHAPTER XV.

ON THE WAY TO BELIZE.


"What have I got left to live for?" scowled Cassidy, looking up into
Matt's face. "I turned against the best friend I ever had just because
he had sense enough to put a better head than mine in charge of the
_Grampus_."

"You took to drinking," said Matt. "That, I think, was at the bottom
of what you did. But I don't harbor any ill will, and I don't believe
Captain Nemo, Jr., will, either."

"He'll never overlook this," muttered Cassidy, shaking his head. "An'
it was him that pulled me out of the gutter, up there in Philadelphia,
set me on my feet and done everything possible to make a man o' me. I
ain't fit to live!"

"When a man's not fit to live," said Matt, tempted to be out of
patience, "he certainly is not fit to die. Look this thing square in
the face, Cassidy, and live it down."

"But you don't know all I done."

"I guess I do, pretty near."

"No, you don't. I began plannin' to do some underhand work the minute
I heard what the cap'n was going to do for you. Whenever I git a
drink in me, I'm ripe for anything. That's why I sampled that brandy
I was bringing to the cap'n. I wanted to nerve myself up for what I
was plannin' to do. I listened to you when you was reading the sealed
orders. I heard it all, and I knew I had something then that was
valuable. As soon as you and Ferral left the _Grampus_, I got away,
too. As I stepped out o' the sailboat at the landing, this Cap'n Fingal
spoke me. We went into a drinkin' place by the wharf and we spilled a
couple of tots of rum down our throats. That was enough to set us both
going. I told Fingal what I knowed, and he told me a lot about himself.
He said he'd make it right with me if I could get you disabled so'st
you couldn't manage the _Grampus_, and would have to be left behind.
That, as Fingal and I both figgered, would put me in command. It was to
handle you rough, and land you in a hospital, that we trailed you to
the consulate. When we failed there, we come back to the landing and
Fingal says for me to jump aboard his schooner with him and then lay
for the _Grampus_ up the Izaral. I told Fingal I thought it was the
Rio Dolce, but he laughed and said if you'd read it that way you was
stringing me.

"I was about ready to quit on the business, after what happened at the
consulate, but Fingal got more rum down me, talked about how I'd been
imposed on, and told what a fine thing it would be if we could make you
fail in the work you had come down here to do.

"That kind of pleased me, too. If I could have fixed it so you'd fall
down on the job the cap'n had laid out for you, then, I thought, the
cap'n would think he had made a mistake in not putting me up as boss of
the submarine. Funny how a feller's idees will git squeegeed that away
as soon as he gets a little grog under hatches.

"Well, anyway, I went with Fingal. We left the schooner at Port
Livingstone, and Fingal told the mate of the schooner to go down to
Barrios and stay there till Fingal joined him. Then we stole the motor
boat and hustled up the river to that outfit of ragamuffins that's
hopin' to grab the country and turn it over to another dictator. I
was disgusted with the lot of 'em, and with old Pitou more'n any of
the rest. I wouldn't go near Coleman, and when our information worked
out, and Jordan and the half breed was captured, I felt sore enough
at myself; but it was Speake that cut me up the worst. Him and me had
always been a heap friendly on the _Grampus_, and there I was, after
betraying him into the hands of his enemies. Oh, I tell you, Matt, I
felt meechin' enough to go down to the river and jump in. Then, when
old Pitou made up his mind to send the prisoners down the river in the
launch to another of his hangouts where he thought they'd be safer, and
appointed me as one of the guards to go with 'em and see that none of
'em got away, I felt about as respectable as a horse thief. Of course,
when you bumped us on the bottom with the submarine, I couldn't sink
into the river and never come up; oh, no, I just naturally had to land
right on the deck, without so much as getting my feet wet. I don't know
how I ever can go back to Belize and look the cap'n in the face. That's
honest."

Cassidy's regret for what he had done was so profound that it made a
deep impression on Matt.

"You're not a bad fellow at heart, Cassidy," said the young motorist.
"Captain Nemo, Jr., knows that, as well as all the rest of us. Besides,
it was a little bit rough to jump a fellow like me over the head of an
old hand like you, and----"

"It wasn't!" growled Cassidy, "not a bit of it!" He lifted his fierce
eyes. "Think I've got the head to do what you done? No, not in a
thousand years. The cap'n knowed what he was about, and I didn't have
sense enough to see it."

"Well, you buck up and go to the captain. You didn't cause any great
harm, anyhow, the way things have come out. The captain will be so
pleased over what's been accomplished that he'll overlook a good deal.
I'll say a good word for you, Cassidy."

"You will?" demanded the mate incredulously.

"Yes."

"Well, that's a heap more'n I deserve."

"You'll be the mate to help us back to Belize. I'm in charge until we
get there, and I order you to go below and go on duty."

"Orders is orders, I reckon," and Cassidy hoisted himself up and
followed Matt to the tower hatch and down into the periscope room. The
room was fairly crowded, and a roar of delight went up at the sight of
Matt. It died away suddenly as Cassidy showed himself. A glitter came
into Speake's eyes as he regarded the mate.

"Better lock Cassidy up somewhere, Matt," suggested Jordan.

"Yes," grunted Speake venomously, "or tie his hands and feet an' throw
him overboard."

"You're wrong in your drift, friends," said Matt quietly. "Cassidy is
a good fellow at heart, and Fingal twisted him around his fingers. I
haven't any fault to find with Cassidy, and he's going back to Belize
as mate of the _Grampus_."

"Avast there, matey!" expostulated Dick. "That's playing it kind of
rough on some of the honest men that stood by the ship, don't you
think?"

"Vat a foolishness, Matt!" exploded Carl. "Dot feller come pooty near
being der finish oof you."

"Better think that over a little, Matt," suggested Jordan.

"Him plaanty bad man," said Tirzal, climbing up into the tower in order
to do his steering from the lookout.

"If he stays, mate, I resign!" snapped Speake.

"No, you don't, Speake!" answered Matt. "I'm master of this boat until
we get back to Belize. Cassidy's mate, and you're in the torpedo room."

"You see how it is, Matt," muttered Cassidy.

"It's as I want it, Cassidy," said Matt firmly, "as far as Belize."

"But, look here," began Speake, disposed to argue the point, "here's a
man, holdin' the responsible position of mate, as goes----"

"Forget that for a while, Speake," interrupted Matt, "and remember the
number of times Cassidy's pluck and friendship have been a help to all
of us. Put all the fine things Cassidy has done into one side of the
scale, and this one black mark in the other, and there's still more
than enough left to entitle him to our confidence."

"I'm obliged to you, King," said Cassidy. "I'll go on as mate as far as
Belize, and then the cap'n can settle the matter as he thinks right.
Just now, though, I'm tired and I guess I'll go to the torpedo room and
take a rest."

"All right," said Matt. "You go to the torpedo room, too, Speake," Matt
added.

Speake hesitated, then followed Cassidy out of the room.

"You're a queer jigger, Motor Matt," remarked Jordan.

"But he's right, all the same," said Coleman.

"Oh, yes, Jerry," grinned Jordan, "you stick in your oar. You're
sort o' chesty for a chap that's been stowed away in the jungle with
revolutionists for a couple of weeks or more, eating mule meat and
making all kinds of trouble for the State Department of your native
country, ain't you? How'd you get run away with, in the first place?"

"That was too easy, Hays," laughed Coleman. "I came across from the
Pacific to Port Livingstone, and while I was there the revolutionists
gobbled me."

"I believe you said they'd treated you well?"

"The best they could. I played seven-up and picquet with Pitou, and I
learned, before I had been two days in the rebel camp, that it wasn't
safe to beat the general. As long as I allowed him to beat me, I was
treated to the best he had. Whenever I beat him, my rations--even the
mule meat--were cut down."

Coleman turned to Ysabel, who had been sitting quietly by.

"I'm mighty glad, little girl," said he, "that you are able to get
clear of Pitou and Fingal."

"So am I, Mr. Coleman," answered Ysabel. "If it hadn't been for Motor
Matt I'd be still in the camp."

"Motor Matt again!" laughed Coleman.

"Always Motor Matt!" chimed in Jordan, with a quizzical look at the
king of the motor boys.

"He iss der feller vat does t'ings, you bed you," declared Carl.

"Let's hear about what happened while Speake, Tirzal and I were away
from the boat," suggested Jordan.

"Not now," answered Matt. "I'm hungry, whether the rest of you are or
not. Speake," he called through the tube leading to the torpedo room,
"see if you can rustle something in the way of breakfast."

"Aye, aye, sir," answered Speake heartily.

For some time the _Grampus_ had been heaving and tossing in a way that
made it difficult for those in the periscope room to keep their seats.

Matt took a look into the periscope.

"Ah," said he, "we're out of the river and heading for Belize."

"And glad I'll be to get back there," remarked Jordan, with
satisfaction. "You've made me a lot of trouble, Coleman."

"I seem to have made a lot of you a good deal of trouble," returned
Coleman, "and I'm mighty glad I've ceased to figure as an international
issue."

"We all are, for that matter," said Jordan.



CHAPTER XVI.

A DASH OF TABASCO.


In due course the delayed breakfast came up from the torpedo room. By
some error, Speake had mixed an overdose of tabasco sauce with the
canned beans which he had warmed up on his electric stove.

"Glory!" sputtered Jordan, reaching for water. "Speake must have mixed
a Whitehead torpedo in that mess of beans."

"Only a dash of tabasco," replied Coleman. "Haven't you been in Central
America long enough to like hot stuff?"

"Not long enough, anyhow, to acquire an asbestos stomach. Talking
about a dash of tabasco, though, Motor Matt's raid on the rebels must
have been something of that variety. Reel it off, Matt. We're all good
listeners."

"You do it, Dick," said Matt. "You were with me and did as much of the
work as I did."

"Belay, on that!" remonstrated Dick. "I didn't take care of Ysabel
during that run for the river, did I? And I didn't get that piece of
lead through my arm, either."

"You'd hardly know my arm had stopped a bullet, would you?" and Matt
showed his ability to use his left hand with the same ease that he did
his right.

"Don't sidetrack the relish," chirped Jordan. "Let Matt's hot work come
on with the beans. Go on, Matt--or you tell us, Dick, if Matt's too
bashful."

Thereupon Dick waded into past events as he and Matt had experienced
them. He slighted his own deeds to give a greater lustre to Matt's, and
finally Matt, in self-defense, had to take the telling into his own
hands and finish it.

"Well, Jupiter!" exclaimed Jordan, "there's enough tabasco in that run
of work to satisfy almost anybody. But, if Motor Matt hadn't come up
under that launch like he did, all of us prisoners, my dear friends,
would now be tramping through the jungle toward Pitou's new camp."

"I'm glad that note of mine proved so valuable to us," spoke up Coleman.

"How did you come to lay all that information aboard, Mr. Coleman?"
inquired Dick. "It seemed main queer that a prisoner could have got
wise to all that."

"Pitou told me," said Coleman, with a twinkle in his eye, "over a game
of seven-up. He indulged in liquid refreshment, as I remember, and the
more he beat me, and the more he indulged, the more confidential he
became. I knew Pedro was a friend of Ysabel's, and that he was helping
her to leave the camp, so I managed to write down what I had heard,
hoping that Ysabel might get to Port Livingstone and give the news to
somebody there who could and would help us."

"You haven't told us, Mr. Jordan," said Matt, "what happened to your
landing party."

"I hesitate to put it into cold words," answered Jordan, "after
listening to a recital which shows that you are a general in that sort
of affair, Matt, while I am only a private. By rights, my lad, you are
the one who should have gone with that landing party. However, since
it appears necessary to have our experiences in order to make the
testimony complete, here goes.

"By accident we struck a path. Tirzal said he knew about the path, but
I think the good-natured rascal was talking for effect, and that he had
never seen it before. I was fairly sure in my own mind, mainly because
we had seen nothing of Fingal's schooner after leaving Belize nor of
a small boat after leaving Port Livingstone, that Fingal and Cassidy
hadn't reached the revolutionists and told what they knew. I suspect
that that's what made me careless, for I was that when you consider
that we were out on a reconnoitring expedition and ought to have been
looking for traps as well as for revolutionists.

"Well, the trap was sprung at a turn in the path. I wasn't able to
see around the turn, and a bunch of colored persons in ragged clothes
were on us before you could say Jack Robinson. This happened quite a
little while after we got away from the boat. As I recollect, we had
reconnoitred, and had been led away from the path on some wild-goose
chase or other by Tirzal half a dozen times. I was just thinking about
returning to the boat when we pushed around that turn.

"I had time to shoot, and it so happened that I wounded a colored
person who was a favorite captain of the general's. It wasn't a serious
wound, but the general was pretty badly worked up over it, and I
didn't know but they would stand me against a tree and shoot me out of
hand before I could make the general understand I was in the consular
service. At the right moment, Fingal came up, and he recognized
me. The general was tickled, and felt sure he had enough consular
representatives of the United States in his hands to insure the giving
up of Jim Sixty. Nice business, eh, Coleman," and Jordan turned aside
to his friend, "when it takes two fellows like you and me to make an
even exchange for a fellow like that filibuster?"

"Well," answered Coleman, "Sixty is worth more to the rebels than we
are. It's what a thing's worth to somebody else, and not what you think
it's worth to you, that counts."

"The point's too fine and gets away from me," went on Jordan. "That's
about all of it, Matt. Poor Tirzal was recognized as a spy, and he
would have been shot quick enough if I hadn't threatened the general
with all sorts of things if he carried out his intentions. Out of
consideration for me, Pitou agreed to wait until we got to the new camp
before shooting Tirzal. That's the only thing, Matt, that saved the
half breed's life."

Matt was beginning to feel the effects of his long period of active
duty without sufficient sleep, and he called Cassidy from the torpedo
room, left him in charge of the _Grampus_, and then lay down on the
locker and was soon slumbering soundly.

When he was awakened it was by Jordan. It was getting along toward
evening, and the _Grampus_ was anchored in her old berth off Belize. A
sailing ship was alongside to take the passengers ashore.

Jordan, Coleman, Tirzal, Cassidy and Matt were to go, and, of course,
Ysabel. Dick was left to look after the submarine.

Ysabel left Matt and the rest at the landing.

"Will I see you again, Matt," she asked, "you and the rest of the motor
boys?"

"I hope so, Ysabel," answered the young motorist, "but I also hope we
won't have such rough times when our trails cross again."

"Have I helped you enough to offset what I did in New Orleans?"

"Don't mention that--forget about it. The account is more than square."

"Good-by, then," she called, in a stifled voice, and hurried off along
the street.

Jordan and Coleman went on to the house where the captain had been
taken, accompanying Matt and Cassidy. The mate was going to present
himself frankly before the captain, acknowledge his fault and then
abide by the full consequences.

But fate decreed that the matter should turn out otherwise.

The captain, as it chanced, was very much worse and was unable to
recognize any one. The doctor averred that the case was not serious,
and that, with good nursing, Captain Nemo, Jr., would pull through all
right.

"If he wants a nurse, doctor," said Cassidy, "then it's up to me. I
took care of him in New Orleans, the time he was sick there, and I
guess I can do it now better than any one else."

"Then pull off your coat," said the doctor, "and go up to his room."

All this was as it should be. For the present, the _Grampus_ was still
under Matt's care, and he started back toward the wharf to secure a
sailboat and return to the submarine.

Jordan and Coleman accompanied him part way, then left him to telegraph
their report of recent events to Washington.

"We're going to handle you and the _Grampus_ without gloves in that
report," declared Jordan, with a wink.

"Just so you please the government and make the navy department take
the submarine off the captain's hands," returned Matt, "that's all I
care."


THE END.



THE NEXT NUMBER (17) WILL CONTAIN

Motor Matt's Close Call

OR,

THE SNARE OF DON CARLOS.


  Carl's Serenade--Don Ramon Ortega--The Shadow of Treachery--Don
  Carlos Lays His Snare--A Mutiny--A Lesson in Who's Who--The
  Snare Tightens--The Don's Proposal--Ysabel Sixty's Loyalty--An
  Opportunity--Exciting Work--Capturing the General--Off for the
  Gulf--Running the Battery--The "Seminole"--Conclusion.



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Mischievous Ned.

By EBEN REXFORD.


Ned was like most other boys, I suppose. Some days he felt so
good-natured that his spirits were positively "catching," as they say
about colds and the mumps, and you couldn't have had the blues if you
had made up your mind to do so, if he was round. But the very next
day was apt to be one of his cross days, and he could be as cross and
disagreeable as any boy ever could.

One morning he got up feeling very much out of sorts.

"Ned's going to be cross to-day," said Harry, when they gathered round
the breakfast table. "It's sticking out all over him now."

"I don't know as it's any of your business," answered Ned promptly.
"I'd a good deal rather be cross than make a fool of myself by trying
to say smart things when I couldn't."

Which shot, considering that Harry hadn't tried to say anything
"sharp," was rather uncalled for, and didn't hit anybody in particular.

"Don't let me hear any more such conversation," said Mrs. Haynes,
taking her seat at the table. "You are both of you old enough to behave
yourselves as gentlemen ought to."

Ned found any amount of fault with the victuals. The buckwheat cakes
had too much soda in them; the sirup wasn't fit to eat; the butter
looked as if an old squaw had made it; the potatoes were a little the
worst ones he ever tasted. And the result of his fault-finding was,
that he was sent away from the table with an unsatisfied appetite.

When he was outside the dining room, he realized that, poor as the
breakfast might be, it would have been better than none, and began to
wish he had said less, and eaten more.

After breakfast the hired girl began to wash the windows. Ned watched
her standing on the stepladder, and thought what fine fun it would be
to tip it over when she was on it, but concluded he wouldn't try it
just then, as Bridget was apt to be cross as well as himself, and he
remembered that some of the practical jokes he had played off on her
had resulted in tingling ears, and having his ears boxed was about
the worst kind of punishment for Ned. But as Bridget came out of the
sitting room with the stepladder, which she was taking to the veranda,
in order to wash the windows from the outside, she stumbled over him in
the hall, and came so near falling that she had to let the ladder go
and catch at the stair railing to save herself. And the ladder in its
fall struck against a bracket on which a little vase stood, and away
went both of them, and the vase was shivered into fragments.

"You good-for-nothin' spalpeen!" cried Bridget, giving him a slap
across the ears; "you got forninst me on purpose, an' now see what
you've done! That illigant mug all broke to pieces, jist on account of
your bad ways. I've a good mind to tell the missus."

"You needn't 'a' stumbled over me," said Ned angrily. "If you'd look
where you were going, you wouldn't go round smashing things up in this
style. I'd turn you off if I was in father's place."

"Would you now?" demanded Bridget, her arms akimbo. "Indade I'd like to
see ye doin' it. If you don't take yerself off, I'll box ye, mind that,
now; an' I'll do it up in illigant style."

Ned concluded that discretion was the better part of valor at present,
and repaired to the veranda.

Presently Bridget came out with the stepladder, which she adjusted
before one of the windows, and then went in after water.

A bright idea struck Ned. Bridget had been saucy and impudent. He would
be even with her. He'd learn her to slap his ears!

He pulled a long piece of stout cord out of his pocket and tied it to
one leg of the stepladder, and then hid in the shrubbery.

Presently out came Bridget. She mounted the ladder, unconscious of any
danger, and began washing the window vigorously.

All at once the ladder seemed to jerk itself out from under her,
and with a whoop that would have done credit to any Apache brave,
she landed in the middle of a great lilac bush, before she realized
whether her sudden descent was caused by a collapse of the ladder,
an earthquake, or one of Ned's pranks. She strongly suspected the
latter; but, looking around from her dignified position in the lilac
bush, she could see nothing of him, and there was nothing about the
innocent-looking ladder, as it lay on the ground at the veranda steps,
to indicate that it had been meddled with. But as she proceeded to
alight from her elevated pedestal, she heard a chuckle somewhere in the
shrubbery, which satisfied her that her suspicions were correct.

Harry came along pretty soon, and wanted Ned to join a party of
children who were going down to the old mill after berries.

But Ned answered, very shortly, that he "wasn't going to do any such
thing," and Harry went on, without stopping to coax him any.

That made Ned madder than ever. It was quite evident that they didn't
want him, and only asked him because they couldn't very well help doing
so.

"I'll have some fun with 'em," said Ned, setting off in the same
direction, about half an hour afterward.

The berries the children had gone after grew in an old meadow. In this
old meadow, through which a brook ran, there was a mill, which was said
to be haunted, and every child was afraid to go near it in the daytime.

Ned picked his way through the bushes on the edge of the meadow, and
got into the mill on the opposite side from where the children were
picking berries.

So busily were they engaged in gathering the ripe fruit that they were
not aware how near they were getting to the mill, till a sepulchral
groan made them look up in undefined terror, and there, in the farthest
shadowy corner, was something awfully ghost-like.

"Repent of your sins!" exclaimed the ghost, uttering the first and
only thing he could think of; and then, with wild shouts of fright, the
children started off in a stampede for the road, spilling their berries
and tearing their clothes.

Little Susie Mayne lost her sunbonnet, and Will Blake lost his shoe,
but they didn't dare to stop for such trifles.

When they reached the road, panting and breathless, they looked back,
half expecting to see the ghost after them.

But instead of a ghost, there stood Ned, waving a sheet and apparently
highly pleased at the success of his project.

"I should think you'd be ashamed of yourself," shouted Will Blake.
"I'll tell Johnny, an' he'll lick you."

"Don't you wish he could?" answered Ned defiantly. "If any of you young
ones go to being saucy, I'll just come over there and trounce you."

The children set off toward home, but, coming to another meadow, where
strawberries were quite plenty, they concluded to stop and fill up
their baskets.

"Mr. Belding's awful ugly old cow runs in this meadow, I heard father
say," said Harry. "We'd better keep a lookout for her."

But in five minutes they had forgotten all about the cow.

Suddenly they all started.

"Moo, moo-o!" sounded in the bushes close by, and they heard an awful
racket as if half a dozen cows were coming.

"Oh, dear!" screamed all the girls, and made for the fence, with the
boys at their heels.

Susie Mayne tumbled down and bruised her nose so badly that it bled,
and Harry dragged her toward the fence in anything but a comfortable
way.

"I'd be ashamed to run at every little noise before I knew where it
came from," called out Ned, making his appearance from the bushes.
"Cowards! cowards!"

The boys were for clubbing together and giving him a whipping, but
concluded to leave that to the big boys. The girls all pronounced him,
without a single dissenting voice, to be the "meanest boy they ever
heard of," and then they all went off in high indignation.

Ned climbed up on the fence, and sat there for some time meditating
what to do next. Pretty soon Mr. Belding's Sammy came along without
seeing Ned, and got over into the meadow, and began picking berries.

Now, Ned hated Sammy Belding, and he thought it would be fine fun to
throw stones at him. He calculated the chances of getting caught, and
concluded if he stayed over the fence he could get enough start while
Sammy was climbing to take him out of danger. So he filled his pockets
with stones, and began throwing them at Sammy.

At first Sammy looked around in astonishment, and couldn't make out
where they came from. But by and by he pretended that he was paying no
attention to them. But if you could have looked under his broad-brimmed
hat, you would have seen that he was keeping keen watch.

Ned continued to throw stones. All at once up jumped Sammy, and made
for the fence. Ned was taken entirely by surprise, but turned to run as
soon as he realized that Sammy had discovered him. But he caught his
foot on a stick, and down he went, and before he got on his feet Sammy
had him, and proceeded to give him a good pounding, out of which he
came with a black eye and a bloody nose. It was too bad the children
couldn't have been there to see it.

"Throw stones at me again, will you?" said Sammy. "I'll teach you to
mind your own business, if you don't know how."

Ned went home as soon as Sammy got through with him. He was hungry, and
his whipping had discouraged him somewhat.

Harry had got home before him, and had reported his bad conduct. The
result was that he was ordered to weed out three onion beds that
afternoon. That made him groan in spirit. He hated weeding in the
garden about the worst of anything in the world.

But there wasn't any help for it, and he went at it.

The old rooster came along pretty soon. Ned knew he never did any harm,
as he was too well-behaved a bird to scratch in the garden, but he
wanted to vent his spite on something, so he up with a big stone and
shied it at the rooster's head, not once thinking that it would hit
him. But it did, and with one shrill squawk the fowl gave a leap into
the air, kicked about wildly, and fell dead.

Ned was frightened. What would his father say? He had been very careful
of the rooster, because he came of a choice breed. What should he do
with him? While he was debating the question with himself, who should
come along but his mother.

"Why, Ned!" exclaimed she, seeing the poor old rooster lying there,
with one claw stretched up pathetically, as if to call a sympathetic
attention to his tragic fate. "How did this happen?"

"Well, you see," began Ned, at a loss for an explanation, "he came
along, and I thought maybe he'd go scratching, and I shoed him, but he
wouldn't go off. Then I threw a stone that way, and it must have hit
him, 'cause----"

"You weren't afraid he would scratch, because he never did that," said
Ned's mother severely. "I am very sorry to see you in such a bad temper
to-day. Go right up to the garret and stay there till your father comes
home. I don't know what he will say when he knows of this."

Ned took himself off to the garret, congratulating himself that that
wasn't quite as bad as weeding onions. But he was terribly troubled
about what his father would say. He couldn't get that out of his mind.

By and by he heard some one coming up the garret stairs. It sounded
like Bridget's steps. A pan stood near by, which had been placed under
a leak in the roof, and was full of water. Before he stopped to think
what the consequence might be--he felt so ugly that he didn't care
much--Ned seized the pan full of water, and just as a head made its
appearance in the shadowy depths of the garret stairway he let fly pan
and all in that direction.

There was an awful spluttering, as if the water had taken the visitor
fairly in the face.

Ned turned pale. It wasn't Bridget, after all, but his father.

"Young man," said that worthy person, making his appearance, dripping
from head to foot with water, and looking terribly severe, "I want to
see you in the wood shed."

His tone struck terror to Ned's heart. The wood shed, on such
occasions, was quite apt to prove a second inquisition.

Ned followed, not daring to do otherwise. He didn't even dare to look
at his father's face. What took place in the shed I can't say, but
directly after their visit to that part of the house Ned went to bed,
and I hope he got up feeling better next morning.



TERRIBLE FATE OF A DARING INDIAN.


One of the most remarkable subterranean waterways in the world was
recently discovered in the northern range of the Rockies in Montana,
by the agency of a fatal accident, witnessed by me on an expedition
in which Phil Barnes and Pierre Leger, two prospectors, were my
companions, together with a Flathead Indian named Klikat.

On October 28, having struck northeast from Bonner's Ferry into a
region entered by a few white men before us, we found ourselves within
twenty-five or thirty miles of the Canadian boundary, and 7,500 feet
above sea level. In front and on the right were perpendicular cliffs,
which barred our advance. To the left was a precipice about 80 feet
high, overhanging a roaring mountain stream, and extending fully two
miles to the south.

As we stood there, looking around for some opening by which we might
advance, there came to our ears a deep, roaring sound, alternating in
force, stronger and weaker at intervals of a few seconds. It came in
jarring sounds, with a volume like thunder.

"Me know what him is," said Klikat, with a pleased air of
comprehension. "Him is Big-hole-in-the-water. You come look," he added,
throwing himself flat on the rock with his head and shoulders hanging
over. "Ugh!" he exclaimed, "Big-hole-in-the-water heap mad to-day. Him
funny. Water go in ground; never come out."

Following Klikat's example, I threw myself on the ground, and peered
down from the dizzy height. Barnes and Leger did likewise.

It was a curious sight that we beheld. Straight down below us there was
a deep pool, inclosed on three sides by high walls of eternal rock,
thus forming a perpetual barrier to the passage of the water. The noisy
mountain stream poured great volumes into this natural basin, and then
lost itself. The water in the pool swung round as on a pivot. In the
very centre was a great funnel-shaped "suck-hole," fully eight feet
across, the water rushing downward with lightning speed. In the centre
of this funnel was a mass of snow-white foam, dancing and whirling and
scattering flakes of itself around the dark-blue rim of the vortex.
At intervals of fifteen or twenty seconds there would be a greater
downward rush of water, and the pillar of foam would disappear with the
increased speed of the current; then the roar would increase in volume,
another pillar of foam would form, only to disappear a few moments
later as the previous one had done. It was a grand, a terrible sight.

As I gazed upon it suddenly there was a low, crumbling sound, and then
a mass of shelving rock right under Klikat broke loose and fell with
a fearful crash. I started to my feet just as I saw the Indian making
frantic efforts to cling to the edge of the cliff. But his hold was too
slight, and, without uttering word or sound of any kind, Klikat fell
headlong into the mad waters beneath.

Barnes rushed to one of the pack mules for a rope, but it was too late.
Three, four, five times did Klikat swing around in a spiral course, and
then, with a sudden twist, he shot into the very centre of the vortex.
Down he went with the pillar of foam, out of sight into the bowels of
the earth, and the darkness of death.

The cavity filled with water and was silent. But it was short satiety.
It quickly opened its dark and unfathomable depths again, and gave out
a roaring snore that made the very mountains tremble.

Cautiously we three withdrew from the edge of the precipice. We gazed
at each other silently and in horror.

Two weeks later we reached the Kootenai country, in British Columbia,
and prepared to camp on the south shore of Lake Kootenai. It was while
in the act of gathering driftwood along the shore for our first night's
supper that Leger discovered a very ghastly object lying in the water
within six feet of land.

It was the corpse of a man--an Indian. The face of the dead was badly
bruised and torn, and utterly disfigured.

"Heavens!" cried Barnes, as he cut a ragged cloth from the neck. "This
is a remnant of my silk handkerchief, which I gave to poor Klikat
to cover the gash he cut on his neck by that dead limb one day--do
you remember? And see! Right here in this corner is my monogram--'P.
B.'--worked in silk."

It was so. We all recognized the silken rag, and we all knew that
the corpse before us was the dead body of Klikat, who had fallen
into the funnel of that awful subterranean river, fully 250 miles
away, far up in the Rockies of Northern Montana. And yet here was
his corpse, drifted ashore on this lake, between which and the
"big-hole-in-the-water" there is not the slightest connection, so far
as mortal eyes can see. How came he to Lake Kootenai, and how long had
he been there?

We buried poor Klikat on a bit of rising ground about fifty yards from
the lake shore.



STUMBLING UPON GOLD MINES.


Gold was discovered in California in 1848, and in Colorado in 1858.
The discovery was accidental in both cases, and the fact created the
impression that mines were "lying about loose." Adventurers drifted
about in hopes of stumbling upon a mine. Here are some instances of
lucky finds.

Three men, while looking for gold in California, discovered the dead
body of a man, who evidently had been "prospecting."

"Poor fellow," said one of the trio, "he has passed in his checks."

"Let's give him a decent burial," said another. "Some wife or mother
will be glad if she ever knows it."

They began to dig a grave. Three feet below the surface they discovered
signs of gold. The stranger was buried in another place, and where they
had located a grave they opened a gold mine.

An adventurer who had drifted to Leadville, awoke one morning without
food or money. He went out and shot a deer, which, in its dying
agonies, kicked up the dirt and disclosed signs of gold. The poor man
staked out a "claim," and opened one of the most profitable mines ever
worked in Leadville.

"Dead Man Claim," the name given to another rich mine in Leadville, was
discovered by a broken-down miner while digging a grave.

A miner died when there were several feet of snow on the ground. His
comrades laid his body in a snow bank and hired a man to dig a grave.
The gravedigger, after three days' absence, was found digging a mine
instead of a grave. While excavating he had struck gold. Forgetting the
corpse and his bargain, he thought only of the fact that he had "struck
it rich."

An unsuccessful Australian miner went up and down Colorado for several
months "prospecting" for gold, and finding none. One day he sat down
upon a stone, and while musing over his hard luck, aimlessly struck a
stone with his pick. He chipped off a piece, and sprang to his feet.
The chip was rich with gold quartz.

He hurried into the little town of Rosita, and went to the assay
office, where a teamster had just dumped a load of wood. He agreed to
saw the wood to pay for assaying his chipped sample. The result of
the assay sent him back to his "claim." When he had taken out of it
$500,000, he sold the mine for $400,000 in cash and $1,000,000 in stock.

But these "stumblings" are the exception to the rule that mines are
found by painstaking, intelligent prospectors. They spend wearisome
months in exploring mountains and gulches. They are mineralogists,
geologists, and, above all, practical explorers, who can tell from a
"twist" in the grain of the rock, or from the color of a spar seam,
whether "paying gold" can be mined in the region.



YEAR OF THE COCK.


In China and Japan the year 1909 is "the year of the cock." It is
regarded as a lucky year and is symbolized by a cock sitting on a
drum. In statesmanship and literature this is called "the drum of
remonstrance." Formerly such a drum was to be found in China in front
of the imperial palace, to be struck by an official in charge whenever
a letter of remonstrance was offered to the sovereign. This practice
is said to have originated with Emperor Yao, a benevolent ruler who
reigned from 2357 to 2285 B. C. His reign and that of Emperor Shun, who
succeeded him, constituted a "golden age" of China.

It is believed by the Japanese that the cock has five virtues. His comb
represents civilization and his strong feet denote military power. When
he meets an enemy he fights well, thus demonstrating courage. When he
finds food he calls friends, thereby showing himself kind and helpful.
He keeps watch for the dawn, thus proving himself faithful.



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  328--The Mystic Isle; or, In Peril of His Life. By Fred Thorpe.

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  14--Motor Matt's Promise; or, The Wreck of the _Hawk_.

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  16--Motor Matt's Quest; or, Three Chums in Strange Waters.


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  683--Frank Merriwell's Fighters; or, The Decisive Battle with
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ADVENTURES OF A BOY GENIUS

MOTOR STORIES


The boys who want to learn something from what they read, as well
as to be interested by it, will never find another publication that
will satisfy them so well as MOTOR STORIES. "Motor Matt" is not an
impossible boy character. He is simply a youth who has had considerable
training in a machine shop where motors of all kinds were repaired,
and who is possessed of a genius for mechanics. His sense of right and
wrong is strongly developed, and his endeavors to insure certain people
a square deal, lead him into a series of the most astonishing, but at
the same time the most natural adventures that ever befell a boy.

_HERE ARE THE TITLES NOW READY_:

  1--Motor Matt; or, The King of the Wheel.
  2--Motor Matt's Daring; or, True to His Friends.
  3--Motor Matt's Century Run; or, The Governor's Courier.
  4--Motor Matt's Race; or, The Last Flight of the "Comet."
  5--Motor Matt's Mystery; or, Foiling a Secret Plot.
  6--Motor Matt's Red Flier; or, On the High Gear.
  7--Motor Matt's Clue; or, The Phantom Auto.
  8--Motor Matt's Triumph; or, Three Speeds Forward.
  9--Motor Matt's Air Ship; or, The Rival Inventors.
  10--Motor Matt's Hard Luck; or, The Balloon House Plot.
  11--Motor Matt's Daring Rescue; or, The Strange Case of Helen Brady.
  12--Motor Matt's Peril; or, Cast Away in the Bahamas.

To be Published on May 17th.

  13--Motor Matt's Queer Find; or, The Secret of the Iron Chest.

To be Published on May 24th.

  14--Motor Matt's Promise; or, The Wreck of the "Hawk."

To be Published on May 31st.

  15--Motor Matt's Submarine; or, The Strange Cruise of the "Grampus."

To be Published on June 7th.

  16--Motor Matt's Quest; or, Three Chums in Strange Waters.


PRICE, FIVE CENTS

At all newsdealers, or sent, postpaid, by the publishers upon receipt
of the price.

  STREET & SMITH,      _Publishers_,      NEW YORK



Transcriber's Notes:


Italics are represented with _underscores_, bold with =equal signs=.

Retained some inconsistent hyphenation from the original (e.g. "conning
tower" vs. "conning-tower").

Corrected some obvious punctuation errors.

Added table of contents.

Page 13, corrected "aligator" to "alligator."

Page 29, corrected "wtih" to "with" ("with an unsatisfied appetite")
and "itno" to "into" ("shivered into fragments").





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