UNDER THE OCEAN TO THE SOUTH POLE
The Strange Cruise of the Submarine Wonder
BY ROY ROCKWOOD
AUTHOR OF "THROUGH THE AIR TO THE NORTH POLE," "THE RIVAL OCEAN DIVERS," "A SCHOOLBOY'S PLUCK," ETC.
NEW YORK CUPPLES & LEON CO.
GOOD BOOKS FOR BOYS
BY ROY ROCKWOOD
* * * * *
THE GREAT MARVEL SERIES
THROUGH THE AIR TO THE NORTH POLE Or The Wonderful Cruise of the Electric Monarch
UNDER THE OCEAN TO THE SOUTH POLE Or The Strange Cruise of the Submarine Wonder
Copyright, 1907, by CUPPLES & LEON CO.
* * * * *
UNDER THE OCEAN TO THE SOUTH POLE
I. WILL THE SHIP WORK? 1
II. A LAND OF ICE 10
III. RUNNING DOWN A WAR SHIP 19
IV. IN THE MIDST OF FIRE 27
V. A GRAVE ACCUSATION 35
VI. ON A RUNAWAY TROLLEY 43
VII. OFF FOR THE SOUTH POLE 52
VIII. ASHORE IN THE DARK 60
IX. A PRICE ON THEIR HEADS 68
X. ATTACKED BY A MONSTER 75
XI. CAUGHT IN A SEA OF GRASS 84
XII. FIRE ON BOARD 92
XIII. THE GHOST OF THE SUBMARINE 100
XIV. DIGGING OUT THE SHIP 108
XV. THE STRANGE SHIPWRECK 117
XVI. THE GHOST AGAIN 126
XVII. ATTACKED BY SAVAGES 134
XVIII. ON LAND 143
XIX. REGAINING THE SHIP 152
XX. ON A VOLCANIC ISLAND 160
XXI. CAUGHT IN A WHIRLPOOL 169
XXII. UNDER FIRE 177
XXIII. CAUGHT IN AN ICE FLOE 185
XXIV. THE SHIP GRAVEYARD 193
XXV. CAUGHT BY SEA SUCKERS 201
XXVI. LAND UNDER ICE 211
XXVII. ATTACKED BY AN OCTUPUS 220
XXVIII. OUT OF THE ICE 228
XXIX. THE BOILING WATER 235
XXX. THE SOUTH POLE—CONCLUSION 240
UNDER THE OCEAN TO THE SOUTH POLE
WILL THE SHIP WORK?
"Hand me that wrench, Mark," called Professor Amos Henderson to a boy who stood near some complicated machinery over which the old man was working. The lad passed the tool over.
"Do you think the ship will work, Professor?" he asked.
"I hope so, Mark, I hope so," muttered the scientist as he tightened some bolts on what was perhaps the strangest combination of apparatus that had ever been put together. "There is no reason why she should not, and yet—"
The old man paused. Perhaps he feared that, after all, the submarine boat on which he had labored continuously for more than a year would be a failure.
"Is there anything more I can do now?" asked Mark.
"Not right away," replied the professor, without looking up from the work he was doing. "But I wish you and Jack would be around in about an hour. I am going to start the engine then, and I'll need you. If you see Washington outside send him to me."
Mark left the big room where the submarine boat had been in process of construction so long. Outside he met a boy about his own age, who was cleaning a rifle.
"How's it going, Mark?" asked this second youth, who was rather fat, and, if one could judge by his face, of a jolly disposition.
"The professor is going to try the engine in about an hour," replied Mark. "We must be on hand."
"I'll be there all right. But if there isn't anything else to do, let's shoot at a target. I'll bet I can beat you."
"Bet you can't. Wait 'till I get my gun."
"Now don't yo' boys go to disportin' yo'seves in any disproportionable anticipation ob transposin' dem molecules of lead in a contigious direction to yo' humble servant!" exclaimed a colored man, coming from behind the big shed at that moment, and seeing Mark and Jack with their rifles.
"I s'pose you mean to say, Washington," remarked Jack, "that you don't care to be shot at. Is that it?"
"Neber said nuffin truer in all yo' born days!" exclaimed Washington earnestly. "De infliction ob distress to de exterior portion ob—"
"The professor wants you," interrupted Mark, cutting off the colored man's flow of language.
"Yo' mind what I tole yo'," Washington muttered as he hurried into the work room.
Soon the reports of rifles indicated that the boys were trying to discover who was the best shot, a contest that waged with friendly interest for some time.
The big shed, where the submarine ship was being built, was located at a lonely spot on the coast of Maine. The nearest town was Easton, about ten miles away, and Professor Henderson had fixed on this location as one best suited to give him a chance to work secretly and unobserved on his wonderful invention.
The professor was a man about sixty-five years old, and, while of simple and kindly nature in many ways, yet, on the subjects of airships and submarines, he possessed a fund of knowledge. He was somewhat queer, as many persons may be who devote all their thoughts to one object, yet he was a man of fine character.
Some time before this story opens he had invented an electric airship in which he, with Mark Sampson, Jack Darrow and the colored man, Washington White, had made a trip to the frozen north.
Their adventures on that journey are told of in the first volume of this series, entitled, "Through the Air to the North Pole, or, The Wonderful Cruise of the Electric Monarch."
The two boys, Mark then being fifteen and Jack a year older, had met the professor under peculiar circumstances. They were orphans, and, after knocking about the world a bit, had chanced to meet each other. They agreed to seek together such fortune as might chance to come to them.
While in the town of Freeport, N. Y., they were driven away by a constable, who said tramps were not allowed in the village. The boys jumped on a freight train, which broke in two and ran away down the mountain, and the lads were knocked senseless in the wreck that followed.
As it chanced Professor Henderson had erected nearby a big shop, where he was building his airship. He and Washington were on hand when the wreck occurred and they took the senseless boys to the airship shed.
The boys, after their recovery, accepted the invitation of the professor to go on a search for the north pole. As the airship was about to start Andy Sudds, an old hunter, and two men, Tom Smith and Bill Jones, who had been called in to assist at the flight, held on too long and were carried aloft.
Somewhat against their will the three latter made the trip, for the professor did not want to return to earth with them.
The party had many adventures on the voyage, having to fight savage animals and more savage Esquimaux. They reached the north pole, but in the midst of such a violent storm that the ship was overturned, and the discovery of the long-sought goal availed little. After many hardships, and a fierce fight to recover the possession of the ship, which had been seized by natives, the adventurers reached home.
Since then a little over a year had passed. The professor, having found he could successfully navigate the air, turned his attention to the water, and began to plan a craft that would sail beneath the ocean.
To this end he had moved his machine shop to this lonely spot on the Maine coast. The two boys, who had grown no less fond of the old man than he of them, went with him, as did Washington White, the negro, who was a genius in his way, though somewhat inclined to use big words, of the meaning of which he knew little and cared less.
Andy Sudds, the old hunter, had also been induced to accompany the professor.
"I hunted game up north and in the air," said Andy, "and if there's a chance to shoot something under the water I'm the one to do it."
Needing more assistance than either the boys, Andy or Washington could give, the professor had engaged two young machinists, who, under a strict promise never to divulge any of the secrets of the submarine, had labored in its building.
Now the queer craft was almost finished. As it rested on the ways in the shed, it looked exactly like a big cigar, excepting that the top part was level, forming a platform.
The ship, which had been named the Porpoise, was eighty feet long, and twenty feet in diameter at the largest part. From that it tapered gradually, until the ends were reached. These consisted of flattened plates about three feet in diameter, with a hole in the center one foot in size.
Weary months of labor had been spent on the Porpoise, until now it was almost ready for a trial. The professor had discovered a new method of propulsion. Instead of propellers or paddle-wheels, he intended to send his craft ahead or to the rear, by means of a water cable.
Through the entire length of the ship ran a round hole or shaft, one foot in diameter. Within this was an endless screw worked by powerful engines. With a working model the professor had demonstrated that when the endless screw was revolved it acted on the water just as another sort of screw does in wood. The water coming in through the shaft served as a rope, so to speak, and the screw, acting on it, pulled the craft ahead or to the rear, according to the direction in which the screw was revolved.
The submarine was a wonderful craft. It contained a powerful engine, electric motors and dynamos, and machinery of all kinds. The engine was a turbine, and steam was generated from heat furnished by the burning of a powerful gas, manufactured from sea water and chemicals. So there was no need to carry a supply of coal on the ship.
The interior of the vessel was divided into an engine-room, a kitchen, combination dining-room and parlor, bunk rooms, and a conning tower, or place for the steersman.
While the boys had been shooting at the target the professor and Washington had been putting the finishing touches to the engine, tightening nuts here and screwed up bolts there.
"I guess that will do," remarked the old inventor. "Call the boys, Washington."
The colored man went to the door and gave three blasts on a battered horn that hung from a string.
"Coming!" called Mark, as he and Jack ceased their marksmanship contest and approached the shed.
"Now boys, we'll see if she works so far," said the professor. "If she does, we'll give her a trial under water."
At the inventor's directions the boys started the gas to generating from the chemicals. Soon the hissing of steam told them that there was power in the boiler.
The professor entered the engine-room of the submarine. He looked over the various wheels, levers, handles, gages and attachments, satisfying himself that all were in proper shape and position.
"Three hundred pounds pressure," he muttered, glancing at the steam indicator. "That ought to be enough. Are you all ready, boys?"
"All ready!" cried Jack.
Of course the test was only one to see if the engine worked, for the boat could not move until in the water.
The professor opened a valve. The steam filled the turbine with a hiss and throb. The Porpoise trembled. Then, with a cough and splutter of the exhaust pipes, the engine started. Slowly it went at first, but, as the professor admitted more steam, it revolved the long screw until it fairly hummed in the shaft.
"Hurrah! It works!" cried Mark.
"It does!" chimed in Jack.
"Gollyation! She suttinly am goin'!" yelled Washington.
"I think we may say it is a success," said the professor calmly, yet there was a note of exultation in his voice.
"Now that you've got her started, when are you goin' to put her in the water an' scoot along under the waves?" asked Andy Sudds.
"In about a week," replied the professor.
"And where are you goin' to head for?" went on the hunter.
"We're going under the ocean to the south pole!" exclaimed the inventor, as he shut off the engine.
A LAND OF ICE
"The south pole?" exclaimed Mark.
"Way down dat way!" cried Washington.
"Can you do it?" asked Jack.
"That remains to be seen," replied the professor, answering them all at once. "I'm going to try, at any rate."
"Hurrah!" yelled Mark. "It will be better than going to the north pole, for we will be in no danger of freezing to death."
"Don't be so sure of that," interrupted the professor. "There is more ice at the south pole than at the north, according to all accounts. It is a place of great icebergs, immense floes and cold fogs. But there is land beyond the ice, I believe, and I am going to try to find it."
"It will be a longer voyage than to the north pole," said Jack.
"Jest de same," argued Washington, "de poles am at each end ob de world."
"Yes, but we're quite a way north of the equator now, and we'll have to cross that before we will be half way to the south pole," explained Jack. "But I guess the Porpoise can make good time."
"If the engine behaves under water as well as it did just now, we'll skim along," said the professor.
"And so you figure there's land down there to the south, do you?" asked old Andy.
"I do," replied the inventor. "I can't prove it, but I'm sure there is. I have read all the accounts of other explorers and from the signs they mention I am positive we shall find land if we ever get there. Land and an open sea."
"And other things as well," muttered Andy, yet neither he nor any of them dreamed of the terrible and strange adventures they were to have.
The next few days were busy ones. Many little details remained to perfect in connection with the ship, and a lot of supplies and provisions had to be purchased, for the professor was determined to get all in readiness for the trip under the water. He believed firmly that his ship would work, though some of the others were not so positive.
"We'll put her into the water to-morrow," announced the inventor after supper one night. "Everything is complete as far as I can make it, and the only thing remaining is to see if she will float, sink when I want her to, and, what is most important, rise to the surface again. For," he added with a twinkle in his eye, "anybody can make a ship that will sink, but it isn't every one who can make one that will come to the surface again."
"Golly! I hope dis chile ain't goin' to git in no subicecream ship what'll stay down under de water so de fishes gits him!" exclaimed Washington, opening his eyes wide. "Dat's worser dan freezin!"
"Can't you swim?" asked Mark with a wink at Jack.
"Co'se I can swim, boy. I can swim like a starfish, but I can't wif ten thousand tons of a subicecream ship on my back."
"A sub-ice-cream ship is a new one," commented the professor with a smile. "It's a submarine, Washington."
"I can't see no difference," persisted the colored man. "Subicecream am good enough for me."
That night Mark and Jack were thinking so much of the proposed test of the ship the next day that they each dreamed they were sailing beneath the waves, and Jack woke Mark up by grabbing him about the neck during a particularly vivid part of the vision.
"What's the matter?" inquired Mark, sleepily.
"I thought the ship turned over and spilled me out and I was drowning," explained Jack. "I grabbed the first thing I got hold of and it happened to be you."
"Well, as long as you're safe you can go to sleep again," said Mark. "I dreamed I was chasing a whale with the Porpoise."
The boys were up early the next morning, and found the professor and Washington before them. The inventor was inspecting the track which had been built from the shed down to the water's edge to enable the Porpoise to slide into the ocean.
With him were the two machinists, Henry Watson and James Penson. They had been busy since daylight making the ways secure.
"She goes in after breakfast," announced the professor, "and I'm going to let you christen her, Washington."
"Me? I neber christened a ship," objected the colored man.
"Nothing like learning," remarked Mr. Henderson.
"Has you got the bottle ob wine?" asked Washington.
"I guess soda water will do," said the inventor. "Now look sharp, boys. Get your breakfasts and we'll see if the ship will come up to our expectations."
No one lingered over the meal. When it was finished the professor gave Washington a few instructions about breaking the bottle over the nose of the Porpoise as she slid down to the water, for there was no bow to such a queerly shaped vessel as the submarine.
At last all was in readiness. The two machinists knocked away the last of the retaining blocks and eased the ship slightly down the well-greased timbers of the ways.
"There she goes!" cried the professor. "Break the bottle, Washington!"
"In de name ob de Stars an' Stripes, in de name of liberty, de home of the free an' de land ob de brave, I names yo' Mrs. Porpoise!" cried the colored man, but he was so long getting the words out, and so slow in swinging the bottle of soda, that the ship was quite beyond his reach when he had finished his oration. He was not to be outdone, however, and, with a quick movement he hurled the bottle at the moving ship. It struck the blunt nose squarely, and shivered to pieces.
"Three cheers for de south pole!" yelled Washington, and the others joined in.
The next instant the Porpoise was riding the waves of the little bay, dancing about as lightly as a cork, though, from the nature of her construction, she was quite low in the water, only about three feet of freeboard showing where the platform was located.
"Well, she floats, anyhow," remarked the professor. "Row out and fasten cables fore and aft," he went on, turning to the two machinists. In a few minutes the Porpoise was fastened to a small dock with strong ropes the two young men had carried out to her in rowboats.
"We will go aboard in a little while," the professor said. "I am anxious to see if she rides on an even keel and how the sinking tanks work."
Aided by the boys, he and Washington carried on board a number of tools and appliances. Then, with the two machinists, they all descended into the interior of the craft through the small manhole in the middle of the deck or platform.
Inside the Porpoise, the greater part of which was below the surface of the waves and consequently in darkness, the professor switched on the electric lights and then he proceeded to get up steam.
The propelling power of the craft has already been described. In order to make the ship sink beneath the water all that was necessary was to incline the rudder and open certain valves in the four tanks, when the water, rushing in, would sink her. There was a tank on either side, and one each fore and aft. If it was desired to sink straight down all four tanks were filled at once. If the professor wanted to descend slanting either to the front or back, only one of the end tanks was filled, according to the direction desired. The deflecting rudder also aided greatly in this movement.
To cause the ship to rise the tanks were emptied of the water by means of powerful pumps. The filling of the tanks, as well as the emptying of them, the starting or stopping of the engine that moved the boat, as well as the control of most of the important machinery on the craft could be accomplished from the conning or steering tower, as well as from the engine-room.
There were numerous gages to tell the depth to which the ship had sunk, the steam pressure, density of the water, and other necessary details.
There were dynamos to make light, motors to run the pumps, and a great storage battery, so that in case of a breakdown to the turbine engine the craft could be run entirely by electricity for a time.
The cooking was all done by this useful current, and all that was necessary to make a cup of coffee or fry a beefsteak was to turn a small switch of the electric stove.
The professor was busy over the machine for generating gas, that furnished the heat to create steam. Soon a hissing told that it was working. In a few minutes the hum and throb of the engine told that it was ready to start.
"We are only going down a little way," the professor said, "and only going to travel a short distance under water for the first time. I think there is no danger, but if any of you want to back out, now is your chance."
No one seemed inclined to withdraw, though Mark said afterward he thought Washington got as pale as it is possible for a colored man to get.
"We will all put on life preservers," the inventor went on, "and one of you will be stationed near the emergency exit. In case anything goes wrong, and I cannot make the ship rise, by pulling the lever the top of the craft will be forced off, and, we can at least save our lives. I think we are all ready now. Mark, you clamp down the manhole cover, and Jack, after you close the conning tower station yourself at the emergency lever after we have donned the life preservers."
The cork jackets were adjusted and Mark clamped the manhole cover on. The professor took one last look at the various levers and handles, and then turned the wheel that admitted water to all four tanks. There was a hissing sound as the sea water rushed in, and the Porpoise gave a sudden lurch.
Then they could all feel the submarine sinking. Down and down she went. Would she ever stop? Would the professor be able to raise her again? There were questions that troubled everyone.
Down and down the craft sunk, until by the gage it was indicated that she was twenty feet below the surface. Then the professor shut off the inrush of water and the Porpoise floated away below the surface of the waves.
There was a clicking sound and all the lights went out. The boys and Washington gave a gasp of terror. What did the sudden blackness mean.
"Open the side windows," called the professor's voice, and the two machinists obeyed. Heavy steel doors that covered plate glass windows in either side of the craft were pulled back, and a cry of astonishment broke from the boys.
They looked out and saw staring in at them, so close it seemed that they could touch them, scores of fishes that looked in through the glass bull's-eyes.
For the first time they realized that they were in the depths of the ocean.
RUNNING DOWN A WARSHIP
"How do you like it?" asked the professor.
"Great!" exclaimed Jack.
"Fine!" cried Mark.
"It am simply coslostrousness!" exploded Washington. "'Nebber in all my born days did I eber expansionate on such a sight!"
"Wish I had a fishing pole and line," remarked Andy Sudds. "There's some pretty nice specimens out there."
"You'll see better ones than those before we finish our trip to the pole," remarked the professor. "Now we will try moving forward. I am going into the conning tower."
He turned on the lights once more, but the boys begged him to shut them off, as they could see out into the ocean when the interior of the ship was in darkness. So the professor obliged them.
In the tower he switched on the powerful searchlight that illuminated the path in front of him. Then he started the engine, slowly at first, and gradually increasing the speed. The Porpoise forged ahead, riding as evenly as an ordinary ship does on the surface.
The professor steered her about in a large circle, bringing her back to the starting point. She worked as smoothly as if she had been used to under-water service for years.
"Now," said the inventor, "we will see if we can go up to the surface again," and there came a little note of anxiety into his voice. He slowed down the engine and started the powerful pumps that were to empty the tanks. For a moment there was a feeling of terror in the hearts of all. Would the pumps work?
Then, slowly but surely, those aboard the Porpoise felt her beginning to rise. Up and up she went as the tanks were emptied and the ship lightened.
Then, with a bounce like a rubber ball, the submarine shot upward to the surface and lay undulating on the waves caused by her emergence from the depths.
"Hurrah!" shouted Jack. "We're all right!"
"We shore am!" exclaimed Washington.
"It's a success!" Professor Henderson almost whispered. "The pumps worked. The Porpoise has fulfilled my greatest expectations!"
Then he steered the ship back to the dock, where she was moored, and the adventurers disembarked.
"One or two little details to attend to, and we'll be ready for the great trip," remarked the professor. "I want to give her a little harder trial before I trust her, though she seems to be first-rate."
They all went back to the combined machine shop and cabin, where they had lived during the building of the submarine. Dinner was prepared and, after the meal the two machinists approached the professor.
"I don't suppose you need us any more," remarked Henry Watson. "The ship is finished as far as we can do anything, and we may as well leave now. We have an offer to go to work in an electrical shop."
"I haven't said much to you about my plans," the professor replied, "but if you would like to remain in my employ, I can promise you an interesting trip."
"Thank you, but I prefer to work above ground," said James Pensen. "You have been very kind to us, and we would do anything we could for, but we don't want to take any long under-ocean trips if we can help it."
"Very well," answered the professor, though he seemed disappointed. "I will pay you what I owe you and you can go."
For some time after the departure of the two young machinists the inventor seemed worried.
"Did you count on them staying with you?" asked Mark.
"I rather hoped they would," replied Mr. Henderson. "We need two more hands if we are to make the trip. They need not be machinists, but we will have to have someone, and I don't like to get strangers. They might talk too much about the ship."
At that instant there came a rap on the door. Washington answered it.
"Yas sir, Perfesser Henderson done lib here," he replied, in answer to a question from some one. "But he am bery busy jest at de present occasioness an' he'll be most extremely discommodated if yo' obtrude yo' presence on him at de conglomeration ob de statutory limitations, which am to say right now. Come again!"
"It's the same old Washington!" said someone outside, laughing heartily. "Just you tell the professor we want to see him most particular."
At the sound of the voice the professor started and Mark and Jack wondered where they had heard it before.
"Show the gentlemen in, Washington," called the inventor.
"Dere's two ob 'em," objected the colored man.
"Show them both in, then."
Washington opened the door of the cabin, and in came two men, who seemed much amused over something.
"What can I do for you?" asked the professor, in rather a sharp voice.
"He don't know us either, Tom," remarked the taller of the two.
"If it ain't Bill Jones and Tom Smith!" exclaimed Andy Sudds. "Wa'al I'll be horn swoggled. Where'd ye come from?"
"Right from the farm," replied Bill. "And we've had a hard job locating you. I guess Washington didn't know us since we raised beards," and Bill stroked his wealth of brown whiskers.
"And I guess we sort of fooled the professor," went on Bill, "eh, Tom?"
"Right!" said Tom. "You see," he went on, "the farming business is almost over, as its coming on fall now, so Bill and I thought it would be a good time to hunt up the professor. We heard he was down in this neighborhood so we come by easy stages. We didn't have any time to stop and make our toilets, hence our beards."
"You've come at the right time," remarked the inventor, as he came forward to welcome the two young men. "Do you remember the trip you made with me to the north pole?"
"I guess we'll not forget it in a hurry," replied Bill.
"That's what made us hunt you up," put in Tom. "We hoped you might have something similar on foot."
"I have," answered the inventor.
"What is it?"
"A trip under the ocean!"
For an instant the two young men hesitated. It was a new proposition to them. Yet they recalled that they had come safely back from the journey through the air.
"Do you want to go along as part of the crew?" asked the inventor, after some further conversation.
"You can count on me!" cried Bill.
"And if Bill goes I'll go too!" exclaimed Tom.
"Under the seas or over the seas, it'll be all one to us if Professor Henderson sails the ship!" went on Bill. "We'll go!"
"Good!" ejaculated the professor. "You certainly came at just the right time."
As Tom Smith and Bill Jones were hungry a hasty meal was prepared for them, during the eating of which they told of their experiences since landing from the airship. They had been on a farm until fired with a desire to go roving once more.
For the next few days the professor, the boys, and the other four were busy making some improvements to the Porpoise. Tom and Bill were much astonished at their first sight of the queer craft, but they soon became accustomed to her, and said they preferred her to the airship.
"To-morrow we are going on a little longer trip than our first trial," announced the inventor one evening. "We will be gone all day if nothing happens to make the stay more lengthy," he added grimly. "So, Washington, put plenty to eat aboard."
A little later, when supplies had been put on the Porpoise, and the machinery well overhauled, the professor explained that he intended making a trip, entirely under water, from the dock in the cove to a point off the Massachusetts coast and return.
Early the next morning all were aboard. To each one was assigned a particular station. Washington, with Mark as an assistant, was in the engine-room. Jack was to watch the various gages and registers to give warning of any danger. The professor, of course, would be in the conning tower and operate the craft. Andy was to be with him, to watch out, with his sharp eyes, for any danger that might loom up in the path of the searchlight. Tom and Bill were to be ready to help where needed.
With a hissing sound the water filled the tanks and the Porpoise sunk beneath the waves. The engine that worked the endless screw was started, and the threads, working on the water cable, shot the boat ahead.
"We're off!" yelled Washington.
About sixty feet below the surface the craft was sent along. Mile after mile was covered as shown by the patent log. The lights were turned off, and through the thick plate glass windows the strange inhabitants of the sea were observed.
"I think I'll go a little nearer the surface," said the professor to Andy. The inventor started the pumps that emptied the tanks. The craft rose slightly.
"Quick! Stop her!" shouted the old hunter, grasping the captain's arm.
Something black, like a grim shadow, loomed up in the dull glare of the searchlight.
"What is it?" cried the professor.
"We're goin' to hit somethin' hard!" yelled Andy.
"It's the hull of a ship!" exclaimed the inventor as he jammed the reversing lever hard over.
It was too late. The next instant the Porpoise, with a shock that made her shiver from stem to stern, collided with the steel side of a small warship.
IN THE MIDST OF FIRE
"Pull the secondary emergency lever!" cried the professor through the speaking tube to Washington. "We must reach the surface at once!"
"Are we damaged?" asked Andy, scrambling to his feet, for the shock had knocked him down. The professor had not fallen because he clung to the steering wheel.
The ship gave a sudden lurch.
"We're sinking!" cried Bill, rushing to the conning tower from the engine-room.
"That's only the action of one of the emergency levers," said the professor calmly. "It forces compressed air into the tanks the more quickly to empty them of water. I think we are safe."
"What is it?" asked Mark, as, followed by Jack, he came forward.
"We tried to do the torpedo act to one of Uncle Sam's ships," explained Andy.
The electric lights had been switched on, and, with the Porpoise flooded with the bright beams, those on board waited anxiously for what was to happen next.
Suddenly an upward motion was experienced. The next instant the craft bounced out of the water and fell back in a smother of foam, shaking and shivering, alongside a small armored warship that was anchored about two miles and a half from shore.
"Open the manhole," commanded Mr. Henderson.
Mark sprang up the iron ladder that led to the opening in the deck of the Porpoise and threw back the cams that held the heavy iron in place. Then he swung the cover back and stepped out on the small platform, followed by the professor, Andy and Jack. They looked up to find themselves observed by a curious throng that crowded to the rail of the warship.
"What are you trying to do? Ram me with a new-fangled torpedo?" asked an angry voice, and a man in a gold laced uniform, who, from his importance plainly showed himself to be the captain of the ship, shook his fist at Mr. Henderson.
"I might ask what right your ship has to get in my path," replied the inventor. "It was all an accident."
"Mighty queer," muttered the naval commander. "Looks very suspicious. How do I know but what you're a torpedo from some foreign nation?"
"Because this is not a torpedo," replied Mr. Henderson. "It is a new submarine boat of my invention, and I was giving it a trial spin."
"I guess you'd better come aboard and do your explaining," went on the captain. "I don't like the looks of things. Lower a boat!" he shouted, "and bring those chaps to my cabin. I want to question them."
It did not suit Professor Henderson to have his plans upset in this fashion. Nor did he care to give a detailed description of his ship to officers of the war department. He had many valuable inventions that were not patented. So he determined to outwit the pompous commander of the cruiser.
The noise made in preparing the small boat for lowering over the side of the big ship could be plainly heard.
"Go below, all of you, and as quietly as you can," whispered Mr. Henderson.
Andy, Mark and Jack obeyed. At that instant the side of the warship was almost deserted, for the sailors who had gathered to observe the Porpoise had gone to lower the small boat.
No sooner had Jack, who was in the rear, disappeared through the manhole than the professor, with a quick jump, followed him.
"Here! Come back!" shouted the warship's captain as he saw Mr. Henderson's head disappearing from view. "Come back I say!"
But with a quick movement the inventor pulled down the manhole cover and clamped it. Then he sprang to the conning tower, and, with a jerk, opened the levers that admitted water to the tanks. The Porpoise began to sink slowly, and then more suddenly, so that, in less than a minute, she was out of sight beneath the waves, and the angry, gold-laced captain was staring in wonderment at the place where the submarine had been. The spot was marked only by a few bubbles and some foam.
"I guess he'll wait some time for an explanation," spoke Mr. Henderson, as he started the big screw and sent the Porpoise ahead at a swift pace.
"That was rather a narrow escape," observed Jack, standing at the foot of the conning tower stairs and talking to Andy and Mr. Henderson, who was steering.
"It certainly was," agreed the professor. "I have not yet become used to seeing things very far ahead in the dimness caused by being under water. But we'll soon get used to it. Luckily, the Porpoise was not damaged by the shock."
For several hours the Porpoise was kept on her course. She behaved handsomely, and nothing excepting slight and easily remedied defects were found. The professor steered well out to sea, increasing both the forward speed and the depth to which the vessel sank. Presently the craft came to a stop with a little jolt.
"What's the trouble?" asked Mark, somewhat alarmed.
"Nothing at all," replied the professor with a smile, as he stepped out of the conning tower and entered the engine-room. "I thought it was time for dinner so I stopped the ship. We are now resting on the ocean bed, about half a mile below the surface. Look!"
As he spoke he slid back the slides covering the plate glass windows. The boys saw that the ship rested in the midst of an immense forest of sea weed. Some of the stalks were as large around as trees. In and out among the snake-like, waving branches swam big fishes. It was a weird, but beautiful sight.
"Come, Washington, serve dinner," ordered Mr. Henderson, and the colored man soon had a good meal prepared. Few repasts have been eaten under such strange circumstances.
Desiring to be back at his secluded dock by nightfall, Captain Henderson soon started the Porpoise up again. Without any accidents the return trip was made and by nine o'clock the Porpoise rode safely at the dock where she had been launched.
The night was spent in the cabin on shore. Early the next morning Mr. Henderson paid a visit to the ship, to make a thorough examination by daylight, and see if the craft had suffered any damage.
"I think you and Mark will have to make a trip to town," he said to Jack at the breakfast table. "I need a new monkey wrench and some other tools and some small pieces of machinery. I'll give you a list of them, and you can bring them back in a valise, for they will be quite numerous."
After the meal the inventor made a record of what he needed and the boys started off.
"In case the machine shop does not have everything and you have to wait for something, you had better stay in the town all night," the captain of the Porpoise said. "It is quite a long trip and I don't want you traveling after dark. Put up at the hotel if you are delayed."
Provided with money for their purchase, and a large valise in which to carry them, the boys started off. They had to walk two miles to where a trolley line was built that ran to the town of Easton, where they were to get the tools and parts of machinery.
They made the trip safely and without incident. When they gave the machinist, to whom they had been directed by Mr. Henderson, the list of the things needed, the man looked puzzled.
"I'll have to make one piece," he said. "You'll have to wait for it. Can't promise it before to-morrow morning about eight o'clock."
"That will be all right," remarked Mark. "We'll call for it then."
So, bearing in mind Mr. Henderson's instructions, the boys engaged a room at the hotel, which was quite a large one, for Easton was a favorite summer resort and the town was filled with visitors. The lads strolled about the town, had their dinner, and then went for a bath in the surf. They retired early, for they were tired.
In the middle of the night Mark began to dream that he was on board the Porpoise and that the submarine blew up. There was a loud noise, he saw a bright flash of flame, and saw rolling clouds of smoke. So vivid was the vision that he thought he tried to leap out of the boat, and awoke with a jump, to find Jack shaking him.
"What's the matter?" inquired Mark.
"The hotel's on fire!" shouted Jack.
Mark sprang out of bed and with Jack rushed to the window, for their room was filled with thick smoke. They could see the dull glare of flames, which every moment were becoming brighter.
The next instant a loud explosion shook the building. It swayed and seemed likely to topple over. Outside the boys could hear excited shouts and the puffing and whistling of fire engines.
"Quick! Run!" yelled Mark. He opened the door leading into the corridor, but was driven back by a rush of flames and smoke that almost stifled him.
"We must try the fire escape!" shouted Mark.
"Don't forget the valise with the tools;" exclaimed Jack, and Mark hastened to where he had placed it under the bed.
Then the two boys rushed to the balcony on which their front windows opened, and whence the fire escapes led down to the streets. The lads had only time to slip on their coats, trousers, shoes and caps.
As they were preparing to clamber down the iron ladders they heard someone on the balcony next to them shout:
"Here, you boys! Stop! I want you!"
A GRAVE ACCUSATION
"We haven't time now!" yelled back Mark, looking in the direction of the voice, and seeing a short, stout man, who appeared greatly excited.
"Stop or I'll shoot!" the man exclaimed.
"The fire must have made him crazy," said Jack. "Go on, Mark, it's getting hot up above!"
Mark did not linger on the ladder and soon the two boys were in the street, surrounded by an excited crowd.
"Are you hurt?" asked several.
"I guess not," replied Mark. "What caused the fire?"
"Some sort of an explosion," answered a policeman. "Part of the hotel was blown up. If you boys wish you can go to a station house where you'll be comfortable until morning."
"I guess we will," said Mark.
They started to work their way through the crowd but did not notice that the strange man followed them. The fire was now burning fiercely, and once they had gotten clear of the press the lads halted to look at the spectacle.
The hotel was now a mass of flames and the firemen were kept busy. What with the puffing of engines, the whistling of the steamers, the roar of the flames, and the shouts of the crowd, pandemonium reigned.
The boys watched the fire for some time. Gradually the flames came under the control of the men and the leaping tongues died out.
"I guess we'd better go to the police station," suggested Jack.
Mark agreed this would be a good thing to do, as both of them felt rather chilly in the night air with only half of their clothes on. They inquired their way of the first policeman they saw, and he volunteered to escort them.
"Sure an' you'll have plenty of company," he said. "The hotel was full an' the people have no place to go except to the lock-up. Some swells will be glad to take a place behind the bars to-night I'm thinkin'. I wonder how some of those English aristocrats will like it?"
"English aristocrats?" repeated Jack. "Are any here?"
"Sure. There's a lot of them burned out. Lord Peckham was stoppin' at the hotel with a big crowd of people, an' their apartments was all destroyed. Some of 'em went to the police station."
The boys followed their uniformed guide through the streets of Easton, and were soon at the station house. There they were received by the sergeant in charge, while the matron gave them each a cup of hot coffee, a large pot of the beverage having been brewed.
"I'll have to give you boys one bed between you," said the sergeant. "We're rather crowded for room to-night."
"Anything will do us," said Jack with a laugh.
Just then there was some excitement at the entrance of the police station.
"I tell you they're in here! I will see them!" a voice exclaimed. "I want them arrested at once!"
"Go easy now," counseled the doorman as he tried to hold back a short, stout, excited man who was pushing his way into the station.
"There they are!" exclaimed the man, pointing to Jack and Mark.
"Why those boys are from the burned hotel," said the doorman.
"I know it! They are the very ones I want!"
"What do you of us?" spoke up Mark. He recognized the man as the one who had called to him as he and Jack were escaping.
"I charge you with being sons of James Darrow, the notorious English anarchist!" cried the little man, pointing his finger at the boys, "and I accuse you of trying to kill Lord Peckham with a bomb, the explosion of which set fire to the hotel!"
For a moment the surprising charge so astonished every one that not a word was said. Then the little man, advancing toward the boys went on:
"I arrest you in the name of His Royal Highness, Edward VII, King of England, Scotland and Wales."
He threw back the lapel of his coat and showed a badge.
"King of England, Scotland and Wales, is it!" exclaimed the doorman with a twinkle in his eye. "An' why didn't ye say Ireland into the bargain."
"Ireland, of course," went on the little man. "I'm an officer of His Most Gracious Majesty," he added, "and I demand the assistance of the United States authorities in general and the police of Easton in particular in taking these desperate criminals into custody!"
"Hold your horses," advised the desk-sergeant. "Those boys are not liable to run away. They're to stay here over night, and if you have any charge to make against them why you'll have to come and see the judge in the morning."
"But they are sons of an anarchist! They are anarchists themselves!" exclaimed the man, "I must arrest them!"
"You're not going to arrest anybody," said the sergeant, "until you get a warrant from the judge. This isn't England."
"Then I'm going to stay with these boys the rest of the night," insisted the man. "I can't take any chances on their giving me the slip."
"This place is going to be crowded with people from the burned hotel," objected the sergeant. "There will be no room for you. Besides, how do I know these boys are anarchists?"
"Look in their valise," cried the stranger. "It is filled with bombs."
"You can't look in this satchel," exclaimed Jack, for he remembered the valise contained parts of the professor's secret machines.
"What did I tell you?" cried the Englishman with triumph in his tones. "They are the guilty ones. They are afraid to open their valise."
"We are, but not because it has bombs in it," said Mark. "It has parts of an unpatented machine and the owner does not want any one to see them," for Mark remembered Mr. Henderson's strict injunctions to let no one but the mechanist to whom they had gone catch a glimpse of the parts that were to be duplicated. The machinist was sworn to secrecy.
"It's none of our affair," said the sergeant, though he seemed a little impressed by the Englishman's words and the reluctance Mark and Jack showed to letting the valise be opened. "The boys will be here until morning, and then you can see the judge. Now you'll have to get out. You boys get to bed."
Muttering threats, the stranger went from the station house, and Mark and Jack, in response to a nod from the doorman, followed him upstairs to a part of the police station used to detain witnesses. They were shown to a small room with a single bed.
"Are ye really anarchists?" asked the doorman.
"Not a bit," replied Jack, and he told as much of their story as he dared.
"I was kind-of hopin' ye was," said the officer with a twinkle in his eye. "It wouldn't do any harm to scare that uppish Englishman a bit. Sure he an' his kind have done enough to poor old Ireland."
"I'm sorry we can't oblige you," said Mark with a laugh.
"I guess ye're all right," went on the doorman. "I hope ye sleep good the rest of the night."
Then he left them alone. What with the excitement of the fire and the startling accusation against them, the boys' brains were too excited to let them sleep much. They had a few fitful naps throughout the remainder of the night.
It was just getting daylight when Mark was awakened by some one shaking him.
"What is it?" he asked. "Another fire?"
"Not this time," replied a voice, and Mark, now that his eyes were fully opened, saw the doorman bending over him.
"What's the matter?" asked Jack waking up in his turn.
"Easy!" exclaimed the doorman in a whisper. "I happened to think ye might want to be leavin'."
"Leaving?" asked Mark in bewilderment.
"Yes. Ye know that Englishman is liable to be back any minute, an' he may make trouble for ye. I know ye're innocent lads, an' I'd hate to see ye mixed up in a mess with that fellow. So I slips up here early, an' ye can leave by the back door if ye want to, an' the officer of His Imperial Majesty, King Edward VII, will never know a thing about it."
"It looks like running away," objected Jack.
"Sure there's no charge agin ye," went on the doorman. "Ye're free to come an' go as far as we're concerned, an' ye'd better go whilst ye have the chance."
Jack reflected. It was true that the charge of the Englishman, baseless as it was, might make trouble for them, and cause them endless delays in getting back to Professor Henderson. Suddenly Jack made up his mind.
"Come on Mark," he said.
ON A RUNAWAY TROLLEY
"Are you going to leave?" asked Mark.
"Certainly. There is no use staying here and getting mixed up in something that Englishman thinks we have done. It's easier to go away quietly and let him find out his mistake."
"All right," agreed Mark. "I wonder who he is, anyhow?"
"He thinks he owns the earth, whoever he is," returned Jack.
"He's some sort of a special detective traveling with Lord Peckham's party," explained the doorman. "He told us a lot about himself last night after you boys went to bed. He came back to inquire how early the judge would be here.
"He went on to tell how some English anarchists have vowed to kill Lord Peckham because he foreclosed a lot of mortgages on some poor people in Ireland where he owned property," added the doorman. "There was some sort of explosions in the hotel, near where Lord Peckham had his rooms. Maybe it was a bomb and, maybe ag'in it was only the boiler. Anyhow, this detective jumped to the conclusion that anarchists had done it, and he thinks you are responsible. But you'd better be goin' now. It's gettin' daylight."
So Mark and Jack, with what scanty clothes they had, and carrying their valise, went quietly out of the back door of the police station.
"We'd better go to the machine shop for the rest of the stuff," suggested Mark, "and then we can take the first trolley we see and get back to the professor."
Through quiet side streets the boys made their way toward the machine shop. They were somewhat amused to think how they had fooled the detective, but they would not have felt so jolly had they seen the roughly dressed man who had darted after them as soon as they left the police station.
"I'll get you yet," the man muttered. "You needn't think to escape with the aid of these bloomin' American police."
The lads found the machinist just opening his shop though it was quite early. The pieces of apparatus were finished and, after paying for them Mark put the parts in the valise.
"Quite a fire in town," observed the machinist.
"Yes," answered Mark, not wishing to get into a long conversation.
"Heard the hotel was blowed up by anarchists and that the police are after 'em," proceeded the man.
"I believe I did hear something like that," admitted Mark. "I guess we'll be going."
He signalled to Jack, and the two hurried out of the shop. As they did so, the trampish-looking man glided from behind a tree where he had been hiding and took after them.
"Say," exclaimed Jack, "I forgot we haven't had any breakfast yet."
"That's so," said Mark, rubbing his stomach and making a wry face.
Near by was a bakery, and there the lads got some coffee and rolls which tasted fine. When they finished their simple meal a trolley came past and they ran to catch it. So did the man who had been following them, but this person bore no resemblance to the spruce little detective who had wanted to arrest the boys.
"A couple of hours now and we'll be back at the cabin," spoke Mark. "My, but I must say we have had strenuous times since we started away!"
There were few passengers on the trolley so early in the morning and not many stops to make, so the motorman turned on the power full and made the vehicle speed along.
Mile after mile was covered and finally the car reached the top of a long hill. At the foot of this the line came to an end, and the boys had a two mile tramp before them to reach the lonely spot where the Porpoise was docked.
Down the hill the car started. The motorman shut off the electricity and let the vehicle run by its weight.
Faster and faster it ran, the dust flying in a cloud about it.
"Better put the brakes on a bit," called the conductor. "It's gettin' kinder speedy, Hank!"
The motorman twisted the handle. There was a grinding noise as the shoes took hold on the wheels. Then a chain snapped and the car seemed to leap ahead.
"The brake's busted! I can't stop the car!" yelled the motorman.
Vainly he twisted at the handle. Then, seeing he could not stop the trolley car he made a desperate jump off the vehicle and landed in a heap on the side of the road, rolling over and over.
"Reverse the current!" cried one of the passengers, to the conductor. "That ought to stop her!"
The conductor made his way to the front platform and turned the reversing lever. Then he applied the current. But it was no use. With a blinding flash and a report like that of a gun a fuse blew out, and that crippled the car completely so far as the electric current was concerned.
"Everybody jump!" cried the conductor. "There's a curve at the foot of the hill, and we'll all be killed if we stay on!"
One by one the passengers leaped from the car. Several were badly hurt by the falls they got. Meanwhile the trolley was tearing down the hill at a terrific rate of speed.
"Shall we jump?" asked Mark of Jack.
"We'll be killed if we do," was Jack's answer.
"And we'll be killed if we stay aboard," said Mark.
"Not if I can help it," cried Jack as he started for the rear platform.
"What are you going to do?" asked Mark.
"Put on the other brake. They never thought to try this one! Maybe it will work and stop the car!"
Then Mark saw what Jack was up to and went to help him. The shabbily dressed man seemed undecided what to do. He stood up, holding to the straps to prevent himself from being tossed from side to side as the runaway trolley swayed. He watched the boys curiously.
The lads, reaching the rear platform, twisted at the brake handle with all their strength. They could feel that the chain was still intact. But would the shoes grip the wheels with force sufficient to stop the car?
There was a shrill screech as the brakes were applied by the boys. With all their might they turned the handle, winding the chain up tighter and tighter. At last they could not budge it another inch. Then they waited anxiously.
The car never slackened its speed. So great was the momentum that had both sets of brakes been in working order it is doubtful whether they would have stopped the vehicle. The speed was so great now that one of the journals became hot and the oily waste that was packed in it caught fire, making what railroad men term a "hot box".
"I guess we're done for," groaned Mark.
"We certainly haven't checked the speed any," Jack admitted. "But wait a minute."
He began stamping on the floor of the platform.
"What you doing?" cried Mark, for he had to shout to make his voice heard above the roar and rattle of the car.
"Putting on the sand," replied Jack, as he kicked at the plunger which, being depressed, let a stream of fine gravel out on the rails. "The wheels are gripped I think, and are slipping on the rails. This may help some."
"Let me give you a hand," exclaimed a voice, and the boys turned to see the shabby man standing with them on the platform. He grasped the brake handle, and gave it an additional turn. His strength seemed remarkable for so small a man.
The speed of the car was checked a little, but the vehicle was still speeding along at a rate that would soon bring it to destruction if not halted before the curve was reached.
"That's a little better," observed Mark. "It's a good thing you were here."
"Good for me, not so good for you," said the man with a peculiar smile.
"What do you mean?" asked Mark.
"I mean that I shall have to place you under arrest for attempting to assassinate Lord Peckham!" exclaimed the man. "I am Detective Ducket, of Scotland Yard!"
He stripped off a false beard he had donned, and threw back his coat, displaying his shield. He was the same man who had attempted to arrest the boys in the police station at Easton.
"I've got you just where I want you now," Detective Ducket went on. "There are none of those blooming American police to interfere."
The next instant the car gave a sudden lurch. Then it seemed to rise up in the air. Jack felt himself flying through space, and he observed Mark, who was clinging to the valise, following him.
There was a terrific crash, a ripping, tearing splintering sound, and the runaway trolley smashed into a big oak tree at the foot of the hill. The vehicle had completely jumped the track at the sharp curve.
Jack's eyes grew dim, and he seemed to be sinking down in some dark pool of water. He heard a splashing beside him and began to strike out, trying to swim. He seemed to be choking. Then the blessed air and daylight came to him, and he found he was floating on the surface of a pond.
He dashed the water from his eyes and saw, over on the bank, the wreck of the trolley. Then he noticed that Mark was swimming beside him.
"What happened?" asked Jack.
"A little of everything," panted Mark. "Lucky we weren't killed. We must have been flung off the rear platform into this duck pond."
The boys soon made their way to shore, unhurt except for the wetting. The fall into the water had saved their lives.
"Where's the valise of machinery?" asked Jack.
"There it is," answered Mark pointing to where it had fallen at the back of the pond.
"And what became of Detective Ducket?"
"He's here, at your service!" exclaimed a voice. "Consider yourselves under arrest and don't you dare to leave this place without me."
The boys looked in the direction of the sound and saw the English officer lying on the grass not far away. He seemed in pain, but had raised himself on his elbow and was pointing his finger sternly at the boys.
OFF FOR THE SOUTH POLE
"Are you hurt?" asked Jack.
"I think my leg is broken, but otherwise I'm not damaged," replied the detective. "Even if I am disabled, it makes no difference, you are my prisoners. I command you to stay here until help comes."
The boys did not know what to do. They did not like to see even an enemy suffer, but, at the same time, they knew he had no right to arrest them.
"Here comes a wagon," said Mark, catching the sound of wheels.
"Well, fo' de land sakes! Gollyation! What terrible catafterme hab occurred in dis unapproachable manner?" a voice demanded.
"It's Washington!" cried Mark, as he saw Professor Henderson's colored assistant driving along the road.
"Dat's who it am!" exclaimed Washington as he noticed the boys. "My! My! But am you boff dead?"
"No, only one of us," said Mark with a laugh, as he and Jack ran toward the wagon.
"Ha! Ha! Dat's one ob yo' jokes," said Washington. "But hurry up, boys. De perfessor he done sent me to meet you. He reckoned you'd becomin' ober on an early trolley. He's in a hurry to git away."
"Don't you boys dare to leave!" exclaimed Detective Ducket.
"Who's dat?" asked Washington.
"Never mind," said Mark. "He was hurt in the trolley smash, but not badly. We'll send help, from the first farm house we come to. Come on, Washington, we'll go with you."
The boys jumped into the wagon, and Washington started off. He explained that the inventor was anxious to make a start that day, as there would be an unusually high tide which would be followed a little later by a low one, and that would make it difficult to cross the harbor bar.
"So I hired dis wagon an' come after you," said the colored man.
At the first house they came to the boys stopped and told about the accident. The farmer agreed to go and get the detective and the others who were hurt and take them to a hospital.
"I guess we're rid of that detective now," observed Jack, as they started off again.
"Yes, but we're getting away under a cloud on our characters," said Mark. "I'd like to stay and see the thing through, if we had time."
"But we can't, and there's no use worrying over it," spoke Jack.
In a short time they were at the inventor's cabin, and related to Mr. Henderson all that had occurred.
"Well I guess your detective friend will have a hard time to find you in a few hours," said the old man. "We start on our trip for the south pole this evening."
There were busy times for the next few hours. Many supplies had to be placed on board, and, while the boys, with Tom and Bill, saw to this, the professor and Washington were occupied with putting the last touches to the submarine boat's machinery.
Most of the supplies from the cabin were placed in the Porpoise, including food and clothing and a good quantity of minerals that, with sea water, generated the gas that made steam.
An early supper was made on shore, as the professor said they might be so busy for the first few hours of the starting trip that they would get no chance to eat. Then the cabin and buildings where the submarine had been built, were securely fastened.
"I guess we're all ready," announced the professor, taking a last look around.
One by one they went aboard the Porpoise crawling down through the man hole. The inventor was the last one to enter. He clamped the cover on by means of the cam levers and switched on the electric lights. Then he took his place in the conning tower with Andy Sudds.
"Forward, to the South Pole!" exclaimed Mr. Henderson.
With a turn of his wrist the inventor started the engines. The big screw in the shaft revolved, pulling the water in at one end of the craft and sending it out in a swirling stream at the other. The trip was fairly begun.
For several miles the Porpoise glided along on the surface of the ocean. It was a calm evening, and the boys down in the cabin of the craft could look into the reflecting mirrors on the wall, which were connected with observation magnifying glasses in the conning tower, and view what was going on, though their heads were below the surface of the sea.
As it grew darker the view of shore and water faded away. The engine kept up its speed with Washington to see to it every now and then, oiling the bearings, some of which did not run quite smoothly because of their newness.
"I'll send her down a bit now," observed the professor. "I don't want to run into any more warships or scare the crews by making them think we are a foreign torpedo boat."
He opened the sea cocks in the ballast tanks and soon the Porpoise sunk about two hundred feet beneath the waves. The craft, which had been pitching and tossing under the influence of a ground swell, became more steady and quiet once it left the surface.
The searchlight in the conning tower was turned on, and in the glare of it Andy and the professor were able to steer properly, aided by the compass which gave them the true southern course.
It was now quite dark. Additional electric lights were switched on in the cabin, engine and dining room. Andy came out of the conning tower and announced that Captain Henderson wanted Washington to get supper.
All the cooking was done by electricity, and, in addition to a supply of the usual and ordinary kinds of food, there was a big lot of patent condensed victuals to draw on. Soup, broiled steak, potatoes, hot biscuits, rice pudding and coffee made up the repast which was enjoyed by all.
Toward the close of the meal Professor Henderson began to sniff the air of the cabin.
"What's the matter? Do you smell a storm brewing?" asked Andy.
"No, but the air is not as fresh as it should be," replied the inventor. "Washington, release a little more of the supply from the compression tanks."
The ship, which had been left to steer itself automatically while the professor was absent from the conning tower, was moving along at about half speed. The gage showed they were going at twenty miles an hour, and were three hundred feet below the surface.
"Washington and I will share the first night's watch between us," said the inventor, after the supper things had been cleared away. "There will not be much to do, as the ship will steer automatically in whatever direction I set her. Still I want to see how she behaves. The rest of you might as well go to your bunks."
The two boys were especially glad of a chance to go to bed, as they had had but little sleep the night before on account of the fire. So they lost no time in undressing and rolling up in the blankets, for it was quite cool so far down under the water.
"Well, we've slept on the earth, above the earth and now we're under the waters," observed Jack.
"There's only one place more to spend your time taking a snooze," said Mark.
"Inside the earth."
Then they fell asleep. During the night and the next day the Porpoise forged on underneath the waves. Washington relieved Mr. Henderson in the conning tower and reported the machinery to be working well.
"Keep her headed due south," was the order of the inventor, and the colored man did so.
It was about four o'clock one morning that Washington felt a slight jar to the submarine.
"Hope we ain't goin' to hit no more battleships," he said.
He glanced at the speed-indicating gage. To his surprise it stood at zero. The craft was not moving forward a foot! Yet the engines were going at half speed!
In great alarm Washington shut off the power and ran to acquaint Professor Henderson with the news.
"Suffin's ketched us!" cried the colored man.
"Nonsense!" said the inventor, yet he seemed alarmed as he slipped on his clothes and hastened to the conning tower.
He peered ahead along the path of water illuminated by the glare of the searchlight, but nothing was to be seen. Then he started the engine, increasing the speed gradually until the big screw in the shaft revolved more than one thousand times a minute. Still the Porpoise never stirred. She remained in the same position, as if some giant hand grasped her.
"Reverse the engine," said the professor.
Washington did so. To the surprise of both of them the ship shot backward like a frightened crab.
"Now forward!" exclaimed the old inventor.
But this time the Porpoise did not move. It was as if she was up against a stone wall.
"What's the matter?" asked Mark, who had been awakened by the excitement on board.
"I do not know," replied Mr. Henderson gravely. "Something mysterious has occurred. We can go no further!"
ASHORE IN THE DARK
"Stop the engine," the captain commanded after he had peered through the lens in the conning tower for some time. "We must see what is the matter."
He glanced at the depth gage and noted that they were now four hundred feet below the surface. Then he consulted some charts.
"There is a depth of one thousand feet about here," he remarked. "Lower the ship, Washington. Let us see if by getting on the ocean bed we can get away from this obstruction."
The colored man opened wider the sea cocks by which the tanks were filled. The increased ballast sunk the Porpoise still lower, and, in a few minutes a slight jar told the navigators that they were on the bottom of the ocean.
"Now we will see if we have cleared the obstruction," said the professor.
He started the big screw to revolving, but the ship did not move. It shivered and trembled throughout its length but remained stationary.
"Maybe dar's a debil fish what hab circumulated dis ship in de exteror portion ob his anatomy," suggested Washington, rolling his eyes until only the whites were visible.
"I presume you mean that a giant squid or cuttle fish has attacked us," spoke the professor.
"Yas, sir," replied Washington.
"That's nonsense," went on the inventor. "However, we must make an investigation."
"How are you going to do it?" asked Mark. "You can't see the end of the tube from inside the ship, and, even if we went to the surface it would still be under water."
"We are going to look at it while here, under the ocean," said the inventor.
"Well, maybe you're a good swimmer," put in Jack, "but I don't believe you can stay under, in this depth of water, long enough to see what the trouble is."
"I think I can," answered Mr. Henderson.
"I'll show you. Washington, bring out the diving suits."
The colored man, his eyes growing bigger every minute, went to a locker and brought out what seemed quite a complicated bit of apparatus.
"With the aid of these," said the professor, "I will be able to go out, walk along the ocean bed, and investigate the mystery. Do you boys want to come along?"
"Is it safe?" asked Mark, who was inclined to be cautious.
"As safe as any part of this under-sea voyage," replied the professor. "These diving suits are something I have not told you about," he went on. "They are my own invention. Besides the regular rubber suits there is an interlining of steel,—something like the ancient suits of chain mail—to withstand the great pressure of water. Then, instead of being dependent on a supply of air, pumped into the helmet from an apparatus in a boat on the surface, each person carries his own air supply with him."
"How is that?" asked Jack, and Mark also asked the question.
"Simply by attaching a little tank of the compressed gas to the shoulder piece of the suit," said the inventor. "There is enough air in the tank to last for nearly a day. It is admitted to the helmet as needed by means of automatic valves. In other respects the diving suit is the same as the ordinary kind, except that there is a small searchlight, fed by a storage battery, on top of the helmet."
In spite of their fears at venturing out under the great ocean, the two boys were anxious to try the suits. So, after some hesitation, they donned them.
"Here, take these with you," said the professor, before their helmets were screwed on. He held out what looked like long sticks.
"What are they?" asked Jack.
"Electric guns," replied the professor. "But come on now, we have no time to lose."
Further conversation was impossible, for the boys had their heavy copper helmets on, and they were as tightly enclosed as if inside a box. They grasped their weapons and waited for the next move.
The professor led the way to the stern of the ship. The boys found it hard to walk, as they were weighted down by the heavy suits, and also the boots, the soles of which were of lead.
They followed the inventor into what seemed a small room. Inside they found themselves in darkness. There was a clanking sound as Washington fastened and clamped the door shut. Then came a hissing.
The boys felt water rising about them. They could experience its coldness, even through the diving suits. They were much afraid, but the professor put a reassuring hand on their shoulders.
They seemed to feel a great weight. It gradually lessened, however, and, in a few minutes, they saw something move in front of them. The professor pushed them gently forward.
In another instant they were walking on the bed of the ocean, having stepped from the Porpoise. They had gone into a locked compartment, the inner door of which had been tightly closed, after which water from outside had been gradually admitted until the pressure was equal, and then the boys and the professor had merely to emerge out into the bottom of the sea when the outer portal was swung aside by Washington, who worked the lever from inside.
The boys were in intense darkness, but, suddenly a light glowed about them, and they saw that the professor had switched on his miniature search lamp. They remembered how he had told them to work the apparatus, and soon tiny gleams shot out from their helmets.
The professor pointed ahead, for not a sound could be heard, and the boys followed him.
It was a new sensation, this walking along the bed of the ocean. At first the great pressure of water, even though the steel lined diving suits kept most of it off, was unpleasant. Gradually, however, the boys became used to it. They had to move slowly, for the water was denser than the air and impeded their progress.
In a few minutes they reached the forward end of the Porpoise. Now they were to solve the mystery of what had stopped the submarine. For a few moments they could distinguish nothing.
Suddenly the boys felt the professor grasping their arms. They looked in the direction he pointed. There in the diffused glare from the search light and the illumination of their helmet lamps they saw, wrapped about the forward shaft opening a gigantic squid or devil fish. Its soft, jelly-like body completely covered the opening of the shaft preventing any water from entering, and thus stopping any forward motion to the ship.
This was what had caused all the trouble. The Porpoise had run into the monster, who feeling what it must have thought an enemy, had grasped the submarine with its long sinuous arms.
The professor hesitated a moment. Then he slowly raised his electrical gun, and took aim at the hideous mass. The boys followed his example. At Mr. Henderson's signal they all fired together.
From the muzzles of the guns darted small barbs that carried with them a strong shock of electricity, from storage batteries in the shoulder pieces of the weapons. Three of them were enough to produce death in an animal as large as a whale.
The devil fish quivered. Then the water about it suddenly grew black, and the boys and the professor were in dense darkness, for the squid had dyed the ocean with a dark liquid from the sack it carried for the purpose.
The explorers groped their way to the left, having fortunately grasped hands after firing their guns, to prevent being separated in case the terrible fish began a death struggle.
Luckily Professor Henderson went in the right direction and managed to locate the Porpoise. Then, feeling along her steel sides, he led the boys through the inky blackness to the water chamber by which entrance could be had to the interior.
In a few minutes all three were safely inside and had removed their diving suits. The others crowded about, anxious to learn what had happened. The inventor related it briefly.
Once more the engines were started. This time there was no hanging back on the part of the Porpoise. The big screw revolved, the water came in the shaft and was thrust out of the rear end, making a current that sent the craft ahead swiftly. The gigantic fish had been killed, and its body no longer obstructed progress.
"Now we'll rise to the surface and see how it feels to sail along that way for a while," said the professor as he started the pumps that emptied the tanks. In a little while the ship was floating on the waves.
It was now night, and the clouds overhead made it so dark that it was hard to see ten feet in advance. The professor did not want to use the searchlight for he did not care to have his presence discovered by curious persons. So he ran the ship at half speed.
"Where are we now?" asked Mark, who had entered the conning tower, where the professor was steering.
"Somewhere's off the coast of South Carolina," replied the inventor.
The next instant there was a sudden shock and jar. The ship quivered from stem to stern, and came to an abrupt stop.
"We've hit something!" exclaimed the professor, shutting down the engines with a jerk of the lever.
A PRICE ON THEIR HEADS
On board the Porpoise there was great excitement. Washington, with Andy, Tom, Bill and Jack came running from the engine room.
"What is it?" cried Jack.
"I don't know," answered the professor as calmly as he could. "We'll soon see, however."
He switched on the searchlight and peered from the conning tower.
"Can you see anything?" asked Andy, anxiously.
"I can," announced the inventor.
"Land," replied Mr. Henderson. "We've hit the coast."
"I hope we ain't done no damage," put in Washington.
"Do you mean to the coast or to us?" asked the professor, with a smile. "I guess there isn't much danger in ramming the shore excepting to the Porpoise. However, we do not seem to be in any immediate trouble."
He tested various wheels and levers, and announced that, aside from the jar, which might have started some of the machinery, the Porpoise was unharmed.
The cover of the man-hole was loosened and, one after another, the adventurers crawled out on the small deck or platform. It took them a little while to become accustomed to the darkness, but soon they were able to make out that they had run on the muddy bank of the ocean beach. The tide was low and the Porpoise had rammed her nose well into the soft muck, which accounted for the lack of damage.
"Well, I guess there is nothing to do excepting to wait for morning," said Mr. Henderson. "It doesn't look like a very lively neighborhood about here. I don't believe we'll be disturbed."
Save for the splash and lapping of the waves and the sound of the wind, it was as quiet as the proverbial graveyard. Not a light showed on shore, and the gleam from the search lamp of the Porpoise cut the darkness like a small moonbeam.
"If there's nothing to do I'm going to turn in," said Andy. "I'm tired."
The professor said this was a good suggestion, and, leaving instructions that Washington and Bill were to divide the night's watch between them, the inventor sought his bunk.
The boys remained on deck a few minutes longer.
"We certainly are getting our share of adventures," remarked Jack.
"I should say so," answered Mark.
"Gollyation yes!" exclaimed Washington. "You-uns done most been eat by dat air koslostrous specimen ob a parralleledon! I'm glad I didn't go. But I'se brave enough!"
"What's that?" asked Mark suddenly, pointing to an object floating on the water.
Washington turned to behold something white drifting along.
"Oh my good land ob mercy! It's a ghost!" the colored man yelled. "It's a ghost! Land a' massy! Hide me some where, quick!"
Washington fell on his knees and stretched up his clasped hands in supplication. The boys gazed curiously at the white object that was slowly floating toward the stranded ship.
It rose and fell on the waves, with an odd motion.
"I wonder what it is," said Mark.
"We'll soon see," spoke Jack. "It's coming this way."
"Don't go near it! Don't touch it, boys!" pleaded Washington. "It'll put de evil eye on yo', suah! Turn yo' haids away!"
But the boys were not so easily frightened. The white thing did look queer, but Jack reasoned correctly that the darkness of the night magnified it, and made it appear stranger than it probably was.
"I'm going to try to get it," said Mark.
The white thing was now quite close. It resembled a bundle of rags, floating on top of the water, and, as it came nearer, it seemed to take on a curious form.
"It's a baby! It's de ghost ob a little dead baby!" cried the colored man. "Let it alone, I tell you!"
Indeed, now that Washington had suggested it, the boys could see a resemblance to a child in the white object. But this did not deter them. Jack secured a boat hook from where it was fastened to the platform. With it he gently poked at the white thing. The object seemed to collapse and Jack was conscious of a strange feeling. Then, with slow motions, he drew it close to the side of the ship.
Lying on his face he was able to get a good look at the thing. He muttered an exclamation.
"What is it?" cried Mark.
"Nothing but a newspaper!" announced Jack with a laugh, as he threw it on the deck. "All our trouble for nothing."
"I shore thought it were a ghost," cried Washington as he got up from his knees.
The boys went to their bunks. They were the first ones awake the next morning, and Jack followed Mark on deck.
"There's the paper you rescued from drowning," said Mark.
"So it is," came from Jack. "I wonder if there's any news in it."
The sheet had dried out and Jack spread it open. No sooner had he scanned the first page than he uttered a whistle.
"Something startling?" asked Mark.
"Startling! I guess yes! Look here!"
Mark looked over Jack's shoulder. Staring at them, from amid a mass of other news was the announcement in big black type:
REWARD FOR BOY ANARCHISTS!
Then followed an account of the burning of the hotel at Easton, a vivid description with pictures, of how it had been blown up in an attempt to assassinate Lord Peckham, and how the two boys, sons of an English anarchist, had escaped.
The rest of the story was given over to a description which Jack and Mark could see was meant for them though it was incorrect in several particulars. How the boys had escaped the detective, through the trolley car mishap, was related, and then came the startling announcement that the hotel authorities had offered a reward of $1,000 for the capture of either or both of the boy anarchists. To this Lord Peckham had added an equal sum.
"Well, it looks as if we were of some importance in the world," remarked Jack.
"Rather," agreed Mark. "Think of having a price on our heads! Well, that detective certainly is a hustler. When is that paper dated?"
Jack looked and saw that the sheet had been issued in Charleston the day previous. It had probably been thrown overboard from some steamer, and had drifted toward shore.
While the boys were speculating over the matter Professor Henderson came on deck. He saw something was up, and soon had the whole story from the boys.
"I shouldn't worry about it," said the inventor. "They've got to catch you first, and it isn't like running away when you know you are guilty. You boys had no more to do with the fire than the man in the moon. And we'll soon be beyond the reach of rewards and newspapers."
Nevertheless, the boys brooded over the matter. It seemed that they were still under a cloud, and they wished very much that it could be cleared away.
However there were soon busy times. The rising tide floated the boat, and soon it was riding safely at anchor. The professor needed some small bits of machinery, and had decided to send the boys to the nearest town for them. But the news in the paper changed his plans, and he sent Bill and Washington, who soon returned with the needed articles.
"Now we'll make another start," said Mr. Henderson, as soon as all were on board once more. "This time I hope we will keep on until we reach the south pole!"
He started the engine, the Porpoise sank beneath the waves, and with a hum of the big screw that throbbed and vibrated, was away again.
ATTACKED BY A MONSTER
For several days the Porpoise plowed her way beneath the surface of the ocean. Obedient to the directing hand of Professor Henderson she rose or sank as the tanks were emptied or filled. He put the craft through several rather difficult movements to test her under all conditions. In each one she was a success.
Dinner was sometimes eaten five hundred feet below the surface. Then while Washington washed the dishes and cleaned up the galley, Jack and Mark looked from the side windows at the strange life under water.
They were getting farther south now and the water was warmer as the equator was approached. This produced a great variety of animal life, and the ocean fairly swarmed with fishes, big and little, strange and curious that could be seen from the glass bull's-eyes.
Great sharks swam up alongside of the Porpoise, keeping pace with her in spite of her speed. Their cruel tigerish eyes and ugly mouths made the boys shudder as they looked at the creatures. Then came odd creatures that seemed neither of the land or sea, but which swam along with their horrible bodies flapping up against the glass. One and all, the inhabitants of the ocean seemed to resent the intrusion of the submarine.
One day the boys turned the light out in the cabin and sat in the darkness the better to observe the fishes. The sea, in the vicinity of the ship, was illuminated with a sort of glow that diffused from the searchlight.
Suddenly, as the boys were watching, there came a thud on the glass window at the port side. They glanced in that direction to see some horrible thing peering in at them through the window.
At first they were greatly frightened. Two big eyes of green, with rims of what looked like red fire, stared at them, and, there was an ugly mouth lined with three rows of teeth.
"It's only a fish," said Mark.
"Well, I wouldn't like to meet it outside," said Jack. "I'd rather be here. My, but it's a nasty sight!"
"Let's give Washington a little scare," suggested Mark.
"We'll go out and tell him some one in the cabin wants to see him. The fish will stay there. See, it is fastened to the glass by some sort of suction arrangement, like the octupus fish have on their arms. Then we'll look in and see what Wash does."
Jack agreed to the plan. The boys left the cabin, and Mark called to the colored man, who was in the engine room.
"I'll go right instanter this minute," said Washington. "Don't no grass grow under dis chile's feet!"
"Now listen," said Mark as he and Jack tiptoed after the colored man.
Washington had no sooner entered the darkened cabin, and caught sight of the horrible staring red and green eyes looking straight at him, than he let out a yell that could be heard all over the ship. Then the colored man dropped on his knees and began to implore:
"Good please Mr. Satan fish, doan take Washington White," he begged. "It's all a mistake. I didn't do nuffin. Good please Mr. Satan fish, take some one else. It's disproportionate to de circumulation ob de interiorness ob dis subicecream ship, so kindly pass me by dis time!"
"What's the matter?" asked Amos Henderson, as he came hurrying into the cabin, seeking the cause for Washington's loud cry.
Jack and Mark, who came in at that juncture, were a little bit ashamed of the trick they had played.
"What is the trouble?" repeated Mr. Henderson.
"We's all goin' to be devoured alibe!" cried Washington pointing to the fish, that still clung to the glass.
"Ah, a sucker fish!" remarked the inventor. "A large specimen, too. Don't be afraid Washington, it can't hurt you."
"He looks like he could," said the colored man. "Look at dem teef!"
Indeed the creature's mouth was a horrible sight, as it opened and shut.
"I'll show you how to get rid of him," said the professor.
He turned on the electric lights in the cabin, flooding the room with a bright glow. The big fish darted off, and, when the lights were turned out again, the terrible eyes did not reappear, much to their satisfaction.
"The lights scared it away," remarked the inventor. "But you mustn't get frightened so easily, Washington. You'll see stranger sights than that before you're through with this voyage."