Infomotions, Inc.Tom Swift and His Undersea Search, or, the Treasure on the Floor of the Atlantic / Appleton, Victor [pseud.]



Author: Appleton, Victor [pseud.]
Title: Tom Swift and His Undersea Search, or, the Treasure on the Floor of the Atlantic
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): hardley; tom; ned; young inventor; dixwell hardley; tom swift; asked ned; ned newton; exclaimed tom; asked tom; diving bell
Contributor(s): Garnett, Constance, 1861-1946 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 46,322 words (really short) Grade range: 6-9 (grade school) Readability score: 74 (easy)
Identifier: etext1362
Delicious Bookmark this on Delicious

Discover what books you consider "great". Take the Great Books Survey.

Project Gutenberg's Etext of Tom Swift And His Undersea Search
#23 in the Victor Appleton's Tom Swift Series

We name the Tom Swift files as they are numbered in the books--
i.e. This is #23 in the series so the file name is 23tomxxx.xxx
where the x's are place holders for editon # and file type such
as 23tom10.txt and 23tom10.zip, when we do a .htm, 23tom10h.htm


Copyright laws are changing all over the world, be sure to check
the copyright laws for your country before posting these files!!

Please take a look at the important information in this header.
We encourage you to keep this file on your own disk, keeping an
electronic path open for the next readers.  Do not remove this.


**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts**

**Etexts Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971**

*These Etexts Prepared By Hundreds of Volunteers and Donations*

Information on contacting Project Gutenberg to get Etexts, and
further information is included below.  We need your donations.

Tom Swift And His Undersea Search
or
The Treasure on the Floor of the Atlantic

by Victor Appleton

June, 1998  [Etext #1362]


Project Gutenberg's Etext of Tom Swift And His Undersea Search
****This file should be named 23tom10.txt or 23tom10.zip******

Corrected EDITIONS of our etexts get a new NUMBER, 23tom11.txt.
VERSIONS based on separate sources get new LETTER, 23tom10a.txt.


The Etext was prepared for Project Gutenberg by Anthony Matonac


We are now trying to release all our books one month in advance
of the official release dates, for time for better editing.

Please note:  neither this list nor its contents are final till
midnight of the last day of the month of any such announcement.
The official release date of all Project Gutenberg Etexts is at
Midnight, Central Time, of the last day of the stated month.  A
preliminary version may often be posted for suggestion, comment
and editing by those who wish to do so.  To be sure you have an
up to date first edition [xxxxx10x.xxx] please check file sizes
in the first week of the next month.  Since our ftp program has
a bug in it that scrambles the date [tried to fix and failed] a
look at the file size will have to do, but we will try to see a
new copy has at least one byte more or less.


Information about Project Gutenberg (one page)

We produce about two million dollars for each hour we work.  The
fifty hours is one conservative estimate for how long it we take
to get any etext selected, entered, proofread, edited, copyright
searched and analyzed, the copyright letters written, etc.  This
projected audience is one hundred million readers.  If our value
per text is nominally estimated at one dollar then we produce $2
million dollars per hour this year as we release thirty-two text
files per month:  or 400 more Etexts in 1996 for a total of 800.
If these reach just 10% of the computerized population, then the
total should reach 80 billion Etexts.

The Goal of Project Gutenberg is to Give Away One Trillion Etext
Files by the December 31, 2001.  [10,000 x 100,000,000=Trillion]
This is ten thousand titles each to one hundred million readers,
which is only 10% of the present number of computer users.  2001
should have at least twice as many computer users as that, so it
will require us reaching less than 5% of the users in 2001.


We need your donations more than ever!


All donations should be made to "Project Gutenberg/CMU": and are
tax deductible to the extent allowable by law.  (CMU = Carnegie-
Mellon University).

For these and other matters, please mail to:

Project Gutenberg
P. O. Box  2782
Champaign, IL 61825

When all other email fails try our Executive Director:
Michael S. Hart <hart@pobox.com>

We would prefer to send you this information by email
(Internet, Bitnet, Compuserve, ATTMAIL or MCImail).

******
If you have an FTP program (or emulator), please
FTP directly to the Project Gutenberg archives:
[Mac users, do NOT point and click. . .type]

ftp uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu
login:  anonymous
password:  your@login
cd etext/etext90 through /etext96
or cd etext/articles [get suggest gut for more information]
dir [to see files]
get or mget [to get files. . .set bin for zip files]
GET INDEX?00.GUT
for a list of books
and
GET NEW GUT for general information
and
MGET GUT* for newsletters.

**Information prepared by the Project Gutenberg legal advisor**
(Three Pages)


***START**THE SMALL PRINT!**FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS**START***
Why is this "Small Print!" statement here?  You know: lawyers.
They tell us you might sue us if there is something wrong with
your copy of this etext, even if you got it for free from
someone other than us, and even if what's wrong is not our
fault.  So, among other things, this "Small Print!" statement
disclaims most of our liability to you.  It also tells you how
you can distribute copies of this etext if you want to.

*BEFORE!* YOU USE OR READ THIS ETEXT
By using or reading any part of this PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm
etext, you indicate that you understand, agree to and accept
this "Small Print!" statement.  If you do not, you can receive
a refund of the money (if any) you paid for this etext by
sending a request within 30 days of receiving it to the person
you got it from.  If you received this etext on a physical
medium (such as a disk), you must return it with your request.

ABOUT PROJECT GUTENBERG-TM ETEXTS
This PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext, like most PROJECT GUTENBERG-
tm etexts, is a "public domain" work distributed by Professor
Michael S. Hart through the Project Gutenberg Association at
Carnegie-Mellon University (the "Project").  Among other
things, this means that no one owns a United States copyright
on or for this work, so the Project (and you!) can copy and
distribute it in the United States without permission and
without paying copyright royalties.  Special rules, set forth
below, apply if you wish to copy and distribute this etext
under the Project's "PROJECT GUTENBERG" trademark.

To create these etexts, the Project expends considerable
efforts to identify, transcribe and proofread public domain
works.  Despite these efforts, the Project's etexts and any
medium they may be on may contain "Defects".  Among other
things, Defects may take the form of incomplete, inaccurate or
corrupt data, transcription errors, a copyright or other
intellectual property infringement, a defective or damaged
disk or other etext medium, a computer virus, or computer
codes that damage or cannot be read by your equipment.

LIMITED WARRANTY; DISCLAIMER OF DAMAGES
But for the "Right of Replacement or Refund" described below,
[1] the Project (and any other party you may receive this
etext from as a PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm etext) disclaims all
liability to you for damages, costs and expenses, including
legal fees, and [2] YOU HAVE NO REMEDIES FOR NEGLIGENCE OR
UNDER STRICT LIABILITY, OR FOR BREACH OF WARRANTY OR CONTRACT,
INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO INDIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, PUNITIVE
OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, EVEN IF YOU GIVE NOTICE OF THE
POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.

If you discover a Defect in this etext within 90 days of
receiving it, you can receive a refund of the money (if any)
you paid for it by sending an explanatory note within that
time to the person you received it from.  If you received it
on a physical medium, you must return it with your note, and
such person may choose to alternatively give you a replacement
copy.  If you received it electronically, such person may
choose to alternatively give you a second opportunity to
receive it electronically.

THIS ETEXT IS OTHERWISE PROVIDED TO YOU "AS-IS".  NO OTHER
WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, ARE MADE TO YOU AS
TO THE ETEXT OR ANY MEDIUM IT MAY BE ON, INCLUDING BUT NOT
LIMITED TO WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A
PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

Some states do not allow disclaimers of implied warranties or
the exclusion or limitation of consequential damages, so the
above disclaimers and exclusions may not apply to you, and you
may have other legal rights.

INDEMNITY
You will indemnify and hold the Project, its directors,
officers, members and agents harmless from all liability, cost
and expense, including legal fees, that arise directly or
indirectly from any of the following that you do or cause:
[1] distribution of this etext, [2] alteration, modification,
or addition to the etext, or [3] any Defect.

DISTRIBUTION UNDER "PROJECT GUTENBERG-tm"
You may distribute copies of this etext electronically, or by
disk, book or any other medium if you either delete this
"Small Print!" and all other references to Project Gutenberg,
or:

[1]  Only give exact copies of it.  Among other things, this
     requires that you do not remove, alter or modify the
     etext or this "small print!" statement.  You may however,
     if you wish, distribute this etext in machine readable
     binary, compressed, mark-up, or proprietary form,
     including any form resulting from conversion by word pro-
     cessing or hypertext software, but only so long as
     *EITHER*:

     [*]  The etext, when displayed, is clearly readable, and
          does *not* contain characters other than those
          intended by the author of the work, although tilde
          (~), asterisk (*) and underline (_) characters may
          be used to convey punctuation intended by the
          author, and additional characters may be used to
          indicate hypertext links; OR

     [*]  The etext may be readily converted by the reader at
          no expense into plain ASCII, EBCDIC or equivalent
          form by the program that displays the etext (as is
          the case, for instance, with most word processors);
          OR

     [*]  You provide, or agree to also provide on request at
          no additional cost, fee or expense, a copy of the
          etext in its original plain ASCII form (or in EBCDIC
          or other equivalent proprietary form).

[2]  Honor the etext refund and replacement provisions of this
     "Small Print!" statement.

[3]  Pay a trademark license fee to the Project of 20% of the
     net profits you derive calculated using the method you
     already use to calculate your applicable taxes.  If you
     don't derive profits, no royalty is due.  Royalties are
     payable to "Project Gutenberg Association/Carnegie-Mellon
     University" within the 60 days following each
     date you prepare (or were legally required to prepare)
     your annual (or equivalent periodic) tax return.

WHAT IF YOU *WANT* TO SEND MONEY EVEN IF YOU DON'T HAVE TO?
The Project gratefully accepts contributions in money, time,
scanning machines, OCR software, public domain etexts, royalty
free copyright licenses, and every other sort of contribution
you can think of.  Money should be paid to "Project Gutenberg
Association / Carnegie-Mellon University".

*END*THE SMALL PRINT! FOR PUBLIC DOMAIN ETEXTS*Ver.04.29.93*END*





The Etext was prepared for Project Gutenberg by Anthony Matonac





TOM SWIFT AND HIS UNDERSEA SEARCH
OR
The Treasure on the Floor of the Atlantic

BY
VICTOR APPLETON




CONTENTS

CHAPTER

    I  UNTOLD MILLIONS

   II  A STRANGE OFFER

  III  THINKING IT OVER

   IV  AGAINST HIS WILL

    V  BUSY DAYS

   VI  MARY'S ODD STORY

  VII  THE TRIAL TRIP

 VIII  THE MUD BANK

   IX  READY TO START

    X  STARTLING REVELATIONS

   XI  BARTON KEITH'S STORY

  XII  IN DEEP WATERS

 XIII  THE SEA MONSTER

  XIV  IN STRANGE PERIL

   XV  TOM TO THE RESCUE

  XVI  GASPING FOR AIR

 XVII  WHERE IS IT?

XVIII  A SEPARATION

  XIX  THE SERPENT WEED

   XX  THE DEVIL FISH

  XXI  A WAR REMINDER

 XXII  STUDYING CURRENTS

XXIII  AN UNDERSEA COLLISION

 XXIV  THE TREASURE SHIP

  XXV  THE STEEL BOX




TOM SWIFT AND HIS UNDERSEA SEARCH



CHAPTER I

UNTOLD MILLIONS



"Tom, this is certainly wonderful reading! Over a hundred
million dollars' worth of silver at the bottom of the ocean! More
than two hundred million dollars in gold! To say nothing of fifty
millions in copper, ten millions in--"

"Say, hold on there, Ned! Hold on! Where do you get that stuff;
as the boys say? Has something gone wrong with one of the adding
machines, or is it just on account of the heat? What's the big
idea, anyhow? How many millions did you say?" and Tom Swift, the
talented young inventor, looked at Ned Newton, his financial
manager, with a quizzical smile.

"It's all right, Tom! It's all right!" declared Ned, and it
needed but a glance to show that he was more serious than was his
companion. "I'm not suffering from the heat, though the
thermometer is getting close to ninety-five in the shade. And if
you want to know where I get 'that stuff' read this!"

He tossed over to his chum, employer, and friend--for Tom Swift
assumed all three relations toward Ned Newton--part of a Sunday
newspaper. It was turned to a page containing a big illustration
of a diver attired in the usual rubber suit and big helmet,
moving about on the floor of the ocean and digging out boxes of
what was supposed to be gold from a sunken wreck.

"Oh, that stuff!" exclaimed Tom, with a smile of disbelief as
he saw the source of Ned's information. "Seems to me I've read
something like that before, Ned!"

"Of course you have!" agreed the young financial manager of the
newly organized Swift Construction Company. "It isn't anything
new. This wealth of untold millions has been at the bottom of the
sea for many years--always increasing with nobody ever spending a
cent of it. And since the Great War this wealth has been
enormously added to because of the sinking of so many ships by
German submarines."

"Well, what's that got to do with us, Ned?" asked Tom, as he
looked over some blue prints and other papers on his desk, for
the talk was taking place in his office. "You and I did our part
in the war, but I don't see what all this undersea wealth has to
do with us. We've got our work cut out for us if we take care of
all the new contracts that came in this week."

"Yes, I know," admitted Ned. "But I couldn't help calling your
attention to this article, Tom. It's authentic!"

"Authentic? What do you mean

"Well, the man who wrote it went to the trouble of getting from
the ship insurance companies a list of all the wrecks and lost
vessels carrying gold and silver coin, bullion, and other
valuables. He has gone back a hundred years, and he brings it
right down to just before the war. Hasn't had time to compile
that list, the article says. But without counting the vessels the
Germans sank, there is, in various places on the bottom of the
ocean today, wrecks of ships that carried, when they went down,
gold, silver, copper and other metals to the value of at least
ten billions of dollars!"

Tom Swift did not seem to be at all surprised by the explosive
emphasis with which Ned Newton conveyed this information. He
gazed calmly at his friend and manager, and then handed the paper
back.

"I haven't time to look at it now," said Tom. "But is there
anything new in the story? I mean has any of the wealth been
recovered lately--or is it in a way to be?"

"Yes!" exclaimed Ned. "It is! A company has been formed in
Japan for the purpose of using a new kind of diving bell,
invented by an American, it seems. The inventor claims that in
his machine he can go down deeper than ever man went before, and
bring up a lot of this lost ocean wealth."

"Well, every so often an inventor, or some one who calls
himself that, crops up with a new proposal for cleaning up the
untold millions on the floor of the Atlantic or the Pacific,"
replied Tom. "Mind you, I'm not saying it isn't there. Everybody
knows that hundreds of ships carrying gold and silver have gone
down in storms or been sunk in war. And some of the gold and
silver has been recovered by divers--I admit that. In fact, if
you recall, my father and I perfected a new style diving dress a
few years ago that was successfully used in getting down to a
wreck off the Cuban coast. A treasure ship went down there, and I
believe they recovered a large part of the gold bullion--or
perhaps it was silver.

"But this diving bell stunt isn't new, and it hasn't been
successful. Of course a man can go down to a greater depth in a
thick iron diving bell than he can in a diving suit. That's
common knowledge. But the trouble with a diving bell is that it
can't be moved about as a man can move about in a diving suit.
The man in the bell can't get inside the wreck, and it's there
where the gold or silver is usually to be found."

"Can't they blow the wreck apart with dynamite, and scatter the
gold on the bottom of the ocean?" asked Ned.

"Yes, they could do that, but usually they scatter it so far,
and the ocean currents so cover it with sand, that it is
impossible ever to get it again. I admit that if a wreck is blown
apart a man in a diving bell can perhaps get a small part of it.
But the limitations of a diving bell are so well recognized that
several inventors have tried adjusting movable arms to the bell,
to be operated by the man inside."

"Did they work?" asked Ned.

"After a fashion, yes. But I never heard of any case where the
gold and silver recovered paid for the expenses of making the
bell and sending men down in it. For it takes the same sort of
outfit to aid the man in the diving bell as it does the diver in
his usual rubber or steel suit. Air has to be pumped to him, and
he has to be lowered and raised."

"Well, isn't there any way of getting at this gold on the floor
of the ocean?" asked Ned, his enthusiasm a little cooled by the
practical "cold water" Tom had thrown.

"Oh, yes, of course there is, in a way," was the answer of the
young inventor. "Don't you remember how my father and I, with Mr.
Damon and Captain Weston, went in our submarine, the Advance, and
discovered the wreck of the Boldero?"

"I do recall that," admitted Ned.

"Well," resumed Tom, "there was a case of showing how much
trouble we had. An ordinary diving outfit never would have
answered. We had to locate the wreck, and a hard time we had
doing it. Then, when we found it, we had to ram the old ship and
blow it apart before we could get inside. Even after that we just
happened to discover the gold, as it were. I'm only mentioning
this to show you it isn't so easy to get at the wealth under the
sea as writers in Sunday newspaper supplements think it is."

"I believe you, Tom. And yet it seems a shame to have all those
millions going to waste, doesn't it?" And Ned spoke as a banker
and financial man, who is not happy unless money is earning
interest all the while.

"Well, a billion of dollars is a lot," Tom admitted. "And when
you think of all that have been sunk, say even in the last
hundred years, it amazes one. But still, all the gold and silver
was hidden in the earth before it was dug out, and now it's only
gone back where it came from, in a way. We got along before men
dug it out and coined it into money, and I guess we'll get along
when it's under water. No use worrying over the ocean treasures,
as far as I'm concerned."

"You're a hopeless proposition!" laughed Ned. "You'd never make
a banker, or a Napoleon of finance."

"That's why my father and I got you to look after our financial
affairs," and Tom smiled. "You're just the one--with your
interest-bearing mind--to keep us off the shoals of business
trouble."

"Yes, I suppose I can do that, while you and your father go on
inventing giant cannons, great searchlights, submarines, and
airships," conceded Ned. "But this, to me, did look like an easy
way of making money."

"How's that, Ned?" asked Tom, a new note coming into his voice.
"Were you thinking of going to Japan and taking a hand in the
undersea search?"

"No. But stock in this company is being sold, and shareholders
stand to win big returns--if the wrecks are come upon."

"That's just it!" exclaimed Tom. "If they find the wrecks! And
let me tell you, Ned, that there's a mighty big 'if' in it all.
Do you realize how hard it is to find anything on the ocean, to
say nothing of something under it?"

"I hadn't thought of it."

"Well, you'd better think of it. You know on the ocean sailors
have to locate a certain imaginary position by calculation, using
the sun and stars as guides. Of course, they have navigation down
pretty fine, and a good pilot can get to a place on the surface
of the ocean and meet another craft there almost as well as you
and I can make an appointment to meet at Main and Broad streets
at a certain hour.

"But lots of times there are errors in calculations or a storm
comes up hiding the sun and stars, and, instead of a captain
getting to where he wants to, he's anywhere from one to a hundred
miles out. Now the location of Broad and Main Streets doesn't
change even in a storm.

"And I'm not saying that a location on an ocean changes. I'm
only saying that the least disturbance or error in calculation
makes it almost impossible to find the exact spot. And if it's
that hard on the surface, where you can see what you're doing,
how much harder is it in regard to something on the bottom of the
sea? So don't take any stock in these ocean treasure recovering
companies. They may not be fakes, but they're mighty uncertain."

"Oh, I don't know that I was really going to buy any stock in
this Japanese concern, Tom. I only thought it would be
interesting to think about. And perhaps you might sell them a
submarine or some of your diving apparatus."

"Nothing doing, Ned. We've got other plans, my father and I.
There's that new tractor for use in the big wheat-growing belt,
to say nothing of--"

Tom's remarks were interrupted by voices outside his office
door. One voice, in particular, rose above the others. It said:

"No can go in! The Master he am busily! No can go in!"

"Nonsense, Koku!" exclaimed a man, and at the sound of his
voice Tom and Ned smiled. "Nonsense! Of course I can go in! Why,
bless my watch fob, I must go in! I've got the greatest
proposition to lay before Tom Swift that he ever heard of!
There's at least a million in it! Let me pass, Koku!"

"Mr. Damon!" murmured Tom Swift. "I wonder what he has on his
mind now

As he spoke the door opened rather violently and a short, stout
man, evidently much excited, fairly burst into the room,
followed, more sedately, by a stranger.



CHAPTER II

A STRANGE OFFER



"Hello, Tom Swift! Hello, Ned! Glad to see you both! Busy, as
usual, I'll wager. Bless my check book! I never saw you when you
weren't busy at some scheme or other, Tom, my boy. But I won't
take up much of your time. Tom Swift, let me introduce my friend,
Mr. Dixwell Hardley. Mr. Hardley, shake hands with Tom Swift, one
of the youngest, and yet one of the greatest, inventors in the
world! I've told you a little about him, but it would take me all
day to tell you what he really has done and--"

"Hold on, Mr. Damon!" laughed Tom, as he shook hands with the
man whom Mr. Damon had named Dixwell Hardley. "Hold on, if you
please. There's a limit to it, you know, and already you've said
enough about me to--"

"Bless my ink bottle, Tom, I haven't said half enough!"
interrupted the little, eccentric man. "Wait until you hear what
he has done, Mr. Hardley. Then, if you don't say he's the very
chap for your wonderful scheme, I'm mighty much mistaken! And
shake hands with Ned Newton, too. He's Tom's financial manager,
and of course he'll have something to say. Though when he hears
how you are going to turn over a couple of million dollars or
more, why, I know he'll be on our side."

Ned's eyes sparkled at the mention of the money. In truth he
dealt in dollars and cents for the benefit of Tom Swift. Ned
shook hands with Mr. Hardley and Tom motioned Mr. Damon and his
friend to chairs.

"Now, Tom," went on the strange little man, "I know you're
busy. Bless my adding machine, I never saw you when--"

At that moment there arose in the corridor outside Tom's
private office a discord of voices, in which one could be heard
exclaiming:

"Now yo' clear out oh heah! Massa Tom done tole me to sweep
dish yeah place, an' ef yo' doan let me alone, why--why--"

"Huh! Radicate him big stiff--dat's what! Big stiff! Too stiff
for sweep Master's floor. Koku sweep one hand!"

"Oh, yo' t'ink 'case yo' is sich a big giant, yo' kin git de
best ob ole black Rad! But I'll show yo' dat--"

"Excuse me a moment," said Tom, with a smile to his guests as
he arose. "Eradicate and Koku are at it again, I'm sorry to say.
I'll have to go out and arbitrate the strike," and he left the
room.

While he is settling the differences between his faithful old
black servant and Koku, the giant, I will take the opportunity of
telling my new readers something about Tom Swift.

Those who are familiar with the previous books of this series
may skip this part. But it will give my new audience a better
insight into this story if they will bear with me a moment and
peruse these few lines.

As related in the first book, "Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle,"
the hero seemed born an inventive genius. It was this inventive
faculty which enabled him to take the motor cycle that tried to
climb a tree with Mr. Wakefield Damon on it and make the wreck
into a serviceable bit of mechanism. Thus Tom became acquainted
with Mr. Damon, who among other eccentricities, was always
"blessing" something personal.

Tom Swift lived in the city of Shopton with his father and
their faithful housekeeper, Mrs. Baggert. It was so named because
the Swift shops were an important industry there. Tom's father,
as well as Tom himself, was an inventor of note, and employed
many men in building machines of various kinds. During the Great
War the services of Tom and his father had been dedicated to the
government.

There are a number of books dealing with Tom's activities, the
list of titles of which may be found at the beginning of this
volume.

Sufficient to say here, that Tom invented and operated motor
boats, airships, and submarines. In addition he traveled on many
expeditions with Mr. Damon, Ned, and others. He went among the
diamond makers and it was when he escaped from captivity that he
managed to bring away Koku, the giant, with him. Since then Koku
and Eradicate Sampson, the faithful colored man, had periodic
quarrels as to who should serve the young inventor.

Besides inventing and using many machines of motive power, Tom
Swift engaged in other industries. He helped dig a big tunnel, he
constructed a photo-telephone, a great searchlight and a monster
cannon. Occasionally he had searched for treasure, once under
the sea, with considerable success.

Of late his and his father's industries had become so important
that a number of new buildings had been constructed and the plant
greatly enlarged. Ned Newton, who had once worked in a Shopton
bank, became financial manager for Tom and his father, and plenty
of work he found with which to occupy himself.

Just prior to the opening of this story Tom had perfected a
noiseless aeroplane--or one so nearly silent as to justify the
name. The details of it will be found in the book called "Tom
Swift and His Air Scout." In this mechanism of the air Tom had
had some wonderful experiences, and they had not been at home
more than a few weeks when New Newton broached the subject of
undersea wealth.

The talk of Tom and his financial manager was interrupted by
the arrival of Mr. Damon and the stranger he had introduced as
Mr. Hardley.

Eradicate, or "Rad," and Koku, have been mentioned. Rad was an
ancient colored man who once owned a mule named Boomerang.
Sampson was the colored servant's last name, and he declared he
had chosen the one "Eradicate" because in his younger days he was
a great cleaner and whitewasher, "eradicating" the dirt, so to
speak.

Boomerang had, some time since, gone where all good mules go,
though Eradicate declared he would get another and call him
Boomerang II. But, so far, he had not done so.

Rad, though too old to do heavy work, still believed he was
indispensable to the welfare of Tom and his father; and as the
giant Koku, who was physically an immense man, held the same
view, it followed there were frequent clashes between the two, as
on the occasion just mentioned.

"What was the matter, Tom?" asked Ned, when the young inventor
came back into the room.

"Oh, the same old story," replied Tom. "Rad wanted to sweep the
hall, and Koku insisted he was to do it."

"What'd you do, Tom?" asked Mr. Damon.

"I settled it by having Rad sweep this hall and sending Koku to
do another--a bigger one I told him. He likes hard work, so he
was pleased. Now we'll have it quiet for a little while. Did I
understand you to say, Mr. Damon, that--er--Mr. Hardley I believe
the name is--had a proposition to make to me

"That's exactly it, my dear Mr. Swift!" broke in the man in
question. "I have a wonderful offer to make you, and I'm sure you
will admit that it will be well worth your while to consider and
accept it. There will be at least a million in it--"

"Bless my check book, I thought you said several millions!"
exclaimed Mr. Damon.

"So I did," was the rather nettled answer. "I was about to say,
Mr. Damon, that there will be at least a million in it for Mr.
Swift, and another million for myself. There may be more, but I
want to be conservative."

"Talking in millions, and calling himself conservative," mused
Ned Newton. "Somehow or other I don't just cotton to this
fellow!"

"When our mutual friend, Mr. Damon, told me about you, my dear
Mr. Swift," went on Mr. Hardley, "I at once came to the
conclusion that you were the very man I wanted to do business
with. I'm sure it will be to our mutual advantage."

Tom Swift said nothing. He was willing to let the other talk,
while he waited to see how far he would go. And, as Tom said
afterward, he, as had Ned, took an instinctive dislike to Mr.
Hardley. He could not say definitely what it was, but that was
his feeling. That he might be mistaken, he admitted frankly. Time
alone could tell.

"Have you a half hour to give me while it explain matters?"
asked Mr. Hardley. "I may go farther and say I need considerable
time to go into all the details. May I speak now?"

To tell the truth Tom Swift had many important matters to
consider, and, in addition, Ned Newton was prepared to go over
some financial ends of the business with Tom. But the young
inventor felt that, in justice to his friend Mr. Damon, who had
brought Mr. Hardley, he could do no less than give the stranger a
hearing. But only the introduction by Mr. Damon brought this
about.

"I shall be glad to hear what you have to say, Mr. Hardley,"
said Tom, as courteously as he could. "I will not go so far as to
say that my time is unlimited, but I will listen to you now if
you care to go into details."

"That's good!" exclaimed the visitor. "I'm sure that when you
have listened you will agree with me."

"He's a little bit too sure!" mused Ned.

"Bless my pocketbook, Tom, but there are millions in it!"
exclaimed Mr. Damon. "Literally millions, Tom!"

Mr. Hardley settled himself comfortably in his chair and looked
from Tom to Ned.

"May I speak freely here?" he asked, with obvious intent.

"You may," the young inventor answered. "Mr. Newton is my
financial manager, and I do nothing of importance without
consulting him. You may regard him as a member of the firm, in
fact, as he does own some stock. My father is practically
retired, and I do not trouble him with unimportant details. So
Mr. Newton and I are prepared to listen to you."

"Very well, Mr. Swift, I'm going to ask you a question. Have
you all the money you want?"

Tom laughed.

"I suppose any man would answer that question in the negative,"
he replied. "Frankly, I could use more money, though I am not
poor."

"So I have heard. Well, would a million dollars clear profit
appeal to you?"

"It certainly would," was the answer.

"Then I am prepared to offer you that sum," went on Mr.
Hardley. "But there are certain conditions, and I may say that
this vast wealth is not easy to come at. However, with your
inventive genius, I am sure you will be able to solve the mystery
of the sea. Now then as to details. There lies, on the floor of
the ocean--"

"Hark!" exclaimed Tom, raising a hand to enjoin silence. "I
think I hear some one coming." At that moment there was a knock
at the door.



CHAPTER III

THINKING IT OVER



"FATHER, is that you?" asked Tom. "Father hasn't been feeling
well, of late," he said to the assembled company, "and I told him
to go to lie down. But he's hard to manage, and he won't rest
more than ten minutes at a time. My father, I might explain, Mr.
Hardley," Tom went on, "is actively associated with me in
business."

"So I have understood," said the man who had been introduced by
Mr. Damon.

"Dis Koku!" came the guttural voice of the giant from the other
side of the door. "Koku want more work. Hall, him all clean.
Maybe I help dat no-good Rad now."

"No you don't, Koku!" exclaimed the young inventor, with a
laugh. "You keep away from Rad. You'll get to disputing again and
interrupt me, and I have business on hand. Here, wait a minute.
I'll find something for you to do," he went on, opening the door
to disclose the immense man standing outside, a broom in his hand
seeming like a toy.

"Excuse me one moment," went on Tom to his friends. Taking up
his desk telephone he called one of the shops, asking: "Have you
any heavy work on hand this morning; lifting big castings, or
anything like that? You have? Good! I'll send Koku right over."

Turning to the giant who apparently had not paid much attention
to the talk over the wire, Tom said:

"Koku, go over to shop number ten, ask for the foreman, and
he'll keep you busy. There are some five-hundred-pound castings
that need assembling, and you can help him."

"Good!" exclaimed the giant, with a cheerful grin. "Koku like
big work--no like sweep. Good for women and Rad, but not for
Koku!"

"He spoke the truth there," remarked Ned Newton, as the giant
stalked down the hall. "I never saw such a strong man. I'm afraid
to shake hands with him, for fear I'll be minus a couple of
fingers in the operation."

"Well, he's disposed of," remarked Tom, as he closed the door.
"And now, Mr. Hardley, I'm at your service, as far as listening
to your proposition is concerned."

"Thank you. I shall endeavor to be brief," remarked the
visitor. "Am I correct in assuming that you have had some
experience in submarine work? I believe Mr. Damon mentioned
something of that sort."

"Submarine work? Bless my hydrometer, I should say so!"
exclaimed the eccentric man. "And not only in submarine, but in
aeroplane! but you don't need any aeroplanes, my dear Mr.
Hardley. It's the submarine end of it that you are interested in,
as far as Tom Swift is concerned. Now go ahead and tell him what
you told me, and how many millions there are in it."

"Very well," assented the visitor. "Have you ever had any
experience in recovering treasure from sunken wrecks?" he asked
Tom.

"Yes," was the answer. "And it is curious that you should ask
me that, for my friend here, Ned Newton, and I were just talking
about that very matter. Here's what brought it up," and Tom
showed the page from the Sunday paper.

"Hum! Yes!" musingly remarked Mr. Hardley. "That's all very
well. Part of it is true; but I imagine most of it is the work of
imagination of some enterprising reporter. Of course there is no
question but that there are untold millions on the bottom of the
ocean. The only trouble, as I think you will agree with me, Mr.
Swift, is in coming at the money."

"Exactly," said Tom.

"And will you bear me out when I say that if the wreck of a
treasure ship could be exactly located in water that is not too
deep, half the trouble would be solved?" asked Mr. Hardley.

"A good share of it would," answered Tom. "That is usually the
chief difficulty--locating the wreck. Nearly always they are
anywhere from one to five miles from where the persons seeking
them think they are. And five miles, or even half a mile, is a
good distance on the bottom of the ocean."

"Exactly," echoed Mr. Hardley. "Then if I could give you the
exact location of a sunken treasure ship, and prove to you that
the owners had given up the search for it, leaving it open to
salvage on the part of whoever wished to try--would that be any
inducement to you to make an attempt, Mr. Swift?"

"I should want to hear more about it before I gave an answer,"
replied Tom. "As perhaps Mr. Damon has told you, I once went on a
hunt for treasure in my submarine. We found it, but only after
considerable trouble, and then I declared I'd never again engage
in such a search. There wasn't enough net profit in it."

"But there are millions in this, Tom! Bless my gold tooth, but
there are millions!" cried the excitable Mr. Damon. "Hurry up and
tell him!" he urged his friend.

"I will," assented Mr. Hardley. "I can readily believe," he
went on, "that the cost of hunting for undersea treasure is
great. I have taken that into consideration. Now, in brief, my
plan is this. I will join forces with you, and bear half the
expense if I am allowed to share half the proceeds. That's fair,
isn't it?" he asked Tom.

"So far, yes," replied the young inventor.

"Now then, to business!" exclaimed the visitor. "Will you join
with me in searching for some of the wealth-laden wrecks that are
rotting at the bottom of the sea, Mr. Swift?"

"Do you mean make an indiscriminate search for any one of a
number of wrecks?" Tom wanted to know.

"I should want the understanding broad enough to include all
wrecks we might discover," was the answer, "but I have in mind
one in particular now. It is the wreck of the steamer Pandora
which was sunk off the coast of one of the West Indian Islands
about a year ago."

Ned Newton quickly caught up the page of the Sunday supplement
and scanned the list of wrecks given there.

"No mention of the Pandora here," he said.

"No," agreed Mr. Hardley, "the story of this wreck is not
generally known, and the story of the treasure she carried is
hardly known at all. As a matter of fact, this money, mostly in
gold, was to finance a South American revolution, and such
matters are generally kept quiet. That is why nothing much
appeared in the papers about the Pandora. But I happen to know
that she carried over two million dollars in gold, and I know--"

"Think of that, Tom! Think of that!" cried Mr. Damon. "Two
million dollars in gold! Why bless my--bless my--"

But the eccentric man could think of nothing adequate to bless
under the circumstances, and he subsided with a murmur.

"Excuse me for interrupting you," he said to his new friend.
"But I just couldn't help it."

"That's all right," Mr. Hardley remarked, with a smile that
showed two rows of very even, white teeth. "I don't blame you for
getting excited. Does that interest you?" he asked Tom. "Two
million dollars in gold, besides a quantity of silver --just how
much I don't know."

"It certainly sounds interesting," replied Tom, with a smile.
"But are you sure of your facts?"

"Absolutely," was the answer. "I was a passenger on the Pandora
when she was wrecked in a storm. I saw the gold put on board. It
was not taken off, and is on her now as she lies at the bottom of
the sea."

"And the location?" queried Tom.

"I know that, too!" said Mr. Hardley eagerly. "I was with the
captain just before we had to abandon ship, and I heard the exact
nautical location given him by an officer who made the
calculation. I have it written down to the second--latitude and
longitude. That will be a help in locating the wreck, won't it?"

"Why, yes," Tom had to agree, "it will be. but if you know it,
then the captain and others must know it. And what is to prevent
them from making a search for the Pandora if they have not
already done so

"The best reason in the world," was the answer. "The boat
containing the captain and the officer who gave him the ship's
position was sunk, and all on board lost. The boat I was in was
the only one picked up, and I believe I am the only one who knows
exactly where the Pandora lies.

"Now, here is my offer, Mr. Swift," went on the seeker after
the ocean's hidden wealth. "I will bear half the expense of
fitting out a submarine, or for any other kind of expedition to
go in search of the wreck of the Pandora. I will furnish you with
the exact nautical location, as I have it. And when the wealth is
found and brought to the surface, I will give you half--in other
words at least a million dollars! Does that appeal to you?"

"I must say it is a fair, though perhaps strange, offer,"
conceded Tom. "And a million dollars is not made every day nor
every year. But what about the title to this money? After we have
recovered it--provided we are successful--will not some person or
some government lay claim to it?"

"None can successfully," declared Mr. Hardley. "As I told you,
the money was to finance a revolution. It was raised for an
unlawful purpose, so to speak, and no one has a valid claim to it
under the circumstances, so lawyers whom I have consulted have
told me. But if that is not enough, I have papers to prove that
those who might be called the owners have given up the search for
it. More than a year has elapsed, and though I don't know just
how long it takes to outlaw an under-ocean claim, I feel sure
that we would have a legal and moral right to take this gold if
we could find it."

"I should want to be satisfied on that point before I undertook
the search," said Tom.

"Then you will undertake it?" eagerly exclaimed Mr. Hardley.

"I will think it over," Tom answered quietly--so quietly that
distinct disappointment showed on the face of the visitor.



CHAPTER IV

AGAINST HIS WILL



For a moment it seemed that Mr. Damon, as well as Mr. Hardley,
felt disappointment at Tom's answer, for the eccentric man
exclaimed:

"Bless my leather belt, Tom, but you aren't very keen on making
a million dollars!"

"Oh, yes, I like to make money," the young inventor answered.
"I guess you know that, as well as any one, for you've been with
me on several trips. And I don't mind hard work, nor danger."

"I'll say you don't!" added Ned, as he thought of some of Tom's
perilous voyages, among the diamond makers and in the caves of
ice.

"Well, if you are anxious to make money, as I admit I am," said
Mr. Hardley, "why can't you give me an answer now?"

"Because," answered Tom, "there are many things to be
considered. Hunting for a treasure on the floor of the Atlantic
isn't like going to some location on land, however wild or
inaccessible it might be. Do you realize, Mr. Hardley, what a
large difference in miles a small error in nautical calculations
makes? We might go to the exact spot where you thought the wreck
of the Pandora lies, only to find that we would have to hunt
around a long time.

"I must think of that, and also think of my other business
affairs. Then, too, there is my father. He is getting old, and
while he is still active in the affairs of the company,
particularly when it comes to taking up new lines of work, I do
not like to think of leaving him, as I should have to, in case I
went on this trip."

"Take him along!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "He's gone with us
before, Tom."

"He's too old now," said the young inventor a bit sadly.
"Father will never make another extended trip. But I will let you
have my answer as soon as I can, Mr. Hardley, and I will give the
matter considerable thought."

"I'm sure I hope you will, and also that you will consent to
go," was the answer. "A million is not easily to be come at in
these days after the Great War."

"I realize that," agreed Tom with a smile. "And you shall have
my answer as soon as possible."

With this the visitor was forced to be content, and a little
later he withdrew with Mr. Damon, the latter telling Tom that he
would see him. again soon.

"Well, that was queer, wasn't it?" remarked Ned, when he and
Tom were alone again.

"What was?" asked Tom, as though his mind was far away, as
indeed it was.

"That this man should come in with his project to search for a
sunken treasure wreck just as we were talking about how many
millions were on the bottom of the ocean."

"Yes, it was quite a coincidence," Tom admitted.

"What do you think of it--and him?" asked Ned.

"Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't take a great fancy to
Mr. Hardley," Tom said. "I think he's altogether too cocksure,
and takes too much for granted. Still I may misjudge him.
Certainly he doesn't have a chance at a million dollars every
day."

"Do you think you could get the treasure out of this wreck,
Tom, if you could locate her?"

"Why, it's possible; yes. We proved that with the Boldero."

"Would you use the same submarine?"

"No, I think I'd have to rebuild it, or make an altogether new
one. Possibly I might get one of Uncle Sam's and add some
improvements of my own."

"Yes, you could do that," agreed Ned. "You've done so much for
the government that it couldn't refuse you something reasonable,
now that the war is over. Then do you think you'll go?"

"Really, Ned, I can't make up my mind yet. Now let's forget the
Pandora and all the millions and get down to business. This
Criterion company seems to me to want altogether too much, We'll
have to trim their request down a bit. They owe the money and
ought to pay it."

"Yes, I'll get after them," said Ned, and then he and his chum,
as well as employer, plunged into a mass of business details.

It was the next afternoon, when Tom, following a strenuous
morning of work, leaned back in his chair at his desk, that Mr.
Damon was announced.

"Tell him to come in," ordered Tom, always glad to see his
friend. "Wait a minute, though!" he called to the messenger. "Is
any one with him?"

"No, sir; he is alone."

"Good! Then show him right in. I was afraid," said Tom to Ned,
who was also in the office, "that he had Hardley with him. I'm
not quite ready to see him yet."

"Then you haven't made up your mind about going for the
treasure?"

"Not exactly. I shall, perhaps, this week."

"Bless my matchbox, Tom, but I'm glad to see you!" cried Mr.
Damon, as he hastened forward with outstretched hand. "I was
afraid you might be out. Now look here! What about my friend
Hardley? He's very anxious to know your decision about going for
that treasure, and I said I'd come over and sound you. I don't
mind saying, Tom, that if you go I'm going too; if you'll take
me, of course."

"Well, Mr. Damon, you know you'll always be welcome, as far as
I am concerned," said the young inventor; "but, as a matter of
fact, I don't believe I'm going."

"What? Not going to pick up a million dollars off the floor of
the ocean, Tom? Bless my bank balance! but that's foolish, it
seems to me."

"Perhaps it is, but I can't help it."

"What's your principal objection?" asked the eccentric man. "It
isn't that you don't want the money, is it?"

"Not exactly."

"Then it must be that you object to Mr. Hardley personally."
went on Mr. Damon. "I began to suspect that, Tom, and I want to
say that you are wrong. Mr. Hardley is a friend of mine--a good
friend. I have not known him long, but he strikes me as being all
right. He had some good letters of introduction, and I believe he
has money."

"Where'd he get it?" asked Tom.

"I don't know, exactly. Seems to me I heard him mention silver
mines, or it may have been gold. Anyhow, it had something to do
with getting wealth out of the ground. Now, Tom, I don't mind
saying that I stand to make a little money in case this thing
goes through."

"How's that, Mr. Damon?" asked the young scientist in surprise.

"Why, I agreed to bear part of the expense," was the answer. "I
thought this was a pretty good scheme, and when Mr. Hardley came
to me and told me of the possibilities I agreed to help him
finance the expenses. That is, I have taken shares in the company
he formed to raise his half of the expense money.

"Of course I thought of you at once when he spoke of having to
search out a sunken wreck, and I proposed your name. He'd heard
of you, he said, but didn't know you. So I brought you together
and now--bless my apple pie, Tom! I hope you aren't going to turn
down a chance to make a million and, incidentally, help an old
friend."

"Well," remarked Tom, slowly, "I must admit, Mr. Damon, that I
didn't think you'd go into a thing like this. Not that it is more
risky than other schemes, but I thought you didn't care for
speculation."

"Well, this sort of appealed to me Tom. You know--sunken wreck
under the ocean, down in a diving bell perhaps, and all that!
There's romance to it."

"Yes, there is romance," agreed Tom. "And hard work, too. If I
undertook this it would mean an extra lot of work getting ready.
I suppose I could use my own submarine. I could get her in
commission, and make improvements more quickly than on any
other."

"Then you'll go?" quickly cried the eccentric man.

"Well, since you tell me you are interested financially, I
believe I will," assented Tom, but he spoke reluctantly. "As a
matter of fact, I am going against my better judgment. Not that I
fear we shall be in danger," he hastened to add; "but I think it
will prove a failure. However, as Mr. Hardley will bear half the
expense, and as by using my own submarine that will not be much,
I'll go!"

"Then I'll tell him!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "Hurray! This is
great! I haven't had an exciting trip for a long while! Don't
tell my wife about it," he begged Tom and Ned. "At least not
until just before we start. Then she can't object in time. I'll
have a wonderful experience, I know. This will be good news to
Dixwell Hardley!"

And as Mr. Damon hastened away to acquaint his new friend with
Tom's decision, the young inventor remarked to Ned:

"I'll go; but, somehow, I have a feeling that something will
happen."

"Something bad?" asked the financial manager. "No, I wouldn't
go so far as to say that. But I believe we'll have trouble. I'll
start on the search for the sunken millions, but rather against
my better judgment. However, maybe Mr. Damon's luck and good
nature will pull us through!"



CHAPTER V

BUSY DAYS



ONCE Tom Swift had made up his mind to do a thing he did it--
even though it was against his better judgment. His word, passed,
was his bond.

In conformity then with his decision to take Mr. Damon and the
latter's friend, Mr. Hardley, on an undersea search for treasure,
Tom at once proceeded to make his preparations. Ned, too, had his
work to do, since the decision to make what might be a long trip
would necessitate a change in Tom's plans. But, as in everything
he did, he threw himself into this whole-heartedly and with
enthusiasm.

Not once did Tom Swift admit to himself that he was going into
this scheme because he thought well of it. It was all for Mr.
Damon, after Tom had learned that his friend had invested
considerable money in a company Mr. Hardley had formed to pay
half the expenses of the trip.

Tom even tried to buy Mr. Damon off, by offering the latter
back all the money the eccentric man had invested with his new
friend. But Mr. Damon exclaimed:

"Bless my gasolene tank, Tom! I'm in this thing as much for the
love of adventure, as I am for the money. Now let's go on with
it. You will like Hardley better when you know him better."

"Perhaps," said Tom dryly, but he did not think so.

The young inventor insisted, before making any preparations for
the trip, that all the cards be laid on the table. That is, he
wanted to be sure there had been such a ship as the Pandora, that
she was laden with gold, and that she had sunk where Mr. Hardley
said she had. The latter was perfectly willing to supply all
needful proofs, even though some were difficult, because of the
nature of the voyage of the treasure craft. As a filibuster she
was not trading openly.

"Here are all the records," said Mr. Hardley to Tom one day,
when the young inventor, Ned, and Mr. Damon were gathered in
Tom's office. "You may satisfy yourself."

And, with Ned's help, Tom did.

There was no question but what the Pandora had sailed from a
certain port on a certain date. The official reports proved that.
And that she did carry a considerable treasure in gold was also
established to the satisfaction of Tom Swift. Because the gold
was to be used for furthering ends against one of the South
American governments, the gold shipment was not insured and, in
consequence, no recovery could be made.

"Then you are satisfied, are you, Mr. Swift, that the ship, set
out with over two millions in gold on board?" asked Mr. Hardley.
 "Yes, that seems to be proved," Tom admitted, and Ned nodded.
 "The next thing to prove is that she foundered in a storm about
the position I am going to tell you," went on Mr. Damon's friend.

"He doesn't tell you the exact location now, Tom," explained
Mr. Damon, "because it might leak out. He'll disclose it to us as
soon as we are out of sight of land in the submarine."

"I'm willing to agree to that proposition," Tom said. "But I
want to be sure she really did sink."

This was proved to him by official records. There was no
question but that the Pandora had gone down in a big storm. And
Mr. Hardley was on board. He proved that, too, a not very
difficult task, since the official passenger list was open to
inspection.

Mr. Hardley repeated his story about having overheard the exact
location of the ship a few minutes before she sank, and he also
told of the captain and several members of the ship's company
having been drowned. This, too, was confirmed.

"Then," went on Mr. Hardley, "all that remains for me to do is
to deposit at some bank my half of the expenses and await your
word to go aboard the submarine."

"I believe that is all," returned Tom. "But, on my part, it
will take some little time to fit the submarine out as I want to
have her. There are some special appliances I want to take along
which will aid us in the search for the gold, if we find the
place where the Pandora is sunk."

"Oh, we'll find that all right," declared Mr. Hardley, "if you
will only follow my directions."

Tom looked slightly incredulous, but said nothing.

Then followed busy days. The submarine Advance, which had made
several successful trips, as related in the book bearing the
title, "Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat," was hauled into dry
dock and the work of overhauling her begun. Tom put his best men
to work, and, after a consultation with his father, decided on
some radical changes in the craft.

"Tom, my boy," said the aged Mr. Swift, "I wish you weren't
going on this trip."

"Why, Dad?" asked the young inventor.

"Because I fear something will happen. We don't really need
this money, and suppose--suppose--"

"Oh, I'm not worrying, Dad," was the answer. "I've taken worse
risks than this, many a time. I'm really doing it as a favor to
Mr. Damon. He's got too much money invested to let him lose it.
And we can use a million dollars ourselves. It will enable me to
put in operation a plan to pension our workmen. I've long had
that in mind, but I've never had enough capital to carry it out."

"Well, of course, Tom, that's a worthy object, and I won't make
any further objections. But take my advice, and strengthen the
submarine."

"Why, Dad?" asked Tom in some surprise. "Because you'll find
the water there of a greater depth than you think," was the
answer. "I know you have the official hydrographic charts, but
there's a mistake, I'm sure. I once made a study of that part of
the ocean, and there are currents there at certain seasons of the
year that no one suspects, and deep caverns that aren't charted.
If the Pandora lies in one of these you'll need a great strength
of walls to your submarine to withstand the pressure of deep
water."

The craft Tom Swift proposed to use in searching for the
treasure ship Pandora was of the regular cigar-shape, but inside
it had many special features. It was more comfortable than the
usual submarine, not being intended for fighting, though it did
carry guns and a torpedo tube. Tom intended renaming the craft,
which had been called Advance, and one day, when there had been
some discussion as to what the undersea craft ought to be called,
Ned explained:

"Why don't you name it after her?"

"After whom?" inquired Tom, in some surprise, looking up from a
letter he was writing.

"Your friend and future wife, Mary Nestor," answered Ned. "I'm
sure she'd appreciate it."

"That isn't such a bad idea," conceded Tom musingly. "The only
thing about it is that I don't want Mary's name bandied about
that way."

"Use her initials, then," suggested Ned.

"How do you mean

"Why not call it the M. N. 1.? Isn't that a good name?"

"The M. N. 1." mused Tom. "Not so bad. If the N. C. 4 flew over
the ocean the M. N. 1 ought to be able to navigate under it. I
think I'll do that, Ned."

So the Advance, rebuilt and refitted in many ways, was
christened the M. N. 1, and a wonderful craft she proved to be.
Mary Nestor was quite pleased when Tom told her what he had done.
She appreciated the delicate compliment he had paid her.

Busy and more busy were the days that passed. As the M. N. 1
had to be refitted some miles from Tom's home, where it was
feasible to launch her for the trip, he had to make the journey
between the drydock and his shop either by automobile or
aeroplane. Often he choose the latter, since he had a number of
small, speedy craft in his hangars. Sometimes Ned or Mr. Damon
went with him, but Mr. Hardley could never be induced to ride in
an airship.

"I'll travel on the ocean or under it," he said, "but I'm not
going to take a chance in the air. I'm too afraid of falling."

"Tom, what's this?" asked Ned one day, when he and Tom had come
to see how the work of remodeling the submarine was getting
along. "It looks like something you used when you dug your big
tunnel."

"That's a new kind of diving bell," Tom answered. "You know it
isn't easy to get treasure out of a sunken ship. It isn't like
picking it off the bottom of the ocean. We've got to get it out
from inside--perhaps from inside a strong box or a safe. This
bell may come in useful."

"Can't you use the special diving suits that you always used to
carry?" the financial manager wanted to know.

"We might, if the water isn't too deep," replied Tom. "But you
know there is a limit to how far down a man in even my kind of
diving dress can go. With this diving bell a much greater depth
can be reached. And this diving bell is not like any you have
ever seen or read about. My father gave me the idea for it. I'll
demonstrate it to you some day."

A diving bell is shaped like its name. A common glass tumbler
thrust down into a pail of water, with the open side down, will
show exactly the principle on which a diving bell works. It
illustrates the fact that two things cannot occupy the same place
at the same time.

Pushing the tumbler, open end down, into the pail of water,
leaves a space in the upper end of the tumbler which the water
cannot fill, because it is already occupied with air. Imagine a
big tumbler, made of thick steel, lowered into the water. Air
pumped into the upper part not only keeps the water from
entering, but also enables a man inside to breathe and to move
about inside the bell which may be lowered to the floor of the
ocean. But, as Tom told Ned, his diving bell was a big
improvement over those commonly used.

The two young men inspected the progress made in refitting the
submarine, and Tom expressed himself as satisfied.

"How soon do you think you can start?" asked Ned.

"In about two weeks," was the answer. "I'll want to get to the
West Indies before the fall storms start. Not only will it be
impossible to make a search then, but the very location of the
sunken wreck may be changed."

"How so?" asked Ned.

"Because of undersea currents. They are strong enough, not only
to sweep a wreck away from the place where it may have settled,
but they may cover it with sand, and then it is hopeless to try
to dig it out. So We've got to go soon, if we go at all."

"Well, I'm with you!" exclaimed Ned. "Hello! here's some one
looking for you, I guess," he added, as a boy came hurrying down
to the dock from the temporary office Tom had set up there.

"You're wanted on the telephone, Mr. Swift," said the
messenger. "It's important, too."

"All right. I'll come at once," was the answer. "Hope it isn't
bad news," mused Ned, as his chum hurried on in advance. "Maybe
Hardley has found out he hasn't a right to search for that sunken
gold after all. That would be too bad for Mr. Damon!"



CHAPTER VI

MARY'S ODD STORY



"HELLO! Hello! Yes, this is Tom Swift. What's that? You've had
an accident? Great Scott, Mary! I hope you aren't hurt."

Ned overheard these words as he stood outside the temporary
office, from inside which Tom Swift was telephoning.

"There's been an accident!" thought the financial manager. "I
wonder if I can help?"

He was about to hurry in to offer his services when he heard
Tom laugh, and then he knew it was all right. He heard his chum
say:

"I'll be right over and get you. Just where are you?"

Then followed a period of listening on the part of Tom, to be
broken by the words:

"All right, I'll be right with you. Lucky I have my Air Scout
with me. You aren't afraid to ride in that, are you? No, that's
good! I'll be right over. Ned is here with me, and I'll have him
telephone to your father and mother."

With that Tom hung up the receiver and joined his chum.

"Mary had a slight automobile accident about five miles from
here," Tom told his chum. "Some green driver ran into her and
dished one of her wheels. No one hurt, but she hasn't a spare
wheel and can't navigate. She called me up at the house, not
wishing to alarm her father, and Mrs. Baggert told her you and I
had come down to the dock, so she reached me here. I'll go in the
small aeroplane and get her. Luckily I left it here the last time
I made a trip. Will you call up Mary's home and let them know
she's all right and that I'll soon be home with her? They might
hear an exaggerated account of the accident."

Ned promised to do this, and at once put in a call for the home
of his chum's fiancee, while Tom had one of his men run out the
Air Scout. This was an aeroplane recently perfected by the young
inventor which slipped through space with scarcely a sound. So
silent was it that the craft had been dubbed "Silent Sam," and it
stood Tom in good stead as those of you know who have read the
volume just before the present book. This sky glider Tom would
now use in going to the rescue of Mary Nestor was not, however,
the same large craft that figured in the previous story. That
airship had been given to the United States government for war
purposes. But Tom had built himself a smaller one for his own
use. It had the advantage of enabling him to carry on a
conversation with his passenger when he took one aloft.

About a week before Tom and Ned had flown from Shopton to the
dry dock where the submarine was being reconstructed in this
small airship. Engine trouble had developed after they had
landed, and they had gone back by automobile, leaving the Air
Scout to be repaired. This had been done, and now Tom intended to
use it in going to Mary's rescue.

Now, when the Air Scout had been run out of the hangar, Tom
climbed into it.

"Sorry I can't take you along," he called to Ned, who had
finished telephoning to Mary's home, "but, under the
circumstances--"

"Two's company and three's a crowd!" laughed Ned. "I know!"

"No, I didn't mean that," Tom said. "You know Mary likes you,
but this will carry only two."

"I know!" answered his chum. "On your way!"

And with an almost noiseless throb of her engine and a whirr of
her propeller, the aeroplane rolled swiftly over the level
starting ground and took the air like a swan leaving its lake.

Tom did not rise to a great height, as he would need only a few
minutes to reach the place where Mary was stalled by the accident
to her machine. Soon he was hovering over a level field, one of
several that lined the country highways in that section. A small
crowd on the turnpike gathered about an evidently disabled
automobile gave Tom the clew he needed, and presently he made a
landing. Instantly the throng of country people who had gathered
to look at the automobile crash deserted that for a view of
something more sensational--an airship.

Cautioning the boys who gathered about not to "monkey" with any
of the mechanism, Tom hastened over to where Mary was standing
near her car.

"Are you sure you aren't hurt?" he asked her anxiously.

"Oh, yes, very sure," she replied, smiling at him. "It isn't
much of an accident--only one wheel smashed. We were both going
slowly."

"But it was all my fault!" insisted a young fellow who had been
driving the car that crashed into Mary's. "I'm all kinds of
sorry, and of course I'll pay all damages. I wanted this young
lady to let me drive her home and then send a garage man to tow
her car, but she said she had other plans. I don't blame her for
not wanting to ride in my jitney bus when I see what kind of car
you have," and he looked over toward Tom's aeroplane.

"Thank you, just the same," murmured Mary. "I'm not quite sure
that it was all your fault. But if you will be so good as to send
a man after my machine I'll go back with Mr. Swift. Wait until I
get my bag," she added, and she extracted it from the seat in her
automobile. "There'll be room for this, won't there?" she asked.
"I've been shopping."

"You must have made some large purchases," laughed Tom, looking
critically at the small bag. "Yes, there'll be room for that, all
right."

He made a brief examination of Mary's machine, ascertaining
that the dished wheel was the main damage, and then, having given
the young man who caused the accident directions for the garage
attendant, Tom led his pretty companion across the field to the
waiting airship.

Of course a crowd gathered to see them start off, and this was
not long delayed, as Tom was not fond of curiosity seekers. In a
few minutes he and Mary were soaring aloft.

"Well, how are you?" he asked Mary, when they were alone well
above the earth.

"Fine and dandy," she answered, smiling at him, for they were
riding side by side and could converse with little difficulty
owing to the silent running of Tom's latest invention. "I'm sorry
to have called you away from your work," she added, "but when
Mrs. Baggert told me you were at the submarine dock I thought
perhaps you could run out and get me in your machine. I didn't
expect you to fly to me."

"I'm always ready to do that!" exclaimed Tom, as he shot
upward to avoid a bank of low-lying clouds. "Were you frightened
at the crash in the machine?"

"Not greatly. I saw it coming, and knew it was unavoidable.
That chap hasn't been running autos very long, I imagine, and he
lost his head in the emergency. But I had my brakes on and he
just coasted into me. I was lucky in that it wasn't worse."

"I should say so! Do you want to get right home?"

"I think I'd better. Mother and father may be a little worried
about me. And they've had trouble enough of late."

"Trouble!" exclaimed Tom, in a questioning voice. "Anything
serious?"

"No, just family financial matters. Not ours she hastened to
add, as she saw Tom look quickly at her. "A relative. I shouldn't
have mentioned it, but father and mother are a little worried,
and I don't want to add to it."

"Of course not," agreed Tom. "If there's anything I can do?"

"Oh, I expected you to say that!" laughed Mary. "Thanks. If
there is we'll call on you. But it may all be straightened out.
Father was expecting a message from Uncle Barton today. So,
though I'd like to take a cloud-ride with you, I think I'd better
get home."

"All right," agreed Tom. "I told Ned to telephone that you were
all right, so they won't worry. And now try to enjoy yourself."

"I'll try," promised Mary, but it was obvious, even from the
quick glances Tom gave her, that she was worried about something.
Mary was not her usual, spontaneous, jolly self, and Tom realized
it.

"Well, here we are!" he announced a little later, as they
soared above a level field not far from her home. "Sorry I can't
let you down right on your roof, but it isn't flat enough nor big
enough."

"Oh, I don't mind a little walk, especially as I didn't have to
hike it all the way in from Bailey Corners," she said, referring
to the place of the automobile accident. "I suppose the time will
come when everybody who now has an auto will have an airship and
a landing place, or a starting place, for it at his own door,"
she added.

"Either that, or else we'll have airships so compact that they
can set off and land in as small a space as an auto now
requires," said Tom. "The latter would be the best solution, as
one great disadvantage of airships now is the manner of starting
and stopping. It's too big."

Tom left his Air Scout in a field owned by Mr. Nestor, where he
had often landed before, and walked up to the house with Mary.

"Oh, I'm glad you're back!" exclaimed Mrs. Nestor, when she saw
the two coming up the steps.

"You weren't worried, were you, after Ned telephoned?" asked
Tom.

"Not exactly worried, but I thought perhaps he was making light
of it. Do tell me what happened, Mary!"

Thereupon the girl related all the circumstances of the smash,
and Tom added his share of the story.

"Did father hear anything from Uncle Barton?" asked Mary, after
her mother's curiosity had been satisfied.

"Yes," was the answer, in rather despondent tones, "he did, but
the news was not encouraging. The papers cannot be found."

"It's mother's brother we're talking about," Mary explained to
Tom. "Barton Keith in his name. Perhaps you remember him?"

"I've heard you speak of him," Tom admitted.

"Well," resumed Mary, "Uncle Barton is in a. peck of trouble.
He was once very rich, and he invested heavily in oil lands, in
Oklahoma, I believe."

"No, in Texas," corrected Mrs. Nestor.

"Yes, it was Texas," agreed Mary. "Well he bought, or got,
somehow, shares in some valuable oil lands in Texas, and expected
to double his fortune. Now, instead, he's probably lost it all."

"That's too bad!" exclaimed Tom. "How did it happen?"

"In rather an odd way," went on Mary. "He really owns the
lands, or at least half of them, but he cannot prove his title
because the papers he needs were taken from him, and, he thinks,
by a man he trusted. He's been trying to get the documents back,
and every day we've been expecting to hear that he has them, but
mother says there has been no result."

"No," said Mrs. Nestor. "My brother thought sure he had a trace
of the man he believes has the papers, or who had them, but he
lost track of him. If we could only find him--"

At that moment a maid came into the room to announce that Tom
Swift was wanted at the telephone.



CHAPTER VII

THE TRIAL TRIP



"THIS is my busy day!" announced the young inventor as he went
into the Nestor sitting room, where the telephone was installed.

"Perhaps it is some one else who wants you to come to their
rescue," suggested Mary.

But it was not, as Tom related a little later when he had
finished his talk over the wire.

"Just a business matter," he announced to Mary and her mother,
when he rejoined them. "A gentleman with whom I expect to make a
submarine trip is at the house, and wants to consult with me
about details. He is getting anxious to start. Mr. Damon is
there, too."

"Blessing every thing he lays eyes on, I suppose," remarked
Mrs. Nestor, with a smile.

"Yes, and some things he doesn't see," agreed Tom. "He is going
with us on this submarine trip."

"Oh, Tom, are you going to undertake another of those dangerous
voyages?" asked Mary, in some alarm.

"Well, I don't know that they are particularly dangerous,"
replied Tom, with a smile. "But we expect to make a search for a
sunken treasure ship in a submarine. That's the vessel I'm
working on now," he added. "We're rebuilding the Advance, you
know, making her more up-to-date, and adding some new features,
including her name--M. N. 1."

"I suppose Mr. Damon's friend is getting anxious to make a
start, particularly as he has already invested several thousand
dollars in the project," went on the young inventor. "He formed a
company to pay half the expenses of the search, and they will
share in the~ treasure--if we find it," Tom said. "I wish Mr.
Damon, who holds most of the shares the promoter let out of his
own hands, had not gone into it, but, since he has, I'm going to
do the best I can for him."

"Then aren't you friendly with the other man?" asked Mary.

"I don't especially care for him," the young inventor admitted.
"He isn't just my style--too fond of himself, and all that. Still
I may be misjudging him. However, I'm in the game now, and I'm
going to stick. I'll have to be traveling on," he said. "Mr.
Damon and his friend are at my house, and they've been
telephoning all over to find me. I guess this was one of the
first places they tried," he said with a smile, referring to the
fact that he spent considerable time at Mary's home.

"Well, I'm glad they found you, but I'm sorry you have to go,"
Mary said with a smile.

A little later Tom Swift, with Ned, for whom he called, was on
his way back home in his Air Scout, having said goodbye to Mary
and her mother and expressing the hope that Mr. Keith would soon
be over his business troubles.

"Oil wells are queer, anyhow," mused Tom.

Then Tom got to thinking about Dixwell Hardley: "I don't like
the man, and the more I see of him the less I like him. But I'm
in for it now, and I'll stick to the finish. I only wish I could
locate the treasure ship, give him his share, and get back to my
work. I'm going to try to turn out an airship that a man can use
as handily as he does a flivver now."

Musing on the possibilities in this field, Tom, having left Ned
at the latter's home, soared down from aloft, and a little later,
having told Koku to look after the Air Scout, much to the delight
of the giant and the discomfiture of Rad, the young inventor was
closeted with Mr. Damon and Dixwell Hardley.

"Bless my straw hat, Tom!" exclaimed the eccentric man, "but we
just couldn't wait any longer. How are you coming on, and when
can we start on this treasure-hunting trip? I declare it makes me
feel young again to think about it!"

"Well, it won't be long now," was the answer. "The men are
working hard to get the submarine in shape, and I should say that
in another week, or two weeks at the most, we could set off!"

"Good!" exclaimed Mr. Hardley. "I have received additional
information," he went on, "to the effect that the amount of gold
on board the Pandora was even greater than we at first thought."

"That sounds encouraging," replied Tom. "It only remains to
find the sunken ship now. But what interests me greatly is
whether, after we have gotten this gold, supposing we are
successful, we shall be allowed to keep it."

"Bless my bank book! why not?" asked Mr. Damon. "Isn't it
wealth abandoned at the bottom of the sea, and isn't finding
keeping?"

"Not always," answered Tom. "There are certain rules and laws
about treasure, and it might happen that after we got this--if we
do--it could be taken away from us."

"I think there will be no difficulty on this score," said Mr.
Hardley. "In the first place, two attempts were made to get this
wealth, and were unsuccessful. Then it was practically abandoned,
and I believe under the law the persons who now find it will be
entitled to keep it. Besides the persons who gathered it together
did so for an unlawful purpose--that of starting a revolution in
a friendly country--and they would not dare claim it for fear of
giving their secret away."

"Well, perhaps you are right," assented Tom. "We'll make a try
for it, anyhow."

"You say the submarine is nearly ready?" asked Mr. Hardley.

"She will be ready for a trial trip at the end of this week,"
said Tom, "and be fitted up for the voyage within another seven
days, I hope. Then for the great adventure!" and he laughed,
though, truth to tell, he had no real liking for his task. The
more he saw of Mr. Hardley the less he liked him.

"I shall begin getting my affairs in shape," said the latter,
as he gathered up some papers he had brought to attempt to prove
to Tom that the wealth of the Pandora was greater than had been
supposed. "I have many large interests," he went on, rather
pompously, "and they need looking after; especially if I
undertake anything so extra hazardous as a submarine trip."

"Yes, there always is some danger," admitted Tom. "But then
there is danger walking along the street."

"Oh, there's no danger with Tom Swift!" exclaimed Mr. Damon.
"I've been under the sea and above the clouds with him, and,
bless my rainbow! he always brought us safe home."

"And I'll try to do the same this time," said the young
inventor.

Busy days followed for Tom Swift and his friends. The force at
work on the submarine turned night into day to rush her
completion, and in due season she was set afloat in the dry dock
basin and formally rechristened the M. N. 1.

Mary blushed as she gave the boat her new name, and there was a
little cheer from the group of workmen gathered at the dock.
There was no launching in the real sense of the word, since as
the Advance that ceremony had been gone through with for the
undersea craft.

She had been greatly changed interiorly and outwardly. Her
skin, or plates, having been doubled and strengthened. For Tom
proposed to go to a much greater depth than ever before.

In addition to using the submarine herself in a search for the
gold on the Pandora, Tom had installed on board some new kinds of
diving apparatus and also a diving bell. If one would not serve,
the other might, he reasoned.

"Well, Tom," remarked his aged father the night before they
were to start on the trial trip, "I understand you have
practically rebuilt the Advance."

"Yes; and I think she's a much better craft, too, Father."

"Glad to hear that, Tom. Of course you kept the gyroscope
rudder feature?"

"No, I didn't," replied Tom. "If I had left that installed it
would have meant carrying a smaller diving bell, and I think that
last will be more useful than the gyroscope. I put in a set of
double-acting depth rudders instead."

Mr. Swift shook his head.

"I'm sorry for that, Tom," he remarked. "There's nothing like
the gyroscope rudder in a tight pinch--say when there's a storm.
And for holding the boat steady, if you have to make a sudden
turn under water, to avoid an obstruction you come upon
unexpectedly, a gyroscope can't be improved on. It holds you
steady and prevents your turning turtle."

"I've put side fin-keels to correct that," Tom explained.

But still his father was not satisfied.

"I'd rather you had kept the gyroscope," he said, and the time
was to come when Tom Swift wished that himself.

But it was too late to make the change now, and so, with more
than usual confidence in his own designing abilities, the next
day the young inventor and his friends went aboard the M. N. 1
for the trial trip.

"You don't easily get seasick, do you?" Tom asked Mr. Hardley,
as they descended the hatchway into the interior of the craft.

"No, I'm considered a good sailor."

"Well, you'll need to be," went on Tom, with a smile. "Not that
we are likely to strike any rough water now, though the reports
say a stiff breeze is blowing in the bay. But when we once start
for the West Indies you are likely to experience a new sensation.
I've known sailors who never had any qualms, even in terrible
storms, to get ill in a submarine when she went through only a
small blow. The motion is different from that on a surface boat."

"I can imagine so," returned Mr. Hardley. "But I'll be thinking
of the millions in gold on the Pandora, and that will keep my
mind off being seasick."

"Let us hope so," murmured Tom.

He gave the word, they all descended, the hatch covers were
closed down, and the M. N. 1 was ready to start on a trial trip.



CHAPTER VIII

THE MUD BANK



"WHAT'S that noise?" asked Mr. Hardley.

Mr. Hardley, Tom Swift, Mr. Damon, Ned Newton, Koku, and one or
two navigating officers of the craft, were gathered in the
operating cabin of the M. N. 1.

"That's water being pumped into the tanks," explained Tom. "We
are now going down. If you'll watch the depth gauge you can note
our progress."

"Going down, are we?" remarked Mr. Hardley. "Well, it's
interesting to say the least," and he observed the gauge, which
showed them to be twenty feet under the surface.

"Bless my hydrometer, but he's got nerve for a first trip in a
submarine! He's all right, isn't he?" whispered Mr. Damon to Tom.

"Well, I'm glad to see he isn't nervous," remarked Tom, honest
enough to give his visitor credit for what was due him. And
indeed many a person is nervous going down in a submarine for the
first time. "Still we can't go more than thirty feet down in this
water," went on Tom. "A better test will be when we get about
five hundred feet below the surface. That's a real test, though
as far as knowing it is concerned, a person can't tell ten feet
from ten hundred in a submarine under water, unless he watches
the gauge."

"Well, I think you'll find Mr. Hardley all right," said Mr.
Damon, who seemed to have taken a strong liking to his new
friend.

Certainly the latter showed no signs of nervousness as the
craft slowly settled to the proper depth. He asked numberless
questions, showing his interest in the operation of the M. N. 1,
but he showed not the least sign of fear. However, as Tom said,
that might come later.

"We are going down now," Tom explained, as he pointed out to
Mr. Hardley the various controlling wheels and levers, "by
filling our ballast tanks with water. We can rise, when needful,
by forcing out this water by means of compressed air. When we are
on the ocean we can go down by using our diving rudders, and in
much quicker time than by filling our tanks."

"How is that?" asked the seeker after the Pandora's gold.

"Filling the tanks is slow work in itself," replied Tom, "and
they have to be filled very carefully and evenly, so we don't
stand on our stern or bow in going down. We want to sink on an
even keel, and sometimes this is hard to accomplish. But we are
doing it now," and he called attention to an indicator which told
how much the M. N. 1 might be listing to one side or to one end
or the other.

"A submarine, as everyone knows, is essentially a water-tight
tank, shaped like a cigar, with a propeller on one end. It can
sink below the surface and move along under water. It sinks
because rudders force it down, and water taken into tanks in its
interior hold it to a certain depth. It can rise by ejecting this
extra water and by setting the rudders in the proper position.

A submarine moves under water by means of electric motors, the
current of which is supplied by storage batteries. On the surface
when the hatches can be opened, oil or gasolene engines are used.
These engines cannot be used under water because they depend on a
supply of air, or oxygen, and when the submarine is tightly
sealed all the air possible is needed for her crew to breathe.
While cruising on the surface a submarine recharges her storage
batteries to give her motive power when she is submerged.

There are many types of submarines, some comparatively simple
and small, and others large and complex. In some it is possible
for the crew to live many days without coming to the surface.

Tom Swift's reconstructed craft compared favorably with the
best and largest ever made, though she was not of exceptional
size. She was very strong, however, to allow her to go to a great
depth, for the farther down one goes below the surface of the
sea, the greater the pressure until, at, say, six miles, the
greatest known depth of the ocean, the pressure is beyond belief.
And yet is possible that marine monsters may live in that
pressure which would flatten out a block of solid steel into a
sheet as thin as paper.

"Well, we are as deep down as it is safe to go in the river,"
announced Tom, as the gauge showed a distance below the surface
of a little less than twenty-nine feet. "Now we'll move into the
bay. How do you like it, Mr. Hardley?"

"Very well, so far. But it isn't very exciting yet."

"Bless my accident policy!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "I hope you
aren't looking for excitement."

"I'm used to it," was the answer. "The more there is the better
I like it."

"Well, you may get your wish," said Tom.

He turned a lever, and those on board the submarine became
conscious of a forward motion. She was no longer sinking.

She trembled and vibrated as the powerful electric motors
turned her propellers, and Tom, having seen that all was running
smoothly in the main engine room, called Mr. Damon, Ned, and Mr.
Hardley to him.

"We'll go into the forward pilot house and give
Mr. Hardley a view under water," he announced. "Of course, you'll
see nothing like what you'll view when we're in the ocean," added
the young inventor, "but it may interest you."

The four were soon in the forward compartment of the craft. She
could be directed and steered from here when occasion arose, but
now Tom was letting his navigator direct the craft from the
controls in the main engine room. A conning tower, rising just
above the deck of the craft, gave the pilot the necessary view.

"Here you are!" exclaimed Tom, as he switched out the lights in
the cabin. For a moment they were in darkness, and then, with a
click, steel plates, guarding heavy plate glass bull's-eyes,
moved back, and Mr. Hardley for the first time looked out on an
underwater scene. He saw the murky waters of river down which
they were proceeding to the bay moving past the glass windows.
Now and then a fish swam up, looking in, and, with a swirl of its
tail, shot away again, apparently frightened well-nigh to death.

"Bless my shoe laces, Tom!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "this isn't a
marker compared to some of the sights we've seen, is it?"

"I can imagine not," said Mr. Hardley. "But it is interesting.
I shall be anticipating more wonderful sights."

"And you'll get them!" exclaimed Ned. "Do you remember, Tom,
the time the big octopus tried to hold us back?"

"Yes, indeed," answered the young inventor. "That gave us a
scare for the time being."

Steadily the M. N. 1 kept on her way under water. Her path was
illuminated to a considerable degree by a broad, diffused beam of
light from a powerful searchlight that was fixed just back of the
conning tower, giving the helmsman a certain degree of vision.
This light also served to illuminate the water, so that those in
the forward cabin could see what was going on around them.

"There isn't much of interest in the river," said Tom. "No big
fish, or anything else of moment. Even in the bay we won't see
much to attract our attention. But I want to make sure everything
is working smoothly before we start for the West Indies."

"That's right!" agreed Mr. Hardley. "We want to make a success
of this trip."

He remained at the glass bull's-eyes, now and then exclaiming
as some shad or other fair-sized fish came into view. Suddenly,
however, his exclamation was sharper than usual.

"Look!" he exclaimed. "There's part of a wreck!"

Ned, Mr. Damon, and Tom looked out and saw, sweeping past them,
the ribs and worm-eaten timbers of some craft, lying on the
bottom of the river.

"Yes, that's the remains of an old brick scow," the young
inventor explained. "That's one of our water-marks, so to speak.
It is at the bend of the river. We turn now, and head for the
bay."

As he spoke they all became aware of a sudden swerve in the
course of the submarine. The helmsman had, doubtless, noted the
"water-mark," as Tom termed it, and as an automobilist on land
might swing at the cross-roads, the steersman was changing the
course of his craft.

"We'll go deeper," said Tom a moment later, as the wreck passed
out of view. "We can go about fifty feet down now. Yes, he's
sinking her," he added, as a gauge showed the craft to be
descending. "Nelson knows his business all right."

"He is your captain?" asked Mr. Hardley.

"One of the best, yes. He'll go with us on the search for the
Pandora."

They talked of various matters, Tom relating to Mr. Hardley how
a tug had rammed the brick scow some years ago, and sunk it in
the river.

The submarine was now about forty-eight feet below the surface,
and suddenly they all became aware that her speed had increased.

"Guess he's going to give the motors a good try-out," observed
Tom. "I think I'll go back to the engine room. You may remain
here, if you like, and you'll probably see--"

A cry from Mr. Damon interrupted him.

"Bless my rubber boots, Tom! Look!" cried the eccentric man.
"We're going to ram a mud bank!"

As he spoke they all became aware of a solid black mass looming
in front of the bull's-eye window. An instant later the submarine
came to a jarring stop, as if she had struck some soft, yielding
substance. There was a confused shouting throughout the craft,
the noise of machinery, a trembling and vibration, and then
ominous quiet.



CHAPTER IX

READY TO START



Characteristic it was of Tom Swift to act calmly in times of
stress and danger, and he ran true to form now. Only for an
instant did he show any sign of perturbation. Then with calmness
and deliberation the young inventor quickly did a number of
things to the controls within his reach.

First of all he signaled to the engine room that he was going
to take charge of the boat. This meant that the navigator in the
conning tower was to keep his hands off the various levers and
wheel-valves. It was possible to operate the M. N. 1 from three
positions, but Tom wanted no triplicate handling of his craft
now.

Almost the instant Tom signaled that he would take charge back
came flashing the electrical signal from the conning tower that
his orders were understood. The next thing that those aboard the
craft became aware of was a tremor that seemed to run through the
whole under-sea ship. The quiet had changed to a subdued humming,
and the ominous lack of motion was succeeded by violent
vibration.

"Backing her up, Tom?" asked Ned, in a low voice.

"Trying to," was the answer. "But I'm afraid her nose has gone
in pretty deep. I've reversed the propellers."

For perhaps a minute this vibration continued, showing that the
powerful electric motors were turning over the twin propellers at
the blunt stern of the craft. But she did not change her
position.

With a touch of his hand, and still almost as cool as the
proverbial cucumber (though why they should be cool it is hard to
say), Tom stopped the motors. Once again the craft was quiet, but
now, instead of the occupants being able to see clearly from the
thick, glass windows in the forward cabin, the water showed muddy
and murky in the glare of the underwater searchlight.

"Bless my postage stamps, Tom! what has happened?" exclaimed
Mr. Damon. "Has a giant squid attacked us, as one did some time
ago, and is he roiling up the water?"

"No, it isn't a squid, Mr. Damon," replied the young inventor
easily; "though the water does look as if a squid had spilled a
lot of his ink in it. This is just the effect of mud stirred up
by our propellers. There may be more of it."

Ned looked toward Mr. Hardley to see how he was taking it. The
seeker after gold apparently had good control of his nerves, or
else he was ignorant of what was going on. For he asked, casually
enough:

"Have we stopped?"

"We have," answered Tom. "I thought I'd give you a view of the
scenery."

Perhaps he spoke sarcastically, but, if he did, Mr. Damon's
friend did not seem to be aware of it.  Coolly enough he replied:

"Well, if this is a fair sample of underwater scenery I prefer
something up above, though I appreciate that this may be
needful."

"We'll soon be traveling along," announced Tom. "Koku," he
added to the giant, who had been calmly sitting during the
excitement, "go to the engine room and help with the big levers."

"Yes, Master," was the answer. Koku had implicit faith in Tom.

Waiting a moment for his faithful servant to reach the post
assigned to him, Tom again signaled to his helpers and then
quickly turned a wheel which produced startling results. For all
within the submarine suddenly slid forward across the cabin floor.

"Bless my hammock hooks, Tom! are you standing her on her
head?" cried Mr. Damon.

"That's exactly what I'm doing," was the answer. "I've started
to empty one of the after ballast tanks, and that, naturally,
raises the stern while the nose is held down."

The submarine was indeed in a peculiar position. She was on a
slant in the water, her nose held fast in the soft mud bank, and
it was Tom's idea that by making the stern buoyant it might help
to pull her free.

To this end he also gave what assistance the propellers were
capable of adding by starting the motors again, so that the craft
once more trembled and vibrated.

But it all seemed to no purpose. Aside from the slanting
position, there was no change in the M. N. 1. Ned, looking out
into the murky water, which had cleared slightly, saw that the
craft was still held fast. And then, for the first time, Mr.
Hardley seemed to become aware that something serious was the
matter. Up to now he seemed to think that all that had occurred
was done for the purpose of testing the newly outfitted underseas
boat.

"Is there anything wrong?" he asked sharply of Tom. "Why are we
in this position, and why don't we go on out to the open ocean
and make a test at considerable depth? We'll have to go down
deeper than this if we find the Pandora!"

"I suppose so," agreed Tom. "But we have had an accident,
and--"

"An accident!" interrupted the gold-seeker, and then Ned saw
him turn pale. "Do you mean to say this is not part of the test?"

"We have run into a mud bank," said Tom. "The steersman must
have become confused, or else, since we last used the submarine,
there has been a shift of the mud banks in this river and one
exists where there was none before. At any rate, we ran our nose
deep into it, and here we are--stuck!"

"Can't we get loose--go up to the surface?"
demanded Mr. Hardley.

"I'm trying to bring that about," announced Tom calmly. "So far
her engines haven't been able to pull her loose."

"But Great Scott, man, we can't stay here!" cried the now
excited adventurer. "We'll be drowned like rats in a trap! Let me
out! Isn't there some way? I'll be shot through a torpedo tube,
if necessary! I must get out! I can't stay here to be drowned! I
have too much at stake!"

"Now wait a minute!" calmly advised Tom Swift. "You haven't any
more at stake than the rest of us. None of us wants to be
drowned, and there is only a remote possibility that we shall be.
I haven't played all my cards yet. We can live on this boat for a
week, if need be."

"You mean under water as we are now?" asked Mr. Hardley.

"Yes. I always keep the boat provisioned and with plenty of air
and water for a long stay, if need be," replied Tom. "And I did
not overlook the fact that we might have an accident on the trial
trip."

"I don't see how you let an accident happen before we even got
started," complained the gold-seeker. "I should think your
steersman would have been more careful."

"He is very careful," explained Tom. "But we have not used the
craft for some time, and, meanwhile, there have been changes in
the river, due, I suppose, to heavy tides. But we may get out of
the grip of the mud bank soon."

"And if we don't, what then?" asked Mr. Hardley.

"Then there is always the torpedo tube," said Tom calmly. "And
we are not very deep down. I think I can save you all."

"I certainly hope so!" was the fretful comment of the
adventurer. "I have too much at stake to be drowned like a rat in
a trap! You must send me up first if it becomes necessary to use
the tube."

Tom did not answer. But as he looked out of the observation
windows to see if possible the conformation of the mud bank, the
young inventor whispered to Ned one word. And that word was:

"Yellow!"

"You said it!" was Ned's whispered rejoinder.

Tom Swift arrived at a sudden determination. Once again the
motors were stopped, and the boat gradually assumed an even keel.

"What are you going to try, Tom?" asked Ned.

"I'm going to shove her farther into the mud bank," announced
the young inventor. "I think that's the only way to get her
loose."

"Bless my apple pie, Tom!" cried Mr. Damon, "doesn't that seem
a foolish thing to do?"

"It's the only thing to do, I believe," was the answer. "This
mud is of a peculiar sticky and holding kind. The sub's nose is
in it like a peg in a hole. What I propose to do now is to
enlarge the hole, and then our nose will come loose--I hope."

"But you haven't any right to shove our nose further in!" cried
Mr. Hardley. "I won't allow it! I demand to be put on the
surface! I won't be drowned down here before I get the gold
that's coming to me--the gold and--"

"Now look here!" suddenly cried Tom. "I'm in command of this
boat, and you'll do as I say. I'll gladly set you on the surface
if I can, and this is the only way it can be brought about--it's
the only way to save all of us. I'm going to enlarge the mud hole
so we can pull out. Please keep still!"

Mr. Hardley stared at the young inventor a moment, seemed about
to say something, and then changed his mind.

"Hold fast, everybody!" suddenly called Tom. The next moment
the M. N. 1 began behaving in a most peculiar manner.

She appeared to be acting like a corkscrew. While her bow was
comparatively steady, her stern described a circle in the water
which was churned to mud by the two propellers, each being
revolved in a different direction.

"I'm trying to make the hole bigger just as an amateur
carpenter makes a nail hole bigger, so he can pull out the nail,
by twisting it around," explained Tom. "The motion may be a bit
unpleasant, but it is needful."

And indeed the motion was unpleasant. Tom, veteran airman and
sailor that he was, began to feel a trifle seasick, and Hr.
Hardley was in very evident distress.

Suddenly, however, something happened. The M. N. 1 gave a lurch
to one side and then shot upward so quickly that Ned and Mr.
Damon lost their balance and slumped over on the bench that ran
around three sides of the room.

"Are we free?" cried Mr. Hardley.

"We have come loose from the mud bank," said Tom quietly. "By
boring into it the hole was enlarged sufficiently to enable us to
pull loose. There is no more danger!"

His announcement was received in momentary silence, and then
Ned exclaimed:

"Hurray!"

"Bless my accident policy!" voiced Mr. Damon.

Mr. Hardley appeared dazed, and then, as the submarine was
again moving through the water, seemingly none the worse for the
accident, the gold seeker approached Tom Swift.

"I want to apologize, Mr. Swift, for my actions and words,"
said Mr. Hardley frankly. "I admit that I lost my head. But it's
my first trip in a submarine."

"I realize that," said Tom, equally frank, "and we'll forget
all about it. It was a strain on you--on all of us--though there
really was no very great danger. Now, are you game enough to
continue the trip?"

"Try me!" exclaimed the adventurer. "You won't find me acting
so like a baby again."

Nor did he, even when the craft reached the open ocean and went
down to a considerable depth, where, had any accident occurred,
there would have been grave danger to all. But Mr. Hardley seemed
to enjoy it.

"Maybe I've misjudged him," Tom said to Ned, when they were
getting ready to go back.

"It's possible," agreed the financial manager. This trial,
which so nearly ended disastrously, was only one of several. No
damage resulted from the collision with the river mud bank, and
that trip and the ones following gave Tom some new ideas in
interior construction which he followed out.

About a month later all was ready for the trip to the West
Indies to look for the ill-fated Pandora. Tom's affairs were put
in shape, the submarine was laden with stores and provisions, the
new diving bell and other wonderful apparatus were put aboard,
and the crew and officers picked. Ned, Mr. Damon, Koku, and Tom
were, of course, together, and though Mr. Hardley was a stranger,
he seemed to become more friendly as the days passed.

"Well, we start in the morning," said Tom to Ned one evening.
"I'm going over to tell Mary goodbye."

"Give her my regards," requested Ned, and Tom said he would.



CHAPTER X

STARTLING REVELATIONS



"OH, Tom! And so you are really ready to start on that perilous
trip!" exclaimed Mary Nestor, a little later that same evening,
when Tom called at Mary's house in his speedy electric runabout,
a car in which he had once made a sensational ride.

"Perilous? I don't know why you call it that!" exclaimed the
young inventor.

"Didn't you tell me you were stuck in a mud bank away down
under the river and had hard work to get loose?" asked the young
lady, as she made a place for Tom on the sofa beside her.

"Oh, that! Why, that wasn't anything!" he declared.

"It would have been if you hadn't come up."

"Ah, but we did come up, Mary."

"Suppose you get in a similar position when you find the wreck
of the Pandora? You won't get up so easily, will you?"

"No. But there aren't any mud banks in that part of the
Atlantic, so I can't be stuck in one," answered Tom.

For some time Tom Swift and Mary talked of mutual friends and
happenings in which they were both interested. Mr. and Mrs.
Nestor stepped into the room for a minute, to wish the young
inventor good luck on his voyage, and when they had gone out,
promising to see Tom before he left for the night, the latter
remarked to Mary:

"Did your uncle ever find the oil-well papers and get his
affairs straightened out?"

"No," was the answer, "he never did. And we feel very sorry for
him. Just think, he had a fortune in his grasp, and now it is
slipping away."

"Just what happened?" asked Tom, hoping there might be some way
in which he could aid Mary's uncle. Of course, Tom wanted to help
Mary, and this was one of the ways.

"Well, I don't exactly understand it all," she replied. "Father
says I'll never have a head for business. But as nearly as I can
tell, my uncle, Barton Keith, went into partnership with a man to
prospect for oil in Texas. My uncle has been in that business
before, and he was very successful. He supplied the working
knowledge about oil wells, I believe, and the other man put up
the money. My uncle was to have a half share in whatever oil
wells he located, and his partner supplied the cash for putting
down the pipe, or whatever is done."

"I believe putting down a pipe is the proper term," said Tom.

"Well, anyhow," went on Mary, "my uncle spent many weary months
prospecting in Texas. In fact, he made himself ill, being out in
all sorts of weather, looking after the drilling. At last they
struck oil, as I believe they call it. They drilled down until
they brought in what my uncle called a 'gusher,' and there was a
chance of him and his partner getting rich."

"Why didn't he?" asked Tom. "A gusher, I believe, is one of the
best sort of oil wells. Why didn't your uncle clean up a fortune,
to use a slang term?"

"Because he lost the papers showing that he had a right to half
the oil well," answered Mary. "At least my uncle thinks he lost
them, but he was so ill, directly after the well proved a
success, that he says he isn't sure what happened. At any rate,
his partner claims everything and my uncle can do nothing. He has
been hoping he might find the papers somewhere, or that something
would happen to prove the rights of his claim."

"And nothing has?" inquired Tom.

"Not yet. My father and mother have been trying to help him,
and dad engaged a lawyer, but he says nothing can be done unless
my uncle recovers the partnership and other papers. As it stands
now, it is my uncle's word against the word of his partner, and
both are equally good in a court of law. But if Uncle Barton
could find the documents everything would come out all right. He
could claim his half of the oil well then."

"Is it still producing?" Tom questioned.

"Yes, better than ever. But that's all the good it does my
uncle. He is ill, discouraged, and despondent. All his fortune
was eaten up in prospecting, and he depended on the gusher to
make him rich again. And now, because of a rascally partner, he
may be doomed to die a poor man. Of course we will always help
him, but you know what it is to be dependent on relatives."

"I can imagine," conceded Tom. "It is tough luck! I wish I
could help, and perhaps I can after I get back from this trip."

"The only way you or any one could help, would be to get back
my uncle's missing papers," said Mary. "And as he himself isn't
sure what became of them, it seem hopeless."

"It does," Tom agreed. "But wait until I get back."

"I wish you weren't going," sighed Mary.

"So do I--more than a little," was Tom's remark. "I'm sorry I
ever let Mr. Damon persuade me to go into this deal with Dixwell
Hardley!"

Mary sat bolt upright on the couch.

"What name did you say?" she cried.

"Dixwell Hardley," repeated Tom. "That's he name of the man who
claims to know where the wreck of the Pandora lies. He says she
has two millions or more in gold on board, and I'm to get half."

"Well!" exclaimed Mary, with spirit, "if you don't get any
bigger share out of the wreck than my uncle got out of the oil
well, you won't be doing so very nicely, Tom."

"What do you mean?" asked the young inventor. "What has the oil
well to do with recovering gold from the wreck?"

"A good deal, I should say," answered the girl, "seeing that
the same man is mixed up in both."

"What same man?"

"Dixwell Hardley!"

"Is he the man who cheated your uncle?" cried Tom.

"I won't say that he cheated him," said Mary. "But Dixwell
Hardley is the man who furnished the money when my uncle went
into partnership with him to locate oil wells in Texas. The oil
wells were located, Mr. Hardley got his share, and my uncle got
nothing. And just because he can't prove there was a legal
partnership! I hope you won't have the same experience with Mr.
Hardley, Tom."

"Whew!" whistled the young inventor. "This is news to me! I can
say one thing, though. Mr. Hardley doesn't take a dollar out of
that wreck unless I get one to match it. I think I hold the best
cards on this deal. But, Mary, are you sure it's the same man?"

"Pretty sure. Wait, I'll call my father and make certain," she
answered, and as she went from the room to summon Mr. Nestor, Tom
felt a vague sense of uneasiness.



CHAPTER XI

BARTON KEITH'S STORY



"What's this Mary tells me, Tom?" asked Mr. Nestor, as he
followed his daughter back into the room.

"You mean about Dixwell Hardley?"

"Yes. Do you suppose he can be the same man who has so meanly
treated my brother-in-law?"

"I wouldn't want to say, Mr. Nestor, until you describe to me
the Mr. Hardley you know. Then I can better tell. But from what
little I have seen of the man to whom I was introduced by my
friend Mr. Damon, I'd say, off hand, that he was capable of such
action."

"Does Mr. Damon know this Mr. Hardley well?" asked Mrs. Nestor,
who accompanied her husband.

"I wouldn't say that he did," Tom replied. "I don't know just
how Mr. Damon met this chap--I think it was in a financial way,
though."

"Well, if it's the same Mr. Hardley, I'll say he has some queer
financial ways," said Mr. Nestor. "Now let's see if we can make
the two jibe. Describe him, Tom."

This the young inventor did, and when this description had been
compared with one given of the Mr. Hardley with whom Mr. Keith
once was associated, Mrs. Nestor said:

"It surely is the same man! The Mr. Hardley who wants you to
get wealth from the bottom of the ocean, Tom, is the same fellow
who is keeping my brother out of the oil well property! I'm sure
of it!"

"It does seem so," Tom agreed. "Dixwell Hardley is not a usual
name; but we must be careful In spite of its unusualness there
may be two very different men who have that name. I think the
only way to find out for certain is to see Mr. Keith. He'd know a
picture of the Dixwell Hardley who, he claims, cheated him,
wouldn't he?"

"Indeed he would!" exclaimed Mrs. Nestor. "But where could we
get a picture of your Mr. Hardley? I call him that, though I
don't suppose you own him, Tom," and she smiled at her future
son-in-law.

"No, I don't own him, and I don't want to," was Tom's answer.
"But I happen to have a picture of him. I made him furnish me
with proofs that he was on the Pandora at the time she foundered
in a gale, and among the documents he gave was his passport. It
has his picture on. I have it here."

Tom drew the paper from his pocket. In one corner was pasted a
photograph of the man who had been introduced to Tom by Mr.
Damon.

"It looks like the same man my brother described," said Mrs.
Nestor, "but of course I couldn't be sure."

"There is only one way to be," Tom stated, "and that is to show
this picture to Mr. Keith. Where is he?"

"Ill at his home in Bedford," answered Mrs. Nestor.

"Then we'll go there and see him!" declared Tom.

"But it's a hundred miles from here!" exclaimed Mary. "And you
are leaving on your submarine trip the first thing in the
morning, Tom!"

"No, I'm not leaving until I settle this matter," declared the
young inventor. "I'm not going on an undersea voyage with a man
who may be a cheater. I want this matter settled. I'll postpone
this trip until I find out. A day's delay won't matter."

"But it will take longer than that," said Mr. Nestor. "Bedford
is a small place, and there's only one train a day there. You'll
lose at least three days Tom, if you go there."

"Not necessarily," was the quick answer. "I can go by airship,
and make the trip in a little over an hour. I can be back the
same day, perhaps not in time to start our submarine trip, as Mr.
Keith may be too ill to see me. But I won't lose much time in my
Air Scout.

"Mary, will you go with me to see your uncle? We'll start the
first thing in the morning and I'll show him this picture. Will
you go?"

"I will!" exclaimed the girl.

"Good!" cried Tom. "Then I'll make preparations. I don't want
to form any rash judgment, so we'll make certain; but it wouldn't
surprise me a bit to have it turn out that the Dixwell Hardley
who wants me to help him recover the Pandora treasure is the same
one who is trying to cheat Mr. Keith."

Early the next morning, when Tom arose in his own home, he met
Mr. Damon and Mr. Hardley, both of whom were guests at the Swift
house, pending the beginning of the undersea trip.

"Well, Tom," began the eccentric man, "we have good weather for
the start. Bless my rubber boots! Not that it much matters,
though, what sort of weather we have when we're in the submarine.
But I always like to start in the sunshine."

"So do I," agreed Mr. Hardley. "I suppose we'll get off early
this morning," he added.

"We'll go to the dock in the auto, as usual, shall we not?" he
asked.

"We aren't going to start this morning," said Tom, as he sat
down to breakfast.

"Not going to start this morning!" exclaimed Mr. Hardley. "Why
--why--"

"Bless my alarm clock!" voiced Mr. Damon, "has anything
happened, Tom? No accident to the M. N. 1 is there? You aren't
backing out now, at the last minute, are you?"

"Oh, no," was the easy answer. "We'll go, as arranged, but not
today. I had some unexpected news last night which necessitates
making a trip this morning. I expect to be back tonight, if all
goes well, and we'll start tomorrow morning instead of this. It's
a matter of important business."

"Well, I don't know that we can find fault with Mr. Swift for
attending to business," said Mr. Hardley, with a short laugh.
"Business is what keeps the world moving. And we are a little
ahead of our schedule, as a matter of fact. May I ask where you
are going, Mr. Swift?"

"To Bedford, to call on a Mr. Barton Keith," answered Tom
quickly, looking the adventurer straight in the eyes.

Mr. Hardley was a good actor, or else he was a perfectly
innocent man, for he showed not the least sign of perturbation.

"Oh, Bedford," he remarked. "Don't know that I ever heard of
the place."

"Or Mr. Keith, either?" asked Tom, a bit sharply.

"No, certainly not. Why should I?" he asked, boldly.

"I didn't know," Tom replied. "I'm sorry to postpone our trip,
but it's necessary," he added. "I'll be back as soon as I can.
Everything is in readiness, so there will be no delay."

Tom made a hurried meal, and then, giving Ned a hint of what
was in the wind, but cautioning him to say nothing about it, Tom
had the small Air Scout brought out, and in that he flew over to
Mary's home.

He found her waiting for him, and, after being duly cautioned
by her mother to "be careful," though whether that was of any
value or not is possibly debatable, the small, speedy craft again
took the air.

"You haven't heard anything from your uncle since last night,
have you?" asked Tom, as they flew along.

"Yes," answered Mary, "mother had a letter. He is worse, if
anything, and the doctor says the only thing that will save him
is the knowledge that the oil-well matter has turned out right
and that my uncle will get his share of the wealth."

"That's too bad!" sympathized Tom. "I hope we can make it turn
out that way. If the two Dixwell Hardley chaps are the same it
may be that I can do something for your uncle. If not--we'll have
to wait and see."

It was not difficult for Tom and Mary to talk while in the
aeroplane, as it was almost noiseless. In due time, Bedford was
reached without mishap, and Tom and Mary were soon at the home of
her uncle.

An explanation to the housekeeper and an inspection on the part
of the nurse, brought forth permission for Tom to see the
patient. Though he had never known Mr. Keith he could see that
the man's health was indeed fast waning.

Wasting little time in preliminaries, the object of the visit
was told and Tom showed the passport photograph of Dixwell
Hardley.

"Is that the man who cheated you on the oil-well deal?" asked
the young inventor.

"I won't admit he has yet cheated me, but he is trying to!"
exclaimed Mr. Keith, with something of a return of his former
spirit. "If I ever get off my back I'm going to fight him tooth
and nail. But that's the same scoundrel! He got me to locate the
wells, and when they panned out big--bigger than either of us
dreamed--he turned me out cold. He denied he had ever offered to
share with me, and said I was only working for monthly wages!
Why, sometimes I didn't get even that!"

"How did he get the best of you?" asked Tom.

"By making away with or hiding the papers by which I could
prove our partnership and my right to half a share in all the
wells," answered Mary's uncle. "Yes, that's the same man all
right. I'd know his face anywhere, and he ha& the same name."

"He isn't going under a false name, that's sure," agreed Tom.
"He must be a bold chap."

"He is--bold and unscrupulous! That's what makes him so
successful in his own way!" declared Mr. Keith. "And so you are
working with him! Well, I'm sorry for you."

"I'm not exactly working with him," replied Tom. "As a matter
of fact, I'm sorry I ever agreed to look for this wreck."

He told the details of the pending treasure-trove expedition,
and mentioned it as his belief that Mr. Damon had been mistaken
in his estimate of Mr. Hardley.

"But, so far, Mr. Damon is quite taken with him," Tom went on.
"Now, Mr. Keith, if it isn't too much for you, I should like to
hear all the particulars."

Thereupon Mary's uncle told his story. It was a long one. After
many hardships in life, which Mr. Keith related in some detail to
Tom. the oil-well prospector at last fell in with Dixwell
Hardley. Then followed the combination of interests.

"We are actually partners," declared Mr. Keith. "I agreed to do
the work, and he agreed to furnish the money. I must say this for
him, that he kept to that end of the bargain. He supplied the
money to locate and drill the wells, but I got very little of it
personally. And I fulfilled my end of it. I discovered the wells.
Then, when the break came, and I wanted to be rid of the man--for
I caught him in some crooked transactions--he surprised me by
telling me to get out. I asked for my share of the oil-well
stock, and was told I was not entitled to any.

"I put up a fight, naturally, and took the matter to court. But
when it came to trial Dixwell Hardley did not appear, and, though
I won a technical victory over him, I never got any money."

"Where was he during the trial?" asked Tom.

"At sea, I believe."

"At sea?"

"Yes, he was mixed up in some South American revolution, I
heard."

"A South American revolution!" exclaimed Tom, and a great light
came to him.

"Yes," went on Mary's uncle. "He was always that kind--mixing
up in anything he thought would produce money. He didn't make out
very well in the revolution business, so I understood. The
revolutionary party was beaten, or they lost their shipment of
arms, or something like that. At any rate, Dixwell Hardley had a
narrow escape with his life when a ship went down, and from then
on I've been trying to get him to restore my rights to me."

"Did he have the papers that would prove you were entitled to a
half share in the oil wells?" asked Tom.

"He certainly did!" said the sick man, who was obviously being
weakened by this long and exhausting talk. "At first I was not
sure of what happened, but now I am positive he stole the papers
and took them to sea with him. What happened to them after that I
don't know. But if I had Dixwell Hardley here--now--I--I'd--"

Mr. Keith fell back in a faint on the bed, and, in great alarm,
Tom summoned the nurse.



CHAPTER XII

IN DEEP WATERS



Mary Nestor, as well as Tom Swift, felt great alarm over the
condition of Mr. Keith. But the nurse, after reviving him, said:

"He is in no special immediate danger. Talking about his
trouble overstrained him, but in the end it may do him good."

"Then will he get well?" asked Mary.

"He may," was the noncommittal answer. "His recovery would be
hastened, however, if his mind could be relieved. He keeps
worrying about the loss of his papers that proved his share in
the Texas oil wells. Until they can be given back to him he is
bound to suffer mentally, and of course that effects him
physically."

"Oh, if we only could do something!" murmured Mary.

"Perhaps we can," said Tom in a low voice. "I've learned
something these last few hours. I don't want to promise too much,
but I think I begin to see how matters lie. There, he's rousing.
Speak to him, Mary."

Mr. Keith opened his eyes, and smiled at his niece.

"Did I dream it," he asked in a low voice, "or was there some
young man with you, Mary, my dear, to whom I was telling my
troubles about the oil-well papers?"

"You didn't dream it, Uncle," Mary answered. "You were talking
to Tom Swift. Here he is," and Tom came forward.

"Oh, yes, I remember now," said Mr. Keith passing his hand
wearily over his eyes. "I thought, for a moment, that he had
recovered my papers for me. But that was a dream, I'm sure."

"It may not be, Mr. Keith!" exclaimed Tom.

"May not be? What do you mean?"

"I mean," replied the young inventor, "that I am much
interested in what you have told me. Now that I have proved that
the Dixwell Hardley who is to sail with me is the same one who
has treated you so shabbily, I think I understand the truth. I
don't want to make a promise that I may not be able to carry out,
but I am going to watch this man while he's on the submarine with
me."

"Then you are going on with the voyage, Tom?" asked Mary.

"I shall have to," he said. "I have entered into an agreement
with this man and I'm not going to break my contract, no matter
what he does. But I think I know what his game is. Mr. Keith, I'm
going to ask you to keep quiet about this matter until I come
back from the treasure search. I may then have some news for
you."

"I hope you do, young man, I hope you do!" exclaimed the oil
contractor, with more energy than he had previously shown. "It
means a lot, at my age, to lose a small fortune. If I were well
and strong I'd tackle this Dixwell Hardley myself, and make him
give up the papers I'm sure he has hidden away. He has them, I'm
positive."

"Well, he may not have them, but perhaps he knows where they
are," said Tom. "And I'm going to make it my business to watch
him and see if I can find out his secret. I won't let him know
I've heard from you. I'll apply the old saying of giving him
plenty of rope, and I'll watch what happens.

"Now, Mr. Keith, take care of yourself. Mary and I must be
getting back. Try not to worry, and I'll do my best for you," Tom
concluded.

Mary added a few words of comfort and encouragement to her
uncle, and then she and Tom took leave of him, flying back to
Shopton in the speedy Air Scout.

"What are you going to do, Tom?" asked Mary, as he left her at
her home, having told Mr. and Mrs. Nestor his part in the visit
to Barton Keith.

"I'm going to start on the submarine voyage tomorrow," was the
answer of the young inventor.

"Do you really believe there is a treasure ship?"

"Well, I've satisfied myself that a ship named the Pandora sunk
about where Hardley says it did, and she had some treasure on
board. Whether it's just the kind he has told me it was I don't
know. But I'm going to find out."

"Then you'll be saying goodbye for a long time," observed Mary,
rather wistfully.

"Oh, it may not be for so very long," and Tom tried to speak
cheerfully. "I'll bring you back some souvenirs from the bottom
of the sea," he added with a laugh.

"Bring me back--yourself!" said Mary in a low voice, and then
she hurried away.

By appointment Tom met Mr. Damon and Mr. Hardley at the
submarine dock the next morning. Everything had been made ready
for the start, postponed from the day before. Mr. Hardley's
estimated share of the expenses had been deposited in a bank, to
be paid over later.

"Well, are we really going this time, or are you going to delay
again?" asked the gold seeker, and his voice lacked a pleasant
tone.

"Oh, were going this time!" exclaimed Tom. "And I hope
everything turns out the way I want it to," he added meaningly.

"We'll find the treasure on the ship all right, if we can find
the ship," said Mr. Hardley. "That part is your job, Mr. Swift."

"And I'll find her if she's where you say she went down,"
answered Tom. "Now then, as soon as Ned comes we'll start."

Ned Newton had been intrusted with some last-moment messages,
but he arrived a little later, and hurried on board the M. N. 1
which lay at her dock, just afloat.

"All aboard!" called Tom, when he saw his financial manager
coming down the pier. "We're ready to start now."

"Bless my fountain pen!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "but we ought to
do something, Tom--sing a song, make a speech or something,
oughtn't we

"We'll sing a song of victory when we come back," replied Tom,
with a laugh. "Everything all right at home, Ned?" he asked, for
his chum had just come on from Shopton.

"Yes; your father sent his regards, but he told me to make a
last appeal to you to install a gyro-scope rudder."

"It's too late for that now," said Tom. "He attaches, I think,
too much importance to that device. I shan't need it with the
improvements I have made to the craft. Get aboard!"

Ned climbed down the hatchway, which, however, was not closed,
as it was decided to navigate the craft on the surface until it
was necessary to submerge her because of too rough water, or when
the vicinity of the wreck was reached.

"Though we will go down to the bottom when we get to the
Atlantic for the purpose of testing her in deep water," decided
Tom. "Most of the time we'll steam on the surface, for we'll save
our batteries that way, and it's more comfortable breathing
natural air."

So, with part of her deck above the surface, the M. N. 1 began
her voyage, sent on her way by the cheers of the small force of
Tom's workmen at the submarine plant. The general public was not
admitted, for the object of the quest was kept secret from all
save those immediately interested.

"Rad, him be plenty mad he not come," said Koku to Tom, as the
giant moved about the cabin, putting things to rights.

"Well, don't start crowing over him until we get back," warned
the young inventor. "He may have the laugh on us."

"Rad no laugh," declared Koku. "Rad him too mad dat I come on
trip."

"A submarine voyage is no place for old, faithful Eradicate,"
murmured Tom. "He's better off looking after my father."

The first part of the trip was without incident of moment. No
mishap attended the voyage of the M. N. 1 down the river, out
into the bay, and so on to the great Atlantic.

Fairly good time was made, as there was no particular object in
speeding, and on the second day after leaving the dock Tom gave
orders for the hatch to be closed, the deck cleared, and
everything made tight and fast.

"What's up?" asked Ned, hearing the instructions passed around.

"We're approaching deep water," was the answer. "I'm going to
submerge."

A little later, by means of her diving rudders, aided also by
the tanks, the M. N. 1 began to sink. Down, down, down she went.

"Now I'll be able to show you some pretty sights, Mr. Hardley,"
said Tom, as he and his friends entered the forward compartment,
while the steel shutters were rolled back from the heavy glass
windows. "We'll be in deep waters presently."

Ten minutes later the depth gauge showed that they were down
about three hundred feet, and that is pretty deep for a
submarine. But Tom's boat was capable of even greater depths than
that.

At first there was nothing much to observe save the opal-tinted
water illuminated by the powerful lights of the submarine. Small,
and evidently frightened, fish darted to and fro, but there was
nothing especially to attract the attention of Tom and his
friends, who had made much more sensational trips than this under
water.

Mr. Hardley, however, was fascinated, and kept close to the
observation windows.

"Are there any wrecks around here?" he asked Tom.

"Possibly," was the answer. "Though they do not contain any
treasure, I imagine--brick schooners or cargo boats would be
about all."

The submarine went deeper, plowing her way through the Atlantic
at a depth of more than three hundred and fifty feet, for Tom
wanted to subject her to a good test.

Suddenly Mr. Hardley, who was now alone at the window on the
port side, uttered a cry of alarm.

"Look! Look!" he fairly shouted. "We're surrounded by a school
of sharks! What monsters! Are we in danger?"



CHAPTER XIII

THE SEA MONSTER



Tom Swift, who had been making readings of the various gauges,
taking notes for future use, and otherwise busying himself about
the navigation of his reconstructed craft, turned quickly from
the instrument board at the cry from Mr. Hardley. The gold-
seeker, with a look of terror on his face, had recoiled from the
observation windows.

"Bless my hat band!" cried Mr. Damon. "Look, Tom!"

They all turned their attention to the glass, and through the
plates could be seen a school of giant fishes that seemed to be
swimming in front of the submarine, keeping pace with it as
though waiting for a chance to enter.

"Are we well protected against sharks, Mr. Swift?" demanded the
adventurer. "Are these sea monsters likely to break, the glass
and get in at us?"

"Indeed not!" laughed Tom. "There is absolutely no danger from
these fish--they aren't sharks, either."

"Not sharks?" cried Mr. Hardley. "What are they, then?"

"Horse mackerel," Tom answered. "At least that is the common
name for the big fish. But they are far from being sharks, and we
are in no danger from them."

"Oh!" exclaimed Mr. Hardley, and he seemed a little ashamed of
the exhibition of fear he had manifested. "Well, they certainly
seem determined to follow us," he added.

The big fish were, indeed, following the submarine, and it
required no exertion on their part to maintain their speed, since
below the surface the M. N. 1 could not move very fast, as indeed
no submarine can, due to the resistance of the water.

"They do look as though they'd like to take a bite or two out
of us," observed Ned. "Are they dangerous, Tom?"

"Not as a rule," was the answer. "I don't doubt, though, but if
a lone swimmer got in a school of horse mackerel he'd be badly
bitten. In fact, some years ago, when there was a shark scare
along the New Jersey coast, some fishermen declared that it was
horse mackerel that were responsible for the death and injury of
several bathers. A number of horse mackerel were caught and
exhibited as sharks, but, as you can easily see, their mouths
lack the under-shot arrangement of the shark, and they are not
built at all as are the man-eaters."

"Bless my toothbrush!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "Still, between a
horse mackerel and a shark there isn't much choice!"

Mr. Hardley, with a shudder, turned away from the glass
windows, and Tom glanced significantly at Ned. It was another
exhibition of the man's lack of nerve.

"We'll have trouble with him before this voyage is over,"
declared the young inventor to his chum, a little later.

"What makes you think so?" asked Ned.

"Because he's yellow; that's why. I thought him that once
before, and then I revised my opinion. Now I'm back where I
started. You watch--we'll have trouble."

"Well, I guess we can handle him," observed the financial
manager.

"I'm going a little deeper," announced Tom, toward evening on
the first day of the voyage on the open ocean. "I want to see how
she stands the pressure at five hundred feet. I feel certain she
will, and even at a greater depth. But if there's anything wrong
we want to correct it before we get too far away from home. We're
going down again, deeper than before."

A little later the submarine began the descent into the lower
ocean depths. From three hundred and fifty feet she went to four
hundred, and when the hand on the gauge showed four hundred and
fifty there was a tense moment. If anything went wrong now there
would be serious trouble.

But Tom Swift and his men had done their work well. The M. N. 1
stood the strain, and when the gauge showed four hundred and
ninety feet Mr. Damon gave a faint cheer.

"Bless my apple dumpling, Tom!" he replied, "this is
wonderful."

"Oh, we've been deeper than this," replied the young inventor,
"but under different conditions. I'm glad to see how well she is
standing it, though."

Suddenly, as the needle pointer on the depth gauge showed five
hundred and two feet, there came a slight jar and vibration that
was felt throughout the craft.

"What's that?" suddenly and nervously cried Mr. Hardley. "Have
we struck something?"

"Yes, the bottom of the ocean," answered Tom quietly. "We are
now on the floor of the Atlantic, though several hundred miles,
and perhaps a thousand, from the treasure ship. We bumped the
bottom, that's all," and as he spoke he brought the submarine to
a stop by a signal to the engine room.

And there, as calmly and easily as some of the masses of
seaweed growing on the ocean floor around her, rested the
M. N. 1. It was a test of her powers, and well had she stood the
test, though harder ones were in store for her.

And inside the submarine Tom and his party were under scarcely
greater discomfort than they would have been on the surface.
True, they were confined to a restricted space, and the air they
breathed came from compression tanks, and not from the open sky.
The lights had to be kept aglow, of course, for it was pitch dark
at that depth. The sunlight cannot penetrate to more than a
hundred feet. But sunlight was not needed, for the craft carried
powerful electric lights that could illuminate the sea in the
immediate vicinity of the submarine.

"Are you going to stay here long?" asked Mr. Hardley, when Tom
had spent some time making accurate readings of the various
instruments of the boat. "Of course, I realize that you are the
commander, but if we don't get to the treasure ship soon some one
else may loot her before we have a chance. She's been given up as
a hopeless task more than once, but the lure of the millions may
attract another gang."

"I want to stay here until I make sure that nothing is leaking
and that everything is all right," answered the young inventor.
"This is a test I have not given her since the rebuilding. But I
think she is coming through it all right, and we can soon start
off again. Before we do, though, I want to try the new diving
outfit. Ned, are you game for it now? This is a little deeper
than you have gone out in for some time, but--"

"Oh, I'm game!" exclaimed the young financial manager. "Get out
the suit, Tom, and I'll put it on. I'll go for a stroll on the
bottom of the sea. Who knows? Perhaps I may pick up a pearl."

"Pearls aren't found in these northern waters, any more than
are sharks," said Tom with a laugh. "However, I'll have the suits
made ready. I'll send Koku with you, and I'll stay in this time.
Mr. Damon, do you want to go out?"

"Not this time, Tom," answered the eccentric man. "My heart
action isn't what it used to be. The doctor said I mustn't strain
it. At a depth not quite so great I may take a chance."

"How about you, Mr. Hardley?" asked Tom. "Do you want to put on
one of my portable diving suits and walk around on the bottom of
the sea?"

"I--I don't believe I've had enough experience," was the
hesitating answer. "I'll watch the others first."

Tom felt that it would be this way, but he said nothing. He
ordered the diving suits made ready, a special size having been
built for the giant, and soon preparations were under way for the
two to step outside the craft.

Those who have read of Tom Swift's submarine boat know how his
special diving outfit was operated. Instead of the diver being
supplied with the air through a hose connected with a pump on the
surface, there was attached to the suit a tank of compressed air,
which was supplied as needed through special reducing valves.

The diving dress, too, was exceptionally strong, to withstand
the awful pressure of water at more than five hundred feet below
the surface. The usual rubber was supplemented by thin,
reinforced sheets of steel, and this feature, together with an
auxiliary air pressure, kept the wearer safe.

Thus Ned and Koku could leave the submarine, walk about on the
floor of the ocean as they pleased, and return, unhampered by an
air hose or life line. In dangerous waters, infested by sea
monsters, weapons could be carried that were effective under
water. The diving suit was also provided with a powerful electric
light operated by a new form of storage current, compact and
lasting.

"Well, I think we're all ready," announced Ned, as he and Koku
were helped into their suits and they waited for the glass-
windowed helmets to be put on. Once these were fastened in place
talk would have to be carried on with the outside world by means
of small telephones or by signals.

"Give me axe!" exclaimed Koku, as some of the sailors were
about to put his helmet in place.

"What do you want of an axe?" Tom asked.

"Maybe so one them cow fish come along," explained the giant.
"Koku whack him with axe."

"He means horse mackerel," laughed Ned. "Give him the axe, Tom.
I don't like the looks of those fish, either. I'll take a weapon
myself."

Two keen axes were handed to the divers, their helmets were
screwed on, and they immediately began breathing the compressed
air carried in a tank on their shoulders.

Slowly and laboriously they walked to the diving chamber. Their
progress would be easier in the water, which would buoy them up
in a measure. Now they were heavily weighted.

To leave the submarine the divers had to enter a steel chamber
in the side of the craft. This craft contained double doors. Once
the divers were inside the door leading to the interior of the
submarine was hermetically closed. Water from outside was then
admitted until the pressure was equalized. Then the outer door
was opened and Ned and Koku could step forth.

They entered the chamber, the door was closed tightly and then
Tom Swift turned the valve that admitted the sea water. With a
hiss the Atlantic began rushing in, and in a short time the outer
door would be opened.

"If you'll come around to the observation windows you can see
them," said Tom, when a look at the indicators told him Ned and
Koku had stepped forth.

To the front cabin he and the others betook themselves, and
when the interior lights were turned out and the exterior ones
turned on they waited for a sight of the two divers.

"Bless my pickle bottle!" cried Mr. Damon, "there they are,
Tom."

As he spoke there came into view, moving slowly, Ned and Koku.
Their portable lights were glowing, and then, in order to see
them better, Tom turned out the exterior searchlights. This made
the two forms, in their rather grotesque dress, stand out in bold
relief amid the swirling green waters of the Atlantic.

Ned and the giant moved slowly, for it was impossible to
progress with any speed wader that terrific pressure. They looked
toward the submarine and waved their hands in greeting. They had
no special object on the ocean floor, except to try the new
diving dress, and it seemed to operate successfully. Ned made a
pretense of looking for treasure amid the sand and seaweed, and
once he caught and held up by its tail a queer turtle. Koku
stalked about behind Ned, looking to right and left, possibly for
a sight of some monster "cow fish."

"They're coming back in, I think," remarked Tom, when he saw
Ned turn and start back for the side of the craft, where,
amidships, was located the diving chamber. "They're satisfied
with the test."

Suddenly Koku was seen to glide to the side of Ned, and point
at something which none of the observers in the M. N. 1 could
see. The giant was evidently perturbed, and Ned, too, showed some
agitation.

"Bless my rubber shoes! what's the matter?" cried Mr. Damon.

"I don't know," answered Tom. "Perhaps they have sighted a
wreck, or something like that."

"Look! It's a sea monster!" cried Mr. Hardley. "I can see the
form of some great fish, or something. Look! It's coming right at
them!"

As he spoke all in the observation chamber saw a great, black
form, as if of some monster, move close to the two divers.



CHAPTER XIV

IN STRANGE PERIL



"What is it, Tom? What is it?" cried Mr. Damon, not stopping in
this moment of excitement to bless anything. "What is going to
attack Ned and Koku?"

"I don't know," answered the young inventor. "It's some big
fish evidently. I must get to the diving chamber!"

He gave a quick glance through the observation windows. Ned and
the giant were moving as fast as they could toward the side of
the craft where they could enter. The black, shadowy form was
nearer now, but its nature could not be made out.

Calling to his force of assistants, Tom stood ready to let his
chum and Koku out of the diving chamber as soon as the water
should have been pumped from it.

A little later, as they all stood waiting in tense eagerness,
there came a signal that the two divers had entered the side
chamber. Quickly Tom turned the lever that closed the outer door.

"They're safe!" he exclaimed, as he started the pumps to
working. But even as he spoke they felt a jar, and the submarine
rolled partly over as if she had collided with some object. Yet
this could not be, as she was stationary on the floor of the
ocean.

"Bless my cake of soap, Tom!" cried Mr. Damon, "what in the
world is that?"

"If it's an accident!" exclaimed Mr. Hardley, "I think it ought
to be prevented. There have been too many happenings on this trip
already. I thought you said your submarine was safe for
underwater trips!" he fairly snapped at Tom.

The young inventor gave one look at the irate man who was
coming out in his true colors. But it was no time to rebuke him.
Too much yet remained to be done. Ned and Koku were still in the
chamber and protected from some unknown sea monster by only a
comparatively thin door. They must be inside to be perfectly
safe.

Tom speeded up the pumps that were forcing the water from the
chamber so the inner door could be opened. Eagerly he and his men
watched the gauges to note when the last gallon should have been
forced out by the compressed air. Not until then would it be safe
to let Ned and Koku step into the interior of the craft.

The submarine had not ceased rolling from the force of the blow
she had received when there came another, and this time on the
opposite side. Once more she rolled to a dangerous angle.

"Bless my tea biscuit!" cried Mr. Damon, "what is it all about,
Tom Swift?"

"I don't know," was the low-voiced answer, "unless a pair of
monsters are attacking us on both sides alternately. But we'll
soon learn. There goes the last of the water!"

The gauge showed that the diving chamber was empty. Quickly the
inner doors were opened, stud, with their suits still dripping
from their immersion in the salty sea, Ned and Koku stepped
forth. In another moment their helmets were loosed from the
bayonet catches, and they could speak.

"What was it, Ned?" cried Tom.

"Big fish!" answered Koku.

"Two monster whales!" gasped Ned. "We barely got away from
them! They're ramming the sub, Tom!"

As he spoke there came a blow on the port side, greater than
either of the two preceding ones. Those in the M. N. 1 staggered
about, and had to hold on to objects to preserve their footing.

"Both at the same time!" cried Ned. "The two whales are coming
at us both at once!"

This was evidently the case. Tom Swift quickly hurried to the
engine room.

"What are you going to do?" asked Mr. Hardley. "You ought to
do something! I'm not going to be killed down here by a whale.
You've got to do something, Swift! I've had enough of this!"

Tom did not deign an answer, but hurried on. Mr. Damon followed
him, having seen that some of the sailors were helping Ned and
Koku out of the diving suits.

"Are we in any danger, Tom?" asked the eccentric man.

"Yes; but I think it is easily remedied," was the answer.
"We'll go up to the surface. I don't believe the whales will
follow us. Or, if they do, they can't do much damage when we are
in motion. It's because we are stationary and they are moving
that the blows seem so violent. Unless they collide head on with
us, in the opposite direction to ours, we ought to be able to get
clear of them. If they persist in following us--"

He paused as he pulled over the lever that would send the M. N.
1 to the surface.

"Well, what then?" asked Mr. Damon.

"Then we'll have to use some weapon, and I have several,"
finished the young inventor.

A few moments later the craft was in motion, not before,
however, she was struck another blow, but only a glancing one.

"We're puzzling them!" cried Tom.

Having done all that was possible for the time being, Tom
hurried to the observation chamber, followed by the ethers. There
Tom switched on the powerful lights. For a moment nothing was to
be seen but the swirling, green water. Then, suddenly, a great
shape came into view of the glass windows, followed by another.

"Whales!" cried Tom Swift. "And the largest I've ever seen

It was true. Two immense specimens of the cetacean species were
in front of the submarine, one on either bow, evidently much
puzzled over the glaring lights. They were bow-heads, and immense
creatures, and it would not take many blows from them to disable
even a stouter craft than was the submarine.

But the motion of the undersea ship, the bright lights, and
possibly the feel of her steel skin was evidently not to the
liking of the sea monsters. One, indeed, came so close to the
glass that he seemed about to try to break it, but, to the relief
of all, he veered off, evidently not liking the look of what he
saw.

Just once again, before the craft reached the surface, was
there another blow, this time at the stern. But it was a parting
tap, and none others followed.

"They've gone!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, as the whales vanished
from the sight of those in the forward cabin.

"Have you any adequate protection against these monsters of the
deep?" asked Mr. Hardley in a fault-finding voice. "I should
think you would have taken precautions, Swift!"

He had dropped the formal "Mr." and seemed to treat Tom as an
inferior.

"We have other protection than running away," said the young
inventor quietly. "There are guns we can use, and, if the whales
had been far enough away, I could have sent a small torpedo at
them. Close by it would be dangerous to use that, as it would
operate on us just as the depth bombs operated on the German
submarines. However, I fancy we have nothing more to fear."

And Tom was right. When the surface was reached and the main
hatch opened, the sea was calm and there was no sight of the
whales. They evidently had had enough of their encounter with a
steel fish, larger even than themselves.

"But they surely were monsters," said Ned, as he told of how he
and Koku had sighted the animals; for a whale is an animal, and
not a fish, though often mistakenly called one.

"Koku was for attacking them with his axe," went on Ned, "but I
motioned to him to beat it. We wouldn't have stood a show against
such creatures. They were on us before we noticed their coming,
but I presume the big submarine attracted them away from us."

"It might have been the lights you carried that drew them,"
suggested Tom. "I am glad you came out of it so well."

Mr. Hardley seemed to recover some of his former manners, once
the peril was passed, but his conduct had been a revelation to
Mr. Damon.

"Tom," said the eccentric man in private to the young inventor,
"I'm disgusted with that fellow. I don't see how I was ever
bamboozled into taking up his offer."

"I don't, either," replied Tom frankly. "But we're in for it
now. We've agreed to do certain things, and I'll carry out my end
of the bargain. However, I won't put up with any of his nonsense.
He's got to obey orders on this ship! I know more than he thinks
I do!"

The next two days the M. N. 1 progressed along on the surface,
and nothing of moment occurred. Then, as they neared southern
waters, and Tom desired to make some observations of the
character of the bottom, it was decided to submerge. Accordingly,
one day the order was given.

Not until the gauge showed a hundred fathoms, or six hundred
feet, did the craft cease descending, and then she came to rest
on the bottom of the sea--a greater depth than she had yet
attained on this voyage.

"How beautiful!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, when Tom turned on the
lights and they looked out of the forward cabin windows. "How
wonderful and beautiful!"

Well might he say that, for they were resting on pure white
sand, and about them, growing on the bottom of this warm,
tropical sea were great corals, purple and white, of wondrous
shapes, waving plants like ferns and palms, and, amid it all,
swam fish of queer shapes and beautiful colors.

"This is worth waiting for!" murmured Ned. "If only moving
pictures of this could be taken in colors, it would create a
sensation."

"Perhaps I may try that some day," said Tom with a smile. "But
just now I have something else to do. Ned, are you game for
another try in the diving dress? I want to see how it operates
with a new air tank I've fitted on. Want to try?"

"Sure I'll go out," was the ready answer. "It's nicer walking
around on this white sand than on the black mud where we saw the
whales. You can see better, too."

A little later he and one of the sailors were outside the
submarine, walking around in the diving dress, while Tom and the
others watched through the glass windows. The new air tank seemed
to be working well, for Ned, coming close to the window, signaled
that he was very comfortable.

He walked around with the sailor, breaking off bits of odd-
shaped coral to bring back to Tom. Suddenly, as those inside the
craft looked out, they saw the sailor turn from Ned's side, and
with a warning hand, point to something evidently approaching.
The next instant a queer shape seemed to envelope Ned Newton,
coming out from behind a ledge of weed-draped coral. And a cry
went up from those in the submarine as Ned was seen to be
enveloped in long, waving arms.

"An octopus!" cried Mr. Damon. "Bless my soul, Tom, an octopus
has Ned!"

"No, it isn't that!" cried the young inventor hoarsely. "It's
some other monster. It has only five arms--an octopus has eight!
I've got to save Ned!"

And he hurried toward the diving chamber, while the others, in
fascinated horror, looked at the diver who was in such strange
peril.



CHAPTER XV

TOM TO THE RESCUE



Mr. Damon came to a pause in the compartment from which the
diving chamber gave access to the ocean outside. Tom, standing
before the sliding steel door, had summoned to him several of his
men and was rapidly giving them directions.

"What are you going to do, Tom Swift?" asked the eccentric man.

"I'm going out there to save Ned!" was the quick answer. "He's
in the grip of some strange monster of the sea. What it is I
don't know, but I'm going to find out. Koku, you come with me!"

"Yes, Master, me come!" said the giant simply, as if Tom had
told him to go for a pail of water instead of risking his life.

"Barnes, the electric gun!" cried the young inventor to one of
his helpers, while others were getting out the diving suits.

"The electric gun!" exclaimed the man. "Do you mean the small
one?"

"No, the largest. The improved one."

"Right, sir! Here you are!"

"Do you mean to say you are going out there, where that monster
is, and attack it with a gun?" asked Mr. Hardley.

"That's what I'm going to do!" answered Tom, as he began to
put on the suit of steel and rubber, an example followed by Koku.

"But you may be attacked by the monster! You may be killed! You
are risking your life!" cried the gold seeker.

"I know it." Tom spoke simply. "Ned would do the same for me!"

"But hold on!" cried Mr. Hardley. "If you are killed there will
be no one to navigate this boat to the place of the wreck! You
can't desert this way!"

Tom gave the man one look of contempt. "You need have, no
fears," he said. "This submarine is under international maritime
laws. If I die, Captain Nelson, the next in command, takes
charge, and the original orders will be carried out. If it is
possible to get the gold for you it will be done. Now let me
alone. I've got work to do!"

"Bless my apple cart, Tom, that's the way to talk!" exclaimed
Mr. Damon, and he, too, for the first time, seemed ready to break
with Hardley. "If I were a bit younger I'd go out with you myself
and help save Ned."

"Koku and I can do it--if he's still alive!" murmured the young
inventor. "Lively now, boys! Is that gun ready?"

"Yes, and doubly charged," was the answer. "Good! I may need
it. Koku, take a gun also!"

"Me take axe, Master," replied the giant.

"Well, perhaps that will be better," Tom agreed. "If two of us
get to shooting under the water we may hit one another. Quick,
now! The helmets. And, Nash, you work the big searchlight!"

"Aye, aye, sir!" answered the sailor.

The helmets were now put on, and any further orders Tom had to
give must come through the telephone, and it was by that same
medium that he must listen to the talk of his friends. It was
possible for the divers to talk and listen to one another while
in the water by means of these peculiarly constructed telephones.

"All ready, Koku?" asked Tom.

"All ready, Master," answered the giant, as he grasped his keen
axe.

The inner door of the diving chamber was now opened, and, the
water having been pumped out of the chamber since Ned and the
sailor had emerged, it was ready for Tom and Koku. They entered,
the door was closed, and presently they felt the pressure of
water all about them, the sea being admitted through valves in
the outer door.

While this was going on Mr. Damon, the gold-seeker, and some of
the crew and officers went into the forward chamber to observe
the undersea fight against the monster that had attacked Ned.

Suddenly the waters glowed with a greatly increased light, and
in this illumination it was seen that the monster, whatever it
was, had almost completely enveloped Tom's chum with its five
arms.

"What makes it possible to see better?" asked Mr. Damon.

"I've turned on the big searchlight," was the answer. "Mr.
Swift had it installed at the last moment. It's the same kind he
invented and gave to the government, but he retained the right to
use it himself."

"It's a good thing he did!" exclaimed the eccentric man. "Now
he can see what he's doing! Poor Ned! I'm afraid he's done for!"

"Look!" exclaimed one of the crew. "Norton, the sailor who went
out with Mr. Newton, is trying to kill the monster with his
spear!"

This was so. Ned's companion, armed with a lone pole to which
he had lashed a knife, was stabbing and jabbing at the black form
which almost completely hid Ned from sight. But the efforts of
the sailor seemed to produce little effect.

"What in the world can it be?" asked Mr. Damon. "Tom says it
isn't an octopus, and it can't be, unless it has lost three of
its arms. But what sort of monster is it?"

No one answered him. The powerful searchlight continued to
glow, and in the gleam Ned could be seen trying to break away
from the grip of the Atlantic beast. But his efforts were
unavailing. It was as if he was enveloped in a sort of sack, made
in segments, so that they opened and closed over his head. About
all that could be seen of him was his feet, encased in the heavy
lead-laden boots. The form of the other sailor, who had gone out
of the submarine with him, could be seen moving here and there,
stabbing at the huge creature.

"Here comes Tom!" suddenly exclaimed Mr. Damon, and the young
inventor, followed by the giant Koku, came into view. They had
emerged from the diving chamber, walked around the submarine as
it rested on the ocean floor, and were now advancing to the
rescue. Tom carried his electric rifle, and Koku an axe.

So desperately was Norton engaged in trying to kill the sea
beast that had attacked Ned, that for the moment he was unaware
of the approach of Tom and Koku. Then, as a swirl of the water
apprised him of this, he turned and, seeing them, hastened toward
them.

"What is it?" Tom asked through the telephone, this information
being given to the watchers in the submarine later, as all they
could gather then was by what they saw. "What sort of monster is
it?"

"A giant starfish!" answered Norton, speaking into his
mouthpiece and the water serving as a transmitting medium instead
of wires. "I never knew they grew so big! This one has its five
arms all around Mr. Newton!"

"A starfish!" murmured Tom. This accounted for it, and, as he
looked at the monster from closer quarters, he saw that Norton
had spoken the truth.

Small starfish, or even large ones, two feet or more in
diameter, may be seen at the seashore almost any time. Nearly
always the specimens cast up on the beach are in extended form,
either limp, or dead and dried. In almost every instance they
are spread out just as their name indicates, in the conventional
form of a star.

But a starfish alive, and at its business of eating oysters or
other shell animals in the sea, is not at all this shape.
Instead, it assumes the form of a sack, spreading its five
radiating arms around the object of its meal. It then proceeds
to suck the oyster out of its shell, and so powerful a suction
organ has the starfish that he can pull an oyster through its
shell, by forcing the bivalve to open.

And it was a gigantic starfish, a hundred times as large as any
Tom had ever seen, that had Ned in its grip. The creature had
doubtless taken the diver for a new kind of oyster, and was
trying to open it. An octopus has suckers on the inner sides of
its eight arms. A starfish has little feelers, or "fingers,"
arranged parallel rows on the inner side of its armsÄthousands of
little feelers, and these exert a sort of sucking action.

The gigantic starfish had attacked Ned from above, settling
down on him so that the head of the diver was at the middle of
the creature's body, the five arms, dropping over Ned in a sort
of living canopy. And the arms held tightly.

"Come on, Koku, and you, too, Norton!" called Tom through his
headpiece telephone. "We'll all attack it at once. I'll fire, and
then you begin to hack it. The electric charge ought to stun it,
if it doesn't kill the beast!"

Tom's new electric gun, unlike one kind he had first invented,
did not fire an electrically charged bullet. Instead it sent a
powerful charge of electricity, like a flash of lightning, in a
straight line toward the object aimed at. And the current was
powerful enough to kill an elephant.

Bracing his feet on the white sand, which gleamed and sparkled
in the glare of the searchlight, Tom aimed at the gigantic
starfish which had enveloped Ned. Standing on either side of him,
ready to rush in and attack with axe and lance, were Koku and
Norton.

For an instant Tom hesitated. He was wondering whether the
powerful electric charge might not penetrate the body of the
starfish and kill his chum.

"But the rubber suit ought to insulate and protect him," mused
the young inventor. "Here goes!"

Taking quick aim, Tom pulled the switch, and the deadly charge
shot out of the rifle toward the sea monster.



CHAPTER XVI

GASPING FOR AIR



For an instant after the electrical charge had been fired
nothing seem to happen. The giant starfish still enveloped Ned
Newton in its grip, while Tom and his two companions stood
tensely waiting and those in the submarine looked anxiously out
through the thick glass windows.

Then, as the powerful current made itself felt, those watching
saw one of the arms slowly loosen its grip. Another floated
upward, as a strand of rope idly drifts in the current. Tom saw
this, and called through his telephone:

"He's feeling it! Go to him, boys! Koku, you with the axe!"

They needed no second urging.

Springing toward the monster, Koku with upraised axe and Norton
with the lance, they attacked the starfish. Hacking and stabbing,
they completed the work begun by Tom's electric gun. With one
powerful stroke, even hampered as he was by the heavy medium in
which he operated, Koku lopped off one of the legs. Norton thrust
his lance deep into the body of the monster, but this was hardly
needed, for the starfish was now dead, and gradually the
remaining arms relaxed their hold.

Pushing with their weapons, the giant and the sailor now freed
Ned from the bulk of the creature, which floated away. It was
almost immediately attacked by a school of fish that seemed to
have been waiting for just this chance. Ned Newton was freed, but
for a moment he staggered about on the floor of the sea, hardly
able to stand.

"Are you all right, Ned? Did he pierce your suit?" asked Tom,
anxiously through the telephone.

"Yes, I'm all right," came back the reassuring answer. "I'm a
bit cramped from the way he held me, but that's all. Guess he
found this suit of rubber and steel too much for his digestion."

Slowly, for Ned was indeed a bit stiff and cramped, they made
their way back to the submarine, passing through a vast horde of
small fishes which had been attracted by the dismemberment of the
monster that had been killed.

"There'll be sharks along soon," said Tom to Ned through the
telephone. "They're not going to miss such a gathering of food as
these small fry present. And sharks will present a different
emergency from starfish."

Tom spoke truly, for a little later, when they were all once
more safely within the submarine, looking through the windows,
they saw a school of hungry sharks feeding on the millions of
small fish that gathered to eat the creature that had attacked
Ned.

"What did you think was happening to you out there?" asked
Tom, when the diving suits had been put away.

"I didn't know what to think," was the answer. "I was
prospecting around, and I leaned over to pick up a particularly
beautiful bit of coral. All at once I felt something over me, as
a cloud sometimes hides the sun. I looked up, saw a big black
shape settling down, and then I felt my arms pinned to my sides.
At first I thought it was an octopus, but in a moment I realized
what it was. Though I never thought before that starfish grew so
large."

"Nor I," added Tom. "Well, you've had an experience, to say the
least."

They remained a little longer in the vicinity, Tom and his
officers making observations they thought would be useful to them
later, and then the submarine went up to the surface.

They cruised in the open the rest of that day, recharging the
storage batteries and getting ready for the search which, Tom
calculated, would take them some time. As he had explained, it
would not be easy to locate the Pandora in the fathomless depths
of the sea.

Ned and Mr. Damon did some fishing while they were on the
surface, and, as their luck was good, there was a welcome change
from the usual food of the M. N. 1. Though, as Tom had installed
a refrigerating plant, fresh meat could be kept for some time,
and this, in addition to the tinned and preserved foods, gave
them an ample larder.

"When are we going to begin the real search for the gold?"
asked Mr. Hardley that evening.

"I should say in another day or two," Tom answered, after he
had consulted the charts and made calculations of their progress
since leaving their dock. "We shall then be in the vicinity of
the place where you say the Pandora went down, and, if you are
sure of your location, we ought to be able to come approximately
near to the location of the gold wreck."

"Of course I am sure of my figures," declared Mr. Hardley. "I
had them directly from the first mate, who gave them to the
captain."

"Well, it remains to be seen," replied Tom Swift. "We'll know
in a few days."

"And I hope there will be no more taking chances," went on the
gold-seeker. "I don't see any sense in you people going out in
diving suits to fight starfish. We need those suits to recover
the gold with, and it's foolish to take needless risks."

His tone and manner were dictatorial, but Tom said nothing.
Only when he and Mr. Damon were alone a little later the
eccentric man said:

"Tom will you ever forgive me for introducing you to such a
pest?"

"Oh, well, you didn't know what he was," said Tom good-
naturedly. "You're as badly taken in as I am. Once we get the
gold and give him his share, he can get off my boat. I'll have
nothing more to do with him!"

Not wishing to navigate in the darkness, for fear of not being
able to keep an accurate record of the course and the distance
made Tom submerged the craft when night came and let her come to
rest on the bottom of the sea. He calculated that two days later
they would be in the vicinity of the Pandora.

The night passed without incident, situated, as they were, on
the sand about three hundred feet below the surface; and after
breakfast Tom announced that they would go up and head directly
for the place where the Pandora had foundered.

The ballast tanks were emptied, the rising rudder set, and the
M. N. 1 began to ascend. She was still several fathoms from the
surface when all on board became aware of a violent pitching and
tossing motion.

"Bless my postage stamp, Tom!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "what's the
matter now?"

"Has anything gone wrong?" demanded Mr. Hardley.

"Nothing, except that we are coming up into a storm," answered
the young inventor. "The wind is blowing hard up above and the
waves are high. The swell makes itself felt even down here."

Tom's explanation of the cause of the pitching and rolling of
the submarine proved correct. When they reached the surface and
an observation was taken from the conning tower, it was seen that
a terrific storm was raging. It was out of the question to open
the hatches, or the M. N. 1 would have been swamped. The waves
were high, it was raining hard and the wind blowing a hurricane.

"Well, here's where we demonstrate the advantage of traveling
in a submarine," announced Tom, when it was seen that journeying
on the surface was out of the question. "The disturbance does not
go far below the top. We'll submerge and be in quiet waters."

He gave the orders, and soon the craft was sinking again. The
deeper she went the more untroubled the sea became, until, when
half way to the bottom, there was no vestige of the storm.

"Are we going to lie here on the bottom all day, or make some
progress toward our destination?" asked the gold-seeker, when Tom
came into the main cabin after a visit to the engine room. "It
seems to me," went on Mr. Hardley, "that we've wasted enough
time! I'd like to get to the wreck, and begin taking out the
gold."

"That is my plan," said Tom quietly. "We will proceed
presently--just as soon as navigating calculations can be made
and checked up. If we travel under water we want to go in the
right direction."

His manner toward the gold-seeker was cool and distant. It was
easy to see that relations were strained. But Tom would fulfill
his part of the contract.

A little later, after having floated quietly for half an hour
or so, the craft was put in motion, traveling under water by
means of her electric motors. All that day she surged on through
the salty sea, no more disturbed by the storm above than was some
mollusk on the sandy bottom.

It was toward evening, as they could tell by the clocks and not
by any change in daylight or darkness, that, as the submarine
traveled on, there came a sudden violent concussion.

"What's that?" cried Mr. Damon.

"We've struck something!" replied Tom, who was with the others
in the cabin, the navigation of the craft having been entrusted
to one of the officers. "Keep cool, there's no danger!"

"Perhaps we have struck the wreck!" exclaimed Mr. Hardley.

"We aren't near her," answered the young inventor. "But it may
be some other half-submerged derelict. I'll go to see, and--"

Tom's words were choked off by a sudden swirl of the craft. She
seemed about to turn completely over, and then, twisted to an
uncomfortable angle, so that those within her slid to the side
walls of the cabin, the M. N. 1 came to an abrupt stop. At the
same time she seemed to vibrate and tremble as if in terror of
some unknown fate.

"Something has gone wrong!" exclaimed Tom, and he hurried to
the engine room, walking, as best he could with the craft at that
grotesque angle. The others followed him.

"What's the matter, Earle?" asked Tom of his chief assistant.

"One of the rudders has broken, sir," was the answer. "It's
thrown us off our even keel. I'll start the gyroscope, and that
ought to stabilize us."

"The gyroscope!" cried Tom. "I didn't bring it. I didn't think
we'd need it!"

For a moment Earle looked at his commander. Then he said:

"Well, perhaps we can make a shift if we can repair the broken
rudder. We must have struck a powerful cross current, or maybe a
whirlpool, that tore the main rudder loose. We've rammed a sand
bank, or stuck her nose into the bottom in some shallow place,
I'm afraid. We can't go ahead or back up."

"Do you mean we're stuck, as we were in the mud bank?" asked
Mr. Hardley.

"Yes," answered Tom, and Earle nodded to confirm that version
of it.

"But we'll get out!" declared Tom. "This is only a slight
accident. It doesn't amount to anything, though I'm sorry now I
didn't take my father's advice and bring the gyroscope rudder
along. It would have acted automatically to have prevented this.
Now, Mr. Earle, we'll see what's to be done."

All night long they worked, but when morning came, as told by
the clocks, they were still in jeopardy.

And then a new peril confronted them!

Earle, coming from the crew's quarters, spoke to Tom quietly in
the main cabin.

"We'll have to turn on one of the auxiliary air tanks," he
said. "We've consumed more than the usual amount on account of
the men working so hard, and we used one of the compressed air
motors to aid the electrics. We'll have to open up the reserve
tank."

"Very well, do so," ordered Tom.

But a grim look came to his face when Earle, returning a little
later, reported with blanched cheeks:

"The extra tank hasn't an atom of air in it, sir!"

"What do you mean?" asked Tom, in fear and alarm.

"I mean that the valve has been opened in some way--broken
perhaps by accident--and all the air we have is what's in the
submarine now. Not an atom in reserve, sir!"

"Whew!" whistled Tom, and then he stood up and began breathing
quickly.

Already the atmosphere was beginning to be tainted, as it
always becomes in a closed place when no fresh oxygen can enter.
Without more fresh air the lives of all in the submarine were in
imminent peril. And even as Tom listened to the report of his
officer, he and the others began gasping for breath.



CHAPTER XVII

WHERE IS IT?



"Down on your faces!" called Tom to those with him in the
cabin. "Lie down, every one! The freshest air is near the floor;
the bad air rises, being lighter with carbonic acid. Lie down!"

All obeyed, Tom following the advice he himself gave. It was a
little easier to breathe, lying on the tilted cabin floor, but
how long could this be kept up? That was a question each one
asked himself.

"Is every bit of our reserve air used?" asked Tom, speaking to
Earle.

"As far as I can learn, yes, sir. If I had known that the
auxiliary tank was empty I wouldn't have ordered the compressed
air motor used. But I didn't know."

"No one is to blame," said Tom in a low voice. "It is one of
the accidents that could not be foreseen. If there is any blame
it attaches to me for not installing the gyroscope rudder. If we
had had that when we were caught in the cross current, or the
whirlpool swirl, our equilibrium would have been automatically
maintained. As it is--"

He did not finish, but they all knew what he meant.

"Bless my soda fountain, Tom!" murmured Mr. Damon, "but isn't
there any way of getting fresh air?"

"None without rising to the top," Tom answered. "We'll have to
try that. Come with me to the engine room, Mr. Earle. It may be
possible we can pull her loose."

They started to crawl on their hands and knees, to take
advantage of the purer air at the floor level. The situation of
the M. N. 1 was exactly the same as it had been when she ran into
the mud bank in the river, with the exception that now she was in
graver danger, for the supply of air for breathing was almost
exhausted.

Reaching the engine room, where he found the crew lying down to
take advantage of the better air near the floor, Tom made a hasty
examination of the apparatus. There was still plenty of power
left in the storage batteries, but, so far, the motors they
operated had not been able to pull the craft loose from where her
nose was stuck fast.

"Are the tanks completely emptied?" asked Tom.

"As nearly so as we could manage with the pumps not acting to
their full capacity," answered Earle. "If we could turn the craft
on a more level keel we might empty them further, and then her
natural buoyancy would send her up."

"Then that's the thing to try to do!" exclaimed Tom, his head
beginning to feel the heaviness due to the impure air. "We'll move
every stationary object over to the port side, and we'll all
stand there, or lie there, ourselves. That may heel her over, and
help loosen the grip of the sand."

"It's worth trying," said Earle. "Get ready, men!" he called to
the crew.

Tom crawled back to the main cabin and told Mr. Damon and the
others what was to be attempted.

"Koku, you come and help move things," requested Tom.

"Me move anything!" boasted the giant, who, because of his
great strength and reserve power did not seem as greatly
affected as were the others.

Going back to the engine room with Koku, Tom assisted, as well
as he could, in the shifting of pieces of apparatus, stores and
other things that were movable. They all worked at a great
disadvantage except Koku, and he did not seem to feel the lack of
vitalizing air.

One thing after another was shifted, and still the M. N. 1
maintained the dangerous angle.

"It isn't going to work!" gasped Tom, as he noticed the
indicator which told to what angle the craft was still off an
even keel. "We'll have to try something else."

"Is there anything to try?" asked Earle, in a faint voice. He
was on the point of fainting for lack of air.

Tom looked desperately around. There was one piece of heavy
machinery that might be moved to the other side of the engine
room. It was bolted to the floor, but its added weight, with that
of the crew and passengers, together with what had already been
shifted, might turn the trick.

"Let's try to move that!" said Tom faintly, pointing to it.

"It will take an hour to unbolt it," said one of the men.

"Koku!" gasped Tom, pointing to the heavy apparatus. "See if--
see if you--"

Tom's breath failed him, and he sank down in a heap. But he had
managed to make the giant understand what was wanted.

"Koku do!" murmured the big man. Striding to the piece of
machinery, the legs of which were bolted to the floor, Koku got
his arms under it. Bending over, and arching his back, so as to
take full advantage of his enormous muscles, the giant strained
upward.

There was a cracking of bone and sinew, a rasping sound, but
the machinery did not leave the floor.

"Him must come!" gasped the giant. "One more go!"

He took a hold lower down. Tom's eyes were dim now, and he
could not see well. Some of the men were unconscious.

Then, suddenly, there was a loud, breaking sound, and something
tinkled on the steel floor of the submarine engine room. It was
the heads of the bolts which Koku had torn loose. Like hail they
fell about the giant, and in another instant the big man had
pulled loose the machine, weighing several hundreds of pounds. In
another moment he shoved it across the floor, toward the elevated
side of the craft.

For a second or two nothing happened. Then slowly, very slowly,
the M. N. 1 began to heel over.

"She's turning!" some one gasped.

An instant later, freed by this turning motion from the grip of
the sand bank, the submarine shot to the surface. Up and up she
went, breaking out on the open sea as a great fish darts upward
from the hidden depths.

It was the work of only a few seconds for the man nearest it to
open the hatch, and then in rushed the life-giving air. Tom and
his companions were saved, and by Koku's strength.

"Me say him machine got to come up--him come up!" said the
giant, smiling in happy fashion, when, after they had all gulped
down great mouthfuls of the precious oxygen, they were talking of
their experience.

"Yes, you certainly did it," said Tom, and due credit was given
to Koku.

"Never again will I travel without a gyroscope," declared Tom.
"I'm almost ready to go back and have one installed now."

"No, don't!" exclaimed the gold-seeker. "We are almost at the
place of the wreck."

"Well, I suppose we can travel more slowly and not run a risk
like that again," decided Tom. "I'll put double valves on the
emergency air tank, so no accident will release our supply
again."

This was done, after the broken valves had been repaired, and
then, when the machine Koku had torn loose was fastened down
again, and the submarine restored to her former condition, a
consultation was held as to what the next step should be.

They were in the neighborhood of the West Indies, and another
day, or perhaps less, of travel would bring them approximately to
the place where the Pandora had foundered. The latitude and
longitude had been computed, and then, with air tanks filled,
with batteries fully charged, and everything possible done to
insure success, the craft was sent on the last leg of her
journey.

For two days they made progress, sometimes on the surface, and
again submerged, and, finally, on the second noon, when the sun
had been "shot," Tom said:

"Well, we're here!"

"You mean at the place of the wreck?" asked Mr. Hardley.

"At the place where you say it was," corrected Tom.

"Well, if this is the place of which I gave you the longitude
and latitude, then it's down below here, somewhere," and the
gold-seeker pointed to the surface of the sea. It was a calm day
and the ocean was the proverbial mill pond.

"Let's go down and try our luck," suggested Tom.

The orders were given, the tanks filled, the rudders set, and,
with hatches closed, the M. N. 1 submerged. Then, with the
powerful searchlight aglow, the search was begun. Moving along
only a few feet above the floor of the ocean, those in the
submarine peered from the glass windows for a sight of the sunken
Pandora.

All the rest of that day they cruised about below the surface.
Then they moved in ever widening circles. Evening came, and the
wreck had not been found. The search was kept up all night, since
darkness and daylight were alike to those in the undersea craft.

But when three days had passed and the Pandora had not been
seen, nor any signs of her, there was a feeling of something like
dismay.

"Where is it?" demanded Mr. Hardley. "I don't see why we
haven't found it! Where is that wreck?" and he looked sharply at
Tom Swift.



CHAPTER XVIII

A SEPARATION



"Mr. Hardley," began Tom calmly, as he took a seat in the main
cabin, "when we started this search I told you that hunting for
something on the bottom of the sea was not like locating a
building at the intersection of two streets."

"Well, what if you did?" snapped the gold-seeker. "You're
supposed to do the navigating, not I! You said if I gave you the
latitude and longitude, down to seconds, as well as degrees and
minutes, which I have done, that you could bring your submarine
to that exact point."

"I said that, and I have done it," declared Tom. "When we
computed our position the other day we were at the exact location
you gave me as being the spot where the Pandora foundered."

"Then why isn't she here?" demanded the unpleasant adventurer.
"We went down to the bottom at the exact spot, and we've been
cruising around it ever since, but there isn't a sign of the
wreck. Why is it?"

"I'm trying to explain," replied Tom, endeavoring to keep his
temper. "As I said, finding a place on the open sea is not like
going to the intersection of two streets. There everything is in
plain sight. But here our vision is limited, even with my big
searchlight. And being a few feet out of the way, as one is bound
to be in making nautical calculations, makes a lot of difference.
We may have been close to the wreck, but may have missed it by a
few yards."

"Then what's to be done?" asked Mr. Hardley.

"Keep on searching," Tom answered. "We have plenty of food and
supplies. I came out equipped for a long voyage, and I'm not
discouraged yet. Another thing. The ship may have moved on
several fathoms, or even a mile or two, after her last position
was taken before she went down. In that case she'd be all the
harder to find. And even granting that she sank where you think
she did, the ocean currents since then may have shifted her. Or
she may be covered by sand."

"Covered by sand!" exclaimed the gold-seeker.

"Yes," replied Tom. "The bottom of the ocean is always changing
and shifting. Storms produce changes in currents, and currents
wash the sand on the bottom in different directions. So that a
wreck which may have been exposed at one time may be covered a
day or so later. We'll have to keep on searching. I'm not ready
to give up."

"Maybe not. But I am!" snapped out Mr. Hardley.

"What do you mean?" asked the young inventor.

"Just what I said," was the quick answer. "I'm not going to
stay down here, cruising about without knowing where I'm going.
It looks to me as if you were hunting for a needle in a
haystack."

"That's just about what we are doing," and Tom tried to speak
good-naturedly.

"Then do you know what I think?" the gold-seeker fairly shot
forth.

"Not exactly," Tom replied.

"I think that you don't understand your business, Swift!" was
the instant retort. "You pretend to be a navigator, or have men
who are, and yet when I give you simple and explicit directions
for finding a sunken wreck you can't do it, and you cruise all
around looking for it like a dog that has lost the scent! You
don't know your business, in my estimation!"

"Well, you are entitled to your opinion, of course," agreed
Tom, and both Mr. Damon and Ned were surprised to see him so
calm. "I admit we haven't found the wreck, and may not, for some
time."

"Then why don't you admit you're incompetent?" cried Mr.
Hardley.

"I don't see why I should," said Tom, still keeping calm. "But
since you feel that way about it, I think the best thing for us
to do is to separate."

"What do you mean?" stormed the other.

"I mean that I will set you ashore at the nearest place, and
that all arrangements between us are at an end."

"All right then! Do it! Do it!" cried Mr. Hardley, shaking his
fist, but at no one in particular. "I'm through with you! But
this is your own decision. You broke the contract--I didn't, and
I'll not pay a cent toward the expenses of this trip, Swift! Mark
my words! I won't pay a cent! I'll claim the money I deposited in
the bank, and I won't pay a cent!"

"I'm not asking you to!" returned Tom. with a smile that showed
how he had himself in command. "You put up a bond, secured by a
deposit, to insure your share of the expenses--yours and Mr.
Damon's. Very well, we'll consider that bond canceled. I won't
charge you a cent for this trip. But, mark this, Hardley: What I
find from now on, is my own! You don't share in it!"

"You mean that--"

"I mean that if I discover the wreck of the Pandora and take
the gold from her, that it is all my own. I will share it with
Mr. Damon, provided he remains with me--"

"Bless my silk hat, Tom, of course I'll stay with you!" broke
in the eccentric man.

"But you don't share with me," went on the young inventor,
looking sternly at the gold-seeker. "What I find is my own!"

"All right--have it that way!" snapped the adventurer. "Set me
ashore as soon as you can--the sooner the better. I'm sick of
the way you do business!"

"Nothing like being honest!" murmured Ned. But, as a matter of
fact, he was glad the separation had come. There had been a
strain ever since Hardley came aboard. Mr. Damon, too, looked
relieved, though a trifle worried. He had considerable at stake,
and he stood to lose the money he had invested with Dixwell
Hardley.

"This is final," announced Tom. "If we separate we separate for
good, and I'm on my own. And I warn you I'll do my best to
discover that wreck, and I'll keep what I find."

"Much good may it do you!" sneered the other. "Perhaps two can
play that game."

No one paid much attention to his words then, but later they
were recalled with significance.

"Get ready to go up!" Tom called the order to the engine room.

"Where are you going to land me?" asked Mr. Hardley. "I have a
right to know that?"

"Yes," conceded Tom, "you have. I'll tell you in a moment."

He consulted a chart, made a few calculations and then spoke.

"I shall land you at St. Thomas," answered the young inventor.
"I do not wish to bring my submarine to a place that is too
public, as too many questions may be asked. From St. Thomas you
can easily reach Porto Rico, and from there you can go anywhere
you wish."

"Very well," murmured the malcontent. "But I don't consider
that I owe you a cent, and I'm not going to pay you."

"I wouldn't take your money," Tom answered. "And don't forget
what I said--that what I find is my own."

The other answered nothing. Nor from then on did he hold much
conversation with Tom or any others in the party. He kept to
himself, and a day later he was landed, at night, at a dock, and
if he said "good-bye" or wished Tom and his friends a safe
voyage, they did not hear him.

They were steaming along on the surface the next day, and at
noon the submarine suddenly halted.

"What's on now, Tom?" asked Ned, as he saw his chum prepare to
go up on deck with some of the craft's officers.

"We're going to 'shoot the sun' again," was the answer. "I want
to make sure that we were right in our former calculations as to
the position of the Pandora. The least error would throw us off."

Using the sextant and other apparatus, some of which Tom had
invented himself, the exact position of the submarine was
calculated. As the last figure was set down and compared with
their previous location, one of the men who had been doing the
computing gave an exclamation.

"What's the matter?" asked Tom.

"Look!" was the answer, and he pointed to the paper. "There's
where a mistake was made before. We were at least two miles off
our course

"You don't say so!" exclaimed Tom, and, taking the sheet, he
went rapidly over the results.



CHAPTER XIX

THE SERPENT WEED



All waited eagerly for Tom Swift to verify the statement of the
other mathematician, and the young inventor was not long in doing
this, for he had what is commonly known as a "good head for
figures."

"Yes, I see the mistake," said Tom. "The wrong logarithm was
taken, and of course that threw out all the calculations. I
should say we were nearer three miles off our supposed location
than two miles."

"Does that mean," asked Mr. Damon, "that we began a search for
the wreck of the Pandora three miles from the place Hardley told
us she was

"That's about it," Tom said. "No wonder we couldn't find her."

"What are you going to do?" Ned wanted to know.

"Get to the right spot as soon as possible and begin the search
there," Tom answered. "You see, before we submerged as nearly as
possible at the place where we thought the Pandora might be on
the ocean bottom. From there we began making circles under the
sea, enlarging the diameter each circuit.

"That didn't bring us anywhere, as you all know. Now we will
start our series of circles with a different point as the center.
It will bring us over an entirely different territory of the
ocean floor."

"Just a moment," said Ned, as the conference was about to break
up. "Is it possible, Tom, that in our first circling that we
covered any of the ground which we may cover now? I mean will the
new circles we propose making coincide at any place with the
previous ones

"They won't exactly coincide," answered the young inventor.
"You can't make circles coincide unless you use the same center
and the same radius each time. But the two series of circles will
intersect at certain places."

"I guess intersect is the word I wanted," admitted Ned.

"What's the idea?" Tom wanted to know.

"I'm thinking of Hardley," answered his chum. "He might assert
that we purposely went to the wrong location with him to begin
the search, and if we afterward find the wreck and the gold, he
may claim a share."

"Not much he won't!" cried Tom.

"Bless my check book, I should say not!" exclaimed Mr. Damon.

"Hardley broke off relations with us of his own volition," said
Tom. "He 'breached the contract,' as the lawyers say. It was his
own doing.

"He has put me to considerable expense and trouble, not to say
danger. He was aware of that, and yet he refused to pay his
share. He accused me of incompetence. Very well. That
presuggested that I must have made an error, and it was on that
assumption that he said I did not know my business. Instead of
giving me a chance to correct the error, which he declared I had
made, he quit--cold. Now he is entitled to no further
consideration.

"An error was made--there's no question of that. We are going
to correct it, and we may find the gold. If we do I shall feel I
have a legal and moral right to take all of it I can get. Mr.
Hardley, to use a comprehensive, but perhaps not very elegant
expression, may go fish for his share."

"That's right!" asserted Mr. Damon.

"I guess you're right, Tom," declared Ned. "There's only one
more thing to be considered."

"What's that?" asked the young inventor.

"Why, Hardley himself may find out in some way that we were
barking up the wrong tree, so to speak. That is, learn we started
at the wrong nautical point. He may get up another expedition to
come and search for the gold and--"

"Well, he has that right and privilege," said Tom coolly. "But
I don't believe he will. Anyhow, if he does, we have the same
chance, and a better one than he has. We're right here, almost on
the ground, you might say, or we shall be in half an hour. Then
we'll begin our search. If he beats us to it, that can't be
helped, and we'll be as fair to him as he was to us. This
treasure, as I understand it, is available to whoever first finds
it, now that the real owners, whoever they were, have given it
up."

"I guess you're right there," said Mr. Damon. "I'm no sea
lawyer, but I believe that in this case finding is keeping."

"And there isn't one chance in a hundred that Hardley can get
another submarine here to start the search," went on Tom. "Of
course it's possible, but not very probable."

"He might get an ordinary diving outfit and try," Ned
suggested.

"Not many ordinary divers would take a chance going down in the
open sea to the depth the Pandora is supposed to lie," Tom said.
"But, with all that, we have the advantage of being on the
ground, and I'm going to make use of that advantage right away."

He gave orders at once for the M. N. 1 to proceed, and this she
did on the surface. It was decided to steam along on the open sea
until the exact nautical position desired was reached. This
position was the same Mr. Hardley had indicated, but that
position was not before attained, owing to an error in the
calculations.

As all know, to get to a certain point on the surface of the
ocean, where there is no land to give location, a navigator has
to depend on mathematical calculations. The earth's surface is
divided by imaginary lines. The lines drawn from the north to the
south poles are called meridians of longitude. They are marked in
degrees, and indicate distance east or west of the meridian of,
say, Greenwich, England, which is taken as one of the centers.
The degrees are further divided into minutes and seconds, each
minute being a sixtieth of a degree and each second, naturally,
the sixtieth of a minute.

Now, if a navigator had to depend only on the meridian lines
indicating distance east and west, he might be almost any
distance north or south of where he wanted to go. So the earth is
further divided into sections by other imaginary lines called
parallels of latitude. As all know, these indicate the distance
north or south of the middle line, or the equator. The equator
goes around the earth at the middle, so to speak, running from
east to west, or from west to east, according as it is looked at.
The meridian of Greenwich may be regarded as a sort of half
equator, running half way around the earth in exactly the
opposite direction, or from north to south.

The place where any two of these imaginary lines, crossing at
right angles, meet may be exactly determined by the science of
navigation. It is a complicated and difficult science, but by
calculating the distance of the sun above the horizon, sometimes
by views of stars, by knowing the speed of the ship, and by
having the exact astronomical time at hand, shown on an accurate
chronometer, the exact position of a ship at any hour may be
determined.

By this means, if a navigator wants to get to a place where two
certain lines cross, indicating an exact spot in the ocean, he is
able to do so. He can tell for instance when he has reached the
place where the seventy-second degree of longitude, west from
Greenwich, meets and crossed the twentieth parallel of latitude.
This spot is just off the northern coast of Haiti. Other
positions are likewise determined.

It was after about an hour of rather slow progress on the
surface of the calm sea, no excess speed being used for fear of
over-running the mark, that Tom and his associates gathered on
deck again to make another calculation.

Long and carefully they worked out their position, and when, at
last, the figures had been checked and checked again, to obviate
the chance of another error, the young inventor exclaimed:

"Well, we're here!"

"Really?" cried Ned.

"No doubt of it," said his chum.

"Bless my doormat!" cried Mr. Damon. "And do you mean to say,
Tom Swift, that if we submerge now we'll be exactly where the
Pandora lies, a wreck on the floor of the ocean

"I mean to say that we're at exactly the spot Where Hardley
said she went down," corrected Tom, "and we weren't there before
--that is not so that we actually knew it. Now we are, and we're
going down. But that doesn't guarantee that we'll find the wreck.
She may have shifted, or be covered with sand. All that I said
before in reference to the difficulty in locating something under
the surface of the sea still holds good."

Once more, to make very certain there was no error, the figures
were gone over, Then, as one result checked the other, Tom put
away the papers, the nautical almanac, and said:

"Let's go!"

Slowly the tanks of the M. N. 1 began to fill. It was decided
to let her sink straight down, instead of descending by means of
the vertical rudders. In that way it was hoped to land her as
nearly as possible on the exact spot where the Pandora was
supposed to be.

"How deep will it be, Tom?" asked Ned, as he stood beside his
chum in the forward observation cabin and watched the needle of
the gauge move higher and higher.

"About six hundred feet, I judge, going by the character of the
sea bottom around here. Certainly not more than eight hundred I
should say." And Tom was right. At seven hundred and eighty-six
feet the gauge stopped moving, and a slight jar told all on board
that the submarine was again on the ocean floor.

"Now to look for the wreck!" exclaimed Tom. "And it will be a
real search this time. We know we are starting right."

"Are you going to put on diving suits and walk around looking
for her?" asked Ned.

"No, that would take too long," answered Tom. "We'll just
cruise about, beginning with small circles and gradually
enlarging them, spiral fashion. We'll have to go up a few feet to
get off the bottom."

As Tom was about to give this order Ned looked from the glass
windows. The powerful searchlight had been switched on and its
gleams illuminated the ocean in the immediate vicinity of the
craft.

As was generally the case, the light attracted hundreds of fish
of various shapes, sizes, and, since the waters were tropical,
beautiful colors. They swarmed in front of the glass windows, and
Ned was glad to note that there were no large sea creatures, like
horse mackerel or big sharks. Somehow or other, Ned had a horror
of big fish. There were sharks in the warm waters, he well knew,
but he hoped they would keep away, even though he did not have to
encounter any in the diving suit.

Slowly the submarine began to move. And as she was being
elevated slightly above the ocean bed, to enable her to proceed,
Ned uttered an exclamation and pointed to the windows.

"Look, Tom!" he cried.

"What is it?" the young inventor asked.

"Snakes!" whispered his chum. "Millions of 'em! Out there in
the water! Look how they're writhing about!"

Tom Swift laughed.

"Those aren't snakes!" he said. "That's serpent grass--a form
of very long seaweed which grows on certain bottoms. It attains a
length of fifty feet sometimes, and the serpent weed looks a good
deal like a nest of snakes. That's how it got its name. I didn't
know there was any here. But we must have dropped down into a bed
of it."

"Any danger?" asked Ned.

"Not that I know of, only it may make it more difficult for us
to see the wreck of the Pandora."

As Tom turned to leave the cabin the submarine suddenly ceased
moving. And she came to a gradual stop as though she had been
"snubbed" by a mooring line.

"I wonder what's the matter!" exclaimed Tom. "We can't have
come upon the wreck so soon."

At that moment a man entered the cabin.

"Trouble, Mr. Swift!" he reported.

"What kind?" asked Tom.

"Our propellers are tangled with a mass of serpent weed," was
the answer. "They're both fouled, and we can't budge."

"Bless my anchor chain!" ejaculated Mr. Damon. "Stuck again!"



CHAPTER XX

THE DEVIL FISH



It was true. The long sinuous strands of ocean grass, known
under the name of "serpent weed," had caught around the whirling
propellers and there had been wound and twisted very tightly.
Just as sometimes the stern line gets so tightly twisted around a
motor boat propeller as to require hours of work with an axe to
free it, the seaweed was twisted around the blades of the
M. N. 1.

Slowly the undersea craft came to a stop, and there she
remained, floating freely enough, but a few feet above the bottom
of the ocean. There was a look of alarm on the faces of Ned and
Mr. Damon, but Tom Swift smiled.

"This is annoying, and may cause us delay," he announced, "but
there is no danger."

"How are we to get free from the weed?" asked Mr. Damon. "We
can't move if it's wound around our propellers, can we?"

"Not very well," Tom answered. "But all that will have to be
done will be for some of us to put on diving suits, go out and
chop the strands of weed away. We can do it more easily than
could an ordinary vessel, for they would have to go into dry dock
for the purpose. I think I'll go out myself. I want to look
around a little."

"I'll go with you," said Ned. "As long as we haven't seen any
sharks I don't mind."

"Nor gigantic starfish, either," added Tom with a smile, and
Ned nodded in agreement.

"We might try reversing the propellers," suggested the man from
the engine room, who had come in with the information about the
serpent weed. "The chief didn't like to try that. We saw the weed
from our observation windows and stopped as soon as we felt we
had fouled it."

"That was right," commended Tom. "Well, try reversing. It can't
do any harm, and it may make it easier for us to free the
propellers when we go out."

He went to the engine room himself to see that everything was
properly attended to. Slowly the motors were reversed, and only a
slight current was given them, as, with the resistance of the
tightly wound weed, too powerful a force might burn out the
insulation.

Slowly the starting lever was thrown over. There was a low
humming and whining as the current jumped from the batteries, and
a slight vibration of the craft. Tom looked at the movable
pointer which showed the speed and direction of the propellers.
The hand oscillated slightly and then stopped.

"Shut off the current!" cried Tom. "It's of no use. The
propellers are held as tight as a drum! We've got to go out and
cut loose the serpent weed!"

The experiment of reversing the propellers had failed. But
still Tom did not believe his craft was in danger. He gave orders
for the engine room force to stand by and then arranged for
himself, Ned, and Koku to go outside in diving dress and cut the
weed off the shafts. There were twin propellers on the submarine,
each revolving independently by separate motors, and each capable
of being sent in forward or reverse direction.

"Start the engines as soon as we give the signal," Tom told the
machinist. "Two knocks on the hull with an axe will mean go
ahead, and three will mean reverse."

"I understand," said Weyth, the machinist. "But stand away from
the propellers after you give the signal. I'll give you three
minutes to move clear."

"That will be enough," Tom said. "But better make it half speed
in either case. My idea is that if we can partly cut the weed
off, starting the propellers, either forward or in reverse, will
finish the trick."

"It may," agreed Weyth.

Armed with axes and sharp steel bars, Tom, Ned, and Koku were
soon ready to step outside the submarine.

They entered the diving chamber. In the usual manner water was
admitted, and, when the pressure was equalized, the outer door
was opened and they walked out on the floor of the ocean, the
submarine having been allowed to settle down again on the bottom
of the Atlantic.

The powerful searchlight had been turned so that the beams were
diffused toward the stern. In addition to this Tom and his two
companions carried, attached to their suits, small, but
brilliant, electric torches. Of course they had their air tanks
with them, and also the telephones, by means of which they could
communicate with one another.

As they emerged into the warm waters surrounding the submarine
they disturbed thousands of small fish which were feeding all
about. Like ocean swallows, the creatures scattered in all
directions, some even brushing the divers as they slowly made
their way toward the stern of the craft.

"Nice place here," said Ned to Tom, as they walked along, Koku
coming just behind them.

"Yes. If we could take this up above and exhibit it in some
city park it would make a hit all right," answered the young
inventor.

They were walking on the pure, white, sandy floor of the ocean,
some seven hundred feet below the surface, protected from the
awful pressure of the water by means of the specially constructed
suits which Tom had invented. About them, growing as if in a
garden, were great masses of coral, some so thin and sinuous that
it waved as do palms and ferns in the open air. Other coral was
in great rock masses.

Then, too, there was the unpleasant serpent weed. It did not
grow all over, but in patches here and there, as rank grass
springs up in a meadow.

And it had been the misfortune of the M. N. 1 that she poked
her tail into a mass of this long, tough grass, which was now
wound about her propellers.

In addition to the many wonderful vegetable forms that grew on
the ocean floor, some rivalling in beauty the orchids of the
tropics, and almost as delicate, there were the fishes, which
darted to and fro, now swiftly swimming beneath some coral arch,
and again poising around some mass of waving sea fronds.

"Well, let's get busy," called Tom to Ned through the
telephone. "We want to free the propellers and find the wreck of
the Pandora. She may be a hundred feet from us, or a mile away,
and in that case it's going to take longer to locate her."

Together they walked to the stern of the disabled craft. One
look at the propeller shafts, the examination being made by the
diffused glow from the searchlight, as well as from the electric
torches carried, showed that the diagnosis of the trouble was
correct.

Wound around both propellers was a mass of the serpent weed,
tightly bound because the machinery had whirled it around and
around after the grass had once been caught. It was almost as bad
as though manila cable had been thus accidentally fastened.

"Well, might as well begin to cut it loose," said Tom to his
companions. "Koku, you take the port propeller, and Ned and I
will work on the other. You ought to be able to beat us at this
game."

"Me do," said the giant, as he got his axe ready for work.

Blows struck in water lose much of their force. This can easily
be proved by filling a bathtub full of water, rolling up the
sleeves, and then taking a hammer in the hand, immersing it
fully, and trying to strike some object held in the other hand.
The water hampers the blows.

It was this way with Tom and his friends. Nearly half of Koku's
great strength was wasted. But they knew they could take their
time, though they did not want to waste many hours.

The streamers of weed were like strands of tightly wound rope,
and this, under certain circumstances, acquires almost the
density of wood. Tom and Ned, working together, had managed to
chop a little off their propeller shaft, and Koku had done
somewhat better with his task, when Ned became aware of a shadow
passing above him.

Instinctively he looked up, and as he did so he could not
repress a start of horror. Tom, too, as well as Koku, saw the
menacing shadow. Ned grasped more tightly his sharp, steel bar
and spoke through the telephone to his companions.

"Devil fish!" he said. "The devil fish are after us."



CHAPTER XXI

A WAR REMINDER



To a large number of people the name devil fish brings to mind
a conception of an octopus, squid, cuttle fish, or a member of
that species. This is, however, a mistake.

The true devil fish of the tropics is a member of the sting ray
family, and the common name it bears is given to it because of
two prongs, or horns, which project just in front of its mouth.
His Satanic Majesty is popularly supposed to have horns, together
with a tail, hoofs and other appendages, and the horns of this
sting ray fish are what give it the name it bears.

The devil fish, some specimens of which grow to the weight of a
ton and measure fifteen feet from wing tip to wing tip, are armed
with a long tail, terminating in a tough, horny substance, like
many of the ray family members. This horn-tipped tail, lashing
about in the water, becomes a terrible weapon of defense.
Possibly it is used for offense, as the devil fish feeds on small
sea animals, sweeping them into its mouth by movements of the
horns mentioned. These horns, swirled about in the water, create
a sort of suction current, and on that the food fishes are borne
into the maw of the gigantic creature.

A whale rushes through a school of small sea animals with open
mouth, takes in a great quantity of water, and the fringe of
whalebone acts as a strainer, letting out the water and retaining
the food. In like manner the devil fish feeds, except that it has
no whalebone. Its "horns" help it to get a meal.

The "wing tips" of the devil fish have been spoken of. They are
not really wings, though when one of these fish breaks water and
shoots through the air, it appears to be flying. The wings are
merely fins, enormously enlarged, and these give the fish its
great size, rather than does the body itself. It is the whipping
spike-armed tail of the devil fish that is to be feared, aside
from the fact that the rush of a monster might swamp a small
boat.

It was two or three of these devil fish that were now floating
in the water above Tom and his companions, who were grouped about
the stern of the disabled submarine.

"They won't attack us unless we disturb them," said Tom through
his telephone, speaking to Ned and Koku. "Keep still and they'll
swim away. I guess they're trying to find out what new kind of
fish our boat is."

All might have gone well had not Koku acted precipitately. One
of the devil fish, the smallest of the trio, measuring about ten
feet across, swam down near the giant. It was an uncanny looking
creature, with its horns swirling about in the water and its
bone-tipped tail lashing to and fro like a venomous serpent.

"Look out!" cried Tom. But he was too late. Koku raised his axe
and struck with all his force at the sea beast. He hit it a
glancing blow, not enough to kill it, but to wound it, and
immediately the sea was crimsoned with blood.

The devil fish was able to observe under water better than its
human enemies, and it was in no doubt as to its assailant. In an
instant it attacked the giant, seeking to pierce him with the
deadly tail.

These tails are not only armed with a tip of horn-like
hardness, they are also poisonous, and their penetrating power is
great. Fishermen have sometimes caught small sting rays, which
are a sort of devil fish. Lashing about in the bottom of a boat a
sting ray can send its tail tip through the sole of a heavy boot
and inflict a painful wound which may cause serious results.

The beast Koku had wounded was trying to sting the giant, and
the latter, aware of his peril, was striking out with the axe.

"Look out, Tom!" called Ned through his telephone, as he saw
one of the two unwounded devil fish swirl down toward the young
inventor. Tom looked up, saw the big, horrible shape above him,
and jabbed it with the sharp, steel bar. He inflicted a wound
which added further to the crimson tinge in the sea, and that
fish now attacked Tom Swift.

In another instant all three divers were fighting the terrible
creatures, that, knowing by instinct they were in danger, were
using the weapon with which nature had provided them. They lashed
about with their sharp-pointed tails, and more than one blow fell
on the suits of the divers.

Had there been the least penetration, of course almost instant
death would have followed. For the sea, at that depth and
pressure, entering the suits would have ended life suddenly. But
Tom had seen to it that the suits were well made and strong, with
a lining of steel. And however great a thickness of leather the
devil fish could send his sting through, it could not overcome
steel.

There was danger, though, that the slender tip might slip
through the steel bars across the windows in the helmets and
shatter the glass. And that would be as great a danger as if the
suits themselves were penetrated.

"We've got to fight 'em!" gasped Tom through his instrument,
and, seeing his chance, he gave another jab to the devil fish
attacking him. Koku, too, was standing up well under the attack
of the monster he had first wounded. Ned, watching his chance,
got in several blows, first at one and then at the other of the
huge creatures. The third devil fish, which had not been wounded,
had disappeared. Finally Koku, with a desperate blow, succeeded
in severing the tail from the beast attacking him, and that
battle was over.

As if realizing that it had lost its power to harm, the devil
fish at once swam off, grievously wounded. Then Koku turned his
attention to Tom's enemy. Ned, too, lent his aid, and they
succeeded in wounding the creature in several places, so that it
sank to the bottom of the sea and lay there gasping.

Slowly the red waters cleared and the three divers, exhausted
by the fight, could view the remaining creature--the one wounded
to death. It was the largest of the three, and truly it was a
monster. But it was past the power to harm, and in a few minutes
an under sea current carried it slowly away. Later it would
float, doubtless, or be devoured by sharks or other ocean pirates
before reaching the surface.

"Thank goodness that's over!" said Ned to Tom. "I don't want to
see any more of them."

"There may be more about," Tom said. "We'd better keep watch.
Ned, you lay off and Koku and I will work on the propellers. Then
you can take your turn."

This plan was followed. Koku, not being tired, did not need to
stop working, and he was the first to free his shaft partially of
the entangling weeds. Tom rapped a signal, the blades were slowly
revolved and then came free. A little later the second was in
like condition.

"Now we can move!" said Tom, as they started back toward the
diving chamber. "I hope we don't run into another patch of that
serpent grass."

"Nor see any more devil fish," added Ned.

"Same here!" echoed the young inventor.

Luck seemed to be with the gold-seekers after that, for as the
submarine was sent ahead, no more of the long, entangling grass
was encountered.

The search for the sunken Pandora was now begun in earnest,
since they were positive that they were at the right spot.

No immediate sign of her was found. But Tom and his friends
hardly expected to be as lucky as that. They were willing to make
a search. For, as Tom had said, a current might have shifted the
position of the wreck.

They followed the plan of moving about in ever-widening
circles. Only in this way could they successfully cover the
ground. It was the third day after the encounter with the devil
fish that Tom, Ned and Mr. Damon were in the forward observation
cabin. The eccentric man suddenly pointed to something visible
from the starboard window.

"There's a wreck, Tom!" he cried. "Maybe it's the Pandora!"

Tom and the others hurried to Mr. Damon's side and peered out
into the sea, illuminated by the great searchlight.

"That isn't the Pandora!" said the young inventor.

"But it's a wreck, isn't it?" asked Ned.

"Yes, it's a sunken vessel, all right," Tom assented. "But it's
a reminder of the Great War. Look! She has been blown up by a
torpedo!"



CHAPTER XXII

STUDYING CURRENTS



There was no question about Tom's statement. They had
approached close to the side of a small, sunken and wrecked
steamer, and in her side was torn a great hole. In the light from
the submarine it could be seen that the plates bent inward,
indicating that the explosion was from outside.

"What are you going to do, Tom?" asked Ned, as he saw his chum
move the engine room telegraph signal to the stop position.

"Going to investigate," was the answer. "We might as well take
the time. We may learn something of value."

"Do you think there is any treasure in her?" asked Mr. Damon.

"There might be," answered Tom. "We'll put on the diving suits
and go outside."

"I hope there aren't any devil fish," remarked Ned.

"Same here," Tom agreed. "But I don't believe we'll meet with
any. Will you take a chance, Ned?"

"I surely will! I'd like to find out what sort of ship that is
--or rather, was, for there isn't much left of her."

He spoke truly, for indeed the torpedo had created fearful
havoc. The full extent of it was not observed until Tom, Ned,
Koku and two of the crew had put on diving suits and approached
the hulk. She lay on her side on the sandy bottom, heeled over
somewhat, and when the investigators had walked around her, as
they were able to do, they saw a second, and even larger hole in
the opposite side.

"Two submarines must have attacked her," said Ned, speaking
through his telephone to Tom.

"Either that, or else one sent a torpedo into her, dived, came
up on the other side and sent another."

"Well, let's see if she has any treasure aboard," Ned proposed.
"Wouldn't it be queer if we should discover two treasure ships?"

"More queer than likely," Tom answered. "We've got to be
careful going inside her."

"Why?" asked Ned. "Do you think we'll set off a hidden mine?"

"No, but part of the wreckage might be loosened if we climbed
over it, and we might fall and be pinned down. I've read of
divers being caught that way. We must be careful."

"Do you suppose a German sub did this?" Ned asked.

"I think very likely," Tom answered. "Maybe we can tell if we
can discover the nationality of this craft."

They made their way to a position just outside the gaping hole
in the starboard side of the craft. Evidently; it was, or had
been, a tramp steamer, and the torpedo hole on her starboard side
was about amidships. She must have filled and sunk quickly with
two such great holes torn in her.

Standing near the wound in the steel skin, Tom and his
companions tried to see what was inside. Their portable torches
did not give light enough to make out clearly the character of
the cargo carried, and it was too risky to venture into the mass
of wreckage that must be the result of the explosion of the
torpedo.

"Let's try the other side," suggested Tom, and they moved
around the stern of the craft. When they reached the place where
the name was visible Tom raised his electric torch and, in the
glow of it, they all read the painted inscription, Blakesly, New
York.

"That's the vessel that disappeared so mysteriously!" exclaimed
Ned, speaking through his instrument. "I remember reading about
her. She sailed from New York for Brest, but was never heard of.
At last we have solved the mystery!"

"Yes," agreed Tom, "but without much avail. We are too late to
do any good."

"Not one of her crew or passengers was ever heard of," went on
Ned. "It was surmised that a German sub attacked her, and that
she was either sunk 'without a trace' or else her survivors were
taken aboard the submarine and carried to Germany."

"Perhaps we may learn something to that end," said Tom, as they
got around to the other side. The hole there was not quite so
big, and as it seemed safe to enter Tom and Ned prepared to do
so, the others remaining outside to give them aid in case of
necessity.

It was comparatively easy to enter by this wound in the side of
the Blakesly, and, proceeding cautiously, Tom and Ned made the
attempt. They found they could not penetrate far, however,
because of the mass of wreckage scattered about by the explosion.
They could see through into the engine room, and there the
machinery was in every stage of destruction, while below the
boilers were disrupted.

"She must have gone down in a hurry," remarked Tom.

"Yes, and with part of her crew," added Ned, as he pointed to
where a heap of white bones lay--grim reminders of the Great War.
The engine room forces had been trapped and carried down to
death.

"I wonder if, by any chance, she did carry gold," suggested
Ned.

"It wouldn't be down here if she did," asserted Tom. "And if
she was a treasure ship, and the huns knew it, they wouldn't
leave any on board."

"That's just it," went on his chum. "They may not have known
it, and have ripped a couple of torpedoes at her without any
warning. It would be just like them."

"Granted," assented the young inventor. "Well, we can take
another look around outside. Maybe there's a way of getting on
deck, and so going below from there. I wouldn't chance it from
here."

"Me, either," Ned answered.

They looked around a little more, a further view showing how
dangerous it would be to attempt to enter the shattered engine
room, where a misstep or a sudden change of equilibrium might
cause disaster.

"Nothing there," Tom reported to Koku and the others waiting
for him outside.

"Rope by up go him stern," said Koku, motioning toward the
after part of the wreck.

"What does he mean?" Tom asked one of his crew.

"Oh, he went walking around outside while you were inside,
sir," was the answer, "and he seems to have found a rope ladder
or a chain, or something hanging from the stern."

"Let's go and see it," proposed Tom. "I've been wondering if we
could get on deck."

"Are we going to spend much time here?" Ned wanted to know.

"Not much longer," Tom replied. "Why?"

"Well, I was thinking we'd better keep on looking for the
Pandora. I don't want that fellow Hardley to get the bulge on
us."

"Oh," laughed Tom, "he isn't likely to. But we won't take any
chances. As soon as I see if we can learn anything that may be
useful from this hulk, we'll go back and start on our way again."

The party of divers, led by Koku, who wanted to point out his
discovery, walked slowly along on the bottom of the sea, around
to the stern of the Blakesly.

"See!" said the giant through his telephone, and, as the
instruments were interchanging, all heard him.

Koku pointed to several ropes and chains that were dangling
from the stern of the sunken craft. Evidently they had been used
by those who sought to escape from the sinking ship after she had
been torpedoed.

"Wait a minute!" Tom telephoned, as he saw Koku grasp a chain,
evidently with the object of hoisting himself up on deck by the
simple method of going up hand over hand. He could easily do this
by adjusting the air pressure inside his diving suit to make
himself more buoyant.

"Koku go up!" said the giant.

"Better make sure that chain will hold you," cautioned Tom. The
giant proved it by several powerful tugs, and then began to raise
himself from the sandy bed of the ocean.

"Well, if it will hold him it will hold us," asserted Tom.
"Ned, we'll go up. You two stay here," he said to the members of
his crew. "We can't take any chances of all getting in the same
accident if there should be one."

A little later Tom, Ned, and Koku stood on the deck of the
sunken craft. Much of what she had carried had been swept off,
either in the explosions or by reason of currents generated by
storms since the fatality. But what seemed to be the cabin of the
captain, or of some of the officers, was in plain view and easy
of access from this level.

"Let's take a look!" said Tom.

Ned followed him to the door. It had been torn off, and inside
was a table made fast to the floor. From the appearance of the
room it was evidently the compartment where the charts were kept,
and where the captain or his officers worked out the reckoning.
But it was tenantless now, and if any maps or papers had been out
they were dissolved in sea water some time since.

"Let's see if we can find the log book," proposed Ned.

"Good idea," assented Tom.

Using the iron bars they carried, they forced open some of the
lockers, but aside from pulp, which might have been charts or
almost anything in the way of documents, nothing was come upon
that would tell anything.

Unless the log book was kept in a water-tight case the ink
would all run, once it was wet," Tom said, when they were about
ready to give up their search.

"I suppose so," agreed Ned. "But I would like to know whether
she carried treasure."

However, it was impossible to discover this, and dangerous to
look too far into the interior. So Tom and his party were forced
to leave without discovering the secret of the Blakesly, if she
possessed one.

Later, however, when they had returned home, Tom and Ned made a
report of what they had seen, and so cleared up the fate of the
vessel. They learned that she carried no treasure, and they were
glad they had not risked their lives looking for it. What had
happened to her crew was never learned.

They returned to the submarine and told what they had viewed.
And then, with a last look at the wreck, they passed on in their
search for the Pandora.

Several fruitless days followed, and though a careful search
was made in the vicinity of the true location given by Mr.
Hardley, nothing was discovered.

"How long will you keep at it before you give up?" asked Ned
one evening, as they went aloft to replenish the air tanks and
charge the batteries.

"Oh, another week, anyhow. I have a new theory, Ned."

"What's that?"

"Ocean currents. I believe there are powerful currents in these
waters, and that they may have shifted the position of the
Pandora considerably. I'm going to study the currents."

"Good idea!" cried his chum.

And the next day they began observations which were destined to
have surprising results.



CHAPTER XXIII

AN UNDERSEA COLLISION



Under the warm, tropical sun the submarine floated idly on the
surface of the calm sea. She had risen from the depths, her
hatches had been opened, and now the crew, the owner, and his
guests were breathing free air. The men were taking advantage of
the period above water to wash out some of their garments,
hanging them on improvised lines stretched along the deck. For
Tom Swift had said he would remain above the surface all day.

Some slight repairs were necessary to the electric motors, and
they could be made only when the craft was on the open sea. This,
too, would afford a chance to recharge the batteries and repair
one of them.

For the time being the search under the sea for the treasure
ship Pandora had been abandoned. But it was not given up
entirely. As Tom had announced to Ned, a new theory would be
worked out. So far, cruising about in the place where the
fillibuster ship was supposed to have gone down had resulted in
nothing.

Mr. Damon, who had been below, shaving, came up on deck to see
Tom and Ned tossing into the water large pieces of cork taken
from spare life preservers. Tom tossed his in from one side of
the deck, and Ned from the other. Then, as the eccentric man
listened, he heard Tom say:

"I think mine is going to beat yours, Ned!"

"Then you've got another guess coming," declared the young
financial man. "Mine's going twice as fast as yours is now,
though yours did start off better."

"Bless my beefsteak!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "what's this, Tom
Swift? I thought we came on a treasure-hunting expedition, and
here I find you and Ned playing some childish game! I hope you
aren't laying any wagers on it!" Mr. Damon did not approve of
gambling in any form.

"No, we aren't doing that," laughed Tom, as he dropped another
bit of cork into the ocean.

"We are trying to arrive at some valuable scientific facts, Mr. Damon."

"Scientific facts--that childish play?"

"It isn't play," said Tom, turning to remark to Ned: "I think
we've settled it. The current has a decided twist to the north."

"Yes," agreed his chum. "You were right, Tom."

"If you don't mind explaining," began Mr. Damon, "I should like
to know--"

"We're trying to determine the drift of the ocean currents in
this locality," Tom said.

"So we'll know better where to look for the Pandora," added
Ned.

"Oh, so you haven't given up the hunt, then?" asked the
eccentric man.

"By no means!" exclaimed Tom. "It's this way, Mr. Damon. We
went down at as nearly the exact spot where the treasure-ship was
sunk as we could determine by means of calculations. She wasn't
there, nor could we find her by going around in circles. Then it
occurred to me, and to some of the others also, including Ned,
that the ocean currents might have shifted the position of the
craft after she had sunk. There are powerful currents in the
ocean, as you know, the Gulf Stream being one and the Japan
Current another. Now there may be smaller ones in these waters
that would produce a local effect.

"So Ned and I have been dropping bits of cork of different
shapes into the water and watching which way they drifted. Our
conclusion is that the currents here have a decided set toward
the north."

"And what does that indicate?" asked Mr. Damon.

"That we should have begun our search some distance north of
the point where we actually did begin," answered Tom.

"How far north?" the eccentric man wanted to know.

"That's just what we have yet to ascertain," the young inventor
replied. "So far our conclusions have been arrived at merely from
surface data. Now we've got to go below."

"And play with bits of cork there?" asked Mr. Damon.

"No, we'll have to use something heavier than cork," Tom said.
"We'll probably use weights, and see how far they move along the
bottom in a given time. But we have established one thing, and I
begin to have hopes now that we may locate the Pandora."

The remainder of the day was spent in various ways aboard the
submarine, which continued to float idly on the waves.

It was toward evening, when the red, setting sun gave promise
of a fair day on the morrow that the submarine's deck lookout
approached Tom, and, waiting until he had the attention of the
young inventor, reported:

"There is a smudge of smoke dead astern, sir."

"Is there?" exclaimed Tom. "Let me have the glasses."

He took them from the lookout and made a long and careful study
of the slight, black smudge which was low down on the horizon.

"A steamer," decided Tom, "and coming on fast. We'll go below!"
he added. "Please make ready," he said to the officer in charge.

"What's up, Tom?" asked Ned, as his chum gathered up the papers
on which he had been figuring on an improvised table set under an
awning on deck.

"Some craft is coming, and I'd just as soon she wouldn't sight
us," was the answer.

"You mean she might interfere with our search for the treasure-
ship?"

"Not exactly. But she might want to start a search on her own
account, and there's no use of giving our presence away, or
letting them guess at what might be right conclusions as to the
location of the Pandora."

"But, Tom, no one knows of the wreck! At least, no one is
supposed to but our party and--"

"Hardley. Exactly!" exclaimed Tom, as he saw his chum about to
utter the name.

"And you think he is coming?"

"I shouldn't be a bit surprised. Anyhow, it's just as easy for
us to submerge and let them do their own guessing. I was going
down soon, anyhow, and another hour won't make any difference.
Here, take a look, if you like."

Ned peered through the glasses, but his eyes not being trained
in sea interpretation, as were Tom's, he could make out nothing
but a black smudge, now larger and darker.

"It might be a cloud for all I can tell," he said, as he handed
the binoculars back to Tom.

"Well, it's a steamer all right, and she's under forced draft,
too, if I'm any judge. We'll go below before she sights us."

"Perhaps she has already," suggested Ned, as the crew began
clearing the submarine's deck.

"No, we lie too low in the water for that. Well, now we can
start our underwater observations of current trends."

It did not take long, once she started, for the M. N. 1 to go
down. Just as the sun sank below the horizon, and while the
smudge of smoke was becoming more distinct, the waves closed
over the steel deck of the submarine. Half an hour later she was
nearly a quarter of a mile below the surface, resting on the
bottom of the sea again.

On this trip Tom did not go to any such depths as he did on his
former voyage in the Advance. Not that the reconstructed
submarine was not capable of it, for she was even stronger than
when first built. But the wreck they were seeking did not lie in
so great a depth of water, and there was no need of running
useless risks.

"Well," remarked Ned, when they came to a stop, "I don't
believe any one will find us here."

"Not an ordinary diver, at any rate," Tom agreed. "And after
supper I'm going to have another go at the currents."

The meal was served as usual, and a very good one it was,
considering the fact that not as many supplies could be carried
in the rather limited space of a submarine as may be transported
in an ocean liner. Then, as it was still early, Tom and Ned, with
the help of some of the officers, got ready for a new series of
experiments.

The big searchlight was set aglow, and, going out on the ocean
bed in diving suits, Tom and his friends dropped on the sand
various weighted objects.

These were made in the shape of the hull of a steamer, and in
proportion. Once they were on the sand, an iron rod was thrust
into the ocean bed near each object.

"Now," remarked Tom, as they all went into the submarine again,
"we'll let them drift until morning. Then we'll make new
calculations. I think we'll arrive at some results, too."

"Just what are you aiming to do?" asked Mr. Damon.

"See how far each one of those weighted objects drifts," Tom
replied. "We have planted them in different spots on the ocean
bed. Some will drift farther than others. Some are large and some
are small. By striking an average we may be able to tell about
how far from the supposed location of the Pandora we ought to
look for her."

The night passed without incident and as calmly and peacefully
as though they were all in some deep cave beneath a great
mountain. In the morning after breakfast Tom and his friends went
outside the submarine again and noted the weighted objects. Some
had drifted farther than others. Measurements were carefully
taken, and then began a series of intricate calculations.

The distance each object had drifted from the iron bar marker
was considered in reference to its size and shape. Also the
elapsed time was computed. The results were then compared, an
average struck, and then the size and weight of the Pandora, as
nearly as they could be ascertained, were figured. The resultant
figures were compared, and Tom announced:

"If we are anywhere near right in our conclusions we ought to
begin to search for the treasure-ship about four miles from here,
in a general northerly direction."

"Do you think she has drifted that far?" asked Ned.

"Fully that," Tom answered. "That is only our starting point--
the center of a new series of circles."

A moment later Tom gave the order to rise to the surface.

"Going up?" exclaimed Ned.

"Yes, I want to make some observations to determine our exact
nautical position."

"But suppose that other steam--"

"We'll have to take a chance. We can submerge quickly if we
have to, and I don't believe she's able to do that."

An observation was taken through the conning tower, however,
before the M. N. 1 went all the way up, and there was not a sail
nor a smudge of smoke on the horizon.

"So far so good," murmured Tom. "Now we'll 'shoot the sun,' and
after we submerge we'll begin our search in earnest. I think we
are on the right track now."

The observation was made at noon, and then, as nearly as
possible, the submarine was moved to a position approximately
four miles north of the place where the Pandora was supposed to
have foundered.

"Down we go!" exclaimed Tom, and down they went.

The depth gauge showed more than a thousand feet below the
surface when the M. N. 1 came to rest. This was deeper than Tom
had thought to find the wreck, but his craft was able to
withstand the pressure. A brief wait, to make sure that
everything was in readiness, was followed by the beginning of the
new search. In gradually widening circles the craft moved about
under water.

If the voyagers had expected to locate at once the treasure-
ship, they would have been disappointed. For the first day gave
no signs. But Tom had not promised immediate results, and no one
gave up hope.

It was shortly after noon on the second day of the search at
the new location that, as they were proceeding at rather greater
speed than usual, something happened.

Ned had just suggested that he and Tom might go out and try the
current-setting experiments again, when suddenly they were both
thrown off their feet by a terrific jar and concussion. The M. N.
1 seemed to reel back, as if from a great blow.

"Bless my safety razor!" cried Mr. Damon, "what's the matter,
Tom?"

"I think we've had a collision!" was the answer. "I must see
how badly we are damaged!"



CHAPTER XXIV

THE TREASURE-SHIP



Sudden and forceful had been the underwater collision in which
the M. N. 1 had participated. Either the lookout, aided though he
was by the focused rays of the great searchlight, had failed to
notice some obstruction in time to signal to avoid it, or there
was an error somewhere else. At any rate the submarine had rammed
something--what it was remained to be discovered.

"Bless my shotgun," cried Mr. Damon, "perhaps it was one of
those big whales, Ned!"

"It didn't feel like a whale," answered the young financial
man.

"And it wasn't!" declared Tom, who was hastening to the engine
room. "It was too solid for that."

Following the collision there had been considerable confusion
aboard the vessel. But discipline prevailed, and now it was
necessary to determine the extent of the damage. This, Tom and
his officers and crew proceeded to do.

There were automatic devices in the various control cabins, as
well as in the main engine room, which told instantly if a leak
had been sprung in any part of the craft. In that serious
difficulty automatic pumps, controlled by an electrical device,
at once began forcing out the water. Other apparatus rushed a
supply of compressed air to the flooded compartment in order to
hold out the water if possible. For further security the
submarine was divided into different compartments, as are most
ships in these days. The puncturing or flooding of one did not
necessarily mean the foundering of the craft, or, in the case of
a submarine, prevent her rising.

But Tom had sensed that the collision was almost a head-on one,
and in that case it was likely that the plates might have started
in several sections at once. This he wanted to discover, and take
means of safety accordingly.

"How do you make it, Mr. Nelson?" cried the young inventor to
the captain in the engine room.

"Only a slight leak in compartment B 2," he answered, as Tom's
eyes rapidly scanned the tell-tale gauges. "The pumps and air are
taking care of that."

"Good!" cried Tom. "It doesn't seem possible that there isn't
more than that, though. We struck a terrible blow."

"Yes, but a glancing one, I think, sir."

"Send for the lookout," ordered Tom. "I can't under stand why
he didn't see whatever we've hit in time to avoid it."

The lookout came in, very much frightened, it must be admitted.
Only by a narrow margin had all escaped death.

"It was impossible to see it, Mr. Swift," he said. "We had a
clear course, not a thing in sight. The bottom was white sand,
and I could almost count the fishes. All at once there was a big
swirl of water that threw our nose around, and before I could
signal to slow down or reverse we were right into her."

"Into what?" asked Tom.

"Some sort of wreck, I took it to be. I shoved the wheel hard
over as quickly as I could, and we struck only a glancing blow."

"That's good," murmured Tom. "I thought that must have been the
explanation. But what's that about a sudden swirl of water?"

"It seemed to me like a change in the current," the lookout
answered. "It threw us right over against the wreck."

"I can very easily imagine something like that happening,"
admitted Tom. "Well, as long as we're not badly damaged I think
we'll go outside and take a look. If we hit a wreck--"

"Bless my looking glass!" cried Mr. Damon, "it may be the
Pandora, Tom."

"That's too good to be true!" cried Ned. "Anyhow, let's get out
and take a look."

Tom first made sure that the slight leak was not likely to
increase, and then arrangements were made for himself, Ned, Koku,
and some of the others to go outside in the diving suits. Mr.
Damon wanted to be of the party, but Tom was afraid to permit him
in that depth of water. Mr. Damon, in spite of his jollity, was
not as young as he had been.

Shortly after the collision, which had missed being a disaster
by a narrow margin, Tom and his companions were outside the
submarine, walking on the white, sandy bottom of the sea. Around
them was a myriad of fishes, some of large size, but seemingly
harmless, as they scudded rapidly away after a glance at the
strange creatures who appeared to have come to dispute with them
for possession of Father Neptune's element.

Moving more slowly than usual, because of the greater pressure
of water at that depth, Tom and the others made their way around
the nose of the submarine. And then, in the glow of the big
searchlight, they saw the dim outlines of a steamer, partly
imbedded in the sand. Her stern was toward the undersea craft
that had rammed her, and the name was not so obliterated but what
the young inventor could read it.

"The Pandora!" exclaimed Tom, speaking into his helmet
telephone transmitter, the others all hearing him. "We've found
the treasure-ship at last!"

And so they had. An accident had brought them to the end of
their quest, though it is probable they would have found the
Pandora anyhow, since they were making careful circles in her
vicinity.

"Yes, that's the Pandora," said Ned. "And now the thing to do
is to find out if she really has any treasure on board."

"That's what I'm going to do," declared Tom. "But first I want
to investigate this queer current. We can't feel it here, but we
may if we get out beyond the wreck. We don't want to be swept off
our feet."

"Yes, we had better be careful," said one of the officers.

Accordingly they proceeded with caution along the length of the
sunken Pandora. And as they neared her bow they all began to feel
some powerful force in the current.

"This is far enough!" said Tom. "Don't get out beyond the
protection of the hull. I see what it is. The steamer has drifted
here from where she was originally sunk. And here two currents
meet, forming a very strong one. It was that which threw us off
our course. As long as we remain behind the wreck we'll be safe.
But beyond her we may be in danger. She's firmly held in the
sand, or, at best, is drifting only slightly. She'll be a sort of
undersea breakwater for us. And now to see if we can get on
board!"

This proved comparatively easy. Several lengths of chain and
one iron ladder were over the stern, evidently having been used
when the crew abandoned the ship in the storm that destroyed her.
By means of these Tom and his companions gained the main deck
near the stern.

The Pandora was a typical tramp steamer. She was high in the
bows and stern and low amidships, and it was evident that the
quarters of the officers and passengers, if any of the latter
were carried, were in the stern. Tom was glad to find the vessel
thus comparatively easy of access.

She lay on an almost even keel, and all he and his companions
had to do was to walk along the deck and enter the cabins. As
they did not have to look out for life lines or air hose they
could enter, and even go below decks, in comparative safety.

"Well, here's for it," said Tom to the others. "Let's go in.

"Where would the treasure be, if she had any?" asked Ned.

"Captain's cabin or the purser's strong room, I imagine," Tom
answered. "Hardley didn't actually see it, but he said those two
places were constantly guarded. I'm inclined to think the purser
would have charge of the gold. But we'll try both places."

It was easy to learn which had been the commander's cabin. It
had the name "Captain" on a brass plate over the door. Tom and
Ned entered. The place was in confusion, and confusion not all
caused by the ocean currents. A small safe in the room stood with
rusted door open, and the contents of the strong box were gone.
Drawers and lockers, too, were opened and empty.

"I guess the captain took as much with him as he could when he
got into his boat," commented Tom.

"And the gold, too," added Ned, pointing to the empty safe.

"That wouldn't have held two million dollars in gold," Tom
retorted. "I believe the purser's cabin is the place to look."

Making sure they were not missing anything in the captain's
room, they came out, to find Koku and the others waiting for them
on deck.

"Nothing there," Tom reported. "Did any of you locate the
purser's strong room?" One of the men pointed to an open door to
the left.

"That's it!" exclaimed Tom. "Yes, and there's a safe here big
enough to hold gold for all the revolutions in South America," he
added. "I guess we're on the right track at last."

It needed but a look to show them that they had at last reached
the place of the treasure. The great safe stood open, and piled
inside were a number of small boxes, such as are generally used
to ship gold in. Ned, from his bank experience, recognized them
at once.

"There's the gold!" he exclaimed. "We've found the treasure!"

"They tried to take some of it with them," said one of the
submarine officers, pointing to some opened boxes which were
floating near the cabin ceiling. They were caught on some
projections which had prevented them from being washed out.

"Maybe they looted the whole safe," suggested Tom. "We'd better
have a look."

He tried to pull out one of the many boxes set in tiers in the
safe, but it was beyond his strength.

"Me do!" murmured Koku.

It was easy for the giant to pry out one of the boxes with his
iron bar, and with another blow from his bar he opened the cover.

"Gold!" cried Ned, as he saw a gleam of yellow showing in the
glow from his torch. "There's the gold!"

There was a table in the purser's cabin, made fast to the floor
so it had not floated away. At a sign from Tom, the giant turned
the box bottom side up on this table.

And then a murmur of wonder came from all who saw the result.
For aside from the top layer of gold pieces, the box was filled
with iron disks cut to the size of twenty-dollar gold pieces. In
an instant it was borne to all what this meant.

"A fake!" exclaimed Tom Swift. "If all the boxes are like this
there isn't enough gold on the treasure ship to pay the expenses
of this trip! Somebody has been fooled! Open another box, Koku!"



CHAPTER XXV

THE STEEL BOX



Perhaps the least of all affected by what had taken place was
the giant. Gold meant nothing to him. To serve Tom Swift was his
whole aim in life. Born in a savage country, he had not acquired
an overwhelming desire for wealth.

Consequently he was cool enough as he tore another box from the
many that were fitted into the safe. The water had swelled the
wood, and it was not easy to get them out.

A pressure of the giant's iron bar broke the sealed lid. On top
was the same layer of gold pieces, but when the box was emptied
the same trick was discovered. Iron disks made up the remainder
of the contents.

"Bilked! That's what I call it! Regularly bilked!" exclaimed
one of the divers, an Englishman who had been in Tom's service
several years. "Somebody's got the cream of this pudding before
we did!"

"I'm inclined to agree with you," said Tom. "Unless it
transpires that not all the boxes have been thus camouflaged. We
must take time to examine."

Then began a period of hard work. Laboring in relays of divers,
every box that had been locked in the purser's safe was brought
out on the submerged cabin table, broken open, and the contents
examined. The hoax was even worse than indicated at first. For
after the front section of boxes had been taken out none of the
others remaining contained any gold at all. There were only iron
disks.

"Well, Tom, what do you think of it?" asked Ned of his chum,
when they had returned to the cabin of the submarine, leaving
some members of the crew to complete the examination. For this
the diving bell was used, as well as the suits.

"I don't think very much," was the answer. "It looks as though
we had been sold."

"Do you think Hardley knew that the gold had been changed to
iron--that is, all but a small part of it?"

"No, I don't believe he did," Tom answered. "If he were here
I'd warrant he would be as much surprised as we are. He certainly
believed the Pandora was a regular treasure-ship."

"Just how much did she really have in gold?" asked Mr. Damon,
looking at the double eagles on the table of the M. N. 1.

"Well, at a rough guess I'd say ten thousand dollars," Tom
answered. "We haven't brought it all out yet, and it's possible
they may find a full box in the safe. But, unless there is one, I
guess ten or fifteen thousand dollars will cover it."

"And Hardley said two millions!" exclaimed Ned. "Whew, what a
difference!"

"Do you think he was in on the change?" asked one of the
officers.

"No," replied Tom. "I guess it was like a good many of these
filibustering plots. Somebody put up good money to be used to
gain control of a country--perhaps for the country's good. But
somebody else made the substitution, and the patriots were left.
I don't believe Hardley knew this."

"Well, you'll get a little out of it, Tom," Ned remarked.

"Nothing worth while," was the answer. "But I'm not
disappointed; that is, very much. Of course I could use the
money, but I don't really need it. The trip has been a wonderful
experience, and I have learned something I didn't know before.
I'm sorry for you, though, Mr. Damon. You invested considerable
with Hardley, didn't you?"

"About twenty thousand dollars, Tom. It will be hard to lose
it, but I guess I can stand it."

Tom privately made up his mind to see that his old friend did
not suffer financially, for the gold discovered on the Pandora,
while it was far from the amount hoped for, would almost
reimburse Mr. Damon. But the young inventor did not say anything
about that just then.

They were looking at the recovered gold and getting ready to
store it in some of the boxes that had been brought from the
wreck when the divers that had remained on the Pandora to bring
the last of the treasure returned through the chamber. Two of
them carried a small steel box.

"What's that?" asked Tom, when they had their helmets off.

"Don't know," was the answer. "It was in the purser's safe.
Stuck away in the far corner."

"Maybe it has jewels in it!" exclaimed Ned. "If it has--"

At that moment the lookout who had maintained his position in
the conning tower called for Tom on the telephone.

"What is it?" asked the young inventor.

"There's some sort of grappling iron, or cable with a hook on
it, being lowered from the surface, and it's near the wreck," was
the answer. "If it isn't any of your apparatus it may be some
other ship having a try for the gold."

"It must be Hardley!" cried Tom. "He's come back with another
ship, as he half threatened to do, and, instead of diving for the
wreck, which he can't get ordinary men to do in this depth, he's
trying to grapple for it. Come on, we'll have a look!"

Ned and Mr. Damon followed Tom to the conning tower. Looking
out through the heavy glass windows, while the searchlight
illuminated the waters, the young inventor and his friends saw a
great grappling iron swaying this way and that through the sea
not far from the wreck, and once, indeed, uncomfortably close to
their own craft.

"He's struck it uncommonly near," remarked Tom. "I guess it's
time for us to be leaving."

"Suppose it's Hardley up above there?" suggested Ned.

"I don't doubt but it is."

"Well, are we going off and leave the wreck--and possibly other
gold that may be hidden on her?"

"I wouldn't give ten dollars for the chance of searching for
any more gold!" Tom exclaimed. "We'll take this steel box--it may
contain something of value. The rest we'll leave to Hardley."

Preparations for rising to the surface were quickly made. Up
and up went the M. N. 1, leaving the ill-starred Pandora to
whatever else fate had in store for her.

Tom's craft broke water with gentle undulations of the waves.
The top of the hatch was thrown back, admitting the bright
sunshine on those who had been long in the shadow of the
underseas. And, as the young inventor and his friends went out on
deck, they saw a small steamer riding on the ocean not far away.

One look was enough to tell them it was from this craft that
the grappling iron had been let down, and as the submarine
drifted nearer the form of Hardley was seen on deck. He was
directing operations.

Some one must have called his attention to the M. N. 1, for he
hurried to the rail of the craft which he had evidently chartered
to seek the Pandora, and he exclaimed:

"What are you doing here, Swift?"

"The same thing you are, I believe," coolly answered Tom.
"Cleaning up the treasure ship. You might as well save your money
though, for we have all the gold there is!"

"Impossible!" cried the now irate man. "You cannot have found
the Pandora!"

"That's just what we did, though," answered Tom. "And, for your
information, I'll say that we took all the gold we found, though
it was considerably less than you stated."

"How dare you?" stormed the adventurer. "I'll have the law on
you for this!"

"I guess you forget," replied Tom, "that we parted company at
your request and that I told you I was on my own. Finding is
keeping. I didn't find what I expected to, and, on the other
hand, I got something I didn't look for."

"What do you mean

"The Pandora was rightly named," went on Tom. "If you recall
the old story, Pandora had a box of treasures. They all flew out
except Hope, which remained in the bottom. Well, most of the gold
seems to have flown away, but we found a box on the Pandora.
What's in it I don't know yet, as I haven't opened it. Still, if
it doesn't contain more than Hope I shall be disappointed."

The face of Hardley showed the rage felt.

"Give me that box! Give me that box!" he cried, shaking his
fist at Tom.

"Not today," was the cool answer of the young inventor. "I may
let you know what I find in it if you leave your address.
Goodbye!"

Tom waved his hand, gave orders to close the hatches and
submerge the M. N. 1, and a few moments later the sea closed over
her, leaving the other vessel to grapple uselessly for the
treasure-ship.

"What are you going to do, Tom?" asked Ned of his chum, as they
were all gathered in the main cabin half an hour later.

"Head for home as soon as we can. I've had enough of this, and
I want to get at something else I have in mind. But first I'm
going to see what's in this box."

It required the strength of Koku to open the small steel box,
but when it was torn apart, for the combination was impossible to
guess at, all that was seen were bundles of papers. The case
having been hermetically closed, no water had penetrated it,
though it had been submerged a long time.

"What are they?" asked Ned of his chum.

Tom did not answer for a moment. Then having quickly examined
the papers, he cried:

"We've struck it!"

"What?" they all wanted to know.

"The very thing Hardley was after. These are the missing papers
in the oil-well deal--the papers that prove Barton Keith has a
half share in property worth many millions of dollars. It was
these papers that Hardley was after. He may have thought he could
get the gold, too, but he wanted most these oil shares. Boys,
we've found the fortune anyhow, in spite of the fellows who
looted the gold boxes!"

There was no doubt about it. There were all the papers--the
certificates of shares, the partnership agreement and other
documents--to show that Mary's uncle was a rich man. The wreck of
the Pandora held a fortune after all.

"How do you account for Hardleys acts?" asked Ned of his chum.

"Well, there are several explanations. I think we may be
certain that he knew these papers were aboard the Pandora, for he
must have intrusted them to the purser himself when he made a
trip on the ship. When she sank he had not time to get them to
take with him."

"He either knew then, or found out later, that the vessel
carried, or was supposed to carry, a large amount of gold. He may
have been honestly mistaken in thinking it was two millions. In
any case he was playing safe, for he only promised me half if the
treasure was found. He could have claimed this box as his
property, and that is probably what he was after from the
beginning. He was using me as a cat's paw, so to speak."

"Well, you beat him to it," observed Ned.

"Bless my necktie, I should say so!" agreed Mr. Damon. "Do you
think he really expected to find the gold?"

"Either that or the papers," was Tom's answer. "He must have
engaged the vessel and the grappling apparatus, and, possibly, a
diver, after we set him ashore at St. Thomas. Well, we'll leave
him to his own fun."

The M. N. 1 made good time back to her home port, nothing
except a terrific storm occurring to mark the voyage. And as she
submerged when that was on she did not feel it. After greeting
his father, Tom lost little time in going to Mary's house with
the box of securities and other papers.

"I want you to hand these to your uncle with my compliments,"
he said. "I've got the Air Scout out in the meadow. We'll go over
in that. How is Mr. Keith?"

"Not very well," Mary answered, after she had got over her
surprise at seeing Tom. "But this good news will restore him, I
think."

And it certainly was a great tonic. Mr. Keith could hardly
believe the story that Mary and Tom jointly told him. But at
length he grasped the idea that he was a wealthy man again, and
he exclaimed:

"Tom Swift, I'm going to share half with you!"

"Oh, no," retorted the young inventor. "I couldn't think of
that. If you want to pay part of the expenses of the trip I
shan't object to that, as I intend giving the gold I recovered to
Mr. Damon. But as for taking any of the oil shares--"

"Then, Mary, you shall take half!" exclaimed Mr. Keith. "I have
more money now than I'll ever spend. Mary, half of it is yours,
and if you don't let Tom Swift have a say in the spending of it--
Say, Mary, have you thanked him yet?" he asked with a twinkle of
his eyes. "Well, Uncle Barton, I--I don't know--"

"Then do it now!" cried her uncle. "Tom, if you could have any
reward you wanted, what would it be?"

Tom took Mary in his arms and--But I refuse to betray any
secrets. Anyhow, some time later when Ned asked his chum if he
felt entirely satisfied with the result of his undersea search,
the young inventor replied: "I certainly do!"

Tom admitted to his father that a mistake had been made in not
installing the gyroscope rudder. There was no excuse for not
taking it. Tom declared, as it was small and took up little room,
and it might have saved them from what was a close call at one
time.

"I'll take it on my next submarine trip," the young inventor
promised.

Ned wanted to bring suit against Hardley to recover half the
expenses of the trip, but Tom would not consent to it. After all,
the value of the oil well property was more than the gold the
Pandora was reputed to have carried. No attempt was made to take
from Tom the comparatively small amount he had salvaged. Perhaps
whoever had put it on board did not want to admit the trick that
had been played in filling the boxes with iron disks.

Dixwell Hardley made no further trouble. He could not, for he
was so entirely in the wrong. He sold out his shares in the oil
property, and a company took possession which gave fair treatment
to Mary's uncle.

And this is the end of the story. But the future holds further
adventures for Tom Swift which, let it be hoped, he will see fit
to order recorded.





End of Project Gutenberg's Etext of Tom Swift And His Undersea Search


Colophon

This file was acquired from Project Gutenberg, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts (http://infomotions.com/alex/) by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is etext1362, and it should be available from the following URL:

http://infomotions.com/etexts/id/etext1362



Infomotions, Inc.

Infomotions Man says, "Give back to the 'Net."