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| Home | Reading Room Tom Swift And His Submarine Boat

Tom Swift And His Submarine Boat
or Under the Ocean for Sunken Treasure
by Victor Appleton

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Chapter Three

Mr. Berg is Astonished

Following his father and the stranger whom the aged

inventor had addressed as Mr. Berg, Tom and Mr. Sharp

entered the house, the lad having first made sure that

Garret Jackson was on guard in the shop that contained the

sub marine.

"Now," said Mr. Swift to the newcomer, "I am at your

service. What is it you wish?"

"In the first place, let me apologize for having startled

you and your friends," began the man. "I had no idea of

sneaking into your workshop, but I had just arrived here,

and seeing the doors open I went in. I heard no one about,

and I wandered to the back of the place. There I happened to

stumble over a board--"

"And I heard you," interrupted Tom.

"Is this one of your employees?" asked Mr. Berg in rather

frigid tones.

"That is my son," replied Mr. Swift.

"Oh, I beg your pardon." The man's manner changed quickly.

"Well, I guess you did hear me, young man. I didn't intend

to hark my shins the way I did, either. You must have taken

me for a burglar or a sneak thief."

"I have been very much bothered by a gang of unscrupulous

men," said Mr. Swift, "and I suppose Tom thought it was some

of them sneaking around again."

"That's what I did," added the lad. "I wasn't going to

have any one steal the secret of the submarine if I could

help it."

"Quite right! Quite right!" exclaimed Mr. Berg. "But my

purpose was an open one. As you know, Mr. Swift, I represent

the firm of Bentley & Eagert, builders of submarine boats

and torpedoes. They heard that you were constructing a craft

to take part in the competitive prize tests of the United

States Government, and they asked me to come and see you to

learn when your ship would be ready. Ours is completed, but

we recognize that it will be for the best interests of all

concerned if there are a number of contestants, and my firm

did not want to send in their entry until they knew that you

were about finished with your ship. How about it? Are you

ready to compete?"

"Yes," said Mr. Swift slowly. "We are about ready. My

craft needs a few finishing touches, and then it will be

ready to launch."

"Then we may expect a good contest on your part,"

suggested Mr. Berg.

"Well," began the aged inventor, "I don't know about


"What's that?" exclaimed Mr. Berg.

"I said I wasn't quite sure that we would compete," went

on Mr. Swift. "You see, when I first got this idea for a

submarine boat I had it in mind to try for the Government

prize of fifty thousand dollars."

"That's what we want, too," interrupted Mr. Berg with a


"But," went on Tom's father, "since then certain matters

have come up, and I think, on the whole, that we'll not

compete for the prize after all."

"Not compete for the prize?" almost shouted the agent for

Bentley & Eagert. "Why, the idea! You ought to compete. It

is good for the trade. We think we have a very fine craft,

and probably we would beat you in the tests, but--"

"I wouldn't be too sure of that," put in Tom. "You have

only seen the outside of our boat. The inside is better


"Ah, I have no doubt of that," spoke Mr. Berg, "but we

have been at the business longer than you have, and have had

more experience. Still we welcome competition. But I am very

much surprised that you are not going to compete for the

prize, Mr. Swift. Very much surprised, indeed! You see, I

came down from Philadelphia to arrange so that we could both

enter our ships at the same time. I understand there is

another firm of submarine boat builders who are going to try

for the prize, and I want to arrange a date that will he

satisfactory to all. I am greatly astonished that you are

not going to compete."

"Well, we were going to," said Mr. Swift, "only we have

changed our minds, that's all. My son and I have other


"May I ask what they are?" questioned Mr. Berg.

"You may," exclaimed Tom quickly; "but I don't believe we

can tell you. They're a secret," he added more cordially.

"Oh, I see," retorted Mr. Berg. "Well, of course I don't

wish to penetrate any of your secrets, but I hoped we could

contest together for the Government prize. It is worth

trying for I assure you--fifty thousand dollars. Besides,

there is the possibility of selling a number of submarines

to the United States. It's a fine prize."

"But the one we are after is a bigger one," Cried Tom

impetuously, and the moment he had spoken the wished he

could recall the words.

"Eh? What's that?" exclaimed Mr. Berg. "You don't mean to

say another government has offered a larger prize? If I had

known that I would not have let my firm enter into the

competition for the bonus offered by the United States.

Please tell me."

"I'm sorry," went on Tom more soberly. "I shouldn't have

spoken. Mr. Berg, the plans of my father and myself are such

that we can't reveal them now. We are going to try for a

prize, but not in competition with you. It's an entirely

different matter."

"Well, I guess you'll find that the firm of Bentley &

Eagert are capable of trying for any prizes that are

offered," boasted the agent. "We may be competitors yet."

"I don't believe so," replied Mr. Swift

"We may," repeated Mr. Berg. "And if we do, please

remember that we will show no mercy. Our boats are the


"And may the best boat win," interjected Mr. Sharp.

"That's all we ask. A fair field and no favors."

"Of course," spoke the agent coldly. "Is this another son

of yours?" he asked.

"No but a good friend," replied the aged inventor. "No,

Mr. Berg, we won't compete this time. You may tell your firm


"Very good," was the other's stiff reply. "Then

I will bid you good night. We shall carry off the

Government prize, but permit me to add that I

am very much astonished, very much indeed, that

you do not try for the prize. From what I have

seen of your submarine you have a very good

one, almost as good, in some respects, as ours.

I bid you good night," and with a bow the man

left the room and hurried away from the house.



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