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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 Thirteen

Off for the Treasure

Suddenly Tom, after a moment's pause, seized a wrench and

began loosening some nuts.

"What are you doing?" asked his father faintly, for he was

being weakened by the vitiated atmosphere.

"I'm going to take this valve apart," replied his son. "We

haven't looked there for the trouble. Maybe it's out of


He attacked the valve with energy, but his hands soon

lagged. The lack of oxygen was telling on him. He could no

longer work quickly.

"I'll help," murmured Mr. Sharp thickly. He took a wrench,

but no sooner had he loosened one nut than he toppled over.

"I'm all in," he murmured feebly.

"Is he dead?" cried Mr. Damon, himself gasping.

"No, only fainted. But he soon will be dead, and so will

all of us, if we don't get fresh air," remarked Captain

Weston. "Lie down on the floor, every one. There is a little

fairly good air there. It's heavier than the air we've

breathed, and we can exist on it for a little longer. Poor

Sharp was so used to breathing the rarified air of high

altitudes that he can't stand this heavy atmosphere."

Mr. Damon was gasping worse than ever, and so was Mr.

Swift. The balloonist lay an inert heap on the floor, with

Captain Weston trying to force a few drops of stimulant down

his throat

With a fierce determination in his heart, but with fingers

that almost refused to do his bidding, Tom once more sought

to open the big valve. He felt sure the trouble was located

there, as they had tried to locate it in every other place

without avail.

"I'll help," said Mr. Jackson in a whisper. He, too, was

hardly able to move.

More and more devoid of oxygen grew the air. It gave Tom a

sense as if his head was filled, and ready to burst with

every breath he drew. Still he struggled to loosen the nuts.

There were but four more now, and he took off three while

Mr. Jackson removed one. The young inventor lifted off the

valve cover, though it felt like a ton weight to him. He

gave a glance inside.

"Here's the trouble!" he murmured. "The valve's clogged.

No wonder it wouldn't work. The pumps couldn't force the

water out."

It was the work of only a minute to adjust the valve. Then

Tom and the engineer managed to get the cover back on.

How they inserted the bolts and screwed the nuts in place

they never could remember clearly afterward, but they

managed it somehow, with shaking, trembling hands and eyes

that grew more and more dim.

"Now start the pumps!" cried Tom faintly. "The tanks will

be emptied, and we can get to the surface."

Mr. Sharp was still unconscious, nor was Mr. Swift able to

help. He lay with his eyes closed. Garret Jackson, however,

managed to crawl to the engine-room, and soon the clank of

machinery told Tom that the pumps were in motion. The lad

staggered to the pilot house and threw the levers over. An

instant later there was the hissing of water as it rushed

from the ballast tanks. The submarine shivered, as though

disliking to leave the bottom of the sea, and then slowly

rose. As the pumps worked more rapidly, and the sea was sent

from the tank in great volumes, the boat fairly shot to the

surface. Tom was ready to open the conning tower and let in

fresh air as soon as the top was above the surface.

With a bound the Advance reached the top. Tom frantically

worked the worm gear that opened the tower. In rushed the

fresh, life-giving air, and the treasure-hunters filled

their lungs with it.

And it was only just in time, for Mr. Sharp was almost

gone. He quickly revived, as did the others, when they could

breathe as much as they wished of the glorious oxygen.

"That was a close call," commented Mr. Swift. "We'll not

go below again until I have provided for all emergencies. I

should have seen to the air tanks and the expanding one

before going below. We'll sail home on the surface now."

The submarine was put about and headed for her dock. On

the way she passed a small steamer, and the passengers

looked down in wonder at the strange craft.

When the Advance reached the secluded creek where she had

been launched, her passengers had fully recovered from their

terrible experience, though the nerves of Mr. Swift and Mr.

Damon were not at ease for some days thereafter.

"I should never have made a submerged test without making

sure that we had a reserve supply of air," remarked the aged

inventor. "I will not be caught that way again. But I can't

understand how the pump valve got out of order."

"Maybe some one tampered with it," suggested Mr. Damon.

"Could Andy Foger, any of the Happy Harry gang, or the rival

gold-seekers have done it?"

"I hardly think so," answered Tom. "The place has been too

carefully guarded since Berg and Andy once sneaked in. I

think it was just an accident, but I have thought of a plan

whereby such accidents can be avoided in the future. It

needs a simple device."

"Better patent it," suggested Mr. Sharp with a smile.

"Maybe I will," replied the young inventor. "But not now.

We haven't time, if we intend to get fitted out for our


"No; I should say the sooner we started the better,"

remarked Captain Weston. "That is, if you don't mind me

speaking about it," he added gently, and the others smiled,

for his diffident comments were only a matter of habit

The first act of the adventurers, after tying the

submarine at the dock, was to proceed with the loading of

the food and supplies. Tom and Mr. Damon looked to this,

while Mr. Swift and Mr. Sharp made some necessary changes to

the machinery. The next day the young inventor attached his

device to the pump valve, and the loading of the craft was


All was in readiness for the gold-seeking expedition a

week later. Captain Weston had carefully charted the route

they were to follow, and it was decided to move along on the

surface for the first day, so as to get well out to sea

before submerging the craft. Then it would sink below the

surface, and run along under the water until the wreck was

reached, rising at times, as needed, to renew the air


With sufficient stores and provisions aboard to last

several months, if necessary, though they did not expect to

be gone more than sixty days at most, the adventurers arose

early one morning and went down to the dock. Mr. Jackson was

not to accompany them. He did not care about a submarine

trip, he said, and Mr. Swift desired him to remain at the

seaside cottage and guard the shops, which contained much

valuable machinery. The airship was also left there.

"Well, are we all ready?" asked Mr. Swift of the little

party of gold-seekers, as they were about to enter the

conning tower hatchway of the submarine.

"All ready, dad," responded his son.

"Then let's get aboard," proposed Captain Weston. "But

first let me take an observation."

He swept the horizon with his telescope, and Tom noticed

that the sailor kept it fixed on one particular spot for

some time.

"Did you see anything?" asked the lad.

"Well, there is a boat lying off there," was the answer.

"And some one is observing us through a glass. But I don't

believe it matters. Probably they're only trying to see what

sort of an odd fish we are."

"All aboard, then," ordered Mr. Swift, and they went into

the submarine. Tom and his father, with Captain Weston,

remained in the conning tower. The signal was given, the

electricity flowed into the forward and aft plates, and the

Advance shot ahead on the surface.

The sailor raised his telescope once more and peered

through a window in the tower. He uttered an exclamation.

"What's the matter?" asked Tom.

"That other ship--a small steamer--is weighing anchor and

seems to be heading this way," was the reply.

"Maybe it's some one hired by Berg to follow us and trace

our movements," suggested Tom.

"If it is we'll fool them," added his father. "Just keep

an eye on them, captain, and I think we can show them a

trick or two in a few minutes."

Faster shot the Advance through the water. She had started

on her way to get the gold from the sunken wreck, but

already enemies were on the trail of the adventurers, for

the ship the sailor had noticed was steaming after them.



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