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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 Fourteen

In the Diving Suits

There was no doubt that the steamer was coming after the

submarine. Several observations Captain Weston made

confirmed this, and he reported the fact to Mr. Swift.

"Well, we'll change our plans, then," said the inventor.

"Instead of sailing on the surface we'll go below. But first

let them get near so they may have the benefit of seeing

what we do. Tom, go below, please, and tell Mr. Sharp to get

every thing in readiness for a quick descent. We'll slow up

a bit now, and let them get nearer to us."

The speed of the submarine was reduced, and in a short

time the strange steamer had overhauled her, coming to

within hailing distance.

Mr. Swift signaled for the machinery to stop and the

submarine came to a halt on the surface, bobbing about like

a half-submerged bottle. The inventor opened a bull's-eye in

the tower, and called to a man on the bridge of the steamer:

"What are you following us for?"

"Following you?" repeated the man, for the strange vessel

had also come to a stop. "We're not following you."

"It looks like it," replied Mr. Swift. "You'd better give

it up."

"I guess the waters are free," was the quick retort.

"We'll follow you if we like."

"Will you? Then come on!" cried the inventor as he quickly

closed the heavy glass window and pulled a lever. An instant

later the submarine began to sink, and Mr. Swift could not

help laughing as, just before the tower went under water, he

had a glimpse of the astonished face of the man on the

bridge. The latter had evidently not expected such a move as


Lower and lower in the water went the craft, until it was

about two hundred feet below the surface. Then Mr. Swift

left the conning tower, descended to the main part of the

ship, and asked Tom and Captain Weston to take charge of the

pilot house.

"Send her ahead, Tom," his father said. "That fellow up

above is rubbing his eyes yet, wondering where we are, I


Forward shot the Advance under water, the powerful

electrical plates pulling and pushing her on the way to

secure the sunken gold.

All that morning a fairly moderate rate of speed was

maintained, as it was thought best not to run the new

machinery too fast.

Dinner was eaten about a quarter of a mile below the

surface, but no one inside the submarine would ever have

known it. Electric lights made the place as brilliant as

could be desired, and the food, which Tom and Mr. Damon

prepared, was equal to any that could have been served on

land. After the meal they opened the shutters over the

windows in the sides of the craft, and looked at the myriads

of fishes swimming past, as the creatures were disclosed in

the glare of the searchlight.

That night they were several hundred miles on their

journey, for the craft was speedy, and leaving Tom and

Captain Weston to take the first watch, the others went to


"Bless my soul, but it does seem odd, though, to go to bed

under water, like a fish," remarked Mr. Damon. "If my wife

knew this she would worry to death. She thinks I'm off

automobiling. But this isn't half as dangerous as riding in

a car that's always getting out of order. A submarine for

mine, every time."

"Wait until we get to the end of this trip," advised Tom.

"I guess you'll find almost as many things can happen in a

submarine as can in an auto," and future events were to

prove the young inventor to be right.

Everything worked well that night, and the ship made good

progress. They rose to the surface the next morning to make

sure of their position, and to get fresh air, though they

did not really need the latter, as the reserve supply had

not been drawn on, and was sufficient for several days, now

that the oxygen machine had been put in running order.

On the second day the ship was sent to the bottom and

halted there, as Mr. Swift wished to try the new diving

suits. These were made of a new, light, but very strong

metal to withstand the pressure of a great depth.

Tom, Mr. Sharp and Captain Weston donned the suits, the

others agreeing to wait until they saw how the first trial

resulted. Then, too, it was necessary for some one

acquainted with the machinery to remain in the ship to

operate the door and water chamber through which the divers

had to pass to get out.

The usual plan, with some changes, was followed in letting

the three out of the boat, and on to the bottom of the sea.

They entered a chamber in the side of the submarine, water

was gradually admitted until it equaled in pressure that

outside, then an outer door was opened by means of levers,

and they could step out

It was a curious sensation to Tom and the others to feel

that they were actually walking along the bed of the ocean.

All around them was the water, and as they turned on the

small electric lights in their helmets, which lights were

fed by storage batteries fastened to the diving suits, they

saw the fish, big and little, swarm up to them, doubtless

astonished at the odd creatures which had entered their

domain. On the sand of the bottom, and in and out among the

shells and rocks, crawled great spider crabs, big eels and

other odd creatures seldom seen on the surface of the water.

The three divers found no difficulty in breathing, as there

were air tanks fastened to their shoulders, and a constant

supply of oxygen was fed through pipes into the helmets. The

pressure of water did not bother them, and after the first

sensation Tom began to enjoy the novelty of it. At first the

inability to speak to his companions seemed odd, but he

soon got so he could make signs and motions, and be


They walked about for some time, and once the lad came

upon a part of a wrecked vessel buried deep in the sand.

There was no telling what ship it was, nor how long it had

been there, and after silently viewing it. they continued on

"It was great!" were the first words Tom uttered when he

and the others were once more inside the submarine and had

removed the suits. "If we can only walk around the wreck of

the Boldero that way, we'll have all the gold out of her in

no time. There are no life-lines nor air-hose to bother with

in these diving suits."

"They certainly are a success," conceded Mr. Sharp.

"Bless my topknot!" cried Mr. Damon. "I'll try it next

time. I've always wanted to be a diver, and now I have the


The trip was resumed after the diving chamber had been

closed, and on the third day Captain Weston announced, after

a look at his chart, that they were nearing the Bahama


"We'll have to be careful not to run into any of the small

keys," he said, that being the name for the many little

points of land, hardly large enough to be dignified by the

name of island. "We must keep a constant lookout."

Fortune favored them, though once, when Tom was steering,

he narrowly avoided ramming a coral reef with the submarine.

The searchlight showed it to him just in time, and he

sheered off with a thumping in his heart.

The course was changed from south to east, so as to get

ready to swing out of the way of the big shoulder of South

America where Brazil takes up so much room, and as they went

farther and farther toward the equator, they noticed that

the waters teemed more and more with fish, some beautiful,

some ugly and fear-inspiring, and some such monsters that it

made one shudder to look at them, even through the thick

glass of the bulls-eye windows.



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