Ramming the Wreck
Fitted with a long, sharp steel ram in front, the Advance
was peculiarly adapted for this sort of work. In designing
the ship this ram was calculated to be used against hostile
vessels in war time, for the submarine was at first, as we
know, destined for a Government boat. Now the ram was to
serve a good turn.
To make sure that the attempt would be a success, the
machinery of the craft was carefully gone over. It was found
to be in perfect order, save for a few adjustments which
were needed. Then, as it was night, though there was no
difference in the appearance of things below the surface, it
was decided to turn in, and begin work in the morning. Nor
did the gold-seekers go to the surface, for they feared they
might encounter a storm.
"We had trouble enough locating the wreck, said Captain
Weston, "and if we go up we may be blown off our course. We
have air enough to stay below, haven't we, Tom?"
"Plenty," answered the lad, looking at the gages.
After a hearty breakfast the next morning, the submarine
crew got ready for their hard task. The craft was backed
away as far as was practical, and then, running at full
speed, she rammed the wreck. The shock was terrific, and at
first it was feared some damage had been done to the
Advance, but she stood the strain.
"Did we open up much of a hole?" anxiously asked Mr.
"Pretty good," replied Tom, observing it through the
conning tower bull's-eyes, when the submarine had backed off
again. "Let's give her another."
Once more the great steel ram hit into the side of the
Boldero, and again the submarine shivered from the shock.
But there was a bigger hole in the wreck now, and after
Captain Weston had viewed it he decided it was large enough
to allow a person to enter and place a charge of dynamite so
that the treasure ship would be broken up.
Tom and the captain placed the explosive. Then the Advance
was withdrawn to a safe distance. There was a dull rumble, a
great swirling of the water, which was made murky; but when
it cleared, and the submarine went back, it was seen that
the wreck was effectively broken up. It was in two parts,
each one easy of access.
"That's the stuff!" cried Tom. "Now to get at the gold!"
"Yes, get out the diving suits," added Mr. Damon. "Bless
my watch-charm, I think I'll chance it in one myself! Do you
think the sharks are all gone, Captain Weston?"
"I think so."
In a short time Tom, the captain, Mr. Sharp and Mr. Damon
were attired in the diving suits, Mr. Swift not caring to
venture into such a great depth of water. Besides, it was
necessary for at least one person to remain in the submarine
to operate the diving chamber.
Walking slowly along the bottom of the sea the four gold-
seekers approached the wreck. They looked on all sides for a
sight of the sharks, but the monster fish seemed to have
deserted that part of the ocean. Tom was the first to reach
the now disrupted steamer. He found he could easily climb
up, for boxes and barrels from the cargo holds were
scattered all about by the explosion. Captain Weston soon
joined the lad. The sailor motioned Tom to follow him, and
being more familiar with ocean craft the captain was
permitted to take the lead. He headed aft, seeking to locate
the captain's cabin. Nor was he long in finding it. He
motioned for the others to enter, that the combined
illumination of the lamps in their helmets would make the
place bright enough so a search could be made for the gold.
Tom suddenly seized the arm of the captain, and pointed to
one corner of the cabin. There stood a small safe, and at
the sight of it Captain Weston moved toward it. The door was
not locked, probably having been left open when the ship was
deserted. Swinging it back the interior was revealed.
It was empty. There was no gold bullion in it.
There was no mistaking the dejected air of Captain Weston.
The others shared his feelings, but though they all felt
like voicing their disappointment, not a word could be
spoken. Mr. Sharp, by vigorous motions, indicated to his
companions to seek further.
They did so, spending all the rest of the day in the
wreck, save for a short interval for dinner. But no gold
rewarded their search.
Tom, late that afternoon, wandered away from the others,
and found himself in the captain's cabin again, with the
empty safe showing dimly in the water that was all about.
"Hang it all!" thought the lad, "we've had all our trouble
for nothing! They must have taken the gold with them."
Idly he raised his steel bar, and struck it against the
partition back of the safe. To his astonishment the
partition seemed to fall inward, revealing a secret
compartment. The lad leaned forward to bring the light for
his helmet to play on the recess. He saw a number of boxes,
piled one upon the other. He had accidentally touched a
hidden spring and opened a secret receptacle. But what did
Tom reached in and tried to lift one of the boxes. He
found it beyond his strength. Trembling from excitement, he
went in search of the others. He found them delving in the
after part of the wreck, but by motions our hero caused them
to follow him. Captain Weston showed the excitement he felt
as soon as he caught sight of the boxes. He and Mr. Sharp
lifted one out, and placed it on the cabin floor. They pried
off the top with their bars.
There, packed in layers, were small yellow bars; dull,
gleaming, yellow bars! It needed but a glance to show that
they were gold bullion. Tom had found the treasure. The lad
tried to dance around there in the cabin of the wreck,
nearly three miles below the surface of the ocean, but the
pressure of water was too much for him. Their trip had been
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Room | Tom
Swift And His Submarine Boat