Bob Steele In Strange Waters or, Aboard a Strange Craft
In Strange Waters
Aboard a Strange Craft
In Strange Waters
Aboard a Strange Craft
The Famous Motor-Power Stories
DAVID McKAY, PUBLISHER
604–8 South Washington Square
By STREET & SMITH
In Strange Waters
All rights reserved, including that of translationinto foreign languages, including the Scandinavian.
|I.||In the Depths.||5|
|II.||Out of the Jaws of Death.||12|
|IV.||The American Consul.||25|
|VI.||On the Jump.||37|
|VII.||The Landing Party.||44|
|VIII.||Carl in Trouble.||50|
|IX.||A Friend in Need.||55|
|XI.||One Chance in Ten.||68|
|XII.||By a Narrow Margin.||75|
|XIII.||Waiting for Something.||81|
|XIV.||A Great Play.||88|
|XV.||On the Way.||94|
|XVI.||A Dash of Tabasco.||101|
|XVII.||A Serious Serenade.||106|
|XVIII.||Don Ramon Ortega.||112|
|XIX.||The Shadow of Treachery.||119|
|XX.||The Hidden Snare.||125|
|XXII.||A Lesson in “Who’s Who.”||139|
|XXIII.||The Snare Tightens.||146|
|XXIV.||The Don’s Proposal.||152|
|XXVI.||A Favorable Opportunity.||165|
|XXVIII.||Capturing the General.||178|
|XXIX.||Off for the Gulf.||184|
|XXX.||Running the Battery.||190|
|XXXIII.||A Submarine Battle.||207|
|XXXIV.||In Quest of Documents.||214|
|XXXV.||The Meeting in the Harbor.||220|
|XXXVI.||Ah Sin’s Clew.||226|
|XXXVII.||Off for the Amazon.||233|
|XXXIX.||Rubbing Elbows with Death.||246|
|XL.||A Dive for Safety.||251|
|XLI.||Putting Two and Two Together.||258|
|XLII.||Under the Amazon.||264|
|XLIII.||Hand to Hand.||270|
|XLV.||A Prisoner—and a Surprise.||283|
|XLVI.||The Old Slouch Hat.||289|
|XLVIII.||A Desperate Risk.||301|
IN STRANGE WATERS.
“What is it, captain?”
“We are in St. George’s Bay, ten miles from the port of Belize, BritishHonduras. Two days ago, while we were well out in the gulf, I openedthe letter containing the first part of my sealed orders. Those orders,as you know, sent us to Belize. Before we reach there and open theenvelope containing the rest of our orders, I think it necessary totest out the Grampus thoroughly. Unless I am greatly mistaken, theinstructions yet to be read may call for work that will demand the lastounce of preparation we can give the submarine. I have stopped themotor, and we are lying motionless on the surface of the sea. The leadshows that there are two hundred and twenty-five feet of water underus. The steel shell of the Grampus is warranted to stand the pressureof water at that depth. Do you follow me?”
“Now, Bob, I have been watching you for a long time, and I believe thatyou know more about the gasoline motor than I do, and fully as muchabout maneuvering the submarine. We are going to dive to two hundredand ten feet—the deepest submersion by far the Grampus ever made. Iwish you to take entire charge. If you get into difficulties, you mustget out of them again, for I intend to stand by and6 not put in a wordunless tragedy stares us in the face and you call on me for advice.”
A thrill ran through Bob Steele. The submarine, with all hercomplicated equipment, was for a time to be under his control. Thismove of Captain Nemo, junior’s, perhaps, was a test for him no lessthan for the Grampus.
For a brief space the young man bent his head thoughtfully.
“Do you hesitate, Bob?” asked Captain Nemo, junior.
“Not at all, sir,” was the calm answer. “I was just running over inmy mind the things necessary to be done in making such a deep dive.The pressure at two hundred and ten feet will be terrific. At thatdepth, the lid of our hatchway will be supporting a weight of more thanthirty-two tons.”
“Exactly,” answered the captain, pleased with the way Bob’s mind wasgoing over the work.
“If there happened to be anything wrong with the calculations of theman who built the Grampus, captain, she would be smashed like aneggshell.”
“We are going to prove his calculations.” The captain seated himselfon a low stool. “Gaines is at the motor, Clackett is at the submergingtanks, Speake has charge of the storage batteries and compressedair, and Cassidy is here in the periscope room with us to drive theGrampus in any direction you desire.”
“Dick Ferral is with Gaines,” added Bob, “and Carl Pretzel is withClackett.”
“Exactly. Every man is at his station, and some of the stations aredouble-manned. Now, then, go ahead.”
Bob whirled to a speaking tube.
“We’re going to make a record dive, Clackett,” he7 called into thetube, “and Captain Nemo, junior, has placed me in charge——”
“Bully for the captain!” came back the voice of Clackett, echoingweirdly distinct in the periscope room.
“Our submergence will be two hundred and ten feet,” went on Bob. “Youand Carl, Clackett, will put the steel baulks in place. I’ll have Dickand Gaines help you.”
Another order was called to the engine room, and presently therewere sounds, forward and aft, which indicated that the metal props,to further strengthen the steel shell, were being dropped into theirsupports.
“Cassidy,” said Bob, “see that the double doors of the hatch aresecured.”
“Aye, aye, sir,” answered the mate, darting up the conning-tower ladder.
“Speake,” ordered Bob, through another tube, “see that the tensionindicators are in place.”
“Double doors of the hatch secured,” reported Cassidy a moment later.
“Pressure sponsons in place,” came rattling through the tube fromClackett.
“Tension indicators in position,” announced Speake.
“Dive at the rate of twelve yards to the minute, Clackett,” ordered Bob.
A hiss of air, escaping from the ballast tanks as the water came in,was heard. A tremor ran through the steel fabric, followed by a gentledownward motion. Bob kept his eyes on the manometric needles. Twentyyards, twenty-five, thirty, and forty were indicated. A pressure of tenpounds to the square centimeter was recorded.
“Plates are beginning to bend, captain,” called Speake.
This was not particularly alarming, for the baulks would settle down totheir work.
“Close the bulkhead doors, Dick!” called Bob.
“Aye, aye!” returned Dick, and sounds indicated that the order wasimmediately carried out.
“Sixty yards,” called Clackett; “sixty-five, seventy yards——”
“Hold her so!” cried Bob.
“What is the danger point in the matter of flexion, captain?” askedBob, turning to Nemo, junior, whose gray head was bowed forward on hishand, while his gleaming eyes regarded the cool, self-possessed youthwith something like admiration.
“Ten millimeters,” was the answer.
“We still have a margin of three millimeters and are at the depth youindicated.”
“Bravo! We are five yards from the bottom. Do a little cruising, Bob.Let us see how the Grampus behaves at this depth.”
The entire shell of the submarine was under an enormous pressure.
Bob gave the order to start the motor, and the popping of the enginesoon settled into a low hum of perfectly working cylinders. A forwardmotion was felt by those in the submarine.
“Not many people have ever had the novel experience of navigating theocean seventy yards below the surface,” remarked the captain, with aslow smile.
“It’s a wonderful thing!” exclaimed Bob. “The Grampus seems equal toany task you set for her, captain.”
The air of the periscope room was being exhausted by the breathing ofBob, Nemo, junior, and Cassidy. Bob ordered the bulkhead doors opened,in order that fresh oxygen might be admitted from the reservoirs.Just before the doors were opened, Captain Nemo,9 junior’s, face hadsuddenly paled, and he had swayed on his seat, throwing a hand to hischest.
“You can’t stand this, captain!” exclaimed Bob, jumping to thecaptain’s side. “Hadn’t we better ascend?”
The captain collected himself quickly and waved the youth away.
“Never mind me, my lad,” he answered. “I feel better, now that a littlefresh oxygen is coming in to us. Go on with your maneuvering.”
All was silent in the submarine, save for the croon of the engine,running as sweetly as any Bob had ever heard. Aside from a faintoppression in the chest and a low ringing in the ears, the Grampusmight have been cruising on the surface, so far as her passengers couldknow.
Cassidy was at the wheel, steering, his passive eyes on the compass.
Bob turned away from the manometer with a remark on his lips, butbefore the words could be spoken there was a shock, and the submarineshivered and stopped dead.
“Hello!” whooped the voice of Carl. “Ve must haf run indo vone of dermoundains in der sea.”
“Full speed astern, Gaines,” cried Bob.
The blades of the propeller revolved fiercely. The steel hull shook andtugged, but all to no purpose.
Captain Nemo, junior, sat quietly in his seat and never offered asuggestion. His steady eyes were on Bob Steele.
Bob realized that they were in a terrible predicament. Suppose theywere hopelessly entangled in the ocean’s depths? Suppose there was noescape for them, and the shell of the Grampus was to be their tomb?These reflections did not shake the lad’s nerve.10 His face whitened alittle, but a resolute light gleamed in his gray eyes.
“How are the bow plates, Speake?” he demanded through one of the tubes.Speake was in the torpedo room.
“Right as a trivet!” answered Speake.
After five minutes of violent and useless churning of the screw, Bobturned to Cassidy. The mate, grave-faced and anxious, was looking athim and waiting for orders.
“Rig the electric projector, Cassidy,” said Bob calmly.
“Aye, aye, sir,” replied the mate.
When the little searchlight was in position, a gleam was thrownthrough one of the forward lunettes out over the bow of the Grampus.Bob, feeling keenly the weight of responsibility that rested on hisshoulders, mounted the iron ladder to the conning tower and lookedthrough one of the small windows.
To his intense astonishment he found the bottom of the sea pervadedwith a faintly luminous light, perhaps due to some phosphorescencegiven off by the marine growth. Through this glow traveled the brightergleam of the searchlight.
The Grampus was lying in a dense forest of nodding, moss-coveredstems. The vegetation of the ocean bed, with its lianes and creepinggrowth, twisted all about the submarine, fluttering and waving in thecurrents caused by the swiftly revolving propeller.
A gasp escaped Bob’s lips, however, when he fixed his attentionforward. For a full minute he stood on the ladder, taking in the weirdand dangerous predicament of the Grampus.
Then an exclamation fell from his lips, and he looked down to seeCaptain Nemo, junior, slowly mounting to his side.
“Look!” whispered Bob hoarsely, nodding toward the lunettes.
The captain pressed his eyes against the thick glass and then droppedback.
“A ship!” he exclaimed. “We have rammed an old Spanish galleon and arecaught in her rotting timbers!”
He looked upward, his startled eyes engaging Bob’s, and the two staringat each other.
What the captain had said was true. The Grampus, cruising in thosegreat depths, had had the misfortune to hurl herself bodily on into anancient wreck.
The wreck, which must have lain for centuries there on the bottom, wascovered with marine growth, yet, nevertheless, seemed wonderfully wellpreserved. The high bow and poop, covered with serpentlike lianes andcreeping weeds, were erect in the water, for the galleon lay on an evenkeel. The ship’s two masts and steep bowsprit had been broken off, andthe decks were a litter of weeds, shells, and sand.
The Grampus, cleaving the heavy submarine