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- Boy Scouts in a Submarine - 10/31 -


His flashlight, however, would not throw its beams to the point of interest, and he decided to return to the Sea Lion, rest for the remainder of the night, and shift the submarine in the morning.

Motioning to his companion, therefore, he turned toward the door to the water chamber. They had proceeded only a few steps when something seemed to pass over their heads.

It was as if a heavy cloud had drifted over a summer sky, outlining its shape on the fields below for an instant and then passing on. Jimmie caught Ned's arm and pointed upward.

It was plain that the little fellow had caught sight of something his companion had missed, but of course he could not explain then and there what it was. Ned hastened his steps, and soon stood at the door of the water chamber, which had been left open.

As Jimmie pushed into the water-filled apartment by his side and Ned was about to close the door and expel the water from the chamber, as well as from the tanks of the submarine, something which flashed like polished steel hurtled through the water and struck the bottom just outside the doorway.

Ned stepped out and picked it up. It was a keen-edge knife, such as sailors carry. On the handle was a single initial--"D."

Ned knew what that meant. Through some strange agency, by means of some unaccountable assistance, the Diver had reached the scene of the proposed operations of the Sea Lion.

From this time on, it would be a battle of wits--perhaps worse!

CHAPTER VII

THE SECRET OF THE HOLD

In response to Ned's hand on the lever, the water door closed and the pumps in the next compartment soon cleared not only the sea vestibule but the tanks of the submarine of seawater.

In a moment the Sea Lion lifted to the surface, and Ned lost no time in relieving himself of his helmet. Then, still attired in the rubber suit, he hastened to the conning tower, where he found Jack, glass in hand, sweeping the moonlit sea eagerly. There was a faint haze off to the west, but nothing more. Whatever had passed above the submerged boat, on the surface, had wholly disappeared, though the time had been very short.

"What did you see?"

Ned asked the question because Jack's manner indicated excitement, if not anxiety.

"Just a shadow," was the reply.

"It might have been a shadow, passing over the moon, the shadow of a cloud, or a cloud itself," suggested Frank, sticking his head out of the hatchway.

Ned pointed to the sky. There was not a cloud in sight.

"It must have been something of the kind," Jack mused, "for no boat could get out of sight so soon."

"Not even a submarine?" asked Ned.

"What do you mean by that?"

"Did you see a submarine?"

Both questions were asked in a breath.

"No," replied Ned, "I did not see a submarine, but I don't believe any cloud passing over the sky would drop anything like this."

He passed the knife to Jack and took the glass. Jack opened his eyes wide as he examined the weapon and noted the initial on the handle. He turned impulsively to Ned.

"Where did you get it?" he asked.

"At the bottom."

"Did you find it lying there?"

"It fell just as I reached the water chamber."

"Then how the dickens did the Diver get away so soon?" demanded the boy.

"It sure did fall from the Diver," agreed Frank, taking the knife and examining it.

"It would seem so," Ned replied, "but, of course, the initial may be merely a coincidence."

"I guess we're in for it."

"But how did the Diver get here so soon after our arrival?" asked one of the boys.

Ned looked grave for a moment, and then replied, his manner showing how fully he appreciated the importance of his words:

"What I fear is that she got here first."

"And found the wreck?"

"She might have done so."

"Did you see anything of the Cutaria down there?" asked Frank.

"Not a bloomin' thing," answered Jimmie, making his appearance on the conning tower.

"The Diver might have towed it away," suggested Jack.

"Impossible!" cried the others, in chorus.

"Anyway," Jack continued, "we're up against the real goods now. If the Diver is here we'll have a scrap."

"But suppose it should be some other outfit?" asked Frank. "Some pirate outfit after the gold?"

"Still there would be a scrap."

"That's one advantage of goin' with Ned," Jimmie edged in. "You most always get into a scrap!"

"Well," Ned said, presently, "we may as well drop down and keep our lights low. If the Diver is here, the Moores are aware of our presence, and we must be prepared for anything."

In ten minutes the submarine lay at the bottom of the sea, with no lights showing, every plate glass window having been shuttered on the outside by a system of protection which was one of the best features of the craft. Then Ned explained that he had seen, at some distance, an apparent elevation rising from the sand.

"That may be the wreck," he said.

"I move we go and see," shouted Jimmie.

"In the darkness?" asked Frank.

"It is as light out there now," Jack declared, "as it will ever be, unless some subterranean volcano lights up and makes fireworks on the bottom, so we may as well be off."

"All right," Ned said, in a moment. "I was meditating a little rest to-night, but it may be advisable to get to work at once. For all we know the Moores may be stripping the wreck, even now."

"What I can't understand," Jack said, sticking to the first proposition, "is how the Diver got here in such good time."

"As has been said, it may be some other craft," Frank consoled.

"Don't believe it," insisted Jimmie. "The boat that dropped that knife is a submarine, else how could she disappear so suddenly? She may be watching us now."

"Or her divers may be prowling around the Sea Lion!" Jack created a little sensation by saying.

"What would be the use of prowling around outside the boat?" asked Jimmie. "They couldn't hear anything, or see anything."

"But a torpedo will act under water," suggested Frank. "Those chaps are equal to anything."

"Shall we go out and look around?" asked Jack.

Ned hesitated. He really was alarmed at the situation. He knew how desperate the Moores must be, and he had no doubt that in some strange way the Diver had been brought to the scene of the wreck.

"If you and Frank are partial to a moonlight stroll under sixty feet of water," he finally said, "you may as well put on your water suits and look around."

"Leave Jimmie here to watch the boat and come with us," urged Jack.

"Go on," Jimmie advised. "I can run this shebang, all right. Go on and see what you can see."

"If we are going out to-night," Ned said, after reflection, "we may as well shift the Sea Lion and inspect the bottom over where we saw the apparent elevation."

"Yes; that may be the wreck," Jack admitted.

So the submarine was moved a short distance to the north, about the


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