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- Boy Scouts in a Submarine - 30/31 -


hand, "do you know what will happen to the Sea Lion while you are gone?"

"Nothing serious, I hope."

"She will be blown up, and me with it!" almost screamed the Captain. "The power that is handling this matter would do more than that to get the papers you have secured out of the way, and to get rid of Babcock, my son, and myself."

"They seek to murder you?"

"I believe it."

"Why?"

"For two reasons. We know too much, and we failed."

"You haven't named the power," suggested Ned.

"I am unable to do so. I don't know. I have done all my work with a go-between."

"I see," Ned said.

"If you must go to Canton," the Captain went on, "first turn us over to the authorities here--to the American consul, if you please."

"That would protect the boat?"

"It would protect us."

"For the present, yes."

"And take the papers with you!"

"Why?" laughed Ned, thoroughly amused.

"Because that will draw the search off the boat."

"Then you believe that I shall be watched and followed?"

"Yes, and killed."

"You're a cheerful sort of fellow!" laughed Ned.

Jimmie now came to the door and announced a warship flying an American flag.

"She's signaling you," he added.

Ned was pretty glad to see the ship come to a halt lower down the inlet. She was not a large vessel, but she looked as big to Ned as all Manhattan island.

In an hour he was on board the ship, in earnest conversation with the captain, who had been ordered by cable to look the Sea Lion up and report to Ned. In another hour the prisoners were on board the warship, and the Sea Lion was anchored under her guns.

CHAPTER XX

AN ENDING AND A BEGINNING

Captain Harmon, of the warship Union, was a brave and capable officer. He understood at once the necessity for the trip to Canton. The conspirators must be identified. The United States Government must be informed as to the foreign power which had so nosed into her affairs.

"The power that is doing this," the Captain said, "will resort to other tricks when this one fails. We want to know who she is. On the whole, I think, I'll go to Canton with you--with your permission, of course."

"That's kind of you," Ned replied, pleased at the offer. "I can leave three of the boys on the Sea Lion and take one with me. I should be lost without that little rascal from the Bowery."

"And I'll send a file of marines on board the Sea Lion," the captain continued. "That will make all safe there. Now, about the papers. You have the packet?"

"Yes, of course."

"What does it contain?"

"Instructions which show the hand of private parties only. They completely exonerate our Government."

"And the other parties?"

"I regret that I must not mention names, sir."

"Very well," laughed the Captain. "You have performed your mission well. The slanders must now cease. But one thing more remains to be done--the meddling nation must be identified, as I have already said. We must go to Canton."

And so, leaving the Moores and Babcock safely locked in the den on board the Union and the important papers secure in the Captain's safe, Ned, accompanied by the Captain and Jimmie, set out for Canton by boat. The way was not long, and they arrived at noon, an early start having been secured.

Ned was entirely at sea in the city, but Captain Harmon had been there a number of times, and the English chop house was soon found. Next door to it was the curio shop mentioned to Ned.

The three lounged about the chop house nearly all the afternoon. The Captain was in plain clothes, and the trio seemed to be foreigners waiting for friends to come. After a long time Ned saw a man pass the chop house and turn into the curio shop who did not seem to be a Chinaman.

"Jimmie," he said to the little fellow, "suppose you go in there and buy a dragon, or a silk coat, or a tin elephant. Anything to give you a notion as to what is going on in the shop." The lad was off in a moment, and then the Captain turned to Ned.

"Why did you send the boy?" he asked.

"Because we may both be wanted outside," was the reply.

"You mean that others may come--others who should be followed and observed?"

"That's the idea," Ned replied.

Directly two more men, evidently not Chinamen, passed into the shop, then Jimmie came running out.

"They're going into a back room," he said.

Ned strolled into the shop, and in a moment the Captain followed. Jimmie remained at the door.

The two worked gradually back to the door of the rear room, and Ned "accidentally" leaned against it. It was locked. With the impact of the boy's shoulder against the panels came a scraping of chairs on the floor of the room beyond.

"You've stirred them up," whispered the Captain.

Then some one called from the inside.

"What do you want?"

"A word with you," Ned replied.

The shopkeeper now drew near and motioned the two away. When they did not obey he motioned toward the street, as if threatening to call assistance.

"Who is it?" was now asked.

"A messenger from Captain Henry Moore and his son," Ned answered, with a smile at the Captain.

There was a long pause inside.

"Where is he?" was asked.

"A prisoner. He wished me to come here."

Then the door was opened a trifle and the two saw inside. The shopkeeper, thinking that all was well, went back to the front of the shop.

When the door swung open both Ned and the Captain threw themselves against it. It went back against the wall with a bang, and the two nearly fell to the floor.

When they straightened up again they saw a servant standing between them and the still open doorway. At a round table in the back end of the apartment were three men--all Europeans.

Ned stepped forward to address them, but Captain Harmon drew him back and motioned toward the door.

"What do you want?" one of the three asked, in English. "Why this intrusion?"

Then Ned observed the face of the speaker, for the light was strong upon it. It was a face he had often seen pictured in reports of diplomatic cases. It was the face of one of the keenest diplomats in the world.

"I come from Captain Moore," Ned said, almost trembling at the thought of standing in the presence of the powerful man who had spoken.

"Can you send him here?" was asked.

"I'll try," was the reply.

"Who is your friend?" asked the other, pointing to Captain Harmon.


Boy Scouts in a Submarine - 30/31

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