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قراءة كتاب The Boy Allies Under the Sea; Or, The Vanishing Submarines

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‏اللغة: English
The Boy Allies Under the Sea; Or, The Vanishing Submarines

The Boy Allies Under the Sea; Or, The Vanishing Submarines

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 7


"They've either gone away or to the bottom, sir," said Frank.

"And I guess it's away," said Lord Hastings. "Jack must have missed."

"Don't see how I could, sir," declared the lad.

"Better let me try with a revolver next time," put in Frank. "I know I could have landed one of them."

"Well, they have gone. But we'll get them if we have to follow them for a month."

"Who, sir?" asked Frank, who could restrain his curiosity no longer.

"Why, your fellow conspirators, Davis and Baron Blosberg."

"Baron who?" asked Frank.

"Blosberg. He is the man we are after. We have evidence to prove that he is at the head of a body of spies that have been divulging our plans to the enemy. Davis is merely one of his instruments."

"I don't know anything about the baron," interrupted Jack, "but if he is anything like Davis, I haven't any use for him on general principles."

"He's just a bit worse, if that is possible," declared Lord Hastings.

"Then we shall have to get him," declared Frank.

"Right," agreed Jack. "A man like that is too dangerous to be running around loose."

"We may as well proceed then," Lord Hastings decided. "The chances are we shall find them at the mouth of the river. However, we will hardly pick them up before daylight."

And Lord Hastings was right.

Day dawned cool and grey, and in spite of their heavy oilskins, Frank and Jack were chilled to the bone from their long stay in the cold. Several times Lord Hastings had asked them if they wished to go below and warm up a bit, but each was too interested to leave his post for a moment.

"Can't tell what minute we may run across them, sir," Jack had said, "and I want to get even for the miss I made a while ago."

A slight fog rose over the water. Lord Hastings gave an exclamation of impatience.

"Even the elements conspire against us," he said aggrievedly.

"It's not much of a fog, sir," said Jack. "It may lift at any minute."

But it didn't lift, and at noon was as dense as before.

But the very fact of the fog finally brought the pursuers upon their quarry.

A small boat appeared suddenly perhaps a hundred yards ahead, barely visible in the gloom.

"Looks like them, sir," declared Jack.

"What makes you think so?" demanded Lord Hastings, at the same time throwing over the wheel.

"I don't know, sir," replied Jack. "I don't really mean it looks like them. I just think it is them. It's what Frank would call a—a—a——"

"Hunch." Frank supplied the word.

"That's it," agreed Jack. "A hunch, sir."

"We'll see," said Lord Hastings grimly.

At this moment the occupants of the craft ahead realized that they were pursued. The boat bounded ahead with a sudden burst of speed.

"It must be they," declared Lord Hastings. "If they were not here for some ulterior purpose they wouldn't run."

He signalled full speed ahead and the motorboat sprang forward.

"Shall I have a shot at them?" shouted Jack.

"Not yet," replied Lord Hastings. "It may not be the boat we are after."

The race continued.

Suddenly the foremost boat swerved sharply to the left, then dashed straight ahead again.

"They are heading for the shore, sir!" shouted Jack.

The pursuing boat also swerved sharply, one side dipping to the water's edge and all but throwing Jack overboard.

"So they are," replied Lord Hastings, "Gun ready, Mr. Templeton?"

"All ready, sir."

"Good. Try and do better this time. Fire!"

"Boom!" went the little gun, and all strained eagerly forward to watch the result of the shot.

A volume of water shot up a few yards behind the pursued.

"Missed again," said Frank sorrowfully.

"Again," commanded Lord Hastings. "Fire!"

And the second shot also went wide, for even as Jack fired the boat ahead again swerved suddenly. Now the pursued began to steer first to one side and then to the other, momentarily approaching closer to shore, however.

Twice more Jack fired in response to Lord Hastings' command, but the result was always the same. As long as the pursued continued to zig-zag there was little hope of a successful shot.

But in the meantime the pursuers were gaining. A bullet from ahead whistled over Frank's head.

The lad grew angry and drew his own revolver. Taking careful aim, he fired. So far as he could see there was no result.

"Where's that infallible aim of yours?" demanded Jack.

Frank made no reply but fired again. This time his effort was rewarded.

A figure straightened up in the boat ahead, waved his arms above his head, and with a cry toppled into the water. The boat did not slow down. The others plainly did not intend to take the time to attempt a rescue.

"Shall we pick him up, sir?" asked Frank.

Lord Hastings shook his head.

"We have more serious business in hand," he replied. "He will have to take his chances."

Still the pursuers gained; but it became apparent now that they could not hope to overtake their quarry before he reached shore.

"Ready to take a shot as they jump out of the boat," was Lord Hastings' command.

All drew their revolvers and stood ready.

Now, there was little doubt in the minds of all that they could pick off the fugitives as they leaped ashore, and they probably would have done so but for an unforeseen occurrence.

The pursuers had lost a little time in maneuvering to get in an effective shot, and the pursued now were more than a hundred yards ahead.

As the first boat was a scant fifty yards from shore, a third craft hove in sight, headed down the river. It was going in such a manner as to pass directly between pursuer and pursued as the latter landed.

In vain Lord Hastings signalled the third boat to stop. It came on, paying no heed; and what Lord Hastings feared came to pass. Just as the first boat grounded and its occupants leaped ashore, the third craft passed between the first and the pursuers. Although all held revolvers ready, there was no chance to fire; and when the pursuers reached shore their quarry were some distance away.

"After them!" cried Jack.