WHICH INTRODUCES OUR CHARACTERS AND THE SUBMARINE BOAT.
Readestown, U. S. A., is a smart, flourishing little city upon a certain
river which runs down to the sea, and it owes its founding
to a family of wonderful
inventors by the name of Reade.
Frank Reade, Jr., the latest representative
of the wonderful
family, is a young man whose name is a household
word the world over.
He is the inventor of so many wonderful
machines, for traveling in the air, under water, or anywhere else that the people of this great country were by no means greatly surprised at the announcement
which one day went forth that the young inventor had perfected a new submarine
boat, and in conjunction
with a famous scientist
was about to make a trip of exploration through
the great Atlantic valley
, which is under the sea.
He had dined with the young inventor in the cabin of the Dart, and had spent some hours in its trial under the surface
of the river at Readestown.
Therefore he was able
for its efficiency
"I will take my chances," he said, with a broad
smile; "it will be no danger, I am very well assured."
was especially anxious
phenomena of the deep sea, and also the topography
of the Atlantic Valley.
All that was known of this mighty depression
had been gained by deep sea soundings.
Certain specimens of its bottom had been brought up by the lead. Various forms of animal life unknown to science had thus
Every detail of its draughting and plans had been made by him in his secret model
The machinists had done the work under his directions. In this manner the famous
Dart was built.
it was not unlike the model
of a pleasure yacht
There was a hull
of thinly rolled but strongest steel. It was provided with dead eye windows of convenient
number, water-tight and provided with slides.
Above the hull
was an outer deck provided with a guard rail
which extended from stem
Then above this deck was a cylindrical body with windows, of toughest plate
glass, and doors in its ends.
This was the cabin of the Dart, and it was divided into various
compartments, which we will describe
The first cabin was richly furnished; the second cabin contained half a dozen fine staterooms.
Beyond was the dining cabin, and then one came to the cook's galley
Also the mighty automatic
reservoirs by which the Dart was made to sink
or rise at the will of the inventor.
Forward was the chemical
room, where in tanks was stored the compressed air, and also manufactured the same, with which the travelers were enabled to live beneath the surface
of the ocean.
Tubes went to every part of the cabin with this chemical product
, and there was also an apparatus
the vitiated air or gases.
So that the air supply
was always of the purest and best.
Frank was besieged with hundreds of applications for various
Hosts of cranks applied for permission
him. Some letters were beseeching, some threatening.
One mildly insane
woman wanted him to recover
her son from the clutches of an octopus.
Here was a reasonable request
, and Frank agreed to look for it.
He took the bearings as given him by Captain Bell and said:
I will find your sunken treasure
. It may be, though, that time and the action of the tides have buried it so deep that I will not be able
"I think not, sir," said Captain Bell, eagerly. "It occurred, to be sure, forty years ago, but I think it is upon a reef
not so very far beneath the surface
Then Captain Bell went on to tell the story of the lost treasure
"I was quite a young man, then," he said, "and was in the navy, as captain of a small sloop-of-war, called the Utopia.
"Reports were coming in thick and fast of Captain Longboots, the pirate, who was so venturesome
as to penetrate
within one hundred miles of New York City in quest
of a prize.
"His ship, the Vestal Virgin, odd name for a pirate, was a fast sailer, and most of our war vessels could not keep in sight
"The pirate captain's real name nobody could learn, but he was called Captain Longboots from the immensely
long boots which he wore at all times.
"Well, the Secretary of the Navy selected me and the Utopia to go in chase
of the pirate.
"Just at this time there came a report
that an English steamer had been overhauled, and a million dollars in American gold had been seized by Longboots.
"This settled the question. I was at once in receipt
of sailing orders.
"We left Annapolis one bright day, and sailing down the river, soon reached the open sea.
"I had nothing to guide
me but my nose. I followed it, however, for five hundred miles out to sea, and in the direction
was not to attempt
the Vestal Virgin.
"I caused the Utopia to be rigged up like a merchant vessel
. The gunports were closed and painted, and everything warlike about her was concealed
"Then I lay in the track
of foreign-going vessels for weeks. My game worked.
"It was some while before the pirate showed up; but she did eventually
, and bore
down upon us.
"We made a show of running away, but she overhauled us like the wind. We did not have any trouble in letting her overtake us.
"She sent some hot shot across our bows and we hove to. We were all ready for a fight.
"Behind our high bulwarks crouched our men all ready for boarding. The false ports could be knocked out in ten seconds, and an instant
broadside given from ten guns.
"Nearer drew the Vestal Virgin. When she was a hundred yards distant
, Longboots himself appeared in the shrouds. I spoke
to one of my men:
"'Pick that villain
off; let it be a signal
for the broadside.'
"The order went along. Every man was ready. The gunner I had spoken to was a dead shot.
"He fired, and Longboots dropped to the deck. Then open flew our ports and we sent solid
shot into her hull
"She went down instantly. We had just time to get away from the vortex
. Only one of her men was saved.
"He made a clean breast of all, and declared that there was fully a million and a half in treasure aboard
the Vestal Virgin. We had some thoughts then of recovering it.
"But the soundings were too deep. No diver could live at that depth
. We turned our course homeward.
"And this is how it comes that the Vestal Virgin and her mighty treasure
lies at the bottom of the sea."
Frank had been deeply interested
at this recital
. As Captain Bell finished he said:
"I will make every endeavor
, be sure, to recover
. If I do, a fair
share of it is yours."
Captain Bell gripped Frank's hand.
"I hope you will succeed
," he said; "and I feel quite sure you will."
Then Frank showed the captain over the submarine
He was delighted
"Upon my word, skipper," he cried. "I'm an old sea dog and reckoned never to leave the surface
of the ocean while in life. But I'd give a good deal to take this v'yage with you."
Frank was thoughtful
He had taken a great liking to Captain Bell.
"Do you mean
that?" he asked.
"With all my heart
," replied the old skipper, eagerly. "And if I don't work and earn
you can put me off at the first port
. Shall I go with you?"
"Yes," replied Frank; "you may."