There was no reply and Lord Hastings repeated his call. Still there was no response.
Lord Hastings was beginning to grow angry.
"Davis!" he called a third time, and when there was no answer, he shouted: "You come out of there this minute or it will be the worse for you. There is no use pretending you do not hear me. Come out!"
This time Lord Hastings drew an answer.
"Thank you, sir, but I shall remain where I am," came back in Davis' voice. "It's very comfortable in here."
"By Jove! He's a pretty cool customer," muttered Lord Hastings to Frank.
"Yes, he's cool enough," responded the lad, "and cold-blooded, too. Shall we force the door, sir?"
"I don't like to do that," replied Lord Hastings, "but I am afraid it will be necessary. I want to get that fellow tied up safely." He raised his voice again. "Davis," he said, "if you don't open that door immediately, I'll break it down."
"I wouldn't try it," was Davis' response. "I have appropriated a pair of your revolvers here and I'll have a shot at the first head that I see."
This reply threw Lord Hastings into some consternation. He turned to Frank.
"There is no use any one getting hurt on the fellow's account," he said. "He's safe enough in there. Guess we may as well leave him."
"We'll have to get him some time, sir," said Frank. "We might as well do it now and have it over with. Two of us should land him without any trouble."
"You mean one and a half," replied Lord Hastings, smiling. "Don't forget you are hardly whole with that wound on your head."
"I think I can prove a little better than a half, anyhow," Frank smiled back. "Shall we break the door in, sir?"
"I have a better plan than that," replied Lord Hastings. "I'll blow the lock off. Stand back out of range of fire from the door. Davis is likely to shoot through it."
Frank did as commanded, and drawing his revolver, Lord Hastings placed the muzzle against the lock.
There was a flash, a loud report and Lord Hastings leaped quickly backward. And it was well that he did so; for a second later there came a second report and a bullet sped through the thin door and imbedded itself in the wall beyond.
Standing well to one side, Lord Hastings thrust out a foot and kicked the door open.
"Better come out, Davis," he said quietly.
"No, thanks," was the reply. "I'll get the first man who shows his head in the doorway."
Lord Hastings considered this point carefully. Then he said to Frank:
"Well, we've got the door open, but I don't see that we are any better off. We can't go after him. Now what, eh?"
An idea struck Frank.
"You stand guard until I come back, sir," he said, and made his way aft.
Lord Hastings stood his ground.
Frank was back in a moment and again took his stand on the opposite side of the door from Lord Hastings. He held something in his hand, and a long snake-like object seemed to wiggle along behind him.
"What have you there?" demanded Lord Hastings in some surprise.
"Hose, sir," replied Frank calmly.
"And what are you going to do with it?"
"Rout Davis out, sir."
Lord Hastings chuckled.
"I am afraid you won't have much success," he replied. "It's a poor Englishman who can't stand a little cold water."
"Maybe he won't like hot water, though, sir," replied Frank.
Again Lord Hastings looked surprised.
"Oho," he said at length. "Now I see what you are about. Going to scald him a little, eh?"
"That's the idea, sir. I have the engineer's word that this hose will throw a pretty strong stream. Once it hits Davis he'll be glad to come out."
"All right," said Lord Hastings. "Turn it on."
Still standing out of the line of fire, Frank, taking the hose well back from the nozzle, thrust it through the door and turned it on.
A thin vapor rose and the hose grew hot to Frank's touch.
"Pretty hot," said Lord Hastings. "Now if you can just locate him with it, you——"
A cry of pain interrupted him and there was the sound of hurried footsteps within.
"Got him," cried Frank gleefully.
He stepped into the open doorway, and as he did so, Davis raised a revolver and his finger tightened on the trigger. But even as he would have fired, Frank turned the scalding water on him. With a howl of pain he dropped the revolver.
THE PIRATES REAPPEAR.
"You got him, Frank!" cried Lord Hastings excitedly, hopping up and down like a boy. "Keep it on him!"
"You bet I've got him," Frank shouted back. "Slip inside, sir, and get him from behind when I turn the water off."
Lord Hastings did as Frank suggested, and keeping to one side of the stream of hot water, entered the room and drew his revolver.
"All right," he called. "Turn it off. I've got him covered."
Frank shut off the hose and also sprang into the room.
But there was no need for force. Davis had had all the fight taken out of him, for the time being, at least. He lay upon the floor and was writhing about apparently in great pain and moaning feebly. It was plain that the hot water had done its work well.
"I give up," he muttered as Lord Hastings and Frank approached him.
The two leaned down and picked the man up. Lord Hastings looked him over carefully.
"Why, you're not hurt," he said contemptuously. He turned to Frank. "That water can't have been very hot," he said.
"Just hot enough, I should say," the lad returned. "I didn't want it too hot, sir. It would have spoiled his looks, and I want him looking fit when he faces a court martial."
"Very thoughtful of you," said Lord Hastings dryly. "I don't believe he is hurt a bit. But I guess we had better tie him up before he does any more mischief."
"Right you are, sir," replied Jack. "Got any rope?"
"Yes; you'll find a good strong piece in the drawer of my desk there. Get it."
Frank opened the drawer and produced a long, strong rope; and as he would have turned to Lord Hastings he was startled by a sudden commotion, followed by the sound of a fall.
Davis had sprung suddenly to his feet, upsetting Lord Hastings as he did so, and dashed out the door. Frank, dashing forward to intercept him, collided with Lord Hastings, who arose at that moment, and the latter went to the floor again, with Frank on top of him.
By the time they had untangled themselves Davis had disappeared aft.
"After him!" shouted Frank, and dashed down the passage. Lord Hastings followed closely.
Davis made straight for the engine room, why, he could not have told. The man was greatly excited and hardly knew what he was doing. As he crossed the threshold, he collided with Simpson, the engineer, and both rolled to the floor.
"I say! What's the matter here?" demanded Simpson angrily. "What are you jumping on me for?"
"I didn't mean to do it," replied Davis, sitting up; and then getting to his feet.
"And what are you doing in here, anyhow?" demanded the engineer. "No one is allowed in this room."
"I didn't know where I was going," responded Davis.
He leaped suddenly forward, and seizing a heavy iron poker, brought it down heavily on Simpson's head. The man crumpled up on the floor. Quickly Davis whirled about and locked the door, even as Lord Hastings and Jack threw their weight against it. Then Davis laughed aloud.
"Stand back there!" he cried. "Stand back, or I'll smash this machinery so none of us will ever reach the surface."
Frank was for smashing in the door regardless of this threat, but Lord Hastings seized his arm.
"Hold on!" he exclaimed. "The man is crazy enough to do it. We shall have to seek some other method of overcoming him."
"And how are we to get him, unless we go after him, I'd like to know?" the lad demanded angrily.
"There must be some way," was the reply. "We'll wait."
He took Frank by the arm and led him away.
Lord Hastings immediately made his way to Jack's side.
"Shape your course east now, Mr. Templeton," he instructed, "and give the command to rise to the surface."
Jack asked no questions and did as instructed.
"We'll have to take a chance on being clear of the enemy when we go up," Lord Hastings explained. "But we've got to get Davis out of that engine room the first thing we do."
"And how do you figure to do that, sir?" asked Frank.
"By giving him a clear path to the bridge," replied Lord Hastings. "I have no doubt that when he finds we are upon the surface he will leave his retreat and go on deck; then, if there is land in sight, he probably will leap overboard and swim for it."
"But you will not permit him to get away, sir?"
"Not if I can help it. However, I would rather have him escape than let him send us to the bottom; and I have no doubt he will reason along that line. Now, when we reach the surface, we will go to my cabin and remain there until we hear him pass my door."
A few moments later the U-6 emerged from the depths and the three immediately went to Lord Hastings' cabin and closed the door behind them. Lord Hastings gave an exclamation of dismay as he gazed about.
"You certainly did a good job with that hose," he said to Frank. "There is not a nook nor cranny of this cabin you didn't touch. Look at it, it won't dry out in a month."
"Hardly that long, sir," said Jack with a grin. "But tell me what all this is about, anyhow."
Frank explained. Then all grew silent, awaiting the sound of footsteps that they felt sure would herald Davis' flight. And a few moments later they came, creeping along silently.
Frank took a step forward, but Lord Hastings stayed him with a gesture.
"Let him alone," he commanded. "We don't want him to find another hole. We have had trouble enough with him."
A few moments later footsteps sounded on deck.
"Well, he's up there," said Frank. "Now what?"
"Guess we can go up after him now," replied Lord Hastings.
He led the way.
"Careful, sir, when you go up," warned Jack. "He's likely to be waiting for one of us to show a head."
Lord Hastings paid no heed to this command, but sprang quickly up. He gazed around rapidly. There was not another soul on deck.
"Come on," he cried to Frank and Jack.
The latter also sprang up and looked about.
"Where is he, sir?" asked Frank.
"Gone," replied Lord Hastings. "Must have jumped overboard."
He swept the sea with his eyes, as did the others.
"What's that over there, sir?" asked Jack suddenly.
Lord Hastings and Frank gazed in the direction indicated. There a little object could be seen in the water. It had the appearance of a small stick and beside it there appeared a black piece of cloth whipping in the breeze.
"Looks like the periscope of a submarine," commented Frank.
"And it is," declared Lord Hastings. "Below quick!"
Jack sprang down the companionway, closely followed by Frank and Lord Hastings. The conning tower closed behind them.
"Submerge to the tip of the periscope," ordered Lord Hastings, and put his eye to the instrument as Jack repeated the command.
At that moment the other craft bobbed to the surface and Lord Hastings made out that the black cloth that fluttered in the breeze was nothing more nor less than a black flag.
"Pirates!" he muttered. "What! at this age of the world?" and then a sudden thought flashed through his mind.
"I'll wager a farm it's Davis' own crew," he muttered.
"What's that, sir?" asked Jack, who had caught his commander's last words.
"Nothing much; only that Davis has found his own gang," replied Lord Hastings quietly. "Here, have a look."
He stepped aside and Jack took his place at the periscope. The lad uttered an exclamation of surprise.
"By Jove! he has, sir," he ejaculated. "I can see him swimming toward the submarine; and there is a man on the bridge waiting for him. Can't we launch a torpedo at her, sir?"
"I guess we can," replied Lord Hastings. "What do you make the range?"
"Hundred yards, sir," replied Jack. "Number three torpedo, sir!"
Lord Hastings touched a button and the signal board glowed. But even as Jack would have given the command to fire, a new object suddenly rose to the surface of the water and he stayed his hand.
It was a third submarine, and Jack, instead of giving the command to fire, for which the men were eagerly waiting, cried:
"Another submarine, sir! Looks like a German. She's moving toward the pirate, sir!"
Lord Hastings stepped to the periscope, pushing Jack firmly aside.
"We'll move off and let them fight it out," he said. "Full speed ahead, Mr. Templeton!"
THE BATTLE AND THE ATTACK ON THE U-6.
Another few hundred yards from the two other submarines, Lord Hastings ordered the U-6 brought to a stop.
"We'll stop here a bit and watch the battle," he said.
The U-6 rose to the surface and the three officers ascended to the bridge. The pirate craft, The Vulture, was still upon the surface and they were able to see that Davis at that moment had climbed over the side. Together with the man who was already on the bridge he hurried below.
"Now they will submerge," said Lord Hastings.
He was right, for a moment later The Vulture began to sink lower in the water. At this moment the German craft fired her first torpedo. It struck a hundred yards to the right of The Vulture.
"Poor shooting," declared Jack.
The others nodded.
"She'll do better next time," said Frank.
The lad proved a good prophet for the second torpedo skimmed over the water missing The Vulture by inches. At the same time The Vulture launched a torpedo and the three aboard the U-6 gasped as it seemed that the missile would surely strike home.
But the German submersible swerved just a trifle and the torpedo missed by a narrow margin. At the same moment the German submarine began to submerge. She escaped the fire of the pirate until her periscope also was all that was visible.
Then the pirate rose; a moment later the German craft came from below and both vessels launched torpedoes simultaneously.
Lord Hastings uttered an exclamation of astonishment.
"Of all the remarkable things I ever saw!" he ejaculated.
Frank and Jack were equally astonished; and the reason was this: both torpedoes had gone true and the periscope of each vessel fell away.
"There'll be no more diving," said Lord Hastings quietly.
Now the fighting submarines, both upon the surface, launched torpedo after torpedo at each other. A shot from the pirate struck her adversary a glancing blow on the bow and the head of the little craft ducked a trifle. But she bobbed up serenely again a moment later and returned the fire.
This time her aim had been true and the torpedo grazed the top of the conning tower. The Vulture also ducked, but came up again.
"It all depends upon who gets in the first square shot," said Lord Hastings, and at that moment the square shot struck.
The Vulture, swerving suddenly, barely escaped a torpedo from her foe, while the pirate's next torpedo struck the enemy squarely upon the bridge. There was an explosion and the German craft seemed to leap from the water. A moment later she came down in pieces, blown to atoms.
"It's all over," said Lord Hastings quietly. "Now it is time for us to put an end to that troublesome craft."
He led the way below and gave the order to submerge.
But it appeared that Davis, instead of fleeing as Lord Hastings and the two lads had expected him to do, had determined to square accounts with his British enemies. The Vulture headed toward the U-6.
Before Lord Hastings could give the command to launch the first torpedo, a missile from the enemy carried away the periscope of the U-6.
Lord Hastings gave an exclamation of dismay.
"We'll have to fight it out on the surface," he said quietly.
Now the U-6 launched her first torpedo and missed. A missile from The Vulture struck close to port. Again the U-6 missed and swerved just in time to escape another torpedo from the enemy.
Then suddenly Lord Hastings gave the command to submerge.
The command was obeyed quickly and he explained to the lads.
"We'll try and run closer to him while we're below. They'll be expecting us to go the other way, and if we are not seen the moment we come up we'll take them at a disadvantage. Of course, it's a long chance, but we must do something."
Ten minutes later he gave the order to rise again. There was no response. Again Lord Hastings gave the signal and still the U-6 failed to rise.
"What's the matter?" demanded Lord Hastings quickly.
"Something wrong with the tanks, sir," replied Jack hurrying up at that moment. "I've just had Simpson out and he says he can fix the damage without going to the surface."
"All right," said Lord Hastings. "Then we shall remain stationary until Simpson reports O.K."
Fifteen minutes later Simpson completed his work and again Lord Hastings gave the signal to rise. Slowly the U-6 moved upward.
Suddenly there was a shock that threw all on board to the deck, and the U-6 staggered. For a moment her upward progress was stayed, but for a moment only; then she continued upward and suddenly flashed upon the surface.
Quickly Lord Hastings jumped to his feet, and unmindful of any danger he might encounter, dashed to the bridge. Jack and Frank followed close upon his heels. And there a peculiar sight met their gaze.
To leeward, not half a dozen rods away, lay The Vulture almost upon her side. Half a dozen men were floating in the water and one still clung to the tilting vessel.
Frank uttered an exclamation of astonishment.
"So that's what was wrong," he ejaculated. "We came up directly beneath her, sir."
Lord Hastings nodded.
"And it seems to me we did a pretty good job," he declared. "Now——"
The appearance of one of the crew on deck cut short his sentence. The man approached and saluted.
"Well, sir?" questioned Lord Hastings.
"Boat leaking, sir," was the reply. "Two feet of water in the hold now, sir. We can't stop it. We shall have to take to the boats, sir."
Lord Hastings looked at the man in dismay for the space of several moments. Then he said quietly:
"All right, Jackson. Get out the boats and order the men on deck."
Again the man took the time to salute and then disappeared below. A few moments later the full crew of the U-6 appeared on deck and the boats were quickly gotten out.
"Rifles and revolvers for each man," ordered Lord Hastings.
The men already had armed themselves; so Lord Hastings gave the word to take to the boats. This was done, and pulling away from the rapidly settling submarine, all turned their eyes again to The Vulture.
To their surprise The Vulture was not settling as fast as was the U-6 and several figures could still be seen struggling about on board.
"They are launching the boats, sir," said Frank.
"So they are," replied Lord Hastings. "And they are arming themselves. I guess we shall have to fight this thing out yet. How's your arm, Jack?" he called to the lad, who was in another boat.
"Feels pretty good, sir," was the reply. "Why?"
"And your head, Frank?" demanded Lord Hastings, paying no heed to Jack's question.
"First rate, sir, doesn't hurt a bit."
"All right. Rifles ready, men. We'll swoop down on those fellows before they are prepared to hold us off."
But already they had delayed too long to surround the pirates without a fight. The Vulture's boats were afloat now and were manned by the crew; and from the distance the British could see they were all armed.
Lord Hastings gave his commands quickly.
"Mr. Templeton, make a short detour to the right," he commanded. "Take them from the flank." He motioned to Edwards, who was steering the boat next to his own. Edwards approached. "Climb in there and take command, Frank," said Lord Hastings.
Frank did so quickly.
"Now make a detour to the left," Lord Hastings commanded. "I'll try and hold them off here until you reach a proper position. Then we can bear down on them from all sides."
The first shot of the battle came from the pirates and was fired by Davis himself. A man in the bow of Lord Hastings' boat muttered an imprecation and wrung his hand. The bullet had struck his left little finger and carried the tip of it away.
"Hurt much, Price?" asked Lord Hastings.
"Not much, sir," was the quiet response. "May interfere with my shooting a little though, sir."
"Fire when ready," Lord Hastings commanded his men.
He threw his rifle to his shoulder and it cracked viciously. A man in the foremost pirate boat threw up his arms, sprang to his feet and pitched into the sea head first.
"One less," Lord Hastings muttered to himself.
In the meantime, while Lord Hastings engaged the enemy, Frank and Jack were nearing their respective positions. Jack came into action first, sweeping down upon the enemy from the right.
The forces were about evenly divided, three boats to a side, but it appeared that in men the pirates slightly outnumbered the British.
A man dropped in Jack's boat now, fatally wounded. The others did not even pause, but returned the fire steadily. Another man in Jack's boat dropped his rifle and fell back gasping. A pirate bullet found two victims in Frank's boat and Lord Hastings now suffered the loss of another.
But the enemy was paying for these victims. In the center pirate boat three men were no longer able to handle a rifle, while in the craft to the right two had been wounded. The boat to the left also had suffered.
And all this time the boats had been nearing each other and the crack of the rifles mingled with the hoarse shouting of the German sailors. The British, for the most part, fought coolly and silently, only the groans of the wounded breaking the stillness from their part of the water.
Frank, now that the boats were close enough together not to call for instructions to his men, left them to do their own fighting and opened with his revolver.
Now Frank was a crack shot, as he had proved on more than one occasion, and this time his aim was deadly. He found himself opposite the boat in which Davis stood erect and he picked off the men about the British traitor with ease.
At last there remained but Davis. Frank trained his weapon on him carefully, but at the moment he would have pulled the trigger a bullet struck one of the British sailors in Frank's boat a mortal wound. The man jumped and fell sidewise. The boat tipped over and Frank was flung into the water.
Frank's mouth was open as he went under, and when he came up gasping there was no boat near him. Ahead he could see Davis still standing erect. The latter discovered the lad at the same time, levelled his revolver, took careful aim, and pulled the trigger.
But there was no report. The chamber of the weapon was empty.
THE END OF A TRAITOR.
Frank smiled grimly to himself as he floated in the water.
"No more bullets, eh?" he muttered.
He struck out vigorously, but instead of making for the nearest British boat, he swam directly toward the craft in which Davis remained standing.
"I'll get you this time, Mr. Davis," the lad muttered through his teeth.
Davis saw him coming and something must have told him that this time the lad would overcome him. He stooped over and picked up a second revolver. This, too, he levelled directly at the lad and pulled the trigger. But this weapon also was empty.
Now fear suddenly took possession of Davis. He dropped to the thwart, seized a pair of oars and began to row.
But he had delayed too long; for at that moment Frank's left hand grasped the gunwale. Quickly Davis raised himself in the boat, and, brandishing an oar aloft, brought it down in an effort to crush the lad's head. Frank saw the blow coming and dived just in time. Davis again sat down and began to row.
A minute later Frank came up by the side of the boat and seized it in both hands. In vain Davis tried to steady the craft. Frank's effort was too powerful to resist and the little craft capsized, hurling Davis into the water.
Frank, treading water—now that he had his enemy on even terms—smiled as he waited for the traitor to come up; but what was his surprise when he felt himself suddenly seized by the legs and drawn beneath the surface. So sudden and unexpected was this movement that the lad did not have time to catch a breath before his head went under.
He kicked out desperately with his left foot and felt it strike something soft; and at that moment the hold upon his legs relaxed. The lad rose rapidly to the surface, where he inhaled great draughts of fresh air. Then he swam away a few strokes and waited for Davis to rise, for he knew he could not remain under water much longer.
A head bobbed up close to him, and, swimming quickly forward, Frank struck out heavily with his left fist. The fist came in contact with a face and Frank grinned as he realized that the blow had gone home. Again he waited for Davis to come to the surface.
The latter did so a moment later, but succeeded in dodging the heavy blow that the lad aimed at him. He disappeared again almost immediately and a second time the lad felt himself seized in a tight embrace which drew him under.
Immediately he felt the hold upon his legs relax and a hand seized him by the throat.
This time Frank had taken a breath before being pulled under, for the lad was not to be caught napping twice in the same way, and he felt that he could remain beneath the water as long as his opponent.
But the grasp on his throat was strangling him and the lad realized that desperate measures were necessary to free himself.
He swung his right arm low in the water, at the same moment seizing the hand that grasped his throat with his left. His right hand found its mark and at the same moment the lad gave a quick jerk with his left hand. The grip upon his throat weakened, and, as Frank struck a second time, was released altogether.
Almost immediately, however, a pair of arms closed about his legs again, holding him tight and carrying him down. With his two hands Frank felt about him blindly, and at last encountered a head. He reached farther down and then gripped Davis by the throat with both hands and pressed them together.
Davis was threshing about in the water in an effort to release this desperate clutch without altogether loosening his hold upon the lad. Frank's lungs seemed about to burst now and he struggled desperately to push Davis away from him, at the same time maintaining his grip. Things grew blacker than ever beneath the dark water; and then, suddenly, the lad lost consciousness.
When Frank opened his eyes again he found himself in a small boat, with nothing in sight but blue water and the sun beating down upon him, shielded slightly from his face by what he took to to be a coat. The lad rubbed his eyes and attempted to sit up; then fell back with a faint moan.
This sound brought a second figure to his side and Frank felt a hand upon his head as a well-known voice said:
"How do you feel, old man?"
Frank recognized the voice instantly. The speaker was Jack. Things came back to Frank immediately and with an effort he sat up.
"How did I get here?" he demanded. "The last I seem to remember is tipping Davis out of a boat. Then what happened?"
"Then you don't remember a struggle beneath the water?" asked Jack.
Frank racked his brain and a moment later it came back to him.
"Yes, I do," he replied. "I remember he seized me by the legs and I went under. Then I grabbed him by the neck and tried to push him away, but he clung and clung—and clung—and clung—and that's all I can remember."
"And no wonder," declared Jack. "You were under water for five minutes before I could get to you. I got you as you were going down for the last time. I didn't arrive a minute too soon."
"And where are we now?" asked Frank.
"In one of the small boats, making for shore."
"Any shore. Belgium, most likely. But a storm Is brewing and——"
A sudden shout interrupted him.
"Vessel approaching off the port bow, sir!" came the cry.
Jack stood up hurriedly and looked across the sea. Sure enough, just appearing over the horizon, a faint speck had become visible. Jack waved his hand to Lord Hastings, who was in a second boat not far behind.
"Safe now, I guess, sir," he called.
"Unless it happens to be a German," returned his commander.
"Hardly, in this part of the sea," declared Jack.
The heads of the small boats were turned and they made directly for the approaching vessel, which loomed larger and larger in the distance.
Jack returned to Frank's side.
"Ship, eh?" asked Frank feebly.
"Yes," replied Jack.
"Haven't been able to make her out yet. Probably is, though. I hope so, for I want to get you to bed where you can be looked after."
"Don't mind me. Say, how many men did we lose?"
"Ten," said Jack slowly.
"Ten," repeated Frank. "It was a costly battle, wasn't it? But what has happened to——"
"Don't you think you had better not talk any more now?" said Jack, raising a silencing hand. "You're pretty weak. Don't exert yourself."
"But wasn't that Lord Hastings' voice I heard just now?"
"Yes, it was."
"By George! I'm glad he came through safely," declared Frank feebly.
"All right. You try and go to sleep now."
Frank opened his lips to protest, but he was too weary to do so. Several times a question struggled to his lips, but the effort to speak was too great and directly he fell asleep.
It was almost an hour later that the vessel, which those in the little boats some time before had made out to be a British merchantman, sighted them. Immediately small boats were lowered over the side and made toward the shipwrecked sailors.
The latter were quickly transferred to the merchantman's boats and were rowed back toward the steamship. There the wounded were lifted gently over the side and sent immediately to the sick bay, where their wounds were dressed.
The captain of the vessel led Lord Hastings and Jack to his cabin, where he insisted upon an account of their adventures. He was greatly interested and commended Jack highly when Lord Hastings had concluded his recital.
"I must also congratulate your second officer when he has recovered," he said.
"But tell me, captain," said Lord Hastings. "Where are you bound?"
"London," was the reply.
"So? But you were headed in the other direction."
"So I was; but that was merely to avoid the German submarines. I am doubling back now, having changed my course no sooner than I picked you up."
"That is indeed fortunate for us," declared Lord Hastings. "We shall all be glad to get back to London."
"And you shall be there shortly, unless we are unfortunate enough to encounter one of these under-sea murderers," replied the captain.
Lord Hastings and Jack now excused themselves and the latter immediately made his way to the sick bay, where he asked permission to see his chum. This was readily granted.
Frank had not awakened while being transferred from the small boat to the steamship, and again he was filled with curiosity. Jack explained the transfer, and then asked:
"How do you feel now, old man?"
"Better," returned Frank briefly; "and by the way, how's that injured arm of yours?"
"First rate," laughed Jack. "To tell the truth I had almost forgotten I had it, although in the battle it did interfere with my shooting somewhat—and you know I'm not the best shot in the world, anyhow."
"Say," said Frank, "I've got something on my mind that I want to ask you and I can't think what it is."
"Don't worry about it now, old man," said Jack. "Get a little more rest and then it will come to you."
Frank chafed as he struggled with his thoughts.
"No use," he said. "I can't think of it."
"Well, you go to sleep," said Jack. "I'll come back after a while."
He turned and moved toward the door; and as he would have passed out, Frank hailed him.
"Hold on there!" he called. "I've got it."
"Got what?" demanded Jack.
"The question I want to ask you."
"Well, let's have it."
"What happened to Davis?"
"Dead," said Jack quietly. "You proved the better man."
He turned and left the room while Frank lay still, thinking.
And so we shall leave them for a brief time. Their further adventures will be found in a succeeding volume, entitled:
"THE BOY ALLIES IN THE BALTIC; or, Through the Ice to Aid the Czar."