The Wizard of the Sea/Chapter 27
The ship traveled leisurely along the Mediterranean, often rising in sight of land and lying like a log upon the water.
In the evening it was the custom of the prisoners to play at checkers, dominoes, or some game they liked; and after the fourth day in the Mediterranean, Stump, instead of putting the games on the table, shut the door, and, in a mysterious way, exclaimed:
"I've squared the nigger!"
"Which?" asked Mont.
"Number One. He as waits upon us. His real name's Smunko. I've found that out. Me and he's firm friends. I've told him I want to bolt, and he says he shan't let on to the skipper, or any of them, though they are all a lot of spies."
"Perhaps he's one, too," observed the professor, smiling.
"Not he, sir," answered the boy; "Smunko's right enough. He's going to keep all the other chaps quiet, some dark night, when we are near the land. Then we are to go on the platform and swim for our lives."
"A very good arrangement, if it can be carried out," remarked the professor. "But I fear your friend Smunko is not to be depended upon."
Stump was indignant.
"The fact is," went on the professor, "I don't want to discourage the lad, but I have no wish that he should do anything rash, and involve us in a mess. The captain might doom us to solitary confinement. At present we are treated liberally, if we are prisoners."
"All right, sir," replied Stump, "I'll turn it up as far as you are concerned. If Master Mont likes to come with me, all well and good; if not he can let it alone. I know my game, and I mean to stick to it."
"Don't show your nasty temper, Stump," said our hero.
"Aint being cooped up here like a turkey in a pen, fatting for Christmas, enough to rile a bishop?" asked the boy. "But I shan't say no more. When all's ready I'll give you one more chance, and if you aint with me, I'm off alone."
It was impossible to check Stump's will. The only one who had any influence over him was Mont.
He was a boy rudely brought up, unaccustomed to control his passions, and having a decided character, but to our hero he was deeply attached.
The next day the ship floated near an island, which the professor declared to be the Isle of Cyprus.
In the evening Stump whispered to Mont:
"Now, sir, all's ready. Smunko's piping off the other blacks; we're not a quarter of a mile from the land."
Mont's heart beat high.
"Tell the others," he said.
"No; let you and I go together."
"I can't leave Carl, and the professor is one of us."
In this Mont was firm.
He would not leave the Searcher without Carl and the professor.
So the two were told that all was ready.
"Come on, now," said Mont. "We must not lose our chance."
With the valuable pearls they had secured in the Indian Ocean in their pockets, the others followed Mont to the deck.
All hearts beat loudly.
"There is a boat!" whispered Carl. "Come on."
He dropped into the sea, and the others did the same.
Not far away floated a log, and to this they clung.
They paddled with their hands, and were soon some distance away from the submarine monster.
Then they cried for help.
The boat they had seen came in their direction.
They were seen, and the natives from the island let out a shout.
Then suddenly Captain Vindex appeared on the deck of the Searcher.
He shook his fist at the party.
Stump laughed at him; the others waved him off.
"She is going down!" cried Mont. "Quick, pull for the shore, before you are wrecked!"
The natives did not like the looks of the strange submarine ship, and they pulled with all strength.
By the agitation in the water the party knew the Searcher was after them.
But the shore was gained, and they were safe.
Then came a fearful shock.
In his eagerness to catch them Captain Vindex had allowed the Searcher to run into the rocks.
The submarine craft shot out of the water, and then——
Bang! Boom! Crash!
It was as if heaven and earth were splitting in twain.
The whole island shook, and all in the boat fell flat.
The Searcher had been blown to atoms.
The air was filled with flying bits of iron and steel.
Of course all on board were instantly killed.
It was a long while before Mont and his companions recovered.
"Out of it at last, thank Heaven!" murmured Professor Woddle, and all said "Amen."
A month later the little party returned to the United States.
Mont's widowed mother was overjoyed to see him alive, and Carl's parents were equally elated, and so were the many friends at Nautical Hall.
The pearls were equally divided, and to-day all of the party are rich men.
"But I wouldn't take another such trip," says Mont. "No, not to pick up all the hidden treasures of the ocean. After this I'm going to remain at Nautical Hall and take the balance of my sea training on land. I've had all I want of such submarine ships as the Searcher, and such mysterious men as was the Wizard of the Sea."