MoboReader > Literature > The Submarine Boys' Trial Trip / Making Good" as Young Experts"

   Chapter 20 CONCLUSION

The Submarine Boys' Trial Trip / Making Good" as Young Experts" By Victor G. Durham Characters: 11381

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


The next afternoon Commander Ennerling of the United States Navy reported to Messrs. Farnum and Pollard that the naval board had witnessed the tests of the submarine and were ready to report to the authorities. They did not conceal the fact that the boat had made a favorable impression, then they continued:

"You have a crew of experts, though they are very young. John Benson especially is a genius."

"We are well aware of that, gentlemen," replied Mr. Farnum beamingly.

Soon after the naval men had taken their train for Washington, David Pollard came into Mr. Farnum's office, carrying a valise and a brief case and announced that he was going away for a time where he could not be reached to rest and study and think.

It was the third day after this that Jack, wishing to see Mr. Farnum in regard to some supplies for the "Pollard," went to his office.

"He's not been here since three o'clock yesterday," said his stenographer.

"Out of town?" asked Jack.

"I wish I knew."

Jack called up Mr. Farnum's house and got his wife on the telephone. To his question she replied:

"I got a note last night not to worry if he was late getting home. But he has not come in yet," and her voice had a catch in it.

Jack and his chums were greatly worried. Had Melville played some trick on the boatbuilder?

"I'm going ashore," said Eph the next morning, as soon as he had eaten his breakfast in the submarine cabin.

"For anything especial?" asked Jack.

"First, I want to know if anything's yet known of Mr. Farnum. Then, you know that Don Melville's in town. Why? His father's left and all the pounding workmen at his fake yard are gone, too. Something needs explaining."

"He's trying to find out whom he can bribe into saying we set fire to the yard," said Hal bitterly.

"Oh, on second thought Melville would conclude that would be too risky to do," observed Jack.

"Maybe-maybe not. I'm going over to look about and listen."

In less than an hour Eph Somers, agog with excitement, was back on the

"Pollard."

"Say, fellows, that Potter fellow that got into Mr. Pollard's room and stole the papers broke jail last night. Now we know what Don Melville was here for! He had a hand in that!"

So far, the young fellow had refused to talk.

"Bribed by the Melvilles," Hal had declared. "But they'll find that expensive, for he'll continue to bleed them, now he knows how."

Jack, who usually reserved judgment until he knew some facts on which to build, was inclined this time to agree with Eph, and Hal was certain that Somers was right.

"It would be to their advantage to have Potter disappear before they begin their dirty work against Mr. Farnum," Hal insisted.

"I telephoned to Mrs. Farnum and she reports 'nothing new,'" continued

Eph. "It's queer."

Just then the boys heard a hail and saw David Pollard, bag and brief case in hand, on the shore signaling to them.

"Where's Farnum?" he asked as soon as he was on the submarine.

"We'd, any of us, give six months' salary to know that, Mr. Pollard," said Jack, and went on to tell what had been taking place.

"That spells ruin for us," groaned the inventor, who knew how things stood financially.

"Do you think, Mr. Pollard, that we'd better suggest to Mrs. Farnum to put a detective on her husband's trail?" asked Eph.

"That trail would probably lead straight through the Melvilles," said

Hal bitterly.

"No, don't do that-yet," replied Pollard.

"Mr. Farnum may be away on legitimate business," added Jack slowly.

Hal and Jack rowed Mr. Pollard ashore. After bidding the inventor good-bye, the two youths decided to go to the shipyard. As they were about to enter the office they were accosted by a man who was coming out. He asked them if they were in Mr. Farnum's employ.

"Yes, sir," Jack answered.

"Can you tell me where he is? The office force could give me no information."

"Mr. Farnum is away at present," said Jack.

"I know that! Where is he?"

"Why should I tell a stranger about my employer's business?" asked Jack sharply.

"Here's my card." The man was a Mr. Stevenson, the head of a firm of ship's steel jobbers. "Here's a bill for twenty-five thousand dollars, and Farnum seems to have disappeared. I can sell this at face value, but I don't want to."

"Give Mr. Farnum a chance, Mr. Stevenson," pleaded Jack. "We can guess who is willing to buy that bill from you-for a bonus. The man will be as eager to buy next week as this."

The man looked shrewdly into the eyes of the two boys for a moment, then, with a shrug of his shoulders, turned away, saying:

"I guess this can wait awhile."

The boys, after a brief call in the office, went on to town. Mr.

Melville was fond of horses, and still drove a handsome pair.

"There comes Don Melville in his father's carriage. I don't wonder they hang on to it. Those horses are beauties," remarked Hal.

The carriage stopped and Don jumped out.

"Say, you muckers, things are happening and you won't be needed now on the 'Pollard.'"

"Really?" drawled Jack indifferently.

Hal could not summon indifference, or the appearance of it. He said contemptuously:

"Having helped a deserving young man to escape from jail, you'll probably put him on the 'Pollard.'"

Don flushed angrily and turned to the coachman, a brutal looking fellow.

"Johnson, chastise the young puppy!"

Johnson jumped down and raised his whip.

"Give it to them both!" yelled Don.

Just then Grant Andrews, the foreman in the submarine shed, having come up in time to hear and see what was taking place, sprang between the boys and the coachman. He crashed his fist into the

man's face, and thus disposed of him, then grabbed the whip and brought it down on Don Melville's shoulders.

"Oh, you'll pay for this!" yelled Don.

"Then I may as well get the most out of it," retorted Andrews, and again brought down the whip, this time coiling it around Don's legs.

Don, seeing a grinning crowd about them and stinging with physical pain and humiliation, turned and sprang into the carriage. Johnson was already there, and they hurried away.

"Grant Andrews! Who would have thought it of you!" exclaimed Hal.

"Sorry I did it, boys?" and the flush on Andrews' face subsided and a grin came to his lips. He was usually an easy-going man, but when aroused he could act.

"We-ll, no," admitted Jack, while Hal laughed. "But come on; let's get out of this crowd."

It was several days after this affair that Mr. Pollard, who was on the submarine, got a message from Mr. Partridge, the superintendent of the yard. The message read:

"Mr. Partridge begs Mr Pollard to come to the office at once."

"I'll go, Jack. But I'm weary and may need support. Come with me, will you?"

On entering the outer office the two found the bookkeeper and the stenographer.

"Mr. Partridge is in the inner office with two men, Mr. Pollard," said the stenographer. "If you need me, I shall be right here."

Mr. Partridge was sitting at Mr. Farnum's unopened desk when the man and the boy entered. Mr. Melville and a man Jack soon learned was a lawyer were sitting facing him. Mr. Partridge rose and gave his chair to Mr. Pollard.

"Mr. Melville insisted on seeing me, Mr. Pollard, and I thought best to send for you," said the superintendent.

Without greeting the financier snapped out:

"Where is Farnum, Pollard?"

"Why do you wish to know?"

"I have a claim against him on an overdue bill."

"I didn't know that Mr. Farnum had any dealings with you," was the quiet reply.

"I bought this bill of Riley and Grannan for electrical supplies only recently. It is for a trifle over ten thousand dollars."

"Surely you believe Mr. Farnum is good for that amount?" queried the inventor softly.

"I'm sorry to say that I do not."

"Then why on earth did you buy the bill?"

The capitalist flushed, but said frankly:

"I expect before the day is over to be the owner of other claims against this business."

"In order to wreck us and take the business?"

"Wreck you? Yes. That is good business. But, Mr. Pollard, we will make it well worth your while to stay with the new owners." He was well aware that the inventor might be on the verge of new inventions that would outdate the "Pollard," and he wanted to keep anything new for himself.

"Nothing would induce me to stay on if Mr. Farnum were forced out, Mr.

Melville."

"What's that? Forced out?"

The voice came from the doorway, the door having been noiselessly opened, and Jacob Farnum stood at the entrance.

Melville and the lawyer turned in their seats and the others sprang to their feet.

"Oh, it's you, is it, Melville? What can I do for you?" asked the boatbuilder.

"You can settle for this claim, Farnum," and the capitalist held out the paper.

"Very well. I will write you a check at once. The banks are closed for the day now, but I will deposit the money the first thing in the morning. Until I do that, I have not enough in bank to cover this," and he looked at the paper. "By the way," and he turned to his employees and to the inventor, ignoring the two outsiders, "the Navy Department has accepted the 'Pollard.' I've sold her for one hundred and sixty-five thousand dollars. Have you any more assigned claims against me, Mr. Melville?" he drawled, again facing the capitalist.

"No," snapped the man. He had paid a thousand dollar bonus to get the one he had; and was feeling sick over the outcome.

Just then the door opened and the stenographer showed Broughton Emerson into the room.

"I see you answered my telegram in person, Mr. Emerson," said Farnum, rising from the chair he had taken and shaking hands.

"Yes, I came in person, and quite prepared to furnish the capital you need after the preliminaries are arranged."

George Melville rose and after a brief nod of farewell made for the door, followed by his lawyer. Jack opened the door quietly, then shut it just as softly.

Broughton Emerson invested heavily in Mr. Farnum's yard and the business was incorporated, Mr. Farnum and Mr. Pollard retaining control. The owners praised highly the three boys for the way they had handled the "Pollard" on its trial trip, saying that this was a factor in the Navy's acceptance of the submarine. They also gave the three boys one thousand dollars each and ten shares apiece in the new corporation.

George Melville had spent more than thirty thousand dollars in trying to get hold of Mr. Farnum's business. This, of course, was a total loss. Soon after this, in trying to get control of a railroad by his underhand methods, he lost all of his fortune and had to accept a small clerkship in order to make a living. Don, at the same time, became steward on the yacht of one of his father's old-time acquaintances.

Jacob Farnum had been in Washington, a fact his wife had known after the first day of his absence. He had been secretive about the matter, as he wished if possible to keep George Melville in ignorance of his whereabouts until his business was settled.

Not even with the transfer of the "Pollard" to the Government did the life of the submarine boys aboard their pet boat cease. Some further adventures of these boys are told of in a volume entitled: "The Submarine Boys and the Middies; or, The Prize Detail at Annapolis."

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