Dave Fearless and the Cave of Mystery - Roy Rockwood - ebook

Dave Fearless and the Cave of Mystery ebook

Roy Rockwood

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No manly boy ever grows tired of sea stories – there is an irresistible fascination about them, and they are a recreation to the mind. A tale of being adrift on the Pacific Ocean, with Dave discovering a mysterious cave. Full of startling incident, clever dialogue, admirable descriptions of sky and water in all their aspects, and plenty of fun. Originally written for young men, this adventure tale is great reading for the whole family. The four-volume „Deep Sea” series was published in the 1900’s by Roy Rockwood. Roy Rockwood was a house pseudonym used by the Stratemeyer Syndicate for boy’s adventure books. Created by Edward Stratemeyer, the Stratemeyer Syndicate was the first book packager to have its books aimed at children, rather than adults.

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Liczba stron: 217

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Contents

I. SPLENDID FORTUNE

II. FOUL PLAY

III. MR. SCHMITT-SCHMITT

IV. A PAIR OF SCHEMERS

V. DOCTOR BARRELL'S "ACCIDENT"

VI. THE PILOT'S PLOT

VII. THE MYSTERIOUS JAR

VIII. OUTWITTING AN ENEMY

IX. A BOLD PROJECT

X. THE WOODED ISLAND

XI. A RACE FOR LIFE

XII. OVERBOARD

XIII. ADRIFT ON THE PACIFIC

XIV. STRANGE COMPANIONS

XV. A PERILOUS CRUISE

XVI. LANDED

XVII. A REMARKABLE SCENE

XVIII. THE OUTCAST'S SECRET

XIX. A DAY OF ADVENTURES

XX. ON BOARD THE "SWALLOW"

XXI. THE ISLAND HARBOR

XXII. THE HOUSE OF TEARS

XXIII. READY FOR ACTION

XXIV. IN THE ROYAL PALACE

XXV. THE CAPTIVES

XXVI. A THRILLING ADVENTURE

XXVII. THE POISONED DARTS

XXVIII. A WILD RIDE

XXIX. FOUND!

XXX. DISASTER

XXXI. A LUCKY FIND

XXXII. CONCLUSION

I. SPLENDID FORTUNE

“It’s gone! It’s gone!”

“What is gone, Dave?”

“The treasure, Bob.”

“But it was on board–in the boxes.”

“No–those boxes are filled with old iron and lead. We have been tricked, robbed! After all our trouble, hardship, and peril, I fear that the golden reward we counted on so grandly has slipped from our grasp.”

It was on the deck of the Swallow, moored in the harbor of a far-away Pacific Ocean tropical island, that Dave Fearless spoke. He had just rushed up from the cabin in a great state of excitement.

Below loud, anxious, and angry voices sounded. As one after another of the officers and sailors appeared on the deck, all of them looked pale and perturbed.

What might be called a terrific, an overwhelming discovery had just been made by Captain Paul Broadbeam and by Dave’s father, Amos Fearless, the veteran ocean diver.

For two weeks, after a hard battle with the sea and its monsters, after fighting savages and piratical enemies, the beautiful steamer, the Swallow, had plowed through sun-tipped waves, favored by gentle breezes, homeward-bound.

Every heart on board had been light and happy. Labeled and sealed on the sandy floor of the ballast room, lay four boxes believed to contain over half a million dollars in gold coin.

Legally this vast treasure belonged to Amos and Dave Fearless, father and son. To those who had aided and protected them, however, from Doctor Barrell, on board the Swallow to make deep-sea soundings and secure specimens of rare marine monsters for the United States Government, down to Bob Vilett, Dave’s chosen chum and the ambitious young assistant engineer of the vessel, every soul on board knew that when they reached San Francisco, the generous ocean diver and his son would make a most liberal division of the splendid fortune they had fished up in mid-ocean.

As said, the serenity of these fond hopes was now rudely blasted. Dave, rushing up on deck quite pale and agitated, had made the announcement that brought Bob to his feet with a shock.

They were two sturdy boys. The flavor of the briny deep was manifest in their bronzed faces, their attire, their clear bright eyes, and sinewy muscles. They had known hardship and peril such as make men resolute and brave. Although Dave was deeply distressed, determination rather than despair was indicated in the way in which he took the bad, bad news now being conveyed with lightning speed, mostly with depressing effect, all through the ship.

Bob Vilett steadied himself against a capstan and stared in silence at his chum. Dave’s hand grasped the bow rail with an iron grip, as if thereby seeking to relieve his tense feelings. His eyes were directed away from Bob, away from the ship, fixedly, almost sternly, scanning the ocean stretch that spread almost inimitably towards the west. It seemed as if mentally he was going back over the long course they had just pursued, never dreaming that they were carrying a ballast of worthless old junk instead of the royal fortune on which they had fondly counted.

“Well, all I’ve got to say,” observed Bob at length, with a great sigh, “is that it’s pretty tough.”

“I fancy,” responded Dave, in a set, thoughtful way, “it’s a case of three times and out. We fished it up–one. We’ve lost it–two. We must find it again–three. That’s all.”

“You’re dreaming!” vociferated Bob. “Say, Dave Fearless, you’re a genius and a worker, but if you mean that there is the least hope in the world in going back over a course of over a thousand miles hunting up men with a two weeks’ start of us–desperate men, too–scouring a trackless ocean for fellows who have to hide, and know how to do it, why, it’s–bosh!”

“Bob Vilett,” said Dave, with set lip and unflinching eye, “we are only boys, but we have tried to act like men, and Captain Broadbeam respects us for it. We have his confidence. He is old, not much of a thinker, but brave as a lion and ready for any honest, logical suggestion. Here’s a dilemma, a big one. You and I–young, quick, ardent–we must think for him. We have been robbed. We must catch the thieves. We must recover that treasure. Where’s the best and surest, and the quickest way to do it? Put on your thinking-cap, Bob, and try and do some of the hardest brain work of your life.”

“Hold on–where are you going?” demanded Bob, as his chum went away over into a remote corner of the bow and sat down on an isolated water barrel.

But Dave only waved his hand peremptorily, almost irritably, at Bob. His chum knew that it would be useless to renew the conversation just now. He had seen Dave in just such a mood on other occasions–it was when affairs were going wrong and needed straightening out.

“All right,” murmured Bob resignedly, moving over to where some glum-faced sailors were discussing the disappointment of the hour in a group. “It won’t hurt any of us to have Dave Fearless do some of that tall thinking of his. Oh, dear! All that money gone. And after all we went through to get it!”

Meanwhile Dave Fearless sat posed like a statue. His gaze was fixed beyond the little inlet where the Swallow was moored, straight across the unbroken ocean stretch. His thoughts just then, however, were not fixed on the west, but rather on the east. A vivid panorama of his stirring adventures of the past few months seemed spread out to his mental eye. They went back to the start of what the present moment seemed to be the finish.

Dave’s home was at Quanatack, along the coast of Long Island Sound. There for many years his father had been an expert master diver, and Dave himself, reared beside the sea and loving it, had done service as a lighthouse assistant.

In the first volume of the present series, entitled “The Rival Ocean Divers,” it was told how they one day learned that they were direct heirs of the Washington family, who twenty years previous had acquired a fortune of nearly a million dollars in China. This, all in gold coin, had been shipped in the Happy Hour for San Francisco. A storm overtook the vessel, which sunk in two miles of water in mid-ocean with the treasure aboard.

Amos Fearless secured a chart showing the exact location of the wreck. Unfortunately two distant relatives, a miserly trickster named Lem Hankers and his worthless son, Bart, learned of the sunken treasure, too. They proceeded to San Francisco and were joined by a rascally partner named Pete Rackley. The trio chartered from a wrecking company the Raven, Captain Nesik in command, and engaged a professional diver named Cal Vixen.

The Fearlesses, learning of this, hastened their plans. An old friend of the diver, Captain Broadbeam, was just then starting out with the Swallow, to convey a well-known scientist from Washington to mid-ocean. The Swallow was equipped with the finest diving bells and apparatus for capturing and preserving rare monsters of the deep. Broadbeam agreed to incidentally assist Amos Fearless in the search for the sunken treasure.

The rival divers located this at about the same time. Thrilling experiences followed, terrific battles with submarine monsters, hair-breadth perils on the ocean bed. The Hankers and their diver after several efforts gave up the quest. Dave and his father stuck at it until one day they located the hull of the Happy Hour. Bag after bag of gold they stored in their Costell diving bell, until all the treasure was conveyed safely to the hold of the Swallow. Then they set sail for home.

Pete Rackley had managed to secrete himself aboard. He disabled the machinery of the Swallow. This was the starting-point of a new series of adventures as related in our second volume, “The Cruise of the Treasure Ship.”

It now became plot and warfare on the part of the disgruntled Hankers and their friends. The result was that one dark and foggy night the schemers succeeded in stealing aboard of the Swallow. Captain Broadbeam, Bob Vilett, Doctor Barrell, and the Fearlesses were put ashore on a lonely island, and the Raven steamed away with the captured convoy.

A sixth person was also marooned. This was one Pat Stoodles, a whimsical Irishman, who had been previously rescued by the Swallow from this same island, where for several years he had been the king of its savage inhabitants.

“The Cruise of the Treasure Ship” has told graphically of the many adventures of the marooned. Stoodles reassumed his kingship temporarily and helped his friends out of many a sore dilemma. A cyclone and an earthquake drove all hands to a neighboring island. Finally Dave and Bob discovered the Swallow, somewhat dismantled, lying off the coast of the island. They boarded her to find Mr. Drake, the boatswain, Mike Conners, the cook, and Ben Adams, the engineer, handcuffed in the cabin. These men had refused to navigate the Swallow for Captain Nesik. They told how the cyclone had parted the two vessels and the Swallow had been driven to her present isolated moorings. They told also of the four boxes into which they had seen the Hankers place the sunken treasure.

For a second time, believing their enemies and the Raven lost in the storm, the Fearless party started homeward. Incidentally they had enabled a worthy young fellow named Henry Dale to earn a large sum by towing with them a lost derelict ship. This they had turned over to an ocean liner they met. Then, the Swallow needing some repairs, they had headed for Minotaur Island, their present port of moorage.

This island had originally belonged to the government of Chili. Just now, however, it was claimed by Peru, and was also in a certain state of rebellion. The governor was a miserly and tricky individual, and had demanded a large sum from Captain Broadbeam before he would let him moor the Swallow.

He sent out as pilot a wretched, drunken fellow, who ran the Swallow into an obscure creek where she struck some obstacle, tearing a hole in her hull.

Thus disabled, Captain Broadbeam found it necessary to shift the various articles in the hold. The four sealed boxes were removed, and Amos Fearless naturally suggested that they take a look at their golden fortune.

Ten minutes later the startling discovery was made which has been recorded in the opening lines of the present chapter–

The great Washington fortune was not, as had all along been supposed, aboard of the Swallow.

II. FOUL PLAY

Captain Paul Broadbeam came up on deck, his face red as a peony, his brow dark as a thundercloud.

He was manifestly irritated. In his great foghorn bass voice he gave out a dozen quick orders. His evident intention was to break up the little groups discussing the happening of the hour.

“Avast there!” he roared to a special set of four seamen they had taken on at Mercury Island a week previous. “No mutinous confabs allowed here. If you expected something never promised, that’s your lookout. Those that can’t be satisfied with plain square wages can take their kits ashore.”

Amos Fearless had followed the captain from the cabin. The veteran ocean diver looked greatly disappointed and distressed. He made out Dave and went over to where he sat.

“Well, my son,” he said, disturbing Dave’s deep reverie by placing a trembling hand on his shoulder, “this is a bad piece of news.”

“Yes, father,” replied Dave gravely.

“We’ve been big fools,” continued Amos Fearless, with a sigh and a dejected shake of his head. “Might better have kept to our sure pay back at Quanatack. We are only humble folk, Dave, and should have been satisfied with our lot. Might have known million-dollar fortunes don’t come falling on such as we, except in story-books.”

“Wrong, father!” said Dave sharply. “I don’t look at it that way at all. We are the legal Washington heirs, and had a right to expect what was our due. It was a clear-cut, honest piece of business.”

“Well, it’s turned out worse than nothing for us.”

“I don’t see that, either,” observed Dave. “We went at the matter right. We located the sunken treasure. Someone has stolen it. Surely, father, you don’t mean to tell me that you will fold your hands meekly and make no effort to recover the fortune we have worked so hard for? Why, father,” declared Dave, with spirit, “all we may have to go through can’t begin to be as difficult and dangerous as what we have already accomplished. It looks simple and plain to me–our duty.”

“Does it now?” murmured the old diver in a thoughtful way.

“Yes. Someone stole that treasure, and of course it was the Hankers and Captain Nesik and that crew of rascals. Well, father, they can’t spend it on a desert island in mid-ocean, can they?”

“Why, I suppose not,” said the diver.

“Certainly not. They will try to get back to civilization. Now I have been thinking out the whole matter. Mr. Drake, our boatswain, saw the Hankers make a great show of putting the gold into the four wooden boxes. Now we find out that this was just a pretense to deceive the crew of the Raven. Later, of course, they secretly removed it. To where, father? To the Raven? If so, they ran into a bad predicament. From what the Island Windjammers told Pat Stoodles the last they saw of the Raven she was scudding along in the cyclone, completely disabled. If she stranded, of course they hurried out the treasure before she sank. Then it is hidden somewhere among those islands where we had our hard fight for existence. The survivors are either waiting there hoping some ship will stray their way, or they fixed up the Raven and are making for the South American coast.”

“That’s a pretty long talk, but a sensible one, Dave,” said the old diver, brightening up a good deal. “Go ahead, my son–supposing all this?”

“Yes, father,” said Dave, “supposing all this.”

“Well, what then?”

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