E-text prepared by Jim Ludwig
Note: This is book six of eight of the Submarine Boys Series.
THE SUBMARINE BOYS FOR THE FLAG
Deeding Their Lives to Uncle Sam
VICTOR G. DURHAM
I. "Do You Speak German?"
II. "French Spoken Here"
III. The Man Who Marked Charts
IV. Jack's Queer Lot of Loot
V. Sighting the Enemy
VI. Flank Movement and Rear Attack
VII. A Lesson in Security and Information
VIII. Eph Feels Like Thirty Tacks
IX. Jack Plays with a Volcano
X. "Mr. Grey" Makes New Trouble
XI. Facing the Secretary of the Navy
XII. Navy Officers for an Hour or a Day
XIII. Commander of a U.S. Gunboat!
XIV. The Bow Gun Booms and Eph Puts Off
XV. "The Right Boat and the Right Crew!"
XVI. The Duel Through the Door
XVII. The Last Hour of Command
XVIII. Eph Bets an Anchor Against a Fish-Hook
XIX. Jack's Caller at the United Service Club
XX. The Girl in the Car
XXI. Daisy Huston Decides for the Flag
XXII. The Part of Abercrombie R.N.
XXIII. "Foreign Trade" Becomes Brisk
XXIV. Their Lives Deeded to the Flag
"DO YOU SPEAK GERMAN?"
"Hey, there, Mister!" called out Jabez Holt, from one of the two office
windows in the little hotel at Dunhaven.
As there was only one other man in the office, that other man guessed that
he might be the one addressed.
With a slight German accent the stranger, who was well-dressed, and
looked like a prosperous as well as an educated man, turned and demanded:
"You are calling me?"
"I reckon," nodded Jabez.
"Then my name is Herr Professor - "
"Hair professor?" repeated Jabez Holt, a bit of astonishment showing in
his wrinkled old face. "Hair professor? Barber, eh? Why, I thought you
was a traveler. But hurry up over here - do you hear me?"
"My good man," began the German, stiffly, drawing himself up to his full
six-foot-one, "it is not often I am affronted by being addressed so - "
"There! He'll be outer sight in another minute, while you are arguin'
about your dignity!" muttered Holt. "And that's the feller you said you
wanted to see - Jack Benson."
"Benson?" cried the German, forgetting his outraged dignity and springing
"That's him - almost up to the corner," nodded Landlord Jabez Holt.
"Run out and bring him back with you," directed Herr Professor Radberg.
"Waal, I guess you're spryer'n I be," returned old Jabez, with a shrewd
look at his guest. "Besides, it's you that wants the boy."
Running back and snatching up his hat, Professor Radberg made for the
street without further argument.
Moving along hastily, the German soon came in sight of young Captain Jack
Benson, of the Pollard Submarine Torpedo Boat Company.
"Ach, there! Herr Benson!" shouted the Professor.
Hearing the hail, Jack Benson turned, then halted.
"You are Herr Benson, are you not?" demanded Professor Radberg, as soon
as he got close enough.
"Benson is my name," nodded Jack, pleasantly.
"Then come back to the hotel with me."
"You are a foreigner, aren't you?" asked Jack, surveying the stranger
"I am German," replied Radberg, in a tone of surprise.
"I thought so," nodded the boy. "That is, I didn't know from what
country you came. But, in this country, when we ask a favor of a
stranger, we usually say 'please.'"
"I am Herr Professor - "
"Oh, barbers are just as polite as other folks," Jack assured him, his
laughing eyes resting on the somewhat bewildered-looking face of the
"Then please, Herr Benson, come back to the hotel with me."
"Yes; if it's really necessary. But why do you want to go to the
"Because, Herr Benson, when we are there, I shall have much of importance
to say to you."
"Important to me, or to you?" asked Jack, thoughtfully.
He had no intention of answering a much older man disrespectfully. But
there was about Herr Radberg the air of a man who expects his greatness
to be recognized at a glance, and who demands obedience from common
people as a right. This sort of thing didn't fit well with the
"Oh, it is important to you, and very much so," urged the Professor,
somewhat more anxiously. "Besides," added the German, with a now
really engaging smile, "I have met your demand, Herr Benson, and have
"Then I suppose I'll have to meet your demand," nodded Jack,
good-humoredly. "Lead the way, sir."
"Ach! You may walk at my side," permitted the German.
It all seemed a bit strange, but Captain Jack Benson had been through
more strange experiences than had most Americans of twice or thrice his
age. Besides, as he walked beside Herr Professor Radberg Jack imagined
that he had guessed at least an inkling of the other's business. The
German had announced himself as a professor; probably, therefore, he was
a scientist. Being a scientist, the Professor had very likely invented,
or nearly invented something intended for use in connection with
submarine torpedo boats, and wanted to interest the concern by which the
young submarine skipper was employed. Though this guess was a
reasonable one, it soon turned out to be the wrong one. The Professor's
real reason for seeking this interview was one that was bound to take
the submarine boy almost off his feet.
Readers of the preceding volumes in this series need no introduction to
Captain Jack Benson, nor to his chums, Hal Hastings and Eph Somers.
Such readers recall, as told in "_The Submarine Boys on Duty_," how
Jack and Hal drifted into Dunhaven just at the right moment to fight for
an opportunity to work themselves into the submarine boat building
business. How the boys helped build the first of the now famous Pollard
submarines, and afterwards learned how to man her, was all told, together
with all their strange adventures in their new life.
In the "_The Submarine Boys' Trial Trip_" was related how Jack Benson
solved the problem of leaving a submarine boat when it lay on the
ocean's bottom, and also the trick of entering that submerged boat
again, after diving from the surface of the water. The attempt of
shrewd business men to secure control of the new submarine boat company
was also described, together with the manner in which the submarine
boys outwitted them. Through a successful trial trip, and Captain
Jack's ingenious ways of arousing public interest, the government was
forced to buy the "Pollard," as the first of the submarines was named.
In "_The Submarine Boys and the Middies_" was narrated how the submarine
boys secured the prize detail of going to the Naval Academy at Annapolis
as temporary instructors in submarine boating. Many startling adventures,
and some humorous ones, were related in that volume.
Then in "_The Submarine Boys and the Spies_" was shown how the young men
successfully foiled the efforts of spies of foreign governments to learn
the secrets of the Pollard craft.
In "The Submarine Boys' Lightning Cruise" the adventures of these clever,
enterprising boys were carried further. In this book, was told how the
boys were trained in the handling of the actual torpedo of, warfare. The
Pollard boats, "Benson" and "Hastings" were entered in official
government tests in which the submarine craft of several other makes
competed. The desperate lengths to which the nearest rival of the
Pollards went in order to win were told with startling accuracy. The
result of all these tests was that the Pollard company received from
the Navy Department an order for eighteen submarine torpedo boats, the
"Benson" and the "Hastings" being accepted as the first two boats on
By the time the present narrative opens it was near the first of May.
Over at the shipyard, where facilities had been greatly increased, two
of the submarines had lately been finished, and four more were under way
in long construction sheds. Work on the government's order was being
rushed as fast as could be done while keeping up the Pollard standards,
of high-class work.
Of late Jack and his young friends, though their pay went on, had little
work to do. Whenever a new boat was completed it was the task of the
submarine boys to take her out to sea and put her through all manner of
tests in order to determine her fitness. But there were days and days
when the submarine boys had naught to do but enjoy themselves as their
"Shall we sit down here?" asked Jack, as he and the tall German entered
the hotel office.
Jabez Holt stood behind the desk, bent over the register, on which the
Professor's name had been the only new one in a week. The old landlord
pretended to be busy, but he was covertly watching and listening.
"Sit here?" repeated Professor Radberg. "Ach, no! Come along with me."
There was something rather disagreeably commanding in the German's
invitation, but Jack merely smiled quietly as he followed in the
stranger's wake. Up the stairs they went. The Professor unlocked a
door, admitting himself and his guest to the outer of a suite of two
rooms. Once they were inside Radberg locked the door behind them.
"Come to the other room, Herr Benson," directed the Professor. The door
of this inner room the German also locked, remarking:
"Now, if the man, Holt, chooses to follow and listen, he can hear
"All this sounds mighty mysterious," laughed Jack Benson, good-humoredly.
However, the submarine boy went and stood by a chair near the window and
then waited until he saw that the stranger was about to seat himself.
"Now," asked Jack, stretching his legs, "what's the business about? I
haven't a whole lot of time to-day."
"Listen, and you shall hear, as soon as I am ready," came, stiffly, from
the stranger. "You are a boy, and I am Herr Professor - "
"Oh, you told me all about being a hair professor before," smiled Jack.
"Now, see here. Whether you're really a barber, or whether you're just
amusing yourself with me, we want to have one thing understood. I came
here, sir, as a matter of courtesy to you, and you will have to treat
me with just as much courtesy. Otherwise, I shall wish you
This was said with a flash of the eye which warned Radberg that, in his
rather overbearing way, he was going too for.
"Oh, my dear young friend," he replied, persuasively, "you don't
understand. In Germany I am - well, perhaps what you would call a
rather distinguished man. At least, my neighbors are good enough to
say so. And, in Germany, when a herr professor talks, others listen
"Just the same way with the hair professors in this country," chuckled
Jack. "When an American barber gets wound up and started, all a fellow
can do is to listen. It's no use trying to run away from a barber
anywhere, I guess. He has you strapped down to the chair."
"Barber?" repeated Professor Radberg, in disgust. "I don't understand
"Oh, it isn't necessary," laughed Jack. "It's a sort of Yankee joke.
And I beg your pardon, Professor, if I am wasting your time. Now, go
ahead, please, and tell me why you invited me here."
There was something of salt water breeziness and crispness about Jack's
speech that caused the German's brow to cloud for an instant. Then,
after a visible effort to compose himself, Radberg leaned forward
"Do you speak German?"
"No, sir." Jack shook his head.
"Ach, that is too bad!" muttered the German, in a voice suggesting
severe disapproval of one who hadn't mastered his own native tongue.
"However, you will soon learn."
"Yes; if there's a big enough prize goes with it," agreed Jack.
"Prize?" repeated Professor Radberg. "You will say so!"
Then, leaning forward once more, and speaking in his most impressive
voice, Herr Professor Radberg continued:
"Herr Benson, we are going to take you into the German Navy!"
The Professor now leaned back to watch the effect of his words.
"Are you going to do it when I'm awake?" asked Jack, curiously.
"Nein! I do not understand you."
"Are you going to take me in by force, or wait until you catch me
asleep?" questioned Captain Jack Benson.
"Ach! Do not be silly, boy!"
"I might say the same to you, Professor," replied Jack Benson,
composedly, "but we'll let it pass. How are you going to get me into
the German Navy, and what are you going to do with me after you get me
"How?" cried Professor Radberg. "Why we are going to pay you a very
handsome sum of money, and we are going to give you a most honorable
position in our imperial service. And - "
Here Professor Radberg leaned forward once more, lowering his voice
"There are three of you boys, all experts at the Pollard works. Well,
we are going to take all three of you into the German navy, and we will
do something very handsome for you all."
"The other fellows will be delighted when I tell 'em what's coming their
way," smiled Captain Jack.
"Ach! So? Of course."
"Now, what do you propose to do with us in your navy?" Jack went on.
"Are you going to make officers of us?"
"Officers?" repeated Herr Professor Radberg, slowly. "Well, no, Herr
Benson. We could not exactly do that. Our officers are, as you will
understand, very - what is your English word? - aristocratic. They
could not be quite persuaded to take American commoners as their brother
officers. That you would not expect, of course."
"Certainly not," young Benson agreed. If there was a slight tinge of
sarcasm in his it was lost on the German, whose brow cleared as he went
"No, no, my young friend; not officers. But you shall all three have
very honorable positions, and handsome sums of money to pay you for
entering our service. We in Germany know the rank which you young men
have won as submarine experts, and we shall not be niggardly, for we
have determined to have you in our service."
"I hope you'll pardon me," proposed young Benson. "There is just one
point that has been overlooked. You tell me that you are authorized
to come to Dunhaven and kidnap my friends and myself. But, really,
how do I know that you have such authority from your own side of the
Radberg looked a bit puzzled, for a moment. Then, as he seemed to
begin to comprehend, he replied, heavily:
"Herr Benson, I have already told you that I am Herr Professor - "
"Now, don't hang out the striped pole again, please," urged Jack, his
face as sober as that of a judge. "Come right down to the points of
the compass. How am I to know that you really do represent the
"Ach! I comprehend," nodded the German. "Of course you will understand
that, on an errand of this kind, I do not travel with too many papers.
But I shall take you and your two companions on to Washington to-morrow,
I think - "
"To-morrow ought to do as well as any time," replied Jack, ironically.
"Yes; I think it will be to-morrow," continued the German. "I shall
take you to our German Embassy, and one of our officials there will
prove to you that I have been acting with authority."
"That'll be right fine of him," agreed Jack, placidly.
"Ach! It is settled, then," replied the German, all but dismissing the
matter with a wave of his hand. "Yet you must bring your two comrades
here. They must understand just what is wanted of them. And now, Herr
Benson, do you wish to understand what is to be paid to you to transfer
your services to our German flag?"
"Why, yes; that will be mighty important - if we go under the German
"If you go?" repeated the Professor. "Why, that is all settled!"
"Then I must have missed something, by not watching you closely enough,"
murmured Jack. "I shall have to sit up straighter and keep my eyes
wider open. When was it all settled, sir?"
"Why, did you not tell me - "
"Haven't had a blessed chance to tell you anything," replied Jack,
looking astonished. "You've been doing all the telling."
"But you'll go with me, of course, to Washington?" uttered Radberg,
looking much taken aback.
"I doubt it," muttered young Benson, shaking his head. "In fact, sir,
I may as well tell you that it's waste of our time to carry this line
of talk any further."
"Ach! You are cunning," smiled Professor Radberg, no longer nonplussed.
"That is as it should be, too, for you are a clever young man, Herr
"A thousand thanks," murmured Captain Jack.
"But, instead of talk," pursued the German, "you wish to see some money.
Quite right! I should, were I in your place, Herr Benson. Well,
then - ach! Look at this."
Thrusting a fat hand down deep in a trousers pocket, Herr Professor
Radberg brought up into view a big roll of money. He held this up so
that the submarine boy could feast his eyes on it. Jack looked,
"Did you ever see anything like this - you, who are such a young boy?"
smiled the German, teasingly.
"I - I don't know, really," responded Jack, thoughtfully, thrusting a
hand down into his own trousers pocket. Young Benson brought up into
the light a very comfortable looking handful of banknotes, rolled and
surrounded by a broad elastic band. "Let's measure the two, Professor,
and see how they compare."
"Ach!" muttered the German, regarding Jack's money with some displeasure.
"Where did you get all that?"
"Oh, now, Professor!" cried the young submarine captain, reproachfully.
"I didn't ask you where you got yours!"
"Ach! This is all so much foolishness!" cried the German Professor,
returning his money to his pocket.
"That's what I think, too," agreed Jack, following suit. "It's what our
English cousins call 'bad form,' to go to comparing piles of money."
"Now, sit down, Herr Benson, and I will tell you what a very handsome
sum of money, and what excellent wages, the German government will pay
you to enter our imperial naval service."
"How much money is there in Germany?" interrupted the submarine boy,
"How much, in all Germany?" demanded the Professor. "Nein! How should
"You expect me, of course, to turn my back on this country for good, to
tell you Germans whatever I may know about submarine secrets, to drill
with your navy, and be prepared to fight in your navy if war comes?"
"Ach, yes! of course," replied Radberg. "Now, we are beginning to
understand one another."
"Professor," interrupted Captain Jack Benson, "we've had enough of
"Joking? I assure you - "
"Professor," once more broke in the submarine boy, "_I wouldn't sell out
my country's flag for all the money you ever saw!_"
For a few moments the Professor's face was a study in consternation.
Then he broke forth, angrily:
"Ach! You are a fool!"
"I guess so," nodded Jack, without resentment. "That's just the kind
of fools we Americans are generally."
Herr Radberg was a good enough reader of human faces to realize that,
at all events, there was no use in continuing the conversation at
"Very good," he growled. "You can go. I shall see your friends,
"When you get through with 'em you'll think they're idiots," grinned
Captain Jack Benson.
Herr Radberg wasn't a fool. Neither was he a rascal, expert in offering
bribes. Brought up within the wall's of a German university, he would
have been willing to lay down his life instantly for the good of the
Fatherland. Yet he couldn't understand that men of other nations could
be just as devoted to their own countries. From Herr Professor
Radberg's point of view Germany was the only country in the world that
was fitted to inspire a real and deep sense of patriotism.
"No harm done, Professor," said Jack, moving toward the door, and
turning the key to unlock it. "I'm sorry you had all the trouble and
expense of coming to Dunhaven on a useless errand. Good-bye!"
"Ach! You may go, but you will come back," scowled the other. "If
not, your comrades will, I hope, prove to be young men of better sense
"Oh, they'll listen to you," smiled Jack. "Good-bye!"
"I shall have two of you, anyway," were Radberg's last words before the
door of the outer room closed and Jack's footsteps sounded in the
"FRENCH SPOKEN HERE"
"Well, what do you think of that?"
It was Eph Somers who put the question, and the time was some fifteen
Captain Jack had met his two comrades up on the main street of the
village. He had told them, with a good deal of amusement, of his late
talk with the German.
Hal Hastings didn't say a word, but his eyes twinkled.
"I wouldn't have minded," laughed Jack, "but it was the Professor's
cock-sureness that I was to be Germany's oyster."
"Is he an old man?" asked Hal.
"Not very," Jack answered. "Perhaps not old enough to know better.
Anyway, if I were going to a foreign government, Germany would be about
the last country. Germany is our rival in building a large navy. About
every other month the experts in Germany sit down to figure whether they
are anything ahead of us in the tonnage of warships, and, if so, whether
there is any danger of our catching up with them. Now, unless the
Germans have a notion that they may need, to fight us one of these
days - "
"Oh, I don't believe anything of that sort," broke in Hal, shaking his
head. "I don't believe any country in the world is aching to pick a
quarrel with us."
"Not while the United States pocket-book is such a fat one, and so well
built for paying war expenses," grinned Eph. Then his look became more
solemn, as he added:
"But we don't want ever to get into a naval condition where it will be
easy for some other country to snatch that fat pocket-book out of our
"Let's go along, fellows. Drowning and confusion to all possible foes
afloat," proposed Hal, the one who could never see "war" on the horizon.
"After a winter on hot sodas, it'll be a relief to know that the
druggist put in icecream soda to-day."
So the three boys turned and made their way to the drugstore. While
they were exploring with spoons the bottoms of their glasses, the
street door opened. Herr Professor Radberg looked in, then came in,
beaming condescendingly on the young men.
"Ach! You young men are just the ones I wish to see," he exclaimed,
resting one hand on Eph's shoulder, the other on Hal's.
"Lots of folks will pay for that privilege," declared Eph, solemnly.
"Yes? Well, I will pay, too - you shall see. I shall look for you at
the hotel, in just one hour. One hour - remember."
"Have you a telescope?" inquired Eph, calmly.
"A telescope. Eh?" inquired the German. "What for?"
"You might need it in looking for us," Eph replied.
"Then, in one hour, I shall see you - at the hotel!"
"You'll be lucky, if you do," grinned Eph.
"Eh? I do not know that I understand," responded Herr Professor Radberg,
"If you're figuring on seeing us," Eph went on, gravely, "I'm afraid
you're in for bad news."
"Bad news? Ach! What do you mean, young man?"
"Just what I said," replied Eph.
Professor Radberg looked so puzzled that Hal Hastings broke in, quietly:
"Professor, unless I'm much in error, you want to see us about a
proposition that we enter the German naval service."
"Hush! Not so loud," warned Radberg, looking suspiciously around.
"There's nothing we have to keep quiet about," Hal went on. "You have
already spoken to our captain, Jack Benson, about this matter."
"And Jack has refused."
"Your captain is a fool!" cried the German.
"Then we serve a fool, because he's our captain," retorted Hal, quietly,
though there was a flash in his eyes.
"I shall look for you two at the hotel in one hour," declared the German,
"My friend, Mr. Somers, has already told you that you'll be using your
eyesight to poor advantage, then," Hal answered.
"What do you mean?"
"Why, I mean, Professor, that you can't possibly persuade us to go to
Germany and tell your people anything that we know about the Pollard
submarine boats, or any other type."
"But you shall be well paid!"
"Professor, what would be your price for selling out your country to the
United States?" asked Hal, gazing fixedly at the German.
"You insult me!" cried the German, his face growing red. "I am a
"Yet, you insult us by thinking that we would sell our country," went
on Hal, coolly.
"Are you two going to be as big fools as your captain?" demanded Herr
Professor Radberg, almost incredulously.
"Bigger!" promised Eph, with a grin.
"Ach! Well, we shall talk this all over when you come to the hotel in