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bottom for it—and he remem- and one of the sub-lieutenants bered that they had anchored -Bolitho, a sterling, honest, in twelve fathoms of water. good fellow, with a very high And he got it, without even sense of honour-agreed to act sighting the bottom; but on as referee. The same evening, the way up he sighted some when the officers were bathing, thing else-daylight on the other the two boys dived in together side of the ship. That was

was from the gangway, Bolitho, the way to euchre that bilge with a stop-watch, taking up keel ; go well down below the his position on the top platform bottom of the ship for the of the accommodation ladder. swim across and keep on until they disappeared under water, you saw daylight, and keep in and nothing was seen of either it till you were past the beastly of them for just 1 minute thing. He would try it at 351 seconds, when Woodward's once.

head popped up blowing like a So as soon as he reached the grampus. surface with that egg he climbed " Where's Sartoris ? he deup on to the accommodation manded as soon as he could ladder and recovered his breath, speak. taking in a good supply of “Not up yet,” [replied the air for the dive, and then slid referee. down and sank like a stone And the hand of the stoptill he had got past the first watch went round the dial once, bilge keel, then, swimming dia- and again three-quarters of a gonally downwards, he got deep revolution before the other comenough to see the far side of petitor, Sartoris, came slowly the ship on what one might and quietly to the surface. call the sky-line. He was then “ Where's Woodward ? he safe and could complete the cried at once. swim across without danger of Here I am,” said the latter collision with


hidden from the foot of the accomdanger, as all were outlined modation ladder, where he was against the light.

sitting. “Where the dickens It was some days later before have you been ? he let it be known that he “I've been balancing myself had accomplished this feat, under the keel to keep me down. though he practised it each It's a much better trick than morning and evening. It yours. I saw you make straight happened that he got into an for the ladder and get underargument with another small neath it, and I'll take my oath midshipman - Woodward by you had your head out of name—as to which of them water there, hidden by the could remain under water the bottom platform. It's an old longer. The argument leading trick, that,” remarked Sartoris, to no result, it was arranged treading water. that they should have a trial, “Come up here, both of

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you," ordered Bolitho. "Now," (There

chorus of he continued, when they had Oh-h-h” from the assembled both complied, “Woodward, mids, totally ignored by Bowere you cheating?"

litho.) “Did you really dive Well,” replied that young under the ship's bottom ? gentleman shamefacedly, "yes, I really did. I've done it I suppose I was. I got under seven-no, eight-times in the the ladder and caught hold of last three days." the platform to keep me under You are a secretive beggar, water, and stopped there as exclaimed Woodward. long as I could before I had “I'll tell you what,” said to bring my head up, and then, Bolitho in his most judicial after a bit, I dived again and manner. “ If Sartoris will do swam out under water be- it again, so that we can all see fore coming to the surface it, I will say nothing further again.”

about that cobbing. Though “ Very nice indeed, upon my I must say I think both of you word !” said Bolitho. We'll ought to go over the gun-room talk about this later. But you, table.' - Sartoris, you were 3 minutes “All right," replied Sartoris. 21 seconds under water ! How Just give me time to get my on earth did you do it! I wind properly. But I'm going never heard of such a thing." farther forrard to do it, so

Oh,” replied Sartoris coolly, that you won't imagine I swum “I was skrimpshanking too, round the stern." only I got under the other Elaborate precautions were ladder.

taken to ensure that there What other ladder ?

should be no fraud. Mid" The other side-starboard shipmen were placed in the side.”

water as sentries, on both sides Nonsense ! How did you of the ship, with orders to

dive and watch the performer “ Under the ship and up the as he went down the port side, other side. Then I got my and to meet him as he came up wind and came back by the again on the starboard side, same road,” explained Sartoris. and others were stationed under

“ Then you were both cheat- each ladder, and under the ing!” cried the Sub.

“ We'll stern. have to have a court-martial All being ready, the “Fair to-night over this. But I want Artiste," as the Sub called him, to hear some more about your dived gracefully overboard from

It sounds a the port ladder and swam slowly bit fishy."

forward until he arrived abreast “I reserve my defence, Mr of the mainmast, where, after President of the Court. But a brief period of preparation, I assure you I saw no fish,” he sank quietly and unobtru“No, this , this is

unofficial.” sively from sight, accompanied

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get there ?"

yarn, Sartoris.

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at a respectful distance by was afraid of letting out what three others.

little brain he had should he “They're off," was the bump his head against anychorused cry, as the mob of thing hard. gun-room officers, in the lightest Sartoris, however, was of costumes, fled across the troubled with grave misgivsacred quarter-deck to see him ings, and assured his messreappear the other side. And mates that he greatly doubted half a minute later they broke his ability to compete with into yells of delight when the so celebrated a submarine perboy's head broke water about former. But they insisted, and thirty yards from the ship. put all their money on him. There could be no doubt, even The match came off at one without the evidence of the of the islands of the Grecian sentries, that he had done the Archipelago at which the fleet dive fairly, for there had not was then lying. A shelving been time for him to have gone sandy beach was selected, runround either end of the ship. ning out into deep clear water. Still, Bolitho summoned the The gun-room of the Unfathomscouts to testify, and they all able came in one of her cutters, agreed that there had been no while the Flagship’s, being so possibility of trickery.

much more numerous, had to The fame of this exploit employ a pinnace. Detachspread quickly throughout the ments from other ships came fleet, and the Unfathomable's in whalers, gigs, and skiffs, and gun-room urged their champion the chaplain of the Argus, a to try and rival Sartoris' per- sporting and very popular parformance. But he had never son, came as um pire and judge. attempted to dive even under He brought with him a lot of his own much smaller vessel, shining tin plates for the conand when officially challenged testants to dive for. These by the Flagship to come and young gentlemen, arrayed in repeat the dive or surrender bathing drawers and boat his championship, he declined cloaks, sat in the stern sheets to do either. Instead, he issued of their respective boats. a cross challenge for a com- It was agreed to begin at petition in deep diving, without 5 fathoms, and to increase the the assistance of a ship to depth by half a fathom each knock their heads against. time until one or other dropped

This was enthusiastically ac- out; each competitor to be cepted by the Flagship's gun- allowed three tries at each room, accompanied by some depth, if necessary. The umtaunts as to the reasons for pire's boat carried å hand lead the challenger's disinclination and line, with which to measure to undertake, or even attempt, the depth. what Sartoris had done. It At 5,5), and 6 fathoms both was, indeed, suggested that he boys brought up their plates

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at their first try. At 61 Sar. What's the depth ?” he added, toris dropped his half-way up, to the leadsman. and had to have another shot. “And a 'arf four, sir," reAt 7 fathoms both got them at plied the man. once, and at 71 both missed, Good gracious! We must the sun having gone behind a have drifted; we ought to be cloud, with the result that they in nine fathoms," exclaimed could not see the plates. Wait- the parson.

"Pull out again. ing for the sun to reappear, I must be more careful about they both got them at the the depth." secord try. From 8 and 8} They were

in nine fathoms the plates came up fathoms again. Another plate without a miss.

was thrown in, and again JackThe 9 fathoms test was in- son missed it. teresting. Jackson, the Un- Loud applause followed from fathomable's candidate, paused the Flagship's party, and they half-way down and came to the claimed the match. The umpire surface. He had cramp in a demurred. leg, but would not give up. “ But Jackson has missed it Volunteers among his mess- three times at nine fathoms, mates rubbed and massaged sir,” said Bolitho. the offending limb for him, No,” replied the parson. and he soon declared himself “I cannot penalise him for my once more ready for the fray, fault. I allowed him to go down and down he went for a second where there was no plate. Anytry.

how, as umpire, I declare that To the consternation of his he must have another try. It's backers, Jackson returned to only fair." the surface without a plate. So Jackson had another try, He said he could not find it. and this time he succeeded,

' Why, there it is,” chorused as did both of them at nine and the Flagship's pinnace load, a half fathoms. pointing to something glisten- Ten fathoms saw the finish ing on the bottom.

of the match. As a matter of “That's what I thought, fact, nobody had any idea replied Jackson, “but it's an that either of the boys could oyster - shell or something. have done as much as they There's no plate there.”

had, and it was the general “ Let's have a look,” said opinion that one or both of the umpire, producing a water- them would fail at this depth. glass and peering through it It was a tremendous feat to

a at the object. Yes, Jackson get down at all in sixty feet is right, it's an oyster-shell. of water, and none of the But where's the plate? Did spectators would have dreamed you bring up two, Sartoris? of attempting it. NO? Well, number 8 should There was a general hush of be down there somewhere. expectancy as the two boys


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plunged together, all eyes being was watched breathlessly. fixed upon them as they swam Never had there been so thrilldown, down towards those little ing a contest in the Meditershining spots so far beneath ranean Fleet. them, but all they could see The boys were seen, as before, was the flashing movements of to reach the bottom, Jackson four white legs; they then saw this time a fraction of time the two bodies lengthen out ahead. They turned, and as as they became horizontal, and they rose it was seen that no then two dark heads flying up shining plates remained on the towards them. They broke sandy bottom. They had both water almost simultaneously. succeeded again. But no plates ! Both had А hand appeared above failed!

water, brandishing a tin plate, “I just touched mine,” ex- and a head followed it an plained Sartoris, during the instant later. It was Jackson. rest for breath, “but I couldn't Sartoris followed in a couple of stop any longer. It's silly, seconds, but, as he reached for I'm certain I've been a lot the surface, he turned and deeper than that. I was afraid dived again, returning at once Jackson was going to get there without his plate. He had lost first, and I got a bit flurried.” the match !

Again they descended, and He had dropped his plate again both came up plateless. just before emerging, had at It was obvious that they were once followed it, but had not getting “done,” for it was sufficient breath left to retrieve most fatiguing work. The it, though he had actually parson suggested that they post- touched it. pone the rest of the match until Oh, hard lines ! Damned the following day, but he was hard lines !

the shout overruled by public opinion, that went up from every throat. which was unanimous for con- And it was said that even the tinuing, the contestants them- parson joined in it. selves declaring that they were Poor Sartoris had a bad time willing to go on if their backers of it that evening from those wanted them to.

in the Flagship's gun-room who They had a good long rest had lost their money—and there this time and the tiniest nip were few who had not put of brandy-produced by the something on the boy-and parson.

This reinvigorated resented it, though there were them considerably, and they many who bore him no illboth felt fit for anything when feeling, and only condoled with they prepared to dive again. him. Still, the epithets“ butter The interest of the onlookers, fingers," " clumsy ass, “awktoo, was unabated as the pro- ward brat,” &c., flew about him, tagonists once

once more plunged and one fellow who had put in, and their every movement and lost his little all on Sartoris


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