Then, as the pirates disregarded this and still came on, he ordered them again to fall back.
"Don't forget the bombs!" he cried.
There are few men who will advance into the face of certain death.
These pirates were not of these few. A quarter of a mile away to either side, it was impossible for Jack or Captain Glenn or their men to render a.s.sistance; and now the other pirates turned again and took to their heels.
So Captain Jack was left alone to face the oncoming Germans.
First Captain Jack took time to glance at his watch. The hands pointed to 12:25.
"I would like to live five minutes yet," he muttered.
He discarded his now empty rifle and produced his pair of automatics.
The Germans, seeing but one man opposing their path, rushed forward to make him a prisoner.
"Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack!"
Both of Captain Jack's revolvers were flashing fire.
"Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack!" they spoke again.
And so until each weapon had been emptied of ten shots. Captain Jack hurled his useless weapons in the very faces of his foes and again produced his watch.
The hands showed 12:30.
"Time!" said Captain Jack, and at that moment a German bullet laid him low.
But Captain Jack was not dead. He raised his head and listened; and then what he waited for came.
There was a terrible rumble and roar, followed by two ear-splitting blasts. These were quickly succeeded by others. The ground rocked and swayed. Men, huge wooden buildings, steel and iron within the German lines went sailing high in the air, to come down for miles around.
Terrible screams and groans and curses shattered the night, quickly followed by more detonations somewhat m.u.f.fled, as the mines dropped from the pirate submarine exploded beneath the water.
The waves were lashed into a frenzy. The ground trembled for long minutes and seemed on the point of dropping into the bowels of the earth.
And then it began to rain men and debris.
Great rocks, brought up from deep in the earth, fell on all sides of the place where Captain Jack lay wounded unto death, but as though by a miracle none touched him. Where the pirates were still racing for safety, with Jack and Captain Glenn at their head, trees were uprooted and toppled over. The rain of steel and iron and rocks carried even there, and the men threw themselves to the ground and put their arms above their heads.
And then, as suddenly as it had begun, the rain of missiles ceased.
Jack got to his feet, as did his men. Rapidly he led them back toward where a moment before had been a German submarine base.
There was no base there now. Nothing but ruin and destruction and death. The German submarine base, submarines in the harbor, men who had inhabited the place, had pa.s.sed into oblivion.
The raid had been complete.
Captain Glenn also returned to the front with his men, and the pirates who had been under Captain Jack's command, dashed back to search for their captain.
The sea had now become calm again and Frank ordered the submarine headed for the harbor. Half an hour later he went ash.o.r.e, accompanied by Williams and every member of the crew.
Frank was appalled at the extent of the destruction. Rapidly he pa.s.sed through the ruins toward the forest beyond, where he knew he would find Jack or some trace of him. And there he came upon the sad band of pirates.
Into the midst of these Frank forced his way. In the center, his head on Jack's knee, was Captain Jack. Blood flowed from wounds in the back of his head, from his forehead and from his sides. He was unconscious.
But as Frank bent down beside him, the pirate chief opened his eyes.
He saw Jack and Frank and smiled his old smile.
"Was the raid a success?" he asked feebly.
"It was," replied Jack quietly. "Not a German left alive, nor one stone upon another nor a submarine in the harbor."
"Good!" said the pirate chief. "I would like to speak to my men."
At a signal from Jack these gathered around him.
"Men," said Captain Jack, "I am going to a land where there is no piracy and no wars. But before I go I want to tell you that I repented of my evil ways before it was too late; and I want the promise of each one of you that from this time on he will lead an upright life--a peaceful life at such time that his services are not being employed in the service of his native land. I want to shake hands with each one of you and hear your promise."
Sadly the men filed by him and there was none who did not promise freely all that the pirate chief asked. Then they stood near with downcast heads.
Captain Jack shook hands with Williams and Captain Glenn.
"You see I was to be trusted, after all," he said.
Captain Glenn pressed the hand but made no reply.
From the distance there came a dull rumble. Frank stood up and gazed toward the harbor through the darkness. Suddenly a powerful glare lighted up the sh.o.r.e.
"What is that?" demanded Captain Jack, freeing himself from Jack and getting to his feet in spite of his wounds.
"Searchlight," replied Frank briefly. "Probably the Virginia approaching to give us aid."
"We don't need it now," said Captain Jack.
He extended a hand to Jack and one to Frank and the lads pressed them warmly. As they stood thus, Captain Jack's body swayed slightly and became limp. Gently the boys laid him on the ground. They bent over to catch the sound of his voice.
"Tell America that I have been of some good after all," said Captain Jack, pirate chief, in a low voice.
And so he died.
From across the sea came the sound of a big gun. Swiftly toward the island of Kaiserland came the American cruiser Virginia.
Here, beside the body of the dead pirate chief on an uncharted island in the South Atlantic, ends our story. Subsequent adventures of Frank Chadwick and Jack Templeton will be related in a succeeding volume, ent.i.tled "The Boy Allies with the Submarine D-32; or, The Fall of the Russian Empire."
« Previous My Bookmarks Chapters Next»