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CHAPTER VIII. THE EARTHQUAKE.
This consisted of heaps of rich jewels and precious stones.

There was a mighty fortune in these alone. They were eagerly examined by the explorers.

The pirates’ treasure was certainly a magnificent one.

The find far exceeded the most sanguine expectations of any who were in the party, particularly Prof. Von Bulow.

“It is beyond belief,” declared the scientist. “I cannot believe but that I am dreaming.”

“No,” declared Captain Bell; “it is a reality. If you don’t believe me, professor, allow me to punch you.”

“I will accept the fact and forego that test,” declared Prof. Von Bulow. “But what shall we do with it?”

“What?”

“The treasure.”

“Take it aboard the submarine boat, of course; then we can return home as princes and roll in wealth all the rest of our lives.”

Captain Bell’s eyes shone like stars.

It was evident that he set more by the treasure than the others. Frank was wealthy, anyway, and Von Bulow was well-to-do.

Captain Bell, on the other hand, was poor, which explained all.

But before engaging in the transportation of the treasure to the Dart, it was decided to carry the examination of the ship further.

This was done, and from one end to the other it was ransacked.

But nothing more of value was found.

At least nothing which could be transported. In the lower hold were discovered many casks of rich wine. But it could not, of course, even be removed.

So the party finally returned to the treasure chamber.

They took as much of the coin with them as they could carry, and started to return to the Dart.

It was their intention to return later and make regular trips, until it had been all transported aboard the Dart.

Leaving the sunken pirate they had soon reached the Dart.

Going aboard, they were met by Barney and Pomp.

The two jokers were wildly enthusiastic over the find.

“Begorra, it’ll make the whole av us millionaires,” cried Barney. “Shure, I’ll wear a diamond in me shirt now as big as a cart wheel!”

“I done fink dis chile git married!” declared Pomp.

“Married!” declared Barney. “Shure, is it a Mormon yez are? Phwat’s the matther wid yer prisint woife?”

“She jes’ don’ agree to agree wif me!” declared Pomp, succinctly. “And the only point we’s sartain sure agreed on is not to agree fo’ to lib togedder any more.”

“Oh, yez have a divorce, eh?”

Pomp looked scornful.

“Wha’ fo’ I want a divorce?” he retorted. “Don’ yo’ fink cullud people am mo’ ’spectable dan dat?”

“But, begorra, the law wud make yez support her!”

“Golly, I don’ beliebe it. Dis chile hab got all he kin do to support hisse’f. No, sah! I jist go down to Kyarline an’ I find jes’ de most likely cullud gal I kin find dar. Den I say: Chloe, yo’ jes’ hitch hosses wif dis chile an’ I make yo’ wear diamonds. See! Lor’ sakes, chile! Money catch de best ob dem!”

“Begorra, it’s a bigamist ye’d be!” declared Barney, contemptuously. “If yez do that, naygur, I’ll cut yez acquaintance.”

“Suit yo’sef, sah,” declared Pomp; “but atween yo’ an’ me, I don’ beliebe eider one ob us will leabe Marse Frank right away.”

“Yez are roight there,” cried Barney. “Shure, we’ll sthick to Misther Frank, for all av the foine gold.”

Plans were at once made to transport the treasure to the Dart.

But an incident now transpired to put a stop to the entire project. This happening was a most startling and unlooked for one.

Suddenly the Dart received a shock which seemed to fairly hoist it a dozen feet from the bottom of the sea.

Everybody on board were thrown from their feet.

Then followed a distant rumble and a vibrating motion which lasted for full a minute.

In some way the shock had disconnected the lever, and the electric lights were extinguished.

All was darkness aboard the submarine boat.

For a few moments a literal panic reigned.

Frank Reade, Jr., was the first to recover.

He ran into the pilot-house and quickly produced light. By this time the others had recovered.

“For the love of Heaven! what has happened?” gasped Von Bulow.

“We have been run into by a whale!” averred Captain Bell.

But Frank shook his head.

“No,” he said; “it is worse than that!”

The young inventor knew well enough what the trouble was.

“Well, what was it?” asked Von Bulow, rubbing his bruised shins.

“An earthquake,” replied Frank, calmly.

“An earthquake?”

“Yes.”

“Mercy on us! Is it possible?”

“You shall see.”

Frank quickly repaired the slight damage to the electric light apparatus. Then he turned on the searchlight.

The region about was plainly illuminated, and it was seen that a great change had taken place in the bed of the ocean.

In places it had been upheaved by th............
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