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CHAPTER XII. A FEARFUL SITUATION.
These were bloated and swelled to a horrible extent by the water.

They had in many cases become decomposed, but many of them floated and, attracted by the current caused by the entrance of the divers, came straight toward them.

Then Barney made a dash for the next cabin.

Bell followed him.

And then the bodies, attracted again by the current, came piling after them.

Bell shrieked and flung the cabin door shut behind him.

This shut off pursuit.

The two terrified divers were in the second cabin.

Barney drew close to Bell and shouted:

“Begorra, if they’d been aloive I’d not have been afraid av thim!”

“Nor I,” agreed Bell; “but I am mighty afraid of a dead man under the water. It is horrible!”

“Begorra, ye’re roight. Shure, we’d niver make soldiers.”

“I don’t care if we don’t, if we only find the treasure.”

“Do you believe there’s any aboord av this ship?”

“Of course I do.”

“Phwere the divil will we foind it, thin, I’d loike to know?”

“Probably in the captain’s cabin.”

“An’ that’s jest forward av this?”

“Yes.”

“Begorra, let’s go there!”

“We will.”

With which Bell opened the door leading into the captain’s cabin. As he did so he gave a great start of horror.

Grasping the knob of the door upon the other side was the corpse of a man.

The captain gave a yell and bolted to the other end of the cabin.

But he finally recovered himself sufficiently to see that the corpse had not followed him.

He also saw that it had not the power to do so. The grip of its fingers upon idle knob held it.

The dead man undoubtedly was the captain of the brig. Bell made a motion to Barney, who came near.

“We are fools,” he said. “These dead people can’t hurt us!”

“Arrah, but it’s the looks av thim!” declared Barney.

“Hang the looks! They can’t kill. Let us go into the cabin.”

“I’m agreeable, sor.”

“There is no doubt but that he is the captain of the ship.”

“Yis, sor.”

“Then, if there is any treasure aboard, it is in his cabin.”

“I believe yez.”

With this Bell hesitated no longer. He boldly arose and approached the door.

The corpse swung toward him, and he hesitated a moment.

But he quickly recovered and summoned up enough courage to push it aside. Then he entered the compartment.

The captain’s cabin was richly furnished, and in one corner was a huge steel safe.

As luck had it, this appeared to be open. Bell advanced and peered in.

And as he did so, he gave a gasping cry which brought Barney to the spot.

“Look!” he cried. “It is gold!”

There were a number of small white bags piled upon the floor of the safe. Upon each of these was a figure of value.

Bell took up one of these and opened it. A heap of shining coin rolled out upon the floor.

They were American eagles. Upon the bag was the mark, five hundred dollars.

“What a find!” gasped Bell. “There are fully two hundred of these bags; at least one hundred thousand dollars in gold. That is not equal to the treasure of the Vestal Virgin, but it will do.”

“Begorra, I should say so,” agreed the Celt.

“It will make me rich after a fair division,” declared Bell. “We must get it aboard the Dart at once.”

It was a trying ordeal to pass through the next cabin with its complement of grinning corpses.

But the two treasure hunters did so, and they reached the deck in safety.

The glare of the searchlight was full upon them, and those on board the Dart were waiting for them to appear.

When they did come in sight, they were seen to be bearing the bags of gold.

“Hurrah!” cried Von Bulow. “Bell has got his treasure!”

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