Part 2 out of 4
just at present. He, however, wished Tom all success. Tom's first
effort was to sail along, with the lens of the camera pointed
straight toward the earth. He would thus get, if successful, a
picture that, when thrown on the screen, would give the
spectators the idea that they were looking down from a moving
balloon. For that reason Tom was not going to fly very high, as
he wanted to get all the details possible.
"All aboard!" cried the young inventor, when he had seen to it
that his airship was in readiness for a flight. The camera had
been put aboard, and the lens pointed toward earth through a hole
in the main cabin floor. All who were expected to make the trip
with Tom were on hand, Koku taking the place of Eradicate this
time, as the colored man was too aged and feeble to go along.
"All ready?" asked Ned, who stood in the steering tower, with
his hand on the starting lever, while Tom was at the camera to
see that it worked properly.
"All ready," answered the young inventor, and, an instant
later, they shot upward, as the big propellers whizzed around.
Tom at once started the camera to taking pictures rapidly, as
he wanted the future audience to get a perfect idea of how it
looked to go up in a balloon, leaving the earth behind. Then as
the Flyer moved swiftly over woods and fields, Tom moved the lens
from side to side, to get different views.
"Say! This is great!" cried Mr. Nestor, to whom air-riding was
much of a novelty. "Are you getting good pictures, Tom?"
"I can't tell until we develop them. But the machine seems to
be working all right. I'm going to sail back now, and get some
views of our own house from up above."
They had sailed around the town of Shopton, to the neighboring
villages, over woods and fields. Now they were approaching
"Bless my heart!" suddenly exclaimed Mr. Damon, who was looking
toward the earth, as they neared Tom's house.
"What is it?" asked our hero, glancing up from the picture
machine, the registering dial of which he was examining.
"Look there! At your shop, Tom! There seems to be a lot of
smoke coming from it!"
They were almost over Tom's shop now, and, as Mr. Damon had
said, there was considerable smoke rolling above it.
"I guess Eradicate is burning up papers and trash," was Ned's
Tom looked to where the camera pointed, he was right over his
shop now, and could see a dense vapor issuing from the door.
That isn't Eradicate!" cried the young inventor. "My shop is on
fire! I've got to make a quick drop, and save it! There are a lot
of valuable models, and machines in there! Send us down, Ned, as
fast as she'll go!"
CHAPTER IX - OFF FOR INDIA
"Bless my hose reel!" cried Mr. Damon, as the airship took a
quick lurch toward the earth. "Things are always happening to you, Tom Swift! Your shop on fire! How
did it happen?"
"Look!" suddenly cried Ned, before Tom had a chance to answer.
"There's a man running away from the shop, Tom!"
All saw him, and, as the airship rushed downward it could be
seen that he was a fellow dressed in ragged garments, a veritable
"I guess that fire didn't happen," said Tom significantly. "It
was deliberately set. Oh, if we can only get there before it
gains too much headway!"
"I like to catch that fellow!" exclaimed Koku, shaking his big
fist at the retreating tramp. "I fix him!"
On rushed the airship, and the man who had probably started the
fire, glanced up at it. Tom suddenly turned the lens of his
Wizard Camera toward him. The mechanism inside, which had been
stopped, started clicking again, as the young inventor switched
on the electric current.
"What are you doing?" cried Ned, as he guided the airship
toward the shop, whence clouds of smoke were rolling.
"Taking his picture," replied Tom. "It may come in useful for
But he was not able to get many views of the fellow, for the
latter must have suspected what was going on. He quickly made a
dive for the bushes, and was soon lost to sight. Tom shut off his
"Bless my life preserver!" cried Mr. Damon. "There comes your
father, Tom, and Mrs. Baggert! They've got buckets! They're going
to put out the fire!"
"Why don't they think to use the hose?" cried the young
inventor, for he had his shop equipped With many hose lines, and
an electrically driven pump. The hose! The hose, dad!" shouted
Tom, but it is doubtful if his father or Mrs. Baggert heard him,
for the engine of the airship was making much noise. However, the
two with the buckets looked up, and waved their hands to those on
"There's Eradicate!" yelled Ned. "He's got the hose all right!"
The colored man was beginning to unreel a line.
"That's what it needs!" exclaimed Tom. "Now there's some chance
to save the shop."
"We'll be there ourselves to take a hand in a few seconds!"
cried Mr. Damon, forgetting to bless anything.
"The scoundrel who started this fire, and those back of him,
ought to be imprisoned for life!" declared Mr. Nestor.
A moment later Ned had landed the airship within a short
distance of the shop. In an instant the occupants of the craft
had leaped out, and Tom, after a hasty glance to see that his
valuable camera was safe, dashed toward the building crying:
"Never mind the pails, dad! Use the hose! there's a nozzle at
the back door. Go around there, and play the water on from that
Eradicate, with his line of hose, had disappeared into the shop
through the front door, and the others pressed in after him,
heedless of the dense smoke.
"Is it blazing much, Rad?" cried Tom.
"Can't see no blaze at all, Mass a Tom," replied the colored
man. "Dere's a heap of suffin in de middle ob de flo', an' dat's
what's raisin' all de rumpus."
They all saw it a moment later, a smoldering heap of rags and
paper on the concrete floor of the shop. Eradicate turned his
hose on it, there was a hissing sound, a cloud of steam arose,
and the fire was practically out, though much smoke remained.
"Jove! that was a lucky escape!" exclaimed Tom, as he looked
around when the vapor had partly cleared away. "No damage done at
all, as far as I can see. I wonder what the game was? Did you see
anything of a tramp around here?" he asked of his father.
"No, Tom. I have been busy in the house. So has Mrs. Baggert.
Suddenly she called my attention to the smoke coming from the
door, and we ran out."
"I seen it, too," added Eradicate. "I was doin' some
whitewashin', an' I run up as soon as I could."
"We saw the tramp all right, but he got away," said Tom, and he
told how he had taken pictures of him. "I don't believe it would
be much use to look for him now, though."
"Me look," spoke Koku significantly, as he hurried off in the
direction taken by the tramp. He came back later, not having
"What do you think of it, Tom?" asked Ned, when the excitement
had calmed down, and the pile of burned rags had been removed. It
was found that oil and chemicals had been put on them to cause a
"I think it was the work of those fellows who are after my
camera," replied the young inventor. "They are evidently watching
me, and when they saw us all go off in the airship they thought
probably that the coast was clear."
"But why should they start a fire?"
"I don't know, but probably to create a lot of smoke, and
excitement, so that they could search, and not be detected. Maybe
the fellow after he found that the camera was gone, wanted to
draw those in the house out to the shop, so he could have a clear
field to search in my room for any drawings that would give him a
dew as to how my machine works. They certainly did not want to
burn the shop, for that pile of rags could have smoldered all
day on the concrete floor, without doing any harm. Robbery was
the motive, I think."
"The police ought to be notified," declared Mr. Nestor.
"Develop those pictures, Tom, and I'll take the matter up with
the police. Maybe they can identify the tramp from the
But this proved impossible. Tom had secured several good films,
not only in the first views he took, giving the spectators the
impression that they were going up in an airship, but also those
showing the shop on fire, and the tramp running away, were very
The police made a search for the incendiary, but of course did
not find him. Mr. Period came to Shopton, and declared it was his
belief that his rivals, Turbot and Eckert, had had a hand in the
matter. But it was only a suspicion, though Tom himself believed
the same thing. Still nothing could be accomplished.
"The thing to do, now that the camera works all right, is for
you to hit the trail for India at once," suggested the picture
man. "They won't follow you there. Get me some pictures of the
Durbar, of elephants being captured, of tiger fights, anything
"I'll do my--" began Tom.
"Wait, I'm not through," interrupted the excitable man. "Then
go get some volcanoes, earthquakes--anything that you think would
be interesting. I'll keep in touch with you, and cable
occasionally. Get all the films you can. When will you start?"
"I can leave inside of two weeks," replied Tom.
"Then do it, and, meanwhile, be on your guard."
It was found that a few changes were needed on the camera. And
some adjustments to the airship. Another trial flight was made,
and some excellent pictures taken. Then Tom and his friends
prepared to take the airship apart. and pack it for shipment to
Calcutta. It was to go on the same steamer as themselves, and of
course the Wizard Camera would accompany Tom. He took along many
rolls of films, enough, he thought, for many views. He was also
to send back to Mr. Period from time to time, the exposed rolls
of film, so they could be developed, and printed in the United
States, as Tom would not have very good facilities for this on
the airship, and to reproduce them there was almost out of the
question. Still he did fit up a small dark room aboard the Flyer,
where he could develop pictures if he wished.
There was much to be done, but hard work accomplished it, and
finally the party was ready to start for India. Tom said good-bye
to Mary Nestor, of course, and her father accompanied our hero
from the Nestor house to the Swift homestead, where the start was
to take place.
Eradicate bade his master a tearful good-bye, and there was
moisture in the eyes of Mr. Swift, as he shook hands with his
"Take care of yourself, Tom," he said. "Don't run too many
risks. This moving picture taking isn't as easy as it sounds.
It's more than just pointing your camera at things. Write if you
get a chance, or send me a message."
Tom promised, and then bade farewell to Mrs. Baggert. All were
assembled, Koku, Mr. Damon, who blessed everything he saw, and
some things he did not, Ned, Mr. Nestor and Tom. The five were to
go by train to New York, there to go aboard the steamer.
Their journey to the metropolis was uneventful. Mr. Period met
them at the steamship dock, after Tom had seen to it that the
baggage, and the parts of the airship were safely aboard.
"I wish I were going along!" exclaimed the picture man. "It's
going to be a great trip. But I can't spare the time. I'm the
busiest man in the world. I lose about a thousand dollars just
coming down to see you off, but it's a good investment. I don't
mind it. Now, Tom, good luck, and don't forget, I want exciting
"I'll try--" began our here,.
"Wait, I know what you're going to say!" interrupted Mr.
Period. "You'll do it, of course. Well, I must be going. I will--
Great Scott!" and Mr. Period interrupted himself. "He has the
nerve to come here!"
"Who?" asked Tom.
"Wilson Turbot, the rascal! He's trying to balk me at the last
minute, I believe. I'm going to see what he means!" and with
this, the excited Mr. Period rushed down the gangplank, toward
the man at whom he had pointed--one of the men who had tried to
buy Tom's picture taking camera.
A moment later the steamer's whistle blew, the last belated
passenger rushed up the gangplank, it was drawn in, and the
vessel began to move away from the dock. Tom and his friends were
on their way to India, and the last glimpse they had of Mr.
Period was as he was chasing along the pier, after Mr. Turbot.
CHAPTER X - UNEXPECTED EXCITEMENT
"Well, what do you know about that, Tom?" asked Ned, as they
stood on deck watching the chase. "Isn't he the greatest ever--
Mr. Period, I mean?"
"He certainly is. I'd like to see what happens when he catches
that Turbot chap."
"Bless my pocket handkerchief!" cried Mr. Damon. "I don't
believe he will. Mr. Period's legs aren't long enough for fast
"Those scoundrels were after us, up to the last minute," spoke
Mr. Nestor, as the ship moved farther out from the dock. Tom and
his friends could no longer see the excitable picture man after
his rival, but there was a commotion in the crowd, and it seemed
as if he had caught the fellow.
"Well, we're free of him now," spoke the young inventor, with a
breath of relief. "That is, unless they have set some one else on
our trail," and he looked carefully at the passengers near him,
to detect, if possible, any who might look like spies in the pay
of the rival moving picture concern, or any suspicious characters
who might try to steal the valuable camera, that was now safely
locked in Tom's cabin. Our hero, however, saw no one to worry
about. He resolved to remain on his guard.
Friends and relatives were waving farewells to one another, and
the band was playing, as the big vessel drew out into the North,
or Hudson, river, and steamed for the open sea.
Little of interest marked the first week of the voyage. All
save Koku had done much traveling before, and it was no novelty
to them. The giant, however, was amused and delighted with
everything, even the most commonplace things he saw. He was a
source of wonder to all the other passengers, and, in a way, he
furnished much excitement.
One day several of the sailors were on deck, shifting one of
the heavy anchors. They went about it in their usual way, all
taking hold, and "heaving" together with a "chanty," or song, to
enliven their work. But they did not make much progress, and one
of the mates got rather excited about it.
"Here, shiver my timbers!" he cried. "Lively now! Lay about
you, and get that over to the side!"
"Yo! Heave! Ho!" called the leader of the sailor gang.
The anchor did not move, for it had either caught on some
projection, or the men were not using their strength.
"Lively! Lively!" cried the mate.
Suddenly Koku, who was in the crowd of passengers watching the
work, pushed his way to where the anchor lay. With a powerful,
but not rough action, he shoved the sailors aside. Then, stooping
over, he took a firm grip of the big piece of iron, planted his
feet well apart on the deck, and lifted the immense mass in his
arms. There was a round of applause from the group of passengers.
"Where you want him?" Koku calmly asked of the mate, as he
stood holding the anchor.
"Blast my marlin spikes!" cried the mate. "I never see the like
of this afore! Put her over there, shipmate. If I had you on a
voyage or two you'd be running the ship, instead of letting the
screw push her along. Put her over there," and he indicated where
he wanted the anchor.
Koku calmly walked along the deck, laid the anchor down as if
it was an ordinary weight, and passed over to where Tom stood
looking on in amused silence. There were murmurs of surprise from
the passengers at the giant's strength, and the sailors went
forward much abashed.
"Say, I'd give a good bit to have a bodyguard like that,"
exclaimed a well-known millionaire passenger, who, it was
reported, was in constant fear of attacks, though they had never
taken place. "I wonder if I could get him."
He spoke to Tom about it, but our hero would not listen to a
proposition to part with Koku. Besides, it is doubtful if the
simple giant would leave the lad who had brought him away from
his South American home. But, if Koku was wonderfully strong,
and, seemingly afraid of nothing, there were certain things he
One afternoon, for the amusement of the passengers, a net was
put overboard, sunk to a considerable depth, and hauled up with a
number of fishes in it. Some of the finny specimens were good for
eating, and others were freaks, strange and curious.
Koku was in the throng that gathered on deck to look at the
haul. Suddenly a small fish, but very hideous to look at, leaped
from the net and flopped toward the giant. With a scream of fear
Koku jumped to one side, and ran down to his stateroom. He could
not be induced to come on deck until Tom assured him that the
fishes had been disposed of. Thus Koku was a mixture of giant and
baby. But he was a general favorite on the ship, and often gave
exhibitions of his strength.
Meanwhile Tom and his friends had been on the lookout for any
one who might be trailing them. But they saw no suspicious
characters among the passengers, and, gradually, they began to
feel that they had left their enemies behind.
The weather was pleasant, and the voyage very enjoyable. Tom
and the others had little to do, and they were getting rather
impatient for the time to come when they could put the airship
together, and sail off over the jungle, to get moving pictures of
"Have you any films in the camera now?" asked Ned of his chum
on day, as they sat on deck together.
"Yes, it's all ready for instant use. Even the storage battery
is charged. Why?"
"Oh, I was just wondering. I was thinking we might somehow see
something we could take pictures of."
"Not much out here," said Tom, as he looked across the watery
expanse. As he did so, he saw a haze of smoke dead ahead. "We'll
pass a steamer soon," he went on, "but that wouldn't make a good
picture. It's too common."
As the two lads watched, the smoke became blacker, and the
cloud it formed grew much larger.
"They're burning a lot of coal on that ship," remarked Ned.
"Must be trying for a speed record."
A little later a sailor stationed himself in the crow's nest,
and focused a telescope on the smoke. An officer, on deck, seemed
to be waiting for a report from the man aloft.
"That's rather odd," remarked Ned. "I never knew them to take
so much interest in a passing steamer before; and we've gone by
several of late."
"That's right," agreed Tom. "I wonder--"
At that moment the officer, looking up, called out:
"Aye, aye, sir," answered the sailor with the glass. "She's a
small steamer, sir, and she's on fire!"
"That's what I feared. Come down. I'll tell the captain. We
must crowd on all steam, and go to the rescue."
"Did you hear that?" cried Ned to Tom, as the officer hurried
to the bridge, where the captain awaited him. "A steamer on fire
at sea, Tom! why don't you--"
"I'm going to!" interrupted the young inventor, as he started
for his cabin on the run. "I'm going to get some moving pictures
of the rescue! That will be a film worth having."
A moment later the Belchar, the vessel on which our friends had
embarked, increased her speed, while sudden excitement developed
As the Belchar approached the burning steamer, which had
evidently seen her, and was making all speed toward her, the
cloud of smoke became more dense, and a dull flame could be seen
reflected in the water.
"She's going fast!" cried Mr. Nestor, as he joined Ned on deck.
"Bless my insurance policy!" cried Mr. Damon. "What a strange
happening! Where's Tom Swift?"
"Gone for his camera," answered his chum. "He's going to get
some pictures of the rescue."
"All hands man the life boats!" cried an officer, and several
sailors sprang to the davits, ready to lower the boats, when the
steamers should be near enough together.
Up on deck came Tom, with his wonderful camera.
"Here you go, Ned!" he called. "Give me a hand. I'm going to
start the film now."
CHAPTER XI - AN ELEPHANT STAMPEDE
"Stand by the life boats!"
"Let go! Pull hearty!"
These and other commands marked the beginning of the rescue,
as the sailors manned the davit-falls, and put the boats into the
water. The burning steamer had now come to a stop, not far away
from the Belchar, which was also lay-to. There was scarcely any
sea running, and no wind, so that the work of rescuing was not
difficult from an ordinary standpoint. But there was grave
danger, because the fire on the doomed vessel was gaining
"That's oil burning," remarked an officer, and it seemed so,
from the dense clouds of smoke that rolled upward.
"Is she working, Tom?" asked Ned, as he helped his chum to hold
the wonderful camera steady on the rail, so that a good view of
the burning steamer could be had.
"Yes, the film is running. Say, I wonder if they'll get 'em all
"Oh, I think so. There aren't many passengers. I guess it's a
They could look across the gap of water, and see the terrified
passengers and crew crowding to the rail, holding out their hands
appealingly to the brave sailors who were lustily and rapidly,
pulling toward them in life boats.
At times a swirl of smoke would hide those on the doomed vessel
from the sight of the passengers on the Belchar, and on such
occasions the frightened screams of women could be heard. Once,
as the smoke cleared away, a woman, with a child in her arms,
giving a backward glance toward the flames that were now
enveloping the stern of the vessel, attempted to leap overboard.
Many hands caught her, however, and all this was registered on
the film of Tom's camera, which was working automatically. As the
two vessels drifted along, Tom and Ned shifted the lens so as to
keep the burning steamer, and the approaching lifeboats, in
"There's the first rescue!" cried Ned, as the woman who had
attempted to leap overboard, was, with her child, carefully
lowered into a boat. "Did you get that, Tom?"
"I certainly did. This will make a good picture. I think I'll
send it back to Mr. Period as soon as we reach port."
"Maybe you could develop it on board here, and show it. I
understand there's a dark room, and the captain said one of his
officers, who used to be in the moving picture business, had a
"Then that's what I'll do!" cried Tom. "I'll have our captain
charge all the Belchar passengers admission, and we'll get up a
fund for the fire sufferers. They'll probably lose all their
"That will be great!" exclaimed Ned.
The rescue was now in full swing, and, in a short time all the
passengers and crew had been transferred to the life boats. Tom
got a good picture of the captain of the burning steamer being
the last to leave his vessel. Then the approaching life boats,
with their loads of sailors, and rescued ones, were caught on the
"Are you all off?" cried the captain of the Belchar to the
unfortunate skipper of the doomed ship.
"All off, yes, thank you. It is a mercy you were at hand. I
have a cargo of oil. You had better stand off, for she'll explode
in a few minutes."
"I must get a picture of that!" declared Tom as the Belchar got
under way again. "That will cap the climax, and make a film that
will be hard to beat."
A few moments later there was a tremendous explosion on the
tramp oiler. A column of wreckage and black smoke shot skyward,
and Tom secured a fine view of it. Then the wreck disappeared
beneath the waves, while the rescuing steamer sailed on, with
those who had been saved. They had brought off only the things
they wore, for the fire had occurred suddenly, and spread
rapidly. Kind persons aboard the Belchar looked after the
unfortunates. Luckily there was not a large passenger list on the
tramp. And the crew was comparatively small, so it was not hard
work to make room for them, or take care of them, aboard the
Tom developed his pictures, and produced then in one of the
large saloons, on a machine he borrowed from the man of whom Ned
had spoken. A dollar admission was charged, and the crowd was so
large that Tom had to give two performances. The films, showing
the burning steamer and the rescue, were excellent, and enough
money was realized to aid, most substantially, the unfortunate
passengers and crew.
A few days later a New York bound steamer was spoken, and on it
Tom sent the roll of developed films to Mr. Period, with a letter
I will not give all the details of the rest of the voyage.
Sufficient to say that no accidents marred it, nor did Tom
discover any suspicious characters aboard. In due time our
friends arrived at Calcutta, and were met by an agent of Mr.
Period, for he had men in all quarters of the world, making films
This agent took Tom and his party to a hotel, and arranged to
have the airship parts sent to a large open shed, not far away,
where it could be put together. The wonderful scenes in the
Indian city interested Tom and his companions for a time, but
they had observed so many strange sights from time to time that
they did not marvel greatly. Koku, however, was much delighted.
He was like a child.
"What are you going to do first?" asked Ned, when they had
recovered from the fatigue of the ocean voyage and had settled
themselves in the hotel.
"Put the airship together," replied our hero, "and then, after
getting some Durbar pictures, we'll head for the jungle. I want
to get some elephant pictures, showing the big beasts being
Mr. Period's agent was a great help to them in this. He secured
native helpers, who aided Tom in assembling the airship, and in a
week or two it was ready for a flight. The wonderful camera, too,
was looked over, and the picture agent said he had never seen a
"It can take the kind of pictures I never could," he said. "I
get Calcutta street scenes for Mr. Period, and occasionally I
strike a good one. But I wish I had your chance."
Tom invited him to come along in the airship, but the agent,
who only looked after Mr. Period's interests as a side issue,
could not leave his work.
The airship was ready for a flight, stores and provisions had
been put on board, there was enough gasoline for the motor, and
gas for the balloon bag, to carry the Flyer thousands of miles.
The moving picture camera had been tested after the sea voyage,
and had been found to work perfectly. Many rolls of films were
taken along. Tom got some fine views of the Durbar of India, and
his airship created a great sensation.
"Now I guess we're all ready for the elephants," said Tom one
day as he came back from an inspection of the airship as it
rested in the big shed. "We'll start to-morrow morning, and head
for the jungle."
Amid the cries from a throng of wondering and awed natives, and
with the farewells of Mr. Period's agent ringing in their ears,
Tom and his party made an early start. The Flyer rose like a
bird, and shot across the city, while on the house tops many
people watches the strange sight. Tom did not start his camera
working, as Mr. Period's agent said he had made many pictures of
the Indian city, and even one taken from an airship, would not be
much of a novelty.
Tom had made inquiries, and learned that by a day's travel in
his airship (though it would have been much longer ordinarily) he
could reach a jungle where elephants might be found. Of course
there was nothing certain about it, as the big animals roamed all
over, being in one district one day, and on the next, many miles
Gradually the city was left behind, and some time later the
airship was sailing along over the jungle. After the start, when
Ned and Tom, with Mr. Damon helping occasionally, had gotten the
machinery into proper adjustment, the Flyer almost ran herself.
Then Tom took his station forward, with his camera in readiness,
and a powerful spyglass at hand, so that he might see the
elephants from a distance.
He had been told that, somewhere in the district for which he
was headed, an elephant drive was contemplated. He hoped to be on
hand to get pictures of it, and so sent his airship ahead at top
On and on they rode, being as much at ease in the air as they
would have been if traveling in a parlor car. They did not fly
high, as it was necessary to be fairly close to the earth to get
"Well, I guess we won't have any luck to-day," remarked Ned, as
night approached, and they had had no sight of the elephants.
They had gone over mile after mile of jungle, but had seen few
wild beasts in sufficient numbers to make it worth while to focus
the camera on them.
"We'll float along to-night," decided Tom, "and try again in
It was about ten o'clock the next day, when Ned, who had
relieved Tom on watch, uttered a cry:
"What is it?" asked his chum, as he rushed forward. "Has
"Lots!" cried Ned. "Look!" He pointed down below. Tom saw,
crashing through the jungle, a big herd of elephants. Behind
them, almost surrounding them, in fact, was a crowd of natives in
charge of white hunters, who were driving the herd toward a
"There's a chance for a grand picture!" exclaimed Tom, as he
got the camera ready. "Take charge of the ship, Ned. Keep her
right over the big animals, and I'll work the camera."
Quickly he focused the lens on the strange scene below him.
There was a riot of trumpeting from the elephants. The beaters
and hunters shouted and yelled. Then they saw the airship and
waved their hands to Tom and his friends, but whether to welcome
them, or warn them away, could not be told.
The elephants were slowly advancing toward the stockade. Tom
was taking picture after picture of them, when suddenly as the
airship came lower, in response to a signal to Ned from the young
inventor, one of the huge pachyderms looked up, and saw the
strange sight. He might have taken it for an immense bird. At any
rate he gave a trumpet of alarm, and the next minute, with
screams of rage and fear, the elephants turned, and charged in a
wild stampede on those who were driving them toward the stockade.
"Look!" cried Ned. "Those hunters and natives will be killed!"
"I'm afraid so!" shouted Tom, as he continued to focus his
camera on the wonderful sight.
CHAPTER XII - THE LION FIGHT
Crashing through the jungle the huge beasts turned against
those who had, been driving them on toward the stockade. With
wild shouts and yells, the hunters and their native helpers tried
to turn back the elephant tide, but it was useless. The animals
had been frightened by the airship, and were following their
leader, a big bull, that went crashing against great trees,
snapping them off as if they were pipe stems.
"Say, this is something like!" cried Ned, as he guided the
airship over the closely packed body of elephants, so Tom could
get good pictures, for the herd had divided, and a small number
had gone off with one of the other bulls.
"Yes, I'll get some great pictures," agreed Tom, as he looked
in through a red covered opening in the camera, to see how much
film was left.
The airship was now so low down that Tom, and the others, could
easily make out the faces of the hunters, and the native helpers.
One of the hunters, evidently the chief, shaking his fist at our
"Can't you take your blooming ship out of the way, my man? It's
scaring the beasts, and we've been a couple of weeks on this
drive. We don't want to lose all our work. Take your bloody ship
"I guess he must be an Englishman," remarked Mr. Nestor, with a
"Bless my dictionary, I should say so," agreed Mr. Damon.
"Bloody, blooming ship! The idea!"
"Well, I suppose we have scared the beasts," said Tom. "We
ought to get out of the way. Put her up, Ned, and we'll come down
some distance in advance."
"Why, aren't you going to take any more views of the
"Yes, but I've got enough of a view from above. Besides, I've
got to put in a fresh reel of film, and I might as well get out
of their sight to do it. Maybe that will quiet them, and the
hunters can turn them back toward the stockade. If they do, I
have another plan."
"What is it?" his chum wanted to know.
"I'm going to make a landing, set up my camera at the entrance
to the stockade, and get a series of pictures as the animals come
in. I think that will be a novelty.
"That certainly will," agreed Mr. Nestor. "I am sure Mr. Period
will appreciate that. But won't it be dangerous, Tom?"
"I suppose so, but I'm getting used to danger," replied our
hero, with a laugh.
Ned put the ship high into the air, as Tom shut off the power
from the camera. Then the Flyer was sent well on in advance of
the stampede of elephants, so they could no longer see it, or
hear the throb of the powerful engines. Tom hoped that this would
serve to quiet the immense creatures.
As the travelers flew on, over the jungle, they could still
hear the racket made by the hunters and beaters, and the shrill
trumpeting of the elephants, as they crashed through the forest.
Tom at once began changing the film in the camera, and Ned
altered the course of the airship, to send it back toward the
stockade, which they had passed just before coming upon the herd
I presume most of my readers know what an elephant drive is
like. A stockade, consisting of heavy trees, is made in the
jungle. It is like the old fashioned forts our forefathers used
to make, for a defense against the Indians. There is a broad
entrance to it, and, when all is in readiness, the beaters go out
into the jungle, with the white hunters, to round up the
elephants. A number of tame pachyderms are taken along to
persuade the wild ones to follow.
Gradually the elephants are gathered together in a large body,
and gently driven toward the stockade. The tame elephants go in
first, and the others follow. Then the entrance is closed, and
all that remains to be done is to tame the wild beasts, a not
very easy task.
"Are you all ready?" asked Ned, after a bit, as he saw Tom come
forward with the camera.
"Yes, I'm loaded for some more excitement. You can put me right
over the stockade now, Ned, and when we see the herd coming back
I'll go down, and take some views from the ground."
"I think they've got 'em turned," said Mr. Damon. "It sounds as
if they were coming back this way."
A moment later they had a glimpse of the herd down below. It
was true that the hunters had succeeded in stopping the stampede,
and once more the huge beasts were going in the right direction.
"There's a good place to make a landing," suggested Tom, as he
saw a comparatively clear place in the jungle. "It's near the
stockade, and, in case of danger, I can make a quick get-away."
"What kind of danger are you looking for?" asked Ned, as he
shifted the deflecting rudder.
"Oh, one of the beasts might take a notion to chase me."
The landing was made, and Tom, taking Ned and Mr. Nestor with
him, and leaving the others to manage the airship in case a quick
flight would be necessary, made his way along a jungle trail to
the entrance to the stockade. He carried his camera with him, for
it was not heavy.
On came the elephants, frightened by the shouts and cries of
the beaters, and the firing of guns. The young inventor took his
place near the stockade entrance, and, as the elephants advanced
through the forest, tearing up trees and bushes, Tom got some
good pictures of them.
Suddenly the advance of the brutes was checked, and the
foremost of them raised their trunks, trumpeted in anger, and
were about to turn back again.
"Get away from that bloomin' gate!" shouted a hunter to Tom.
"You're scaring them as bad as your airship did."
"Yes, they won't go in with you there!" added another man.
Tom slipped around the corner of the stockade, out of sight,
and from that vantage point he took scores of pictures, as the
tame animals led the wild ones into the fenced enclosure. Then
began another wild scene as the gate was closed.
The terrified animals rushed about, trying in vain to find a
way of escape. Tom managed to climb up on top of the logs, and
got some splendid pictures. But this was nearly his undoing. For,
just as the last elephant rushed in, a big bull charged against
the stockade, and jarred Tom so that he was on the point of
falling. His one thought was about his camera, and he looked to
see if he could drop it on the soft grass, so it would not be
He saw Koku standing below him, the giant having slipped out of
the airship, to see the beasts at closer range.
"Catch this, Koku!" cried Tom, tossing the big man his precious
camera, and the giant caught it safely. But Tom's troubles were
not over. A moment later, as the huge elephant again rammed the
fence, Tom fell off, but fortunately outside. Then the large
beast, seeing a small opening in the gate that was not yet
entirely closed, made for it. A moment later he was rushing
straight at Tom, who was somewhat stunned by his fall, though it
was not a severe one.
"Look out!" yelled Ned.
"Take a tree, Tom!" cried Mr. Nestor.
The elephant paid no attention to any one but Tom, whom he
seemed to think had caused all his trouble. The young inventor
dashed to one side, and then started to run toward the airship,
for which Ned and Mr. Nestor were already making. The elephant
hunters at last succeeded in closing the gate, blocking the
chance of any more animals to escape.
"Run, Tom! Run!" yelled Ned, and Tom ran as he had never run
before. The elephant was close after him though, crashing through
the jungle. Tom could see the airship just ahead of him.
Suddenly he felt something grasp him from behind. He thought
surely it was the elephant's trunk, but a quick glance over his
shoulder showed him the friendly face of Koku, the giant.
"Me run for you," said Koku, as he caught Tom up under one arm,
and, carrying the camera under the other, he set off at top
speed. Now Koku could run well at times, and this time he did. He
easily outdistanced the elephant, and, a little later, he set Tom
down on the deck of the airship, with the camera beside him. Then
Ned and Mr. Nestor came up panting, having run to one side.
"Quick!" cried Tom. "We must get away before the elephant
charges the Flyer."
"He has stopped," shouted Mr. Nestor, and it was indeed so. The
big beast, seeing again the strange craft that had frightened him
before, stood still for a moment, and then plunged off into the
jungle, trumpeting with rage.
"Safe!" gasped Tom, as he looked at his camera to see if it had
been damaged. It seemed all right.
"Bless my latch key!" cried Mr. Damon. "This moving picture
business isn't the most peaceful one in the world."
"No, it has plenty of perils," agreed Mr. Nestor.
"Come on, let's get out of here while we have the chance,"
suggested Tom. "There may be another herd upon us before we know
The airship was soon ascending, and Tom and his companions
could look down and see the tame elephants in the stockade trying
to calm the wild ones. Then the scene faded from sight.
"Well, if these pictures come out all right I'll have some fine
ones," exclaimed Tom as he carried his camera to the room where
he kept the films. "I fancy an elephant drive and stampede are
novelties in this line."
"Indeed they are," agreed Mr. Nestor. "Mr. Period made no
mistake when he picked you out, Tom, for this work. What are you
going to try for next?"
"I'd like to get some lion and tiger pictures," said the young
inventor. "I understand this is a good district for that. As soon
as those elephants get quieted down, I'm going back to the
stockade and have a talk with the hunters."
This he did, circling about in the airship until nearly
evening. When they again approached the stockade all was quiet,
and they came to earth. A native showed them where the white
hunters had their headquarters, in some bungalows, and Tom and
his party were made welcome. They apologized for frightening the
big beasts, and the hunters accepted their excuses.
"As long as we got 'em, it's all right," said the head man,
"though for awhile, I didn't like your bloomin' machine." Tom
entertained the hunters aboard his craft, at which they marvelled
much, and they gave him all the information they had about the
lions and tigers in the vicinity.
"You won't find lions and tigers in herds, like. elephants
though," said the head hunter. "And you may have to photograph
'em at night, as then is when they come out to hunt, and drink."
"Well, I can take pictures at night," said Tom, as he showed
his camera apparatus.
The next day, in the airship, they left for another district,
where, so the natives reported, several lions had been seen of
late. They had done much damage, too, carrying off the native
cattle, and killing several Indians.
For nearly a week Tom circled about in his airship, keeping a
sharp lookout down below for a sign of lions that he might
photograph them. But he saw none, though he did get some pictures
of a herd of Indian deer that were well worth his trouble.
"I think I'll have to try for a night photograph," decided Tom
at last. "I'll locate a spring where wild beasts are in the habit
of coming, set the camera with the light going, and leave it
"But will the lions come up if they see the light?" asked Ned.
"I think so," replied his chum. "I'll take a chance, anyhow. If
that doesn't work then I'll hide near by, and see what happens."
"Bless my cartridge belt!" cried Mr. Damon.
"You don't mean that; do you Tom?"
"Of course. Come to think of it, I'm not going to leave my
camera out there for a lion to jump on, and break. As soon as I
get a series of pictures I'll bring it back to the ship, I
By inquiry among the natives they learned the location of a
spring where, it was said, lions were in the habit of coming
nightly to drink.
"That's the place I want!" cried Tom.
Accordingly the airship was headed for it, and one evening it
came gently to earth in a little clearing on the edge of the
jungle, while Koku, as was his habit, got supper.
After the meal Tom and Ned set the camera, and then, picking
out a good spot nearby, they hid themselves to wait for what
might happen. The lens was focused on the spring, and the
powerful electric light set going. It glowed brightly, and our
hero thought it might have the effect of keeping the beasts away,
but Tom figured that, after they had looked at it for a while,
and seen that it did not harm them, they would lose their
suspicions, and come within range of his machine.
"The camera will do the rest," he said. In order not to waste
films uselessly Tom arranged a long electric wire, running it
from the camera to where he and Ned were hid. By pressing a
button he could start or stop the camera any time he wished, and,
as he had a view of the spring from his vantage point, he could
have the apparatus begin taking pictures as soon as there was
some animal within focus.
"Well, I'm getting stiff," said Ned, after an hour or so had
passed in silent darkness, the only light being the distant one
on the camera.
"So am I," said Tom.
"I don't believe anything will come to-night," went on his
chum. "Let's go back and--"
He stopped suddenly, for there was a crackling in the
underbrush, and the next moment the jungle vibrated to the mighty
roar of a lion.
"He's coming!" hoarsely whispered Tom.
Both lads glanced through the trees toward the camera, and, in
the light, they saw a magnificent, tawny beast standing on the
edge of the spring. Once more he roared, as if in defiance, and
then, as if deciding that the light was not harmful, he stooped
to lap up the water
Hardly had he done so than there was another roar, and a moment
later a second lion leaped from the dense jungle into the
clearing about the spring. The two monarchs of the forest stood
there in the glare of the light, and Tom excitedly pressed the
button that started the shutter to working, and the film to
moving back of the lens.
There was a slight clicking sound in the camera, and the lions
turned startedly. Then both growled again, and the next instant
they sprang at each other, roaring mightily.
"A fight!" cried Tom. "A lion fight, and right in front of my
camera! It couldn't be better. This is great! This will be a
"Quiet!" begged Ned. "They'll hear you, and come for us. I
don't want to be chewed up!"
"No danger of them hearing me!" cried Tom. and he had to shout
to be heard above the roaring of the two tawny beasts, as they
bit and clawed each other, while the camera took picture after
picture of them.
CHAPTER XIII - A SHOT IN TIME
"Tom, did you ever see anything like it in your life?"
"I never did, Ned! It's wonderful! fearful! And to think that
we are here watching it, and that thousands of people will see
the same thing thrown on a screen. Oh, look at the big one. The
small lion has him down!"
The two lads, much thrilled, crouched down behind a screen of
bushes, watching the midnight fight between the lions. On the
airship, not far distant, there was no little alarm, for those
left behind heard the terrific roars, and feared Tom and Ned
might be in some danger. But the lions were too much occupied
with their battle, to pay any attention to anything else, and no
other wild beasts were likely to come to the spring while the two
"kings" were at each other.
It was a magnificent, but terrible battle. The big cats bit and
tore at each other, using their terrific claws and their powerful
paws, one stroke of which is said to be sufficient to break a
bullock's back. Sometimes they would roll out of the focus of the
camera, and, at such times, Tom wished he was at the machine to
swing the lens around, but he knew it would be dangerous to move.
Then the beasts would roll back into the rays of light again, and
more pictures of them would be taken.
"I guess the small one is going to win!" said Tom, after the
two lions had fought for ten minutes, and the bigger one had been
down several times.
"He's younger," agreed Ned, "and I guess the other one has had
his share of fights. Maybe this is a battle to see which one is
to rule this part of the jungle."
"I guess so," spoke the young inventor, as he pressed the
button to stop the camera, as the lions rolled out of focus. "Oh,
look!" he cried a moment later, as the animals again rolled into
view. Tom started the camera once more. "This is near the end,"
The small lion had, by a sudden spring, landed on the back of
his rival. There was a terrific struggle, and the older beast
went down, the younger one clawing him terribly. Then, so quickly
did it happen that the boys could not take in all the details,
the older lion rolled over and over, and rid himself of his
antagonist. Quickly he got to his feet, while the smaller lion
did the same. They stood for a moment eyeing each other, their
tails twitching, the hair on their backs bristling, and all the
while they uttered frightful, roars.
An instant later the larger beast sprang toward his rival. One
terrible paw was upraised. The small lion tried to dodge, but was
not quick enough. Down came the paw with terrific force, and the
boys could hear the back bone snap. Then, clawing his antagonist
terribly, as he lay disabled, the older lion, with a roar of
triumph, lapped up water, and sprang off through the jungle,
leaving his dying rival beside the spring.
"That's the end," cried Tom, as the small lion died, and the
young inventor pressed the button stopping his camera. There was
a rustle in the leaves back of Tom and Ned, and they sprang up in
alarm, but they need not have feared, for it was only Koku, the
giant, who, with a portable electrical torch, had come to see how
they had fared.
"Mr. Tom all right?" asked the big man, anxiously.
"Yes, and I got some fine pictures. You can carry the camera
back now, Koku. I think that roll of film is pretty well filled."
The three of them looked at the body of the dead lion, before
they went back to the airship. I have called him "small," but, in
reality, the ;beast was small only in comparison with his rival,
who was a tremendous lion in size. I might add that of all the
pictures Tom took, few were more highly prized than that reel of
the lion fight.
"Bless my bear cage!" cried Mr. Damon, as Tom came back, "you
certainly have nerve, my boy."
"You have to, in this business," agreed Tom with a laugh. "I
never did this before, and I don't know that I would want it for
a steady position, but it's exciting for a change."
They remained near the "lion spring" as they called it all
night, and in the morning, after Koku had served a tasty
breakfast, Tom headed the airship for a district where it was
said there were many antelope, and buffaloes, also zebus.
"I don't want to get all exciting pictures," our hero said to
Mr. Nestor. "I think that films showing wild animals at play, or
quietly feeding, will be good."
"I'm sure they will," said Mary's father. "Get some peaceful
scenes, by all means."
They sailed on for several days, taking a number of pictures
from the airship, when they passed over a part of the country
where the view was magnificent, and finally, stopping at a good
sized village they learned that, about ten miles out, was a
district where antelope abounded.
"We'll go there," decided Tom, "and I'll take the camera around
with me on a sort of walking trip. In that way I'll get a variety
of views, and I can make a good film."
This plan was followed out. The airship came to rest in a
beautiful green valley, and Ned and Tom, with Mr. Damon, who
begged to be taken along, started off.
"You can follow me in about half an hour, Koku," said Tom, "and
carry the camera back. I guess you can easily pick up our trail."
"Oh, sure," replied the giant. Indeed, to one who had lived in
the forest, as he had all his life, before Tom found him, it was
no difficult matter to follow a trail, such as the three friends
Tom found signs that showed him where the antelopes were in the
habit of passing, and, with Ned and Mr. Damon, stationed himself
in a secluded spot.
He had not long to wait before a herd of deer came past. Tom
took many pictures of the graceful creatures, for it was daylight
now, and he needed no light. Consequently there was nothing to
alarm the herd.
After having made several films of the antelope, Tom and his
two companions went farther on. They were fortunate enough to
find a place that seemed to be a regular playground of the deer.
There was a large herd there, and, getting as near as he dared,
Tom focused his camera, and began taking pictures.
"It's as good as a play," whispered Mr. Damon, as he and Ned
watched the creatures, for they had to speak quietly. The camera
made scarcely any noise. "I'm glad I came on this trip."
"So am I," said Ned. "Look, Tom, see the mother deer all
together, and the fawns near them. It's just as if it was a
"I see," whispered Tom. "I'm getting a picture of that."
For some little time longer Tom photographed the deer, and
then, suddenly, the timid creatures all at once lifted up their
heads, and darted off. Tom and Ned, wondering what had startled
them, looked across the glade just in time to see a big tiger
leap out of the tall grass. The striped animal had been stalking
the antelope, but they had scented him just in time.
"Get him, Tom," urged Ned, and the young inventor did so,
securing several fine views be. fore the tiger bounded into the
grass again, and took after his prey.
"Bless my china teacup! What's that!" suddenly cried Mr. Damon.
As he spoke there was a crashing in the bushes and, an instant
later as two-horned rhinoceros sprang into view, charging
straight for the group.
"Look out!" yelled Ned.
"Bless my--" began Mr. Damon, but he did not finish, for, in
starting to run his foot caught in the grass, and he went down
Tom leaped to one side, holding his camera so as not to damage
it. But he stumbled over Mr. Damon, and went down.
With a "wuff" of rage the clumsy beast, came on, moving more
rapidly than Tom had any idea he was capable of. Hampered by his
camera our hero could not arise. The rhinoceros was almost upon
him, and Ned, catching up a club, was just going to make a rush
to the rescue, when the brute seemed suddenly to crumple up. It
fell down in a heap, not five feet from where Tom and Mr. Damon
"Good!" cried Ned. "He's dead. Shot through the heart! Who did
"I did," answered Koku quietly, stepping out of the bushes,
with one of Tom's Swift's electric rifles in his hand.
CHAPTER XIV - IN A GREAT GALE
Tom Swift rose slowly to his feet, carefully setting his camera
down, after making sure that it was not injured. Then he looked
at the huge beast which lay dead in front of him, and, going over
to the giant he held out his hand to him.
"Koku, you saved my life," spoke Tom. "Probably the life of Mr.
Damon also. I can't begin to thank you. It isn't the first time
you've done it, either. But I want to say that you can have
anything you want, that I've got."
"Me like this gun pretty much," said the giant simply.
"Then it's yours!" exclaimed Tom. "And you're the only one,
except myself, who has ever owned one." Tom's wonderful electric
rifle, of which I have told you in the book bearing that name,
was one of his most cherished inventions.
He guarded jealously the secret of how it worked, and never
sold or gave one away, for fear that unscrupulous men might learn
how to make them, and to cause fearful havoc. For the rifle was a
terrible weapon. Koku seemed to appreciate the honor done him, as
he handled the gun, and looked from it to the dead rhinoceros.
"Bless my blank cartridge!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, as he also got
up and came to examine the dead beast. It was the first thing he
had said since the animal had rushed at him, and he had not moved
after he fell down. He had seemingly been in a daze, but when the
others heard him use one of his favorite expressions they knew
that he was all right again. "Bless my hat!" went on the odd man.
"What happened, Tom? Is that beast really dead? How did Koku come
to arrive in time?"
"I guess he's dead all right," said Tom, giving the rhinoceros
a kick. "But I don't know how Koku happened to arrive in the nick
of time, and with the gun, too."
"I think maybe I see something to shoot when I come after you,
like you tell me to do," spoke the giant. "I follow your trail,
but I see nothing to shoot until I come here. Then I see that
animal run for you, and I shoot."
"And a good thing you did, too," put in Ned. "Well let's go
back. My nerves are on edge, and I want to sit quiet for a
"Take the camera, Koku," ordered Tom, "and I'll carry the
electric rifle--your rifle, now," he added, and the giant grinned
in delight. They reached the airship without further incident,
and, after a cup of tea, Tom took out the exposed films and put a
fresh roll in his camera, ready for whatever new might happen.
"Where is your next stopping place, Tom?" asked Ned, as they
sat in the main room of the airship that evening, talking over
the events of the day. They had decided to stay all night
anchored on the ground, and start off in the morning.
"I hardly know, answered the young inventor. "I am going to set
the camera to-night, near a small spring I saw, to get some
pictures of deer coming to drink. I may get a picture of a lion
or a tiger attacking them. If I could it would be another fine
film. To-morrow I think we will start for Switzerland. But now
I'm going to get the camera ready for a night exposure.
"Bless my check book!" cried Mr. Damon. "You don't mean to say
that you are going to stay out at a spring again, Tom, and run
the chance of a tiger getting you."
"No, I'm merely going to set the camera, attach the light and
let it work automatically this time. I've put in an extra long
roll of film, for I'm going to keep it going for a long while,
and part of the time there may be no animals there to take
pictures of. No, I'm not going to sit out to-night. I'm too
tired. I'll conceal the camera in the bushes so it won't be
damaged if there's a fight. Then, as I said, we'll start for
"Switzerland!" cried Ned. "What in the world do you want to go
make a big jump like that for? And what do you expect to get in
that mountain land?"
"I'm going to try for a picture of an avalanche," said Tom.
"Mr. Period wants one, if I can get it. It is quite a jump, but
then we'll be flying over civilized countries most of the time,
and if any accident happens we can go down and easily make
repairs. We can also get gasolene for the motor, though I have
quite a supply in the tanks, and perhaps enough for the entire
trip. At the same time we won't take any chances. So we'll be off
for Switzerland in the morning.
"I think some avalanche pictures will be great, if you can get
them," remarked Mr. Nestor. "But, Tom, you know those big slides
of ice, snow and earth aren't made to order."
"Oh, I know," agreed the young inventor with a smile. "I'll
just have to take my chances, and wait until one happens."
"Bless my insurance policy!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "And when it
does happen, Tom, are you going to stand in front of it, and
"Indeed I'm not. This business is risky and dangerous enough,
without looking for trouble. I'm going to the mountain region,
and hover around in the air, until we see an avalanche 'happen'
if that is the right word. Then I'll focus the camera on it, and
the films and machinery will do the rest."
"Oh, that's different," remarked the odd man, with an air of
Tom and Ned soon had the camera set near the spring and then,
everyone being tired with the day's work and excitement, they
retired. In the morning there were signs around the spring that
many animals had been there in the night. There were also marks
as if there had been a fight, but of course what sort, or how
desperate, no one could say.
"If anything happened the camera got it, I'm sure of that
much," remarked Tom, as he brought in the apparatus. "I'm not
going to develop the roll, for I don't want to take the time
now. I guess we must have something, anyhow."
"If there isn't it won't so much matter for you have plenty of
other good views," said Mr. Nestor.
I will not go into details of the long trip to Switzerland,
where, amid the mountains of that country, Tom hoped to get the
view he wanted.
Sufficient to say that the airship made good time after leaving
India. Sometimes Tom sent the craft low down, in order to get
views, and again, it would be above the clouds.
"Well, another day will bring us there," said
Tom one evening, as he was loading the camera
with a fresh roll of films. "Then we'll have to
be on the lookout for an avalanche."
"Yes, we're making pretty good time," remarked Ned, as he
looked at the speed gage. "I didn't know you had the motor
working so fast, Tom."
"I haven't," was the young inventor's answer, as he looked up
in surprise. "Why, we are going quite fast! It's the wind, Ned.
It's right with us, and it's carrying us along."
Tom arose and went to the anemometer, or wind-registering
instrument. He gave a low whistle, half of alarm.
"Fifty miles an hour she's blowing now," he said. "It came on
suddenly, too, for a little while ago it was only ten."
"Is there any danger?" asked Mr. Nestor, for he was not very
familiar with airship perils.
"Well, we've been in big blows before, and we generally came
out all right," returned Tom. "Still, I don't like this. Why she
went up five points since I've been looking at it!" and he
pointed to the needle of the gage, which now registered
fifty-five miles an hour.
"Bless my appendix!" gasped Mr. Damon. "It's a hurricane Tom!"
"Something like that," put in Ned, in a low voice.
With a suddenness that was startling, the wind increased in
violence still more. Tom ran to the pilot house.
"What are you going to do?" Ned called.
"See if we can't go down a bit," was Tom's answer. "I don't
like this. It may be calmer below. We're up too high as it is."
He tried to throw over the lever controlling the deflecting
rudder, which would send the Flyer down, but he could not move
"Give me a hand!" he called to Ned, but even the strength of
the two lads was not sufficient to shift it.
"Call Koku!" gasped Tom. "If anybody can budge it the giant
Meanwhile the airship was being carried onward in the grip of a
mighty wind, so strong that its pressure on the surface of the
deflecting rudder prevented it from being shifted.
CHAPTER XV - SNAPPING AN AVALANCHE
"Bless my thermometer!" gasped Mr. Damon. "This is terrible!"
The airship was plunging and swaying about in the awful gale.
"Can't something be done, Tom?"
"What has happened?" cried Mr. Nestor. "We were on a level keel
before. What is it?"
"It's the automatic balancing rudder!" answered Tom. "Something
has happened to it. The wind may have broken it! Come on, Ned!"
and he led the way to the engine room.
"What are you going to do? Don't you want Koku to shift the
deflecting rudder? Here he is," Ned added, as the giant came
forward, in response to a signal bell that Tom's chum had rung.
"It's too late to try the deflecting rudder!" tried Tom. "I
must see what is the matter with our balancer." As he spoke the
ship gave a terrific plunge, and the occupants were thrown
sideways. The next moment it was on a level keel again, scudding
along with the gale, but there was no telling when the craft
would again nearly capsize.
Tom looked at the mechanism controlling the equalizing and
equilibrium rudder. It was out of order, and he guessed that the
terrific wind was responsible for it.
"What can we do?" cried Ned, as the airship nearly rolled over.
"Can't we do anything, Tom?"
"Yes. I'm going to try. Keep calm now. We may come out all
right. This is the worst blow we've been in since we were in
Russia. Start the gas machine full blast. I want all the vapor I
As I have explained the Flyer was a combined dirigible balloon
and aeroplane. It could be used as either, or both, in
combination. At present the gas bag was not fully inflated, and
Tom had been sending his craft along as an aeroplane.
"What are you going to do?" cried Ned, as he pulled over the
lever that set the gas generating machine in operation.
"I'm going up as high as I can go!" cried Tom. "If we can't go
down we must go up. I'll get above the hurricane instead of below
it. Give me all the gas you can, Ned!"
The vapor hissed as it rushed into the big bag overhead. Tom
carried aboard his craft the chemicals needed to generate the
powerful lifting gas, of which he alone had the secret. It was
more powerful than hydrogen, and simple to make. The balloon of
the Flyer was now being distended.
Meanwhile Tom, with Koku, Mr. Damon and Mr. Nestor to help him,
worked over the deflecting rudder, and also on the equilibrium
mechanism. But they could not get either to operate.
Ned stood by the gas machine, and worked it to the limit. But
even with all that energy, so powerful was the wind, that the
Flyer rose slowly, the gale actually holding her down as a
water-logged craft is held below the waves. Ordinarily, with the
gas machine set at its limit the craft would have shot up
At times the airship would skim along on the level, and again
it would be pitched and tossed about, until it was all the
occupants could do to keep their feet. Mr. Damon was continually
blessing everything he could remember.
"Now she's going!" suddenly cried Ned, as he looked at the
dials registering the pressure of the gas, and showing the height
of the airship above the earth.
"Going how?" gasped Tom, as he looked over from where he was
working at the equilibrium apparatus. "Going down?"
"Going up!" shouted Ned. "I guess we'll be all right soon!"
It was true. Now that the bag was filled with the powerful
lifting gas, under pressure, the Flyer was beginning to get out
of the dangerous predicament into which the gale had blown her,
Up and up she went, and every foot she climbed the power of the
wind became less.
"Maybe it all happened for the best," said Tom, as he noted the
height gage. "If we had gone down, the wind might have been worse
nearer the earth."
Later they learned that this was so. The most destructive wind
storm ever known swept across the southern part of Europe, over
which they were flying that night, and, had the airship gone
down, she would probably have been destroyed. But, going up, she
got above the wind-strata. Up and up she climbed, until, when
three miles above the earth, she was in a calm zone. It was
rather hard to breathe at this height, and Tom set the oxygen
apparatus at work.
This created in the interior of the craft an atmosphere almost
like that on the earth, and the travelers were made more at their
ease. Getting out of the terrible wind pressure made it possible
to work the deflecting rudder, though Tom had no idea of going
down, as long as the blow lasted.
"We'll just sail along at this height until morning," he said,
"and by then the gale may be over, or we may be beyond the zone
of it. Start the propellers, Ned. I think I can manage to repair
the equilibrium rudder now."
The propellers, which gave the forward motion to the airship,
had been stopped when it was found that the wind was carrying her
along, but they were now put in motion again, sending the Flyer
forward. In a short time Tom had the equilibrium machine in
order, and matters were now normal again.
"But that was a strenuous time while it lasted," remarked the
young inventor, as he sat down.
"It sure was," agreed Ned.
"Bless my pen wiper!" cried Mr. Damon. "That was one of the few
times when I wish I'd never come with you, Tom Swift," and
everyone laughed at that.
The Flyer was now out of danger, going along high in the air
through the night, while the gale raged below her. At Tom's
suggestion, Koku got a lunch ready, for they were all tired with
their labors, and somewhat nervous from the danger and
"And now for sleep!" exclaimed Tom, as he pushed back his
plate. "Ned, set the automatic steering gear, and we'll see where
we bring up by morning."
An examination, through a powerful telescope in the bright
light of morning, showed the travelers that they were over the
outskirts of a large city, which, later, they learned was Rome,
"We've made a good trip," said Tom. "The gale had us worried,
but it sent us along at a lively clip. Now for Switzerland, and
They made a landing at a village just outside the "Holy City,"
as Rome is often called, and renewed their supply of gasolene.
Naturally they attracted a crowd of curious persons, many of whom
had never seen an airship before. Certainly few of them had ever
seen one like Tom Swift's.
The next day found them hovering over the Alps, where Tom hoped
to be able to get the pictures of snow slides. They went down to
earth at a town near one of the big mountain ranges, and there
made inquiries as to where would be the best location to look for
big avalanches. If they went but a few miles to the north, they
were told, they would be in the desired region, and they departed
for that vicinity.
"And now we've just got to take our time, and wait for an
avalanche to happen," remarked Tom, as they were flying along
over the mountain ranges. "As Mr. Damon said, these things aren't
made to order. They just happen."
For three days they sailed in and out over the great
snow-covered peaks of the Alps. They did not go high up, for they
wanted to be near earth when an avalanche would occur, so that
near-view pictures could be secured. Occasionally they saw
parties of mountain climbers ascending some celebrated peak, and
for want of something better to photograph, Tom "snapped" the
"Well, I guess they're all out of avalanches this season,"
remarked Ned one afternoon, when they had circled back and forth
over a mountain where, so it was said, the big snow slides were
"It does seem so," agreed Tom. "Still, we're in no hurry. It is
easier to be up here, than it is walking around in a jungle, not
knowing what minute a tiger may jump out at you."
"Bless my rubbers, yes!" agreed Mr. Damon.
The sky was covered with lowering clouds, and there were
occasionally flurries of snow. Tom's airship was well above the
snow line on the mountains. The young inventor and Ned sat in the
pilot house, taking observations through a spyglass of the
mountain chain below them.
Suddenly Ned, who had the glass focused on a mighty peak, cried
"There she is, Tom!"
"The avalanche! The snow is beginning to slide down the
mountain! Say, it's going to be a big one, too. Got your camera
"Sure! I've had it ready for the last three days. Put me over
there, Ned. You look after the airship, and I'll take the
Tom sprang to get his apparatus, while his chum hurried to the
levers, wheels and handles that controlled the Flyer. As they
approached the avalanche they could see the great mass of ice,
snow, big stones, and earth sliding down the mountain side,
carrying tall trees with it.
"This is just what I wanted!" cried Tom, as he set his camera
working. "Put me closer, Ned."
Ned obeyed, and the airship was now hovering directly over the
avalanche, and right in its path. The big landslide, as it would
have been called in this country, met no village in its path,
fortunately, or it would have wiped it out completely. It was in
a wild and desolate region that it occurred.
"I want to get a real close view!" cried Tom, as he got some
pictures showing a whole grove of giant trees uprooted and
carried off. "Get closer Ned, and--"
Tom was interrupted by a cry of alarm from his chum.
"We're falling!" yelled Ned. "Something has gone wrong. We're
going down into the avalanche!".
CHAPTER XVI - TELEGRAPH ORDERS
There was confusion aboard the airship. Tom, hearing Ned's cry,
left his camera, to rush to the engine room, but not before he
had set the picture apparatus to working automatically. Mr.
Damon, Mr. Nestor and Koku, alarmed by Ned's cries, ran back from
the forward part of the craft, where they had been watching the
mighty mass of ice and earth as it rushed down the side of the
"What's wrong, Ned?" cried Tom excitedly.
"I don't know! The propellers have stopped! We were running as
an aeroplane you know. Now we're going down!"
"Bless my suspenders!" shouted Mr. Damon. "If we land in the
midst of that conglomeration of ice it will be the end of us."
"But we're not going to land there!" cried Tom.
How are you going to stop it?" demanded Mr. Nestor.
"By the gas machine!" answered Tom. "That will stop us from
falling. Start it up, Ned!"
"That's right! I always forget about that! I'll have it going
in a second!"
"Less than a second," called Tom, as he saw how near to the
mighty, rushing avalanche they were coming.
Ned worked rapidly, and in a very short time the downward
course of the airship was checked. It floated easily above the
rushing flood of ice and earth, and Tom, seeing that his craft,
and those on it, were safe, hurried back to his camera. Meanwhile
the machine had automatically been taking pictures, but now with
the young inventor to manage it, better results would be
Tom aimed it here and there, at the most spectacular parts of
the avalanche. The others gathered around him, after Ned had made
an inspection, and found that a broken electrical wire had caused
the propellers to stop. This was soon repaired and then, as they
were hanging in the air like a balloon, Tom took picture after
picture of the wonderful sight below them. Forest after forest
"This will be a great film!" Tom shouted to Ned, as the latter
informed him that the machinery was all right again. "Send me up
a little. I want to get a view from the top, looking down."
His chum made the necessary adjustments to the mechanism and
then, there being nothing more to slide down the mountainside the
avalanche was ended. But what a mass of wreck and ruin there was!
It was as if a mighty earthquake had torn the mountain asunder.
"It's a good thing it wasn't on a side of the mountain where
people lived," commented Ned, as the airship rose high toward the
clouds. "If it had been, there'd be nothing left of 'em. What
hair-raising stunt are you going to try next, Tom?"
"I don't know. I expect to hear from Mr. Period soon.
"Hear from Mr. Period?" exclaimed Mr. Nestor. "How are you
going to do that, Tom?"
"He said he would telegraph me at Berne, Switzerland, at a
certain date, as he knew I was coming to the Alps to try for some
avalanche pictures. It's two or three days yet, before I can
expect the telegram, which of course will have to come part way
by cable. In the meanwhile, I think we'll take a little rest, and
a vacation. I want to give the airship an overhauling, and look
to my camera. There's no telling what Mr. Period may want next."
"Then he didn't make out your programme completely before you
started?" asked Mr. Nestor.
"No, he said he'd communicate with me from time to time. He is
in touch with what is going on in the world, you know, and if he
hears of anything exciting at any place, I'm to go there at once.
You see he wants the most sensational films he can get."
"Yes, our company is out to give the best pictures we can
secure," spoke Mary's father, "and I think we are lucky to have
Tom Swift working for us. We already have films that no other
concern can get. And we need them."
"I wonder what became of those men who started to make so much
trouble for you, Tom?" asked Mr. Damon.
"Well, they seem to have disappeared," replied our hero. "Of
course they may be after me any day now, but for the time being,
I've thrown them off my track."
"So then you don't know where you're going next?" asked Ned.
"No, it may be to Japan, or to the North Pole. Well, I'm ready
for anything. We've got plenty of gasolene, and the Flyer can
certainly go," said Tom.
They went down to earth in a quiet spot, just outside of a
little village, and there they remained three days, to the no
small wonder of the inhabitants. Tom wanted to see if his camera
was working properly. So he developed some of the avalanche
pictures, and found them excellent. The rest of the time was
spent in making some needed repairs to the airship, while the
young inventor overhauled his Wizard machine, that he found
needed a few adjustments.
Their arrival in Berne created quite a sensation, but they were
used to that. Tom anchored his airship just outside the city,
and, accompanied by Ned, made his way to the telegraph office.
Some of the officials there could speak English, though not very
"I am expecting a message," said Tom.
"Yes? Who for?" asked the clerk.
"Tom Swift. It will be from America."
As Tom said this he observed a man sitting in the corner of the
office get up hurriedly and go out. All at once his suspicions
were aroused. He thought of the attempts that had been made to
get his Wizard Camera away from him.
"Who was that man?" he quickly asked the agent.
"Him? Oh, he, too, is expecting a message from America. He has
been here some time."
"Why did he go out so quickly?" Ned wanted to know.
"Why, I can not tell. He is an Englishman. They do strange
"My telegram? Is it here?" asked Tom impatiently. He wanted to
get whatever word there was from Mr. Period, and be on his way to
whatever destination the picture man might select. Perhaps, after
all, his suspicions, against the man who had so suddenly left,
"Yes, there is a cablegram here for you, Monsieur Swift," said
the man, who was French. "There are charges on it, however."
"Pay 'em, Ned, while I see what this is," directed the young
inventor, as he tore open the envelope.
"Whew!" he whistled a moment later. "This is going some."
"Where to now?" asked Ned. "The North Pole?"
"No, just the opposite. Mr. Period wants me to go to Africa--
the Congo Free State. There's an uprising among the natives
there, and he wants some war pictures. Well, I guess I'll have to
As Tom spoke he looked toward the door of the telegraph office,
and he saw the man, who had so hurriedly gone out a few moments
before, looking in at him.
CHAPTER XVII - SUSPICIOUS STRANGERS
"Off to Africa; eh?" remarked Ned, as Tom put the envelope in
his pocket. "That's another long jump. But I guess the Flyer can
"Yes, I think so. I say Ned, not so loud," said Tom, who had
hurried to the side of his chum, whispered the last words.
"What's up?" inquired Ned quickly. "Anything wrong?"
"I don't know. But I think we are being watched. Did you notice
that fellow who was in here a minute ago, when I asked for a
"Yes, what about him?"
"Well, he's looking in the door now I think. Don't turn round.
Just look up into that mirror on the wall, and you can see his
"I understand," whispered Ned, as he turned his gaze toward the
mirror in question, a large one, with advertisements around the
frame. "I see him," he went on. "There's some one with him."
"That's what I thought," replied Tom. "Take a good look. Whom
do you think the other chap is?"
Ned looked long and earnestly. By means of the mirror, he could
see, perfectly plain, two men standing just outside the door of
the telegraph office. The portal was only partly open. Ned drew
an old letter from his pocket, and pretended to be showing it to
Tom. But, all the while he was gazing earnestly at the two men.
Suddenly one of them moved, giving Tom's chum a better view of
"By Jove, Tom!" the lad exclaimed in a tense whisper. "If it
isn't that Eckert fellow I'm a cow."
"That's what I thought," spoke Tom coolly. "Not that you're a
cow, Ned, but I believe that this man is one of the moving
picture partners, who are rivals of Mr. Period. I wasn't quite
sure myself after the first glance I had of him, so I wanted you
to take a look. Do you know the other chap--the one who ran out
when I asked for my telegram?"
"No, I've never seen him before as far as I know."
"Same here. Come on."
"What are you going to do?"
"Go back to the airship, and tell Mr. Nestor. As one of the
directors in the concern I'm working for. I want his advice."
"Good idea," replied Ned, and they turned to leave the office.
The spying stranger, and William Eckert, were not in sight when
the two lads came out.
"They got away mighty quick," remarked Tom, as he looked up and
down the street.
"Yes, they probably saw us turn to come out, and made a quick
get-away. They might be in any one of these places along here,"
for the street, on either side of the telegraph office, contained
a number of hotels, with doors opening on the sidewalk.
"They must be on your trail yet," decided Mr. Nestor when Tom,
reaching the anchored airship, told what had happened. "Well, my
advice is to go to Africa as soon as we can. In that way we'll
leave them behind, and they won't have any chance to get your
"But what I can't understand," said Tom, "is how they knew I
was coming here. It was just as if that one man had been waiting
in the telegraph office for me to appear. I'm sorry, now, that I
mentioned to Ned where we were ordered to. But I didn't think."
"They probably knew, anyway," was Mr. Nestor's opinion. "I
think this may explain it. The rival concern in New York has been
keeping track of Mr. Period's movements. Probably they have a
paid spy who may be in his employ. They knew when he sent you a
telegram, what it contained, and where it was directed to. Then,
of course, they knew you would call here for it. What they did
not know was when you would come, and so they had to wait. That
one spy was on guard, and, as soon as you came, he went and
summoned Eckert, who was waiting somewhere in the neighborhood."
"Bless my detective story!" cried Mr. Damon. "What a state of
affairs! They ought to be arrested, Tom."
"It would be useless," said Mr. Nestor. "They are probably far
enough away by this time. Or else they have put others on Tom's
"I'll fight my own battles!" exclaimed the young inventor. "I
don't go much on the police in a case like this, especially foreign
police. Well, my camera is all right, so far," he went on, as he
took a look at it, in the compartment where he kept it. "Some one
must always remain near it, after this. But we'll soon start for
Africa, to get some pictures of a native battle. I hope it isn't
the red pygmies we have to photograph."
"Bless my shoe laces! Don't suggest such a thing," begged Mr.
Damon, as he recalled the strenuous times when the dwarfs held
the missionaries captive.
It was necessary to lay in some stores and provisions, and for
this reason Tom could not at once head the airship for the
African jungles. As she remained at anchor, just outside the
city, crowds of Swiss people came out to look at the wonderful
craft. But Tom and his companions took care that no one got
aboard, and they kept a strict lookout for Americans, or
Englishmen, thinking perhaps that Mr. Eckert, or the spy, might
try to get the camera. However, they did not see them, and a few
days after the receipt of the message from Mr. Period, having
stocked up, they rose high into the air, and set out to cross the
Mediterranean Sea for Africa. Tom laid a route over Tripoli, the
Sahara Desert, the French Congo, and so into the Congo Free
State. In his telegram, Mr. Period had said that the expected
uprising was to take place near Stanley Falls, on the Congo
"And supposing it does not happen?" asked Mr. Damon. "What if
the natives don't fight, Tom? You'll have your trip for nothing,
and Will run a lot of risk besides."
"It's one of the chances I'm taking," replied the young
inventor, and truly, as he thought of it, he realized that the
perils of the moving picture business were greater than he had
imagined. Tom hoped to get a quick trip to the Congo, but, as
they were sailing over the big desert, there was an accident to
the main motor, and the airship suddenly began shooting toward
the sands. She was easily brought up, by means of the gas bags,
and allowed to settle gently to the ground, in the vicinity of a
large oasis. But, when Tom looked at the broken machinery, he
"This means a week's delay. It will take that, and longer, to
fix it so we can go on."
"Too bad!" exclaimed Mr. Nestor. "The war may be over when we
get there. But it can't be helped."
It took Tom and his friends even longer than he had thought to
make the repairs. In the meanwhile they camped in the desert
place, which was far from being unpleasant. Occasionally a