Part 1 out of 3
and proof read by Erin Hartshorn and George Joseph
TOM SWIFT AND HIS MOTOR-BOAT
Or The Rivals of Lake Carlopa
By VICTOR APPLETON
I ----- A Motor-boat Auction
II ---- Some Lively Bidding
III --- A Timely Warning
IV ---- Tom And Andy Clash
V ----- A Test Of Speed
VI ---- Towing Some Girls
VII --- A Brush With Andy
VIII -- Off On A Trip
IX ---- Mr. Swift Is Alarmed
X ----- A Cry For Help
XI ---- A Quick Run
XII --- Suspicious Characters
XIII -- Tom In Danger
XIV --- The ARROW Disappears
XV ---- A Damaging Statement
XVI --- Still On The Search
XVII -- "There She Is!"
XVIII - The Pursuit
XIX --- A Quiet Cruise
XX ---- News Of A Robbery
XXI --- The Balloon On Fire
XXII -- The Rescue
XXIII - Plans For An Airship
XXIV -- The Mystery Solved
XXV --- Winning A Race
A MOTOR-BOAT AUCTION
"Where are you going, Tom?" asked Mr. Barton Swift of his son as
the young man was slowly pushing his motor-cycle out of the yard
toward the country road. "You look as though you had some object
"So I have, dad. I'm going over to Lanton."
"To Lanton? What for?"
"I want to have a look at that motor-boat."
"Which boat is that, Tom? I don't recall your speaking about a
boat over at Lanton. What do you want to look at it for?"
"It's the motor-boat those fellows had who tried to get away with
your turbine model invention, dad. The one they used at the old
General Harkness mansion, in the woods near the lake, and the same
boat that fellow used when he got away from me the day I was
chasing him here."
"Oh, yes, I remember now. But what is the boat doing over at
"That's where it belongs. It's the property of Mr. Bently
Hastings. The thieves stole it from him, and when they ran away
from the old mansion, the time Mr. Damon and I raided the place,
they left the boat on the lake. I turned it over to the county
authorities, and they found out it belonged to Mr. Hastings. He
has it back now, but I understand it's somewhat damaged, and he
wants to get rid of it. He's going to sell it at auction today,
and I thought I'd go over and take a look at it. You see---"
"Yes, I see, Tom," exclaimed Mr. Swift with a laugh. "I see what
you're aiming at. You want a motor-boat, and you're going all
around Robin Hood's barn to get at it."
"No, dad, I only---"
"Oh, I know you, Tom, my lad!" interrupted the inventor, shaking
his finger at his son, who seemed somewhat confused. "You have a
nice rowing skiff and a sailboat, yet you are hankering for a
motor-boat. Come now, own up. Aren't you?"
"Well, dad, a motor-boat certainly would go fine on Lake Carlopa.
There's plenty of room to speed her, and I wonder there aren't
more of them. I was going to see what Mr. Hastings' boat would
sell for, but I didn't exactly think of buying it' Still---"
"But you wouldn't buy a damaged boat, would you?"
"It isn't much damaged," and in his eagerness the young inventor
(for Tom Swift had taken out several patents) stood his motor-
cycle up against the fence and came closer to his father. "It's
only slightly damaged," he went on. "I can easily fix it. I
looked it all over before I gave it in charge of the authorities,
and it's certainly a fine boat. It's worth nine hundred dollars--
-or it was when it was new."
"That's a good deal of money for a boat," and Mr. Swift looked
serious, for though he was well off, he was inclined to be
"Oh, I shouldn't think of paying that much. In fact, dad, I
really had no idea of bidding at the auction. I only thought I'd
go over and get an idea of what the boat might sell for. Perhaps
Tom paused. Since his father had begun to question him some new
plans had come into the lad's head. He looked at his parent and
saw a smile beginning to work around the corners of Mr. Swift's
lips. There was also a humorous look in the eyes of the older
inventor. He understood boys fairly well, even if he only had
one, and he knew Tom perfectly.
"Would you really like to make a bid on that boat Tom?" he asked.
"Would I, dad? Well---" The youth did not finish, but his father
knew what he meant.
"I suppose a motor-boat would be a nice thing to have on Lake
Carlopa," went on Mr. Swift musingly. "You and I could take
frequent trips in it. It isn't like a motor-cycle, only useful
for one. What do you suppose the boat will go for, Tom?"
"I hardly know. Not a high price, I believe, for motor-boats are
so new on our lake that few persons will take a chance on them.
But if Mr. Hastings is getting another, he will not be so
particular about insisting on a high price for the old one. Then,
too, the fact that it is damaged will help to keep the price down,
though I know I can easily put it in good shape. I would like to
make a bid, if you think it's all right."
Well, I guess you may, Tom, if you really want it. You have money
of your own and a motor-boat is not a bad investment. What do you
think ought to be the limit?"
"Would you consider a hundred and fifty dollars too high?"
Mr. Swift looked at Tom critically. He was plainly going over
several matters in his mind, and not the least of them was the
pluck his son had shown in getting back some valuable papers and a
model from a gang of thieves. The lad certainly was entitled to
some reward, and to allow him to get a boat might properly be part
"I think you could safely go as high as two hundred dollars, Tom,"
said Mr. Swift at length. "That would be my limit on a damaged
boat for it might be better to pay a little more and get a new
one. However, use your own judgment, but don't go over two
hundred. So the thieves who made so much trouble for me stole
that boat from Mr. Hastings, eh?"
"Yes, and they didn't take much care of it either. They damaged
the engine, but the hull is in good shape. I'm ever so glad
you'll let me bid on it. I'll start right off. The auction is at
ten o'clock and I haven't more than time to get there."
"Now be careful how you bid. Don't raise your own figures, as
I've sometimes seen women, and men too, do in their excitement.
Somebody may go over your head; and if he does, let them. If you
get the boat I'll be very glad on your account. But don't bring
any of Anson Morse's gang back in it with you. I've seen enough
"I'll not dad!" cried Tom as he trundled his motor-cycle out of
the gate and into the country road that led to the village of
Shopton, where he lived, and to Lanton, where the auction was to
be held. The young inventor had not gone far before he turned
back, leaving his machine standing on the side path.
"What's the matter?" asked his father, who had started toward one
of several machine shops on the premises---shops where Mr. Swift
and his son did inventive work.
"Guess I'd better get a blank check and some money," replied Tom
as he entered the house. "I'll need to pay a deposit if I secure
"That's so. Well, good luck," and with his mind busy on a plan
for a new kind of storage battery, the inventor went on to his
workroom. Tom got some cash and his checkbook from a small safe
he owned and was soon speeding over the road to Lanton, his motor-
cycle making quite a cloud of dust. While he is thus hurrying
along to the auction I will tell you something about him.
Tom Swift, son of Barton Swift, lived with his father and a
motherly housekeeper, Mrs. Baggert, in a large house on the
outskirts of the town of Shopton, in New York State. Mr. Swift
had acquired considerable wealth from his many inventions and
patents, but he did not give up working out his ideas simply
because he had plenty of money. Tom followed in the footsteps of
his parent and had already taken out several patents.
Shortly before this story opens the youth had become possessed of
a motor-cycle in a peculiar fashion. As told in the first volume
of this series, entitled "Tom Swift and His Motor-cycle," Tom was
riding to the town of Mansburg on an errand for his father one day
when he was nearly run down by a motorcyclist. A little later the
same motorcyclist, who was a Mr. Wakefield Damon, of Waterfield,
collided with a tree near Tom's home and was severely cut and
bruised, the machine being broken. Tom and his father cared for
the injured rider, and Mr. Damon, who was an eccentric individual,
was so disheartened by his attempts to ride the motor-cycle that
he sold it to Tom for fifty dollars, though it had cost much more.
About the same time that Tom bought the motor-cycle a firm of
rascally lawyers, Smeak & Katch by name, had, in conjunction with
several men, made an attempt to get control of an invention of a
turbine motor perfected by Mr. Swift. The men, who were Ferguson
Appleson, Anson Morse, Wilson Featherton, alias Simpson, and Jake
Burke, alias Happy Harry, who sometimes disguised himself as a
tramp, tried several times to steal the model.
Their anxiety to get it was due to the fact that they had invested
a large sum in a turbine motor invented by another man, but their
motor would not work and they sought to steal Mr. Swift's. Tom
was sent to Albany on his motor-cycle to deliver the model and
some valuable papers to Mr. Crawford, of the law firm of Reid &
Crawford, of Washington, attorneys for Mr. Swift. Mr. Crawford
had an errand in Albany and had agreed to meet Tom there with the
But, on the way, Tom was attacked by the gang of unscrupulous men
and the model was stolen. He was assaulted and carried far away
in an automobile. In an attempt to capture the gang in a deserted
mansion, in the woods on the shore of Lake Carlopa, Tom was aided
by Mr. Damon, of whom he had purchased the motor-cycle. The men
escaped, however, and nothing could be done to punish them.
Tom was thinking of the exciting scenes he had passed through
about a month previous as he spun along the road leading to
"I hope I don't meet Happy Harry or any of his gang today," mused
the lad as he turned on a little more power to enable his machine
to mount a hill. "I don't believe they'll attend the auction,
though. It would be too risky for them."
As Tom swung along at a rapid pace he heard, behind him, the
puffing of an automobile, with the muffler cut out. He turned and
cast a hasty glance behind.
"I hope that ain't Andy Foger or any of his cronies," he said to
himself. "He might try to run me down just for spite. He
generally rushes along with the muffler open so as to attract
attention and make folks think he has a racing car."
It was not Andy, however, as Tom saw a little later, as a man
passed him in a big touring car. Andy Foger, as my readers will
recollect, was a red-haired, squinty-eyed lad with plenty of money
and not much else. He and his cronies, including Sam Snedecker,
nearly ran Tom down one day, when the latter was on his bicycle,
as told in the first volume of this series. Andy had been off on
a tour with his chums during the time when Tom was having such
strenuous adventures and had recently returned.
"If I can only get that boat," mused Tom as he swung back into the
middle of the road after the auto had passed him, "I certainly
will have lots of fun. I'll make a week's tour of Lake Carlopa
and take dad and Ned Newton with me." Ned was Tom's most
particular chum, but as young Newton was employed in the Shopton
bank, the lad did not have much time for pleasure. Lake Carlopa
was a large body of water, and it would take a moderately powered
boat several days to make a complete circuit of the shore, so cut
up into bays and inlets was it.
In about an hour Tom was at Lanton, and as he neared the home of
Mr. Hastings, which was on the shore of the lake, he saw quite a
throng going down toward the boathouse.
"There'll be some lively bidding," thought Tom as he got off his
machine and pushed it ahead of him through the drive and down
toward the river. I hope they don't go above two hundred dollars,
"Get out the way there!" called a sudden voice, and looking back,
Tom saw that an automobile had crept up silently behind him. In
it were Andy Foger and Sam Snedecker. "Why don't you get out the
way?" petulantly demanded the red-haired lad.
"Because I don't choose to," replied Tom calmly, knowing that Andy
would never dare to speed up his machine on the slope leading down
to the lake.
"Go ahead, bump him!" the young inventor heard Sam whisper.
"You'd better try it, if you want to get the best trouncing you
ever had!" cried Tom hotly.
"Hu! I s'pose you think you're going to bid on the boat?" sneered
"Is there any law against it?" asked Tom.
"Hu! Well, you'll not get it. I'm going to take that boat,"
retorted the squint-eyed bully. "Dad gave me the money to get
"All right," answered Tom non-committally. "Go ahead. It's a
He stood his motor-cycle up against a tree and went toward a group
of persons who were surrounding the auctioneer. The time had
arrived to start the sale. As Tom edged in closer he brushed
against a man who looked at him sharply. The lad was just
wondering if he had ever seen the individual before, as there
seemed to be something strangely familiar about him, when the man
turned quickly away, as if afraid of being recognized.
"That's odd," thought Tom, but he had no further time for
speculation, as the auctioneer was mounting on a soapbox and had
begun to address the gathering.
SOME LIVELY BIDDING
"Attention, people!" cried the auctioneer. "Give me your
attention for a few minutes, and we will proceed with the business
in hand. As you all know, I am about to dispose of a fine motor-
boat, the property of Mr. Bently Hastings. The reason for
disposing of it at auction is known to most of you, but for the
benefit of those who do not, I will briefly state them. The boat
was stolen by a gang of thieves and recovered recently through the
efforts of a young man, Thomas Swift, son of Barton Swift, our
fellow-townsman, of Shopton." At that moment the auctioneer, Jacob
Wood, caught sight of Tom in the press, and, looking directly at
the lad, continued:
"I understand that young Mr. Swift is here to-day, and I hope he
intends to bid on this boat. If he does, the bidding will be
lively, for Tom Swift is a lively young man. I wish I could say
that some of the men who stole the boat were here to-day."
The auctioneer paused and there were some murmurs from those in
the throng as to why such a wish should be uttered. Tom felt some
one moving near him, and, looking around, he saw the same man with
whom he had come in contact before. The person seemed desirous of
getting out on the edge of the crowd, and Tom felt a return of his
vague suspicions. He looked closely at the fellow, but could
trace no resemblance to any of the men who had so daringly stolen
his father's model.
"The reason I wish they were here to-day," went on Mr. Wood, "is
that the men did some slight damage to the boat, and if they were
here to-day we would make them pay for it. However, the damage is
slight and can easily be repaired. I mention that, as Mr.
Hastings desired me to. Now we will proceed with the bidding, and
I will say that an opportunity will first be given all to examine
the boat. Perhaps Tom Swift will give us his opinion on the state
it is in as we know he is well qualified to talk about machinery."
All eyes were turned on Tom, for many knew him.
"Humph! I guess I know as much about boats and motors as he does,"
sneered Andy Foger. 'He isn't the only one in this crowd! Why
didn't the auctioneer ask me?"
"Keep quiet," begged Sam Snedecker. "People are laughing at you,
"I don't care if they are," muttered the sandy haired youth. "Tom
Swift needn't think he's everything."
"If you will come down to the dock," went on the auctioneer, "you
can all see the boat, and I would be glad to have young Mr. Swift
give us the benefit of his advice."
The throng trooped down to the lake, and, blushing somewhat, Tom
told what was the matter with the motor and how it could be fixed.
It was noticed that there was less enthusiasm over the matter than
there had been, for certainly the engine, rusty and out of order
as it was, did not present an attractive sight. Tom noted that
the man, who had acted so strangely, did not come down to the
"Guess he can't be much interested in the motor," decided Tom.
"Now then, if it's all the same to you folks, I'll proceed with
the auction here," went on Mr. Wood. "You can all see the boat
from here. It is, as you see, a regular family launch and will
carry twelve persons comfortably. With a canopy fitted to it a
person could cruise all about the lake and stay out over night,
for you could sleep on the seat cushions. It is twenty-one feet
in length and has a five-and-a-half-foot beam, the design being
what is known as a compromise stern. The motor is a double-
cylinder two-cycle one, of ten horsepower. It has a float-feed
carburetor, mechanical oiler, and the ignition system is the jump-
spark---the best for this style of motor. The boat will make ten
miles an hour, with twelve in, and, of course, more than that with
a lighter load. A good deal will depend on the way the motor is
"Now, as you know, Mr. Hastings wishes to dispose of the boat
partly because he does not wish to repair it and partly because he
has a newer and larger one. The craft, which is named CARLOPA by
the way, cost originally nine hundred dollars. It could not be
purchased new to day, in many places, for a thousand. Now what am
I offered in its present condition? Will any one make an offer?
Will you give me five hundred dollars?"
The auctioneer paused and looked critically at the throng.
Several persons smiled. Tom looked worried. He had no idea that
the price would start so high.
"Well, perhaps that is a bit stiff," went on Mr. Wood. "Shall we
say four hundred dollars? Come now, I'm sure it's worth four
hundred. Who'll start it at four hundred?"
No one would, and the auctioneer descended to three hundred, then
to two and finally, as if impatient, he called out:
"Well, will any one start at fifty dollars?"
Instantly there were several cries of "I will!"
"I thought you would," went on the auctioneer. "Now we will get
down to work. I'm offered fifty dollars for this twenty-one foot,
ten horsepower family launch. Will any one make it sixty?"
"Sixty!" called out Andy Foger in a shrill voice. Several turned
to look at him.
"I didn't know he was going to bid," thought Tom. "He may go
above me. He's got plenty of money, and, while I have too, I'm
not going to pay too much for a damaged boat."
"Sixty I'm bid, sixty---sixty!" cried Mr. Wood in a sing-song
tone, "who'll make it seventy?"
"Sixty-five!" spoke a quiet voice at Tom's elbow, and he turned to
see the mysterious man who had joined the crowd at the edge of the
"Sixty-five from the gentleman in the white straw hat!" called Mr.
Wood with a smile at his wit, for there were many men wearing
white straw hats, the day being a warm one in June.
"Here, who's bidding above me?" exclaimed Andy, as if it was
against the law.
"I guess you'll find a number going ahead of you, my young
friend," remarked the auctioneer. "Will you have the goodness not
to interrupt me, except when you want to bid?"
"Well, I offered sixty," said the squint-eyed bully, while his
crony, Sam Snedecker, was vainly, pulling at his sleeve.
"I know you did, and this gentleman went above you. If you want
to bid more you can do so. I'm offered sixty-five, sixty-five I'm
offered for this boat. Will any one make it seventy-five?"
Mr. Wood looked at Tom, and our hero, thinking it was time for him
to make a bid, offered seventy. "Seventy from Tom Swift!" cried
auctioneer. "There is a lad who knows a motor-boat from stem to
stern, if those are the right words. I don't know much about
boats except what I'm told, but Tom Swift does. Now, if he bids,
you people ought to know that it's all right. I'm bid seventy---
seventy I'm bid. Will any one make it eighty?"
"Eighty!" exclaimed Andy Foger after a whispered conference with
Sam. "I know as much about boats as Tom Swift. I'll make it
"No side remarks. I'll do most of the talking. You just bid,
young man," remarked Mr. Wood. "I have eighty bid for this boat--
-eighty dollars. Why, my friends, I can't understand this. I
ought to have it up to three hundred dollars, at least. But I
thank you all the same. We are coming on. I'm bid eighty---"
"Ninety!" exclaimed the quiet man at Tom's elbow. He was
continually fingering his upper lip, as though he had a mustache
there, but his face was clean-shaven. He looked around nervously
as he spoke.
"Ninety!" called out the auctioneer.
"Ninety-five!" returned Tom. Andy Foger scowled at him, but the
young inventor only smiled. It was evident that the bully did not
relish being bid against. He and his crony whispered together
"One hundred!" called Andy, as if no one would dare go above that.
"I'm offered an even hundred," resumed Mr. Wood. "We are
certainly coming on. A hundred I am bid, a hundred---a hundred---
"And five," said the strange man hastily, and he seemed to choke
as he uttered the words.
"Oh, come now; we ought to have at least ten-dollar bids from now
on," suggested Mr. Wood. "Won't you make it a hundred and ten?"
The auctioneer looked directly at the man, who seemed to shrink
back into the crowd. He shook his head, cast a sort of despairing
look at the boat and hurried away.
"That's queer," murmured Tom. "I guess that was his limit, yet if
he wanted the boat badly that wasn't a high price."
"Who's going ahead of me?" demanded Andy in loud tones.
"Keep quiet!" urged Sam. "We may get it yet."
"Yes, don't make so many remarks," counseled the auctioneer. "I'm
bid a hundred and five. Will any one make it a hundred and
Tom wondered why the man bad not remained to see if his bid was
accepted, for no one raised it at once, but he hurried off and did
not look back. Tom took a sudden resolve.
"A hundred and twenty-five!" he called out.
"That's what I like to hear," exclaimed Mr. Wood. "Now we are
doing business. A hundred and twenty-five from Tom Swift. Will
any one offer me fifty?"
Andy and Sam seemed to be having some dispute.
"Let's make him quit right now," suggested Andy in a hoarse
"You can't," declared Sam'
"Yes, I can. I'll go up to my limit right now."
"And some one will go above you---maybe Tom will," was Sam's
"I don't believe he can afford to," Andy came back with. "I'm
going to call his bluffs. I believe he's only bidding to make
others think he wants it. I don't believe he'll buy it."
Tom heard what was said, but did not reply. The auctioneer was
calling monotonously: "I'm bid a hundred and twenty-five---twenty-
five. Will any one make it fifty?"
"A hundred and fifty!" sang out Andy, and all eyes were directed
"Sixty!" said Tom quietly.
"Here, you---" began the red-haired lad. You---"
"That will do!" exclaimed the auctioneer sternly. "I am offered a
hundred and sixty. Now who will give me an advance? I want to get
the boat up to two hundred, and then the real bidding will begin."
Tom's heart sank. He hoped it would be some time before a two
hundred dollar offer would be heard. As for Andy Foger, he was
almost speechless with rage. He shook off the restraining arm of
Sam, and, worming his way to the front of the throng, exclaimed:
"I'll give a hundred and seventy-five dollars for that boat!"
"Good!" cried the auctioneer. "That's the way to talk. I'm
offered a hundred and seventy-five."
"Eighty," said Tom quietly, though his heart was beating fast.
"Well, of all---" began Andy, but Sam Snedecker dragged him back.
"You haven't got any more money, " said the bully's crony.
"Better stop now."
"I will not! I'm going home for more," declared Andy. "I must
have that boat."
"It will be sold when you get back," said Sam.
"Haven't you got any money you can lend me?" inquired the squint-
eyed one, scowling in Tom's direction.
"No, not a bit. There, some one raised Tom's bid."
At that moment a man in the crowd offered a hundred and eighty-one
"Small amounts thankfully received," said Mr. Wood with a laugh.
Then the bidding became lively, a number making one-dollar
The price got up to one hundred and ninety-five dollars and there
it hung for several minutes, despite the eloquence of Mr. Wood,
who tried by all his persuasive powers to get a substantial
advance. But every one seemed afraid to bid. As for the young
inventor, he was in a quandary. He could only offer five dollars
more, and, if he bid it in a lump, some one might go to two
hundred and five, and he would not get the boat. He wished he had
secured permission from his father to go higher, yet he knew that
as a fair proposition two hundred dollars was about all the motor-
boat in its present condition was worth, at least to him. Then he
made a sudden resolve. He thought he might as well have the
"Two hundred dollars!" he called boldly.
"I'm offered two hundred!" repeated Mr. Wood. "That is something
like it. Now who will raise that?"
There was a moment of silence. Then the auctioneer swung into an
enthusiastic description of the boat. He begged for an advance,
but none was made, though Tom's heart seemed in his throat, so
afraid was he that he would not get the CARLOPA.
"Two hundred---two hundred!" droned on Mr. Wood. "I am offered
two hundred. Will any of you go any higher?" He paused a moment,
and Tom's heart beat harder than ever. "If not," resumed the
speaker, "I will declare the bidding closed. Are you all done?
Once---twice---three times. Two hundred dollars. Going---going--
-gone!" He clapped his hands. "The boat is sold to Thomas Swift
for two hundred dollars. If he'll step up I'll take his money."
There was a laugh as Tom, blushingly, advanced. He passed Andy
Foger, who had worked his way over near him.
"You got the boat," sneered the bully, "and I s'pose you think you
got ahead of me."
"Keep quiet!" begged Sam.
"I won't!" exclaimed Andy. "He outbid me just out of spite, and
I'll get even with him. You see if I don't!"
Tom looked Andy Foger straight in the eyes, but did not answer,
and the red-haired youth turned aside, followed by his crony, and
started toward his automobile.
"I congratulate you on your bargain," said Mr. Wood as Tom
proceeded to make out a check. He gave little thought to the
threat Andy Foger had made, but the time was coming when he was to
remember it well.
A TIMELY WARNING
"Well, are you satisfied with your bargain, Tom?" asked Mr. Wood
when the formalities about transferring the ownership of the
motor-boat had been completed.
"Oh, yes, I calculated to pay just what I did."
"I'm glad you're satisfied, for Mr. Hastings told me to be sure
the purchaser was satisfied. Here he comes now. I guess he
wasn't at the auction."
An elderly gentleman was approaching Mr. Wood and Tom. Most of
the throng was dispersing, but the young inventor noticed that
Andy Foger and Sam Snedecker stood to one side, regarding him
"So you got my boat," remarked the former owner of the craft. "I
hope you will be able to fix it up."
"Oh, I think I shall," answered the new owner of the CARLOPA. "If
I can't, father will help me."
"Yes, you have an advantage there. Are you going to keep the same
name?" and Mr. Hastings seemed quite interested in what answer the
lad would make.
"I think not," replied Tom. "It's a good name, but I want
something that tells more what a fast boat it is, for I'm going to
make some changes that will increase the speed."
"That's a good idea. Call it the Swift."
"Folks would say I was stuck up if I did that," retorted the youth
quickly. "I think I shall call it the ARROW. That's a good,
short name, and---"
"It's certainly speedy," interrupted Mr. Hastings. "Well now,
since you're not going to use the name CARLOPA, would you mind if
I took it for my new boat? I have a fancy for it."
"Not in the least," said Tom. "Don't you want the letters from
each side of the bow to put on your new craft?"
"It's very kind of you to offer them, and, since you will have no
need for them, I'll be glad to take them off."
"Come down to my boat," invited Tom, using the word "my" with a
proper pride, "and I'll take off the brass letters. I have a
screw driver in my motor-cycle tool bag."
As the former and present owners of the ARROW (which is the name
by which I shall hereafter designate Tom's motor-boat) walked down
toward the dock where it was moored the young inventor gave a
"What's the matter?" asked Mr. Hastings.
"That man! See him at my motor-boat?" cried Tom. He pointed to
the craft in the lake. A man was in the cockpit and seemed to be
doing something to the forward bulkhead, which closed off the
compartment holding the gasoline tank.
"Who is he?" asked Mr. Hastings, while Tom started on a run toward
"I don't know. Some man who bid on the boat at the auction, but
who didn't go high enough," answered the lad. As he neared the
craft the man sprang out, ran along the lakeshore for a short
distance and then disappeared amid the bushes which bordered the
estate of Mr. Hastings. Tom hurriedly entered the ARROW.
Did he do any damage?" asked Mr. Hastings.
I guess he didn't have time," responded Tom. "But he was
tampering with the lock on the door of the forward compartment.
What's in there?"
"Nothing but the gasoline tank. I keep the bulkhead sliding door
locked on general principles. I can't imagine what the fellow
would want to open it for. There's nothing of value in there.
Perhaps he isn't right in his head. Was he a tramp?"
"No, he was well dressed but he seemed very nervous during the
auction, as if he was disappointed not to have secured the boat.
Yet what could he want in that compartment? Have you the key to
the lock, Mr. Hastings?"
"Yes, it belongs to you now, Mr. Swift," and the former owner
handed it to Tom, who quickly unlocked the compartment. He slid
back the door and peered within, but all he saw was the big
"Nothing in there he could want," commented the former owner of
"No," agreed Tom in a low voice. "I don't see what he wanted to
open the door for." But the time was to come, and not far off,
when Tom was to discover quite a mystery connected with the
forward compartment of his boat, and the solution of it was fated
to bring him into no little danger.
"It certainly is odd," went on Mr. Hastings when, after Tom had
secured the screw driver from his motor-cycle tool bag, he aided
the lad in removing the letters from the bow of the boat "Are you
sure you don't know the man?"
"No, I never saw him before. At first I thought his voice sounded
like one of the members of the Happy Harry gang, but when I looked
squarely at him I could not see a bit of resemblance. Besides,
that gang would not venture again into this neighborhood."
"No, I imagine not. Perhaps he was only a curious, meddlesome
person. I have frequently been bothered by such individuals.
They want to see all the working parts of an automobile or motor-
boat, and they don't care what damage they do by investigating."
Tom did not reply, but he was pretty certain that the man in
question had more of an object than mere curiosity in tampering
with the boat. However, he could discover no solution just then,
and he proceeded with the work of taking off the letters.
"What are you going to do with your boat, now that you have it?"
asked Mr. Hastings. "Can you run it down to your dock in the
condition in which it is now?"
"No, I shall have to go back home, get some tools and fix up the
motor. It will take half a day, at least. I will come back this
afternoon and, have the boat at my house by night. That is if I
may leave it at your dock here."
"Certainly, as long as you like."
The young inventor had many things to think about as he rode
toward home, and though he was somewhat puzzled over the actions
of the stranger, he forgot about that in anticipating the pleasure
he would have when the motor-boat was in running order.
"I'll take dad off on a cruise about the lake," he decided. "He
needs a rest, for he's been working hard and worrying over the
theft of the turbine motor model. I'll take Ned Newton for some
rides, too, and he can bring his camera along and get a lot of
pictures. Oh, I'll have some jolly sport this summer!"
Tom was riding swiftly along a quiet country road and was
approaching a steep hill, which he could not see until he was
close to it, owing to a sharp turn.
As he was about to swing around it and coast swiftly down the
steep declivity he was startled by hearing a voice calling to him
from the bushes at the side of the road.
"Hold on, dar I Hold on, Mistah Swift!" cried a colored man,
suddenly popping into view. "Doan't go down dat hill."
"Why, it's Eradicate Sampson!" exclaimed Tom, quickly shutting off
the power and applying the brakes. "What's the matter, Rad? Why
shouldn't I go down that hill?"
"Beca'se, Mistah Swift, dere's a pow'ful monstrous tree trunk
right across de road at a place whar yo' cain't see it till yo'
gits right on top ob it. Ef yo' done hit dat ar tree on yo'
lickity-split machine, yo' suah would land in kingdom come.
Doan't go down dat hill!"
Tom leaped off his machine and approached the colored man.
Eradicate Sampson did odd jobs in the neighborhood of Shopton, and
more than once Tom had done him favors in repairing his lawn mower
or his wood-sawing machine. In turn Eradicate had given Tom a
valuable clue as to the hiding place of the model thieves.
"How'd the log get across the road, Rad?" asked Tom.
"I dunno, Mistah Swift. "I see it when I come along wid mah mule,
Boomerang, an' I tried t' git it outer de way, but I couldn't.
Den I left Boomerang an' mah wagon at de foot ob de hill an' I
come up heah t' git a long pole t' pry de log outer de way. I
didn't t'ink nobody would come along, case dis road ain't much
"I took it for a short cut," said the lad. "Come on, let's take a
look at the log."
Leaving his machine at the top of the slope, the young inventor
accompanied the colored man 'down the hill. At the foot of it,
well hidden from sight of any one who might come riding down, was
a big log. It was all the way across the road.
"That never fell there," exclaimed Tom in some excitement. "That
never rolled off a load of logs, even if there had been one along,
which there wasn't. That log was put there!"
"Does yo' t'ink dat, Mistah Swift?" asked Eradicate, his eyes
"I certainly do, and, if you hadn't warned me, I might have been
"Oh, I heard yo' lickity-split machine chug-chuggin' along when I
were in de bushes, lookin' for a pryin' pole, an' I hurried out to
warn yo. I knowed I could leave Boomerang safe, 'case he's
"I'm glad you did warn me," went on the youth solemnly. Then, as
he went closer to the log, he uttered an exclamation.
"That has been dragged here by an automobile!" he cried. "It's
been done on purpose to injure some one. Come on, Rad, let's see
if we can't find out who did it."
Something on the ground caught Tom's eye. He stooped and picked
up a nickle-plated wrench.
"This may come in handy as evidence," he murmured.
TOM AND ANDY CLASH
Even a casual observer could have told that an auto had had some
part in dragging the log to the place where it blockaded the road.
In the dust were many marks of the big rubber tires and even the
imprint of a rope, which had been used to tow the tree trunk.
"What fo' yo' t'ink any one put dat log dere?" asked the colored
man as he followed Tom. Boomerang, the mule, so called because
Eradicate said you never could tell what he was going to do,
opened his eyes lazily and closed them again. "I don't know why,
Rad, unless they wanted to wreck an automobile or a wagon. Maybe
tramps did it for spite."
"Maybe some one done it to make yo' hab trouble, Mistah Swift."
"No, I hardly think so. I don't know of any one who would want to
make trouble for me, and how would they know I was coming this
Tom suddenly checked himself. The memory of the scene at the
auction came back to him and he recalled what Andy Foger had said
about "'getting even."
"Which way did dat auto go?" resumed Eradicate.
"It came from down the road," answered Tom, not completing the
sentence he had left unfinished. "They dragged the log up to the
foot of the hill and left it. Then the auto went down this way."
It was comparatively easy, for a lad of such sharp observation as
was Tom, to trace the movements of the vehicle.
"Den if it's down heah, maybe we cotch 'em," suggested the colored
The young inventor did not answer at once. He was hurrying along,
his eyes on the telltale marks. He had proceeded some distance
from the place where the log was when he uttered a cry. At the
same moment he hurried from the road toward a thick clump of
bushes that were in the ditch alongside of the highway. Reaching
them, he parted the leaves and called:
"Here's the auto, Rad!"
The colored man ran up, his eyes wider open than ever. There,
hidden amid the bushes, was a large touring car.
"Whose am dat?" asked Eradicate.
Tom did not answer. He penetrated the underbrush, noting where
the broken branches had been bent upright after the forced
entrance of the car, the better to hide it. The young inventor
was, seeking some clew to discover the owner of the machine. To
this end he climbed up in the tonneau and was looking about when
some one burst in through the screen of bushes and a voice cried:
"Here, you get out of my car!"
."Oh, is it your car, Andy Foger?" asked Tom calmly as he
recognized his squint-eyed rival. "I was just beginning to think
it was. Allow me to return your wrench," and he held out the one
he had picked up near the log. "The next time you drag trees
across the road," went on the lad in the tonneau, facing the angry
and dismayed Andy, "I'd advise you to post a notice at the top of
the hill, so persons riding down will not be injured." "Notice---
road---hill---logs!" stammered Andy, turning red under his
"That's what I said," replied Tom coolly.
"I---I didn't have anything to do with putting a log across any
road," mumbled the bully. "I---I've been off toward the creek."
"Have you?" asked Tom with a peculiar smile.
"I thought you might have been looking for the wrench you dropped
near the log. You should be more careful and so should Sam
Snedecker, who's hiding outside the bushes," went on our hero, for
he had caught sight of the form of Andy's crony. "I---I told him
not to do it!" exclaimed Sam as he came from his hiding place.
"Shut up!" exclaimed Andy desperately.
"Oh, I think I know your secret," continued the young inventor.
"You wanted to get even with me for outbidding you on the motor-
boat. You watched which road I took, and then, in your auto, you
came a shorter way, ahead of me. You hauled the log across the
foot of the hill, hoping, I suppose, that my machine would be
broken. But, let me tell you, it was a risky trick. Not only
might I have been killed, but so would whoever else who happened
to drive down the slope over the log, whether in a wagon or
automobile. Fortunately Eradicate discovered it in time and
warned me. I ought to have you arrested, but you're not worth it.
A good thrashing is what such sneaks as you deserve!"
"You haven't got any evidence against us," sneered Andy
confidently, his old bravado coming back.
"I have all I want," replied Tom. "You needn't worry. I'm not
going to tell the police. But you've got to do one thing or I'll
make you sorry you ever tried this trick. Eradicate will help me,
to don't think you're going to escape."
"You get out of my automobile!" demanded Andy. "I'll have you
arrested if you don't."
"I'll get out because I'm ready to, but not on account of your
threats," retorted Mr. Swift's son. "Here's your wrench. Now I
want you and Sam to start up this machine and haul that log out of
"S'pose I won't do it?" snapped Andy.
"Then I'll cause your arrest, besides thrashing you into the
bargain! You can take your choice of removing the log so travelers
can pass or having a good hiding, you and Sam. Eradicate, you
take Sam and I'll tackle Andy."
"Don't you dare touch me!" cried the bully, but there was a whine
in his tones.
"You let me alone or I'll tell my father!" added Sam. "I---I
didn't have nothin' to do with it, anyhow. I told Andy it would
make trouble, but he made me help him."
"Say, what's the matter with you?" demanded Andy indignantly of
his crony. "Do you want to---"
"I wish I'd never come with you," went on Sam, who was beginning
to be frightened.
"Come now. Start up that machine and haul the log out of the
way," demanded Tom again.
"I won't do it I" retorted the red-haired lad impudently.
"Yes, you will," insisted our hero, and he took a step toward the
bully. They were out of the clump of bushes now and in the
roadside ditch. "You let me alone," almost screamed Andy, and in
his baffled rage he rushed at Tom, aiming a blow.
The young inventor quickly stepped to one side, and, as the bully
passed him, Tom sent out a neat left-hander. Andy Foger went down
in a heap on the grass.
A TEST OF SPEED
Whether Tom or Andy was the most surprised at the happening would
be hard to say. The former had not meant to hit so hard and he
certainly did not intend to knock the squint-eyed youth down. The
latter's fall was due, as much as anything, to his senseless,
rushing tactics and to the fact that he slipped on the green
grass. The bully was up in a moment, however, but he knew better
than to try conclusions with Tom again. Instead he stood out of
reach and spluttered:
"You just wait, Tom Swift! You just wait!"
"Well, I'm waiting," responded the other calmly.
"I'll get even with you," went on Andy. "You think you're smart
because you got ahead of me, but I'll get square!"
"Look here!" burst out the young inventor determinedly, taking a
step toward his antagonist, at which Andy quickly retreated, "I
don't want any more of that talk from you, Andy Foger. That's
twice you've made threats against me today. You put that log
across the road, and if you try anything like it for your second
attempt I'll make you wish you hadn't. That applies to you, too,
Sam," he added, glancing at the other lad.
"I---I ain't gone' to do nothin'," declared Sam.
"I told Andy not to put that tree---"
"Keep still, can't you!" shouted the bully. "Come on. We'll get
even with him, that's all," he muttered as he went back into the
bushes where the auto was. Andy cranked up and he and his crony
getting into the car were about to start off.
"Hold on!" cried Tom. "You'll take that log from across the road
or I'll have you arrested for obstructing traffic, and that's a
"I'm goin' to take it away!" growled Andy. "Give a fellow a show
He cast an ugly look at Tom, but the latter only smiled. It was
no easy task for Sam and Andy to pull the log out of the way, as
they could hardly lift it to slip the rope under. But they
finally managed it, and, by the power of the car, hauled it to one
side. Then they speed off.
"I 'clar t' gracious, dem young fellers am most as mean an'
contrary as mah mule Boomerang am sometimes," observed Eradicate.
"Only Boomerang ain't quite so mean as dat."
"I should hope not, Rad," observed Tom. "I'm ever so much obliged
for your warning. I guess I'll be getting, home now. Come around
next week; we have some work for you."
" 'Deed an' I will," replied the colored man. "I'll come around
an' eradicate all de dirt on yo' place, Mistah Swift. Yais, sah,
I's Eradicate by name, and dat's my perfession---eradicatin' dirt.
Much obleeged, I'll call around. Giddap, Boomerang!"
The mule lazily flicked his ears, but did not stir, and Tom,
knowing the process of arousing the animal would take some time,
hurried up the hill to where he had left his motor-cycle.
Eradicate was still engaged on the task of trying to arouse his
steed to a sense of its duty when the young inventor fIashed by on
his way home.
"So now you own a broken motor-boat," observed Mr. Swift when Tom
had related the circumstances of the auction. "Well, now you have
it, what are you going to do with it?"
"Fix it, first of all," replied his son. "It needs considerable
tinkering up, but nothing but what I can do, if you'll help me."
"Of course I will. Do you think you can get any speed out of it?"
"Well, I'm not so anxious for speed. I wart a good, comfortable
boat, and the ARROW will be that. I've named it, you see. I'm
going back to Lanton this afternoon, take some tools along, and
repair it so I can run the boat over to here. Then I'll get at it
and fix it up. I've got a plan for you, dad."
"What is it?" asked the inventor, his rather tired face lighting
up with interest.
"I'm going to take you on a vacation trip."
"A vacation trip?"
"Yes, you need a rest. You've been working, too hard over that
"Yes, Tom, I think I have," admitted Mr. Swift. "But I am very
much interested in it, and l think I can get it to work. If I do
it will make a great difference in the control of aeroplanes. It
will make them more stable able to fly in almost any wind. But I
certainly have puzzled my brains over some features of it.
However, I don't quite see what you mean."
"You need a rest, dad," said Mr. Swift's son kindly. "I want you
to forget all about patents, invention, machinery and even the
gyroscope for a week or two. When I get my motor-boat in shape
I'm going to take you and Ned Newton up the lake for a cruise. We
can camp out, or, if we had to, we could sleep in the boat. I'm
going to put a canopy on it and arrange some bunks. It will do
you good and perhaps new ideas for your gyroscope may come to you
after a rest."
"Perhaps they will, Tom. I am certainly tired enough to need a
vacation. It's very kind of you to think of me in connection with
your boat. But if you're going to get it this afternoon you'd
better start if you expect to get back by night. I think Mrs.
Baggert has dinner ready."
After the meal Tom selected a number of tools from his, own
particular machine shop and carried them down to the dock on the
lake, where his two small boats were tied.
"Aren't you going back on your motor-cycle" asked his father. "No,
Dad, I'm going to row over to Lanton, and, if I can get the ARROW
fixed, 'I'll tow my rowboat back."
"Very well, then you won't be in any danger from Andy Foger. I
must speak to his father about him."
"No, dad, don't," exclaimed the young inventor quickly. "I can
fight my own battles with Andy. I don't fancy he will bother me
again right away."
Tom found it more of a task than he had anticipated to get the
motor in shape to run the ARROW back under her own power. The
magneto was out of order and the batteries needed renewing, while
the spark coil had short-circuited and took considerable time to
adjust. But by using some new dry cells, which Mr. Hastings gave
him, and cutting out the magneto, or small dynamo which produces
the spark that exploded the gasoline in the cylinders, Tom soon
had a fine, "fat" hot spark from the auxiliary ignition system.
Then, adjusting the timer and throttle on the engine and seeing
that the gasoline tank was filled, the lad started up his motor.
Mr. Hastings helped him, but after a few turns of the flywheel
there were no explosions. Finally, after the carburetor (which is
the device where gasoline is mixed with air to produce an
explosive mixture) had been adjusted, the motor started off as if
it had intended to do so all the while and was only taking its
time about it.
"The machine doesn't run as smooth as it ought to," commented Mr.
Hastings. "No, it needs a thorough overhauling," agreed the owner
of the ARROW. "I'll get at it tomorrow," and with that he swung
out into the lake, towing his rowboat after him.
"A motor-boat of my own!" exulted Tom as he twirled the steering
wheel and noted how readily the craft answered her helm. "This is
He steered down the lake and then, turning around, went up it a
mile or more before heading for his own dock, as he wanted to see
how the engine behaved.
"With some changes and adjustments I can make this a speedy boat,"
thought Tom. "I'll get right at it. I shouldn't wonder if I
could make a good showing against Mr. Hastings' new CARLOPA,
though his boat's got four cylinders and mine has but two."
The lad was proceeding leisurely along the lakeshore, near his
home, with the motor throttled down to test it at low speed, when
he heard some one shout. Looking toward the bank, Tom saw a man
waving his hands.
"I wonder what he wants?" thought our hero as he put the wheel
over to send his craft to shore. He heard a moment later, for the
man on the bank cried:
"I say, my young friend, do you know anything about automobiles?
Of course you do or you wouldn't be running a motor-boat. Bless
my very existence, but I'm in trouble! My machine has stopped on
a lonely road and I can't seem to get it started. I happened to
hear your boat and I came here to hail you. Bless my coat-pockets
but I am in trouble! Can you help me? Bless my soul and
"Mr. Damon" exclaimed Tom, shutting off the power, for he was now
near shore. "Of course I'll help you, Mr. Damon," for the young
inventor had recognized the eccentric man of whom he had purchased
the motor-cycle and who had helped him in rounding up the thieves.
"Why, bless my shoe-laces, if it isn't Tom Swift!" exclaimed Mr.
Damon, who seemed very fond of calling down blessings upon himself
or upon articles of his dress or person.
"Yes '. I'm here," admitted Tom with a laugh.
"And in a motor-boat, too! Bless my pocketbook, but did that run
away with some one who sold it to you cheap?"
"No, not exactly," and the lad explained how he had come into
possession of it. By this time he was ashore and had tied the
ARROW to an overhanging tree. Then Tom proceeded to where Mr.
Damon had left his stalled automobile. The eccentric man was
wealthy and his physician had instructed him to ride about in the
car for his health. Tom soon located the trouble. The carburetor
had become clogged, and it was soon in working order again.
"Well, now that you have a boat ', I don't suppose you will be
riding about the country so much," commented Mr. Damon as he got
into his car. "Bless my spark-plug! But if you ever get over to
Waterfield, where I live, come and see me. It's handy to get to
"I'll come some day," promised the lad.
"Bless my hat band, but I hope so," went on the eccentric
individual as he prepared to start his car.
Tom completed the remainder of the trip to his house without
incident and his father came down to the dock to see the motor-
boat. He agreed with his son that it was a bargain and that it
could easily be put in fine shape.
The youth spent all the next day and part of the following working
on the craft. He overhauled the ignition system, which was the
jump-spark style, cleaned the magneto and adjusted the gasoline
and compression taps so that they fitted better. Then he
readjusted the rudder lines, tightening them on the steering
wheel, and looked over the piping from the gasoline tank.
The tank was in the forward compartment, and, upon inspecting
this, the lad concluded to change the plan by which the big
galvanized iron box was held in place. He took out the old wooden
braces and set them closer together, putting in a few new ones.
"The tank will not vibrate so when I'm going at full speed," he
explained to his father.
"Is that where the strange man was tampering with the lock the day
of the auction?" asked Mr. Swift.
"Yes, but I don't see what he could want in this compartment, do
The inventor got into the boat and looked carefully into the
rather dark space where the tank fitted. He went over every inch
of it, and, pointing to one of the thick wooden blocks that
supported the tank, asked:
"Did you bore that hole in there, Tom?"
No, it was there before I touched the braces. But it isn't a
hole, or rather, someone bored it and stopped it up again. It
doesn't weaken the brace any."
No, I suppose not. I was just wondering weather that was one of
the new blocks or an old one."
"Oh, an old one. I'm going to paint them, too, so in case the
water leaks in or the gasoline leaks out the wood won't be
affected. A gasoline tank should vibrate as little as possible,
if you don't want it to leak. I guess I'll paint the whole
interior of this compartment white, then I can see away into the
far corners of it."
"I think that's a good idea," commented Mr. Swift.
It was four days after his purchase of the boat before Tom was
ready to make a long trip in it. Up to that time he had gone on
short spins not far from the dock, in order to test the engine
adjustment. The lad found it was working very well, but he
decided with a new kind of spark plugs for the two cylinders that
he could get more speed out of it. Finally the forward
compartment was painted and a general overhauling given the hull
and Tom was ready to put, his boat to a good test.
"Come on, Ned," he said to his chum early one evening after Mr.
Swift had said he was too tired to go out on a trial run. "We'll
see what the ARROW will do now."
>From the time Tom started up the motor it was evident that the
boat was going through the water at a rapid rate. For a mile or
more the two lads speeded along, enjoying it hugely. Then Ned
"Something's coming behind us."
Tom turned his head and looked. Then he called out:
"It's Mr. Hastings in his new CARLOPA. I wonder if he wants a
"Guess he'd have it all his own way," suggested Ned.
"Oh, I don't know. I can get a little more speed out of my boat."
Tom waited until the former owner of the ARROW was up to him.
"Want a race?" asked Mr. Hastings good-naturedly.
"Sure!" agreed Tom, and he shoved the timer ahead to produce
The ARROW seemed to leap forward and for a moment was ahead of the
CARLOPA, but with a motion of his hand to the spark lever Mr.
Hastings also increased his speed. For a moment the two boats
were on even terms and then the larger and newer one forged ahead.
Tom had expected it', but he was a little disappointed.
"That's doing first rate," complimented Mr. Hastings as he passed
them. "Better than I was ever able to make her do even when she
was new, Tom."
This made the present owner of the ARROW feel somewhat consoled.
He and Ned ran on for a few miles, the CARLOPA in the meanwhile
disappearing from view around a bend. Then Tom and his chum
turned around and made for the Swift dock.
"She certainly is a dandy!" declared Ned. "I wish I had one like
"Oh, I intend that you shall have plenty of rides in this." went
on his friend. "When you get your vacation, you and dad and I are
going on a tour," and he explained his plan, which, it is needless
to say, met with Ned's hearty approval.
Just before going to bed, some hours later, Tom decided to go down
to the dock to make sure he had shut off the gasoline cock leading
from the tank of his boat to the motor. It was a calm, early
summer night, with a new moon giving a little light, and the lad
went down to the lake in his slippers. As he neared the boathouse
he heard a noise.
"Water rat," he murmured, or maybe muskrats. I must set some
As Tom entered the boathouse he started back in alarm, for a
bright light flashed up, almost in his eyes.
"Who's here?" he cried, and at that moment someone sprang out of
his motor-boat, scrambled into a rowing craft which the youth
could dimly make out in front of the dock and began to pull away
"Hold on there!" cried the young inventor. "Who are you? What do
you want? Come back here!"
The person in the 'coat returned no answer. With his heart doing
beats over-time Tom lighted a lantern and made a hasty examination
of the ARROW. It did not appear to have been harmed, but a glance
showed that the door of the gasoline compartment had been unlocked
and was open. Tom jumped down into his craft.
"Some one has been at that compartment again!" he murmured. "I
wonder if it was the same man who acted so suspiciously at the
auction? What can his object be, anyhow?
The next moment he uttered an exclamation of startled surprise and
picked up something from the bottom of the boat. It was a bunch
of keys, with a tag attached, bearing the owner's name.
"Andy Foger!" murmured Tom. "So this is, how he was trying to get
even! Maybe he started to put a hole in the tank or in my boat."
TOWING SOME GIRLS
With a sense of anger mingled with an apprehension lest some harm
should have been done to his craft, the owner of the ARROW went
carefully over it. He could find nothing wrong. The engine was
all right and all that appeared to have been accomplished by the
unbidden visitor was the opening of the locked forward
compartment. That this had been done by one of the many keys on
Andy Foger's ring was evident.
"Now what could have been his object?" mused Tom. "I should think
if he wanted to put a hole in the boat he would have done it
amidships, where the water would have a better chance to come in,
or perhaps he wanted to flood it with gasoline and---"
The idea of fire was in Tom's mind, and he did not finish his
"That may have been it," he resumed after a hasty examination of
the gasoline tank, to make sure there were no leaks in it. "To
get even with me for outbidding him on the boat, Andy may have
wanted to destroy the ARROW. Well, of all the mean tricks, that's
about the limit! But wait until I see him. I've got evidence
against him," and Tom looked at the key ring. "I could almost
have him arrested for this."
Going outside the boathouse, Tom stood on the edge of the dock and
peered into the darkness. He could hear the faint sound of
someone rowing across the lake, but there was no light.
"He had one of those electric flash lanterns," decided Tom. "If I
hadn't found his keys, I might have thought it was Happy Harry
instead of Andy."
The young inventor went back into the house after carefully
locking the boat compartment and detaching from the engine an
electrical device, without which the motor in the ARROW could not
"That will prevent them from running away with my boat, anyhow,"
decided Tom. "And I'll tell Garret Jackson to keep a sharp watch
tonight." Jackson was the engineer at Mr. Swift's workshop.
Tom told his father of the happening and Mr. Swift was properly
indignant. He wanted to go at once to see Mr. Foger and complain
of Andy's act, but Tom counseled waiting.
"I'll attend to Andy myself," said the young inventor. "He's
getting desperate, I guess, or he wouldn't try to set the place on
fire. But wait until I show him these keys."
Bright and early the next morning the owner of the motor-boat was
down to the dock inspecting it. The engineer, who had been on
watch part of the night, reported that there had been no
disturbance, and Tom found everything all right. "I wonder if I'd
better go over and accuse Andy now or wait until I see him and
spring this evidence on him?" thought our hero. Then he decided
it would be better to wait. He took the ARROW out after
breakfast, his father going on a short spin with him.
"But I must go back now and work on my gyroscope invention," said
Mr. Swift when about two hours had been spent on the lake. "I am
making good progress with it."
"You need a vacation," decided Tom, "I'll be ready to take you and
Ned in about two weeks. He will have two weeks off then and,
we'll have some glorious times together."
That afternoon Tom put some new style spark plugs in the cylinders
of his motor and found that he had considerably increased the
revolutions of the engine, due to a better explosion being
obtained. He also made some minor adjustments and the next day he
went out alone for a long run.
Heading up the lake, Tom was soon in sight of a popular excursion
resort that was frequently visited by church and Sunday-school
organizations in the vicinity of Shopton. The lad saw a number of
rowing craft and a small motor-boat circling around opposite the
resort and remarked: "There must be a picnic at the grove to-day.
Guess I'll run up and take a look."
The lad was soon in the midst of quite a flotilla of rowboats,
most of them manned by pretty girls or in charge of boys who were
giving sisters (their own or some other chap's) a trip on the
water. Tom throttled his boat down to slow speed and looked with
pleasure on the pretty scene. His boat attracted considerable
attention, for motor craft were not numerous on Lake Carlopa.
As our hero passed a boat, containing three very pretty young
ladies, Tom heard one of them exclaim:
"There he is now! That's Tom Swift."
Something in the tones of the voice attracted his attention. He
turned and saw a brown-eyed girl smiling at him. She bowed and
asked, blushing the while:
"Well, have you caught any more runaway horses lately?"
"Runaway horses---why---what? Oh, it's Miss Nestor!" exclaimed
the lad, recognizing the young lady whose steed he had frightened
one day when he was on his bicycle. As told in the first volume
of this series, the horse had run away, being alarmed at the
flashing of Tom's wheel, and Miss Mary Nestor, of Mansburg, was in
"So you've given up the bicycle for the motor-boat," went on the
"Yes," replied Tom with a smile, shutting off the power, "and I
haven't had a chance to save any girls since I've had it."
The two boats had drifted close together, and Miss Nestor
introduced her two companions to Tom.
"Don't you want to come in and take a ride?" he asked.
"Is it safe?" asked Jennie Haddon, one of the trio.
"Of course it is, Jennie, or he wouldn't be out in it," said Miss
Nestor hastily. "Come on, let's get in. I'm just dying for a
"What will we do with our boat?" asked Katie Carson.
"Oh, I can tow that," replied the youth. "Get right in and I'll
take you all around the lake."
"Not too far," stipulated the girl who had figured in the runaway.
"We must be back for lunch, which will be served in about an hour.
Our church and Sunday-school are having a picnic."
"Maybe Mr. Swift will come and have some lunch with us," suggested
Miss Carson, blushing prettily.
"Nothing would give me greater pleasure," answered Tom, and then
he laughed at his formal reply, the girls joining in.
"We'd be glad to have you," added Miss Haddon. "Oh!" she suddenly
screamed, "the boat's tipping over!"
"Oh, no," Tom hastened to assure her, coming, to the side to help
her in. "It just tilts a bit, with the weight of so many on one
side. It couldn't capsize if it tried."
In another moment the three were in the roomy cockpit and Tom had
made the empty rowboat fast to the stern. He was about to start
up when from another boat, containing two little girls and two
slightly larger boys, came a plaintive cry:
"Oh, mister, give us a ride!"
"Sure!" agreed Tom pleasantly. "Just fasten your boat to the
other rowboat and I'll tow you."
One of the boys did this, and then, with three pretty girls as his
companions in the ARROW and towing the two boats, Tom started off.
The girls were very much interested in the craft and asked all
sorts of questions about how the engine operated. Tom explained
as clearly as he could how the gasoline exploded in the cylinders,
about the electric spark and about the propeller. Then, when he
had finished, Miss Haddon remarked naively:
"Oh, Mr. Swift, you've explained it beautifully, and I'm sure if
our teacher in school made things as clear as you have that I
could get along fine. I understand all about it, except I don't
see what makes the engine go."
"Oh," said Tom faintly, and he wondering what would be the best
remark to make under the circumstances, when Miss Nestor created a
diversion by looking at her watch and exclaiming:
"Oh, girls, it's lunch time! We must go ashore. Will you kindly
put about, Mr. Swift---I hope that is the proper term---and---land
us---is that right?" and she looked archly at Tom.
"That's perfectly right," he admitted with a laugh and a glance
into the girl's brown eyes. "I'll put you ashore at once," and he
headed for a small dock.
"And come yourself to take lunch with us, added Miss Haddon.
"I'm afraid I might be in the way," stammered Tom. "I---I have a
pretty good appetite, and---"
"I suppose you think that girls on a picnic don't take much
lunch," finished Miss Nestor. "But I assure you that we have
plenty, and that you will be very welcome," she added warmly.
"Yes, and I'd like to have him explain over again how the engine
works," went on Miss Haddon. "I am so interested."
Tom helped the girls out, receiving their thanks as well as those
of the children in the second boat. But as he walked with the
young ladies through the grove the young inventor registered a
mental vow that he would steer clear of explaining again how a
gasoline engine worked.
"Now come right over this way to our table," invited Miss Nestor.
"I want you to meet papa and mamma."
Tom followed her. As he stepped from behind a clump of trees he
saw, standing not far away, a figure that seemed strangely
familiar. A moment later the figure turned and Tom saw Andy Foger
confronting him. At the sight of our hero the bully turned red
and walked quickly away, while Tom's fingers touched the ring of
keys in his pocket.
A BRUSH WITH ANDY
So unexpected was his encounter with Andy that the young inventor
hardly knew how to act, especially since he was a guest of the
young ladies. Tom did not want to do or say anything to embarrass
them or make a scene, yet he did want to have a talk, and a very
serious talk, with Andy Foger.
Miss Nestor must have noticed Tom's sudden start at his glimpse of
Andy, for she asked: "Did you see some one you knew, Mr. Swift?"
"Yes," replied Tom, "I did---er---that is---" He paused in some
"Perhaps you'd like----that is prefer---to go with them instead of
taking lunch with girls who don't know anything about engines?"
"Oh, no indeed," Tom hastened to assure her. "He---that is---the
person I saw wouldn't care to have me lunch with him," and the
youth smiled grimly.
"Would you like to bring him over to our table?" inquired Miss
Carson. "We have plenty for him."
"No, I think that would hardly do," continued the lad, who tried
not to smile at the picture of the red-haired and squint-eyed Andy
Foger making one of a party with the girls. The young ladies
fortunately had not noticed the bully, who was out of view by this
Tom was presented to Mr. and Mrs. Nestor, who told him how glad
they were to meet the young man who had been instrumental in
saving their daughter from injury, if not death. Tom was a bit
embarrassed, but bore the praise as well as he could, and he was
very glad when a diversion, in the shape of lunch, occurred.
After a meal on tables under the trees in the grove Tom took the
girls and some of their friends out in his motor-boat again. They
covered several miles around the lake before returning to the
As Tom was starting toward home in his boat, wondering what had
become of Andy and trying to think of a reason why the bully
should attend anything as "tame" as a church picnic, the object of
his thoughts came strolling through the trees down to the shore of
the lake. The moment he saw Tom the red-haired lad started back,
but the young inventor, leaping out of his boat, called out:
"Hold on there, Andy Foger, I want to see you!" and there was
menace in Tom's tone.
"But, I don't want to see you!" retorted the other sulkily. "I've
got no use for you."
"No more have I for you," was Tom's quick reply. "But I want to
return you these keys. You dropped them in my boat the other
night when you tried to set it afire. If I ever catch you---"
"My keys! Your boat! On fire!" gasped Andy, so plainly
astonished that Tom knew his surprise was genuine.
"Yes, your keys. You were a little, too quick for me or I'd have
caught you at it. The next time you pick a lock don't leave your
keys behind you," and he held out the jingling ring.
Andy Foger advanced slowly. He took the bunch of keys and looked
at the tag.
"They are mine," he said slowly, as if there was some doubt about
"Of course they are," declared Tom. "I found them where you
dropped them---in my boat."
"Do you mean over at the auction?"
"No, I mean down in my boathouse, where you sneaked in the other
night and tried to do some damage.
"The other night!" cried Andy. "I never was near your boathouse
any night and I never lost my keys there! I lost these the day of
the auction, on Mr. Hastings' ground, and I've been looking for
them ever since."
"Didn't you sneak in my boathouse the other night and try to do
some mischief? Didn't you drop them then?"
"No, I didn't," retorted Andy earnestly. "I lost those keys at
the auction, and I can prove it to you. Look, I advertised for
them in the weekly Gazette."
The red-haired lad pulled a crumpled paper from his pocket and
showed Tom an advertisement offering a reward of two dollars for a
bunch of keys on a ring, supposed to have been lost at the auction
on Mr. Hastings' grounds in Lanton. The finder was to return them
to Andy Foger.
"Does that look as if I lost the keys in your boathouse?" demanded
the bully sneeringly. "I wouldn't have advertised them that way
if I' been trying to keep my visit quiet. Besides, I can prove
that I was out of town several nights. I' was over to an
entertainment in Mansburg one night and I didn't get home until
two o'clock in the morning, because my machine broke down. Ask
Ned Newton. He saw me at the entertainment.
Andy's manner was so earnest that Tom could not help believing
him. Then there was the evidence of the advertisement. Clearly
the squint-eyed youth had not been the mysterious visitor to the
boathouse and had not unlocked the forward compartment. But if it
was not he, who could it have been and how did the keys get there?
These were questions which racked Tom's brain.
"You can ask Ned Newton," repeated Andy. "He'll prove that I
couldn't have been near your place, if you don't believe me."
"Oh, I believe you all right," answered Tom, for there could be no
doubting Andy's manner, even though he and the young inventor were
not on good terms. "But how did your keys get in my boat?"
"I don't know, unless you found them, kept them and dropped them
there," was the insolent answer.
"You know better than that," exclaimed Tom.
"Well, I owe you a reward of two dollars for giving them back to
me," continued the bully patronizingly. "Here it is," and he
hauled out some bills.
"I don't want your money!" fired back Tom.
"But I'd like to know who it was that was in my boat."
"And I'd like to know who it was took my keys," and Andy stuffed
the money back in his pocket. Tom did not answer. He was
puzzling over a queer matter and he wanted to be alone and think.
He turned aside from the red-haired lad and walked toward his
"I'll give you a surprise in a few days," Andy called after him,
but Tom did not turn his head nor did he inquire what the surprise
Mr. Swift was somewhat puzzled when his son related the outcome of
the key incident. He agreed with Tom that some one might have
found the ring and kept it, and that the same person might have
been the one whom Tom had surprised in the boathouse.
"But it's idle to speculate on it," commented the inventor. "Andy
might have induced some of his chums to act for him in harming
your boat, and the key advertisement might have been only a ruse."
"I hardly think so," answered his son, shaking his head. "It
strikes me as being very curious, and I'm going to see if I can't
get at the bottom of it."
But a week or more passed and Tom had no clew. In the meanwhile
he was working away at his motor-boat, installing several
One of these was a better pump, which circulated the water around
the cylinders, and another was a new system of lubrication under
"This ought to give me a little more speed," reasoned Tom, who was
not yet satisfied with his craft. "Guess I'll take it out for a
He was alone in the ARROW, taking a long course up the lake when,
as he passed a wooded point that concealed from view a sort of
bay, he heard the puffing of another motor-boat.
"Maybe that's Mr. Hastings," thought Tom. "If I raced with him
now, I think the ARROW could give a better account of herself.
The young inventor looked at the boat as it came into view. It
needed but a glance to show that it was not the CARLOPA. Then, as
it came nearer, Tom saw a familiar figure in it---a red-haired,
"Andy Foger!" exclaimed Tom. "He's got a motor-boat! This is the
surprise he spoke of."
The boat was rapidly approaching him, and he saw that it was
painted a vivid red. Then he could make out the name on the bow,
RED STREAK. Andy was sending the craft toward him at a fast rate.
"You needn't think you're the only one on this lake who has a
gasoline boat!" called Andy boastfully. "This is my new one and
the fastest thing afloat around here. I can go all around you.
Do you want to race?"
It was a "dare," and Tom never took such things when he could
reasonably enter a contest. He swung his boat around so as to
shoot alongside of Andy and answered:
"Yes, I'll race you. Where to?"
"Down opposite Kolb's dock and back to this point," was the
answer. "I'll give you a start, as my engine has three cylinders.
This is a racing boat."
"I don't need any start," declared Tom. "I'll race you on even
terms. Go ahead!"
Both lads adjusted their timers to get more speed. The water
began to curl away from the sharp prows, the motors exploded
faster and faster. The race was on between the ARROW and the RED
OFF ON A TRIP
Glancing with critical eyes at the craft of his rival, Tom saw
that Andy Foger had a very fine boat. The young inventor also
realized that if he was to come anywhere near winning the race he
would have to get the utmost speed out of his engine, for the new
boat the bully had was designed primarily, for racing, while Tom's
was an all-around pleasure craft, though capable of something in
the speed line.
"I'll be giving you a tow in a few minutes, as soon as my engine
gets warmed up!" sneered Andy.
"Maybe," said Tom, and then he crouched down to make as little
resistance as possible to the wind. Andy, on the contrary, sat
boldly upright at the auto steering wheel of his boat.
On rushed the two motor craft, their prows exactly even and the
propellers tossing up a bulge in the water at their sterns.
Rapidly acquiring speed after the two lads had adjusted the timers
on their motors, the boats were racing side by side, seemingly on
The RED STREAK had a very sharp prow, designed to cut through the
water. It was of the type known as an automobile launch. That
is, the engine was located forward, under a sort of hood, which
had two hinged covers like a bat's wings. The steering-wheel
shaft went through the forward bulkhead, slantingly, like the
wheel of an auto, and was arranged with gasoline and sparking
levers on the center post in a similar manner. At the right of
wheel was a reversing lever, by which the propeller blades could
be set at neutral, or arranged so as to drive the boat backward.
Altogether the RED STREAK was a very fine boat and had cost
considerably more than had Tom's, even when the latter was new.
All these things the young owner of the ARROW thought of as he
steered his craft over the course.
"I hardly think I can win," Tom remarked to himself in a whisper.
"His boat is too speedy for this one. I have a chance, though,
for his engine is new, and I don't believe he understands it as
well as I do mine. Then, too, I am sure I have a better ignition
But if Tom had any immediate hopes of defeating Andy, they were
doomed to disappointment, for about two minutes after the race
started the RED STREAK forged slowly ahead.
"Come on!" cried the red-haired lad. "I thought you wanted a
"I do," answered the young inventor. "We're a long way from the
dock yet, and we've got to come back."
"You'll be out of it by the time I get to the dock," declared
Indeed it began to look so, for the auto boat was now a full
length ahead of Tom's craft and there was open water between them.
But our hero knew a thing or two about racing, though he had not
long been a motor-boat owner. He adjusted the automatic oiler on
the cylinders to give more lubrication, as he intended to get more
speed out of his engine. Then he opened the gasoline cock a
trifle more and set his timer forward a few notches to get an
earlier spark. He was not going to use the maximum speed just
yet, but he first wanted to see how the motor of the ARROW would
behave under these conditions. To his delight he saw his boat
slowly creeping up on Andy's. The latter, with a glance over his
shoulder, saw it too, and he advanced his spark. His craft forged
ahead, but the rate of increase was not equal to Tom's. "If I can
keep up to him I suppose I ought to be glad," thought the young
inventor, "for his boat is away ahead of mine in rating."
Through the water the sharp bows cut. There were only a few
witnesses to the race, but those who were out in boats saw a
pretty sight as the two speedy craft came on toward the dock,
which was the turning point.
Andy's boat reached it first, and swung about in a wide circle for
the return. Tom decided it was time to make his boat do its best,
so he set the timer at the limit, and the spark, coming more
quickly, increased the explosions.
Up shot the ARROW and, straightening out after the turn, Tom's
craft crept along until it lapped the stern of the RED STREAK.
Andy looked back in dismay. Then he tried to get more speed out
of his engine. He did cause the screw to revolve a little faster,
and Tom noted that he was again being left behind. Then one of
those things, which may happen at any time to a gasoline motor,
happened to Andy's. It began to miss explosions. At first it was
only occasionally, then the misses became more frequent.
The owner of the RED STREAK with one hand on the steering wheel,
tried with the other to adjust the motor to get rid of the
trouble, but he only made it worse. Andy's boat began to fall
back and Tom's to creep up. Frantically Andy worked the gasoline
and sparking levers, but without avail. At last one cylinder went
completely out of service.
The two boats were now on even terms and were racing along side by
side toward the wooded, point, which marked the finish.
"I'll beat you yet!" exclaimed Andy fiercely.
"Better hurry up!" retorted Tom.
But the young inventor was not to have it all his own way. With a
freakishness equal to that with which it had ceased to explode the
dead cylinder came to life again, and the RED STREAK shot ahead.
Once more Andy's boat had the lead of a length and the finish of
the race was close at hand. The squint-eyed lad turned and
shouted: "I told you I'd beat you! Want a tow now?"
It began to look as though Tom would need it, but he still had
something in reserve. One of the improvements he had put in the
ARROW was a new auxiliary ignition system. This he now decided to
With a quick motion Tom threw over the switch that put it into
operation. A hotter, "fatter" spark was at once produced, and
adjusting his gasoline cock so that a little more of the fluid
would be drawn in, making a "richer" mixture, the owner of the
ARROW saw the craft shoot forward as if, like some weary runner,
new life had been infused.
In vain did Andy frantically try to get more speed out of his
motor. He cut out the muffler, and the explosions sounded loudly
over the lake. But it was no use. A minute later the ARROW,
which had slowly forged ahead, crossed the bows of the RED STREAK
opposite the finishing point, and Tom had won the race.
"Well, was that fair?" our hero called to Andy, who had quickly
shut off some of his power as he saw his rival's daring trick.
"Did I beat you fair?"
"You wouldn't have beaten me if my engine hadn't gone back on me,"
grumbled Andy, chagrin showing on his face. "Wait until my motor
runs smoother and I'll give you a big handicap and beat you. My
boat's faster than yours. It ought to be. It cost fifteen
hundred dollars and it's a racer."
"I guess it doesn't like racing," commented Tom as he swung the
prow of his craft down the lake toward his home. But he knew
there was some truth in what Andy had said. The RED STREAK was a
more speedy boat, and, with proper handling, could have beaten the
ARROW. That was where Tom's superior knowledge came in useful.
"Just you wait, I'll beat you yet," called Andy, after the young
inventor, but the latter made no answer. He was satisfied.
Mr. Swift was much interested that night in his son's account of
"I had no idea yours was such a speedy boat," he said.
"Well, it wasn't originally," admitted Tom, "but the improvements
I put on it made it so. But, dad, when are we going on our tour?
You look more worn out than I've seen you in some time, not
excepting when the turbine model was stolen. Are you worrying
over your gyroscope invention?"
"Somewhat, Tom. I can't seem to hit on just what I want. It's a
"Then I tell you what let's do, dad. Let's drop everything in the
inventive line and go off on a vacation. I'll take you up the
lake in my boat and you can spend a week at the Lakeview Hotel at
Sandport. It will do you good."
"What will you do, Tom?"
"Oh, Ned Newton and I will cruise about and we'll take you along
any time you want to go. We're going to camp out nights or sleep
in the boat if it rains. I've ordered a canopy with side
curtains. Ned and I don't care for the hotel life in the summer.
Will you go?"
Mr. Swift considered a moment. He did need a rest, for he had
been working hard and his brain was weary with thinking of many
problems. His son's program sounded very attractive.
"I think I will accept," said the inventor with a smile. "When
can you start, Tom?"
"In about four days. Ned Newton, will get his vacation then and
I'll have the canopy on. I'll start to work at it to-morrow.
Then we'll go on a trip."
Sandport was a summer resort at the extreme southern end of Lake
Carlopa, and Mr. Swift at once wrote to the Lakeview Hotel there
to engage a room for himself. In the meanwhile Tom began to put
the canopy on his boat and arrange for the trip, which would take
nearly a whole day. Ned Newton was delighted with the prospect of
a camping tour and helped Tom to get ready. They took a small
tent and plenty of supplies, with some food. They did not need to
carry many rations, as the shores of the lake were lined with
towns and villages where food could be procured.
Finally all was ready for the trip and the night before the start
Ned Newton stayed at Tom's house so as to be in readiness for
going off early in the morning. The day was all that could be