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Tom Swift and his Great Searchlight by Victor Appleton

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"This is my latest invention, Ned. Come on in."

"Looks as though you were going to give a magic lantern show. Or is
it for some new kinds of moving pictures? Say, do you remember the
time we gave a show in the barn, and charged a nickel to come in?
You were the clown, and--"

"I was not! You were the clown. I was part of the elephant. The
front end, I think."

"Oh. so you were. I'm thinking of another one. But what are you up
to now? Is it a big magic lantern?"

Ned came over toward the bench, in front of which Tom stood, fitting
together sheets of heavy brass in the form of a big square box. In
one side there was a circular opening, and there were various wheels
and levers on the different sides and on top. The interior contained
parobolic curved mirrors.

"It's a SORT of a lantern, and I hope it's going to do some MAGIC
work," explained Tom with a smile. "But it isn't the kind of magic
lantern you mean. It won't throw pictures on a screen, but it may
show some surprising pictures to us--that is if you come along, and
I think you will."

"Talking riddles; eh?" laughed Ned. "What's the answer?"


"I thought you were talking about a lantern."

"So I am, and it's the lantern that's going to show up the
smugglers, so you can call it a smuggler's magic lantern if you

"Then you're going after them?"

This conversation took place several days after the raid on the
Foger house, and after Tom's accidental discovery of how to make a
new kind of searchlight. In the meantime he had not seen Ned, who
had been away on a visit.

"Yes, I've made up my mind to help Uncle Sam," spoke Tom, "and this
is one of the things I'll need in my work. It's going to be the most
powerful searchlight ever made--that is, I never heard of any
portable electric lights that will beat it."

"What do you mean, Tom?"

"I mean that I'm inventing a new kind of searchlight, Ned. One that
I can carry with me on my new noiseless airship, and one that will
give a beam of light that will be visible for several miles, and
which will make objects in its focus as plain as if viewed by

"And it's to show up the smugglers?"

"That's what. That is it will if we can get on the track of them."

"But what did you mean when you said it would be the most powerful
portable light ever made."

"Just what I said. I've got to carry this searchlight on an airship
with me, and, in consequence, it can't be very heavy. Of course
there are stationary searchlights, such lights as are in
lighthouses, that could beat mine all to pieces for candle power,
and for long distance visibility. But they are the only ones."

"That's the way to do things, Tom! Say, I'm going with you all right
after those smugglers. But where are some of those powerful
stationary searchlights you speak of?"

"Oh, there are lots of them. One was in the Eiffel Tower, during the
Paris Exposition. I didn't see that, but I have read about it.
Another is in one of the twin lighthouses at the High-lands, on the
Atlantic coast of New Jersey, just above Asbury Park. That light is
of ninety-five million candle power, and the lighthouse keeper there
told me it was visible, on a clear night, as far as the New Haven,
Connecticut, lighthouse, a distance of fifty miles."

"Fifty miles! That's some light!" gasped Ned.

"Well, you must remember that the Highlands light is up on a very
high hill, and the tower is also high, so there is quite an
elevation, and then think of ninety-five million candle power--think
of it!"

"I can't!" cried Ned. "It gives me a head-ache."

"Well, of course I'm not going to try to beat that," went on Tom
with a laugh, "but I am going to have a very powerful light." And he
then related how he had accidently discovered a new way to connect
the wires, so as to get, from a dynamo and a storage battery a much
stronger, and different, current than usual.

"I'm making the searchlight now," Tom continued, "and soon I'll be
ready to put in the lens, and the carbons."

"And then what?"

"Then I'm going to attach it to my noiseless airship, and we'll have
a night flight. It may work, and it may not. If it does, I think
we'll have some astonishing results."

"I think we will, Tom. Can I do anything to help you?"

"Yes, file some of the rough edges off these sheets of brass, if you
will. There's an old pair of gloves to put on to protect your hands,
otherwise you'll be almost sure to cut 'em, when the file slips.
That brass is extra hard."

The two boys were soon working away, and were busy over the big
lantern when Mr. Whitford came along. Koku was, as usual, on guard
at the outer door of the shop, but he knew the custom officer, and
at once admitted him.

"Well, Tom, how you coming on?" he asked.

"Pretty good. I think I've got just what I want. A powerful light
for night work."

"That's good. You'll need it. They've got so they only smuggle the
goods over in the night now. How soon do you think you'll be able to
get on the border for Uncle Sam?"

"Why, is there any great rush?" asked Tom, as he noticed a look of
annoyance pass over the agent's face.

"Yes, the smugglers have been hitting us pretty hard lately. My
superiors are after me to do something, but I can't seem to do it.
My men are working hard, but we can't catch the rascals."

"You see, Tom, they've stopped, temporarily, bringing goods over the
St. Lawrence. They're working now in the neighborhood of Huntington,
Canada, and the dividing line between the British possessions and
New York State, runs along solid ground there. It's a wild and
desolate part of country, too, and I haven't many men up there."

"Don't the Canadian custom officers help?" asked Ned.

"Well, they haven't been of any aid to us so far," was the answer.
"No doubt they are trying, but it's hard to get an airship at night
when you're on the ground, and can't even see it."

"How did they come to use airships?" asked Tom.

"Well, it was because we were too sharp after them when they tried
to run things across the line afoot, or by wagons," replied the
agent. "You must know that in every principal city, at or near the
border line, there is a custom house. Goods brought from Canada to
the United States must pass through there and pay a duty."

"Of course if lawless people try to evade the duty they don't go
near the custom house. But there are inspectors stationed at the
principal roads leading from the Dominion into Uncle Sam's
territory, and they are always on the lookout. They patrol the line,
sometimes through a dense wilderness, and again over a desolate
plain, always on the watch. If they see persons crossing the line
they stop them and examine what they have. If there is nothing
dutiable they are allowed to pass. If they have goods on which there
is a tax, they either have to pay or surrender the goods."

"But don't the smugglers slip over in spite of all the precautions?"
asked Ned. "Say at some lonely ravine, or stretch of woods?"

"I suppose they do, occasionally," replied Mr. Whitford. "Yet the
fact that they never can tell when one of the inspectors or deputies
is coming along, acts as a stop. Yon see the border line is divided
up into stretches of different lengths. A certain man, or men, are
held responsible for each division. They must see that no smugglers
pass. That makes them on the alert."

"Why, take it out west, I have a friend who told me that he often
travels hundreds of miles on horseback, with pack ponies carrying
his camping outfit, patroling the border on the lookout for

"In fact Uncle Sam has made it so hard for the ordinary smuggler to
do business on foot or by wagon, that these fellows have taken to
airships. And it is practically impossible for an inspector
patroling the border to be on the lookout for the craft of the air.
Even if they saw them, what could they do? It would be out of the
question to stop them. That's why we need some one with a proper
machine who can chase after them, who can sail through the air, and
give them a fight in the clouds if they have to."

"Our custom houses on the ground, and our inspectors on horse back,
traveling along the border, can't meet the issue. We're depending on
you, Tom Swift, and I hope you don't disappoint us."

"Well," spoke Tom, when Mr. Whitford had finished. "I'll do my best
for you. It won't take very long to complete my searchlight, and
then I'll give it a trial. My airship is ready for service, and once
I find we're all right I'll start for the border."

"Good! And I hope you'll catch the rascals!" fervently exclaimed the
custom official. "Well, Tom, I'm leaving it all to you. Here are some
reports from my deputies. I'll leave them with you, and you can look
them over, and map out a campaign. When you are ready to start I'll
see you again, and give you any last news I have. I'll also arrange so
that you can communicate with me, or some of my men."

"Have you given up all suspicion of the Fogers?" asked the young

"Yes. But I still think Shopton is somehow involved in the custom
violations. I'm going to put one of my best men on the ground here,
and go to the border myself."

"Well, I'll be ready to start in a few days," said Tom, as the
government agent departed.

For the next week our hero and his chum were busy completing work on
the great searchlight, and in attaching it to the airship. Koku
helped them, but little of the plans, or of the use to which the big
lantern was to be put, were made known to him, for Koku liked to
talk, and Tom did not want his project to become known.

"Well, we'll give her a trial to-night," said Tom one afternoon,
following a day of hard work. "We'll go up, and flash the light

"Who's going?"

"Just us two. You can manage the ship, and I'll look after the

So it was arranged, and after supper Tom and his chum, having told
Mr. Swift were they were going, slipped out to the airship shed, and
soon were ready to make an ascent. The big lantern was fastened to a
shaft that extended above the main cabin. The shaft was hollow and
through it came the wires that carried the current. Tom, from the
cabin below, could move the lantern in any direction, and focus it
on any spot he pleased. By means of a toggle joint, combined with
what are known as "lazy-tongs," the lantern could be projected over
the side of the aircraft and be made to gleam on the earth, directly
below the ship.

For his new enterprise Tom used the Falcon in which he had gone to
Siberia after the platinum. The new noiseless motor had been
installed in this craft.

"All ready, Ned?" asked Tom after an inspection of the searchlight.

"All ready, as far as I'm concerned, Tom."

"Then let her go!"

Like a bird of the night, the great aeroplane shot into the air,
and, with scarcely a sound that could be heard ten feet away, she
moved forward at great speed.

"What are you going to do first?" asked Ned.

"Fly around a bit, and then come back over my house. I'm going to
try the lantern on that first, and see what I can make out from a
couple of miles up in the air."

Up and up went the Falcon, silently and powerfully, until the
barograph registered nearly fourteen thousand feet.

"This is high enough." spoke Tom.

He shifted a lever that brought the searchlight into focus on
Shopton, which lay below them. Then, turning on the current, a
powerful beam of light gleamed out amid the blackness.

"Jove! That's great!" cried Ned. "It's like a shaft of daylight!"

"That's what I intended it to be!" cried Tom in delight.

With another shifting of the lever he brought the light around so
that it began to pick up different buildings in the town.

"There's the church!" cried Ned. "It's as plain as day, in that

"And there's the railroad depot," added Tom.

"And Andy Foger's house!"

"Yes, and there's my house!" exclaimed Tom a moment later, as the
beam rested on his residence and shops. "Say, it's plainer than I
thought it would be. Hold me here a minute, Ned."

Ned shut off the power from the propellers, and the airship was
stationary. Tom took a pair of binoculars, and looked through them
at his home in the focus of light.

"I can count the bricks in the chimney!" he cried in eagerness at
the success of his great searchlight. "It's even better than I
thought it was! Let's go down, Ned."

Slowly the airship sank. Tom played his light all about, picking up
building after building, and one familiar spot after another.
Finally he brought the beam on his own residence again, when not far
above it.

Suddenly there arose a weird cry. Tom and Ned knew at once that it
was Eradicate.

"A comet! A comet!" yelled the colored man. "De end ob de world am
comin'! Run, chillens, run! Beware ob de comet!"

"Eradicate's afraid!" cried Tom with a laugh.

"Oh good mistah comet! Doan't take me!" went on the colored man. "I
ain't neber done nuffin', an' mah mule Boomerang ain't needer. But
ef yo' has t' take somebody, take Boomerang!"

"Keep quiet, Rad! It's all right!" cried Tom. But the colored man
continued to shout in fear.

Then, as the two boys looked on, and as the airship came nearer to
the earth, Ned, who was looking down amid the great illumination,
called to Tom:

"Look at Koku!"

Tom glanced over, and saw his giant servant, with fear depicted on
his face, running away as fast as he could. Evidently Eradicate's
warning had frightened him.

"Say, he can run!" cried Ned. "Look at him leg it!"

"Yes, and he may run away, never to come back," exclaimed Tom. "I
don't want to lose him, he's too valuable. I know what happened once
when he got frightened. He was away for a week before I could locate
him, and he hid in the swamp. I'm not going to have that happen

"What are you going to do?"

"I'm going to chase after him in the airship. It will be a good test
for chasing the smugglers. Put me after him, Ned, and I'll play the
searchlight on him so we can't lose him!"



"There he goes, Tom!"

"Yes, I see him!"

"Look at him run!"

"No wonder. Consider his long legs, Ned. Put on a little more speed,
and keep a little lower down. It's clear of trees right here."

"There he goes into that clump of bushes."

"I see him. He'll soon come out," and Tom flashed the big light on
the fleeing giant to whom fear seemed to lend more than wings.

But even a giant, long legged though he be, and powerful, cannot
compete with a modern airship--certainly not such a one as Tom Swift

"We're almost up to him, Tom!" cried Ned a little later.

"Yes! I'm keeping track of him. Oh, why doesn't he know enough to
stop? Koku! Koku!" called Tom. "It's all right! I'm in the airship!
This is a searchlight, not a comet. Wait for us!"

They could see the giant glance back over his shoulder at them, and,
when he saw how close the gleaming light was he made a desperate
spurt. But it was about his last, for he was a heavy man, and did
not have any too good wind.

"We'll have him in another minute," predicted Tom. "Give me a bit
more speed, Ned."

The lad who was managing the Falcon swung the accelerating lever
over another notch, and the craft surged ahead. Then Ned executed a
neat trick. Swinging the craft around in a half circle, he suddenly
opened the power full, and so got ahead of Koku. The next minute,
sliding down to earth, Tom and Ned came to a halt, awaiting the
oncoming of Koku, who, finding the glaring light full in his face,
came to a halt.

"Why, Koku, what's the matter?" asked Tom kindly, as he turned off
the powerful beams, and switched on some ordinary incandescents,
that were on the outside of the craft. They made an illumination by
which the giant could make out his master and the latter's chum.
"Why did you run, Koku?" asked Tom.

"Eradicate say to," was the simple answer. "He say comet come to eat
up earth. Koku no want to be eaten."

"Eradicate is a big baby!" exclaimed Tom. "See, there is no danger.
It is only my new searchlight," and once more the young inventor
switched it on. Koku jumped back, but when he saw that nothing
happened he did not run.

"It's harmless," said Tom, and briefly he explained how the big
lantern worked.

Koku was reassured now, and consented to enter the airship. He was
rather tired from his run, and was glad to sit down.

"Where to now; back home?" asked Ned, as they made ready to start.

"No, I was thinking of going over to Mr. Damon's house. I'd like him
to see my searchlight. And I want to find out if he's going with us
on the trip to the border."

"Of course he will!" predicted Ned. "He hasn't missed a trip with
you in a long while. He'll go if his wife will let him," and both boys
laughed, for Mr. Damon's wife was nearly always willing to let him
do as he liked, though the odd man had an idea that she was
violently opposed to his trips.

Once more the Falcon went aloft, and again the searchlight played
about. It brought out with startling distinctness the details of the
towns and villages over which they passed, and distant landmarks
were also made plainly visible.

"We'll be there in a few minutes now," said Tom, as he flashed the
light on a long slant toward the town of Waterford, where Mr. Damon

"I can see his house," spoke Ned a moment later. He changed the
course of the craft, to bring it to a stop in the yard of the
eccentric man, and, shortly afterward, they landed. Tom who had shut
off the searchlight for a minute, turned it on again, and the house
and grounds of Mr. Damon were enveloped in a wonderful glow.

"That will bring him out," predicted Tom.

A moment later they heard his voice.

"Bless my astronomy!" cried Mr. Damon. "There's a meteor fallen in
our yard. Come out, wife--everybody--call the servants. It's a
chance of a lifetime to see one, and they're valuable, too! Bless my
star dust! I must tell Tom Swift of this!"

Out into the glare of the great searchlight ran Mr. Damon, followed
by his wife and several of the servants.

"There it is!" cried the odd man. "There's the meteor!"

"First we're a comet and then we're a meteor," said Ned with a

"Oh. I hope it doesn't bury itself in the earth before I can get Tom
Swift here!" went on Mr. Damon, capering about. "Bless my telephone
book. I must call him up right away!"

"I'm here now, Mr. Damon!" shouted Tom, as he alighted from the
airship. "That's my new searchlight you're looking at."

"Bless my--" began Mr. Damon, but he couldn't think of nothing
strong enough for a moment, until he blurted out "dynamite
cartridge! Bless my dynamite cartridge! Tom Swift! His searchlight!
Bless my nitro-glycerine!"

Then Tom shut off the glare, and, as Mr. Damon and his wife came
aboard he showed them how the light worked. He only used a part of
the current, as he knew if he put on the full glare toward Mr.
Damon's house, neighbors might think it was on fire.

"Well, that's certainly wonderful," said Mrs. Damon. "In fact this
is a wonderful ship."

"Can't you take Mrs. Damon about, and show her how it works," said
Mr. Damon suddenly. "Show her the ship."

"I will," volunteered Tom.

"No, let Ned," said the eccentric man. "I--er--I want to speak to
you, Tom."

Mrs. Damon, with a queer glance at her husband, accompanied Ned to
the motor room. As soon as she was out of hearing the odd gentleman
came over and whispered to the young inventor.

"I say, Tom, what's up?"

"Smugglers. You know. I told you about 'em. I'm going after 'em with
my big searchlight."

"Bless my card case! So you did. But, I say, Tom, I--I want to go!"

"I supposed you would. Well, you're welcome, of course. We leave in
a few days. It isn't a very long trip this time, but there may be
plenty of excitement. Then I'll book you for a passage, and--"

"Hush! Not another word! Here she comes, Tom. My wife! Don't breathe
a syllable of it to her. She'll never let me go." Then, for the
benefit of Mrs. Damon, who came back into the main cabin with Ned at
that moment, her husband added in loud tones:

"Yes, Tom it certainly is a wonderful invention. I congratulate
you," and, at the same time he winked rapidly at our hero. Tom
winked in return.

"Well, I guess we'll start back," remarked Tom, after a bit. "I'll
see you again, I suppose, Mr. Damon?"

"Oh yes, of course. I'll be over--soon," and once more he winked as
he whispered in Tom's ear: "Don't leave me behind, my boy."

"I won't," whispered the young inventor in answer.

Mrs. Damon smiled, and Tom wondered if she had discovered her
husband's innocent secret.

Tom and Ned, with Koku, made a quick trip back to Shopton, using the
great searchlight part of the way. The next day they began
preparations for the journey to the border.

It did not take long to get ready. No great amount of stores or
supplies need be taken along, as they would not be far from home,
not more than a two days' journey at any time. And they would be
near large cities, where food and gasolene could easily be obtained.

About a week later, therefore, Mr. Whitford the government agent,
having been communicated with in the meanwhile, Tom and Ned, with
Koku and Mr. Damon were ready to start.

"I wonder if Mr. Whitford is coming to see us off?" mused Tom, as he
looked to see if everything was aboard, and made sure that the
searchlight was well protected by its waterproof cover.

"He said he'd be here," spoke Ned.

"Well, it's past time now. I don't know whether to start, or to

"Wait a few minutes more," advised Ned. "His train may be a few
minutes behind time."

They waited half an hour, and Tom was on the point of starting when
a messenger boy came hurrying into the yard where the great airship
rested on its bicycle wheels.

"A telegram for you, Tom," called the lad, who was well acquainted
with our hero.

Hastily the young inventor tore open the envelope.

"Here's news!" he exclaimed,

"What is it?" asked Ned.

"It's from Mr. Whitford," answered his chum. "He says: 'Can't be
with you at start. Will meet you in Logansville. Have new clew to
the Fogers!'"

"Great Scott!" cried Ned, staring at his chum.



Tom Swift tossed a quarter to the messenger boy, and leaped over the
rail to the deck of his airship, making his way toward the pilot

"Start the motor, Ned," he called. "Are you all ready, Mr. Damon?"

"Bless my ancient history, yes. But--"

"Are you going, Tom?" asked Ned.

"Of course. That's why we're here; isn't it? We're going to start
for the border to catch the smugglers. Give me full speed, I want
the motor to warm up."

"But that message from Mr. Whitford? He says he has a new clew to
the Fogers."

"That's all right. He may have, but he doesn't ask us to work it up.
He says he will meet us in Logansville, and he can't if we don't go
there. We're off for Logansville. Good-bye dad. I'll bring you back
a souvenir, Mrs. Baggert," he called to the housekeeper. "Sorry
you're not coming, Rad, but I'll take you next time."

"Dat's all right, Massa Tom. I doan't laik dem smugger-fellers,
nohow. Good-bye an' good luck!"

"Bless my grab bag!" gasped Mr. Damon. "You certainly do things,

"That's the only way to get things done," replied the young
inventor. "How about you, Ned? Motor all right?"


"Then let her go!"

A moment later Ned had started the machinery, and Tom, in the pilot
house, had pulled the lever of the elevating rudder. Whizzing along,
but making scarcely any sound, the noiseless airship mounted upward,
and was off on her flight to capture the men who were cheating Uncle

"What are you going to do first, when you get there, Tom?" asked
Ned, as he joined his chum in the pilot house, having set the motor
and other apparatus to working automatically. "I mean in

"I don't know. I'll have to wait and see how things develop."

"That's where Mr. Foger lives, you know."

"Yes, but I doubt if he is there now. He and Andy are probably still
in the old house here, though what they are doing is beyond me to

"What do you suppose this new clew is that Mr. Whitford wired you

"Haven't any idea. If he wants us to get after it he'll let us know.
It won't take us long to get there at this rate. But I think I'll
slow down a bit, for the motor is warmed up now, and there's no use
racking it to pieces. But we're moving nicely; aren't we, Ned?"

"I should say so. This is the best all-around airship you've got."

"It is since I put the new motor in. Well, I wonder what will happen
when we get chasing around nights after the smugglers? It isn't
going to be easy work, I can tell you."

"I should say not. How you going to manage it?"

"Well, I haven't just decided. I'm going to have a talk with the
customs men, and then I'll go out night after night and cruise
around at the most likely place where they'll rush goods across the
border. As soon as I see the outlines of an airship in the darkness,
or hear the throb of her motor, I'll take after her, and--"

"Yes, and you can do it, too, Tom, for she can't hear you coming and
you can flash the big light on her and the smugglers will think the
end of the world has come. Cracky! Its going to be great, Tom! I'm
glad I came along. Maybe they'll fight, and fire at us! If they have
guns aboard, as they probably will have, we'll--"

"Bless my armor plate!" interrupted Mr. Damon. "Please don't talk
about such hair-raising things, Ned! Talk about something pleasant."

"All right," agreed Tom's chum, and then, as the airship sailed
along, high above the earth, they talked of many things.

"I think when we sight Logansville." said Tom, after a while, "that
I will come down in some quiet spot, before we reach the city."

"Don't you want to get into a crowd?" asked Ned.

"No, it isn't that. But Mr. Foger lives there you know, and, though
he may not be at home, there are probably some men who are
interested in the thing he is working at."

"You mean smuggling?"

"Well, I wouldn't say that. At the same time it may have leaked out
that we are after the smugglers in an airship and it may be that Mr.
Whitford doesn't want the Fogers to know I'm on the ground until he
has a chance to work up his clew. So I'll just go slowly, and remain
in the background for a while."

"Well, maybe it's a good plan," agreed Tom.

"Of course," began Tom, "it would be--"

He was interrupted by a shout from Koku, who had gone to the motor
room, for the giant was as fascinated over machinery as a child. As
he yelled there came a grinding, pounding noise, and the big ship
seemed to waver, to quiver in the void, and to settle toward the

"Something's happened!" cried Ned, as he sprang for the place where
most of the mechanism was housed.

"Bless my toy balloon!" shouted Mr. Damon. "We're falling, Tom!"

It needed but a glance at the needle of the barograph, to show this.
Tom followed Ned at top speed, but ere either of them reached the
engine room the pounding and grinding noises ceased, the airship
began to mount upward again, and it seemed that the danger had

"What can have happened?" gasped Tom.

"Come on, we'll soon see," said Ned, and they rushed on, followed by
Mr. Damon, who was blessing things in a whisper.

The chums saw a moment later--saw a strange sight--for there was
Koku, the giant, kneeling down on the floor of the motor room, with
his big hands clasped over one of the braces of the bed-plate of the
great air pump, which cooled the cylinders of the motor. The pump
had torn partly away from its fastenings. Kneeling there, pressing
down on the bed-plate with all his might, Koku was in grave danger,
for the rod of the pump, plunging up and down, was within a fraction
of an inch of his head, and, had he moved, the big taper pin, which
held the plunger to the axle, would have struck his temple and
probably would have killed him, for the pin, which held the plunger
rigid, projected several inches from the smooth side of the rod.

"Koku, what is the matter? Why are you there?" cried Tom, for he
could see nothing wrong with the machinery now. The airship was
sailing on as before.

"Bolt break," explained the giant briefly, for he had learned some
engineering terms since he had been with Tom. "Bolt that hold pump
fast to floor crack off. Pump him begin to jump up. Make bad noise.
Koku hold him down, but pretty hard work. Better put in new bolt,
Mr. Tom."

They could see the strain that was put upon the giant in his
swelling veins and the muscles of his hands and arms, for they stood
out knotted, and in bunches. With all his great strength it was all
Koku could do to hold the pump from tearing completely loose.

"Quick, Ned!" cried Tom. "Shut off all the power! Stop the pump!
I've got to bolt it fast. Start the gas machine, Mr. Damon. You know
how to do it. It works independent of the motor. You can let go in a
minute, Koku!"

It took but a few seconds to do all this. Ned stopped the main
motor, which had the effect of causing the propellers to cease
revolving. Then the airship would have gone down but for the fact
that she was now a balloon, Mr. Damon having started the generating
machine which sent the powerful lifting gas into the big bag over

"Now you can let go, Koku," said Tom, for with the stooping of the
motor the air pump ceased plunging, and there was no danger of it
tearing loose.

"Bless my court plaster!" cried Mr. Damon. "What happened, Tom?"

As the giant arose from his kneeling position the cause of the
accident could easily be seen. Two of the big belts that held down
one end of the pump bed-plate to the floor of the airship, had
cracked off, probably through some defect, or because of the long
and constant vibration on them.

This caused a great strain on the two forward bolts, and the pump
starter! to tear itself loose. Had it done so there would have been
a serious accident, for there would have been a tangle in the
machinery that might never have been repairable. But Koku, who, it
seems, had been watching the pump, saw the accident as soon as it
occurred. He knew that the pump must be held down, and kept rigid,
and he took the only way open to him to accomplish this.

He pressed his big hands down over the place where the bolts had
broken off, and by main strength of muscle he held the bed-plate in
place until the power was shut off.

"Koku, my boy, you did a great thing!" cried Tom, when he realized
what had happened. "You saved all our lives, and the airship as

"Koku glad," was the simple reply of the giant.

"But, bless my witch hazel!" cried Mr. Damon. "There's blood on your
hands, Koku!"

They looked at the giant's palms. They were raw and bleeding.

"How did it happen?" asked Ned.

"Where belts break off, iron rough-like," explained Koku.

"Rough! I should say it was!" cried Tom. "Why, he just pressed with
all his might on the jagged end of the belts. Koku you're a hero!"

"Hero same as giant?" asked Koku, curiously.

"No, it's a heap sight better," spoke Tom, and there was a trace of
tears in his eyes.

"Bless my vaseline!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, blowing his nose harder
than seemed necessary. "Come over here, Koku, and I'll bandage up
your hands. Poor fellow, it must hurt a lot!"

"Oh, not so bad," was the simple reply.

While Mr. Damon gave first aid to the injured, Tom and Ned put new
bolts in place of the broken ones on the bed-plate, and they tested
them to see that they were perfect. New ones were also substituted
for the two that had been strained, and in the course of an hour the
repairs were made.

"Now we can run as an aeroplane again," said Tom. "But I'm not going
to try such speed again. It was the vibration that did it I guess."

They were now over a wild and desolate stretch of country, for the
region lying on either side of the imaginary line dividing Canada and
New York State, at the point where the St. Lawrence flows north-east,
is sparsely settled.

There were stretches of forest that seemed never to have been
penetrated, and here and there patches of stunted growth, with
little lakes dotted through the wilderness. There were hills and
valleys, small streams and an occasional village.

"Just the place for smuggling," observed Tom, as he looked at a map,
consulted a clock and figured out that they must be near
Logansville. "We can go down here in one of these hollows,
surrounded by this tangled forest, and no one would ever know we
were here. The smugglers could do the same."

"Are you going to try it?" asked Ned.

"I think I will. We'll go up to quite a height now, and I'll see if
I can pick out Logansville. That isn't much of a place I guess. When
I sight it I'll select a good place to lay hidden for a day or two,
until Mr. Whitford has had a chance to work up his clew."

The airship machinery was now working well again, and Tom sent his
craft up about three miles. From there, taking observations through
a powerful telescope, he was able, after a little while, to pick out
a small town. From its location and general outline he knew it to be

"We'll go down about three miles from it," he said to his chum.
"They won't be likely to see us then, and we'll stay concealed for a

This plan was put into operation, and, a little later the Falcon
came to rest in a little grassy clearing, located in among a number
of densely wooded hills. It was an ideal place to camp, though very

"Now, Ned, let's cut a lot of branches, and pile them over the
airship," suggested Tom.

"Cover over the airship? What for?"

"So that in case anyone flies over our heads they won't look down
and see us. If the Fogers, or any of the smugglers, should happen to
pass over this place, they'd spot us in a minute. We've got to play
foxy on this hunt."

"That's so," agreed his chum; and soon the three of them were busy
making the airship look like a tangled mass of underbrush. Koku
helped by dragging big branches along under his arm, but he could
not use his hands very well.

They remained in the little grassy glade three days, thoroughly
enjoying their camp and the rest. Tom and Ned went fishing in a
nearby lake and had some good luck. They also caught trout in a
small stream and broiled the speckled beauties with bacon inside
them over live coals at a campfire.

"My! But that's good!" mumbled Ned, with his mouth full of hot
trout, and bread and butter.

"Yes, I'd rather do this than chase smugglers," said Tom, stretching
out on his back with his face to the sky. "I wish--"

But he did not finish the sentence. Suddenly from the air above them
came a curious whirring, throbbing noise. Tom sat up with a jump! He
and Ned gazed toward the zenith. The noise increased and, a moment
later, there came into view a big airship, sailing right over their

"Look at that!" cried Tom.

"Hush! They'll hear you," cautioned Ned.

"Nonsense! They're too high up," was Tom's reply. "Mr. Damon, bring
me the big binoculars, please!" he called.

"Bless my spectacles, what's up?" asked the odd gentleman as he ran
with the glasses toward Tom.

Our hero focused them on the airship that was swiftly sailing across
the open space in the wilderness but so high up that there was no
danger of our friends being recognized. Then the young inventor
uttered a cry of astonishment.

"It's Andy Foger!" he cried. "He's in that airship, and he's got two
men with him. Andy Foger, and it's a new biplane. Say, maybe that's
the new clew Mr. Whitford wired me about. We must get ready for
action! Andy in a new airship means business, and from the whiteness
of the canvas planes, I should say that craft was on its first



"Tom, are you sure it's Andy?"

"Take a look yourself," replied the young inventor, passing his chum
the binoculars.

"Bless my bottle of ink!" cried Mr. Damon. "Is it possible?"

"Quick, Ned, or you'll miss him!" cried Tom.

The young bank clerk focused the glasses on the rapidly moving
airship, and, a moment later, exclaimed:

"Yes, that's Andy all right, but I don't know who the men are with

"I couldn't recognize them, either," announced Tom. "But say, Ned,
Andy's got a good deal better airship than he had before."

"Yes. This isn't his old one fixed over. I don't believe he ever
intended to repair the old one. That hiring of Mr. Dillon to do
that, was only to throw him, and us, too, off the track."

Ned passed the glasses to Mr. Damon, who was just in time to get a
glimpse of the three occupants of Andy's craft before it passed out
of sight over the trees.

"I believe you're right," said Tom to his chum. "And did you notice
that there's quite a body, or car, to that craft?"

"Yes. room enough to carry considerable goods," commented Ned. "I
wonder where he's going in it?"

"To Logansville, most likely. I tell you what it is, Ned. I think one
of us will have to go there, and see if Mr. Whitford has arrived. He
may be looking for us. I'm not sure but what we ought not to have
done this first. He may think we have not come, or have met with
some accident,"

"I guess you're right, Tom. But how shall we go? It isn't going to
be any fun to tramp through those woods," and Ned glanced at the
wilderness that surrounded the little glade where they had been

"No, and I've about concluded that we might as well risk it, and go
in the airship. Mr. Whitford has had time enough to work up his
clew, I guess, and Andy will be sure to find out, sooner or later,
that we are in the neighborhood. I say let's start for Logansville."

Ned and Mr. Damon agreed with this and soon they were prepared to

"Where will you find Mr. Whitford?" asked Ned of his chum, as the
Falcon arose in the air.

"At the post-office. That's where we arranged to meet. There is a
sort of local custom house there, I believe."

Straight over the forest flew Tom Swift and his airship, with the
great searchlight housed on top. They delayed their start until the
other craft had had a chance to get well ahead, and they were well
up in the air; there was no sight of the biplane in which Andy had
sailed over their heads a short time before.

"Where are you going to land?" asked Ned, as they came in view of
the town.

"The best place I can pick out," answered Tom. "Just on the
outskirts of the place, I think. I don't want to go down right in
the centre, as there'll be such a crowd. Yet if Andy has been using
his airship here the people must be more or less used to seeing

But if the populace of Logansville had been in the habit of having
Andy Foger sail over their heads, still they were enough interested
in a new craft to crowd around when Tom dropped into a field near
some outlying houses. In a moment the airship was surrounded by a
crowd of women and children, and there would probably been a lot of
men, but for the fact that they were away at work. Tom had come down
in a residential section.

"Say, that's a beauty!" cried one boy.

"Let's see if they'll let us go on!" proposed another.

"We're going to have our own troubles," said Tom to his chum. "I
guess I'll go into town, and leave the rest of you on guard here.
Keep everybody off, if you have to string mildly charged electrical
wires about the rail."

But there was no need to take this precaution, for, just as the
combined juvenile population of that part of Logansville was
prepared to storm, and board the Falcon, Koku appeared on deck.

"Oh, look at the giant!"

"Say, this is a circus airship?"

"Wow! Ain't he big!"

"I'll bet he could lift a house!"

These and other expressions came from the boys and girls about the
airship. The women looked on open-mouthed, and murmurs of surprise
and admiration at Koku's size came from a number of men who had
hastily run up.

Koku stepped from the airship to the ground, and at once every boy
and girl made a bee-line for safety.

"That will do the trick!" exclaimed Tom with a laugh. "Koku, just
pull up a few trees, and look as fierce as Bluebeard, and I guess we
won't be troubled with curiosity seekers. You can guard the airship,
Koku, better than electric wires."

"I fix 'em!" exclaimed the giant, and he tried to look fierce, but
it was hard work, for he was very good natured. But he proved a
greater attraction than the aircraft, and Tom was glad of it, for he
did not like meddlers aboard.

"With Koku to help you, and Mr. Damon to bless things. I guess you
can manage until I come back, Ned," said the young inventor, as he
made ready to go in to town to see if Mr. Whitford had arrived.

"Oh, we'll get along all right," declared Ned. "Don't worry."

Tom found Mr. Whitford in one of the rooms over the post-office. The
custom house official was restlessly pacing the floor.

"Well, Tom!" he exclaimed, shaking hands, "I'm glad to see you. I
was afraid something had happened. I was delayed myself, but when I
did arrive and found you hadn't been heard from, I didn't know what
to think. I couldn't get you on the wireless. The plant here is out
of repair."

Tom told of their trip, and the wait they had decided on, and asked:

"What about the new clew; the Fogers?"

"I'm sorry to say it didn't amount to anything. I ran it down, and
came to nothing."

"You know Andy has a new airship?"

"Yes. I had men on the trail of it. They say Andy is agent for a
firm that manufactures them, but I have my doubts. I haven't given
up yet. But say, Tom, you've got to get busy. A big lot of goods was
smuggled over last night."


"Well, quite a way from here. I got a telegram about it. Can you get
on the job to-night, and do some patrol work along the border?
You're only half a mile from it now. Over there is Canada," and he
pointed to a town on a hill opposite Logansville.

"Yes, I can get right into action. What place is that?"

"Montford, Canada. I've got men planted there, and the Dominion
customs officials are helping us. But I think the smugglers have
changed the base of their operations for the time being. If I were
you I'd head for the St. Lawrence to-night."

"I will. Don't you want to come along?"

"Why, yes. I believe I'm game. I'll join you later in the day," Mr.
Whitford added, as Tom told him where the Falcon was anchored.

The young inventor got back to find a bigger crowd than ever around
his airship. But Koku and the others had kept them at a distance.

With the government agent aboard Tom sent his craft into the air at
dusk, the crowd cheering lustily. Then, with her nose pointed toward
the St. Lawrence, the Falcon was on her way to do a night patrol,
and, if possible, detect the smugglers.

It was monotonous work, and unprofitable, for, though Tom sent the
airship back and forth for many miles along the wonderful river that
formed the path from the Great Lakes to the sea, he had no glimpse
of ghostly wings of other aircraft, nor did he hear the beat of
propellers, nor the throb of motors, as his own noiseless airship
cruised along.

It came on to rain after midnight, and a mist crept down from the
clouds, so that even with the great searchlight flashing its
powerful beams, it was difficult to see for any great distance.

"Better give it up, I guess," suggested Mr. Whitford toward morning,
when they had covered many miles, and had turned back toward

"All right," agreed Tom. "But we'll try it again to-morrow night."

He dropped his craft at the anchorage he had selected in the gray
dawn of the morning. All on board were tired and sleepy. Ned,
looking from a window of the cabin, as the Falcon came to a stop,
saw something white on the ground.

"I wonder what that is?" he said as he hurried out to pick it up. It
was a large white envelope, addressed to Tom Swift, and the name was
in printed characters.

"Somebody who wants to disguise their writing," remarked Tom, as he
tore it open. A look of surprise came over his face.

"Look here! Mr. Whitford," he cried. "This is the work of the
smugglers all right!"

For, staring at Tom, in big printed letters, on a white sheet of
paper, was this message:

"If you know what is good for you, Tom Swift, you had better clear
out. If you don't your airship will burned, and you may get hurt.
We'll burn you in mid-air. Beware and quit. You can't catch us."


"Ha! Warned away!" cried Tom. "Well, it will take more than this to
make me give up!" and he crumpled the anonymous warning in his hand.



"Don't do that!" cried Mr. Whitford.

"What?" asked Tom, in some surprise.

"Don't destroy that letter. It may give us a clew. Let me have it.
I'll put a man at work on that end of this game."

"Bless my checkerboard!" cried Mr. Damon. "This game has so many
ends that you don't know where to begin to play it."

The government man smoothed out the crumpled piece of paper, and
looked at it carefully, and also gazed at the envelope.

"It's pretty hard to identify plain print, done with a lead pencil,"
he murmured. "And this didn't came through the mail."

"I wonder how it got here?" mused Ned. "Maybe some of the crowd that
was here when we started off dropped it for the smugglers. Maybe the
smugglers were in that crowd!"

"Let's take a look outside," suggested Mr. Whitford. "We may be able
to pick up a clew there."

Although our friends were tired and sleepy, and hungry as well, they
forgot all this in the desire to learn more about the mysterious
warning that had come to them during the night. They all went
outside, and Ned pointed to where he had picked up the envelope.

"Look all around, and see if you can find anything more," directed
the custom agent.

"Footprints won't count," said Tom. "There was a regular circus
crowd out here yesterday."

"I'm not looking for footprints," replied Mr. Whitford, "I have an

"Here's something!" interrupted Mr. Damon. "It looks like a lead
weight for a deep-sea fishing line. Bless my reel. No one could do
fishing here."

"Let me see that!" exclaimed Mr. Whitford eagerly. Then, as he
looked at it, he uttered a cry of delight. "I thought so," he said.
"Look at this bit of cord tied to the weight."

"What does that signify?" asked Tom.

"And see this little hole in the envelope, or, rather a place that
was a hole, but it's torn away now."

"I'm not much the wiser," confessed Ned, with a puzzled look.

"Why, it's as plain as print," declared the government agent. "This
warning letter was dropped from an airship, Tom."

"From an airship?"

"Yes. They sailed right over this place, and let the letter fall,
with this lead weight attached, to bring it to earth just where they
wanted it to fall."

"Bless my postage stamp!" cried Mr. Damon. "I never heard of such a

"I see it now!" exclaimed Tom. "While we were off over the river,
watching for the smugglers, they were turning a trick here, and
giving us a warning into the bargain. We should have stayed around
here. I wonder if it was Andy's airship that was used?"

"We can easily find that out," said Mr. Whitford. "I have a
detective stationed in a house not far from where the Fogers live.
Andy came back from Shopton yesterday, just before you arrived here,
and I can soon let you know whether he was out last night. I'll take
this letter with me, and get right up to my office, though I'm
afraid this won't be much of a clew after all. Print isn't like
handwriting for evidence."

"And to think they sailed right over this place, and we weren't
home," mourned Tom. "It makes me mad!"

But there was no use in regretting what had happened, and, after a
hot breakfast in the airship, with Mr. Damon presiding at the
electrical stove, they all felt more hopeful. Mr. Whitford left for
his office, promising to send word to Tom as to whether or not Andy
was abroad in the airship during the night.

"I wonder if that 'Committee of Three' is Andy and these two fellows
with him in the airship?" asked Ned.

"Hard telling," responded his chum. "Now for a good sleep. Koku,
keep the crowd away while we have a rest," for the giant had
indulged in a good rest while the airship was on patrol during the

Not so much of a crowd came out as on the first day, and Koku had
little trouble in keeping them far enough away so that Tom and the
others could get some rest. Koku walked about, brandishing a big
club, and looking as fierce as a giant in a fairy tale. It was
afternoon when a message came from Mr. Whitford to the effect that
Andy's airship was not out the previous night, and that so far no
clews had developed from the letter, or from any other source.

"We'll just have to keep our eyes open," wrote Mr. Whitford. "I
think perhaps we are altogether wrong about the Fogers, unless they
are deeper than I give them credit for. It might he well to let the
smugglers think you are frightened, and go away for a day or so,
selecting a more secluded spot to remain in. That may cause them to
get bolder, and we may catch them unawares."

"That's a good plan. I'll try it," decided Tom. "We'll move to-morrow
to a new location."

"Why not to-night?" asked Ned.

"Because it's getting late, and I want to circle about in daylight
and pick out a good place. Morning will do all right."

"Then you're not going out to-night?"

"No. Mr. Whitford writes that as goods were smuggled over last night
it will hardly be likely that they will repeat the trick to-night.
We'll have a little rest."

"Going to mount guard?" asked Ned.

"No, I don't think so. No one will disturb us."

Afterward the young inventor wished that he had kept a better watch
that night, for it nearly proved disastrous for him.

It must have been about midnight that Tom was awakened by a movement
in the airship.

"Who's that?" he asked suddenly.

"Koku," came the reassuring reply. "Too hot to sleep in my bank. I
go out on deck."

"All right, Koku," and Tom dozed off again.

Suddenly he was awakened by the sound of a terrific scuffle on deck.
Up he jumped, rushing toward the door that led from his sleeping

"What is it! What's the matter!" he cried.

There came the sound of a blow, a cry of pain, and then the report
of a gun.

"Bless my cartridge belt!" cried Mr. Damon.

"What's the matter? Who is it? What happened?" yelled Ned, tumbling
out of his bunk.

"Something wrong!" answered Tom, as he switched on the electric
lights. He was just in time to see Koku wrench a gun from a man who
stood near the pedestal, on which the great searchlight was poised.
Tossing the weapon aside, Koku caught up his club, and aimed a blow
at the man. But the latter nimbly dodged and, a moment later leaped
over the rail, followed by the giant.

"Who is he? What did he do?" cried Tom after his big servant. "What

"Him try to shoot searchlight, but I stop him!" yelled back Koku, as
he rushed on in pursuit. With a leap Tom sprang to the switch of his
lantern, and sent a flood of light toward where Koku was racing
after the intruder.



Full in the glare of the powerful beam from the light there was
revealed the giant and the man he was pursuing. The latter neither
Tom, nor any one on the airship, knew. All they could see was that
he was racing away at top speed, with Koku vainly swinging his club
at him.

"Bless my chicken soup!" cried Mr. Damon. "Is anything damaged,

"No, Koku was too quick for him." yelled the youth, as he, too
leaped over the rail and joined in the pursuit.

"Stop! Stop!" called Koku to the man who had sought to damage the
great searchlight. But the fellow knew better than to halt, with an
angry giant so close behind him. He ran on faster than ever.

Suddenly the stranger seemed to realize that by keeping in the path
of the light he gave his pursuers a great advantage. He dodged to
one side, off the path on which he had been running, and plunged
into the bushes.

"Where him go?" called Koku, coming to a puzzled halt.

"Ned, play the light on both sides!" ordered Tom to his chum, who
was now on the deck of the airship, near the wheels and levers that
operated the big lantern. "Show him up!"

Obediently the young bank clerk swung the searchlight from side to
side. The powerful combined electric current, hissing into the big
carbons, and being reflected by the parabolic mirrors, made the
growth of underbrush as brightly illuminated as in day time. Tom
detected a movement.

"There he is, Koku!" he called to his giant servant. "Off there to
the left. After him!"

Raising his club on high, Koku made a leap for the place where the
fugitive was hiding. As the man saw the light, and sprang forward,
he was, for a moment, in the full glare of the rays. Then, just as
the giant was about to reach him, Koku stumbled over a tree root,
and fell heavily.

"Never mind, I'll get him!" yelled Tom, but the next moment the man
vanished suddenly, and was no longer to be seen in the finger of
light from the lantern. He had probably dipped down into some
hollow, lying there hidden, and as of course was out of the focus of
the searchlight.

"Come on, Koku, we'll find him!" exclaimed Tom, and together they
made a search, Mr. Damon joining them, while Ned worked the lantern.
But it was of no avail, for they did not find the stranger.

"Well, we might as well go back," said Tom, at length. "We can't
find him. He's probably far enough off by this time."

"Who was he?" panted Mr. Damon, as he walked beside Tom and Koku to
the airship. Ned had switched off the big light on a signal from the
young inventor.

"I don't know!" answered Tom.

"But what did he want? What was he doing? I don't quite understand."

"He wanted to put my searchlight out of commission," responded our
hero. "From that I should argue that he was either one of the
smugglers, or trying to aid them."

And this theory was borne out by Mr. Whitford, who, on calling the
next morning, was told of the occurrence of the night. Koku related
how he had found it uncomfortable in his bunk, and had gone out on
deck for air. There, half dozing, he heard a stealthy step. At once
he was on the alert. He saw a man with a gun creeping along, and at
first thought the fellow had evil designs on some of those aboard
the Falcon.

Then, when Koku saw the man aim at the big searchlight the giant
sprang at him, and there was a scuffle. The gun went off, and the
man escaped. An examination of the weapon he had left behind showed
that it carried a highly explosive shell, which, had it hit the
lantern, would have completely destroyed it, and might have damaged
the airship.

"It was the smugglers, without a doubt," declared Mr. Whitford. "You
can't get away from this place any too soon, Tom. Get a new hiding
spot, and I will communicate with you there."

"But they are on the watch," objected Ned. "They'll see where we go,
and follow us. The next time they may succeed in smashing the

"And if they do," spoke Tom, "it will be all up with trying to
detect the smugglers, for it would take me quite a while to make
another searchlight. But I have a plan."

"What is it?" asked the government agent.

"I'll make a flight to-day," went on the young inventor, "and sail
over quite an area. I'll pick out a good place to land, and we'll
make our camp there instead of here. Then I'll come back to this
spot, and after dark I'll go up, without a light showing. There's no
moon to-night, and they'll have pretty good eyes if they can follow
me, unless they get a searchlight, and they won't do that for fear
of giving themselves away.

We'll sail off in the darkness, go to the spot we have previously
picked out, and drop down to it. There we can hide and I don't
believe they can trace us."

"But how can you find in the darkness, the spot you pick out in
daylight?" Mr. Whitford wanted to know.

"I'll arrange same electric lights, in a certain formation in trees
around the landing place," said Tom. "I'll fix them with a clockwork
switch, that will illuminate them at a certain hour, and they'll run
by a storage battery. In that way I'll have my landing place all
marked out, and, as it can only be seen from above, if any of the
smugglers are on the ground, they won't notice the incandescents."

"But if they are in their airship they will," said Mr. Damon.

"Of course that's possible," admitted Tom, "but, even if they see
the lights I don't believe they will know what they mean. And,
another thing, I don't imagine they'll come around here in their
airship when they know that we're in the neighborhood, and when the
spy who endeavored to damage my lantern reports that he didn't
succeed. They'll know that we are likely to be after them any

"That's so," agreed Ned. "I guess that's a good plan."

It was one they adopted, and, soon after Mr. Whitford's visit the
airship arose, with him on board, and Tom sent her about in great
circles and sweeps, now on high and again, barely skimming over the
treetops. During this time a lookout was kept for any other
aircraft, but none was seen.

"If they are spying on us, which is probably the case," said Tom,
"they will wonder what we're up to. I'll keep 'em guessing. I think
I'll fly low over Mr. Foger's house, and see if Andy has his airship
there. We'll give him a salute."

Before doing this, however, Tom had picked out a good landing place
in a clearing in the woods, and had arranged some incandescent
lights on high branches of trees. The lights enclosed a square, in
the centre of which the Falcon was to drop down.

Of course it was necessary to descend to do this, to arrange the
storage battery and the clock switch. Then, so as to throw their
enemies off their track, they made landings in several other places,
though they did nothing, merely staying there as a sort of "bluff"
as Ned called it.

"They'll have their own troubles if they investigate every place we
stopped at," remarked Tom, "and, even if they do hit on the one we
have selected for our camp they won't see the lights in the trees,
for they're well hidden."

This work done, they flew back toward Logansville, and sailed over
Andy's house.

"There he is, on the roof, working at his airship!" exclaimed Ned,
as they came within viewing distance, and, surely enough, there was
the bully, tinkering away at his craft. Tom flew low enough down to
speak to him, and, as the Falcon produced no noise, it was not
difficult to make their voices heard.

"Hello, Andy!" called Tom, as he swept slowly overhead.

Andy looked up, but only scowled.

"Nice day; isn't it?" put in Ned.

"You get on away from here!" burst out the bully. "You are
trespassing, by flying over my house, and I could have you arrested
for it. Keep away."

"All right," agreed Tom with a laugh. "Don't trespass by flying over
our ship, Andy. We also might have a gun to shoot searchlights
with," he added.

Andy started, but did not reply, though Tom, who was watching him
closely, thought he saw an expression of fear come over the bully's

"Do you think it was Andy who did the shooting?" asked Ned.

"No, he hasn't the nerve," replied Tom. "I don't know what to think
about that affair last night."

"Excepting that the smugglers are getting afraid of you, and want to
get you out of the way," put in the custom official.

That night, when it was very dark, the Falcon noiselessly made her
way upward and sailed along until she was over the square in the
forest, marked out by the four lights. Then Tom sent her safely

"Now let 'em find us if they can!" the young inventor exclaimed, as he
made the craft fast. "We'll turn in now, and see what happens
to-morrow night."

"I'll send you word, just as soon as I get any myself," promised Mr.
Whitford, when he left the next morning.

Tom and Ned spent the day in going over the airship, making some
minor repairs to it, and polishing and oiling the mechanism of the
searchlight, to have it in the best possible condition.

It was about dusk when the wireless outfit, with which the Falcon
was fitted, began snapping and cracking.

"Here comes a message!" cried Tom, as he clapped the receiver over
his head, and began to translate the dots and dashes.

"It's from Mr. Whitford!" he exclaimed, when he had written it down,
and had sent back an answer, "He says: 'Have a tip that smugglers
will try to get goods over the border at some point near Niagara
Falls to-morrow night. Can you go there, and cruise about? Better
keep toward Lake Ontario also. I will be with you. Answer.'"

"What answer did you send?" asked Ned.

"I told him we'd be on the job. It's quite a little run to make, and
we can't start until after dark, or otherwise some of the smugglers
around here may see us, and tip off their confederates. But I guess
we can make the distance all right."

Mr. Whitford arrived at the airship the next afternoon, stating that
he had news from one of the government spies to the effect that a
bold attempt would be made that night.

"They're going to try and smuggle some diamonds over on this trip,"
said the custom agent.

"Well, we'll try to nab them!" exclaimed Tom.

As soon as it was dark enough to conceal her movements, the Falcon
was sent aloft, not a light showing, and, when on high, Tom started
the motor at full speed. The great propellers noiselessly beat the
air, and the powerful craft was headed for Lake Ontario.

"They're pretty good, if they attempted to cross the lake to-night,"
observed the young inventor, as he looked at the barometer.

"Why so?" asked Ned.

"Because there's a bad storm coming up. I shouldn't want to risk it.
We'll keep near shore. We can nab them there as good as over the

This plan was adopted, and as soon as they reached the great body of
water--the last in the chain of the Great Lakes--Tom cruised about,
he and Ned watching through powerful night glasses for a glimpse of
another airship.

Far into the night they sailed about, covering many miles, for Tom ran
at almost top speed. They sailed over Niagara Falls, and then well
along the southern shore of Ontario, working their way north-east and
back again. But not a sign of the smugglers did they see.

Meanwhile the wind had arisen until it was a gale, and it began to
rain. Gently at first the drops came down, until at length there was
a torrent of water descending from the overhead clouds. But those in
the Falcon were in no discomfort.

"It's a bad storm all right!" exclaimed Tom, as he looked at the
barometer, and noted that the mercury was still falling.

"Yes, and we have had our trouble for our pains!" declared Mr.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean I believe that we have been deceived by a false clew. The
smugglers probably had no intention of getting goods across at this
point to-night. They saw to it that my agent got false information,
believing that we would follow it, and leave the vicinity of

"So they could operate there?" asked Tom.

"That's it," replied the agent. "They drew us off the scent. There's
no help for it. We must get back as soon as we can. My! This is a
bad storm!" he added, as a blast careened the airship.



For a time the Falcon shot onward through the storm and darkness,
for Tom did not want to give up. With but a single shaded light in
the pilot house, so that he could see to read the gauges and dials,
telling of the condition of the machinery in the motor room, he
pushed his stanch craft ahead. At times she would be forced downward
toward the angry waters of Lake Ontario, over which she was sailing,
but the speed of her propellers and the buoyancy of the gas bag,
would soon lift her again.

"How much longer are you going to stay?" called Ned in his chum's
ear--called loudly, not to be heard above the noise of the airship,
but above the racket of the gale.

"Oh, I guess we may as well start back," spoke Tom, after a look at
the clock on the wall. "We can just about make our camp by daylight,
and they won't see us."

"It won't be light very early," observed Mr. Whitford, looking in
the pilot house from the cabin, just aft of it. "But there is no use
waiting around here any more, Tom. They gave us a false clew, all

"Bless my police badge!" cried Mr. Damon. "They must be getting

"I believe they are," went on the custom officer. "They are afraid
of us, and that's a good sign. We'll keep right after 'em, too. If
we don't get 'em this week, we will next. Better put back."

"I will," decided the young inventor.

"It certainly is a gale," declared Ned, as he made his way along a
dim passage, as few lights had been set aglow, for fear of the
smugglers seeing the craft outlined in the air. Now, however, when
it was almost certain that they were on the wrong scent, Tom
switched on the incandescents, making the interior of the Falcon
more pleasant.

The giant came into the pilot house to help Tom, and the airship was
turned about, and headed toward Logansville. The wind was now
sweeping from the north across Lake Ontario, and it was all the
powerful craft could do to make headway against it.

There came a terrific blast, which, in spite of all that Tom and
Koku could do, forced the Falcon down, dangerously close to the
dashing billows.

"Hard over, Koku!" called Tom to his giant.

As the airship began to respond to the power of her propellers, and
the up-tilted rudder, Tom heard, from somewhere below him, a series
of shrill blasts on a whistle.

"What's that?" he cried.

"Sounds like a boat below us," answered Mr. Whitford.

"I guess it is," agreed the young inventor. "There she goes again."

Once more came the frantic tooting of a whistle, and mingled with it
could be heard voices shouting in fear, but it was only a confused
murmur of sound. No words could be made out.

"That's a compressed air whistle!" decided Tom. "It must be some
sort of a motor boat in distress. Quick, Mr. Whitford! Tell Ned to
switch on the searchlight, and play it right down on the lake. If
there's a boat in this storm it can't last long. Even an ocean liner
would have trouble. Get the light on quick, and we'll see what we
can do!"

It was the work of but an instant to convey the message to Ned. The
latter called Mr. Damon to relieve him in the motor room, and, a few
seconds later, Ned had switched on the electricity. By means of the
lazy-tongs, and the toggle joints, the bank clerk lifted the lantern
over until the powerful beam from it was projected straight down
into the seething waters of the lake.

"Do you see anything?" asked Mr. Damon from the motor room, at one
side of which Ned stood to operate the lantern.

"Nothing but white-caps," was the answer. "It's a fearful storm."

Once more came the series of shrill whistles, and the confused
calling of voices. Ned opened a window, in order to hear more
plainly. As the whistle tooted again he could locate the sound, and,
by swinging the rays of the searchlight to and fro he finally picked
up the craft.

"There she is!" he cried, peering down through the plate glass
window in the floor of the motor room. "It's a small gasolene boat,
and there are several men in her! She's having a hard time."

"Can we rescue them?" asked Mr. Damon.

"If anybody can, Tom Swift will," was Ned's reply. Then came a
whistle from the speaking tube, that led to the pilot house.

"What is it?" asked Ned, putting the tube to his ear.

"Stand by for a rescue!" ordered Tom, who had also, through a window
in the floor of the pilot house, seen the hapless motor boat. The
men in it were frantically waving their hands to those on the
airship. "I'm going down as close as I dare," went on Tom. "You
watch, and when it's time, have Koku drop from the stern a long,
knotted rope. That will he a sort of ladder, and they can make it
fast to their boat and climb up, hand over hand. It's the only

"Good!" cried Ned. "Send Koku to me. Can you manage alone in the
pilot house?"

"Yes," came back the answer through the tube.

Koku came back on the run, and was soon tying knots in a strong
rope. Meanwhile Ned kept the light on the tossing boat, while Tom,
through a megaphone had called to the men to stand by to be rescued.
The whistle frantically tooted their thanks.

Koku went out on the after deck, and, having made the knotted rope
fast, dropped the end overboard. Then began a difficult feature of
airship steering. Tom, looking down through the glass, watched the
boat in the glare of the light. Now coming forward, now reversing
against the rush of the wind; now going up, and now down, the young
inventor so directed the course of his airship so that, finally, the
rope dragged squarely across the tossing boat.

In a trice the men grabbed it, and made it fast. Then Tom had
another difficult task--that of not allowing the rope to become
taut, or the drag of the boat, and the uplift of the airship might
have snapped it in twain. But he handled his delicate craft of the
air as confidently as the captain of a big liner brings her
skillfully to the deck against wind and tide.

"Climb up! Climb up!" yelled Tom, through the megaphone, and he saw,
not a man, but a woman, ascending the knotted rope, hand over hand,
toward the airship that hovered above her head.



"Bless my knitting needles!" cried Mr. Damon, as be looked down, and
saw, in the glare of the great light, the figure of the woman
clinging to the swaying rope. "Help her, someone! Tom! Ned! She'll

The eccentric man started to rush from the motor room, where he had
been helping Ned. But the latter cried:

"Stay where you are, Mr. Damon. No one can reach her now without
danger to himself and her. She can climb up, I think."

Past knot after knot the woman passed, mounting steadily upward,
with a strength that seemed remarkable.

"Come on!" cried Tom to the others. "Don't wait until she gets up.
There isn't time. Come on--the rope will hold you all! Climb up!"

The men in the tossing and bobbing motor boat heard, and at once
began, one after the other, to clamber up the rope. There were five
of them, as could be seen in the glare of the light, and Tom, as he
watched, wondered what they were doing out in the terrific storm at
that early hour of the morning, and with a lone woman.

"Stand by to help her, Koku!" called Ned to the giant.

"I help," was the giant's simple reply, and as the woman's head came
above the rail, over which the rope ran, Koku, leaning forward,
raised her in his powerful arms, and set her carefully on the deck.

"Come into the cabin, please," Ned called to her. "Come in out of
the wet."

"Oh, it seems a miracle that we are saved!" the woman gasped, as,
rain-drenched and wind-tossed, she staggered toward the door which
Tom had opened by means of a lever in the pilot house. The young
inventor had his hands full, manipulating the airship so as to keep
it above the motor boat, and not bring too great a strain on the

The woman passed into the cabin, which was between the motor room
and the pilot house, and Ned saw her throw herself on her knees, and
offer up a fervent prayer of thanksgiving. Then, springing to her
feet, she cried:

"My husband? Is he safe? Can you save him? Oh, how wonderful that
this airship came in answer to our appeals to Providence. Whose is

Before Ned got a chance to answer her, as she came to the door of
the motor room, a man's voice called:

"My wife! Is she safe?"

"Yes, here I am," replied the woman, and a moment later the two were
in each other's arms.

"The others; are they safe?" gasped the woman, after a pause.

"Yes," replied the man. "They are coming up the rope. Oh, what a
wonderful rescue! And that giant man who lifted us up on deck! Oh,
do you recall in Africa how we were also rescued by airship--"

"Come on now, I got you!" interrupted the voice of Koku out on the
after deck, and there was a series of thumps that told when he had
lifted the men over the rail, and set them down.

"All saved!" cried the giant at last.

"Then cut the rope!" shouted Tom. "We've got to get out of this, for
it's growing worse!"

There was the sound of a hatchet blow, and the airship shot upward.
Into the cabin came the dripping figures of the other men, and Ned,
as he stood by the great searchlight, felt a wave of wonder sweep
over him as he listened to the voices of the first man and woman.

He knew he had heard them before, and, when he listened to the
remark about a rescue by airship, in Africa, a flood of memory came
to him.

"Can it be possible that these are the same missionaries whom Tom
and I rescued from the red pygmies?" he murmured. "I must get a look
at them."

"Our boat, it is gone I suppose," remarked one of the other men,
coming into the motor room.

"I'm afraid so," answered Ned, as he played the light on the doomed
craft. Even as he did so he saw a great wave engulf her, and, a
moment later she sank. "She's gone," he said softly.

"Too bad!" exclaimed the man. "She was a fine little craft. But how
in the world did you happen along to rescue us? Whose airship is

"Tom Swift's," answered Ned, and, at the sound of the name the woman
uttered a cry, as she rushed into the motor room.

"Tom Swift!" she exclaimed. "Where is he? Oh, can it be possible
that it is the same Tom Swift that rescued us in Africa?"

"I think it is, Mrs. Illingway," spoke Ned quietly, for he now
recognized the missionary, though he wondered what she and her
husband were doing so far from the Dark Continent.

"Oh, I know you--you're Ned Newton--Tom's chum! Oh, I am so glad!
Where is Tom?"

"In the pilot house. He'll be here in a moment."

Tom came in at that juncture, having set the automatic steering geer
to take the ship on her homeward course.

"Are they all saved?" he asked, looking at the little group of
persons who had climbed up from the motor boat. "Mr. Damon, you had
better make some hot coffee. Koku, you help. I--"

"Tom Swift!" cried out Mr. and Mrs. Illingway together, as they made
a rush for the young inventor. "Don't you know us?"

To say that Tom was surprised at this, would be putting it mildly.
He had to lean up against the side of the cabin for support.

"Mrs. Illingway!" he gasped. "You here--were you in that boat?"

"Yes. it's all very simple. My husband and I are on a vacation for a
year. We got fever and had to leave Africa. We are staying with
friends at a resort on the lake shore. These are our friends," she
went on, introducing the other gentlemen.

"We went out for a trip in the motor boat," the missionary
continued, "but we went too far. Our motor broke down, we could get
no help, and the storm came up. We thought we were doomed, until we
saw your lights. I guessed it was a balloon, or some sort of an
airship, and we whistled; and called for help. Then you rescued us!
Oh, it is almost too wonderful to believe. It is a good thing I have
practiced athletics or I never could have climbed that rope."

"It is like a story from a book!" added Mr. Illingway, as he graspsd
Tom's hand. "You rescued us in Africa and again here." I may say
here that the African rescue is told in detail in the volume
entitled, "Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle."

The shipwrecked persons were made as comfortable as possible. There
was plenty of room for them, and soon they were sitting around warm
electric heaters, drinking hot coffee, and telling their adventures
over again. Mr. and Ms. Illingway said they soon expected to return
to Africa.

Tom told how he happened to be sailing over the lake, on the lookout
for smugglers, and how he had been disappointed.

"And it's a good thing you were--for our sakes," put in Mrs.
Illingway, with a smile.

"Where do you want to be landed?" asked Tom. "I don't want to take
you all the way back to Logansville."

"If you will land us anywhere near a city or town, we can arrange to
be taken back to our cottage," said one of the men, and Tom sent the
airship down until, in the gray dawn of the morning, they could pick
out a large village on the lake shore. Then, in much better
condition than when they had been saved, the rescued ones alighted,
showering Tom and the others with thanks, and sought a hotel.

"And now for our camp, and a good rest!" cried the young inventor,
as he sent the airship aloft again.

They reached their camp in the forest clearing without having been
observed, as far as they could learn, and at once set about making
things snug, for the storm was still raging.

"I don't believe any of the smugglers were abroad last night,"
remarked Mr. Whitford, as he prepared to go back into town, he
having come out on horseback, leaving the animal over night in an
improvised stable they had made in the woods of boughs and tree

"I hope not," replied Tom. but the next day, when the government
agent called again, his face wore a look of despair.

"They put a big one over on us the night of the rescue." he said.
"They flew right across the border near Logansville, and got away
with a lot of goods. They fooled us all right."

"Can you find out who gave the wrong tip?" asked Tom.

"Yes, I know the man. He pretended to be friendly to one of my
agents, but he was only deceiving him. But we'll get the smugglers

"That's what we will!" cried Tom, determinedly.

Several days passed, and during the night time Tom, in his airship,
and with the great searchlight aglow, flew back and forth across the
border, seeking the elusive airships, but did not see them. In the
meanwhile he heard from Mr. and Mrs. Illingway, who sent him a
letter of thanks, and asked him to come and see them, but, much as
Tom would liked to have gone, he did not have the time.

It was about a week after the sensational rescue, when one evening,
as Tom was about to get ready for a night flight, he happened to be
in the pilot house making adjustments to some of the apparatus.

Mr. Damon and Ned had gone out for a walk in the woods, and Mr.
Whitford had not yet arrived. As for Mr. Koku, Tom did not know
where his giant servant was.

Suddenly there was a commotion outside. A trampling in the bushes,
and the breaking of sticks under feet.

"I got you now!" cried the voice of the giant.

Tom sprang to the window of the pilot house. He saw Koku tightly
holding a man who was squinting about, and doing his best to break
away. But it was useless. When Koku got hold of any one, that person
had to stay.

"What is it, Koku!" cried Tom.

"I got him!" cried the giant. "He sneaking up on airship, but I come
behind and grab him," and Koku fairly lifted his prisoner off his
feet and started with him toward the Falcon.



"Hello!" cried Tom. "What's up, Koku?"

"Him up!" replied the giant with a laugh, as he looked at his
squirming prisoner, whose feet he had lifted from the ground.

"No, I mean what was he doing?" went on Tom, with a smile at the
literal way in which the giant had answered his question.

"I wasn't doing anything!" broke in the man. "I'd like to know if I
haven't a right to walk through these woods, without being grabbed
up by a man as big as a mountain? There'll be something up that you
won't like, if you don't let me go, too!" and he struggled fiercely,
but he was no match for giant Koku.

"What was he doing?" asked Tom of his big servant, ignoring the man.
Tom looked closely at him, however, but could not remember to have
seen him before.

"I walking along in woods, listen to birds sing," said Koku simply,
taking a firmer hold on his victim. "I see this fellow come along,
and crawl through grass like so a snake wiggle. I to myself think
that funny, and I watch. This man he wiggle more. He wiggle more
still, and then he watch. I watch too. I see him have knife in hand,
but I am no afraid. I begin to go like snake also, but I bigger
snake than he."

"I guess so," laughed Tom, as he watched the man trying in vain to

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