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Tom Swift and his Wireless Message by Victor Appleton

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Title: Tom Swift and his Wireless Message

Author: Victor Appleton

Release Date: July, 2003 [EBook #4227]
[Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[Most recently updated: March 11, 2002]

Edition: 11

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Greg Weeks, Charles Franks
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team







Or Fun and Adventures on the Road

Or the Rivals of Lake Carlopa

Or the Stirring Cruise of the Red Cloud

Or Under the Ocean for Sunken Treasure

Or the Speediest Car on the Road

Or the Castaways of Earthquake Island

Or the Secret of Phantom Mountain

Or the Wreck of the Airship

Or the Quickest Flight on Record

Or Daring Adventures in Elephant Land

(Other Volumes in Preparation)






Tom Swift stepped from the door of the machine shop, where he was at
work making some adjustments to the motor of his airship, and
glanced down the road. He saw a cloud of dust, which effectually
concealed whatever was causing it.

"Some one must be in a hurry this morning," the lad remarked, "Looks
like a motor speeding along. MY! but we certainly do need rain," he
added, as he looked up toward the sky. "It's very dusty. Well, I may
as well get back to work. I'll take the airship out for a flight
this afternoon, if the wind dies down a bit."

The young inventor, for Tom Swift himself had built the airship, as
well as several other crafts for swift locomotion, turned to re-
enter the shop.

Something about the approaching cloud of dust, however, held his
attention. He glanced more intently at it.

"If it's an automobile coming along," he murmured, "it's moving very
slowly, to make so much fuss. And I never saw a motor-cycle that
would kick up as much sand, and not speed along more. It ought to be
here by now. I wonder what it can be?"

The cloud of highway dirt rolled along, making some progress toward
Tom's house and the group of shops and other buildings surrounding
it. But, as the lad had said, the dust did not move at all quickly
in comparison to any of the speedy machines that might be causing
it. And the cloud seemed momentarily to grow thicker and thicker.

"I wonder if it could be a miniature tornado, or a cyclone or
whirlwind?" and Tom spoke aloud, a habit of his when he was
thinking, and had no one to talk to. "Yet it can hardly be that." he
went on. "Guess I'll watch and see what it is."

Nearer and nearer came the dust cloud. Tom peered anxiously ahead, a
puzzled look on his face. A few seconds later there came from the
midst of the obscuring cloud a voice, exclaiming:

"G'lang there now, Boomerang! Keep to' feet a-movin' an' we sho'
will make a record. 'Tain't laik we was a autermobiler, er a
electricity car, but we sho' hab been goin' sence we started. Yo'
sho' done yo'se'f proud t'day, Boomerang, an' I'se gwine t' keep mah
promise an' gib yo' de bestest oats I kin find. Ah reckon Massa Tom
Swift will done say we brought dis yeah message t' him as quick as
anybody could."

Then there followed the sound of hoofbeats on the dusty road, and
the rattle of some many-jointed vehicle, with loose springs and
looser wheels.

"Eradicate Sampson!" exclaimed Tom. "But who would ever think that
the colored man's mule could get up such speed as that cloud of dust
indicates. His mule's feet must be working overtime, but he goes
backward about as often as he moves forward. That accounts for it.
There's lots of dust, but not much motion."

Once more, from the midst of the ball-like cloud of dirt came the
voice of the colored man:

"Now behave yo'se'f, Boomerang. We'm almost dere an' den yo' kin sit
down an' rest if yo' laik. Jest keep it up a little longer, an'
we'll gib Massa Tom his telephone. G'lang now, Boomerang."

The tattoo of hoofbeats was slowing up now, and the cloud of dust
was not so heavy. It was gradually blowing away. Tom Swift walked
down to the fence that separated the house, grounds and shops from
the road. As he got there the sounds of the mule's progress, and the
rattle of the wagon, suddenly ceased.

"G'lang! G'lang! Don't yo' dare t' stop now, when we am most dere!"
cried Eradicate Sampson. "Keep a-movin', Boomerang!"

"It's all right, Eradicate. I'm here," called Tom, and when the last
of the dust had blown away, the lad waved his hand to an aged
colored man, who sat upon the seat of perhaps the most dilapidated
wagon that was ever dignified by such a name. It was held together
with bits of wire, rope and strings, and each of the four wheels
leaned out at a different angle. It was drawn by a big mule, whose
bones seemed protruding through his skin, but that fact evidently
worried him but little, for now the animal was placidly sleeping,
while standing up, his long ears moving slowly to and fro.

"Am dat yo', Massa Tom?" asked Eradicate, ceasing his task of
jerking on the lines, to which operation the mule paid not the least

"Yes, I'm here, Rad," replied Tom, smiling. "I came out of my shop
to see what all the excitement was about. How did you ever get your
mule to make so much dust?"

"I done promise him an extra helpin' ob oats ef he make good time,"
said the colored man. "An' he done it, too. Did yo' see de dust we

"I sure did, but you didn't do much else. And you didn't make very
good time. I watched you, and you came along like an ice wagon after
a day's work on the Fourth of July. You were going fast, but moving

"I 'spects we was, Massa Tom," was the colored man's answer. "But
Boomerang done better dan I 'spected he would. I done tole him yo'd
be in a hurry t' git yo' telephone, an' he sho' did trot along."

"My telephone?" repeated Tom, wonderingly. "What have you and your
mule Boomerang to do with my telephone? That's up in the house."

"No, it ain't! it's right yeah in mah pocket," chuckled Eradicate,
opening a ragged coat, and reaching for something. "I got yo'
telephone right yeah." he went on. "De agent at de station see me
dribin' ober dis way, an' he done ast he t' deliber it. He said as
how he ain't got no messenger boy now, 'cause de one he done hab
went on a strike fo' five cents mo' a day. So I done took de
telephone," and with that the colored man pulled out a crumpled
yellow envelope.

"Oh, you mean a telegram," said Tom, with a laugh, as he took the
message from the odd colored man.

"Well, maybe it's telegraf, but I done understood de agent t' say
telephone. Anyhow, dere it is. An' I s'pects we'd better git along,

The mule never moved, though Eradicate yanked on the reins, and used
a splintered whip with energy.

"I said as how we'd better git along, Boomerang," went on the
darkey, raising his voice, "Dinnah am mos' ready, an' I'm goin' t'
giv yo' an extra helpin' ob oats."

The effect of these words seemed magical. The mule suddenly came to
life, and was about to start off.

"I done thought dat would cotch yo', Boomerang," chuckled Eradicate.

"Wait a minute, Rad," called Tom, who was tearing open the envelope
of the telegram. "I might want to send an answer back by you. I
wonder who is wiring me now?"

He read the message slowly, and Eradicate remarked:

"'Taint no kind ob use, Massa Tom, fo' t' send a message back wif

"Why not?" asked the young inventor, looking up from the sheet of
yellow paper.

"'Case as how I done promised Boomerang his airman, an' he won't do
nothin' till he has it. Ef I started him back t' town now he would
jest lay down in de road. I'll take de answer back fo' you dis

"All right, perhaps that will do," assented Tom. "I haven't quite
got the hang of this yet. Drop around this afternoon, Rad," and as
the colored man, who, with his mule Boomerang, did odd jobs around
the village, started off down the highway, in another cloud of dust,
Tom Swift resumed the reading of the message.

"Hum, this is rather queer," he mused, when having read it once, he
began at it again. "It must have cost him something to send all this
over the wire. He could just as well have written it. So he wants my
help, eh? Well, I never heard of him, and he may be all right, but I
had other plans, and I don't know whether I can spare the time to go
to Philadelphia or not. I'll have to think it over. An electric
airship, eh? He's sort of following along the lines of my
inventions. Wants my aid--hum--well, I don't know--"

Tom's musings were suddenly cut short by the approach of an elderly
gentleman, who was walking slowly down the path that led from the
house to the country highway which ran in front of it.

"A telegram, Tom?" asked the newcomer.

"Yes, dad," was the reply. "I was just coming in to ask your advice
about it. Eradicate brought it to me."

"What, with his mule, Boomerang?" and the gentleman seemed much
amused. "How did he ever get up speed enough to deliver a telegram?"

"Oh, Eradicate has some special means he uses on his mule when he's
in a hurry. But listen to this message, dad. It's from a Mr. Hosmer
Fenwick, of Philadelphia. He says:"

"'Tom Swift--Can you come on to Philadelphia at once and aid me in
perfecting my new electric airship? I want to get it ready for a
flight before some government experts who have promised to purchase
several if it works well. I am in trouble, and I can't get it to
rise off the ground. I need help. I have heard about your airship,
and the other inventions you and your father have perfected, and I
am sure you can aid me. I am stuck. Can you hurry to the Quaker
City? I will pay you well. Answer at once!'"

"Well?" remarked Mr. Swift, questioningly, as his son finished
reading the telegram. "What are you going to do about it, Tom?"

"I don't exactly know, dad. I was going to ask your advice. What
would you do? Who is this Mr. Fenwick?"

"Well, he is an inventor of some note, but he has had many failures.
I have not heard of him in some years until now. He is a gentleman
of wealth, and can he relied upon to do just as he says. We are
slightly acquainted. Perhaps it would be well to aid him, if you can
spare the time. Not that you need the money, but inventors should be
mutually helpful. If you feel like going to Philadelphia, and aiding
him in getting his electric airship in shape, you have my

"I don't know," answered Tom, doubtfully. "I was just getting my
monoplane in shape for a little flight. It was nothing particular,
though. Dad, I think I WILL take a run to Philadelphia, and see if I
can help Mr. Fenwick. I'll wire him that I am coming, to-morrow or
next day."

"Very well," assented Mr. Swift, and then he and his son went into
one of the shops, talking of a new invention which they were about
to patent.

Tom little knew what a strange series of adventures were to follow
his decision to go to the Quaker City, nor the danger involved in
aiding Mr. Fenwick to operate his electric airship.



"When do you think you will go to Philadelphia, Tom?" asked Mr.
Swift, a little later, as the aged inventor and his son were looking
over some blueprints which Garret Jackson, an engineer employed by
them, had spread out on a table.

"I don't exactly know," was the answer. "It's quite a little run
from Shopton, because I can't get a through train. But I think I'll
start tomorrow."

"Why do you go by train?" asked Mr. Jackson.

"Why--er--because--" was Tom's rather hesitating reply. "How else
would I go?"

"Your monoplane would be a good deal quicker, and you wouldn't have
to change cars," said the engineer. "That is if you don't want to
take out the big airship. Why don't you go in the monoplane?"

"By Jove! I believe I will!" exclaimed Tom. "I never thought of
that, though it's a wonder I didn't. I'll not take the RED CLOUD, as
she's too hard to handle alone. But the BUTTERFLY will be just the
thing," and Tom looked over to where a new monoplane rested on the
three bicycle wheels which formed part of its landing frame. "I
haven't had it out since I mended the left wing tip," he went on,
"and it will also be a good chance to test my new rudder. I believe
I WILL go to Philadelphia by the BUTTERFLY."

"Well, as long as that's settled, suppose you give us your views on
this new form of storage battery," suggested Mr. Swift, with a fond
glance at his son, for Tom's opinion was considered valuable in
matters electrical, as those of you, who have read the previous
books in this series, well know.

The little group in the machine shop was soon deep in the discussion
of ohms, amperes, volts and currents, and, for a time, Tom almost
forgot the message calling him to Philadelphia.

Taking advantage of the momentary lull in the activities of the
young inventor, I will tell my readers something about him, so that
those who have no previous introduction to him may feel that he is a

Tom Swift lived with his father, Barton Swift, a widower, in the
village of Shopton, New York. There was also in the household Mrs.
Baggert, the aged housekeeper, who looked after Tom almost like a
mother. Garret Jackson, an engineer and general helper, also lived
with the Swifts.

Eradicate Sampson might also be called a retainer of the family, for
though the aged colored man and his mule Boomerang did odd work
about the village, they were more often employed by Tom and his
father than by any one else. Eradicate was so called because, as he
said, he "eradicated" the dirt. He did whitewashing, made gardens,
and did anything else that was needed. Boomerang was thus named by
his owner, because, as Eradicate said, "yo' nebber know jest what
dat mule am goin' t' do next. He may go forward or he may go
backward, jest laik them Australian boomerangs."

There was another valued friend of the family, Wakeneld Damon by
name, to whom the reader will be introduced in due course. And then
there was Mary Nestor, about whom I prefer to let Tom tell you
himself, for he might be jealous if I talked too much about her.

In the first book of this series, called "Tom Swift and His Motor-
Cycle," there was told how he became possessed of the machine, after
it had nearly killed Mr. Damon, who was learning to ride it. Mr.
Damon, who had a habit of "blessing" everything from his collar
button to his shoe laces, did not "bless" the motor-cycle after it
tried to climb a tree with him; and he sold it to Tom very cheaply.
Tom repaired it, invented some new attachments for it, and had a
number of adventures on it. Not the least of these was trailing
after a gang of scoundrels who tried to get possession of a valuable
patent model belonging to Mr. Swift.

Our second book, called "Tom Swift and His Motor-Boat," related some
exciting times following the acquisition by the young inventor of a
speedy craft which the thieves of the patent model had stolen. In
the boat Tom raced with Andy Foger, a town bully, and beat him. Tom
also took out on pleasure trips his chum, Ned Newton, who worked in
a Shopton bank, and the two had fine times together. Need I also say
that Mary Nestor also had trips in the motor-boat? Besides some other
stirring adventures in his speedy craft Tom rescued, from a burning
balloon that fell into the lake, the aeronaut, John Sharp. Later Mr.
Sharp and Tom built an airship, called the RED CLOUD, in which they
had some strenuous times.

Their adventures in this craft of the air form the basis for the
third book of the series, entitled "Tom Swift and His Airship." In
the RED CLOUD, Tom and his friends, including Mr. Damon, started to
make a record flight. They left Shopton the night when the bank
vault was blown open, and seventy-five thousand dollars stolen.

Because of evidence given by Andy Foger, and his father, suspicion
pointed to Tom and his friends as the robbers, and they were
pursued. But they turned the tables by capturing the real burglars,
and defeating the mean plans of the Fogers.

Not satisfied with having mastered the air Tom and his father turned
their attention to the water. Mr. Swift perfected a new type of
craft, and in the fourth book of the series, called "Tom Swift and
His Submarine," you may read how he went after a sunken treasure.
The party had many adventures, and were in no little danger from
their enemies before they reached the wreck with its store of gold.

The fifth book of the series, named "Tom Swift and His Electrical
Runabout," told how Tom built the speediest car on the road, and won
a prize with it, and also saved a bank from ruin.

Tom had to struggle against odds, not only in his inventive work,
but because of the meanness of jealous enemies, including Andy
Foger, who seemed to bear our hero a grudge of long standing. Even
though Tom had, more than once, thrashed Andy well, the bully was
always seeking a chance to play some mean trick on the young
inventor. Sometimes he succeeded, but more often the tables were
effectually turned.

It was now some time since Tom had won the prize in his electric car
and, in the meanwhile he had built himself a smaller airship, or,
rather, monoplane, named the BUTTERFLY. In it he made several
successful trips about the country, and gave exhibitions at numerous
aviation meets; once winning a valuable prize for an altitude
flight. In one trip he had met with a slight accident, and the
monoplane had only just been repaired after this when he received
the message summoning him to Philadelphia.

"Well, Tom," remarked his father that afternoon, "if you are going
to the Quaker City, to see Mr. Fenwick to-morrow, you'd, better be
getting ready. Have you wired him that you will come?"

"No, I haven't, dad," was the reply. "I'll get a message ready at
once, and when Eradicate comes back I'll have him take it to the
telegraph office."

"I wouldn't do that, Tom."

"Do what?"

"Trust it to Eradicate. He means all right, but there's no telling
when that mule of his may lie down in the road, and go to sleep.
Then your message won't get off, and Mr. Fenwick may be anxiously
waiting for it. I wouldn't like to offend him, for, though he and I
have not met in some years, yet I would be glad if you could do him
a favor. Why not take the message yourself?"

"Guess I will, dad. I'll run over to Mansburg in my electric car,
and send the message from there. It will go quicker, and, besides, I
want to get some piano wire to strengthen the wings of my

"All right, Tom, and when you telegraph to Mr. Fenwick, give him my
regards, and say that I hope his airship will be a success. So it's
an electric one, eh? I wonder how it works? But you can tell me when
you come back."

"I will, dad. Mr. Jackson, will you help me charge the batteries of
my car? I think they need replenishing. Then I'll get right along to

Mansburg was a good-sized city some miles from the village of
Shopton, and Tom and his father had frequent business there.

The young inventor and the engineer soon had the electric car in
readiness for a swift run, for the charging of the batteries could
be done in much less than the time usual for such an operation,
owing to a new system perfected by Tom. The latter was soon speeding
along the road, wondering what sort of an airship Mr. Fenwick would
prove to have, and whether or not it could be made to fly.

"It's easy enough to build an airship," mused Tom, "but the
difficulty is to get them off the ground, and keep them there." He
knew, for there had been several failures with his monoplane before
it rose like a bird and sailed over the tree-tops.

The lad was just entering the town, and had turned around a corner,
twisting about to pass a milk wagon, when he suddenly saw, darting
out directly in the path of his car, a young lady.

"Look out!" yelled Tom, ringing his electric gong, at the same time
shutting off the current, and jamming on the powerful brakes.

There was a momentary scream of terror from the girl, and then, as
she looked at Tom, she exclaimed:

"Why, Tom Swift! What are you trying to do? Run me down?"

"Mary--Miss Nestor!" ejaculated our hero, in some confusion.

He had brought his car to a stop, and had thrown open the door,
alighting on the crossing, while a little knot of curious people
gathered about.

"I didn't see you," went on the lad. "I came from behind the milk
wagon, and--"

"It was my fault," Miss Nestor hastened to add. "I, too, was waiting
for the milk wagon to pass, and when it got out of my way, I darted
around the end of it, without looking to see if anything else was
coming. I should have been more careful, but I'm so excited that I
hardly know what I'm doing."

"Excited? What's the matter?" asked Tom, for he saw that his friend
was not her usual calm self. "Has anything happened, Mary?"

"Oh, I've such news to tell you!" she exclaimed.

"Then get in here, and we'll go on." advised Tom. "We are collecting
a crowd. Come and take a ride; that is if you have time."

"Of course I have," the girl said, with a little blush, which Tom
thought made her look all the prettier. "Then we can talk. But where
are you going?"

"To send a message to a gentleman in Philadelphia, saying that I
will help him out of some difficulties with his new electric
airship. I'm going to take a run down there in my monoplane,
BUTTERFLY, to-morrow, and--"

"My! to hear you tell it, one would think it wasn't any more to make
an airship flight than it was to go shopping," interrupted Mary, as
she entered the electric car, followed by Tom, who quickly sent the
vehicle down the street.

"Oh, I'm getting used to the upper air," he said. "But what is the
news you were to tell me?"

"Did you know mamma and papa had gone to the West Indies?" asked the

"No! I should say that WAS news. When did they go? I didn't know
they intended to make a trip."

"Neither did they; nor I, either. It was very sudden. They sailed
from New York yesterday. Mr. George Hosbrook, a business friend of
papa's, offered to take them on his steam yacht, RESOLUTE. He is
making a little pleasure trip, with a party of friends, and he
thought papa and mamma might like to go."

"He wired to them, they got ready in a rush, caught the express to
New York, and went off in such a hurry that I can hardly realize it
yet. I'm left all alone, and I'm in such trouble!"

"Well, I should say that was news," spoke Tom.

"Oh, you haven't heard the worst yet," went on Mary. "I don't call
the fact that papa and mamma went off so suddenly much news. But the
cook just left unexpectedly, and I have invited a lot of girl
friends to come and stay with me, while mamma and papa are away; and
now what shall I do without a cook? I was on my way down to an
intelligence office, to get another servant, when you nearly ran me
down! Now, isn't that news?"

"I should say it was--two kinds," admitted Tom, with a smile. "Well,
I'll help you all I can. I'll take you to the intelligence office,
and if you can get a cook, by hook or by crook, I'll bundle her into
this car, and get her to your house before she can change her mind.
And so your people have gone to the West Indies?"

"Yes, and I wish I had the chance to go."

"So do I," spoke Tom, little realizing how soon his wish might be
granted. "But is there any particular intelligence office you wish
to visit?"

"There's not much choice," replied Mary Nestor, with a smile, "as
there's only one in town. Oh. I do hope I can get a cook! It would
be dreadful to have nothing to eat, after I'd asked the girls to
spend a month with me; wouldn't it?"

Tom agreed that it certainly would, and they soon after arrived at
the intelligence office.



"Do you want me to come in and help you?" asked the young inventor,
of Miss Nestor.

"Do you know anything about hiring a cook?" she inquired, with an
arch smile.

"I'm afraid I don't," the lad was obliged to confess.

"Then I'm a little doubtful of your ability to help me. But I'm ever
so much obliged to you. I'll see if I can engage one. The cook who
just left went away because I asked her to make some apple
turnovers. Some of the girls who are coming are very fond of them."

"So am I," spoke Tom, with a smile.

"Are you, indeed? Then, if the cook I hope to get now will make
them, I'll invite you over to have some, and--also meet my friends."

"I'd rather come when just you, and the turnovers and the cook are
there," declared Tom, boldly, and Mary, with a blush, made ready to
leave the electric car.

"Thank you," she said, in a low voice.

"If I can't help you select a cook," went on Tom, "at least let me
call and take you home when you have engaged one."

"Oh, it will be too much trouble," protested Miss Nestor.

"Not at all. I have only to send a message, and get some piano wire,
and then I'll call back here for you. I'll take you and the new cook
back home flying."

"All right, but don't fly so fast. The cook may get frightened, and
leave before she has a chance to make an apple turnover."

"I'll go slower. I'll be back in fifteen minutes," called Tom, as he
swung the car out away from the curb, while Mary Nestor went into
the intelligence office.

Tom wrote and sent this message to Mr. Hostner Fenwick, of

"Will come on to-morrow in my aeroplane, and aid you all I can. Will
not promise to make your electric airship fly, though. Father sends

"Just rush that, please," he said to the telegraph agent, and the
latter, after reading it over, remarked:

"It'll rush itself, I reckon, being all about airships, and things
like that," and he laughed as Tom paid him.

Selecting several sizes of piano wire of great strength, to use as
extra guy-braces on the Butterflv, Tom re-entered his electric car,
and hastened back to the intelligence office, where he had left his
friend. He saw her standing at the front door, and before he could
alight, and go to her, Miss Nestor came cut to meet him.

"Oh, Tom!" she exclaimed, with a little tragic gesture, "what do you

"I don't know," he answered good-naturedly. "Does the new cook
refuse to come unless you do away with apple turnovers?"

"No, it isn't that. I have engaged a real treasure, I'm sure, but as
soon as I mentioned that you would take us home in the electric
automobile, she flatly refused to come. She said walking was the
only way she would go. She hasn't been in this country long. But the
worst of it is that a rich woman has just telephoned in for a cook,
and if I don't get this one away, the rich lady may induce her to
come to her house, and I'll be without one! Oh, what shall I do?"
and poor Mary looked quite distressed.

"Humph! So she's afraid of electric autos; eh?" mused Tom. "That's
queer. Leave it to me, Mary, and perhaps I can fix it. You want to
get her away from here in a hurry; don't you?"

"Yes, because servants are so scarce, that they are engaged almost
as soon as they register at the intelligence office. I know the one
I have hired is suspicious of me, since I have mentioned your car,
and she'll surely go with Mrs. Duy Puyster when she comes. I'm sorry
I spoke of the automobile."

"Well, don't worry. It's partly my fault, and perhaps I can make
amends. I'll talk to the new cook," decided the young inventor.

"Oh, Tom, I don't believe it will do any good. She won't come, and
all my girl friends will arrive shortly." Miss Nestor was quite

"Leave it to me," suggested the lad, with an assumed confidence he
did not feel. He left the car, and walked toward the office.
Entering it, with Miss Nestor in his wake, he saw a pleasant-faced
Irish girl, sitting on a bench, with a bundle beside her.

"And so you don't want to ride in an auto?" began Tom.

"No, an' it's no use of the likes of you askin' me, either,"
answered the girl, but not impudently. "I am afeered of thim things,
an' I won't work in a family that owns one."

"But we don't own one," said Mary.

The girl only sniffed.

"It is the very latest means of traveling," Tom went on, "and there
is absolutely no danger. I will drive slowly."

"No!" snapped the new cook.

Tom was rather at his wits' ends. At that moment the telephone rang,
and Tom and Mary, listening, could hear the proprietress of the
intelligence office talking to Mrs. Duy Puyster over the wire.

"We must get her away soon," whispered Mary, with a nod at the Irish
girl, "or we'll lose her."

Tom was thinking rapidly, but no plan seemed to come to him. A
moment later one of the assistants of the office led out from a rear
room another Irish girl,--who, it seems, had just engaged herself to
work in the country.

"Good-by, Bridget," said this girl, to the one Mary Nestor had
hired. "I'm off now. The carriage has just come for me. I'm goin'
away in style."

"Good luck, Sarah," wished Bridget.

Tom looked out of the window. A dilapidated farm wagon, drawn by two
rusty-looking horses, just drawing up at the curb.

"There is your employer, Sarah," said the proprietress of the
office. "You will have a nice ride to the country and I hope you
will like the place."

A typical country farmer alighted from the wagon, leaving a woman,
evidently his wife, or the seat. He called out:

"I'll git th' servant-gal, 'Mandy, an' we'll drive right out hum.
Then you won't have such hard work any more."

"An' so that's the style you was tellin' me of; eh, Sarah?" asked
the cook whom Miss Nestor had engaged. "That's queer style, Sarah."

Sarah was blushing from shame and mortification. Tom was quick to
seize the advantage thus offered.

"Bridget, if YOU appreciate style," he said, "you will come in the
automobile. I have one of the very latest models, and it is very
safe. But perhaps you prefer a farm wagon."

"Indade an' I don't!" was the ready response. "I'll go wid you now
if only to show Sarah Malloy thot I have more style than her! She
was boastin' of the fine place she had, an' th' illigant carriage
that was comin' t' take her to the counthry. If that's it I want
none of it! I'll go wid you an' th' young gintleman. Style indade!"
and, gathering up her bundle she followed Tom and Mary to the
waiting auto.

They entered it and started off, just as Mrs. Duy Puyster drove up
in her elegantly appointed carriage, while Sarah, with tears of
mortification in her eyes, climbed up beside the farmer and his

"You saved the day for me, Tom," whispered Miss Nestor, as the young
inventor increased the speed of his car. "It was only just in time."

"Don't forget the apple turnovers," he whispered back.

Once she had made the plunge, the new cook seemed to lose her fears
of the auto, and enjoyed the ride. In a short time she had been
safely delivered at Miss Nestor's home, while that young lady
repeated her thanks to Tom, and renewed her invitation for him to
come and sample the apple turnovers, which Tom promised faithfully
to do, saying he would call on his return from Philadelphia.

Musing on the amusing feature of his trip, Tom was urging his auto
along at moderate speed, when, as he turned down a country road,
leading to his home, he saw, coming toward him, a carriage, drawn by
a slow-moving, white horse, and containing a solitary figure.

"Why, that looks like Andy Foger," spoke Tom, half aloud. "I wonder
what he's doing out driving? His auto must be out of commission. But
that's not strange, considering the way he abuses the machine. It's
in the repair shop half the time."

He slowed down still more, for he did not know but that Andy's horse
might be skittish. He need have no fears, however, for the animal
did not seem to have much more life than did Eradicate's mule,

As Tom came nearer the carriage, he was surprised to see Andy
deliberately swing his horse across the road, blocking the highway
by means of the carriage and steed.

"Well, Andy Foger, what does that mean?" cried Tom, indignantly, as
he brought his car to a sudden stop. "Why do you block the road?"

"Because I want to," snarled the bully, taking out a notebook and
pencil, and pretending to make some notes about the property in
front of which he had halted. "I'm in the real estate business now,"
went on Andy, "and I'm getting descriptions of the property I'm
going to sell. Guess I've got a right to stop in the road if I want

"But not to block it up," retorted Tom. "That's against the law.
Pull over and let me pass!"

"Suppose I don't do it?"

"Then I'll make you!"

"Huh! I'd like to see you try it!" snapped Andy. "If you make
trouble for me, it will be the worse for you."

"If you pull to one side, so I can pass, there'll be no trouble,"
said Tom, seeing that Andy wished to pick a quarrel.

"Well, I'm not going to pull aside until I finish putting down this
description," and the bully continued to write with tantalizing

"Look here!" exclaimed Tom Swift, with sudden energy. "I'm not going
to stand for this! Either you pull to one side and let me pass, or--"

"Well, what will you do?" demanded the bully.

"I'll shove you to one side, and you can take the consequences!"

"You won't dare to!"

"I won't, eh? Just you watch."

Tom threw forward the lever of his car. There was a hum of the
motor, and the electric moved ahead. Andy had continued to write in
the book, but at this sound he glanced up.

"Don't you dare to bunk into me!" yelled Andy. "If you do I'll sue
you for damages!"

"Get out of the way, or I'll shove you off the road!" threatened
Tom, calmly.

"I'll not go until I get ready."

"Oh, yes you will," responded our hero quietly. He sent his car
ahead slowly but surely. It was within a few feet of the carriage
containing Andy. The bully had dropped his notebook, and was shaking
his fist at Tom.

As for the young inventor he had his plans made. He saw that the
horse was a quiet, sleepy one, that would not run away, no matter
what happened, and Tom only intended to gently push the carriage to
one side, and pass on.

The front of his auto came up against the other vehicle.

"Here, you stop!" cried Andy, savagely.

"It's too late now," answered Tom, grimly.

Andy reached for the horsewhip. Tom put on a little more power, and
the carriage began to slide across the road, but the old horse never
opened his eyes.

"Take that!" cried Andy, raising his whip, with the intention of
slashing Tom across the face, for the front of the auto was open.
But the blow never fell, for, the next instant, the carriage gave a
lurch as one of the wheels slid against a stone, and, as Andy was
standing up, and leaning forward, he was pitched head first out into
the road.

"By Jove! I hope I haven't hurt him!" gasped Tom, as he leaped from
his auto, which he had brought to a stop.

The young inventor bent over the bully. There was a little cut on
Andy's forehead, and his face was white. He had been most
effectually knocked out entirely by his own meanness and fault, but,
none the less, Tom was frightened. He raised up Andy's head on his
arm, and brushed back his hair. Andy was unconscious.



At first Tom was greatly frightened at the sight of Andy's pale
face. He feared lest the bully might be seriously hurt. But when he
realized that the fall from the carriage, which was a low one, was
not hard, and that Andy had landed on his outstretched hands before
his head came in contact with the earth, our hero was somewhat

"I wish I had some water, with which to bathe his head," Tom
murmured, and he looked about in vain for some. But it was not
needed, for, a moment later, Andy opened his eyes, and, when he saw
Tom bending over, and holding him, the bully exclaimed:

"Here! You let me go! Don't you hit me again, Tom Swift, or I'll
punch you!"

"I didn't hit you," declared Tom, while Andy tore himself away, and
struggled to his feet.

"Yes, you did, too, hit me!"

"I did not! You tried to strike me with your whip, as I was shoving
your carriage out of the way, which I had a perfect right to do, as
you were blockading the highway. You lost your balance and fell. It
was your own fault."

"Well, you'll suffer for it, just the same, snarled Andy, and then,
putting his hand to his head, and bringing it away, with some drops
of blood on it, he cried out:"

"Oh, I'm hurt! I'm injured! Get a doctor, or maybe I'll bleed to
death!" He began blubbering, for Andy, like all bullies, was a

"You're not hurt," asserted Tom, trying not to laugh. "It's only a
scratch. Next time don't try to blockade the whole street, and you
won't get into trouble. Are you able to drive home; or shall I take
you in my car?"

"I wouldn't ride in your car!" snapped the ugly lad. "You go on, and
mind your business now, and I'll pay you back for this, some day. I
could have you arrested!"

"And so could I have you locked up for obstructing traffic. But I'll
not. Your rig isn't damaged, and you'd better drive home."

The old white horse had not moved, and was evidently glad of the
rest. A glance satisfied Tom that the carriage had not been damaged,
and, getting into his car, while Andy was brushing the dust from his
clothes, our hero started the motor.

There was now room enough to pass around the obstructing carriage,
and soon Tom was humming down the road, leaving a much discomfited
bully behind him.

"Tom Swift is too smart--thinking he can run everybody, and
everything, to suit himself," growled Andy, as he finished dusting
off his clothes, and wiping the blood from his face. As Tom had
said, the wound was but a scratch, though the bully's head ached,
and he felt a little dizzy. "I wish I'd hit him with the horsewhip,"
he went on, vindictively. "I'll get square with him some day."

Andy had said this many times, but he had never yet succeeded in
permanently getting the best of Tom. Pondering on some scheme of
revenge the rich lad--for Mr. Foger, his father, was quite wealthy--
drove on.

Meanwhile Tom, rather wishing the little encounter had not taken
place, but refusing to blame himself for what had occurred, was
speeding toward home.

"Let's see," he murmured, as he drove along in his powerful car.
"I've got quite a lot to do if I make an early start for
Philadelphia, in my airship, to-morrow. I want to tighten the
propeller on the shaft a trifle, and give the engine a good try-out.
Then, too, I think I'd better make the landing springs a little
stiffer. The last time I made a descent the frame was pretty well
jarred up. Yes, if I make that air trip to-morrow I'll have to do
some tall hustling when I get home."

The electric runabout swung into the yard of the Swift house, and
Tom brought it to a stop opposite the side door. He looked about for
a sight of his father, Mrs. Baggert or Garret Jackson. The only
person visible was Eradicate Sampson, working in the garden.

"Hello, Rad," called Tom. "Anybody home?"

"Yais, Massa Tom," answered the colored man. "Yo' dad an' anodder
gen'mans hab jest gone in de house."

"Who's the other gentleman, Rad?" asked Tom, and the negro, glad of
an excuse to cease the weeding of the onion bed, came shuffling

"It's de gen'mans what is allers saying his prayers," he answered.

"Saying his prayers?" repeated Tom.

"Yep. Yo' knows what I means, Massa Tom. He's allers askin' a
blessin' on his shoes, or his rubbers, or his necktie."

"Oh, you mean Mr. Wakefield Damon."

"Yais, sah, dat's who I done means. Mr, Wakefull Lemon--dat's sho'

At that moment there sounded, within the house, the voices of Mr.
Swift, and some one else in conversation.

"And so Tom has decided to make a run to the Quaker City in the
BUTTERFLY, to-morrow," Mr. Swift was saying, "and he's going to see
if he can be of any service to this Mr. Fenwick."

"Bless my watch chain!" exclaimed the other voice. "You don't say
so! Why I know Mr. Fenwick very well--he and I used to go to school
together, but bless my multiplication tables--I never thought he'd
amount to anything! And so he's built an airship; and Tom is going
to help him with it? Why, bless my collar button, I've a good notion
to go along and see what happens. Bless my very existence, but I
think I will!"

"That's Mr. Damon all right," observed Tom, with a smile, as he
advanced toward the dining-room, whence the voices proceeded.

"Dat's what I done tole you!" said Eradicate, and, with slow and
lagging steps he went back to weed the onion bed.

"How are you, Mr. Damon," called our hero, as he mounted the steps
of the porch.

"Why, it's Tom--he's back!" exclaimed the eccentric man. "Why, bless
my shoe laces, Tom! how are you? I'm real glad to see you. Bless my
eyeglasses, but I am! I just returned from a little western trip,
and I thought I'd ran over and see how you are. I came in my car--
had two blowouts on the way, too. Bless my spark plug, but the kind
of tires one gets now-a-days are a disgrace! However, I'm here, and
your father has just told me about you going to Philadelphia in your
monoplane, to help a fellow-inventor with his airship. It's real
kind of you. Bless my topknot if it isn't! Do you know what I was
just saying?"

"I heard you mention that you knew Mr. Fenwick," replied Tom, with a
smile, as he shook hands with Mr. Damon.

"So I do, and, what's more, I'd like to see his airship. Will your
BUTTERFLY carry two passengers?"

"Easily. Mr. Damon."

"Then I'll tell you what I'm going to do. If you'll let me I'll take
that run to Philadelphia with you!"

"Glad to have you come along," responded Tom, heartily.

"Then I'll go, and, what's more, if Fenwick's ship will rise, I'll
go with you in that--bless my deflection rudder if I don't, Tom!"
and puffing top his cheeks, as he exploded these words, Mr. Damon
fairly raised himself on his tiptoes, and shook Tom's hand again.



For a moment after Mr. Damon's announcement Tom did not reply. Mr.
Swift, too, seemed a little at a loss for something to say. They did
not quite know how to take their eccentric friend at times.

"Of course I'll be glad of your company, Mr. Damon," said Tom: "but
you must remember that my BUTTERFLY is not like the RED CLOUD. There
is more danger riding in the monoplane than there is in the airship.
In the latter, if the engine happens to stop, the sustaining gas
will prevent us from falling. But it isn't so in an aeroplane. When
your engine stops there--"

"Well, what happens?" asked Mr. Damon, impatiently, for Tom

"You have to vol-plane back to earth."

"Vol-plane?" and there was a questioning note in Mr. Damon's voice.

"Yes, glide down from whatever height you are at when the engine
stalls. Come down in a series of dips from the upper currents. Vol-
planing, the French call it, and I guess it's as good a word as

"Have you ever done it?" asked the odd character.

"Oh, yes, several times."

"Then, bless my fur overcoat! I can do it, too, Tom. When will you
be ready to start?"

"To-morrow morning. Now you are sure you won't get nervous and want
to jump, if the engine happens to break down?"

"Not a bit of it. I'll vol-plane whenever you are ready," and Mr.
Damon laughed.

"Well, we'll hope we won't have to," went on Tom. "And I'll be very
glad of your company. Mr. Fenwick will, no doubt, be pleased to see
you. I've never met him, and it will be nice to have some one to
introduce me. Suppose you come out and see what sort of a craft you
are doomed to travel in to-morrow, Mr. Damon. I believe you never
saw my new monoplane."

"That's right, I haven't, but I'd be glad to. I declare, I'm getting
to be quite an aviator," and Mr. Damon chuckled. A little later,
Tom, having informed his father of the sending of the message. took
his eccentric friend out to the shop, and exhibited the BUTTERFLY.

As many of you have seen the ordinary monoplane, either on
exhibition or in flight, I will not take much space to describe
Tom's. Sufficient to say it was modeled after the one in which
Bleriot made his first flight across the English channel.

The body was not unlike that of a butterfly or dragon fly, long and
slender, consisting of a rectangular frame with canvas stretched
over it, and a seat for two just aft of the engine and controlling
levers. Back of the seat stretched out a long framework, and at the
end was a curved plane, set at right angles to it. The ends of the
plane terminated in flexible wings, to permit of their being bent up
or down, so as to preserve the horizontal equilibrium of the craft.

At the extreme end was the vertical rudder, which sent the monoplane
to left or right.

Forward, almost exactly like the front set of wings of the dragon
fly, was the large, main plane, with the concave turn toward the
ground. There was the usual propeller in front, operated by a four
cylinder motor, the cylinders being air cooled, and set like the
spokes of a wheel around the motor box. The big gasolene tank, and
other mechanism was in front of the right-hand operator's seat,
where Tom always rode. He had seldom taken a passenger up with him,
though the machine would easily carry two, and he was a little
nervous about the outcome of the trip with Mr. Damon.

"How do you like the looks of it?" asked the young inventor, as he
wheeled the BUTTERFLY out of the shed, and began pumping up the
tires of the bicycle wheels on which it ran over the ground, to get
impetus enough with which to rise.

"It looks a little frail, compared to the big RED CLOUD, Tom,"
answered the eccentric man, "but I'm going up in her just the same;
bless my buttons if I'm not."

Tom could not but admire the grit of his friend.

The rest of the day was busily spent making various adjustments to
the monoplane, putting on new wire stays, changing the rudder
cables, and tuning up the motor. The propeller was tightened on the
shaft, and toward evening Tom announced that all was in readiness
for a trial flight.

"Want to come, Mr. Damon?" he asked.

"I'll wait, and see how it acts with you aboard," was the answer.
"Not that I'm afraid, for I'm going to make the trip in the morning,
but perhaps it won't work just right now."

"Oh, I guess it will," ventured Tom, and in order to be able to know
just how his BUTTERFLY was going to behave, with a passenger of Mr.
Damon's weight, the young inventor placed a bag of sand on the extra

The monoplane was then wheeled to the end of the starting ground.
Tom took his place in the seat, and Mr. Jackson started the
propeller. At first the engine failed to respond, but suddenly with
a burst of smoke, and a spluttering of fire the cylinders began
exploding. The hat of Mr. Damon, who was standing back of the
machine, was blown off by the wind created by the propeller.

"Bless my gaiters!" he exclaimed, "I never thought it was as strong
as that!"

"Let go!" cried Tom to Mr. Jackson and Eradicate, who were holding
back the monoplane from gliding over the ground.

"All right," answered the engineer.

An instant later the explosions almost doubled, for Tom turned on
more gasolene. Then, like some live thing, the BUTTERFLY rushed
across the starting ground. Faster and faster it went, until the
young inventor, knowing that he had motion enough, tilted his planes
to catch the wind.

Up he went from earth, like some graceful bird, higher and higher,
and then, in a big spiral, he began ascending until he was five
hundred feet in the air. Up there he traveled back and forth, in
circles, and in figure eights, desiring to test the machine in
various capacities.

Suddenly the engine stopped, and to those below, anxiously watching,
the silence became almost oppressive, for Tom had somewhat
descended, and the explosions had been plainly heard by those
observing him. But now they ceased!

"His engine's stalled!" cried Garret Jackson.

Mr. Swift heard the words, and looked anxiously up at his son.

"Is he in any danger?" gasped Mr. Damon.

No one answered him. Like some great bird, disabled in mid flight,
the monoplane swooped downward. A moment later a hearty shout from
Tom reassured them.

"He shut off the engine on purpose," said Mr. Jackson. "He is vol-
planing back to earth!"

Nearer and nearer came the BUTTERFLY. It would shoot downward, and
then, as Tom tilted the planes, would rise a bit, losing some of the
great momentum. In a series of maneuvers like this, the young
inventor reached the earth, not far from where his father and the
others stood. Down came the BUTTERFLY, the springs of the wheel
frame taking the shock wonderfully well.

"She's all right--regular bird!" cried Tom, in enthusiasm, when the
machine had come to a stop after rolling over the ground, and he had
leaped out. "We'll make a good flight to-morrow, Mr. Damon, if the
weather holds out this way."

"Good!" cried the eccentric man. "I shall be delighted."

They made the start early the next morning, there being hardly a
breath of wind. There was not a trace of nervousness noticeable
about Mr. Damon, as he took his place in the seat beside Tom. The
lad had gone carefully over the entire apparatus, and had seen to it
that, as far as he could tell, it was in perfect running order.

"When will you be back, Tom?" asked his father.

"To-night, perhaps, or to-morrow morning. I don't know just what Mr.
Fenwick wants me to do. But if it is anything that requires a long
stay, I'll come back, and let you know, and then run down to
Philadelphia again. I may need some of my special tools to work
with. I'll be back to-night perhaps."

"Shall I keep supper for you?" asked Mrs. Baggert, the housekeeper.

"I don't know," answered Tom, with a laugh. "Perhaps I'll drop down
at Miss Nestor's, and have some apple turnovers," for he had told
them or the incident of hiring the new cook. "Well," he went on to
Mr. Damon, "are you all ready?"

"As ready as I ever shall be. Do you think we'll have to do any vol-
planing, Tom?"

"Hard to say, but it's not dangerous when there's no wind. All
right, Garret. Start her off."

The engineer whirled the big wooden, built-up propeller, and with a
rattle and roar of the motor, effectually drowning any but the
loudest shouts, the BUTTERFLY was ready for her flight. Tom let the
engine warm up a bit before calling to his friends to let go, and
then, when he had thrown the gasolene lever forward, he shouted a
good-by and cried:

"All right! Let go!"

Forward, like a hound from the leash, sprang the little monoplane.
It ran perhaps for five hundred feet, and then, with a tilting of
the wings, to set the air currents against them, it sprang into the

"We're off!" cried Mr. Damon, waving his hand to those on the ground

"Yes, we're off," murmured Tom. "Now for the Quaker City!"

He had mapped out a route for himself the night before, and now,
picking out the land-marks, he laid as straight a course as possible
for Philadelphia.

The sensation of flying along, two thousand feet high, in a machine
almost as frail as a canoe, was not new to Tom. It was, in a degree,
to Mr. Damon, for, though the latter had made frequent trips in the
large airship, this mode of locomotion, as if he was on the back of
some bird, was much different. Still, after the first surprise, he
got used to it.

"Bless my finger ring!" he exclaimed, "I like it!"

"I thought you would," said Tom, in a shout, and he adjusted the oil
feed to send more lubricant into the cylinders.

The earth stretched out below them, like some vari-colored relief
map, but they could not stop to admire any particular spot long, for
they were flying fast, and were beyond a scene almost as quickly as
they had a glimpse of it.

"How long will it take us?" yelled Mr. Damon into Tom's ear.

"I hope to do it in three hours," shouted back the young inventor.

"What! Why it takes the train over five hours."

"Yes, I know, but we're going direct, and it's only about two
hundred and fifty miles. That's only about eighty an hour. We're
doing seventy-five now, and I haven't let her out yet."

"She goes faster than the RED CLOUD," cried Mr. Damon.

Tom nodded. It was hard work to talk in that rush of air. For an
hour they shot along, their speed gradually increasing. Tom called
out the names of the larger places they passed over. He was now
doing better than eighty an hour as the gage showed. The trip was a
glorious one, and the eyes of the young inventor and his friend
sparkled in delight as they rushed forward. Two hours passed.

"Going to make it?" fairly howled Mr. Damon.

Tom nodded again.

"Be there in time for dinner," he announced in a shout.

It lacked forty minutes of the three hours when Tom, pointing with
one hand down below, while with the other he gripped the lever of
the rudder, called:

"North Philadelphia!"

"So soon?" gasped Mr. Damon. "Well, we certainly made speed! Where
are you going to land?"

"I don't know," answered the young inventor, "I'll have to pick out
the best place I see. It's no fun landing in a city. No room to run
along, after you're down."

"What's the matter with Franklin Field?" cried Mr. Damon. "Out where
they play football."

"Good! The very thing!" shouted Tom.

"Mr. Fenwick lives near there," went on Mr. Damon, and Tom nodded

They were now over North Philadelphia, and, in a few minutes more
were above the Quaker City itself. They were flying rather low, and
as the people in the streets became aware of their presence there
was intense excitement. Tom steered for the big athletic field, and
soon saw it in the distance.

With a suddenness that was startling the motor ceased its terrific
racket. The monoplane gave a sickening dip, and Tom had to adjust
the wing tips and rudder quickly to prevent it slewing around at a
dangerous angle.

"What's the matter?" cried Mr. Damon, "Did you shut it off on

"No!" shouted Tom, "Something's gone wrong!"

"Gone wrong! Bless my overshoes! Is there any danger?"

"We'll have to vol-plane to earth," answered Tom, and there was a
grim look on his face. He had never executed this feat with a
passenger aboard He was wondering how the BUTTERFLY would behave.
But he would know very soon, for already the tiny monoplane was
shooting rapidly toward the big field, which was now swarming with a
curious crowd.



For a brief instant after the stopping of the motor, and the
consequent sudden dropping toward the earth of the monoplane, Tom
glanced at Mr. Damon. The latter's face was rather pale, but he
seemed calm and collected. His lips moved slightly, and Tom, even in
those tense moments, wondered if the odd gentleman was blessing
anything in particular, or everything in general.

Tom threw up the tilting plane, to catch more air beneath it, and
bring the BUTTERFLY in a more parallel position to the earth. This,
in a manner, checked the downward flight, and they glided along
horizontally for a hundred feet or more.

"Is--is there any great danger, Tom?" asked Mr. Damon.

"I think not," answered the young inventor, confidently. "I have
done this same thing before, and from greater heights. The only
thing that bothers me is that there are several cross-currents of
air up here, which make it difficult to manage the planes and wing
tips. But I think we'll make a good landing."

"Bless my overcoat!" exclaimed Mr. Damon "I certainly hope so."

Conversation was more easily carried on now, as the motor was not
spitting fire and throbbing like a battery of Gatling guns. Tom
thought perhaps it might start on the spark, as the propeller was
slowly swinging from the force of air against it. He tried, but
there was no explosion. He had scarcely hoped for it, as he realized
that some part of the mechanism must have broken.

Down they glided, coming nearer and nearer to the earth. The crowd
in the big athletic field grew larger. Shouts of wonder and fear
could be heard, and people could be seen running excitedly about. To
Tom and Mr. Damon they looked like dolls.

Reaching the limit of the parallel glide the monoplane once more
shot down on an incline toward the earth with terrible speed. The
ground seemed to rush up to meet Mr. Damon.

"Look out!" he cried to Tom. "We're going to hit something!"

"Not yet," was the calm answer "I'm going to try a new stunt. Hold

"What are you going to do?"

"Some spirals. I think that will let us down easier, but the craft
is likely to tilt a bit, so hold on."

The young inventor shifted the movable planes and rudder, and, a
moment later, the BUTTERFLY swung violently around, like a polo pony
taking a sudden turn after the ball. Mr. Damon slid to one side of
his seat, and made a frantic grab for one of the upright supports.

"I made too short a turn!" cried Tom, easing off the craft, which
righted itself in an instant. "The air currents fooled me."

Under his skillful guidance, the monoplane was soon slowly
approaching the earth in a series of graceful curves. It was under
perfect control, and a smile of relief came on the face of the young
inventor. Seeing it Mr. Damon took courage, and his hands, which had
grasped the uprights with such firmness that his knuckles showed
white with the strain, were now removed. He sat easily in his seat.

"We're all right now," declared Tom. "I'll take a couple of forward
glides now, and we'll land."

He sent the machine straight ahead. It gathered speed in an instant.
Then, with an upward tilt it was slackened, almost as if brakes had
been applied. Once more it shot toward the earth, and once more it
was checked by an up-tilted plane.

Then with a thud which shook up the occupants of the two seats, the
BUTTERFLY came to the ground, and ran along on the three bicycle
wheels. Swiftly it slid over the level ground. A more ideal landing
place would have been hard to find. Scores of willing hands reached
out, and checked the momentum of the little monoplane, and Tom and
Mr. Damon climbed from their seats.

The crowd set up a cheer, and hundreds pressed around the aviators.
Several sought to reach, and touch the machine, for they had
probably never been so close to one before, though airship flights
are getting more and more common.

"Where did you come from?"

"Are you trying for a record?"

"How high did you get?"

"Did you fall, or come down on purpose?"

"Can't you start your motor in mid-air?"

These, and scores of other questions were fairly volleyed at Tom and
Mr. Damon. The young inventor good-naturedly answered them as best
he could.

"We were coming down anyhow," he explained, "but we did not
calculate on vol-planing. The motor was stalled, and I had to glide.
Please keep away from the machine. You might damage it."

The arrival of several policemen, who were attracted by the crowd,
served to keep the curious ones back away from the BUTTERFLY, or the
men, boys and women (for there were a number of the latter in the
throng) might have caused serious trouble.

Tom made a hasty examination of the motor, and, having satisfied
himself that only a minor difficulty had caused it to stop, he
decided to put the monoplane in some safe place, and proceed to Mr.
Fenwick's house.

The lad was just asking one of the officers if the air craft could
not be put in one of the grandstands which surrounded the field,
when a voice on the outskirts of the crowd excitedly exclaimed:

"Let me pass, please. I want to see that airship. I'm building one
myself, and I need all the experience I can get. Let me in, please."

A man pushed his way into the crowd, and wormed his way to where Tom
and Mr. Damon stood. At the sight of him, the eccentric individual
cried out:

"Why bless my pocket-knife! If it isn't Mr. Fenwick!"

"Mr. Fenwick?" gasped Tom.

"Yes. The inventor we came to see!"

At the same moment the newcomer cried out:

"Wakefield Damon!"

"That's who I am," answered Tom's friend, "and let me introduce you
to Mr. Swift, the inventor of more machines than I can count. He and
I were coming to see you, when we had a slight accident, and we
landed here. But that didn't matter, for we intended to land here
anyhow, as I knew it was near your house. Only we had to vol-plane
back to earth, and I can't say that I'd care for that, as a steady
diet. Bless my radiator, but I'm glad we've arrived safely."

"Did you come all the way from your home in that?" asked Mr. Fenwick
of Tom, as he shook hands with him, and nodded at the monoplane.

"Oh, yes. It's not much of a trip."

"Well, I hope my airship will do as well. But something seems to be
wrong with it, and I have hopes that you can help me discover what
it is, I know your father, and I have heard much of your ability.
That is why I requested your aid."

"I'm afraid I've been much overrated," spoke Tom, modestly, "but
I'll do all I can for you. I must now leave my monoplane in a safe
place, however."

"I'll attend to that," Mr. Fenwick hastened to assure him. "Leave it
to me."

By this time a lieutenant of police, in charge of several reserve
officers, had arrived on the scene, for the crowd was now very
large, and, as Mr. Fenwick knew this official, he requested that
Tom's machine be protected from damage. It was arranged that it
could be stored in a large, empty shed, and a policeman would be
left on guard. Then, seeing that it was all right, Tom, Mr. Damon
and Mr. Fenwick started for the latter's house.

"I am very anxious to show you the WHIZZER," said Mr. Fenwick, as
they walked along.

"The WHIZZER?" repeated Tom, wonderingly.

"Yes, that's what I call my electric airship. It hasn't 'whizzed'
any to speak of yet, but I have hopes that it will, now that you are
here to help me. We will take one of these taxicabs, and soon be at
my house. I was out for a stroll, when I saw your monoplane coming
down, and I hastened to Franklin Field to see it."

The three entered an automobile, and were soon being driven to the
inventor's home. A little later he led them out to a big shed which
occupied nearly all of a large lot, in back of Mr. Fenwick's house.

"Does it take up all that room?" asked Tom.

"Oh, yes, the WHIZZER is pretty good size. There she is!" cried Mr.
Fenwick proudly, as he threw open the doors of the shed, and Tom and
Mr. Damon, locking in, saw a large triplane, with a good-sized gas
bag hovering over it, and a strange collection of rudders, wings and
planes sticking out from either side. Amidships was an enclosed car,
or cabin, and a glimpse into it served to disclose to the young
inventor a mass of machinery.

"There she is! That's the WHIZZER!" cried Mr. Fenwick, with pride in
his voice. "What do you think of her, Tom Swift?"

Tom did not immediately answer. He looked dubiously at the electric
airship and shrugged his shoulders. It seemed to him, at first
glance, that, it would never sail.



"Well, what do you think of it?" asked Mr. Fenwick again, as Tom
walked all about the electric airship, still without speaking.

"It's big, certainly," remarked the lad.

"Bless my shoe horn! I should say it was!" burst out Mr. Damon.
"It's larger than your RED CLOUD, Tom."

"But will it go? That's what I want to know," insisted the inventor.
"Do you think it will fly, Tom? I haven't dared to try it yet,
though a small model which I made floated in the air for some time.
But it wouldn't move, except as the wind blew it."

"It would be hard to say, without a careful examination, whether
this large one will fly or not," answered Tom.

"Then give it a careful examination," suggested Mr. Fenwick. "I'll
pay you well for your time and trouble."

"Oh if I can help a fellow inventor, and assist in making a new
model of airship fly, I'm only too glad to do it without pay,"
retorted Tom, quickly. "I didn't come here for that. Suppose we go
in the cabin, and look at the motor. That's the most important
point, if your airship is to navigate."

There was certainly plenty of machinery in the cabin of the WHIZZER.
Most of it was electrical, for on that power Mr. Fenwick intended to
depend to sail through space. There was a new type of gasolene
engine, small but very powerful, and this served to operate a
dynamo. In turn, the dynamo operated an electrical motor, as Mr.
Fenwick had an idea that better, and more uniform, power could be
obtained in this way, than from a gasolene motor direct. One
advantage which Tom noticed at once, was that the WHIZZER had a
large electric storage battery.

This was intended to operate the electric motor in case of a break
to the main machinery, and it seemed a good idea. There were various
other apparatuses, machines, and appliances, the nature of which Tom
could not readily gather from a mere casual view.

"Well, what's your opinion, now that you have seen the motor?" asked
Mr. Fenwick, anxiously.

"I'd have to see it in operation," said Tom.

"And you shall, right after dinner," declared the inventor. "I'd
like to start it now, and hear what you have to say, but I'm not so
selfish as that. I know you must be hungry after your trip from
Shopton, as they say aeroplaning gives one an appetite."

"I don't know whether it's that or not," answered Tom with a laugh,
"but I am certainly hungry."

"Then we'll postpone the trial until after dinner. It must be ready
by this time, I think," said Mr. Fenwick, as he led the way back to
the house. It was magnificently furnished, for the inventor was a
man of wealth, and only took up aeroplaning as a "fad." An excellent
dinner was served, and then the three returned once more to the shed
where the WHIZZER was kept.

"Shall I start the motor in here?" asked Mr. Fenwick, when he had
summoned several of the machinists whom he employed, to aid himself
and the young inventor.

"It would be better if we could take it outside," suggested Tom,
"yet a crowd is sure to gather, and I don't like to work in a mob of

"Oh, we can easily get around that," said Mr. Fenwick. "I have two
openings to my aeroplane shed. We can take the WHIZZER out of the
rear door, into a field enclosed by a high fence. That is where I
made all my trials, and the crowd couldn't get in, though some boys
did find knot-holes and use them. But I don't mind that. The only
thing that bothers me is that I can't make the WHIZZER go up, and if
it won't go up, it certainly won't sail. That's my difficulty, and I
hope you can remedy it, Tom Swift."

"I'll do the best I can. But let's get the airship outside."

This was soon accomplished, and in the open lot Tom made a thorough
and careful examination of the mechanism. The motor was started, and
the propellers, for there were two, whirled around at rapid speed.

Tom made some tests and calculations, at which he was an expert, and
applied the brake test, to see how much horse power the motor would

"I think there is one trouble that we will have to get over," he
finally said to Mr. Fenwick.

"What is that?"

"The motor is not quite powerful enough because of the way in which
you have it geared up. I think by changing some of the cogs, and
getting rid of the off-set shaft, also by increasing the number of
revolutions, and perhaps by using a new style of carburetor, we can
get more speed and power."

"Then we'll do it!" cried Mr. Fenwick, with enthusiasm. "I knew I
hadn't got everything just right. Do you think it will work after

"Well," remarked Tom, hesitatingly, "I think the arrangement of the
planes will also have to be changed. It will take quite some work,
but perhaps, after a bit, we can get the WHIZZER up in the air."

"Can you begin work at once?" asked the inventor, eagerly.

Tom shook his head.

"I can't stay long enough on this trip," he said. "I promised father
I would be back by to-morrow at the latest, but I will come over
here again, and arrange to stay until I have done all I can. I need
to get some of my special tools, and then, too, you will require
some other supplies, of which I will give you a list. I hope you
don't mind me speaking in this way, Mr. Fenwick, as though I knew
more about it than you do," added Tom, modestly.

"Not a bit of it!" cried the inventor heartily. "I want the benefit
of your advice and experience, and I'll do just as you say. I hope
you can come back soon."

"I'll return the first of the week," promised Tom, "and then we'll
see what can be done. Now I'll go over the whole ship once more, and
see what I need. I also want to test the lifting capacity of your
gas bag."

The rest of the day was a busy one for our hero. With the aid of Mr.
Damon and the owner of the WHIZZER, he went over every point
carefully. Then, as it was too late to attempt the return flight to
Shopton, he telegraphed his father, and he and Mr. Damon remained
over night with Mr. Fenwick.

In the morning, having written out a list of the things that would
be needed, Tom went out to Franklin Field, and repaired his own
monoplane. It was found that one of the electric wires connected
with the motor had broken, thus cutting off the spark. It was soon
repaired, and, in the presence of a large crowd, Tom and Mr. Damon
started on their return flight.

"Do you think you can make the WHIZZER work, Tom?" asked Mr. Damon,
as they were flying high over Philadelphia.

"I'm a little dubious about it," was the reply. "But after I make some
changes I may have a different opinion. The whole affair is too big
and clumsy, that's the trouble; though the electrical part of it is
very good."

Shopton was reached without incident, in about three hours, and
there was no necessity, this time, of vol-planing back to earth.
After a short rest, Tom began getting together a number of special
tools and appliances, which he proposed taking back to Philadelphia
with him.

The young inventor made another trip to Mr. Fenwick's house the
first of the following week. He went by train this time, as he had
to ship his tools, and Mr. Damon did not accompany him. Then, with
the assistance of the inventor of the WHIZZER, and several of his
mechanics, Tom began making the changes on the airship.

"Do you think you can make it fly?" asked Mr. Fenwick, anxiously,
after several days of labor.

"I hope so," replied our hero, and there was more confidence in his
tone than there had been before. As the work progressed, he began to
be more hopeful. "I'll make a trial flight, anyhow, in a few days,"
he added.

"Then I must send word to Mr. Damon," decided Mr. Fenwick. "He wants
to be on hand to see it, and, if possible, go up; so he told me."

"All right," assented Tom. "I only hope it does go up," he
concluded, in a low tone.



During the following week, Tom was kept busy over the airship. He
made many important changes, and one of these was to use a new kind
of gas in the balloon bag. He wanted a gas with a greater lifting
power than that of the ordinary illuminating vapor which Mr. Fenwick
had used.

"Well," remarked Tom, as he came from the airship shed one
afternoon, "I think we can give it a try-out, Mr. Fenwick, in a few
days more. I shall have to go back to Shopton to get some articles I
need, and when I come back I will bring Mr. Damon with me, and we
will see what the WHIZZER can do."

"Do you mean we will make a trial flight?"


"For how long a distance?"

"It all depends on how she behaves," answered Tom, with a smile. "If
possible, we'll make a long flight."

"Then I'll tell you what I'm going to do," went on the inventor,
"I'm going to put aboard a stock of provisions, and some other
supplies and stores, in case we are two or three days in the air."

"It might not be a bad plan," agreed Tom, "though I hardly think we
will be gone as long as that."

"Well, being out in the air always makes me hungry," proceeded Mr.
Fenwick, "so I'm going to take plenty of food along."

The time was to come, and that very soon, when this decision of the
inventor of the WHIZZER stood the adventurers in good stead.

Tom returned to Shopton the next day, and sent word to have Mr.
Damon join him in time to go back to the Quaker City two days later.

"But why don't you start right back to Philadelphia to-morrow,"
asked Mr. Swift of his son.

"Because," answered Tom, and that was all the reason he would give,
though had any one seen him reading a certain note a few minutes
before that, which note was awaiting him on his arrival from the
Quaker City, they would not have wondered at his decision.

The note was brief. It merely said:

"Won't you come, and have some apple turnovers? The new cook is a
treasure, and the girls are anxious to meet you."

It was signed: Mary Nestor.

"I think I could enjoy some apple turnovers," remarked Tom, with a

Having gotten ready the few special appliances he wished to take
back to Philadelphia with him, Tom went, that evening, to call on
Miss Nestor. True to her promise, the girl had a big plate full of
apple turnovers, which she gaily offered our hero on his arrival,
and, on his laughing declination to partake of so many, she ushered
him into a room full of pretty girls, saying:

"They'll help you eat them, Tom. Girls, here is Mr. Swift, who
doesn't mind going up in the air or under the ocean, or even
catching runaway horses," by which last she referred to the time Tom
saved her life, and first made her acquaintance.

As for the young inventor, he gave a gasp, almost as if he had
plunged into a bath of icy water, at the sight of so many pretty
faces staring at him. He said afterward that he would rather have
vol-planed back to earth from a seven-mile height, than again face
such a battery of sparkling eyes.

But our hero soon recovered himself, and entered into the merriment
of the evening, and, before he knew it he was telling Miss Nestor
and her attractive guests something of his exploits.

"But I'm talking altogether too much about myself." he said,
finally. "How is the new cook Miss Nestor; and have you heard from
your father and mother since they sailed on the RESOLUTE for the
West Indies?"

"As to the new cook, she is a jewel of the first water," answered
Miss Nestor. "We all like her, and she is anxious for another ride
in a taxicab, as she calls your auto."

"She shall have it," declared Tom, "for those are the best apple
turnovers I ever ate."

"I'll tell her so," declared Mary. "She'll appreciate it coming from
an inventor of your ability."

"Have you heard from your parents?" asked Tom, anxious to change the

"Oh, yes. I had a wire to-day. They stopped at St. Augustine to let
me know they were having a glorious time aboard the yacht. Mr.
Hosbrook, the owner, is an ideal host, mamma said. They are
proceeding directly to the West Indies, now. I do hope they will
arrive safely. They say there are bad storms down there at this time
of year."

"Perhaps, if they are shipwrecked, Mr. Swift will go to their rescue
in one of his airships, or a submarine," suggested Mabel Jackson,
one of the several pretty girls.

"Oh, I hope he doesn't have to!" exclaimed Mary. "Don't speak of
shipwrecks! It makes me shudder," and she seemed unduly alarmed.

"Of course they won't have any trouble," asserted Tom, confidently,
more to reassure Miss Nestor, than from any knowledge he possessed;
"but if they do get cast away on a desert island, I'll certainly go
to their rescue," he added.

It was late when Tom started for home that night, for the society of
Miss Nestor and her friends made the time pass quickly. He promised
to call again, and try some more samples of the new cook's culinary
art, as soon as he had gotten Mr. Fenwick's airship in shape for

As, later that night, the young inventor came in sight of his home,
and the various buildings and shops surrounding it, his first glance
was toward the shed which contained his monoplane, BUTTERFLY. That
little craft was Tom's pet. It had not cost him anything like as
much as had his other inventions, either in time or money, but he
cared more for it than for his big airship, RED CLOUD. This was
principally because the BUTTERFLY was so light and airy, and could
be gotten ready so quickly for a flight across country. It was
capable of long endurance, too, for an extra large supply of
gasolene and oil was carried aboard.

So it was with rather a start of surprise that Tom saw a light in
the structure where the BUTTERFLY was housed.

"I wonder if dad or Mr. Jackson can be out there?" he mused. "Yet, I
don't see why they should be. They wouldn't be going for a flight at
night. Or perhaps Mr. Damon arrived, and is out looking it over."

A moment's reflection, however, told Tom that this last surmise
could not be true, since the eccentric man had telegraphed, saying
he would not arrive until the next day.

"Somebody's out there, however," went on Tom, "and I'm going to see
who it is. I hope it isn't Eradicate monkeying with the monoplane.
He's very curious, and he might get it out of order."

Tom increased his pace, and moved swiftly but softly toward the
shed. If there was an intruder inside he wanted to surprise him.
There were large windows to the place, and they would give a good
view of the interior. As Tom approached, the light within flickered,
and moved to and fro.

Tom reached one of the casements, and peered in. He caught a glimpse
of a moving figure, and he heard a peculiar ripping sound. Then, as
he sprang toward the front door, the light suddenly went out, and
the young inventor could hear some one running from the shop.

"They've seen me, and are trying to get away," thought the lad. "I
must catch them!"

He fairly leaped toward the portal, and, just as he reached it, a
figure sprang out. So close was Tom that the unknown collided with
him, and our hero went over on his back. The other person was tossed
back by the force of the impact, but quickly recovered himself, and
dashed away.

Not before, however, Tom had had a chance to glance at his face,
and, to the chagrin of the young inventor, he recognized, by the dim
light of a crescent moon, the countenance of Andy Foger! If
additional evidence was needed Tom fully recognized the form as that
of the town bully.

"Hold on there, Andy Foger!" shouted the young inventor. "What are
you doing in my shed? What right have you in there? What did you

Back came the answer through the night:

"I told you I'd get square with you. and I've done it," and then
Andy's footsteps died away, while a mocking laugh floated back to
Tom. What was Andy's revenge?



For a moment, Tom gazed after the fleeting figure of the cowardly
bully. He was half-minded to give pursuit, and then, realizing that
he could find Andy later if he wanted him, the young inventor
decided his best plan would be to see what damage had been done. For
that damage would follow Andy's secret visit to the shop, Tom was

Nor was his surmise wrong. Stepping into the building, the lad
switched on the lights, and he could not repress an exclamation of
chagrin as he looked toward his trim little monoplane, the

Now it was a BUTTERFLY with broken wings, for Andy had slashed the
canvas of the planes in a score of places.

"The scoundrel!" growled Tom. "I'll make him suffer for this! He's
all but ruined my aeroplane."

Tom walked around his pet machine. As he came in front, and saw the
propeller, he gave another exclamation. The fine wooden blades of
several layers, gracefully curved, which had cost him so much in

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