Part 2 out of 3
time and labor to build up, and then fashion to the right shape, had
been hacked, and cut with an axe. The propeller was useless!
"More of Andy's work," murmured Tom. "This is about the worst yet!"
There came over him a feeling of great despondency, which was
succeeded by a justifiable rage. He wanted to take after the bully,
and give him a merciless beating. Then a calmer mood came over Tom.
"After all, what's the use?" he reasoned. "Whipping Andy wouldn't
mend the BUTTERFLY. She's in bad shape, but I can repair her, when I
get time. Luckily, he didn't meddle with the engine. That's all
right." A hasty examination had shown this. "I guess I won't do
anything now," went on Tom. "I'll have my hands full getting Mr.
Fenwick's airship to run. After that I can come back here and fix up
my own. It's a good thing I don't have to depend on her for making
the trip to Philadelphia. Poor BUTTERFLY! you sure are in a bad
way," and Tom felt almost as if he was talking to some living
creature, so wrapped up was he in his trim little monoplane.
After another disheartening look at his air craft, the young
inventor started to leave the shop. He looked at a door, the
fastening of which Andy had broken to gain admittance.
"I should have had the burglar alarm working, and this would never
have happened," reasoned Tom. All the buildings were arranged so
that if any one entered them after a certain hour, an alarm would
ring in the house. But of late, the alarm had not been set, as Tom
and his father were not working on any special inventions that
needed guarding. It was due to this oversight that Andy was able to
get in undetected.
"But it won't happen again," declared Tom, and he at once began
connecting the burglar-apparatus. He went into the house, and told
his father and the engineer what had occurred. They were both
indignant, and the engineer declared that he would sleep with one
eye open all night, ready to respond to the first alarm.
"Oh, there's no danger of Andy coming back right away," said Tom.
"He's too frightened. I wouldn't be surprised if he disappeared for
a time. He'll be thinking that I'm after him."
This proved true, as Andy had left town next morning, and to all
inquiries his mother said he had gone to visit relatives. She was
not aware of her son's meanness, and Tom did not tell her.
Mr. Damon arrived from his home in Waterfield that day, and, with
many "blessings," wanted to know if Tom was ready for the trial of
the electrical airship.
"Yes, we'll leave for Philadelphia to-morrow," was the answer.
"Are we going in the BUTTERFLY? Bless my watch chain, but I like
that little machine!"
"It will be some time before you again have a flight in her," said
Tom, sorrowfully, as he told of Andy's act of vandalism.
"Why, bless my individuality!" cried Mr. Damon, indignantly. "I
never heard of such a thing! Never!"
It did little good to talk of it, however, and Tom wanted to forget
about it. He wished he had time to repair the monoplane before he
left home, but there was much to do to get ready for the trial of
"When will you be back, Tom?" asked Mr. Swift, as his son and Mr.
Damon departed for the Quaker City the following morning.
"Hard to say, dad. If I can make a long flight in the WHIZZER I'll
do so. I may even drop down here and pay you a visit. But if I find
there are many more changes to make in her construction, which is
more than likely, I can't say when I'll return. I'll keep you
posted, however, by writing."
"Can't you arrange to send me some wireless messages?" asked the
older inventor, with a smile.
"I could, if I had thought to rig up the apparatus on Mr. Fenwick's
airship," was the reply. "I'll hardly have time to do it now,
"Send wireless messages from an aeroplane?" gasped Mr. Damon. "Bless
my gizzard! I never heard of such a thing!"
"Oh, it can be done," Tom assured him. And this was a fact. Tom had
installed a wireless apparatus on his RED CLOUD recently, and it is
well known that several of the modern biplanes can send wireless
messages. The crossing and bracing wires of the frame are used for
sending wires, and in place of ground conductors there are trailers
which hang below the aeroplane. The current is derived directly from
the engine, and the remaining things needed are a small step-up
transformer, a key and a few other small parts. Tom had gone a step
farther than this, and had also arranged to receive wireless
messages, though few modern aeroplanes are thus equipped as yet.
But, of course, there was no time now to install a wireless
apparatus on Mr. Fenwick's craft. Tom thought he would be lucky if
he got the WHIZZER to make even a short flight.
"Well, let me hear from you when you can," requested Mr. Swift, and
Tom promised. It was some time after that, and many strange things
happened before Tom Swift again communicated with his father, at any
The young inventor had bidden farewell to Miss Nestor the night
previous. She stated that she had a message that day from her
parents aboard the RESOLUTE, which spoke a passing steamer. Mr. and
Mrs. Nestor, and the other guests of Mr. Hosbrook were well, and
anticipated a fine time on reaching the West Indies.
Tom now said good-by to his father, the housekeeper and Mr. Jackson,
not forgetting, of course, Eradicate Sampson.
"Don't let Andy Foger come sneaking around here, Rad," cautioned the
"'Deed an' I won't!" exclaimed the colored man. "Ef he do, I'll hab
Boomerang kick him t' pieces, an' den I'll whitewash him so his own
folks won't know him! Oh, don't you worry, Massa Tom. Dat Andy won't
do no funny business when I'm around!"
Tom laughed, and started for the station with Mr. Damon. They
arrived in Philadelphia that afternoon, the trip being very slow, as
compared with the one made by the monoplane. They found Mr. Fenwick
anxiously awaiting them, and Tom at once started work on the
He kept at it until late that night, and resumed early the next
morning. Many more changes and adjustments were made, and that
afternoon, the young inventor said:
"I think we'll give it a try-out, Mr. Fenwick."
"Do you mean make a flight?"
"Yes, if she'll take it; but only a short one. I want to get her up
in the air, and see how she behaves."
"Well, if you find out, after you're up, that she does well, you may
want to take a long flight," suggested Mr. Fenwick. "If you do, why
I have everything aboard necessary for a long voyage. The WHIZZER is
well stocked with provisions."
An hour later, the big electric machine was wheeled out into the
yard, for, in spite of her size, four men could easily move the
craft about, so well was she balanced. Aside from a few personal
friends of the inventor, himself, his machinists, Tom and Mr. Damon,
no one was present at the try-out.
Tom, Mr. Damon and Mr. Fenwick climbed into the car which was
suspended below the gas bag, and between the wing-like planes on
either side. The young inventor had decided to make the WHIZZER rise
by scudding her across the ground on the bicycle wheels, with which
she was equipped, and then by using the tilting planes to endeavor
to lift her off the earth. He wanted to see if she would go up that
way, without the use of the gas bag.
All was in readiness. The motor was started and the machinery began
to hum and throb. The propellers gained speed with every revolution.
The airship had been made fast by a rope, to which was attached a
strong spring balance, as it was desired to see how much pull the
engine would give.
"Eight hundred pounds," announced one of the machinists.
"A thousand would be better, but we'll try it," Murmured Tom. "Cast
The rope was loosened, and, increasing the speed of the engine, Tom
signalled to the men to give a little momentum to the craft. She
began running over the smooth ground. There was a cheer from the few
spectators. Certainly the WHIZZER made good time on the earth.
Tom was anxiously watching the gages and other instruments. He
wanted a little more speed, but could not seem to get it. He ran the
motor to the utmost, and then, seeing the necessity of making an
attempt to get up into the air, before the end of the speeding
ground was reached, he pulled the elevating plane lever.
The front of the WHIZZER rose, and then settled down. Tom quickly
shut off the power, and jammed on the brake, an arrangement of
spikes that dug into the earth, for the high board fence loomed up
"What's the matter?" cried Mr. Fenwick, anxiously.
"Couldn't get up speed enough," answered the young inventor. "We
must have more momentum to make her rise."
"Can it be gotten?"
"I think so. I'll gear the motor higher."
It took an hour to do this. Once more the scale test was applied. It
registered a pull of fifteen hundred pounds now.
"We'll go up," said Tom, grimly.
Once more the motors spit out fire, and the propellers whirled so
that they looked like mere circles of light. Once more the WHIZZER
shot over the ground, but this time, as she neared the fence, she
rose up like a bird, cleared it like a trick horse, and soared off
into the air!
The WHIZZER was flying!
OVER THE OCEAN
"Hurrah!" cried Mr. Fenwick in delight. "My machine is really flying
"Yes," answered Tom, as he adjusted various levers and gears, "she
is going. It's not as high as I'd like, but it is doing very well,
considering the weight of the craft, and the fact that we have not
used the gas bag. I'm going to let that fill now, and we'll go up.
Don't you want to steer, Mr. Fenwick?"
"No, you manage it, Tom, until it's in good running shape. I don't
want to 'hoodoo' it. I worked as hard as I could, and never got more
than two feet off the ground. Now I'm really sailing. It's great!"
He was very enthusiastic, and Tom himself was not a little pleased
at his own success, for certainly the airship had looked to be a
very dubious proposition at first.
"Bless my gaiters! But we are doing pretty well," remarked Mr.
Damon, looking down on the field where Mr. Fenwick's friends and the
machinists were gathered, cheering and waving their hands.
"We'll do better," declared Tom.
He had already set the gas machine in operation, and was now looking
over the electric apparatus, to see that it was working well. It
needed some adjustments, which he made.
All this while the WHIZZER was moving about in a big circle, for the
rudder had been automatically set to so swing the craft. It was
about two hundred feet high, but soon after the gas began to enter
the bag it rose until it was nearly five thousand feet high. This
satisfied Tom that the airship could do better than he expected, and
he decided to return nearer earth.
In going down, he put the craft through a number of evolutions
designed to test her ability to answer the rudders promptly. The lad
saw opportunity for making a number of changes, and suggested them
to Mr. Fenwick.
"Are you going any farther?" asked the owner of the WHIZZER, as he
saw that his craft was slowly settling.
"No, I think we've done enough for the first day," said Tom, "But
I'd like you to handle her now, Mr. Fenwick. You can make the
landing, while I watch the motor and other machines."
"Yes. I guess I can make a landing all right," assented the
inventor. "I'm better at coming down than going up."
He did make a good descent, and received the congratulation of his
friends as he stepped from the airship. Tom was also given much
praise for his success in making the craft go at all, for Mr.
Fenwick and his acquaintances had about given up hope that she ever
"Well, what do you think of her?" Mr. Fenwick wanted to know of the
young inventor, who replied that, as soon as some further changes
had been made, they would attempt a long flight.
This promise was kept two days later. They were busy days for Tom,
Mr. Fenwick and the latter's assistants. Tom sent a short note to
his father telling of the proposed long flight, and intimated that
he might make a call in Shopton if all went well. He also sent a
wire to Miss Nestor, hinting that she might have some apple
turnovers ready for him.
But Tom never called for that particular pastry, though it was
gotten ready for him when the girl received his message.
All was in readiness for the long flight, and a preliminary test had
demonstrated that the WHIZZER had been wonderfully improved by the
changes Tom made. The young inventor looked over the supply of food
Mr. Fenwick had placed aboard, glanced at the other stores, and
"How long do you expect to be gone, Mr. Fenwick?"
"Why, don't you think we can stay out a week?"
"That's quite a while," responded Tom. "We may be glad to return in
two days, or less. But I think we're all ready to start. Are any of
your friends going?"
"I've tried to pursuade some of them to accompany me, but they are a
bit timid," said the inventor. "I guess we three will make up the
party this time, though if our trip is a successful one I'll be
overwhelmed with requests for rides, I suppose."
As before, a little crowd gathered to see the start. The day was
warm, but there was a slight haziness which Tom did not like. He
hoped, though, that it would pass over before they had gone far.
"Do you wish to head for any particular spot, Mr. Fenwick?" asked
Tom, as they were entering the cabin.
"Yes, I would like to go down and circle Cape May, New Jersey, if we
could. I have a friend who has a summer cottage there, and he was
always laughing at my airship. I'd just like to drop down in front
of his place now, and pay him a call."
"We'll try it," assented Tom, with a smile.
An auspicious start was made, the WHIZZER taking the air after a
short flight across the ground, and then, with the lifting gas
aiding in pulling the craft upward, the airship started to sail high
over the city of Philadelphia.
So swiftly did it rise that the cheers of the little crowd of Mr.
Fenwick's friends were scarcely heard. Up and up it went, and then a
little later, to the astonishment of the crowds in the streets, Tom
put the airship twice in a circle around the statue of William Penn,
on the top of the City Hall.
"Now you steer," the lad invited Mr. Fenwick. "Take her straight
across the Delaware River, and over Camden, New Jersey, and then
head south, for Cape May. We ought to make it in an hour, for we are
getting up good speed."
Leaving the owner in charge of his craft, to that gentleman's no
small delight, Tom and Mr. Damon began an inspection of the
electrical and other machinery. There was much that needed
attention, but Tom soon had the automatic apparatus in working
order, and then less attention need be given to it.
Several times the young investor looked out of the windows with
which the cabin was fitted. Mr. Damon noticed this.
"Bless my shoe laces, Tom," he said. "What's the matter?"
"I don't like the looks of the weather," was the answer. "I think
we're in for a storm."
"Then let's put back."
"No, it would be too bad to disappoint Mr. Fenwick, now that we have
made such a good start. He wants to make a long flight, and I can't
blame him," spoke Tom, in a low voice.
"But if there's danger--"
"Oh, well, we can soon be at Cape May, and start back. The wind is
freshening rather suddenly, though," and Tom looked at the
anemometer, which showed a speed of twenty miles an hour. However,
it was in their favor, aiding them to make faster time.
The speed of the WHIZZER was now about forty miles an hour, not fast
for an air craft, but sufficiently speedy in trying out a new
machine. Tom looked at the barograph, and noted that they had
attained an altitude of seven thousand five hundred feet.
"That's better than millionaire Daxtel's distance of seven thousand
one hundred and five feet," remarked the lad, with a smile, "and it
breaks Jackson's climb of seven thousand three hundred and three
feet, which is pretty good for your machine, Mr. Fenwick."
"Do you really think so?" asked the pleased inventor.
"Yes. And we'll do better than that in time. but it's best to go
slow at first, until we see how she is standing the strain. This is
high and fast enough for the present."
They kept on, and as Tom saw that the machinery was working well, he
let it out a little, The WHIZZER at once leaped forward, and, a
little later they came within sight of Cape May, the Jersey coast
"Now to drop down and visit my friend," said Mr. Fenwick, with a
smile. "Won't he be surprised!"
"I don't think we'd better do it," said Tom.
"Well, the wind is getting stronger every minute and it will be
against us on the way back. If we descend, and try to make another
ascension we may fail. We're up in the air now, and it may be easy
to turn around and go back. Then, again, it may not, but it
certainly will be easier to shift around up here than down on the
ground. So I'd rather not descend--that is, not entirely to the
"Well, just as you say, though I wanted my friend to know I could
build a successful airship."
"Oh, we can get around that. I'll take her down as low as is safe,
and fly over his house, if you'll point it out, and you can drop him
a message in one of the pasteboard tubes we carry for that purpose."
"That's a good idea," assented Mr. Fenwick. "I'll do it."
Tom sent the WHIZZER down until the hotels and cottages could be
made out quite plainly. After looking with a pair of opera glasses,
Mr. Fenwick picked out the residence of his friend, and Tom prepared
to circle about the roof.
By this time the presence of the airship had become known to
hundreds, and crowds were eagerly watching it.
"There he is! There's my friend who didn't believe I would ever
succeed!" exclaimed Mr. Fenwick, pointing to a man who stood in the
street in front of a large, white house. "I'll drop him a message!"
One was in readiness in a weighted pasteboard cylinder, and soon it
was falling downward. The airship was moving slowly, as it was
beating against the wind.
Leaning out of the cabin window, Mr. Fenwick shouted to his friend:
"Hey, Will! I thought you said my airship would never go! I'll come
and give you a ride, some day!"
Whether the gentleman understood what Mr. Fenwick shouted at him is
doubtful, but he saw the inventor waving his hand, and he saw the
falling cylinder, and a look of astonishment spread over his face,
as he ran to pick up the message.
"We're going up now, and will try to head for home," said Tom, a
moment later, as he shifted the rudder.
"Bless my storage battery!" cried Mr. Damon. "But we have had a fine
"A much better one than we'll have going back," observed Tom, in a
"Why; what's the matter?" asked the eccentric man.
"The wind has increased to a gale, and will be dead against us,"
Mr. Fenwick was busy writing another message to drop, and he paid
little attention to the young inventor. Tom sent the craft well up
into the air, and then tried to turn it about, and head back for
Philadelphia. No sooner had he done so than the airship was met by
the full force of the wind, which was now almost a hurricane. It had
steadily increased, but, as long as they were moving with it, they
did not notice it so much. Once they attempted to stem its fury they
found themselves almost helpless.
Tom quickly realized this, and, giving up his intention of beating
up against the wind, he turned the craft around, and let it fly
before the gale, the propellers aiding to get up a speed of seventy
miles an hour.
Mr. Fenwick, who had dropped the last of his messages, came from his
small private cabin, to where Mr. Damon and Tom were in a low-voiced
conversation near the engines. The owner of the WHIZZER, happened to
look down through a plate-glass window in the floor of car. What he
saw caused him to give a gasp of astonishment.
"Why--why!" he exclaimed. "We--we're over the ocean."
"Yes," answered Tom, quietly, as he gazed down on the tumbling
billows below them. They had quickly passed over Cape May, across
the sandy beach, and were now well out over the Atlantic.
"Why--why are we out here?" asked Mr. Fenwick. "Isn't it dangerous--
in an airship that hasn't been thoroughly tried yet?"
"Dangerous? Yes, somewhat," replied Tom, slowly. "But we can't help
ourselves, Mr. Fenwick. We can't turn around and go back in this
gale, and we can't descend."
"Then what's to be done?"
"Nothing, except to keep on until the gale blows itself out."
"And how long will that be?"
"I don't know--a week, maybe."
"Bless my coffee pot, I'm glad we've got plenty on board to eat!"
exclaimed Mr. Damon.
A NIGHT OF TERROR
After the first shock of Tom's announcement, the two men, who were
traveling with him in the airship, showed no signs of fear. Yet it
was alarming to know that one was speeding over the mighty ocean,
before a terrific gale, with nothing more substantial under one that
a comparatively frail airship.
Still Mr. Damon knew Tom of old, and had confidence in his ability,
and, while Mr. Fenwick was not so well acquainted with our hero, he
had heard much about him, and put faith in his skill to carry them
out of their present difficulty.
"Are you sure you can't turn around and go back?" asked Mr. Fenwick.
His knowledge of air-currents was rather limited.
"It is out of the question," replied Tom, simply. "We would surely
rip this craft to pieces if we attempted to buffet this storm."
"Is it so bad, then?" asked Mr. Damon, forgetting to bless anything
in the tense excitement of the moment.
"It might be worse," was the reply of the young inventor. "The wind
is blowing about eighty miles an hour at times, and to try to turn
now would mean that we would tear the planes loose from the ship.
True, we could still keep up by means of the gas bag, but even that
might be injured. Going as we are, in the same direction as that in
which the wind is blowing, we do not feel the full effect of it."
"But, perhaps, if we went lower down, or higher up, we could get in
a different current of air," suggested Mr. Fenwick, who had made
some study of aeronautics.
"I'll try," assented Tom, simply. He shifted the elevating rudder,
and the WHIZZER began to go up, slowly, for there was great lateral
pressure on her large surface. But Tom knew his business, and urged
the craft steadily. The powerful electric engines, which were the
invention of Mr. Fenwick, stood them in good stead, and the
barograph soon showed that they were steadily mounting.
"Is the wind pressure any less?" inquired Mr. Damon, anxiously.
"On the contrary, it seems to be increasing," replied Tom, with a
glance at the anemometer. "It's nearly ninety miles an hour now."
"Then, aided by the propellers, we must be making over a hundred
miles an hour." said the inventor.
"We are,--a hundred and thirty," assented Tom.
"We'll be blown across the ocean at this rate," exclaimed Mr. Damon.
"Bless my soul! I didn't count on that."
"Perhaps we had better go down," suggested Mr. Fenwick. "I don't
believe we can get above the gale."
"I'm afraid not," came from Tom. "It may be a bit better down
Accordingly, the rudder was changed, and the WHIZZER pointed her
nose downward. None of the lifting gas was let out, as it was
desired to save that for emergencies.
Down, down, down, went the great airship, until the adventurers
within, by gazing through the plate glass window in the floor of the
cabin, could see the heaving, white-capped billows, tossing and
tumbling below them.
"Look out, or we'll be into them!" shouted Mr. Damon.
"I guess we may as well go back to the level where we were,"
declared Tom. "The wind, both above and below that particular strata
is stronger, and we will be safer up above. Our only chance is to
scud before it, until it has blown itself out. And I hope it will be
"Why?" asked Mr. Damon, in a low voice.
"Because we may be blown so far that we can not get back while our
power holds out, and then--" Tom did not finish, but Mr. Damon knew
what he meant--death in the tossing ocean, far from land, when the
WHIZZER, unable to float in the air any longer, should drop into the
They were again on a level, where the gale blew less furiously than
either above or below, but this was not much relief. It seemed as if
the airship would go to pieces, so much was it swayed and tossed
about. But Mr. Fenwick, if he had done nothing else, had made a
staunch craft, which stood the travelers in good stead.
All the rest of that day they swept on, at about the same speed.
There was nothing for them to do, save watch the machinery,
occasionally replenishing the oil tanks, or making minor
"Well," finally remarked Mr. Damon, when the afternoon was waning
away, "if there's nothing else to do, suppose we eat. Bless my
appetite, but I'm hungry! and I believe you said, Mr. Fenwick, that
you had plenty of food aboard."
"So we have, but the excitement of being blown out to sea on our
first real trip, made me forget all about it. I'll get dinner at
once, if you can put up with an amateur's cooking."
"And I'll help," offered Mr. Damon. "Tom can attend to the airship,
and we'll serve the meals. It will take our minds off our troubles."
There was a well equipped kitchen aboard the WHIZZER and soon savory
odors were coming from it. In spite of the terror of their
situation, and it was not to be denied that they were in peril, they
all made a good meal, though it was difficult to drink coffee and
other liquids, owing to the sudden lurches which the airship gave
from time to time as the gale tossed her to and fro.
Night came, and, as the blackness settled down, the gale seemed to
increase in fury. It howled through the slender wire rigging of the
WHIZZER, and sent the craft careening from side to side, and
sometimes thrust her down into a cavern of the air, only to lift her
high again, almost like a ship on the heaving ocean below them.
As darkness settled in blacker and blacker, Tom had a glimpse below
him, of tossing lights on the water.
"We just passed over some vessel," he announced. "I hope they are in
no worse plight than we are." Then, there suddenly came to him a
thought of the parents of Mary Nestor, who were somewhere on the
ocean, in the yacht RESOLUTE bound for the West Indies.
"I wonder if they're out in this storm, too?" mused Tom. "If they
are, unless the vessel is a staunch one, they may be in danger."
The thought of the parents of the girl he cared so much for being in
peril, was not reassuring to Tom, and he began to busy himself about
the machinery of the airship, to take his mind from the presentiment
that something might happen to the RESOLUTE.
"We'll have our own troubles before morning," the lad mused, "if
this wind doesn't die down."
There was no indication that this was going to be the case, for the
gale increased rather than diminished. Tom looked at their speed
gage. They were making a good ninety miles an hour, for it had been
decided that it was best to keep the engine and propellers going, as
they steadied the ship.
"Ninety miles an hour," murmured Tom. "And we've been going at that
rate for ten hours now. That's nearly a thousand miles. We are quite
a distance out to sea."
He looked at a compass, and noted that, instead of being headed
directly across the Atlantic they were bearing in a southerly
"At this rate, we won't come far from getting to the West Indies
ourselves," reasoned the young inventor. "But I think the gale will
die away before morning."
The storm did not, however. More fiercely it blew through the hours
of darkness. It was a night of terror, for they dared not go to
sleep, not knowing at what moment the ship might turn turtle, or
even rend apart, and plunge with them into the depths of the sea.
So they sat up, occasionally attending to the machinery, and noting
the various gages. Mr. Damon made hot coffee, which they drank from
time to time, and it served to refresh them.
There came a sudden burst of fury from the storm, and the airship
rocked as if she was going over.
"Bless my heart!" cried Mr. Damon, springing up. "That was a close
Tom said nothing. Mr. Fenwick looked pale and alarmed.
The hours passed. They were swept ever onward, at about the same
speed, sometimes being whirled downward, and again tossed upward at
the will of the wind. The airship was well-nigh helpless, and Tom,
as he realized their position, could not repress a fear in his heart
as he thought of the parents of the girl he loved being tossed about
on the swirling ocean, in a frail pleasure yacht.
A DOWNWARD GLIDE
They sat in the cabin of the airship, staring helplessly at each
other. Occasionally Tom rose to attend to one of the machines, or
Mr. Fenwick did the same. Occasionally, Mr. Damon uttered a remark.
Then there was silence, broken only by the howl of the gale.
It seemed impossible for the WHIZZER to travel any faster, yet when
Tom glanced at the speed gage he noted, with a feeling of surprise,
akin to horror, that they were making close to one hundred and fifty
miles an hour. Only an aeroplane could have done it, and then only
when urged on by a terrific wind which added to the speed produced
by the propellers.
The whole craft swayed and trembled, partly from the vibration of
the electrical machinery, and partly from the awful wind. Mr.
Fenwick came close to Tom, and exclaimed:
"Do you think it would be any use to try once more to go above or
below the path of the storm?"
Tom's first impulse was to say that it would be useless, but he
recollected that the craft belonged to Fenwick, and surely that
gentleman had a right to make a suggestion. The young inventor
"We'll try to go up," he said. "If that doesn't work, I'll see if I
can force her down. It will be hard work, though. The wind is too
Tom shifted the levers and rudders. His eyes were on the barograph--
that delicate instrument, the trembling hand of which registered
their height. Tom had tilted the deflection rudder to send them up,
but as he watched the needle he saw it stationary. They were not
ascending, though the great airship was straining to mount to an
upper current where there might be calm.
It was useless, however, and Tom, seeing the futility of it, shifted
the rudder to send them downward. This was more easily accomplished,
but it was a change for the worse, since, the nearer to the ocean
they went, the fiercer blew the wind.
"Back! Go back up higher!" cried Mr. Damon,
"We can't!" yelled Tom. "We've got to stay here now!"
"Oh, but this is awful!" exclaimed Mr. Fenwick. "We can never stand
The airship swaged more than ever, and the occupants were tossed
about in the cabin, from side to side. Indeed, it did seem that
human beings never could come alive cut of that fearful ordeal.
As Tom looked from one of the windows of the cabin, he noted a pale,
grayish sort of light outside. At first he could not understand what
it was, then, as he observed the sickly gleams of the incandescent
electric lamps, he knew that the hour of dawn was at hand.
"See!" he exclaimed to his companions, pointing to the window.
"Morning is coming."
"Morning!" gasped Mr. Damon. "Is the night over? Now, perhaps we
shall get rid of the storm."
"I'm afraid not," answered Tom, as he noted the anemometer and felt
the shudderings of the WHIZZER as she careened on through the gale.
"It hasn't blown out yet!"
The pale light increased. The electrics seemed to dim and fade. Tom
looked to the engines. Some of the apparatus was in need of oil, and
he supplied it. When he came back to the main cabin, where stood Mr.
Damon and Mr. Fenwick, it was much lighter outside.
"Less than a day since we left Philadelphia," murmured the owner of
the WHIZZER, as he glanced at a distance indicator, "yet we have
come nearly sixteen hundred miles. We certainly did travel top
speed. I wonder where we are?"
"Still over the ocean," replied Mr. Damon, as he looked down at the
heaving billows rolling amid crests of foam far below them. "Though
what part of it would be hard to say. We'll have to reckon out our
position when it gets calmer."
Tom came from the engine room. His face wore a troubled look, and he
said, addressing the older inventor:
"Mr. Fenwick, I wish you'd come and look at the gas generating
apparatus. It doesn't seem to be working properly."
"Anything wrong?" asked Mr. Damon, suspiciously.
"I hope not," replied Tom, with all the confidence he could muster.
"It may need adjusting. I am not so familiar with it as I am with
the one on the RED CLOUD. The gas seems to be escaping from the bag,
and we may have to descend, for some distance."
"But the aeroplanes will keep us up," said Mr. Daman.
"Yes--they will," and Tom hesitated. "That is, unless something
happens to them. They are rather frail to stand alone the brunt of
the gale, and I wish--"
Tom did not complete the sentence. Instead, he paused suddenly and
seemed to be intently listening.
From without there came a rending, tearing, crashing sound. The
airship quivered from end to end, and seemed to make a sudden dive
downward. Then it appeared to recover, and once more glided forward.
Tom, followed by Mr. Fenwick, made a rush for the compartment where
the machine was installed. They had no sooner reached it than there
sounded an explosion, and the airship recoiled as if it had hit a
"Bless my shaving brush! What's that?" cried Mr. Damon. "Has
"I'm rather afraid there has," answered Tom, solemnly. "It sounded
as though the gas bag went up. And I'm worried over the strength of
the planes. We must make an investigation!"
"We're falling!" almost screamed Mr. Fenwick, as he glanced at the
barograph, the delicate needle of which was swinging to and fro,
registering different altitudes.
"Bless my feather bed! So we are!" shouted Mr. Damon. "Let's jump,
and avoid being caught under the airship!"
He darted for a large window, opening from the main cabin, and was
endeavoring to raise it when Tom caught his hand.
"What are you trying to do," asked the lad, hoarsely.
"Save my life! I want to get out of this as soon as I can. I'm going
"Don't think of it! You'd be instantly killed. We're too high for a
jump, even into the ocean."
"The ocean! Oh, is that still below us? Is there any chance of being
saved? What can be done?" Mr. Damon hesitated.
"We must first find out how badly we are damaged," said Tom,
quietly. "We must keep our heads, and be calm, no matter what
happens. I need your help, Mr. Damon."
This served to recall the rather excited man to his senses. He came
back to the centre of the cabin, which was no easy task, for the
floor of it was tilted at first one angle, and then another. He
stood at Tom's side.
"What can I do to help you?" he asked. Mr. Fenwick was darting here
and there, examining the different machines. None of them seemed to
"If you will look and see what has happened to our main wing planes,
I will see how much gas we have left in the bag," suggested Tom.
"Then we can decide what is best to be done. We are still quite
high, and it will take some time to complete our fall, as, even if
everything is gone, the material of the bag will act as a sort of
Mr. Damon darted to a window in the rear of the cabin, where he
could obtain a glimpse of the main wing planes. He gave a cry of
terror and astonishment.
"Two of the planes are gone!" he reported. "They are torn and are
"I feared as much," retorted Tom, quietly, "The gale was too much
"What of the lifting gas?" asked Mr. Fenwick, quickly.
"It has nearly all flowed out of the retaining bag."
"Then we must make more at once. I will start the generating
He darted toward it.
"It will be useless," spoke Tom, quietly.
"Because there is no bag left to hold it. The silk and rubber
envelope has been torn to pieces by the gale. The wind is even
stronger than it was last night."
"Then what's to be done?" demanded Mr. Damon, with a return of his
alarmed and nervous manner. "Bless my fingernails! What's to be
For an instant Tom did not answer. It was constantly getting
lighter, though there was no sun, for it was obscured by scudding
clouds. The young inventor looked critically at the various gages
"Is--is there any chance for us?" asked Mr. Fenwick, quietly.
"I think so," answered Tom, with a hopeful smile. "We have about two
thousand feet to descend, for we have fallen nearly that distance
since the accident."
"Two thousand feet to fall!" gasped Mr. Damon. "We can never do it
"I think so," spoke Tom.
"Bless my gizzard! How?" fairly exploded Mr. Damon.
"By vol-planing down!"
"But, even if we do, we will fall into the ocean!" cried Mr.
Fenwick. "We will be drowned!"
"No," and Tom spoke more quietly than before. "We are over a large
island." he went on, "and I propose to let the disabled airship vol-
plane down to it. That is our only chance."
"Over an island!" cried Mr. Damon. He looked down through the floor
observation window. Tom had spoken truly. At that moment they were
over a large island, which had suddenly loomed up in the wild and
desolate waste of the ocean. They had reached its vicinity just in
Tom stepped to the steering and rudder levers, and took charge. He
was going to attempt a most difficult feat--that of guiding a
disabled airship back to earth in the midst of a hurricane, and
landing her on an unknown island. Could he do it?
There was but one answer. He must try. It was the only chance of
saving their lives, and a slim one at best
Down shot the damaged WHIZZER like some giant bird with broken
wings, but Tom Swift was in charge, and it seemed as if the craft
knew it, as she began that earthward glide.
ON EARTHQUAKE ISLAND
Mingled feelings possessed the three adventurers within the airship.
Mr. Damon and Mr. Fenwick had crowded to the window, as Tom spoke,
to get a glimpse of the unknown island toward which they were
shooting. They could see it more plainly now, from the forward
casement, as well as from the one in the bottom of the craft. A
long, narrow, rugged piece of land it was, in the midst of the
heaving ocean, for the storm still raged and lashed the waves to
"Can you make it?" asked Mr. Damon, in a low voice.
"I think so," answered Tom, more cheerfully.
"Shall I shut down the motor?" inquired the older inventor.
"Yes, you might as well. We don't need the propellers now, and I may
be better able to make the glide without them."
The buzzing and purring electrical apparatus was shut down. Silence
reigned in the airship, but the wind still howled outside. As Tom
had hoped, the ship became a little more steady with the stopping of
the big curved blades, though had the craft been undamaged they
would have served to keep her on an even keel.
With skillful hand he so tilted the elevating planes that, after a
swift downward glide, the head of the WHIZZER would be thrown up, so
to speak, and she would sail along in a plane parallel to the
island. This had the effect of checking her momentum, just as the
aviator checks the downward rush of his monoplane or biplane when he
is making a landing.
Tom repeated this maneuver several times, until a glance at his
barograph showed that they had but a scant sixty feet to go. There
was time but for one more upward throwing of the WHIZZER's nose, and
Tom held to that position as long as possible. They could now make
out the topography of the island plainly, for it was much lighter.
Tom saw a stretch of sandy beach, and steered for that.
Downward shot the airship, inert and lifeless. It was not like
gliding his little BUTTERFLY to earth after a flight, but Tom hoped
he could make it. They were now within ten feet of the earth,
skimming forward. Tom tried another upward tilt, but the forward
planes would not respond. They could get no grip on the air.
With a crash that could have been heard some distance the WHIZZER
settled to the sand. It ran along a slight distance, and then, as
the bicycle wheels collapsed under the pressure, the airship seemed
to go together in a shapeless mass.
At the first impact with the earth, Tom had leaped away from the
steering wheel and levers, for he did not want to be crushed against
them. Mr. Damon and Mr. Fenwick, in pursuance of a plan adopted when
they found that they were falling, had piled a lot of seat cushions
around them. They had also provided some as buffers for Tom, and our
hero, at the instant of the crash, had thrown himself behind and
It seemed as if the whole ship went to pieces. The top of the main
cabin crashed down, as the side supports gave way, but, fortunately,
there were strong main braces, and the roof did not fall completely
upon our friends.
The whole bottom of the craft was forced upward and had it not been
for the protecting cushions, there might have been serious injuries
for all concerned. As it was they were badly bruised and shaken up.
After the first crash, and succeeding it an instant later, there
came a second smash, followed by a slight explosion, and a shower of
sparks could be seen in the engine room.
"That's the electrical apparatus smashing through the floor!" called
Tom. "Come, let's get out of here before the gasolene sets anything
on fire. Are you all right, Mr. Damon, and you, Mr. Fenwick?"
"Yes, I guess so," answered the inventor. "Oh, what a terrible
crash! My airship is ruined!"
"You may be glad we are alive," said Mr. Damon. "Bless my top knot,
He did not finish the sentence. At that moment a piece of wood,
broken from the ceiling, where it had hung by a strip of canvas came
crashing down, and hit Mr. Damon on the head.
The eccentric man toppled over on his pile of cushions, from which
he was arising when he was struck.
"Oh, is he killed?" gasped Mr. Fenwick.
"I hope not!" cried Tom. "We must get him out of here, at all
events. There may be a fire."
They both sprang to Mr. Damon's aid, and succeeded in lifting him
out. There was no difficulty in emerging from the airship as there
were big, broken gaps, on all sides of what was left of the cabin.
Once in the outer air Mr. Damon revived, and opened his eyes.
"Much hurt?" asked Tom, feeling of his friend's head.
"No--no, I--I guess not," was the slow answer. "I was stunned for a
moment. I'm all right now. Nothing broken, I guess," and his hand
went to his head.
"No, nothing broken," added Tom, cheerfully, "but you've got a lump
there as big as an ostrich egg. Can you walk?"
"Oh, I'm all right. Bless my stars, what a wreck!"
Mr. Damon looked at the remains of the airship. It certainly was a
wreck! The bent and twisted planes were wrapped about the afterpart,
the gas bag was but a shred, the frame was splintered and twisted,
and the under part, where the starting wheels were placed, resembled
a lot of broken bicycles. The cabin looked like a shack that had
sustained an explosion of dynamite.
"It's a wonder we came out alive," said Mr. Fenwick, in a low voice.
"Indeed it is," agreed Tom, as he came back with a tin can full of
sea water, with which to bathe Mr. Damon's head. The lad had picked
up the can from where it had rolled from the wreck, and they had
landed right on the beach.
"It doesn't seem to blow so hard," observed Mr. Damon, as he was
tenderly sopping his head with a handkerchief wet in the salt water.
"No, the wind is dying out, but it happened too late to do us any
good," remarked Tom, sorrowfully. "Though if it hadn't blown us this
far, we might have come to grief over the ocean, and be floundering
in that, instead of on dry land."
"That's so," agreed Mr. Fenwick, who was carefully feeling of some
bruises on his legs. "I wonder where we are, anyhow?"
"I haven't the least idea," responded Tom. "It's an island, but
which one, or where it is I don't know. We were blown nearly two
thousand miles, I judge."
He walked over and surveyed the wreck. Now that the excitement was
over he was beginning to be aware of numerous bruises and
contusions, His legs felt rather queer, and on rolling up his
trousers he found there was a deep cut in the right shin, just below
his knee. It was bleeding, but he bandaged it with a spare
handkerchief, and walked on.
Peering about, he saw that nearly the whole of the machinery in the
engine room, including most of the electrical apparatus, had fallen
bodily through the floor, and now rested on the sand.
"That looks to be in pretty good shape." mused Tom, "but it's a
question whether it will ever be any good to us. We can't rebuild
the airship here, that's certain."
He walked about the wreck, and then returned to his friends. Mr.
Damon was more like himself, and Mr. Fenwick had discovered that he
had only minor bruises.
"Bless my coffee cup!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "I declare, I feel
hungry. I wonder if there's anything left to eat in the wreck?"
"Plenty," spoke Tom, cheerfully. "I'll get it out. I can eat a
sandwich or too myself, and perhaps I can set up the gasolene stove,
and cook something."
As the young inventor was returning to the wreck, he was halted
halfway by a curious trembling feeling. At first he thought it was a
weakness of his legs, caused by his cut, but a moment later he
realized with a curious, sickening sensation that it was the ground-
-the island itself--that was shaking and trembling.
The lad turned back. Mr. Damon and Mr. Fenwick were staring after
him with fear showing on their faces.
"What was that?" cried the inventor.
"Bless my gizzard! Did you feel that, Tom?" cried Mr. Damon. "The
whole place is shaking!"
Indeed, there was a stronger tremor now, and it was accompanied by a
low, rumbling sound, like distant thunder. The adventurers were
swaying to and fro.
Suddenly they were tossed to the ground by a swaying motion, and not
far off a great crack opened in the earth. The roaring, rumbling
sound increased in volume.
"An earthquake! It's an earthquake!" cried Tom. "We're in the midst
of an earthquake!"
A NIGHT IN CAMP
The rumbling and roaring continued for perhaps two minutes, during
which time the castaways found it impossible to stand, for the
island was shaking under their feet with a sickening motion. Off to
one side there was a great fissure in the earth, and, frightened as
he was, Tom looked to see if it was extending in their direction.
If it was, or if a crack opened near them, they might be
precipitated into some bottomless abyss, or into the depths of the
sea. But the fissure did not increase in length or breadth, and,
presently the rumbling, roaring sound subsided. The island grew
quiet and the airship travelers rose to their feet.
"Bless my very existence! What happened?" cried Mr. Damon.
"It was an earthquake; wasn't it, Tom?" asked Mr. Fenwick.
"It sure was," agreed the young inventor. "Rather a hard one, too. I
hope we don't have any more."
"Do you think there is any likelihood of it?" demanded Mr. Damon.
"Bless my pocketbook! If I thought so I'd leave at once."
"Where would you go?" inquired Tom, looking out across the tumbling
ocean, which had hardly had a chance to subside from the gale, ere
it was again set in a turmoil by the earth-tremor.
"That's so--there isn't a place to escape to," went on the eccentric
man, with something like a groan. "We are in a bad place--do you
think there'll be more quakes, Tom?"
"It's hard to say. I don't know where we are, and this island may be
something like Japan, subject to quakes, or it may be that this one
is merely a spasmodic tremor. Perhaps the great storm which brought
us here was part of the disturbance of nature which ended up with
the earthquake. We may have no more."
"And there may be one at any time," added Mr. Fenwick.
"Yes," assented Tom.
"Then let's get ready for it," proposed Mr. Damon. "Let's take all
the precautions possible."
"There aren't any to take," declared Tom. "All we can do is to wait
until the shocks come--if any more do come, which I hope won't
happen, and then we must do the best we can."
"Oh, dear me! Bless my fingernails!" cried Mr. Damon, wringing his
hands. "This is worse than falling in an airship! There you do have
SOME chance. Here you haven't any."
"Oh, it may not be so bad," Tom cried to reassure him. "This may
have been the first shock in a hundred years, and there may never be
But, as he looked around on the island, he noted evidences that it
was of volcanic origin, and his heart misgave him, for he knew that
such islands, created suddenly by a submarine upheaval, might just
as suddenly be destroyed by an earthquake, or by sinking into the
ocean. It was not a pleasant thought--it was like living over a
mine, that might explode at any moment. But there was no help for
Tom tried to assume a cheerfulness he did not feel. He realized
that, in spite of his youth, both Mr. Damon and Mr. Fenwick rather
depended on him, for Tom was a lad of no ordinary attainments, and
had a fund of scientific knowledge. He resolved to do his best to
avoid making his two companions worry.
"Let's get it off our minds," suggested the lad, after a while. "We
were going to get something to eat. Suppose we carry out that
program. My appetite wasn't spoiled by the shock."
"I declare mine wasn't either," said Mr. Damon, "but I can't forget
it easily. It's the first earthquake I was ever in."
He watched Tom as the latter advanced once more toward the wreck of
the airship, and noticed that the lad limped, for his right leg had
been cut when the WHIZZER had fallen to earth.
"What's the matter, Tom; were you hurt in the quake?" asked the
"No--no," Tom hastened to assure him. "I just got a bump in the
fall--that's all. It isn't anything. If you and Mr. Fenwick want to
get out some food from the wrecked store room I'll see if I can haul
out the gasolene stove from the airship. Perhaps we can use it to
make some coffee."
By delving in about the wreck, Tom was able to get out the gasolene
stove. It was broken, but two of the five burners were in
commission, and could be used. Water, and gasolene for use in the
airship, was carried in steel tanks. Some of these had been split
open by the crash, but there was one cask of water left, and three
of gasolene, insuring plenty of the liquid fuel. As for the water,
Tom hoped to be able to find a spring on the island.
In the meanwhile, Mr. Damon and Mr. Fenwick had been investigating
the contents of the storeroom. There was a large supply of food,
much larger than would have been needed, even on a two weeks' trip
in the air, and the inventor of the WHIZZER hardly knew why he had
put so much aboard.
"But if we have to stay here long, it may come in handy," observed
Tom, with a grim smile.
"Why; do you think we WILL be here long?" asked Mr. Damon.
The young inventor shrugged his shoulders.
"There is no telling," he said. "If a passing steamer happens to see
us, we may be taken off to-day or to-morrow. If not we may be here a
week, or--" Tom did not finish. He stood in a listening attitude.
There was a rumbling sound, and the earth seemed again to tremble.
Then there came a great splash in the water at the foot of a tall,
rugged cliff about a quarter of a mile away. A great piece of the
precipice had fallen into the ocean.
"I thought that was another earthquake coming," said Mr. Damon, with
an air of relief.
"So did I," admitted Mr. Fenwick.
"It was probably loosened by the shock, and so fell into the sea,"
Their momentary fright over, the castaways proceeded to get their
breakfast. Tom soon had water boiling on the gasolene stove, for he
had rescued a tea-kettle and a coffee pot from the wreck of the
kitchen of the airship. Shortly afterward, the aroma of coffee
filled the air, and a little later there was mingled with it the
appetizing odor of sizzling bacon and eggs, for Mr. Fenwick, who was
very fond of the latter, had brought along a supply, carefully
packed in sawdust carriers, so that the shock had broken only a few
"Well, I call this a fine breakfast," exclaimed Mr. Damon, munching
his bacon and eggs, and dipping into his coffee the hard pilot
biscuit, which they had instead of bread. "We're mighty lucky to be
eating at all, I suppose."
"Indeed we are," chimed in Mr. Fenwick.
"I'm awfully sorry the airship is wrecked, though," spoke Tom. "I
suppose it's my fault. I should have turned back before we got over
the ocean, and while the storm was not at its height. I saw that the
wind was freshening, but I never supposed it would grow to a gale so
suddenly. The poor old WHIZZER--there's not much left of her!"
"Now don't distress yourself in the least," insisted Mr. Fenwick.
"I'm proud to have built a ship that could navigate at all. I see
where I made lots of mistakes, and as soon as I get back to
Philadelphia, I'm going to build a better one, if you'll help me,
"I certainly will," promised the young inventor.
"And I'll take a voyage with you!" cried Mr. Damon. "Bless my
teaspoon, Tom, but will you kindly pass the bacon and eggs again!"
There was a jolly laugh at the eccentric man, in which he himself
joined, and the little party felt better. They were seated on bits
of broken boxes taken from the wreck, forming a little circle about
the gasolene stove, which Tom had set up on the beach. The wind had
almost entirely died away, though the sea was still heaving in great
billows, and masses of surf.
They had no exact idea of the time, for all their watches had
stopped when the shock of the wreck came, but presently the sun
peeped out from the clouds, and, from knowing the time when they had
begun to fall, they judged it was about ten o'clock, and accordingly
set their timepieces.
"Well," observed Tom, as he collected the dishes, which they had
also secured from the wreck, "we must begin to think about a place
to spend the night. I think we can rig up a shelter from some of the
canvas of the wing-planes, and from what is left of the cabin. It
doesn't need to be very heavy, for from the warmth of the
atmosphere, I should say we were pretty well south."
It was quite warm, now that the storm was over, and, as they looked
at the vegetation of the island, they saw that it was almost wholly
"I shouldn't be surprised if we were on one of the smaller of the
West Indian islands," said Tom. "We certainly came far enough,
flying a hundred miles or more an hour, to have reached them. But
this one doesn't appear to be inhabited."
"We haven't been all over it yet," said Mr. Damon. "We may find
cannibals on the other side."
"Cannibals don't live in this part of the world," Tom assured him.
"No, I think this island is practically unknown. The storm brought
us here, and it might have landed us in a worse place."
As he spoke he thought of the yacht RESOLUTE, and he wondered how
her passengers, including the parents of Mary Nestor, had fared
during the terrible blow.
"I hope they weren't wrecked, as we were," mused Tom.
But there was little time for idle thoughts. If they were going to
build a shelter, they knew that they must speedily get at it.
Accordingly, with a feeling of thankfulness that their lives had
been spared, they set to work taking apart such of the wreck as
could the more easily be got at.
Boards, sticks, and planks were scattered about, and, with the
pieces of canvas from the wing-planes, and some spare material which
was carried on board, they soon had a fairly good shack, which would
be protection enough in that warm climate.
Next they got out the food and supplies, their spare clothing and
other belongings, few of which had been harmed in the fall from the
clouds. These things were piled under another rude shelter which
By this time it was three o'clock, and they ate again. Then they
prepared to spend the night in their hastily made camp. They
collected driftwood, with which to make a fire, and, after supper,
which was prepared on the gasolene stove, they sat about the
cheerful blaze, discussing their adventures.
"To-morrow we will explore the island," said Tom, as he rolled
himself up in his blankets and turned over to sleep. The others
followed his example, for it was decided that no watch need be kept.
Thus passed several hours in comparative quiet.
It must have been about midnight that Tom was suddenly awakened by a
feeling as if someone was shaking him. He sat up quickly and called
"What's the matter?"
"Eh? What's that? Bless my soul! What's going on?" shouted Mr.
"Did you shake me?" inquired Tom.
"I? No. What--?"
Then they realized that another earth-tremor was making the whole
Tom leaped from his blankets, followed by Mr. Damon and Mr. Fenwick,
and rushed outside the shack. They felt the earth shaking, but it
was over in a few seconds. The shock was a slight one, nothing like
as severe as the one in the morning. But it set their nerves on
"Another earthquake!" groaned Mr. Damon. "How often are we to have
"I don't know," answered Tom, soberly.
They passed the remainder of the night sleeping in blankets on the
warm sands, near the fire, for they feared lest a shock might bring
the shack down about their heads. However, the night passed with no
THE OTHER CASTAWAYS
"Well, we're all alive, at any rate," announced Tom, when the bright
sun, shining into his eyes, had awakened him. He sat up, tossed
aside his blankets, and stood up. The day was a fine one, and the
violence of the sea had greatly subsided during the night, their
shack had suffered not at all from the slight shock in the darkness.
"Now for a dip in old Briney," the lad added, as he walked down to
the surf, "I think it will make me feel better."
"I'm with you," added Mr. Fenwick, and Mr. Damon also joined the
bathers. They came up from the waves, tingling with health, and
their bruises and bumps, including Tom's cut leg, felt much better.
"You did get quite a gash; didn't you," observed Mr. Fenwick, as he
noticed Tom's leg. "Better put something on it. I have antiseptic
dressings and bandages in the airship, if we can find them."
"I'll look for them, after breakfast," Tom promised, and following a
fairly substantial meal, considering the exigencies under which it
was prepared, he got out the medicine chest, of which part remained
in the wreck of the WHIZZER, and dressed his wound. He felt much
better after that.
"Well, what's our program for to-day?" Mr. Damon wanted to know, as
they sat about, after they had washed up what few dishes they used.
"Let's make a better house to stay in," proposed Mr. Fenwick. "We
may have to remain here for some time, and I'd like a more
"I think the one we now have will do," suggested Tom. "I was going
to propose making it even less substantial."
"Because, in the event of an earthquake, while we are sleeping in
it, we will not be injured. Made of light pieces of wood and canvas
it can't harm us very much if it falls on us."
"That's right," agreed Mr. Damon. "In earthquake countries all the
houses are low, and built of light materials."
"Ha! So I recollect now," spoke Mr. Fenwick. "I used to read that in
my geography, but I never thought it would apply to me. But do you
think we will be subject to the quakes?"
"I'm afraid so," was Tom's reply. "We've had two, now, within a
short time, and there is no way of telling when the next will come.
We will hope there won't be any more, but--"
He did not finish his sentence, but the others knew what he meant.
Thereupon they fell to work, and soon had made a shelter that, while
very light and frail, would afford them all the protection needed in
that mild climate, and, at the same time, there would be no danger
should an earthquake collapse it, and bring it down about their
heads while they were sleeping in it.
For they decided that they needed some shelter from the night dews,
as it was exceedingly uncomfortable to rest on the sands even
wrapped in blankets, and with a driftwood fire burning nearby.
It was noon when they had their shack rebuilt to their liking, and
they stopped for dinner. There was quite a variety of stores in the
airship, enough for a much larger party than that of our three
friends, and they varied their meals as much as possible. Of course
all the stuff they had was canned, though there are some salted and
smoked meats. But canned food can be had in a variety of forms now-
a-days, so the castaways did not lack much.
"What do you say to an exploring expedition this afternoon?" asked
Tom, as they sat about after dinner. "We ought to find out what kind
of an island we're on."
"I agree with you," came from Mr. Fenwick. "Perhaps on the other
side we will stand a much better chance of speaking some passing
vessel. I have been watching the horizon for some time, now, but I
haven't seen the sign of a ship."
"All right, then we'll explore, and see what sort of an island we
have taken possession of," went on Tom.
"And see if it isn't already in possession of natives--or
cannibals," suggested Mr. Damon. "Bless my frying pan! but I should
hate to be captured by cannibals at my time of life."
"Don't worry; there are none here," Tom assured him again.
They set out on their journey around the island. They agreed that it
would be best to follow the beach around, as it was easier walking
that way, since the interior of the place consisted of rugged rocks
in a sort of miniature mountain chain.
"We will make a circuit of the place," proposed Tom, "and then, if
we can discover nothing, we'll go inland. The centre of the island
is quite high, and we ought to be able to see in any direction for a
great distance from the topmost peak. We may be able to signal a
"I hope so!" cried Mr. Damon. "I want to send word home that I am
all right. My wife will worry when she learns that the airship, in
which I set out, has disappeared."
"I fancy we all would like to send word home," added Mr. Fenwick.
"My wife never wanted me to build this airship, and, now that I have
sailed in it, and have been wrecked, I know she'll say 'I told you
so,' as soon as I get back to Philadelphia."
Tom said nothing, but he thought to himself that it might be some
time before Mrs. Fenwick would have a chance to utter those
significant words to her husband.
Following the beach line, they walked for several miles. The island
was larger than they had supposed, and it soon became evident that
it would take at least a day to get all around it.
"In which case we will need some lunch with us." said Tom. "I think
the best thing we can do now is to return to camp, and get ready for
a longer expedition to-morrow."
Mr. Fenwick was of the same mind, but Mr. Damon called out:
"Let's go just beyond that cliff, and see what sort of a view is to
be had from there. Then we'll turn back."
To oblige him they followed. They had not gone more than a hundred
yards toward the cliff, than there came the preliminary rumbling and
roaring that they had come to associate with an earthquake. At the
same time, the ground began to shiver and shake.
"Here comes another one!" cried Tom, reeling about. He saw Mr. Damon
and Mr. Fenwick topple to the beach. The roaring increased, and the
rumbling was like thunder, close at hand. The island seemed to rock
to its very centre.
Suddenly the whole cliff toward which they had been walking,
appeared to shake itself loose. In another instant it was flung
outward and into the sea, a great mass of rock and stone.
The island ceased trembling, and the roaring stopped. Tom rose to
his feet, followed by his companions. He looked toward the place
where the cliff had been. Its removal by the earthquake gave them a
view of a part of the beach that had hitherto been hidden from them.
And what Tom saw caused him to cry out in astonishment. For he
beheld, gathered around a little fire on the sand, a party of men
and women. Some were standing, clinging to one another in terror.
Some were prostrate on the ground. Others were running to and fro in
"More castaways!" cried Tom. "More castaways," and, he added under
his breath, "more unfortunates on earthquake island!"
AN ALARMING THEORY
For a few seconds, following Tom's announcement to his two
companions, neither Mr. Damon nor Mr. Fenwick spoke. They had arisen
from the beach, where the shock of the earthquake had thrown them,
and were now staring toward the other band of castaways, who, in
turn were gazing toward our three friends. There was a violent
agitation in the sea, caused by the fall of the great cliff, and
immense waves rushed up on shore, but all the islanders were beyond
the reach of the rollers.
"Is it--do I really--am I dreaming or not?" at length gasped Mr.
"Is this a mirage, or do we really see people, Tom?" inquired Mr.
"They are real enough people," replied the lad, himself somewhat
dazed by the unexpected appearance of the other castaways.
"But how--why--how did they get here?" went on the inventor of the
"As long as they're not cannibals, we're all right," murmured Mr.
Damon. "They seem to be persons like ourselves, Tom."
"They are," agreed the lad, "and they appear to be in the same sort
of trouble as ourselves. Let's go forward, and meet them."
The tremor of the earthquake had now subsided, and the little band
that was gathered about a big fire of driftwood was calmer. Those
who had fallen, or who had thrown themselves on the sand, arose, and
began feeling of their arms and legs to see if they had sustained
any injuries. Others advanced toward our friends.
"Nine of them," murmured Tom, as he counted the little band of
castaways, "and they don't seem to have been able to save much from
the wreck of their craft, whatever it was." The beach all about them
was bare, save for a boat drawn up out of reach of high water.
"Do you suppose they are a party from some disabled airship, Tom,"
asked Mr. Fenwick.
"Not from an airship," answered the lad. "Probably from some vessel
that was wrecked in the gale. But we will soon find out who they
Tom led the way for his two friends. The fall of the cliff had made
a rugged path around the base of it, over rocks, to where the other
people stood. Tom scrambled in and out among the boulders, in spite
of the pain it caused his wounded leg. He was anxious to know who
the other castaways were, and how they had come there.
Several of the larger party were now advancing to meet the lad and
his friends. Tom could see two women and seven men.
A moment later, when the lad had a good view of one of the ladies
and a gentleman, he could not repress a cry of astonishment. Then he
rubbed his eyes to make sure it was not some blur or defect of
vision. No, his first impression had been correct.
"Mr. Nestor!" cried Tom, recognizing the father of his girl friend.
"And Mrs. Nestor!" he added a moment later.
"Why--of all things--look--Amos--it's--it can't be possible--and
yet--why, it's Tom Swift!" cried the lady.
"Tom--Tom Swift--here?" ejaculated the man at her side.
"Yes--Tom Swift--the young inventor--of Shopton--don't you know--the
lad who saved Mary's life in the runaway--Tom Swift!"
"Tom Swift!" murmured Mr. Nestor. "Is it possible!"
"I'm Tom Swift, all right," answered the owner of that name, "but
how in the world did you get on this island, Mr. Nestor?"
"I might ask you the same thing, Tom. The yacht RESOLUTE, on which
we were making a voyage to the West Indies, as guests of Mr. George
Hosbrook, was wrecked in the awful gale. We took to the boats and
managed to reach this island. The yacht sunk, and we only had a
little food. We are almost starved! But how came you here?"
"Mr. Fenwick's airship was wrecked, and we dropped down here. What a
coincidence! To think that I should meet you here! But if you're
hungry, it's the best thing in the world that we met you, for,
though our airship was wrecked, we have a large supply of food. Come
over to our camp, and we'll give you all you want!"
Tom had rushed forward, and was shaking hands with Mary's parents,
so unexpectedly met with, when Mr. Nestor called out:
"Come over here, Mr. Hosbrook. I want you to meet a friend of mine."
A moment later, the millionaire owner of the ill-fated RESOLUTE was
shaking hands with Tom.
"I can't understand it," Mr. Hosbrook said. "To think of meeting
other people on this desolate island--this island of earthquakes."
"Oh, please don't speak of earthquakes!" cried Mrs. Nestor. "We are
in mortal terror! There have been several since we landed in the
most terrible storm day before yesterday. Isn't it awful! It is a
regular earthquake island!"
"That's what I call it," spoke Tom, grimly.
The others of the larger party of refugees now came up. Besides Mr.
and Mrs. Nestor, and Mr. Hosbrook, there was Mr. and Mrs. Floyd
Anderson, friends of the millionaire; Mr. Ralph Parker, who was
spoken of as a scientist, Mr. Barcoe Jenks, who seemed an odd sort
of individual, always looking about suspiciously, Captain Mentor,
who had been in command of the yacht, and Jake Fordam, the mate of
"And are these all who were saved?" asked Tom, as he introduced his
two friends, and told briefly of their air voyage.
"No," answered Mr. Hosbrook, "two other boatloads, one containing
most of the crew, and the other containing some of my guests, got
away before our boat left. I trust they have been rescued, but we
have heard nothing about them. However, our own lives may not long
be safe, if these earthquakes continue."
"But did I understand you to say, Mr. Swift, that you had food?" he
went on. "If you have, I will gladly pay you any price for some,
especially for these two ladies, who must be faint. I have lost all
my ready cash, but if we ever reach civilization, I will--"
"Don't speak of such a thing as pay," interrupted Mr. Fenwick. "All
that we have we'll gladly share with you. Come over to our camp. We
have enough for all, and we can cook on our gasolene stove. Don't
speak of pay, I beg of you."
"Ah--er, if Mr. Hosbrook has no money, perhaps I can offer an
equivalent," broke in the man who had been introduced as Barcoe
Jenks. "I have--er--some securities--" He stopped and looked about
indefinitely, as though he did not know exactly what to say, and he
was fumbling at a belt about his waist; a belt that might contain
"Don't speak of reimbursing us," went on Mr. Fenwick, with rather a
suspicious glance at Mr. Jenks. "You are welcome to whatever we
"Bless my topknot; certainly, yes!" joined in Mr. Damon, eagerly.
"Well, I--er--I only spoke of it," said Mr. Jenks, hesitatingly, and
then he turned away. Mr. Hosbrook looked sharply at him, but said
"Suppose we go to our camp," proposed Tom. "We may be able to get
you up a good meal, before another earthquake comes."
"I wonder what makes so many of them?" asked Mrs. Nestor, with a
"Yes, indeed, they are terrifying! One never knows when to expect
them," added Mrs. Anderson.
"I have a theory about them," said Mr. Parker, the scientist, who,
up to this time had spoken but little.
"A theory?" inquired Tom.
"Yes. This island is one of the smaller of the West Indies group. It
is little known, and has seldom been visited, I believe. But I am
sure that what causes the earthquakes is that the whole island has
been undermined by the sea, and it is the wash of great submarine
waves and currents which cause the tremors."
"Undermined by the sea?" repeated Tom.
"Yes. It is being slowly washed away."
"Bless my soul! Washed away!" gasped Mr. Damon.
"And, in the course of a comparatively short time, it will sink,"
went on the scientist, as cheerfully as though he was a professor
propounding some problem to his class.
"Sink!" ejaculated Mrs. Nestor. "The whole island undermined! Oh,
what an alarming theory!"
"I wish I could hold to a different one, madam," was Mr. Parker's
answer, "but I cannot. I think the island will sink after a few more
"Then what good will my--" began Barcoe Jenks, but he stopped in
confusion, and again his hand went to his belt with a queer gesture.
A MIGHTY SHOCK
Tom Swift turned to gaze at Mr. Barcoe Jenks. That individual
certainly had a strange manner. Perhaps it might be caused by the
terror of the earthquakes, but the man seemed to be trying to hold
back some secret. He was constrained and ill at ease. He saw the
young inventor looking at him, and his hands, which had gone to his
belt, with a spasmodic motion, dropped to his side.
"You don't really mean to say, Parker, that you think the whole
island is undermined, do you?" asked the owner of the RESOLUTE.
"That's my theory. It may be a wrong one, but it is borne out by the
facts already presented to us. I greatly fear for our lives!"
"But what can we do?" cried Mrs. Nestor.
"Nothing," answered the scientist, with a shrug of his shoulders.
"Absolutely nothing, save to wait for it to happen."
"Don't say that!" begged Mrs. Andersen.
"Can't you gentlemen do something--build a boat and take us away.
Why, the boat we came here in--"
"Struck a rock, and stove a hole in the bottom as big as a barrel,
madam," interrupted Captain Mentor. "It would never do to put to sea
"But can't something else be done?" demanded Mrs. Nestor. "Oh, it is
awful to think of perishing on this terrible earthquake island. Oh,
Amos! Think of it, and Mary home alone! Have you seen her lately,
Tom told of his visit to the Nestors' home. Our hero was almost in
despair, not so much for himself, as for the unfortunate women of
the party--and one of them was Mary's mother! Yet what could he do?
What chance was there of escaping from the earthquake?
"Bless my gizzard!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "Don't let's stand here
worrying! If you folks are hungry come up to our camp. We have
plenty. Afterward we can discuss means of saving ourselves."
"I want to be saved!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks. "I must be saved! I have
a great secret--a secret--"
Once more he paused in confusion, and once more his hands nervously
sought his belt.
"I would give a big reward to be saved," he murmured.
"And so, I fancy, we all would," added Captain Mentor. "But we are
not likely to. This island is out of the track of the regular line
"Where are we, anyhow?" inquired Mr. Fenwick. "What island is this?"
"It isn't down on the charts, I believe," was the captain's reply,
"but we won't be far out, if we call it Earthquake Island. That name
seems to fit it exactly."
They had walked on, while talking, and now had gone past the broken
cliff. Tom and his two friends of the airship led the way to the
camp they had made. On the way, Mr. Hosbrook related how his yacht
had struggled in vain against the tempest, how she had sprung a
leak, how the fires had gone out, and how, helpless in the trough of
the sea, the gallant vessel began to founder. Then they had taken to
the boats, and had, most unexpectedly come upon the island.
"And since we landed we have had very little to eat," said Mrs.
Nestor. "We haven't had a place to sleep, and it has been terrible.
Then, too, the earthquakes! And my husband and I worried so about
Mary. Oh, Mr. Swift! Do you think there is any chance of us ever
seeing her again?"
"I don't know," answered Tom, softly. "I'll do all I can to get us
off this island. Perhaps we can build a raft, and set out. If we
stay here there is no telling what will happen, if that scientist's
theory is correct. But there is our camp, just ahead. You will be
more comfortable, at least for a little while."
In a short time they were at the place where Tom and the others had
built the shack. The ruins of the airship were examined with
interest, and the two women took advantage of the seclusion of the
little hut, to get some much needed rest until a meal should be
One was soon in course of preparation by Tom and Mr. Damon, aided by
Mate Fordam, of the RESOLUTE. Fortunate it was that Mr. Fenwick had
brought along such a supply of food, for there were now many mouths
That the supper (which the meal really was, for it was getting late)
was much enjoyed, goes without saying. The yacht castaways had
subsisted on what little food had been hurriedly put into the life
boat, as they left the vessel.
At Tom's request, while it was yet light, Captain Mentor and some of
the men hunted for a spring of fresh water, and found one, for, with
the increase in the party, the young inventor saw the necessity for
more water. The spring gave promise of supplying a sufficient
There was plenty of material at hand for making other shacks, and
they were soon in course of construction. They were made light, as
was the one Tom and his friends first built, so that, in case of
another shock, no one would be hurt seriously. The two ladies were
given the larger shack, and the men divided themselves between two
others that were hastily erected on the beach. The remainder of the
food and stores was taken from the wreck of the airship, and when
darkness began to fall, the camp was snug and comfortable, a big
fire of driftwood burning brightly.
"Oh, if only we can sleep without being awakened by an earthquake!"
exclaimed Mrs. Nestor, as she prepared to go into the shack with
Mrs. Anderson. "But I am almost afraid to close my eyes!"
"If it would do any good to stay up and watch, to tell you when one
was coming, I'd do so," spoke Tom, with a laugh, "but they come
However, the night did pass peacefully, and there was not the least
tremor of the island. In the morning the castaways took courage and,
after breakfast, began discussing their situation more calmly.
"It seems to me that the only solution is to build some sort of a
raft, or other craft and leave the island," said Mr. Fenwick.
"Bless my hair brush!" cried Mr. Damon. "Why can't we hoist a signal
of distress, and wait for some steamer to see it and call for us? It
seems to me that would be more simple than going to sea on a raft. I
don't like the idea."
"A signal would be all right, if this island was in the path of the
steamers," said Captain Mentor. "But it isn't. Our flag might fly
for a year, and never be seen."
His words seemed to strike coldness to every heart. Tom, who was
looking at the wreck of the airship, suddenly uttered an
exclamation. He sprang to his reet
"What is it?" demanded Mr. Fenwick. "Does your sore leg hurt you?"
"No, but I have just thought of a plan!" fairly shouted the young
inventor. "I have it! Wait and see if I can work it!"
"Work what?" cried Mr. Damon.
Tom did not get a chance to answer, for, at that moment, there
sounded, at the far end of the island, whence the yacht castaways
had come, a terrific crash. It was accompanied, rather than
followed, by a shaking, trembling and swaying of the ground.
"Another earthquake!" screamed Mrs. Nestor, rushing toward her
husband. The castaways gazed at each other affrighted.
Suddenly, before their eyes, they saw the extreme end of that part
of the island on which they were camping, slip off, and beneath the
foaming waves of the sea, while the echoes of the mighty crash came
to their ears!
MR. JENKS HAS DIAMONDS
Stunned, and well-nigh paralyzed by the suddenness of the awful
crash, and the recurrence of the earthquake, the castaways gazed
spell-bound at one another.
Succeeding the disappearance of the end of the island there arose a
great wave in the ocean, caused by the immersion of such a quantity
of rock and dirt.
"Look out!" yelled Tom, "there may be a flood here!"
They realized his meaning, and hastened up the beach, out of reach
of the water if it should come. And it did. At first the ocean
retreated, as though the tide was going out, then, with a rush and
roar, the waves came leaping back, and, had the castaways remained
where they had been standing they would have been swept cut to sea.
As it was the flood reached part of the wreck of the airship, that
lay on the beach, and washed away some of the broken planks. But,
after the first rush of water, the sea grew less troubled, and there
was no more danger from that source.
True, the whole island was rumbling and trembling in the throes of
an earthquake, but, by this time, the refugees had become somewhat
used to this, and only the two ladies exhibited any outward signs of
great alarm, though Mr. Barcoe Jenks, Tom observed, was nervously
fingering the belt which he wore about his waist.
"I guess the worst is over," spoke Mr. Fenwick, as they stood
looking toward where part of the island had vanished. "The shock
expended itself on tearing that mass of rock and earth away."
"Let us hope so," added Mr. Hosbrook, solemnly. "Oh, if we could
only get away from this terrible place! We must hoist a signal of
distress, even if we are out of the track of regular vessels. Some
ship, blown out of her course may see it. Captain Mentor, I wish you
and Mr. Fordam would attend to that."
"I will, sir," answered the commander of the ill-fated RESOLUTE.
"The signal shall be hoisted at once. Come on, Mr. Fordam," he
added, turning to the first mate.
"If you don't mind," interrupted Tom, "I wish you would first help
me to get what remains of the airship up out of reach of any more
possible high waves. That one nearly covered it, and if there are
other big rollers, the wreck may be washed out to sea."
"I can't see that any great harm would result from that," put in Mr.
Jenks. "There isn't anything about the wreck that we could use to
make a boat or raft from." Indeed, there was little left of the
airship, save the mass of machinery.
"Well, it may come in handy before we leave here," said Tom, and
there was a quiet determined air about him, that caused Mr. Damon to
look at him curiously. The odd gentleman started to utter one of his
numerous blessings, and to ask Tom a question, but he thought better
of it. By this time the earthquake had ceased, and the castaways
Tom started toward the airship wreck, and began pulling off some
broken boards to get at the electrical machinery.
"I guess you had better give Mr. Swift a hand, Captain Mentor,"
spoke the millionaire yacht owner. "I don't know what good the wreck
can be, but we owe considerable to Mr. Swift and his friends, and
the least we can do is to aid them in anything they ask. So,
Captain, if you don't mind, you and the mate bear a hand. In fact,
we'll all help, and move the wreck so far up that there will be no
danger, even from tidal waves."
Tom looked pleased at this order, and soon he and all the men in the
little party were busy taking out the electrical apparatus, and
moving it farther inland.
"What are you going to do with it, Tom?" asked Mr. Damon, in a low
voice, as he assisted the young inventor to carry a small dynamo,
that was used for operating the incandescent lights.
"I hardly know myself. I have a half-formed plan in my mind. I may
be able to carry it out, and I may not. I don't want to say anything
until I look over the machinery, and see if all the parts which I
need are here. Please say nothing about it."