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- Dave Dashaway and his Hydroplane - 1/31 -
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DAVE DASHAWAY AND HIS HYDROPLANE
Or Daring Adventures Over The Great Lakes
By Roy Rockwood
THE YOUNG AVIATOR
"I'll take it."
The messenger boy who had just entered the hangar of the great prize monoplane of the aero meet at Columbus, stared wonderingly about him while the man in charge of the place receipted for the telegram.
The lad had never been in so queer a place before. He was a lively, active city boy, but the closest he had ever seen an airship was a distance away and five hundred feet up in the air. Now, with big wonder eyes he stared at the strange appearing machine. His fingers moved restlessly, like a street-urchin surveying an automobile and longing to blow its horn.
The man in charge of the place attracted his attention, too. He had only one arm and limped when he walked. His face was scarred and he looked like a war veteran. The only battles this old warrior had been in, however, were fights with the elements. He was a famous "wind wagon" man who had sustained a terrible fall in an endurance race. It had crippled him for life. Now he followed the various professional meets for a living, and also ran an aviation school for amateurs. His name was John Grimshaw.
The messenger boy took a last look about the place and left. The old man put on a cap, went to the door and rather gruesomely faced the elements.
"A cold drizzling rain and gusty weather generally," he said to himself in a grumbling tone. "I'll face it any time for Dashaway, though. The telegram may be important."
The big aero field looked lonely and gloomy as the man crossed it. Lights showed here and there in the various buildings scattered about the enclosure. The ground was wet and soft. The rain came in chilling dashes. Old Grimshaw breasted the storm, and after half a mile's walk came to a hangar a good deal like the one he had left. There was a light inside.
"Hello, there!" he sang out in his big foghorn voice, thrusting the door open with his foot and getting under the shelter, and shaking the rain from his head and shoulders.
Two boys were the occupants of the place. They had a lamp on the table, upon which was outspread pictures and plans of airships. The older of the two got up from his chair with a pleasant smiling face.
"Why, it's Mr. Grimshaw!" he exclaimed.
"That's who it is," joined in the other boy cheerily. "Say, you're welcome, too. We were looking over some sketches of new machines, and you can tell us lots about them, you know."
"Got to get back to my own quarters," declared Grimshaw. "Some other time about those pictures. Boy brought a telegram to Mr. King's hangar. It's for you, Dashaway."
"For me?" inquired the lad who had first addressed the visitor.
"Yes. Here it is. Mr. King's away, but if you need me for anything let me know."
"I'm always needing you," replied Dave Dashaway. "I don't know what we'd do without you."
The young aviator--for such he was in fact and reality--took the proffered envelope. He tore open its end and read the enclosure rapidly.
"Why," he said, "this is strange."
"Any answer? Need me?" asked Grimshaw, moving towards the door.
"No, thank you," replied Dave in a vague, bothered way that made his companion and chum, Hiram Dobbs, study his face with some perplexity.
"I'd better get back home, then," said the old man. "Fine weather for hydroplanes this, eh?"
Both Dave and Hiram proceeded to the door with the grim old fellow who had so kindly taught them all they knew about aeronautics. When their visitor had departed, Dave went back to the table. He sat down and perused the telegram once more. Then he sat looking fixedly at it, as if he was studying some hard problem. Hiram stood it as long as he could. Then he burst out impetuously:
"What is it, Dave?"
"I'm trying to find out," was the abstracted reply.
"Who is it from?"
"The Interstate Aeroplane Co."
That name meant a good deal to Hiram Dobbs, and a great deal more to Dave Dashaway. It marked the starting point in the aviation career of the latter, and that in its turn had meant a first step up the ladder for his faithful comrade, Hiram.
In the first volume of this series, entitled:
"Dave Dashaway, the Young Aviator; Or, In the Clouds for Fame and Fortune," the career of Dave Dashaway has been told. The father of the young airman had been a noted balloonist, and when he died a mean old skinflint named Silas Warner had been appointed Dave's guardian. Warner had acted the tyrant and hard taskmaster for the youth. A natural love for aeronautics had been born in Dave. He had made an airship model which his guardian had maliciously destroyed. Warner had also appropriated a package dropped accidentally by a famous aviator, named Robert King, from a monoplane.
Dave had found this package, containing money, a watch and a medal greatly prized by Mr. King. Dave resolved that this property should be restored to the airman. He got hold of the lost articles, which his guardian had secreted, and ran away from home.
After various adventures, during which he was robbed of the airman's property, Dave managed to reach the aero meet at Fairfield. He found Robert King and described to him the boy thief. The airman took a fancy to Dave from the nerve and ability he showed in experimenting with a parachute garment, and hired him.
About the same time Hiram Dobbs came along, ambitious to change his farm life for an aviation career, and secured work helping about the grounds. Mr. King sent Dave to Grimshaw for training. The Interstate Aeroplane Co. wanted to exhibit its Baby Racer, a novel biplane. Dave made a successful demonstration, and won the admiration and good will of the company.
In a few weeks time Dave scored a big success and won several trophies. His final exploit was taking the place of an aviator who had fainted away in his monoplane, and winning the race for Mr. King's machine. Dave was now the proud possessor of a pilot's license, and had fairly entered the professional field.
The thief who had stolen Mr. King's property from Dave, a graceless youth named Gregg, was found, and the property recovered. He had also got hold of some papers that belonged to Dave's father. Gregg through these had obtained a trace of a Mr. Dale, a great friend of the dead balloonist. He had made Mr. Dale believe he was the real Dave Dashaway, until he was unmasked.
Another bad boy Dave had run across was named Jerry Dawson. From the start in his career as an airman this youth had been an enemy. Dave had succeeded him in the employ of Mr. King, Jerry having been discharged in disgrace. Jerry tried to "get even," as he called it, by trying to wreck Mr. King's monoplane, the Aegis. He also betrayed Dave's whereabouts to his guardian. Because Dave was right and Jerry wrong, there plots rebounded on the schemer and did Dave no harm.
Jerry and his father were exposed. They still followed the various meets, however, just as Mr. King and Dave and Hiram did, but they were shunned by all reputable airmen.
After leaving the aero meet at Dayton the proud possessor of a trophy as winner of a one hundred mile dash, Dave now found himself and his friends on the aero, grounds at Columbus. This was a summer resort located on Lake Michigan. A two weeks' programme had been arranged, in which Dave was to give exhibitions for his employers of their new model hydroplane.
Hiram was practicing for a flight in the Baby Racer. The two friends that rainy summer evening were interested in plans for the coming meet and aviation business generally. The arrival of the telegram once more introduces the reader to Dave Dashaway, now popularly known as the young aviator.
The telegram which Grimshaw had brought to Dave was dated at the headquarters of the Interstate Aeroplane Co., some three hundred miles distant. It was addressed to Dave in care of Mr. King, and it was signed by the manager of the company. It read as follows:
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