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Tom Swift in the Caves of Ice
The Wreck of the Airship
by VICTOR APPLETON
I ERADICATE IN AN AIRSHIP II ANDY FOGER'S TRIPLANE III ABE IS DECEIVED IV TOM GETS THE MAP V GRAVE SUSPICIONS VI ANDY'S AIRSHIP FLIES VII READY FOR THE TRIP VIII A THIEF IN THE NIGHT IX A VANDAL'S ACT X TOM IS HELD UP XI OFF FOR THE FROZEN NORTH XII PELTED BY HAILSTONES XIII A FRIGHTENED INDIAN XIV THE RIVAL AIRSHIP XV THE RACE XVI THE FALL OF THE ANTHONY XVII HITTING THE ICE MOUNTAIN XVIII A FIGHT WITH MUSK OXEN XIX THE CAVES OF ICE XX IN THE GOLD VALLEY XXI THE FOGERS ARRIVE XXII JUMPING THE CLAIM XXIII ATTACKED BY NATIVES XXIV TEE WRECK OF THE AIRSHIP XXV THE RESCUE-CONCLUSION
ERADICATE IN AN AIRSHIP
"Well, Massa Tom, am yo' gwine out in yo' flyin' machine ag'in to- day?"
"Yes, Rad, I think I will take a little flight. Perhaps I'll go over to Waterford, and call on Mr. Damon. I haven't seen very much of him, since we got back from our hunt after the diamond-makers."
"Take a run clear ober t' Waterfield; eh, Massa Tom?"
"Yes, Rad. Now, if you'll help me, I'll get out the Butterfly, and see what trim she's in for a speedy flight."
Tom Swift, the young inventor, aided by Eradicate Sampson, the colored helper of the Swift household, walked over toward a small shed.
A few minutes later the two had rolled into view, on its three bicycle wheels, a trim little monoplane--one of the speediest craft of the air that had ever skimmed along beneath the clouds. It was built to carry two, and had a very powerful motor.
"I guess it will work all right," remarked the young inventor, for Torn Swift had not only built this monoplane himself, but was the originator of it, and the craft contained many new features.
"It sho' do look all right, Massa Tom."
"Look here, Rad," spoke the lad, as a sudden idea came to him, "you've never ridden in an airship, have you?"
"No, Massa Tom, an' I ain't gwine to nuther!"
"Why not? 'Case as how it ain't healthy; that's why!"
"But I go in them frequently, Eradicate. So does my father. You've seen us fly often enough, to know that it's safe. Why, look at the number of times Mr. Damon and I have gone off on trips in this little Butterfly. Didn't we always come back safely?"
"Yes, dat's true, but dere might come a time when yo' WOULDN'T come back, an' den where'd Eradicate Sampson be? I axes yo' dat--whar'd I be, Massa Tom?"
"Why, you wouldn't be anywhere if you didn't go, of course," and Tom laughed. "But I'd like to take you for a little spin in this machine, Rad. I want you to get used to them. Sometime I may need you to help me. Come, now. Suppose you get up on this seat here, and I promise not to go too high until you get used to it. Come on, it will do you good, and think of what all your friends will say when they see you riding in an airship."
"Dat's right, Massa Tom. Dey suah will be monstrous envious ob Eradicate Sampson, dat's what dey will."
It was clear that the colored man was being pursuaded somewhat against his will. Though he had been engaged by Tom Swift and his father off and on for several years, Eradicate had never shown any desire to take a trip through the air in one of the several craft Tom owned for this purpose. Nor had he ever evinced a longing for a trip under the ocean in a submarine, and as for riding in Tom's speedy electric car--Eradicate would as soon have sat down with thirteen at the table, or looked at the moon over the wrong shoulder.
But now, somehow, there was a peculiar temptation to take his young employer at his word. Eradicate had seen, many times, the youthful inventor and his friends make trips in the monoplane, as well as in the big biplane and dirigible balloon combined--the RED CLOUD. Tom and the others had always come back safely, though often they met with accidents which only the skill and daring of the daring aeronaut had brought to a safe conclusion.
"Well, are you coming, Rad?" asked Tom, as he looked to see if the oil and gasoline tanks were filled, and gave a preliminary twirl to the propeller.
"Now does yo' t'ink it am puffickly safe, Massa Tom?" and the colored man looked nervously at the machine.
"Of course, Rad. Otherwise I wouldn't invite you. But I won't take you far. I just want you to get used to it, and, once you have made a flight, you'll want to make another."
"I don't nohow believe I will, Massa Tom, but as long as you have axed me, an' as yo' say some of dem proud, stuck-up darkies in Shopton will be tooken down a peg or two when de sees me, vhy, I will go wif yo', Massa Tom."
"I thought you would. Now take your place in the little seat next to where I'm going to sit. All start the engine and jump in. Now sit perfectly still, and, whatever you do, don't jump out. The ground's pretty hard this morning. There was a frost last night."
"I knows dere was, Massa Tom. Nope, I won't jump. I-I-Oh, golly, Massa Tom! I guess I don't want to go-let me out!"
Eradicate, his heart growing fainter as the time of starting drew nearer, made as if he would leave the monoplane, in which he had taken his seat.
"Sit still!" yelled Tom. At that instant he started the propeller. The motor roared like a salvo of guns, and streaks of fire could be seen shooting from one cylinder to the other, until there was a perfect blast of explosions.
The speed of the propeller increased as the motor warmed up. Tom ran to his seat and opened the gasoline throttle still more, advancing the spark slightly. The roar increased. The lad darted a look at Eradicate. The colored man's face was like chalk, and he was gripping the upright braces at his side as though his salvation depended on them.
"Steady now" spoke Tom, yelling to be heard above the racket. "Here we go."
The Butter-fly was moving slowly across the level stretch of ground which Tom used for starting his airships. The propeller was now a blur of light. The explosions of the motor became a steady roar, the noise from one cylinder being merged into the blast from the others so rapidly that it was a continuous racket.
With a whizz the monoplane shot across the ground. Then, with a quick motion, Tom tilted the lifting planes, and, as gracefully as a bird, the little machine mounted upward on a slant until, coming to a level about two hundred feet above the earth, Tom sent it straight ahead over the roof of his house.
"How's this, Rad?" he cried. "Isn't it great?"
"It--it--er--bur-r-r-r! It's--it's mighty ticklish, Massa Tom-dat's de word--it suah am mighty ticklish!"
Tom Swift laughed and increased the speed. The Butterfly darted forward like some hummingbird about to launch itself upon a flower, and, indeed, the revolutions of the propeller were not unlike the vibrations of the wings of that marvelous little creature.
"Now for some corkscrew twists!" cried the young inventor. "Here we go, Rad!"
With that he began a series of intricate evolutions, making figures of eight, spirals, curves, sudden dips and long swings. It was masterwork in handling a monoplane, but Eradicate
Sampson, as he sat crouched in the seat, gripping the uprights until his hands ached, was in no condition to appreciate it. Gradually, however, as he saw that the craft remained up in the air, and showed no signs of falling, the fears of the colored man left him. He sat up straighter.
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