NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES
h 3 3433 08230317 7
IN TEN DAY^
GHELilA CURTIS FRASER
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in 2007 with funding from
PAUL NEVER HAD REALIZED HOW SMOOTH THAT
ROUNDED BODY OF THE MACHINE WAS
AROUND THE WORLD
IN TEN DAYS
CHELSEA CURTIS ERASER
Author of "Work-a-Day Heroes," "Secrets of the Earth,
"Boys' Book of Battles," "Boys' Book of Sea Fights,"
"The Young Citizens Own Book," etc.
ILLUSTRATED IN COLOR
By HOWARD L. HASTINGS
THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY
^' ll'^ i\
Copyright 1922, by
THOMAS Y. CROWELL COMPANY
Printed i^i ilie United Siates of America
THOSE who pick up this book for the
first time will probably exclaim: "Ten
days ! Why, nobody can go around the
world in ten days!"
That is just the sentiment which people ex-
pressed away back in the year 1873, when Jules
Verne sent his mythical hero, Phileas Fogg,
around the world in eighty days. Eighty days!
Everybody said that might do for a story-book,
but no real flesh-and-blood man could ever hope
to circumnavigate the earth in any such ridicu-
lously short period.
Judge, then, of everybody's astonishment
when a mere woman, Nellie Ely, hustled around
the globe herself, in 1892, in seventy-two days!
How people opened their eyes ! But they opened
them still wider in 1911, when Andre Jager-
Schmidt, traveling for a Paris newspaper, made
the loop in a few hours less than forty days ! And
they actually stared in 1913, when John Henry
Mears, under the aus^Dices of the New York
Evening Sun, did the trick in thirty-five days,
twenty-one hours, and thirty-five minutes!
All of which goes to show, once more, that
truth is stranger than fiction ; that the seemingly
impossible of the fiction of to-day becomes out-
done by the fact of to-morrow.
In each case the globe-trotter adopted a route
as close to the equatorial belt of the earth as
the traveling facilities of his time would permit.
But this course was far from a correct one in
theory, every contestant for honors traveling
more or less to the northward of the equator,
sometimes as far as forty degrees. Thus the
round-the-world routes of the past have been
theoretically unfair, because the bulwarks of na-
ture along the equatorial line could not be over-
come by the inventive skill of man in the matter
of fast conveyances. Since there was no estab-
lished path of travel, as with the modern race-
track, "corners" could be cut at will by the con-
testants, and nothing Avas said about it. But
now, with the advent of that radical conveyance
of the present period— the wonderful shi]3 which
flies through the air — not only will it be possible
to lay out around the world a course approxi-
mately correct with its equatorial line, but we
may exx^ect all time records of the past to be
So now, in the cycle of things, we are relying
again u]3on fiction in the shape of this volume, to
set up a new guide-i)ost of days in which it will
take mythical heroes, using the fastest mode of
travel of the time, to make a circle around the
world — this time almost squarely around the old
fellow's belt. Ten days ! That is the time it takes
our four young friends, using a type of airplane
of their own manufacture, but embodying no
important feature not within the scope of me-
That such a feat as theirs is within the realm
of possibility — if not of j)robability — is evidenced
by a newspaper story which was circulated while
this book was in press, to the effect that two
Australian fliers proposed to circle the globe in
240 flying hours, or just ten days. They did
not, however, plan to fly continuously, as did our
heroes; and their projected tri^D was not carried
out owing to the death of one of the aviators.
So, hail to the fliers of to-day and to-morrow !
May they steer their aerial barks straight around
the world at its broadest belt, and emulate, if not
actually realize, our mythical flight of ten days !
C. C. F.
May 1, 1922
I Paul and Bob 1
II The Brothers' Invention .... 10
III The Successful Model 18
rV Planning a Big Airplane . . . .31
V An Air Race Finish and a Challenge . 43
VI The Missing Blue-prints . . . .54
VII Who's at the Window? .... 63
VIII The Sky-bird II 71
IX The Test Flight 81
X Final Preparations ..... 93
XI Off for Panama 103
XII Fighting a Devil-fish . . . . .114
XIII The Strange Airplane 127
XIV A Famill^r Face 137
XV The Start 146
XVI Tricked by Rivals 159
XVII Across the Atlantic 171
XVIII An Irritating Delay 179
XIX Saved by the Searchlight .... 189
XX A Jungle Adventure 199
XXI The Double Loop 212
XXI Above the Clouds 220
XXIII Bombed by Rocks 228
XXIV Riding an Airplane's Tail . . .239
XXV Engulfed in a Volcano's Dust . . 247
XXVI In Australia 255
XXVII Paul Versus Pete 266
XXVIII A Mix-up in Dates 275
XXIX A Flying Rescue
XXX An Alarming Discovery . .
XXXI The Finish
Paul never had realized how smooth that rounded
body of the machine was (240) . . Frontispiece
The Sky-bird II ........ 71
Map of the Equatorial Route 97
One of its great, battle-like fins broke above the water 121
They shrank, cringing, back in their tracks . .197
Torrey's hands seized the bottom rung of the ladder . 291
Around the World in Ten Days
PAUL AND BOB
" TF^V ID you say this big Air Derby around
I 1 the world takes place this coming sum-
^-^ mer, Bob?"
"So dad told me at the breakfast table this
morning, Paul. The plans have just been com-
pleted. He said full details would be in to-day's
"And the afternoon edition is out now, for
there's a newsie just ahead of us who is calling
out the Daily Independent, That's your father's
"It will be in there sure pop, Paul."
"Then I'm going to get a copy right now."
The two youths, who but a few moments be-
fore had come out of the broad doors of the Clark
Polytechnic Institute along with a noisy throng
of other students, paused when they reached the
newsboy in question, and the taller of the pair
bought a newspaper which he shoved into an
inner pocket of his raincoat.
2 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"We'll look at this in the car on our way home;
a fellov/ can't do any reading in a storm like
this," said the purchaser. *'Let's hurry up a bit,
Bob; I'm so eager to see what it says about that
Derby that I can hardly wait to get to the sta-
tion. Say, just think of it — a race around the
world by air! Won't that be great?"
"I'll say so, Paul old boy! They ought to
smash all existing records. You know that a
man named Mears made the circuit in thirty-five
days about seven years ago, and he had to de-
pend on slow steam trains and steamships, aided
by a naphtha-launch."
"That's true. Bob. Now that we have planes
we ought to do a lot better. But the big oceans
are the trouble for aircraft. The Atlantic has
been crossed by Alcock and Brown in a Vimy-
Vickers biplane, and also by our NC-4 flying-
boat under the command of Lieutenant Read,
and by the big English dirigible R-34; but the
Pacific, with its greater breadth, has seemed so
impossible that it has never been attempted."
"Why should it seem impossible?"
"Because they can't carry sufficient gasoline to
cross the Pacific."
"But how about the islands?"
"The majority are not level enough to permit
a landing, and others are too widely scattered.
I have made quite a study of transoceanic flight
PAUL AND BOB 3
since Harry Hawker and his partner, Grieve,
made their unsuccessful attempt last spring to
cross the Atlantic in a Sop with machine, and for
my part I can't see how this proposed Derby
around the world can all be done by air, when no
machine has ever yet been able to hop the
*'Well, Paul, we'll soon be at the station out of
this storm, and then we can see what the paper
says about it," was the philosophical conclusion
of his companion.
With that they hurried on down the street,
bowing their heads to ward oif the sharp sleet
as much as possible, while they gripped their
school-books under their arms. They were a
splendid-looking pair of young Americans, prob-
ably about eighteen years old, and the manner in
which they swung along tlirough the disagree-
able drizzle, paying scant attention to it as they
laughed and talked, showed them to be full of
that boundless energy and gaiety of spirits which
only perfect health and participation in athletics
As Paul Ross and Robert Giddings approach-
ed the next corner, a young man with umbrella
held low in front of him hurried around it and
ran into a small Italian girl who was carrying
a basket of fruit. She was staggered by the
collision; her basket w^as knocked from her arm,
4 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
and the oranges began to roll in every direction.
The child broke into tears, but the cause of her
misfortune only paused long enough to say an-
grily, "Confound you, you careless little beggar I
Why don't you watch where you are going?"
and hurried on his way.
"Say, Paul, did you see the way that swarthy-
faced chap used that little girl?" cried Bob in-
"I certainly did," was the no less indignant
answer. "That lazy dog ought to be horse-
whipped. Let's help the child."
Both boys fell to work with a will, rescued the
escaj)ing oranges, and tucked them back in their
owner's basket. Then, with her grateful thanks
ringing in their ears, they hurried on once more.
After they had gone a few steps, Paul Ross
"Bob, I've seen that fellow before. That was
Pete Deveaux. He used to be an Air Mail pilot
on the same run as my brother John, but was
discharged for drunkenness. Since that he has
blamed John, and has written him several threat-
ening letters, but is too cowardly to face him."
By this time they had reached the West 137th
Street station of the suburban railroad which
runs between the metropolis and various shore
towns along the picturesque Hudson. They
were just in time to catch a train, and found a
PAUL AND BOB 5
comfortable seat in a rear coach. Then Paul
brought forth the newspaper he had purchased.
What they sought was found on the very first
page, prominently displayed under a black-faced
*'Read it aloud, Paul," suggested Bob, and his
friend proceeded to do so. The article was to
the effect that the Aero Club of America, in con-
junction with eminent aviation associations of
the kind in Europe and Asia, had planned to
stimulate interest in flying by holding an air-
craft race around the world, which would start
on the morning of July 4th. All contestants
must be at least twenty-one years of age, and
furnish an entrance fee of two hundred dollars.
They might use any type of aircraft they chose,
and could carry as many assistants as they
wished, even utilizing trains or steamships, if not
less than three-fourths of their journey were
made by air; and they must stop at least once
in each of four continents, and cross the Atlantic
and Pacific oceans. Aside from these provisions,
the selection of route was left entirely to each
contestant. Then followed an imposing list of
names of well-known flyers who, it was said, had
signified their intention of competing. The
article wound up with the statement that prizes
aggregating a million dollars would be offered
6 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"One million dollars!" exclaimed Bob Gid-
dings. "Paul, old man, you'd better go in for
Paul Ross's eyes sparkled, but the next mo-
ment he laughed and shook his head. "I surely
would like to," said he, "but there are just three
little things in the way of it."
"I suppose you need a machine for one
"Yes — and you must admit that's a good-
sized item. Second, I need two hundred dollars
to enter — something I don't happen to have, and
something I know mother can't spare in such a
hazard. Third, I need three years added to my
age in order to be eligible."
"It does look rather hopeless for you, that's
a fact," admitted Bob. "That second handicap
might be overcome with my father's help, but the
other two are real obstacles."
"It's mighty nice of you and your father, Bob,
to wish to help me out in this fashion," said
Paul; "but, as you state, the other drawbacks
cannot be swept aside so easily. Perhaps later
on, another 'round the world Air Derby will be
pulled off, and I shall have a chance to enter it."
"Well, if you do, don't forget to count me in
as an assistant," declared his friend. "Nothing
would please me better than to make a trip like
that with you, Paul."
PAUL AND BOB 7
"You certainly shall be welcome if the time
ever comes. By the way, Bob, John and I have
designed a new type of monoplane in our spare
time, and for the past two months I have been
busy making a three-foot model of this. I hope
to finish it in a day or two, and I want you to
go with me over to the old fair-grounds next
Saturday afternoon and give it a test flight, if
Bob Giddings was all interest at once, and
plied his friend with many questions concerning
his new model, many others of which he had in
times past helped Paul fly with the keenest de-
light. The truth is, Paul Ross and his brother
John, the latter a pilot in the government Air
Mail service, were laiown all over the State of
New York as makers of the best-flying model
airplanes to be found anywhere. Ever since
they were smaU boys in grammar school, the
brothers had been constructing miniature mono-
planes, biplanes, and seaplanes, which they had
pitted against the best product of other lads in
the neighborhood and surrounding towns, with-
out once meeting defeat. Many of these speci-
mens of youthful ingenuity they still preserved,
suspended in bedroom and attic, where they
were a never-ending source of interest to visitors
at the Ross homestead in the outskirts of Yon-
8 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
The war had called John into the aviation
service of his country, but Paul had still con-
tinued his experiments in making tiny airplanes,
getting his friend Robert Giddings, who lived in
a fine house on Shadynook Hill, to assist him in
the flying. Thrown together by their mutual love
for mechanics, and being in the same classes all
through high-school, Paul and Bob had formed
a strong attachment for each other, although the
latter's home was far more pretentious than the
former's, since Paul's mother was a widow in
only moderately comfortable circumstances, while
Bob's father was the editor and owner of the
Daily Independent^ one of the leading evening
newspapers of New York City.
When John returned from the war it was with
an incurable passion for flying, and within a few
months he had re-entered the service of his coun-
try in the peaceful but dangerous work of carry-
ing Uncle Sam's mails between Washington and
New York in a big Martin bomber. He found
that his younger brother's love for aviation had
also developed, as well as his skill in constructing
and flying model airplanes. Some of these re-
cent ones were so novel in design and of such
wonderfully ingenious workmanship, that John,
who had won unusual honors as an aviator on the
French front, was quite thunderstruck, and de-
termined to encourage Paul's talents in this line
PAUL AND BOB 9
in every way he could. Therefore, when the
boy graduated from the Yonkers high school,
and expressed a wish to take up a special course
in aeronautical engineering at Clark Polytechnic
Institute, John backed him up, and the mother,
who would have preferred a less hazardous pro-
fession for her younger son, sighingly consented.
Paul's chum, Robert Giddings, had also gone
to Clark Polytechnic upon leaving high school,
his ambition being to become an electrical en-
gineer. Thus both boys continued to be thrown
in daily contact. It was their habit to go into
the city to school each morning in the sedan
with Mr. Giddings; but as he left the city late
in the afternoon they usually took the train
As the friends now parted, Bob Giddings' last
words were: "Don't forget to get that new
model airplane done by Saturday, Paul. I'm
crazy to see it."
"I'll be ready for you," was Paul's assurance;
"but remember to keep this under your hat.
It's to be a secret test, you know."
"Trust me," said Bob.
THE BEOTHEES' INTENTION
WHEN Paul Ross reached home that
afternoon, it was to find someone there
whom he had not expected to see. A
tall, broad-shouldered young man, with a
bronzed face and pleasant blue eyes, sat in the
living-room, talking to his mother.
Paul rushed forward and joyfully grasped his
brown hand. ''Why, John!" he exclaimed, "I
didn't expect to find you here!"
"Of course you didn't. Buddy," was the smil-
ing response of the young man, who was wont to
call his younger brother by this affectionate war-
mate term. *'The fact is, as I was just telling
mother, two days ago I didn't know myself that
I would be anywhere at this hour except speed-
ing tlirough the air between New York and
Washington on my usual mail run in my trusty
old Martin-bird. As it is. Buddy, it looks now
as if neither you nor I would ever handle her
controls again." There was a note of sadness
in John's voice as he said this.
THE BROTHERS* ESTVENTION 11
"Why, what's the matter, John?" asked Paul
"It's this way, lad: You know I told you and
mother a couple of weeks ago, when I was here
on my last regular lay-over, that Congress was
talking about cutting a big slice out of the Air
Mail appropriation, in order to reduce expenses.
Well, the upshot of it all is, they made the cut,
and not having enough money to carry on the
service as it has been, the head of the Air Mail
has ordered the abandonment of all flying divi-
sions except the main line between New York
and San Francisco. Only those pilots will be
kept. So that's why I am here."
"Won't they take you on again soon, John?"
asked Mrs. Ross.
"I fear not, mother," rephed her elder son,
shaking his head soberly. "Our field-superin-
tendent did say that he would give me the first
opening in the transcontinental line, since my
records lead the bunch, and he even offered to
displace one of the boys on that route and put
me in his place, but — "
"But you refused," interrupted Paul, with
conclusive pride in his big brother.
John grinned. "Well, put it that way if you
like. Buddy," said he; "anyhow, as I said before,
here I am. Some chap may quit or 'go West' —
you know a round dozen of the poor chaps have
12 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
been killed in the last year — and that may let
me back in again. But I won't wait for it; I'll
get after some of the commercial flying com-
panies next week and see if I can't land a berth
with them. I simply can't think of working on
the ground. I guess I should have been born
a bird, mother, instead of a human being, I love
flying so much."
"I really believe you would be safer if you
were a bird, John," asserted Mrs. Ross, with an
uneasy smile. "Birds have no motors to fail
them, no fire to ignite and burn them up, as our
present airplanes. How many of your own
unfortunate associates can lay their untimely
deaths to either one of these causes I It was only
the last time you were here that you were telling
Paul and me about the terrible fall Howard
Smith had because his motor stopped, and how
his machine ignited, and how he was burned past
"I know," said the veteran airma,n; "those
things will happen at times, mother, even with
the most careful fellows. The time will come,
I think, and very soon, when stalled motors can
be restarted in the air, and when accidentally ig-
nited fuel will burn itself out with no harm to
either the machine or its occupants. The fact
is, Paul and I have some ideas now as to how
to overcome those very troubles, along with other
THE BROTHERS' INVENTION 13
improvements, and the first chance we get we are
going to build an airplane along these lines and
put it to the test, aren't we, Buddy?"
"We surely are," was Paul's enthusiastic re-
sponse. "One of these fine days, mother, when
we get our patents and sell them, you shall live
in as fine a home as the Giddings's over on
Shadynook Hill, and when you wish to go into
the city to do any shopping, John or I will take
you in a beautiful sedan airplane which will be
safer than an automobile, and which will be
guaranteed not to raise a dust or wear out tires."
Mrs. Ross laughed heartily at the glowing pic-
ture her second son had drawn, more because he
spoke with such seriousness, and because John
too wore a matter-of-fact look during the pro-
"Oh, I have some great dreamers here in this
little family," she said, as she arose to resume
her household duties. "We will hope that some
of your dreams come true."
Her sons laughed good-naturedly; then Paul
turned to his brother. "Come on down in the
basement, John," he said; "I wish to show you
our latest miniature model, the Sky-Bird. An-
other day's work ought to finish it."
John followed him downstairs. In one corner
of the large basement was a good-sized work-
bench, lighted by two windows, and equipped
14 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
with several neatly-arranged shelves, which now
held a divers collection of chisels, bits, counter-
sinks, etc. In a splendid oak cabinet attached
to the wall above was a more extensive array of
wood- and metal-working tools, some of which
the brothers had bought with money earned at
odd jobs when they were still small boys. Since,
they had added to their set from time to time,
as they needed this tool or that, until now few
professional mechanics could boast of a finer as-
Suspended from a hook directly over the
bench was a beautiful six-foot model of a racy-
looking monoplane of peculiar and striking de-
sign. It was glistening in several coats of spar-
varnish, and so light and delicate was its spidery
frame that, as John reached out to take it in his
hand, the exhalation of his breath set it swaying
away from him.
*'My word, it's a light boy all right!" ex-
claimed John admiringly, as he carefully took
hold of the pretty thing. "That's just the fea-
ture we've tried to get, too. Buddy, — lightness."
He looked closely at the long, graceful pair of
wings, which were of an unusual thickness and a
slight upward thrust like those of a bird, and
which widened batlike as they ran back and
joined the rear fuselage or body of the craft.
"Have you put the hehum-gas in these wings
THE BROTHERS' INVENTION 15
jret, Paul, as we planned? I see you have in-
stalled the valves. There's a valve in the after-
"The wings and fuselage are both filled," said
Paul; "that is what makes the Sky-Bird so light.
If you had brought more helium the last time
you were here, I could have pumped in twice the
quantity, I think, and that would have made her
so light she would rise of her own accord, I
really believe. As it is, she now weighs less than
a half -ounce. I had the scales on her yester-
John shared his brother's enthusiasm. "Fine I"
he cried, with sparkhng eyes. "Why, that's al-
most a neutral condition, as she is! Buddy, if
we can apply this principle to a full-size machine
— and I don't know why we can't — ^we shall have
solved the biggest problem facing airplane de-
signers to-day. With a machine weighing only
a trifle more than her load of fuel and baggage,
she will not only fly a lot faster but go a lot
farther, with a given supply of fuel, than the
present-day planes. And what is more, she could
attain good speed with a single engine of reason-
able power, where now many machines are handi-
capped with the burdensome weight of an extra
power-plant. When will she be ready to test
**I had planned to give Eer a trial in the old
16 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
fair-grounds Saturday afternoon," said Paul.
"IVe asked Bob Giddings to go along."
"That's all right; Bob is a fine lad," said
John; "but since you have set the trial for Satur-
day afternoon, and Bob's father is usually at
home at that time, why don't you ask him to
view the affair also? I'm sure he would enjoy
it. He's a great sportsman, you know, like
most newspaper men, and considerably interested
"I had not thought of it; I'll do it," was the
prompt response of Paul. "But we must warn
him to silence, John. Whatever happens, we
don't wish this to get into the Daily Indepen-
"I'd say not," rejoined the former Air Mail
pilot sententiously. "Mum's the word; we've
got something here. Buddy. Unless I'm greatly
mistaken we'll be consulting with the Patent Of-
fice at Washington much sooner than little
mother anticipates." He poked Paul in the ribs
as he spoke, and both young men gave vent to a
low chuckle of intense satisfaction. It was an
even greater pleasure to look forward to surpris-
ing their mother than to astonishing the world
and winning its plaudits.
As good an airplane mechanic and flyer as
John Ross was, his younger brother was little
behind him in the matter of skill in handling a
THE BROTHERS' INVENTION 17
modern machine. It had been John's habit to
return to Yonkers every two weeks for a week's
lay-off, as customary with other pilots in the Air
Mail service. On these occasions he had arrived
in his plane, and during the term of his stay had
often taken Paul up into the air for pleasure
flights, as well as his chum Bob Giddings. Both
boys were keen students, and it was not long
before John could trust them to operate his big
Martin with every confidence. Once, indeed, he
and Paul had been caught over Long Island
Sound in a bad storm, when the latter was in the
pilot's seat, but Paul had brought the craft
through like a veteran, winning his brother's un-
stinted praise and undying respect.
A SUCCESSFUL MODEL
MR. GIDDINGS was glad to accept the
invitation to the trial flight. He and
his son met the Ross boys at the old
race-course Saturday afternoon. This immense,
level field, with its one-mile oval and great empty
sheds, at one time had been the county's boasted
fair-grounds, but two years prior to the opening
of our story it had been sold to Mr. Giddings,
whose residence property stretched down the
side of Shadynook Hill and joined it. New fair-
grounds had then been established in another and
more centrally located section of the district.
In the old grounds the boys of the neighborhood
now went to fly their kites and model airplanes,
to hold impromptu bicycle and foot races, and to
play tag and hide-and-go-seek in the cavernous
sheds and around the numerous sagging stables.
It was late in the afternoon — ^just before dusk,
when the winds would be at their quietest, and
others not likely to be present — that our friends
arrived at the field. There was not a soul to be
seen. Paul, who had carried his precious Sky-
Bird, freed it from the wrapper and held it up
A SUCCESSFUL MODEL 19
for Mr. Giddings to see. The night before he
and John had put the finishing touches to the
dehcate structure by adding another coat of var-
nish and attaching the httle rubber-tired alumi-
num wheels to the axle.
As Paul now held it up before the admiring
gaze of the great newspaper man, Mr. Giddings
made no effort to restrain his admiration. "What
a little beauty!" he cried. "Why, it's almost a
perfect mechanical representation of a bird !"
"Isn't she a dandy, dad?" put in Bob, his eyes
"The Sky-Bird is really more of a bird than
you may think, Mr. Giddings," declared Paul.
"Yes," added his brother John. "As you
probably know, sir, a bird gets its great buoy-
ancy from the fact that every bone in its body
is hollow ; in flight it fills these bones with a very
light gas, which is formed by an action of its
lungs in drawing in air. We have adapted this
principle in the wings and fuselage of this little
machine. They are airtight and filled with com-
pressed helium-gas, which is non-inflammable
and nearly as light as its highly volatile rival,
"Hydrogen-gas is surely a dangerous com-
modity around fire," said Mr. Giddings. "I
understand that when the big English dirigible
11-34 came across the Atlantic last summer she
20 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
was filled with hydrogen, and that her comman-
der and crew all wore felt-soled shoes, so that
they would not by any chance cause a spark
when they walked over her metal floors and lad-
ders just beneath her great bag."
"That is true," vouched Jolm Ross. "One
little spark reaching any of that stored hydrogen
would have torn that great dirigible into frag-
ments in one gigantic blast."
"We have handled recent newspaper copy
containing mention of this new gas, helium; but
I must confess I am in the dark regarding its
nature and source," said Mr. Giddings. "What
is it, anyway?"
"I will refer your question to Paul here," re-
plied John. "He is the one who worked out this
idea of using helium in an airplane and giving
it the best properties of a dirigible without any
of the dirigible's handicap of clumsiness and ex-
cessive wind resistance. He has been studying
the properties of helium in school, also the
flight of birds."
"Well, not to get into a tiresome discourse,
as Professor Herron would say, I shall make
this description very rudimentary," said Paul,
with a smile. "During a total eclipse of the sun
in India in 1868, Lockyer, a British astronomer,
saw in the spectroscope a bright, yellow line of
light around the sun. He called it helium.
A SUCCESSFUL MODEL 21
after the Greek word for sun. So much for
him. Twenty-seven years later an element was
found on earth in natural-gas in Kansas, which
gave the same bright, yellow light viewed
through the specti^m. The people, finding it
would not burn, disgustedly let millions of bar-
rels of this valuable element escape into the air,
before a scientist told them that it was of untold
value for balloon and airship purposes. It is
thought the gas comes from radium deposits.
It has never been found in any country except
the United States, and only here in Kansas and
northern Texas, where it occurs in sands from
14,000 to 16,000 feet deep. Our government is
now securing about 50,000 cubic feet of helium
per day, refusing to sell it to foreign countries,
as it is all needed here, besides which it might
be used against us in case of another war."
While Paul had been telling this, Mr. Gid-
dings had been busy jotting something down in
shorthand in a notebook.
"Pardon me, Paul," he said, looking up with
a smile, "but this is so mighty interesting that,
before I knew it, my old-time reportorial in-
stinct had gotten the best of me, and I found
my pencil at work. If you have no objection
I should like to use this in the columns of the
Daily iTidependent some time when it seems to
22 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"No objection at all, sir," assured Paul.
Mr. Giddings began twirling the little twelve-
inch two-bladed propeller at the nose of the model
airplane. "What do you use for power to turn
this propeller?" he asked, after admiring its per-
fect proportions for a moment. "I don't see
any rubber-bands, such as Robert here has al-
ways used on his little machines."
John deftly lifted off the thin veneer hood of
the airplane, and disclosed a very small four-
cylindered rotary pneumatic engine of bewitch-
ing simplicity and lightness, which a baby
could have held out in its pudgy palm.
"Paul has worked this little motor out of
aluminum and brass and steel, from odds and
ends," said John.
"With more or less help on the part of my
elder brother," interjected Paul,
"Well, perhaps with a little," admitted John,
''more suggestive than otherwise."
"What sets it going?" questioned Bob, curi-
"The fuselage is divided into three sections,"
said Paul. "The forward section contains the
engine here; the rear section is an airtight cham-
ber containing helium; and the central section is
also an airtight chamber, but contains ordinary
air which has been pumped into it through a
valve, using the bicycle pump John is carry-
A SUCCESSFUL MODEL 23
ing, until it is under strong pressure. When I
turn this httle valve an outlet is opened for the
air to escape by a tube into branches communi-
cating with each of these four cylinders. This
works the tiny pistons, much the same as gas in
a gasoline-motor, and they turn the little crank-
shaft to which they are connected, and the crank-
shaft in turn revolves the propeller on its end."
"Wonderfully simple!" Mr. Giddings ex-
claimed. *' Wonderfully ingenious, too! Is this
your invention, young men?"
"Partly, sir," replied Paul. "I understand, a
company in New York is making a somewhat
similar pneumatic motor for model airplanes, but
John and I have made some radical improve-
ments, to our notion. To-day's test will tell the
"Let's see the propeller spin 'er up once for
the fun of it," suggested Bob. "It won't do
any harm, will it? Dad and I will hold on to
"Get a good grip then," warned John Ross,
"for you will find there's a terrific pull to the
little rascal. Paul and I tried her in that fash-
ion early this morning down in the basement."
Bob and his father secured firm holds of the
little Sky-Bird, one on each side, where the
propeller could not strike them.
"Ready?" asked Paul, with a smile.
S4 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"Ready!" came the answer in unison.
Paul touched the little valve in the tank cham-
ber of the fuselage. The next moment there
was a quiver, and then the propeller began
fairly to hum. A strong, steady gust of air be-
gan to blow in the faces of the Giddings, while
they had to hang on grimly in order to keep
their little charge from jumping out of their
arms and dashing away into the air. For fully
three minutes the propeller continued to whirl
with undiminished speed, then slowly it began
to slow up, and finally stopped.
Both Mr. Giddings and his son wiped their
hot brows as they handed the plane over to its
"Whew!'* said Bob, "that little mule has got
a lot of pull to her.
"That she has," supplemented his father.
"What sort of material is her frame made of?"
"Balsa-wood," said John.
"I never heard of that. Is it something new?"
"Yes, — to the arts of civilization, but I pre-
sume it has been used by the Indians of Ecuador,
where it grows, for scores of years in the mak-
ing of rafts, for which it is particularly well
adapted. The tree looks much like our southern
Cottonwood, and the wood apparently has no
grain. It has a surprising toughness and
strength, and is a trifle over half the weight of
A SUCCESSFUL MODEL 25
cork, weighing only 7.3 pounds per cubic foot,
while the same sized piece of cork weighs 13.7
"Has this wood ever been used in constructing
full-sized airplanes?" asked Mr. Giddings.
*'I think not; but Paul and I believe it will
be the coming wood for them," said John with
enthusiasm. "We have used it plain on this ma-
chine. On a large airplane it ought to be re-
inforced with transverse sections of very thin
spruce laid latticewise. That would add con-
siderably to its natural strength, and increase
the total weight very little."
"H'm, h'm!" said the great newspaper pub-
lisher, "this is very interesting, I am sure. Now
let us see how this little affair behaves itself in
Paul and his brother led the way out into
one corner of the big field, so as to bring what
slight breeze might spring up into the head
of the airplane, explaining that machines with-
out a pilot would keep a better keel under such
conditions. John then carefully attached the
bicycle-pump and recharged the air-tank, follow-
ing which he took out his watch to time the
flight. Mr. Giddings and Bob also took out
Paul set the little Sky-Bird down on the hard
earth, in a spot where there was no grass or
26 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
other obstacle, and with his finger on the air-
valve, said: "Practically all rubber-band motors
require starting the model airplane off by pick-
ing it up and tossing it away from you up into
the air; but I think this machine will rise from
the ground like a large plane, on account of its
great lightness and unusual power. We will
now see if I am right."
To tell the truth, this being the first time he
had really tried the Sky-Bird in a flight, Paul
was nervous as he turned the valve, removed his
hands from the graceful little plane, and
With a whirr like the wmgs of a partridge as
it is flushed out of the grass by the huntsman's
dog, the small machine shot forward a few feet
over the smooth ground, then gracefully arose
in the air and started away toward the opposite
corner of the field. As it proceeded it continued
to rise, until it reached a height of possibly
ninety or a hundred feet, when it began to dip
"It's a gust of wind striking it," remarked
John uneasily. "I hope she weathers it. If
there was only a pilot in her now, he could "
But even as he spoke the Sky-Bird seemed to
recover her balance. Making a pretty circle,
away she sped on her course, neither rising
nor falling. Like a real bird she sailed onward.
A SUCCESSFUL MODEL 27
the noise of her whirring propeller now lost to
her fliers, but her little j)ale-yellow silk wings
against the blue sky plainly tracing her course
for them. Paul was running after her now as
fast as his legs could carry him. What if she
should keep right on and go over the far fence?
' — ^he might lose the little darling!
That fence was a good half-mile away. For
his pet to cover such a distance had not seemed
within the bounds of probability to either himself
or John at the start, for all of their great con-
fidence in the flying powers of the new model.
Xow, as he kept on running and the Sky-Bird
continued going with no sign of dropping, Paul
really became alarmed for her safety in landing.
But just before it reached the boundary of the
grounds, the youth saw that the airplane was
slowly settling. Into the next field it flew, and
the high board fence shut it from Paul's view as
he came up to it. With a jump he caught the
top boards, and scrambled up, springing down
on the opposite side. It was to see his little
machine just miss the branches of an oak tree
and settle down into some long grass about a
hundred yards beyond.
He found it undamaged, and hurried back to
his friends in the fair-grounds, his heart beating
jubilantly at the splendid results of the flight.
He hugged the small airplane to his heart as if it
28 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
were the most precious possession in the world,
as indeed it was to him.
Mr. Giddings and Bob were loud m their
praise, and John smiled in that quiet way that
told the younger brother how well j)leased he
was. It was found that the Sky-Bird had
passed over the lower fence in just one minute
and three seconds, which was certainly good
speed for such a diminutive contrivance. Sev-
eral other flights were then made, all of which
were equally successful. At the conclusion Bob
Giddings was so excited that he could hardly
"Dad, isn't this little thing simply a wonder?"
he exclaimed. *'I'd give anything in the world
if I could own a big fellow built on this prin-
ciple. I'll bet it would pass anything now made."
His father looked thoughtful for a moment.
Then, turning to the Ross brothers, he observed :
"Do you think, boys, that these features could
be successfully applied to a full-sized airplane?"
"There's no doubt at all about it, to my mind,
sir," replied John Boss. "That's the next thing
Paul and I propose doing, although I expect
we shall have a hard time getting enough money
to meet the expense of materials. Of course
we shall have the regular type of gasoline engine
in place of this pneumatic arrangement, as this
A SUCCESSFUL MODEL 29
principle won't apply to big machines. I figure
a 400 horse-power Liberty engine would carry
such a machine two hundred miles an hour."
Again Mr. Giddings was silent a moment.
Then he resumed: "John, I hear that you have
been laid off from your Air Mail job. Is that
"It is, sir."
"Well, then, I am going to make a proposi-
tion to you and Paul, and in a way Robert may
consider himself involved, too, I expect. As
you may know, Robert plans to be an electrical
engineer, and Mrs. Giddings and myself are
anxious to encourage him in every way we can.
For some time he has been experimenting with
wireless telegraph and telephone apparatus, and
has made some sets of the latter which it seems
to me are an improvement over anything now
on the market, particularly a set for airplane
use, which he has no means of properly testing
out on account of the lack of the airplane. Now
my proposition is just this: "I will meet every;
expense of making a first-class full-sized air-
plane like the Sky-Bird, and pay you, John, a
wage equal to that which the government al-
lowed you as a pilot, if you three young men
here will do the construction work secretly, and
if Robert may be allowed a one-third interest in
so AROUND THE WORLD m TEN DAYS
the venture, both in the plane to be made, and
in any future benefits to be derived from the
Of course the dehghted John and Paul ac-
cepted this splendid offer, and Bob Giddings
was so happy at the prospect of a fine big air-
plane in which to install his wireless apparatus
that he actually hugged his father. They re-
paired to the Giddings home, and there, in true
business form, a contract was drawn up and
duly signed by all interested parties, with a
notary's seal attached.
With a copy in their possession, the Ross boys
hurried home, after having dinner with the Gid-
dings family, to acquaint Mrs. Ross with the
PLANNING A BIG AIRPLANE
AS planned, the much-talked-of Air Derby
around the world took place from Mm-
' eola Field, New York, on the 4th of July.
A great crowd had been attracted, owing to the
extensive accounts of the affair in the big news-
papers for the past several months, and a thrill-
ing hush fell over the assemblage as, at high
noon, one after another of the famous flyers took
off in various types of aircraft. There were
four big dirigibles, two of which started to cross
the Atlantic at once, while the others took a
northerly course with the intention of making
the final hop from St. John's, Newfoundland,
in accordance with several previous attempts of
other aircraft. Besides these, seven heavier-
than-air machines started, all making for New-
foundland also. Four of these were flying-
boats, two were seaplanes, and the other was a
Needless to say, the Ross boys and Bob Gid-
dings and his father were present to see the ma-
chines off. They had arrived in the big automo-
32 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
bile of the publisher, and were greatly inter-
ested in every detail of the departure. Several
of the contestants John Ross knew, having met
them at some time during his flying periods, and
it gave him a chance briefly to renew old ac-
quaintanceship and personally to wish them good
luck on their long journey. Of course our
friends would have given a whole lot to have
been able to compete in the novel contest them-
selves, but that was out of the question.
When the last machine had disappeared from
sight, they took their departure. Mr. Giddings
left them at the oflice of the Daily IndepeTident,
following which Bob drove Paul and John out
to some of the city's beautiful parks. Late in
the afternoon they again stopped at the news-
paper building and picked up Bob's father,
thereupon turning the car in the direction of
Yonkers. Altogether they had passed a very^
"Robert tells me that your plans for the new
airplane, the Sky-Bird II, are just about fin-
ished, John," remarked Mr. Giddings, as they
sped northward along the smooth surface of
Riverside Drive, with its beautiful greenery on
the left and its fine residences at the right.
"Yes, sir," said John; "we have been devoting
every spare moment to them. Of course a good
many changes had to be made to adapt condi-
PLANNING A BIG AIRPLANE 33
tions from the little airplane to the big fellow,
and to incorporate the extra pet features we all
agreed upon were desirable. You know it never
pays to start building an important and costly
affair like an airplane without having every de-
tail thoroughly planned out, and perfect work-
ing drawings in hand. I think Paul will com-
plete the drawings early next week, including
copies for accompanying the specifications when
we apply to Washington for patent rights. As
soon as the drawings are done, we will drop in
at your home in the evening and show them to
"Goodl" said Mr. Giddings. "I shall await
them with great interest. "I suppose as soon
as I approve these drawings, you fellows will all
pitch into the actual work."
"We surely will, sir," laughed Paul, while
Bob, at the wheel in front, having caught some
of the conversation, called back with energy:
"That's just the size of it, dad."
"We have everything all ready," continued
Paul. "The balsa-wood and spruce we ordered
some time ago is on hand, and that will keep us
busy until other needed materials arrive. We
have repaired the big exhibition building in the
old fair-grounds, put on new double doors and
purchased a good Yale lock for iihem. Jolin
and I have taken our workbench and tools over
34 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
tHere, and Bob has helped us rig up a nice little
five-horse power motor and small handsaw, also
a circular saw, home-made sand-drum, a small
planer, and a boring-machine. That building is
dry, and has lots of room in it for housing the
new airplane as it grows to maturity. When
cold weather comes we can easily install a couple
of heating-stoves to keep ourselves comfortable
and protect our materials and the machine from
Mr. Giddings expressed himself as well
pleased with these arrangements. As he noted
the f oresightedness of the young mechanics his
confidence in them expanded.
"Don't hesitate to order anything you need,
young men," he said warmly. ''Have them send
the bills to me. If my trust in you is misplaced,
I am willing to stand the consequences. This
is not only the best kind of a practical educa-
tion for Bob, but it is good business training for
all of us. Go ahead; go ahead!"
With such strong encouragement, is it any
wonder that the three young men continued their
operations vigorously? Not one of them scarcely
wanted to stop long enough to eat and sleep,
a la Edison; and as it was now summer vacation
time, Paul and Bob were able to be with John
all day long in the old exhibition building.
Neighboring boys and even older people hung
PLANNmG A BIG AIRPLANE 35
around the open doors to watch operations, but
the builders were careful not to let them get
close enough to gain any ideas which might be
harmful to their interests.
On Tuesday evening of the week following
the start of the Air Derby, John and his brother
put on their best clothes and hied themselves
over to the Giddings home. In Paul's hand
was an envelope containing the precious plans
for the Sky-Bird II — completed at last by the
young draftsman, and ready to be shown to the
financial member of the quartet.
When they were all seated in the Giddings li-
brary a little later, Mr. Giddings scrutinized the
plans with every evidence of satisfaction written
upon his strong features. Now and then he
would ask a question, as Paul explained view
after view and detail after detail. At length he
pointed to an oblong object situated in the
pilot's cockpit just under the dashboard, "What
is that?" he asked, curiously.
"That is what John and I call an 'automatic
pilot,' " answered Paul. "It is a new form of
stabilizer, and made so as to overcome the de-
fects of others which are on the market. A sta-
bilizer should automatically keep an akplane on
a fairly level keel no matter how air conditions
are, even so steady that it will travel along on
its course for a considerable distance with the
S6 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
pilot paying no attention to his controls, per-
haps eating his lunch or reading his orders."
"A mighty useful contrivance," commented
Mr. Giddings. "I should think that would also
prevent lots of accidents in bad winds."
"It will — if it turns out as we expect/' Paul
"Give me the full details of this," was the re-
quest. "Remember, I am not much of an air-
"Weil," said Paul, "y^^ know, sir, that it is
far more difficult to drive an airplane than to
guide an automobile, not merely because you
have two steering-gears or rudders to take care
of, one for sidewise and the other for up-and-
down travel, but also because there are mov-
able planes in the wings of the machine, which
have to be worked to tip or *bank' it when mak-
ing a turn or to keep it on an even keel when a
gust of wind strikes it. The 'rudder' is the
vertical plane at the tail of the machine, and is
used for steering sideways, while the 'elevators'
are the two horizontal movable planes just below
the rudder, which are used for steering up and
down. Similar planes to the latter, one situ-
ated in the back edge of each upper wing, are
called 'ailerons,' and one or the other is raised
or depressed according to whether the aviator
wishes to bank to the right or left.
PLANNING A BIG AIRPLANE 37
"The driver of an automobile has nothing to
do but watch his steering-vv^heel, and be ready to
touch a pedal when he wishes to slow up or go
faster or stop. If he makes a curve he does not
have to bank his machine owing to his compara-
tively slow speed; but the aviator, traveling
much faster through the air, must do this, bring-
ing his airplane to a steep angle if he makes a
very short turn. If he does not calculate just
right, he is likely to turn upside down and meet
his death in a nasty fall.
"While the careful automobilist can always see
the road in front of him and avoid rough spots
or obstacles before he reaches them, the aviator
cannot do this. It is true that he can see an-
other airplane if it gets in his way, or a church
steeple when he is flying low; but his greatest
dangers are in the clear air itself, where they
cannot be detected. He may suddenly drop into
a *hole,' which is really a downward current of
air, or he may get a terrific bump when he strikes
a rising current. A freakish whim of the winds
may unexpectedly take away the air support
from under one of the wings, and he will lurch
and dip sharply to one side."
"And I suppose sometimes lose all control?"
said Mr. Giddings.
*'Yes, sir; that has very often happened," put
in John. "A flyer friend of mine took a nasty
38 ABOUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
tumble that way near Cleveland last year, break-
ing three ribs. It's a wonder he wasn't killed."
"The pilot is blind to these pitfalls," went on
Paul. "He must control his machine largely by
intuition and the sense of feeling, although the
veteran airman, John says, can tell a good deal
about what to expect from the nature of the
earth or clouds below him."
"That's true," averred John. "The closer you
are to the earth the more you will feel the
'bumps,' as we call them. They are a whole lot
like the waves of the ocean, only invisible, and
there will be one straight over every protuber-
ance or depression of size in the surface of the
earth. Mountains, hills, houses, lakes, valleys,
rivers, forests, all cause bumps or holes in the
air up above them. At one thousand feet they
are pretty bad. At ten thousand feet they are
scarcely noticeable. That's v/hy most pilots pre-
fer to fly high whenever they can."
"What causes the air to act in this way over
such configurations?" ]3ropounded the publisher.
John looked helpless, and smiled. "You've
got me there," he admitted. "I haven't had the
opportunity to study aerostatics the same as Paul
here. He can probably tell us."
"I'm not through my course yet," reminded
his brother, "but I think I can answer that. The
air surrounding the earth is a great belt forty or
PLANNING A BIG AIRPLANE 39
more miles through and is of an even thickness.
As our globe sweeps through it, the lower strata
of air naturally sinks down into the valleys and
like depressions. This action pulls down the up-
per stretches of air, thus creating what are termed
*air-pockets' or *air-holes.' Very dangerous they
"That is plain enough," declared Bob. "Now,
dad, let Paul go on explaining this 'automatic
"If the aviator is enshrouded in fog or tries
to sail through a heavy bank of clouds, he is
quite likely to lose all sense of direction," con-
tinued Paul. "He will not know whether he is
banking or traveling on an even keel. Some-
times pilots have come out of a low cloud to find
themselves dangerously close to the earth and in
an awkward position, perhaps in a steep bank,
a side-slip, or even in the terrifying nose-dive,
and they have not had time to right themselves
before crashing to earth. So you see that before
flying can become reasonably safe, some way
must be found of keeping the machine automat-
ically on a level keel.
"To operate this stabilizer of ours all the pilot
will have to do is to guide the rudder with his
feet. The automatic pilot works the elevator
and the ailerons. It takes care of 'bumps' and
'holes' and sees that the macliine banks at just
40 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
tKe right angle on the turns. This makes the
operation of an airplane containing the stabilizer
even more simple than running a motor-car, be-
cause you do not have to worry about going into
different speed gears when climbing or descend-
ing. You will notice on this drawing that strong
piano-wires connect the instruments with all the
necessary controlling planes of the machine."
"Instruments?" interrogated Mr. Giddings.
"I thought there was but one."
"No; there are two stabilizers, as you will see,
— ^here, and here," was Paul's response, pointing
his finger to the parts. "But, as each one is
exactly hke the other in its construction, only the
one has been drawn in detail. The other stab-
ilizer runs lengthwise of the cockpit and takes
care of the elevator. Both of these are operated
by compressed air, which proceeds from a little
tank, right here. The tank is kept supplied
by two tubes which lead into it, and each of
which joins a small pump operated by a fan
which is right here on each side of the fuselage
where the onrush of wind will keep it humming
as the airplane travels.
"Each equalizer has a bore in it half -filled with
mercury, working a good deal like a carpenter's
level. If the airplane tilts to one side or the
other, the mercury will try to keep its level and
will immediately flow to the high side of the
PLANNING A BIG AIRPLANE 41
bore. At each end of this mercury tube there
are electrical contact points. As one becomes
submerged in the mercury by a tilting of the
plane, a connection is made whereby two electro-
magnets are energized on that side. One of
these magnets closes an exhaust-valve, and the
other opens an inlet-valve, in the compressed air
tank. At once air is forced into this double
cylinder, which you see at the bottom of the sta-
bilizer, filling the half which is to operate its
own set of rudders ; and a piston begins to work
inside. The piston is connected to a toothed
rack, as you will note, causing this to turn a
sector engaging it. The control wires connect
with this sector."
"Very clever arrangement; but I don't quite
see how, in banking, the ailerons can be brought
back automatically to a neutral position as soon
as the turn has been completed," ventured Mr.
"John and I have provided for that, while Bob
is responsible for the electrical features I have
just mentioned," said Paul. "You will notice
that at the top of the mercury channel there is
a dividing wall. A tube runs from the left
side of this wall to the right wing of the air-
plane, also from the right side of the wall to the
left wing. At the end of each tube there is
what we call a Venturi tube.' This is a kind of
42 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
suction device operated by the wind. The wind
which blows through the left venturi tube sucks
the air out of the right-hand side of the mercury
tube, and the right venturi tube sucks the air
out of the left-hand side of the mercury tube.
The stronger the wind, the greater the suction.
NTow, when making a turn to the right the left
wing must travel faster than the right wing, and
so there must be more suction in the left venturi.
This produces a greater suction in the right-hand
side of the mercury tube, which draws the mer-
cury up on that side and down on the other,
until the proper electrical contact is broken and
the ailerons are returned to neutral position."
"Can the mechanism be thrown out of gear
when desired? I should think such a feature
might be desirable," remarked Mr. Giddings.
"Indeed it is desirable, sir," declared Paul.
"No red-blooded pilot wishes to sit still and let
his machine run itself all the time, no more than
an automobilist. That would spoil all the sport.
By merely disengaging the automatic pilot's
wires here at the sector — the work of a couple
of seconds — the airplane is ready for hand con-
"How much does it weigh?" was the gentle-
man's next query.
"A trifle less than a hundred pounds."
"That oughtn't to handicap an airplane any."
"Not a bit," said Paul.
AN AIR EACE FINISH AND A CHALLENGE
A LL in all, Mr. Giddings expressed himself
AA as more than pleased with the drawings
^ -^for the Sky-Bird II. At the end of the
explanation, he put the papers back in the en-
velope, and asked:
"Have you another set of these drawings in
*'Yes, sir; this is a copied set; the original
drawings from which we will make our tracings
and blue-prints are at home,"
"You had better leave them there in a safe place,
and work from your blue-prints in the old ex-
hibition building at the fair-grounds, being care-
ful to lock them up in your workbench every
time you depart. I think you boys have a valu-
able thing here, and it is to your interest to keep
others from knowing your plans or seeing the
airplane until we have full government protec-
tion in the shape of patent rights. I shall turn
this set of drawings over to a patent attorney
in the city and ask him to make application to
the Patent Office in Washington without delay."
The next morning all three boys, filled with
44 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
new confidence and energy, met at the fair-
grounds as soon as they had had their breakfasts.
Paul carried two rolls of fresh blue-prints, which
he and John had made while their mother was
preparing the meal. One of these sets he gave
to Bob to take home as his own special property,
and the other one he spread out on the work-
bench for consultation as their needs required.
Up to this time no effort had been made to
keep children and curious adults out of the
grounds, but as their machine was now beginning
to take on real form, they determined to do this.
On a piece of board, Paul printed in large let-
ters, "Private Grounds; Keep Out," and Bob
nailed this up on the outside of the high board
fence at the entrance. The gate itself they
closed and barred on the inside.
"Guess that will be a sujSicient hint to the
grown-ups," said Bob with a grin. "If the kids
climb over, we'll fasten a red flag to the front
of our big hangar and paint ^Dynamite' in let-
ters a yard long across the front of the build-
"Yes, and if that doesn't keep them away
we'll turn the hose on them," laughed John.
Then they fell to work on the new airplane,
applying themselves like beavers. All three
boys had had the splendid benefits of manual
training when they were in the public schools.
AN AIR RACE FINISH AND A CHALLENGE 45
and knew how to handle every machine they had
set up. In addition to this, Paul and Bob were
first-class amateur machinists, as their courses of
engineering in Clark Polytechnic embraced the
use of metal-working appliances of the latest
design, as well as wood- working machinery, and
they could have operated other machines had
they needed them.
That evening the workers went back home
tired but well satisfied with their progress. The
next day the shavings flew again, and by the
latter part of the week they had begun to as-
semble portions of the fuselage, using a water-
proof glue which had been especially prepared
for airplanes, and applying galvanized screws
to withstand rust in damp atmospheres.
As the days went by, the boys, like almost
everybody in the country, watched the news-
papers eagerly for reports of the progress of the
contestants in the big Air Derby around the
world. Only four of the eleven aircraft to start
had succeeded in getting across the treacherous
Atlantic, two of these being dirigible balloons,
one a flying-boat, and the other a Vickers-Vimy
biplane. After landing on European soil one
of the lucky airships came to grief in Italy in
making a stop for fuel, but the driver had ob-
tained an Italian Caproni plane and was making
his way eastward with all haste. The other dir-
46 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
igible, coimnanded by Americans, had reached
Teheran, Persia, where gas-bag troubles had
compelled her crew to continue by train. About
the same time the flying-boat, piloted by a Bos-
ton man, and the biplane, in control of two Eng-
lishmen, had reached Yokohama, Japan, within
a few hours of each other. It was said that
these contestants would wait there for the first
steamship going to San Francisco, as they feared
it would be impossible to fly across the great
Pacific stretch of almost five thousand miles.
Upon reaching San Francisco they planned to
continue the journey to New York in airplanes
furnished by California aeronautical friends.
The newspapers shortly after this announced
the sailing of the rival parties at Yokohama.
Storms and fog delayed the vessel. Finally she
arrived at the Golden Gate, and then came the
mad race across the North American continent
in fresh airplanes. Near Cheyenne, Wyoming,
the American plane was forced to the ground by
engine trouble, allowing her competitor to get
ahead several hours. This lead the American
could not overcome, and the race ended at 5:15
o'clock on the afternoon of July 27th, with the
English crew first and the American crew sec-
ond. Three days later the belated French crew,
who had met with mishap in Italy, came in, win-
ning third prize.
AN AIR RACE FINISH AND A CHALLENGE 47
The Ross brothers were at work in the hangar
when Bob Giddings, who had gone into town
on his motorcycle after some more screws, came
back waving the copy of the Daily Independent
containing this last account.
"Cartier and his bunch have arrived," he cried,
springing from his machine. ''Here it is on the
first page. That accounts for all the prize-win-
ners, and the excitement is practically over. The
others will just lob in now — and they might as
well." He tossed the paper to John. ''Here,
read it, you fellows," he said. "You can quit
on the Sky-Bird long enough for that, I guess.
I'll work while you lay off a few minutes."
Bob rolled up his sleeves, and John and Paul
spread out the newspaper on the bench and in-
terestedly read the article in question. As they
finished, and were turning around to resume
work, Bob observed:
"Dad's got a rattling good editorial on this
Air Derby, if I do say it. Take a look at page
5 and see how he rips 'em up the back."
Shoulder to shoulder, the two brothers leaned
over the bench and read as follows :
The world has just witnessed the finish of another effort
on the part of mankind to circle the globe in record-
breaking time. And once more the newspapers of the uni-
48 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
verse, and the sporting chroniclers, are registering a new
record in this class of human endeavor. When, three days
ago, the English team, headed by Chester Hodge, dropped
out of a Curtis plane into Mineola Field, it was just 23
days, 6 hours and 15 minutes after the same crew had
left that field in their Vickers-Vimy. This beats the
former record of 35 days and some odd hours, made in
1913 by John Henry Mears, by the substantial margin of
approximately 12 days. It is a big gain — a startlingly
short time for encompassing the world as compared with
the efforts of the past.
All of the three contesting crews to finish have broken
Mears's record, and deserve great credit for their praise-
worthy performance. The sponsors for this first great Air
Derby around the world, the prominent aero clubs of this
country and the Eastern Hemipshere, also deserve much
praise for conceiving and promoting such a successful con-
test, and in posting such magnificent prizes.
But, in the interests of other similar tours likely to
follow, this newspaper thinks it high time to declare itself
opposed most vigorously to two fundamental features gov-
erning the competition just closed.
First, why was this contest called by its promoters an
"Air Derby".'* In our opinion, with rules allowing the
use of other modes of travel as well as aircraft, the title
is a decided misnomer. It should have been termed a
"Go-As-You-Please Derby." Not a single one of these
contestants accomplished the girdle by airplane alone;
every winner took a steamship across the Pacific. Here's
hoping that when another 'round-the-world contest is pulled
off it will be tagged with a title which fits.
Second, when a specific record trip around the world is
promulgated, is it scientifically correct to take a route
which is approximately 30 per cent shorter than the actual
AN AIR RACE FINISH A^D A CHALLENGE 49
circumference of the universe on which we live? In a
foot race around a circular track judges do not let sprint-
ers pick out their own course and "cut across lots" when-
ever they choose. Nor is it allowed in horse raceSj auto
races, or any form of sport where time records are regis-
tered on curving courses.
The Daily Independent contends that beginning with
Jules Verne's mythical hero Phileas Fogg^ who in the story
negotiated the journey in the improbable time of 80 days,
back in 1872, every record-maker in the flesh and blood
has followed northerly routes averaging the 30th parallel,
thus traversing only about 16,000 miles of the world's
actual circumference of 24,899 miles; and these records
have gone down as true and complete accomplishments!
But, because a wrongful practice, one misrepresentative of
its purpose, has been carried on for almost a century, is
it any reason for arguing that the process should continue
in this advanced and enlightened day?
We say NO! It is time for this practice of around-the-
world humbug and cheatery to stop right now. If it
takes our fastest modern globe-trotters a whole year to go
around the world by a route equal to or approximating
the equatorial girth, then let it take them a year; for the
sake of our pride and all that is good and sincere let
XLS do our stunts on the square.
There are no records of an equatorial trip aroimd the
world. Who will be the first to establish one.^ Let ns
run a pen through all these short-cut records of the past,
and turn a clean page for the entry of the first real
journey around the fat old world's belt.
As Paul finished the editorial his heart was
beating very fast. He was a true sportsman.
50 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
and he realized the truth in the bold stand taken
by the Daily Independent. His brother John
was no less favorably affected by it.
"Bang me, if that isn't a good article!" said
John enthusiastically. "Mr. Giddings may get
a lot of criticism for this from a certain class
of people, but he's taking the right course."
"He certainly is," approved Paul. "I had
never thought of it before, but he points the
error out so clearly that almost anybody ought
to realize the need of a fairer route after read-
ing his statements. Just as he says, it's never
too late to correct matters which have been going
wrong, no matter how long."
"I'd give anything I've got if I could be the
first fellow to go around the world's belt," de-
clared John, his brown cheeks glowing with
deeper color at the thought; "I wouldn't care so
much about beating these other chaps in the mat-
ter of time, just so long as I made a fair trail."
"Oh, John, wouldn't that be a great trip!"
"Say, look at here," broke in Bob Giddings,
who had been near enough to overhear all of this
conversation. His face was glowing, too, as he
turned toward the brothers. "When we get the
Sky-Bird II done, why couldn't the three of us
pick out a new course around the globe in her?
If she's as good as we think she will be, we
AN AIR RACE FINISH AND A CHALLENGE 51
could travel over any kind of land or water with
her, and I think we could pick out islands in
the Pacific so that we could cross that and make
the entire journey by air."
"I believe this old ship could do it all right,"
said John, full of confidence and thrilled at the
idea, as he stepped back and looked at the
partly-assembled fuselage with a loving eye.
"But, Bob, a trip like that would cost a lot of
money just for gas, and you know Paul and I
could hardly afford it."
"I'm going to speak to dad about it, anyhow,"
decided Bob; "he has been talking airplanes and
world routes at home to mother and me for the
last three months, and maybe he will be in-
terested enough to back us up. He never stops
at anything when he once sets his mind on it."
It was several days after this that Bob Gid-
dings came to work with another newspaper in
"Things seem to be coming our way as fast as
they can," he said, with a mysterious smile.
"Take in what Mr. Wrenn, the editor of this
paper, says in this framed insert on the front
John and Paul did as directed. The article
was prominently displayed, and was to the ef-
fect that the Clarion disagreed very strongly
with the attitude adopted by its contemporary,
52 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
the Daily Independent, in regard to around-the-
world routes. It declared that it was physically
impossible by any mode of modern travel to
follow a route along, or even within twenty de-
grees of, the equatorial line, and said it was a
shame to assail the creditable records made in the
past. In conclusion it stated:
If our esteemed sheets the Daily Independent, feels so
cock-sure of its position, why does it not do a little demon-
strating? Whj does it not organize an expedition, and
prove its claim? This is all bunk! We are so sure of it,
that we right now challenge our misguided friend to run
us a race around the world on a course of his own selection,
at any time, by any mode of travel he may choose. There !
we have knocked the chip off of the Daily Independent's
shoulder. Now let's see if our friend is really a bluffer
or a fighter.
"You know the Clarion is a powerful evening
newspaper, too," said Bob, when the Ross boys
looked up from their reading. "It has always
been a hot rival of dad's paper, but it never got
quite so sarcastic as this before. Dad was good
and mad when he read this last night. *I'll show
both the Clarion and the public whether I'm a
bluffer or not,' he said to mother. 'If it takes
the last cent I've got I'll organize an expedition
to meet their chaUenge and prove my theory to
be the correct one.' Then I woke up to our op-
portunity. I suggested to dad that if the Sky-
AN AIR RACE FINISH AND A CHALLENGE 53
Bird turned out as we hoped, she would be the
very thing to pioneer such a route and give the
Clarion people a race to make their eyes stick
out; and I said John Ross was willing to head a
crew including Paul and myself."
"What did he say?" asked John and Paul, al-
most in the same breath.
"Well, he gave a little gasp ; his eyes snapped,
and he quit walking the floor and sat down on
the davenport. 'Robert,' he said, 'I'll think this
matter over.' Then he lit a cigar and went to
smoking. Dad seldom smokes except when he's
got something heavy on his mind."
John and Paul now joined Bob in putting a
knee-brace in the new airplane body. Somehow
they had a feeling that the parts they were as-
sembling with such care would one of these days
go on a very long and arduous journey.
THE MISSING BLUE-PRINTS
THE Air Derby created interest all over
the world. People in foreign lands
talked about it and read about it in their
newspapers, just as they had done in the United
States and Canada. With the keenest kind of
interest they had followed the reports of its prog-
ress and its finish. Several nations had hoped to
have their own representatives come in first, only
to be disappointed.
All this interested world pricked up its at-
tention anew when the bold editorial of the
Daily Independent was widely copied. As
John Ross had predicted, and as probably Mr.
Giddings knew before he wrote it, this particular
article caused a furore of comment editorially
and otherwise. Much of this, — indeed, it seemed
the most of it — was favorable to the stand taken
by the New York publisher. But when the
rival sheet, the Clarion^ arrayed its strong force
in opposition, the conservative element of the
public felt vastly encouraged, and many were
the heated personal arguments as well as news-
THE MISSING BLUE-PRINTS 55
paper duels, which ensued. Aviators all over
the land were particularly concerned, and it goes
without saying that the winners of the late com-
petition were all lined up with the Clarion con-
tingent. This paper's challenge to the Daily
Independent for a two-party race around the
world on the Independent's own conception of
what it considered a fair route awoke great joy
in the hearts of the leave-things-as-they-have-
been adherents. Few, if any of them, particu-
larly the publishers of the Clarion, thought Mr.
Giddings would ever take up the challenge.
Therefore, judge of the surprise of everybody,
and the dismay of the Clarion staff, when a few
days following the flaunting of its challenge, the
front page of the Giddings paper contained the
following, under a heavy black type heading:
THIS PAPER ACCEPTS THE "CLARION'S"
A sliort time ago the Daily Independent in an editorial
strongly criticized the methods or rather routes used in the
past in making world tours for a time record^ stating that
such journeys had all been made unfairly, in that the
routes adopted were about a third less than the actual cir-
cumference of the globe, and that in our opinion the
only legitimate around-the-world record could be made by
following approximately the equatorial line.
We expected a good deal of criticism, of course, when
56 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
we came out thus boldly against a custom which had pre-
vailed since the beginning of so-called "around the world"
record trips. But we did not expect to be challenged to
prove our sincerity by ourselves making such a journey
in competition with our esteemed but rabid contemporary,
To show the Clarion that we are not ''bluffing/' and that
we are perfectly willing to demonstrate practically any
position we ever take^ we herewith accept its challenge.
Even now we have in process of construction a new type
of airplane, by means of which we are confident we can
fly approximately straight around the belly of this old
world entirely by air. A little later we shall announce a
time, place, and route, in our columns, and sincerely trust
the Clarion will be satisfied with them.
It is quite unnecessary to say that Paul and
John Ross read the foregoing article with the
keenest pleasure the night they reached home
from the hangar and found their mother just
finishing its perusal. Naturally Mrs. Ross felt
all of the average mother's anxiety at the
thought that her sons would be exposed to the
perils such a long journey would invite, but
on the other hand she was very proud to think
their talents had placed them in such an hon-
ored position. It had only been an evening or
two before that Mr. Giddings, in company with
his son Robert, had called at the Ross home-
stead, and after a long conference with the boys
as to the suitability of the new Sky-Bird II for
THE MISSING BLUE-PRINTS 57
making a world cruise, had taken his departure
with his mind fully made up as to how he should
meet the rival paper's challenge.
A few days subsequently, Bob Giddings
found, upon reaching home for lunch, that his
motorcycle, which he was in the habit of riding
back and forth to work, so that he could rush
into town on short notice and get emergency
materials for the airplane, had a flat tire. As
he could not fix the tire then, he decided to
walk back to the fair-grounds.
As he emerged from the big front yard of
his home, he chanced to look toward town, and
observed an orange-colored taxicab standing
near the first crossing. This would not have
especially attracted Bob's attention, except for
the fact that a man sitting on the front seat
was just at that moment pointing his index fin-
ger toward the Giddings' place, and a slender-
looking man just descending from the cab was
looking that way and nodding his head.
It seemed to Bob that he had seen the pas-
senger before, but a second look made him think
he must be mistaken ; at least he could not place
*'It's probably somebody to see dad. If so,
he'll get disappointed, as dad won't get back
from the city before evening."
Dismissing the incident from his mind with
58 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
this thought, Bob hurried down the road, eager
to reach the hangar and get to work again on
the new airplane.
A few moments after he had passed the home
of a youth he knew, he heard a famihar salu-
tation, and turned around to wave his hand in a
greeting to this friend, who had come to the
front door. As he turned, his eye fell on a
slender figure some distance behind, a figure
which stepped behind a tree and stopped.
"Humph! that's funny," mused Bob. "It
looks a lot like that fellow who got out of the
taxi back there by our house; I wonder what
he's up to, anyhow?"
He continued his way, but as he reached the
fair-grounds gate and got out his key to un-
lock it, the whim to look back again seized him.
As he turned, his gaze once more rested on the
slender form of the waj^farer, who had crossed
to the opposite side of the road, and who now,
finding himself observed once more, promptly
stopped and began to fuss with his shoe-lace.
"Say now, this is funny!" ejaculated Bob
under his breath, vainly trying again to recall the
identity of the lean figure and dark complexion.
"I believe that chap is trying to shadow me. I
wonder what in the dickens he really is up to?"
It was the second time Bob had asked that
question of himself, but as he was a poor source
THE MISSING BLUE-PRINTS 59
of information just then, he was forced to pass
into the fair-grounds and relock the gate in as
mystified a state of mind as before he put the
A little later, when he reached the big hangar
he whirled about again, as if half expecting to
see the stranger still skulking behind him in the
grounds. To his relief he did not detect this
situation exactly, but he did see a dark face,
which had been peering over the top of the
highboard fence near the gate, drop down from
view on the other side.
Bob gave a grunt as he passed into the hangar
and took off his coat. "As I live, I believe he's
up to some sort of mischief," growled the boy.
And when, shortly afterward, John and Paul
Ross appeared he told of his experience and re-
peated his suspicions.
"That is funny," asserted John; "Paul and I
saw nothing of any such man when we came
along, and we passed down the same road. Per-
haps he mistook you for somebody else."
"I hope so, but I don't like his actions a little
bit," declared Bob stoutly.
With that he picked up a try-square and pen-
cil and began laying out some work for Paul to
cut on the circular saw, while John busied him-
self at the boring-machine in putting a hole
through the center of the big twelve-foot balsa-
60 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
wood propeller which a little later would be re-
inforced with a thin jacket of a new metal called
"salinamum," which was made chiefly from salt
but whose fused components made it as light
as aluminum and stronger than tool steel.
Soon the queer actions of the stranger were
quite forgotten in the deep interest of the three
young men in their work. With the prospect of
a world tour before them if the Sky-Bird turned
out well, they now had more incentive than at
the beginning to build the machine with the ut-
most skill and attention to every detail. Some
changes, calculated to make the craft better
adapted to the peculiar conditions she would
be likely to meet in such a varied temperature
were put into effect, but on the whole they found
their original plans so well laid that no impor-
tant features seemed to require modification or
But if the man who had followed Bob dropped
out of their minds the rest of that day, he was
soon to occupy a prominent place in their
thoughts. For the very next morning, when
Paul and John arrived at the hangar, they were
met at the door by a very agitated Bob Gid-
"Fellows, what do you think has happened?"
cried Bob, clearly very much excited. Without
giving his friends time to answer the question
THE MISSING BLUE-PRINTS 61
he blurted out: "Somebody got in here last
night and stole our plans!"
"Stole our plans!" reiterated Paul and John
in the same gasp.
"That's it," said Bob,— "stole the set of blue-
prints we have been working from. What's
more, they must have seen the airplane before
they got out. I went to take the plans out of
the bench drawer here where we have kept them
locked up, and there was the drawer wide open,
the lock picked, and the drawings gone. I'U
bet a herring we can thank my dark-skinned
shadow of yesterday for this little visit!"
"It does look as if he might have had something
to do with this," agreed John soberly. "I won-
der how the rascal, whoever he is, could have
gotten in the building. There's a heavy Yale
lock on the doors."
"The doors were locked all right when I came
this morning," vouched Bob. "I don't see my-
self how — "
"Here you are, gentlemen!" called Paul, who
had stepped to a good-sized window near the
head of the workbench. "Here's the fellow's
private entrance!" And he pointed to where a
heavy nail locking the lower sash had been forced
aside, also to a series of indentations in the outer
sill, where some prying tool had obviously been
recently at work.
62 AROUND THE WORLD EsT TEN DAYS
"It's a clear case of theft, that's sure," ob-
served John; "and since its only our plans that
have been taken, it goes to show that this chap
is very much concerned about this new airplane."
"Perhaps he wishes to beat us out in getting
the patent rights," Bob hinted darkly.
"No, I don't think it's that," differed Paul;
"our application was sent in to Washington
some weeks ago, and you know the first one to
apply for a certain patent gets the attention."
"Well, then, he could use our plans and make
and sell airplanes of their pattern, couldn't he?"
asked Bob, whose ideas of patent laws were still
a little vague.
"Not at all; if he did we could sue him for
infringement," was Paul's answer. "The only
way he could profit by this theft, so far as I
can see, would be to construct a machine for his
own private use, or to give to another person.
We could not touch him for that."
"And that would be bad enough for us — ^if
such a machine were used against us in this pro-
posed race around the world, wouldn't it?" de-
manded Bob Giddings.
Paul and John Ross looked at him in dis-
mayed astonishment. They had not thought of
this contingency before.
who's at the window?
THE making of a big airplane is a good-
sized job. Especially is tliis the case
with the first airplane made up from
new plans. And when the job has to be done
by no more than three young men, it becomes an
unusually formidable task.
The loss of the blue-prints did not hold up the
progress of our friends in the least, as it was
only the matter of fifteen or twenty minutes'
work for Paul to make a new set from the trac-
ings he had at home; but there were unexpected
difficulties met here and there in the construc-
tive work, as is always the case in large me-
chanical undertakings of an original nature, be-
sides which the young builders ran into the
usual delays caused by slow deliveries of parts
and materials from distant dealers and manufac-
turers; and sometimes the railroads were tardy
in transporting shipments.
All in all, the summer slipped away only too
quickly, and it came time for Paul and Bob
to go back to school again with Sky-Bird II not
64 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
more than half finished. It is true that the
long fuselage of the craft was done, with its
graceful curves and splendid, roomy, enclosed
cabin, accommodating five persons; but all con-
cerned were a little disappointed that more pro-
gress had not been made. Mr. Giddings had
been quite a frequent visitor at the fair-grounds
all through the summer, lending a voice of en-
couragement throughout the operations. He
looked really concerned, however, when Paul and
Bob had to return to Clark Polytechnic Insti-
tute for the new term of study.
"This is rather hard on us, isn't it, boys?"
he observed, with a light laugh in which he un-
successfully tried to conceal his anxiety. "Here
we are with a half -completed airplane, a race
staring us in the face for next summer, and two
of our workmen snatched away for the whole
winter by the inexorable demands of school life,
leaving only one lone fellow to finish the job."
"We'll be able to work Saturdays, dad," ven-
tured Bob, trying to wedge a little bit of cheer
into the gloomy prospect.
"And evenings. I'd be willing to work after
supper every night for a couple of hours," pro-
"You won't do any such thing," came the firm
answer. "While you are at school you two
fellows need your evenings for rest and study,
WHO'S AT THE WINDOW? 65
and your Saturdays for the school-team sports.
Only when there isn't a game on in which you
are a contestant will I allow you to help John
on the machine — even if it isn't finished for five
years. I have been thinking this situation over
for some time, for I have seen it coming," went
on the great publisher after a moment's pause;
*'and I have come to the conclusion that the best
thing I can do to hustle our ship along is to
call in another worlanan on the job, some chap
we can trust and who knows how to handle tools.
In fact, if he were a regular airplane mechanic
it would be all the better."
John Ross spoke up at once. "Mr. Giddings,"
he said, *'I think you have the right idea. Bob
and Paul can't help me much from now on, and
if we take that trip around the world next
summer this machine must be done some weeks
ahead, so that we can have a chance to test
her out and tune her up. Now, it happens that
Paul and I have a cousin — Tom Meeks — who is
about my age and who flew in the same squadron
with me over on the French front during the
war. I will vouch for Tom's ability as a me-
chanic and flyer, also as to his trustworthiness.
It happens my mother just received a letter
from Tom's folks in Illinois the other day in
which she said the factory had closed do^vn in
which he was working and he was out of a job."
66 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"And you think this Tom Meeks would be
willing to come up here, then, and help you this
winter for the salary I am paying you?" ques-
tioned Mr. Giddings with interest.
*'I think he would, sir."
"Then write to him immediately, and tell him
to come right on."
In less than a week a strapping big young
man, suitcase in hand, got off the train at the
Yonkers depot, and was warmly greeted by his
cousins, Paul and John Ross, who then intro-
duced him to Bob Giddings. Bob had been so
eager to see the new helper on the airplane that
he could not wait for a later meeting with him.
He took instant liking to the jolly newcomer,
who seemed to be ever smiling, and after a short
exchange of conversation with him hurried home
to tell his father what a splendid fellow Tom
Tom was domiciled in the Ross home, to
which he had been a visitor in other years, and
of course for the rest of that evening was kept
busy visiting with Mrs. Ross and looking at
the numerous miniature airplanes of Paul's. His
praise of the little Sky-Bird, and particularly
of the drawings of Sky-Bird II was very strong,
and when he went to the fair-grounds the follow-
ing morning with John and actually saw what a
fine-looking ship the big craft was, he was
WHO'S AT THE WINDOW? 67
stumped for words to express his full admira-
Then while John and Tom went industriously
to work, Paul and Bob rode away to Clark Poly-
technic in New York with Mr. Giddings. Just
before starting into the city that morning, the
newspaper man had met Tom, and there was
little doubt that he was well pleased with this
addition to his force of workers. Of course
Paul and Bob were sorry to have to interrupt
their labors on Sky-Bird II, but there was no
help for it, and there was some consolation in
the thought that undoubtedly their instructors
would let them work on some of the airplane's
smaller parts as a portion of their school me-
chanical practice. This supposition indeed
proved correct, and as the fall days passed they
found the two student chums not only partaking
with full spirit in the sports of their comrades,
but also contributing in no small measure to the
progress of the work on the new airplane.
As a rule, Paul and Bob managed to stop in
each Saturday for at least an hour or so to lend
some assistance to John and Tom, and when
there were no school contests on, they spent prac-
tically the entire holiday in the hangar.
The cool days of November soon compelled
the boys to install a couple of heating stoves in
the big building, and after that the place was
68 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
warm and cheery throughout the working day,
no matter how blustery and nippy the weather.
At night the coals were carefully banked with
ashes, to keep up a fair degree of warmth until
the following morning.
Up to this time nothing had been seen of any
suspicious person lurking around the premises,
but one afternoon late in the month, when Tom
Meeks was working alone in the hangar and
John had gone to town after some bolts, Tom
thought he heard a strange sound at one of the
two windows near the workbench.
Turning quicldy from the wing-strut which he
had been setting in place, Tom faced the win-
dow just in time to see a swarthy-looking coun-
tenance, adorned with a toothbrush-like mus-
tache, pulled out of range. The mechanic had
been informed of Bob's experience with the man
who had evidently followed him to the grounds
during the summer, also of the blue-prints which
had been stolen, and now as he observed the sim-
ilarity in looks between tliis eavesdropper and
the reported shadow of Bob, he became quite
With that lack of coolness and presence of
mind characterizing a more reserved tempera-
ment, the imx^ulsive Tom rushed straight up to
the window, and peered out. Of course he could
see nothing, for the peeper had been cute enough
WHO'S AT THE WINDOW? 69
upon finding himself observed to keep close to
the side of the building as he moved swiftly
toward its rear.
Tom now seized the lower sash and tried to
throw it up, so as to get a sidewise view. To
his disgust he found it double-spiked, and re-
alized that he had put that very second nail
in himself upon first learning of the loss of
"Huckleberry pie!" sputtered Tom, using his
favorite expression when excited.
He whirled about and started for the door
of the building. On account of the extensive
size of the structure it was quite a little way
to this. To make matters worse Tom dashed
forward in such haste and flurry that he did not
watch his step very closely; when he was about
half-way to the door, his toe caught the protrud-
ing leg of an innocent sawhorse, and the next
moment Tom Meeks and the sawhorse were
''Huckleberry pie!" gasped the big fellow.
His right shin hurt like fury, but he would not
stop to examine it, and covered the remaining
distance to the door in very ludicrous limping
jumps. Dashing around the front of the build-
ing, he reached the corner which gave him a view
of the side. ^
Not a soul was in sight. Not to be outdone
70 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
completely, Tom hurried along the side of the
building. As he came near the rear end he saw
a slender figure just clambering over the high-
board fence of the field in the rear of the hangar.
Lame as he was, big Tom knew there was no
chance of his overtaking the fleet-footed and
cunning stranger, so he returned to his work
very much crestfallen in spirit.
When John heard what had happened, on his
return to work, he was considerably disturbed,
and suggested to his comrades the advisability of
placing a night-guard on the premises for a while
at least, since this unknown enemy might make
an effort some night to burn or irreparably dam-
age the Sky-Bird. The others sanctioned this
precaution, and thereafter took turns in watch-
ing, although this vigilance was apparently all
for naught, as no suspicious character appeared.
THE SKY-BIRD II
WELL, Mr. GIddings, what do you
think of Sky-Bird II?" asked John
Ross, one memorable day.
There was a smile of deep satisfaction on
John s own bronzed features as he put the ques-
tion, a smile which was duplicated on the faces
of his three co-workers — Paul, Bob, and Tom
Meeks. It was the latter part of March, Easter
vacation week for Paul and Bob, and the two
chums had been working every one of the last
three days helping John and Tom put the finish-
ing touches on the big new airplane. And now
this Friday morning it rested gracefully upon
its own rubber-tired wheels, its great stretch
of wings spread out as airily as those of a mon-
ster bird, its huge two-bladed propeller glisten-
ing like burnished silver, and its body running
backward in a splendid symmetrical taper, to
end at the well-proportioned tail. Sky-Bird II
was done at last.
Mr. Giddings was so lost in admiration at
the beautiful lines of the craft that he did not
reply immediately to John's question. He had
72 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
not seen it for almost two weeks, and in that
time, under the onslaughts of the four boys, it
had changed appearance in a striking way, nu-
merous finished parts having been connected and
paint and varnish having been applied.
"All I have to say, young men, is that if she
performs anywhere near as well as she looks, I
shall be thoroughly satisfied with the money I
have invested thus far," declared the great news-
paper man with an enthusiasm which he did not
try to conceal. His eyes were shining, as he
walked around the craft looking at it from all
sides. He rubbed his fingers lingeringly over
the smooth fuselage, and smiled quietly as he
regarded the name "Sky-Bird II" lettered in
large blue characters on her sides and under-
neath each long bird-like wing. Then he
mounted a folding step and went through a neat
door into the glass-surrounded cabin. This was
deep enough to stand up in, and provided com-
fortable upholstered cane seats for the pilot and
four passengers or assistants. All of these seats
except the pilot's and observer's were convertible,
forming supports for the swinging of as many
hammocks, and in a small space at the rear was
a neat little gasoline-burner, and over it a built-
in cupboard containing some simple aluminum
"Well, I declare!" said Mr. Giddings in
THE SKY-BIRD II 73
amazement at the convenience of things, ''it
looks as if you fellows hadn't left out a single
item needed in a long and enjoyable cruise."
"There's nothing like being fixed up for all
emergencies, sir," laughed Jolm. "As you no-
tice, we have everything for night-flying as well
as day-flying. With such a machine as this
there is no reason why a crew of four or five
could not run nights as well as days, two op-
erating while the others sleep in the hammocks.
Cold foods can be cooked or warmed up on the
gas-stove when needed, and the enclosed cabin
protects all hands from the worst effects of bad
"Wouldn't this glass break in a hailstorm?"
asked Mr. Giddings. "It seems to be pretty
"It is thin," said Paul; "that is to give it
lightness. It might check some in a hailstorm,
but it could not break out, as it is made of two
layers of glass between which is cemented a thin
sheet of celluloid."
"I think you had two Liberty motors here in
the hangar when I was here last. I neglected
to ask you the power of these, and what you
need two for," observed Mr. Giddings. "I
thought you said in the beginning that you con-
sidered one 400 horse-power engine of sufficient
strength to carry tliis plane at a fast clip."
74 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"It is this way, sir," responded John. "The
regular big biplane of the bomber type carries
two propellers with an engine for each propeller.
If one motor fails them when flying, about all
the other is good for is to make a landing with.
By reason of the great lightness of our airplane
one good 400 horse-power motor is all we need
for pulling purposes. But suppose this should
fail, as any motor might do? We could not
continue, any more than the other fellow, and
would have to volplane to the ground. Again,
suppose we wished to fly continuously more than
twelve hours? We could not do so, as such a
steady run would heat the best motor and ru.ii
it. These two Liberty motors, which we have,
overcome all these troubles. Both are so ar-
ranged that a simple switch connects and dis-
connects either one with the propeller, and both
can be put at work at the one time if needed in
a bad storm. If one stalls, the other can im-
mediately be thrown in and a forced landing
obviated. Moreover, if we could get fuel when
needed, with tliis arrangement I am safe in say-
ing we could fly steadily day and night, resting
one motor and working its mate, for a week or
"What is this?" As he spoke the publisher
touched a peculiar-looking helmet hanging from
a hook near the pilot's seat.
THE SKY-BIRD II ^ 75
Bob laughed. "Why, don't you recognize the
products of your talented son, dad?" he cried, as
he took the object down and clapped it over his
father's iron-gray head. ''That's my new wire-
less telephone headpiece, and right underneath it
here is the mahogany cabinet containing the send-
ing and receiving instruments. You see, these
two wires run from the plug up to the re-
ceivers, there being one receiver in each side of
the helmet, right over your ear, pressing against
the ear tightly by means of a sponge-rubber
"A man looks like a padded football player
with this thing on," said IMr. Giddings with a
smile. "Why is a helmet required at all?"
"We wouldn't require it so much with these
motors, as they are equipped with a new kind of
muffler which shuts out about four-fifths of the
noise other airplanes get," explained Bob. "But
for all that there are always noises in airplanes;
for instance, they say the w^hirr of the propeller
when it is revolving about 1450 revolutions per
minute, or at the full speed of this one, makes
quite a roar; so you see the need of the helmet
to shut out all undesirable sounds possible. In
ordinary planes the crew cannot talk to each
other except by using phones or putting their
lips to each other's ears and yelling at the top
of their voices, according to what John and Tom
76 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
tell me. But we don't expect to have that trou-
ble in this enclosed cabin and with this new
muffler working, do we, fellows?"
"I'm sure we won't," said John.
"Not if I'm any judge," grinned Tom.
"Can you talk with a ground station when
you're flying, say a couple of miles high?" asked
Mr. Giddings, examining a transmitter attached
to a yoked wire support which his son slipped
over his shoulders.
"Farther than that. With this particular
vacuum tube, which will amplify sounds three
or four times over any other I have tried,
we expect to talk with ground stations or other
aircraft at a distance of three thousand miles.
Notice what a simple thing it is, dad," and Bob
indicated a little glass bulb which looked a lot
like an ordinary incandescent light, but which
had a peculiar arrangement of wires and sub-
"Is the transmitter or receiver made just like
the ordinary kind?" asked Mr. Giddings.
"Practically the same, dad. The wireless
transmitter, like that of the wire telephone, con-
tains a sensitive diaphragm which your voice
strikes and sets to vibrating. There vibrations
compress and release a capsule of carbon gran-
ules which agitate and set in motion an electrical
THE SKY-BIRD II 77
current in two magnets connecting with them.
The magnets convey the sound-waves in the
form of electrical waves, along wires out to the
tip of each wing, where the wires hang down a
little way. When a message comes in it is
caught by a webbing of antenna3 wires in our
"Then I suppose these sound-waves, in other
words the words one speaks, run out of the end
of these wires into the atmosphere?"
^'Exactly, sir," agreed Bob. "That is, the
electrical waves are projected into the air and
disturb this air in a way to make it pulsate in
the same manner as your voice makes the dia-
phragm pulsate. These waves are then carried
through the atmosphere in every direction, and
sooner or later reach the antennae wires of some
station equipped to receive them. Down these
wires they dash, are registered and magnified
in the wonderfully delicate vacuum tube, and
from it are carried up into the receivers at your
"I should think they would be electrical im-
pulses when they reach the receivers," argued
Mr. Giddings. "How can a person hear tcords
from electrical discharges?"
Bob smiled. "Easy enough, dad," he went
on. "You see, this vacuum tube does the busi-
78 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
ness. The electrical current agitates this in uni-
son, and the impulses are immediately converted
into words again, — and there you are !'*
"I acknowledge my understanding now," ad-
mitted Mr. Giddings, with a hearty laugh; "but
there's just one thing yet I want light on:
Where do you get your electrical current? It
takes a dynamo to make electricity, else storage
batteries. I don't see either."
"Come outside here a moment, dad."
Bob smiled as he led the little party out of
the Sky-Bird's cabin. When they once more
stood on the hangar floor, he pointed to a pe-
culiar T-shaped object just beneath the nose of
the airplane. This had escaped the gentleman's
observation until now.
"It looks like a small propeller with a tor-
pedo sticking out from the middle of it," laughed
"So it does, dad," agreed Bob. "Well, that s
our wireless dynamo. You will notice that the
propeller faces ahead, like the big fellow here.
When the airplane is flying, the rush of wind
spins the fan at a terrific rate, its axle operates
a little dynamo in this torpedo-like case and
manufactures electric current. The current then
passes into this small apparatus here with a
bulb attached, which regulates the voltage and
sends it up to the instruments in a uniform flow.
THE SKY-BIRD II 79
no matter at what speed the airplane may be go-
^'That's a cheap way of getting current," de-
clared the newspaper man, "and a mighty good
one, too." He now changed the subject by ask-
ing: "How much do you suppose this machine
"I have been in smaller ones which weighed,
unloaded, as much as three thousand pounds,"
admitted John Ross, with a peculiar smile. "Put
your hands under the Sky-Bird's nose here and
see if you can lift her, Mr. Giddings."
"Don't joke that way, John," expostulated
Mr. Giddings. "Why, her engines are right
above this portion of her, and I couldn't lift
one of them alone."
"Just try it anyhow, dad," persisted Bob, who
also wore that queer smile.
More to accommodate them than because he
expected to accomplish anything, the publisher
half-heartedly braced himself in a crouching po-
sition and pushed upward on the airplane's
front. To his amazement the whole forward
part of the machine rose upward a foot in the
air, as if it were made of paper.
"My word!" exclaimed Mr. Giddings, letting
the craft back upon its wheels. "Who would
have thought such a thing? I had faith in this
principle of the hollow wings and helium-gas.
80 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
boys, but I never thought it could reduce the
normal weight of the plane to such a vast extent,
It is truly a wonderful idea."
"You might not believe it, but the Sky-Bird
weighs less than two hundred pounds as she
stands," said Paul. *Just before you came to-
day, Mr. Giddings, Bob and I, one at each end,
easily lifted her clear off the floor."
"It's what we aimed for, and we've got it,"
added John with satisfaction, while Tom Meeks
nodded his head and ejaculated, "I'd say so!
I'd say so!" his whole broad face abeam. "This
feather lightness means great lift, great speed,
and great cruising range."
"I should think so surely," was the decided
response of the newspaper man. "I notice you
have installed that ^automatic pilot' too. And
what's that up here in front on top of the cabin?
A searchlight, as I live!"
"Yes, dad," said Bob; "we thought that would
be a good thing in case we do any night travel-
ing on this tour of the world. It ought to have
good power, being operated with current from
the storage batteries of the wireless wind-dy-
After a little more inspection and further
questions, Mr. Giddings took his departure,
promising to be on hand at the hangar the fol-
lowing morning for the test flight.
THE TEST FLIGHT
JOHN, Paul, and Tom reached the fair-
grounds a good full hour ahead of the
scheduled start that Saturday morning. In
fact, Mrs. Ross had given them an earlier break-
fast than usual, so that they could give the Sky-
Bird II a general going over before it came time
for her to make her initial flight.
Of course all three young men were a good
deal excited, although they were careful not to
let each other know it, for fear of being the tar-
get for a little fun from the others. In this
effort at reserve, the irrepressible Tom was the
least successful of the trio, as might be expected,
and when he caught John and Paul slyly wink-
ing at each other and glancing in his direction
as he nervously tried the same control for the
third time, he blurted out: "Oh, you fellows
needn't laugh at me! You're just as much on
edge as I am, now that we're really going to fly
this old bird!"
"Come, Tom, don't try to cover up your ner-
vousness by accusing us of the same thing," pro-
82 AEOUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"You're as agitated as a young kid with his
first electric toy train, Tom," laughed John.
"How much gasoline have we got in the tanks
"The gauge shows ten gallons," said Tom,
bending down and looking at the instrument-
board in front of the pilot's seat.
"That isn't enough for a decent flight," de-
clared John. "We'll probably be out for at
least an hour, and we may use as much as fif-
teen gallons in that time; that's about half the
consumption of ordinary airplanes, you know.
We'll shove in twenty gallons more so as to be
on the safe side."
"We haven't put in any oil yet," reminded
Tom. "We'd better put in about two gallons,
I should say. Most planes use about a half-
gallon to the hour; if we use half as much, that
will give us plenty of grease."
The tanks were in the lower part of the for-
ward fuselage. With the caps removed, a hose
was inserted by Paul, and then John forced the
gasoline up by a small but powerful handpump
until the gauge told that the required additional
twenty gallons were in. The same pump would
work with the oil also, and soon the viscid fluid
had been transferred from the storage can on the
hangar floor to its proper tank in the airplane.
Thence it would feed itself up into the car-
THE TEST FLIGHT 83
bureter of the working engine by a force-pump
attached to the engine, as with the gasohne.
The boys had just finished putting in the
fuel when Mr. Giddings and Bob drove up in
the former's automobile.
"I expect this is a great day for you young
men?" said the publisher, with a smile of greet-
ing to all. "I know it is a time I have looked
forward to myself for a good many months, —
ever since I accepted the challenge of the
Clarion, in fact. Is the Sky-Bird supplied with
"Yes, sir," said John; *Ve just got through
with that job. We have easily enough fuel
aboard now for a couple of hours' flight, and
that will be long enough for a first one. New
engines are always * stiff ' and should not be run
too long at a stretch."
"Have you run this pair yet?"
"Oh, yes," said Bob. "We have tried them
out several times, dad, and in connection with
the propeller, too. They work tip-top, either
connected or disconnected. I tell you, when
they're in connection they certainly do make this
big propeller hum !"
"I can't understand how you can operate the
propeller in here," said Mr. Giddings, much
puzzled. "All the airplanes I have seen have
always dashed forward as soon as their pro-
84 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
pellers began to revolve under impulse of the
motor or motors ; there was no restraining them.
I should think this machine would run through
the front end of the hangar here as soon as
"Pardon me, sir," interrupted John, "but we
have gone those fellows one better. You forget
that in the drawings we showed you there was a
set of brakes designed to be worked by a con-
trol within reach of the pilot, brakes which will
engage these ground wheels a good deal the
same as brakes work on automobiles — ^by a flex-
ible band of steel and grit-filled cotton which is
made to compress over a large sort of hub on the
inner side of each wheel."
"Very good," said Mr. Giddings; "but I un-
derstand that has been tried before, with the re-
sult that the airplane at once tipped forward
and stuck its nose into the ground, or rather
tried to, smashing its propeller to smithereens."
"They will do that every time unless some-
thing has been devised to counteract this ten-
dency to pitch over," explained John. "We
have devised the thing to prevent it, Mr. Gid-
"See here, dad," put in Bob at this point.
"Stoop down a bit and look under the forward
end of the body here."
THE TEST FLIGHT 85
His father did as requested, and Bob pointed
out a circular opening about the size of a saucer,
from which protruded the end of an aluminum-
encased shaft bearing a small rubber-tired wheel
of very sturdy proportions.
"That is our preventer, dad," smiled his son.
"In a few minutes we'll show you how it
works," added John Ross. "I see you are wear-
ing a cap, sir, as I suggested. That is all the
special dress you will need, as our enclosed cabin
makes helmets and close bundling unnecessary.
We fellows will wear our regular working togs."
Everything being in readiness, the four young
men easily pushed the big airplane out of the
building and to a place where it would have a
smooth runway for a hundred yards ahead. The
weather was ideal for the trip. There was little
wind, and the few strato-cumulus clouds which
were visible showed great stretches of azure-blue
sky between them.
"Everybody climb in," ordered Tom, with a
wave of his hand. "I'll crank her up. You
take the joy-stick, John."
All hands complied. Then Tom began to turn
the big burnished x^ropeller, just as John threw
a lever from the inside which caused the auxil-
iary ground wheel to shoot down and engage the
sod. At the same time the movement of another
lever by Paul set the airplane's brakes.
86 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
Several times Tom turned the propeller
around. Then, with a pop, the engine cylinders
began to fire, Tom jumped swiftly back, and the
propeller whirred like a mad thing. At the
same time the Sky-Bird gave a start, as though
to dash forward; but beyond a steady, slight
vibration of her whole body, as Tom slowed
down the motor to four hundred revolutions per
minute, there was no indication to her inmates
that she was straining to get away. Tom now
quietly mounted the step, and came into the
cabin, pulling the step up after him and closing
the self -locking door.
"That shows you how this third ground wheel
acts, dad!" cried Bob triumphantly to his father,
who sat in a chair adjoining. "Now watch the
old girl jump ahead when Paul throws back the
brake lever and his brother lifts the third wheel
and gives her more gas!"
The changes were made even as he spoke; the
propeller's hum grew into a mild roar through
the cabin walls> and the Sky-Bird leaped away
over the ground, gaining momentum at every
yard. To the surprise of even two such veteran
flyers as John Ross and Tom Meeks, the air-
plane had gone less than fifty yards when she
began to rise as gracefully as a swallow in re-
sponse to her up-turned ailerons and elevators.
In less than ten seconds she was well up over the
THE TEST FLIGHT 87
fair-grounds, and the roofs of all the buildings
in the neighborhood were seen below them.
John kept the machine mounting at a good
angle until the altimeter showed them to be up
two thousand feet. Then he straightened out
the ailerons and elevators, and began to run on
a level keel. The other inmates of the cabin
noticed, by looking through the observation win-
dows, that he was gradually bearing in a great
circle about the town of Yonkers. Off to the
northwestward were the rugged blue crags of
the Catskills, covered with patches of milk-white
snow, and just in front, winding like a huge ser-
pent among the picturesque foothills, was the
sparkling Hudson, dwindling away to a mere
silver thread in the north, tapering away in the
same manner toward the south, where it lapped
the piers of the city of New York and imme-
diately afterward lost itself in the waters of the
Upper Bay. Although the great skyscrapers of
the big city itself could be dimly seen, they
looked very small at that distance.
Directly below them our friends could make
out the familiar buildings and landmarks of
their own town as they swept past one by one,
John purposely flying at reduced speed so that a
clearer vision could be had. He also shot down
to within a thousand feet, presently, as he saw
his own home approaching. Someone, whom
88 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
both John and Paul immediately recognized as
their mother, stood in the door waving a hand-
kerchief. In recognition, Paul drew down one
of the sliding windows, and put out his head
and fluttered his own handkerchief. Shortly
afterward — it seemed not more than a minute —
the machine was over Shadjniook Hill, and Bob
and his father were waving a similar salute to
As they swept on, men and women and chil-
dren could be seen looking up from the streets
beneath. Most of these people were used to
seeing airplanes, but obviously the bright finish
of the Sky-Bird II, and its striking eagle-like
appearance created more than passing notice.
Those in the cabin were amazed to note how
eflfectually the new muffler and the walls of the
cabin shut out the sounds of operation. It was
very easy for them to talk back and forth with
each other by using a fairly strong pitch of
voice, even when the machine was running at a
good rate, as it now began to do, for John once
more gave the engine more gas, and turned the
airplane skyward. Up, up they shot like a
rocket. The hand on the dial of the altimeter
moved along steadily — it reached 2 again, passed
to 3, 4, 5, 6; the earth seemed literally to be
falling away from them. All at once, when they
were between six and seven thousand feet high.
THE TEST FLIGHT 89
and watching the minute patches of color far
below, which represented buildings, houses, hills,
and the like, these objects were swept away, and
through the glass plates of the cabin floor they
could see nothing but a gray vapor below them.
It was also around them.
"We're passing up through a cloud," said
Bob to his father, who had never been in an
airplane before. A moment or two later, the
boy added, as the blue sky could once more be
seen below, "Xow we're above it, dad."
"It seems to be getting colder," remarked
"It always gets colder the higher one goes,"
"I hope you're not getting cold feet, dad?"
"Oh, I'm comfortable, thank you," laughed
his father. "Say, son, isn't this as good a time
as any to try out the merits of that wireless
'phone of yours? Can you work it from this
"I don't know why I can't — and three times
higher," Bob said; "we'll try it right now. When
I left home I told Sis to mind the set there in
my room, and watch for my signal. We'll see
now if I can get in touch with her."
So saying. Bob put on the wireless helmet,
threw the switch, and kept repeating, "Hello,
90 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
Sis! hello, Sis! hello, Sis!" for a few moments
in the transmitter. Then he said, after a brief
silence: "I get you, Betty. Won't answer you
now, as I want dad to talk to you."
With that Bob smiled, removed the headpiece,
and slipped it over his father's head, exchanging
seats with him.
Mr. Giddings now heard a voice— the voice
of his own daughter — asking quite distinctly:
"Do you hear me, daddie?"
"I certainly do, Betty," said he; "where are
"Here at home — up in Robert's room. I
never thought I'd be sometime talking with you
when you were flying through the air. Mother
just called upstairs and says she can't see the
Sky-Bird any longer. Where are you now?"
"Up above the clouds somewhere just north
of Yonkers," replied Mr. Giddings laconically.
"Oh, goodness! I must run right down and
tell mother. Please don't go too high or too
far, daddie, will you?" came the clearly agitated
tones of the daughter. "Is Robert all right?"
"Indeed he is. We'll soon be back with you
and tell you all about it. Everything is work-
ing perfectly. Good-bye, Betty!"
And Mr. Giddings arose with a pleased laugh,
and hung up the helmet. "I'll take off my hat
to you, Robert," he said. "I never thought your
THE TEST FLIGHT 91
fussing at home all these years with electric bat-
teries, buzzers, and what not, would amount to
anything like this."
The Sky-Bird II was now running straight
ahead with the speed of the wind, John giving
the craft more and more gas, and crowding her
pretty close to the limit. The wind swept by
both sides of the streamlike cabin with a rushing
sound like the distant roar of a huge cataract;
the flexible window glass gave slightly to its
pressure, but there was no sign of it breaking.
One minute they were in the midst of a cumulus
cloud; the next, through it. Now they saw the
faint outline of the earth, now sky; now the
earth was screened by cloud, but above were
the blue heavens.
"Guess how fast we're making it now?" cried
John, one eye on the dial which connected with
"A hundred miles," ventured Mr. Giddings.
"Hundred and thirty," guessed Paul and Bob.
"Hundred and eighty," stated the more ex-
"All too low," said John. "We're going
just exactly two hundred and fifty, if this speed-
ometer doesn't lie!"
He now announced that he was going to
throw in the idle engine. This was done suc-
cessfully, and under the extra power they were
92 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
soon making the remarkable speed of three hun-
dred miles an hour! John then slowed up and
disconnected first one motor and then the other,
the airplane continuing to fly with unimpaired
As a last test, he dropped to a level of three
thousand feet, at which time they were con-
siderably north of Albany, and throwing the
automatic-pilot into operation calmly removed
his hands and feet from every control except
the rudder. In this fashion they ran for fifteen
or twenty miles on a perfectly even keel, the
apparatus automatically working the elevators
and ailerons of the craft as various wind cur-
rents tended to disturb its equilibrium. At
length, John gave a little twist to the rudder,
and the way the Sky-Bird began to circle, and
to bank of her own accord, was a splendid sight
to behold. No hawk, sailing over a barnyard
in quest of an unw^ary fowl, could have per-
formed the trick more beautifully.
As the flyers now headed for home they were
all much elated at the success of the first flight
of the new airplane. And as it gracefully
swooped down into the fair-grounds a little later,
coming to a stop in a surprisingly short run
over the ground owing to her braking feature,
this elation was increased.
AFTER getting out of the airplane, Mr.
Giddings was thoughtful for some min-
*" utes. Nor did he speak until the boys
had pushed the machine into the hangar. Then
he said, with deep earnestness:
"Young men, a great load has been removed
from my mind by this recent performance of
the Sky-Bird II. I have now not the slight-
est doubts of her adaptability to make a round-
the-world trip, and if she performs then as she
did this morning, we are not only going to de-
feat the Clarions crew, but we are going to
smash all existing records for a journey of the
kind. I wish to know if you really think you
could operate this machine steadily night and
day, say for a couple of weeks, stopping only
for fuel and food?"
"By alternating the engines — ^yes, sir; no
doubt of it," declared John Ross without a mo-
ment's hesitation, while Tom Meeks nodded his
frowsy head energetically.
"Then," said Mr. Giddings, "you may con-
94 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
sider that's what the entire four of you will have
to do in a few months, as soon as we can pick
out a route and get fuel supplies at the different
airports or stops for you. John, you and Tom
may consider yourselves under salary right on
until after this race ; there will be enough for you
to do, helping me with arrangements and taking
care of the airplane."
"Well, but how about Paul and me, dad?"
broke in Bob anxiously; "aren't we going to
have anything to do?"
"Oh, you two will have enough to do going
to school, I think," laughed Mr. Giddings; "but,
to satisfy you, I will let you both help John
and Tom select a route and make out a schedule.
Do this just as soon as you can, so that I may
be able to give Mr. Wrenn, the publisher of
the Clarion, a copy. He can then make intelli-
gent preparations for his own crew. I am go-
ing to give my rival every consideration in this
matter, so that he cannot do any howling if we
beat him. It must be an out-and-out fair race,
do you understand?"
"Have you heard anything about the other
crew yet, Mr. Giddings?" inquired Paul. "I
mean, do you know what sort of a craft they
are going to use, or who is going to fly against
FINAL PREPARATIONS 95
"I am as much in the dark about those points
as you young men," was the reply. "I judge
that Mr. Wrenn, who is an astute business man,
will keep us in ignorance of his personnel until
the last minute. The fact is, I am going to
treat him to a dose of his own medicine in this
respect. So be careful not to let the public get
close to tliis machine, and talk with no one about
With that the publisher and Bob drove home,
but the latter came back in the afternoon, and
all four young men immediately repaired to the
Yonkers Public Library with a blank tablet,
there to work out the route and schedule.
It was no easy task. In the first place, they
wished the route to be as close to the equator
at all times as possible, so that their line of
travel would approximate in distance the world's
estimated circumference of 24,899 miles. In the
second place, for stops they must choose cities
or towns with either established landing-fields, or
with grounds level enough for this purpose. In
the third place, these airports must be so divided
that they would not have to be visited during
the hours of darkness, for few if any of them
would be likely to have efficient enough lighting
systems to make night landings safe.
Within fifteen minutes the boys had the long
table in front of them literally covered with
96 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
geographies, atlases, loose maps, and encyclo-
psedias. Paul even brought up a globe as large
as a pumpkin, while Bob was not content until
he had secured a score of back numbers of travel
magazines. Into this divers collection of dia-
grams and reading matter they dove with an
avidity which would have surprised the teachers
they had when they were in grammar school, if
they could have seen them. It soon became evi-
dent that they would not only need a route and
schedule to make their journey successful, but
also an enormous amount of general information
about the countries they would pass over,
"We'll have to study trade winds, oceanic
storm conditions, temperatures, inhabitants, to-
pography, and so forth, and so forth," drawled
Tom Meeks. "Say, fellows, I feel like kicking
myself to think I didn't study my geography
more and shoot paper-wads less, when I was a
kid at school."
"We'll have to do a lot of cramming, that's
sure," averred Jolm; "but we have several months
for that. Just now we want to jmnp into this
route and schedule."
They made up several tentative routes, only to
discard them. Finally, after several hours'
work, they had one which everybody seemed to
agree was the best that could be picked out.
With the schedule, which was figured on the
FINAL PREPARATIONS 97
basis of 120 miles an hour airplane speed, the
draft looked like this:
* Gain of 1 day by reason of crossing 180th MeridiaR, or Inter-
national Date Line, between Port Darwin and Apia.
Bob Giddings carried home a copy of this
schedule, and the following Monday morning
all four young men met by appointment in the
private office of the publisher of the Daily Inde-
pendent. After they were seated, Mr. Giddings
brought forth the tentative draft, studied it a
few moments, and then asked:
"What is your fuel capacity, boys?"
"Our tanks will hold enough gasoline and oil
98 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
to carry us a little better than five thousand
miles, throttled down to an average of one hun-
dred and twenty miles an hour, the basis on
which we figured out this schedule, sir," an-
"Would it make a difference if you flew faster
"Oh, yes," said John; "the faster a pilot flies
the more fuel he uses per mile. Full out — that
is, going at the limit of her speed — the Sky-
Bird probably would not cover more than three-
"I am glad to know this," said Mr. Giddings.
"I see that your cruising radius is sufiicient to
cover your longest jumps at any reasonable
speed. Let me see; you allow yourselves three
hours' stop at each airport; will that be long
"Plenty, sir," said Tom; "we figure that we
can easily refuel in that time, and attend to any
local affairs we may have."
"I notice your total mileage is exactly equal
to the estimated circumference of the world,"
remarked the publisher. "That shows great care
in the selection of this route to meet my view-
point; but may I ask how you know your dis-
tances between airports, as here recorded, are
correct? From whence did you get these mile-
FINAL PREPARATIONS 99
"Bob and I figured them out, sir," spoke up
"Why, like this, dad," explained Bob. "We
knew there were 360 degrees to the world; we
divided the circumference of 24,899 miles by 360,
and obtained approximately 69.5 miles to a de-
gree. By taking a map of the world and find-
ing the number of degrees between any two air-
ports it was not difficult to come pretty close
to the actual distance in miles between them."
"Very good; very good, indeed," approved his
father. "I think I have the right sort of men
on this job. But here is another thing which
occurs to me: Have you based your time of ar-
rival and leaving at each port upon local time
or New York time?"
"Local time," stated Paul. "If we had not
done so we could not have arranged the schedule
with any accuracy at all, as regards daylight and
darkness and the lapping of time. With our
watches set to New York time, we might expect
to land at a station in broad daylight, only to
find that we were really coming in after dark.
Another thing: Our figuring showed us that
the lappages of time, all added together, exactly
totaled one day of twenty-four hours, which we
gain by traveling eastward. So, while the sched-
ule on a calendar at home would only show ten
100 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
days which we would be gone, we would in re-
ality be away one day longer, or eleven."
"Your local times may be wrong," hinted Mr.
"I don't think so, sir; we proved them cor*
rect," stated Paul, with conviction.
"After the same method we used in getting
the mileage, sir. You see, we knew that time
eastward keeps getting later, and that this rate
is four minutes to every degree. We just
counted the degrees between places and figured
it out on that basis."
"Splendid!" exclaimed Mr. Giddings, who
was far from as ignorant of these processes
as he led his visitors to suppose. "Boys, I wish
to compliment you very highly upon this piece
of work. When I first looked at the schedule
and saw that an airplane meeting its require-
ments would make this trip squarely around the
world in seven and a half hours less than ten
days I could scarcely credit my senses, and I
figured it all over to make sure you had made
no mistake. I found out you had not. If you
can maintain an average speed of one hundred
and twenty miles, and can make up any unfore-
seen delays by greater speed, I must admit it
really looks possible for you to be back inside
of ten days. That is better than I actually
FINAL PREPARATIONS 101
hoped for, young men, — far better! In fact
the situation, as I view it, contains wonderful
opportunities for both newspapers in the way of
sales and advertising. I do not doubt but that
I can handle this affair in such a manner that I
can afford to give each of you five thousand
dollars if you make the journey within these
**Five thousand dollars!" cried our friends in
unison, while Bob exploded: "But, dad, just how
do you figure this out?"
"Mr. Wrenn and I will exploit this contest
in our newspapers — ^let the whole universe know
that it is coming off; advise the people that the
aviators are to be provided with the most modern
airplanes, and equipped with wireless by means
of which they will keep us informed frequently
of their whereabouts; that they will have cam-
eras and send us pictures; that these bulletins
shall be issued in extra editions of our news-
papers at least three or four times a day; and to
cap the climax, we will put up large bulletin
boards in front of our buildings, on which there
will be painted a chart of the trip, showing every
scheduled stop, country, and ocean crossed. This
will be electrically lighted at night, and as you
boys fly in your machine away off in some dis-
tant part of the world, our bulletin board oper-
ators will follow your course on their huge
102 ABOUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
charts, and represent you with a miniature air-
plane. In fact, I plan to get the Clarion to
'phone over reports of their crew as fast as re-
ceived, I doing likewise with them, and then we
can have two dummy airplanes on each of our
boards, showing the race in earnest at all stages
of the journey. This would cause great excite-
ment to the street onlookers. All in all, it would
make our newspapers the most talked about in
the whole country, we would gain thousands of
new subscribers, millions of extras would be sold,
thousands of dollars' worth of new advertising
contracts could be made, and our present rates
increased on account of our new prestige. Now,
you see, it will be up to you young men to keep
our office supplied with your whereabouts as
often as you can. Do that, and beat our rival
crew, and I shall be pretty well satisfied if you
don't quite make the trip in ten days."
"We will do our part, sir," responded John,
speaking for all.
There was a little further talk; and then they
took their leave, well satisfied with the turn of
events, and each determined to win his five thou-
sand dollar trophy if it were at all possible.
OFF FOR PANAMA
THAT same afternoon Mr. Giddings
called upon his business rival, Mr.
Wrenn, of the Clarion, and presented to
him the tentative program for the great race
around the world's girdle, as the Daily Indepen-
dent had planned it. Mr. Wrenn declared that
he was willing to stand by his former agreement
to allow the Independent to select the route, and
said it was entirely satisfactory to him, and that
he would at once take steps to have fuel sup-
plies on hand at the various airports for his crew
when they should arrive. He made no com-
ments as to his own airplane, but agreed that
the advertising plan his caller had worked out
was a capital one, stating that he would co-
operate heartily with him in carrying it to a
Mr. Giddings was considerably surprised that
Mr. Wrenn made no objection to the longest
"hops" on the route, which were of greater ex-
tent than the average airplane could make, and
was ready to modify the arrangement if there
104 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
had been any objection. But even when he par-
ticularly called this matter to the other pub-
lisher's attention, Mr. Wrenn only smiled serene-
ly? saying, "Those hops are perfectly satisfactory
to us," leaving Mr. Giddings with a deep won-
derment as to what sort of aircraft the Clarion
"I am under the impression that our con-
temporary has something up his sleeve, but I
cannot conceive what it can be," Mr. Giddings
confided to his son that evening upon reaching
home; and when Bob repeated this to the Ross
Iboys and Tom Meeks next day, they too began
to wonder more than ever what type of an air-
plane the Clarion proposed using against them,
and who the crew might be.
"Did your father and Mr. Wrenn decide upon
a date for the start?" asked Paul.
"Yes," repHed Bob; "they made it the 20tK
of July, this summer, weather permitting. We
start from Panama at one o'clock in the after-
"Our curiosity as to the identity of our com-
petitors will be satisfied then, at least," laughed
"And their curiosity, too!" put in Tom. "I'll
Stake my last cent they're just as much in the
dark about us and the Sky-Bird II as we are
about their outfit."
OFF FOR PANAMA 105
"We'll hope so, anyhow," remarked Bob; "but
ever since we had those blue-prints stolen, and
found we had a stranger sneaking around the
hangar, I've been uneasy."
At this reference, all the young men felt a
strange oppression. They had talked over it
more than once, and each time it had left them
with a sense of peril to their interests, why
they could not tell. As before, they now tried
to laugh it off, and began to talk about other
There was still considerable to do in the way
of preparing the Sky-Bird and themselves for
the long trip, and for weeks all four boys were
kept hustling to make the final installations of
accessories and equipment. Bob rigged up a
wireless telegraph in connection with his tele-
phone set, and for protection, four good repeat-
ing rifles and an automxatic shotgun were put
in racks in the after-cabin, while each fellow
provided himself with an automatic revolver
which he would carry in a holster attached to a
belt. Medium-weight flying suits, with a heavy,
wool-lined coat to slip on in case they flew very
high, and trim flying boots and soft gloves, made
up the personal toggery.
Whenever the boys found a chance they went
to the public library and absorbed all the knowl-
edge they could about the countries over which
106 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
they would pass and the places at which they
were destined to stop. By writing to the au-
thorities in these localities, Mr. Giddings also
secured much valuable information for them as
to present weather conditions and landing-fields
— information which was further supplemented
by numerous special airway maps supplied by
the Aero Club of America and similar aviation
organizations in foreign countries. From these
maps Paul worked out a very clear chart of
their own course from beginning to end. A
copy was given to each of the newspaper pub-
lishers concerned, to reproduce on their large
electric street boards, and another was framed
and placed immediately in front of the pilot's
seat in the cabin of the Sky-Bird II.
All this time the columns of the Daily Inde-
pendent and the Clarion contained frequent vivid
references to features of the trip calculated to
awaken the interest of the public, and as the time
slipped along into July, the attention of people
all over the land was centered upon the forth-
coming contest, and it became the principal sub-
ject for comment. The secrecy maintained by
both principals as to the kind of aircraft to be
used, and the mystery as to identity of the mem-
bers of the respective crews, only whetted curios-
ity and interest the more, as the sharp newspaper
men knew it would. Every man, woman, and
OFF FOR PANAMA 107
child in the wide world seemed to be eagerly wait-
ing for the moment to come when he or she would
see the promised pictures of the bold aviators
and their machines in the big newspapers, and
hear that they had made their first jump east-
ward from Panama.
All being in readiness, at daybreak on the
morning of July 16th the Ross boys and Tom
Meeks appeared at the Sky-Bird's hangar, and
pushed the airplane outside. As they were do-
ing so, Mr. Giddings and Bob joined them.
The publisher had planned to accompany his
crew to Panama in the machine, to see them
oflBcially off, while his reporters made the jour-
ney by train, in company with the writing force
of the rival paper.
* 'We'll keep the time of our going secret, leav-
ing before people are generally up," Mr. Gid-
dings had said to the boys ; "and by going on the
16th we'll not only be ahead of their smart cal-
culations, but we shall have about half a week to
rest up and see the country down there before
you begin your strenuous journey. I need a
little vacation anyway, so I will accompany you.
We will stop off at Miami on the way, and en-
joy some big-game fishing in the Florida waters
with some of my friends."
So the young men were very much excited and
eager to be oflf this morning of the 16th, you
108 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
may be sure. The Sky-Bird was tuned up a
little to make certain she was in first-class con-
dition, then they all climbed in and the big glis-
tening creature of wood, metal, and silk shot
up into the air. It would probably be close to
three weeks before they would see that familiar
field and hangar again, and in that time if all
went well they would circle the huge globe upon
which they and their fellow-men lived. It was
truly a most inspiring thought — one to have
filled less phlegmatic blood than theirs with the
The weather was not at all promising, masses
of gray nimbus-cloud threatening to shut out
the sun as it arose, with a promise of uncertain
winds, if not rain; but John and Tom declared
the conditions all the better for giving the ma-
chine a good test-out.
They climbed slowly upward through the
cheerless, mist-laden skies, the engine well throt-
tled back and running as smoothly as any en-
gine could. To make sure that all was in per-
fect working order, they circled for ten minutes
over the town, trying the different controls, then
turned the Sky-Bird southward.
At two thousand feet they suddenly emerged
from the fog belt into brilliant sunshine, but the
world below was lost to sight, screened by a
dense pall of mist. Accordingly, Tom Meeks,
OFF FOR PANAMA 109
who was acting as pilot, set a compass course for
Cape Hatteras, the first guide-post along the
Atlantic coast, some five hundred miles distant.
After an hour's steady running, John took the
throttle, followed later by Bob, and finally Paul.
It was a new sensation to the last-named youths
to be piloting the airplane out of view of the
earth's surface, relying solely for safety and
position upon the compass and altimeter, and
knowing that somewhere far below them swept
the rolling billows of the ocean; but they en-
joyed it immensely.
Finally, just as John declared they ought to
be close to their objective, the winds freshened
and made a great rift in the fog below them,
through which they could plainly see the grand
old Carolina coast-line a little way ahead and to
their right. Between the main shore and the
long spine-like series of reefs constituting the
cape itself, sparkled the waters of numerous
sounds, while the weather-beaten lighthouse on
the extreme elbow of Hatteras stood out like a
stick of white chalk against the rocky gray
background of its support.
All were delighted with the accuracy with
which they had made their first guide-post, as
John and Mr. Giddings checked their bearings
on the chart. The Sky-Bird had behaved splen-
didly so far, and if she continued in that way
110 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
they ought to reach their destination well before
nightfall, even at the reduced speed at which
they had been flying, wliich had averaged not
much more than a hundred miles an hour.
It now became a question whether they should
leisurely follow along the inwardly curving
coast-line, taking in Savannah, Charleston, and
Jacksonville, as guide-posts, or save a hundred
miles or more by flying straight across the wa-
ters to JVIiami. As they wished to test out each
member's ability to operate by compass rather
than by landmarks, it was decided to take the
shorter route. So gradually they left the rugged
American shore behind and swept farther and
farther out to sea.
The Sky-Bird II was flying as steady as a
rock. All the bracing wires were tuned to a
nicety, the wind humming through them and
along the smooth sides of the great creature's
body with a whistling monotone which arose
and fell with bewitching rhythm as the force
fluctuated. The varnish and fire-proofing com-
pound glistened brightly in the sunshine, attract-
ing the attention of numerous seabirds, mostly
gulls and ospre^^s, which followed them at times
for short distances, only to be outdistanced.
The engine was running at less than half its
possible speed, and purring like a contented
kitten after a meal of fresh milk. The clouds
OFF FOR PANAMA 111
and fog had cleared away; the sky was as bright
now as a sky ever gets; far beneath, the blue-
green waters of the Atlantic, flecked with white-
topped waves, spread on all sides. Two torpedo-
'boats, looking like toys, went northward, and
tiny white waving specks showed that the Jacks
aboard were waving a salute to them. Off sea-
ward a black trailing blot against the horizon
showed where some unseen steamship plowed her
way between ports. Mr. Giddings and the boys
were filled with admiration.
A small airplane is ideal for short flights, joy-
riding the heavens, or sight-seeing among the
clouds; but there is something more majestic
and stable about a big machine like the Sky-Bird
II which a pilot soon begins to love with a pas-
sion he never feels toward the little 'plane. An
exquisite community of spirit grows up between
machine and pilot; each, as it were, merges into
the vitals of the other. The levers and controls
are the nervous system of the airplane, through
which the will of the aviator may be expressed
— expressed in an infinitely fine degree. Indeed,
a flymg-machine is something entirely apart
from and above all other contrivances of man's
ingenuity. It is the nearest thing to animate
life which man has created. In the air an air-
plane ceases to be a mere piece of dumb mechan-
ism; it seems to throb with feeling, and is cap-
in AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
able not only of primary guidance and con-
trol, but actually of expressing a pilot's tempera-
The lungs of the machine — ^its engines — are
the crux of man's mechanical wisdom and skill.
Their marvelous reliability and intricacy are al-
most as awesome as the human anatomy. When
both engines are going well, and synchronized to
the same speed, the roar of the exhausts develops
into one long-sustained and not inharmonious
hoom-m-m-m-m! It is a song of pleasant
melody to the pilot, whose ear is ever pricked to
catch the first semblance of a "sharp" or "flat"
note telling him that one or more of the twelve
cylinders of each busy engine is missing fire and
needs a little doctoring.
It was about four o'clock that afternoon when
our party first sighted the low, out- jutting sea-
coast of Florida. As they came slowly toward
it, by reason of their angular course of approach,
they could gradually make out a group of green
palms here and there along the white stretches of
sand, and see clusters of light-colored buildings,
piers, shipping, and people moving about. Thus
they passed Juno and Palm Beach, and then saw
the thicker cluster of fine dwelHngs of Miami
itself, the most southerly city on the Florida
Paul was guiding the Sky-Bird at this time.
OFF FOR PANAMA 113
and turned her across the limpid waters of Bis-
cayne Bay, cutting a huge circle above the town
and slowly swooping downward toward the
broad white beach, as he picked out a level
stretch for landing. Townspeople who had been
watching the strange airplane, so much like a
great bird, now ran forward to see it land.
A moment later, with a graceful drop and up-
ward curve, it struck the sandy beach and ran
forward lightly until the brakes were applied
and it was brought to a standstill.
FIGHTING A DEVIL-riSH
MANY questions were asked our friends
by the onlookers, but they gave them
evasive replies, being careful to let out
no hint as to their real identity and connection
with the approaching race around the world.
Two husky negroes were engaged to watch the
airplane until relieved from such responsibility,
and Mr. Giddings then led the boys to the home
of a Mr. Choate, a close and trusted friend and
superintendent of the big Miami Aquarium, one
of the most noted repositories for live fish in the
Mr. Choate was astonished beyond measure
when he learned that his old friend had come in
the big airplane which he and his wife had
noticed over the town a short time before, and
was still further surprised when Mr. Giddings
bound him to secrecy and told him that the
young men with him constituted the crew of one
of the two airplanes which was so soon to circle
the earth by way of the equator. He shook
hands warmly with them, and with his charm-
ing wife made them all very much at home.
FIGHTING A DEVIL-FISH 115
Than Mr. Choate, no man in the South knew
more about the multitudinous varieties of fish in-
habiting Florida waters. He was not only an
authority on them, but he was also recognized
as a most skillful catcher of fish. For over an
hour that evening he told them absorbing stories
of the habits of Gulf Stream denizens, and re-
cited stirring tales of battles with some of the
biggest of them. And when he finally an-
nounced, "To-morrow I shall see that you are
given a taste of our wonderful fish-life by join-
ing me in a fishing expedition," they could
hardly get to sleep for thinking of the fine pros-
After breakfast the next morning, their host
conducted them down to the waterside and into
the beautiful white concrete buildings of the
aquarium, and here he proceeded to show them,
swimming about in great glass tanks, the most
wonderful collection of fish they had ever seen
outside of the big New York aquarium itself.
"You probably never realized before," said
Mr. Choate, "that in the warm waters of the
Gulf Stream, between Miami and Key West,
more than 600 varieties of fish are to be found.
They vary in size all the way from the tiny sea-
horse, the size of a baby's little finger, to the
great tarpon and killer-whale, the latter a vicious
creature weighing many tons and large enough
116 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
to swallow a good-sized boy without scraping
the buttons off his jacket."
"It must be a lot of sport to catch some of
these fairly big fish," remarked John Ross.
"Well, this afternoon I shall take you fellows
where you can all have a chance at them," said
Mr. Choate with a smile. "It would be interest-
ing to have a motion-picture record of the
thoughts which flash through the mind of the
average inland fisherman the first time he feels
the tiger-like swoop of a five-foot barrancuda,
the fierce yank of a hundred-pound amber- jack,
or the sullen surge of a big grouper on his line ;
for even when armed with the heaviest rod, and
a line as big around as a silver dollar, he is pretty
sure to wish, at least subconsciously, that his
tackle might be twice as formidable and his arm
twice as strong. Just imagine yourself, for in-
stance, out in the clear blue waters of the Gulf
Stream, looking overboard at your baited hook
thirty feet below, which you can see as plainly
as if it were in no water at all. Then up comes
a great jewfish, which is just as likely to weigh
five hundred pounds as fifty, and to be as large as
a good-sized Shetland pony, and he makes a
lunge for your bait, and — Well, you can go
right on imagining the rest, too."
In all, they visited a half -hundred tanks of
fish before they were through, watching this
FIGHTING A DEVIL-FISH 117
group and that group of inmates disporting
themselves about in the salty water with ap-
parent unconcern of visitors. In markings some
of them rivaled the most beautiful designs the
mind could picture, and others were so brilliant
and wonderful in color that the rainbow was
mild in comparison.
From the aquarium our party went up the
beach to where the Sky-Bird II was resting
under guard, and putting two new negroes to
the task, they returned and had lunch with Mr.
Choate, following which he conducted them down
to the pier and aboard his sea-going motor-yacht,
U Apache. This trim vessel had a crew of five
men, and as she started away, headed for the
Bahama Islands, a 25-foot motor-driven tender
bobbed along in her wake. In this they were to
do most of their fishing, their host declared.
Assisted by the northeastward pressure of the
Gulf Stream, they made splendid progress, and
that evening cast anchor behind Bimini, a tiny
isle which rests like a jeweled feather on a sum-
mer sea. It was like pulling teeth to go below
deck for sleep and leave the wondrous beauty
of the tropical night, with the soft, cool touch
of the ever-blowing trade wind, the shadowy
grace of the giant coconut-palms swaying and
whispering on the nearby beach in the moon-
light, while the surf, lapping upon the coral reef
118 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
on the outer side of the isle, lulled them with its
At sunrise all hands were up and ready for
the sport. A hot breakfast was served by the
cook, after which they piled aboard the motor-
tender, throwing in rods, lines, and harpoons.
Through the island channel out to the open
sea they went, all except the steersman hanging
over the side of the craft and enjoying the
amazing sights in the clear depths below. Bob
excitedly pointed out a group of six or eight
big tarpon lazily wallowing about fifty feet
beneath them. And less than two minutes after-
ward, Paul, in no less excitement, announced
the discovery on his side of a big nurse-shark
which was rolling an eye at him from the ocean's
floor. John pointed out, from the bow, a great
school of fish numbering possibly ten thousand,
which Mr. Choate stated were small mangrove-
snappers. They were parading up and down a
stretch of coral shelf along the bottom, and they
made a wild dash and hid in crannies under the
coral as a big barracuda unexpectedly shot in-
to their midst and grabbed one unlucky snapper.
In a little while the fishermen were out into
the open sea, and all began to scan the pulsat-
ing bosom of the Gulf Stream with fresh in-
terest. Strange as it may seem, the fish of
tropical waters do not appear to have the
FIGHTING A DEVIL-FISH 119
slightest apprehension of danger from the noise
of a motor-boat, and one cannot only get very
close to them, but can follow them about and
observe their movements without trouble, par-
ticularly if he is familiar with their habits.
In a little while Mr. Giddings called the at-
tention of all to a dark shadow not far below the
surface, about two boat-lengths on the quarter.
Mr. Choate promptly announced this to be a
"herring-hog," a species of porpoise, and ordered
the boat turned that way.
The creature proved to be a full-grown her-
ring-hog, weighing around four hundred pounds,
and as this species destroys great numbers of
foodfish, ]Mr. Choate made preparations to at-
tack it. Reaching the proper position, a hand
harpoon was thrown by him. It found its
mark, and away went the great fish at so fast
a clip that the line fairly smoked as it shot from
the reel barrel. In a few moments it was all out,
and then the motor-boat gave a jump forward
and rushed after the herring-hog. He was tow-
ing it, as if it had been a chip !
The engineer now reversed the propeller.
This act slowed up the herring-hog noticeably,
but still his prodigious strength carried the craft
forward. It was ten minutes or more before he
tired sufficiently for them to haul him in.
As they were making the big fish fast to the
120 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
gunwale, a considerable disturbance was ob-
served on the surface of the water about a
quarter of a mile away. Mr. Choate judged this
fuss to be caused either by a leopard-shark kill-
ing its pre}^ or by some battle royal between two
equally big denizens of the deep.
Mr. Giddings and the boys were all excited at
the thought of getting a harpoon into a huge
leopard-shark, v/hich will fight any and every-
thing that swims, as well as manj^ things of
flesh which do not swim, not excepting man him-
But as the boat drew closer, Mr. Choate, who
seemed to have uncanny eyesight plus long ex-
perience with subsea life, added greatly to the
nervousness of his guests by suddenly exclaim-
ing: "Stand by, men; it's the biggest devil-fish
I have ever seen!"
At once everybody who could find one, seized
a harpoon; and in his excitement Tom Meeks
even picked up an oar, as if to defend himself
against attack 1
In a few minutes they were close enough to
note that the entire bottom of the ocean in the
area where the creature had been seen had gone
suddenly dark; and in the translucent depths
above nearly all of the party discerned a gigan-
tic shadow moving along. It looked for all the
world like an immense pancake with bat-like
ONE OF ITS GREAT BATTLE-LIKE FINS BROKE ABOVE
FIGHTING A DEVIL-FISH 121
wings. THese wings were fluttering queerly,
and from the action of the fish Mr. Choate said
he was sure it was devouring prey which it had
just killed. He now asked Paul if he would
like to try a cast. The boy assented eagerly.
Bracing his feet in the bottom of the motor-boat
he took good aim and let his harpoon fly.
Paul had hardly hoped to hit the devil-fish.
!And probably he would not have done so, inex-
experienced as he was with a harpoon, except for
the fact that the creature was of unusual size and
presented a broad mark. As it chanced, the steel
went true. The devil-fish arose to the surface
as though hurled upward by a submarine ex-
plosion. One of its great battle-like fins broke
above the water, sending gallons of spray over
the occupants of the boat, and splintering the
harpoon staff against the boat's side as if it had
been a match stem; then its ten-foot pectoral
wing struck the water with a terrific impact,
making a noise which could have been heard
several miles away.
For a moment the monster seemed bewildered,
and that moment eost it dear, for it enabled Bob
to throw another harpoon, which stuck deep
into its body near the spine. With a mad dash
it started off to sea, taldng the harpoon lines with
it. As the lines sped out of their barrels Mr.
Choate grasped one and Mr. Giddings the other.
122 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
aided respectively by John and Tom, and all
hands strained to hold them, but although they
went out slowly, they could not be held, until
at length Paul and Bob came to the rescue and
managed to get the ends around cleats in the
However, this did not stop the devil-fish. It
made out to sea with remarkable speed for so
clumsy-looking a monster, towing the heavy boat
and its inmates after it with the ease of a horse
pulling a toy carriage! As it went, all hands
bore on the lines, adding to its burden, but for
a long time this seemed to have little or no
Every once in a while the devil-fish would
literally hurl itself several feet out of the water,
and its huge flat body would come down with
a crack like the explosion of a gun shell. Per-
haps it was imagination, but each time it broke
the surface in one of these cavortings it seemed
to the boys that the fish was bigger than the
Now and then the creature would sound for
deep water, in an effort to shake its captors off,
and several times it went down so far that Mr.
Choate stood ready with upraised hatchet to cut
the lines at the last moment, in the event the
bow should show signs of diving under.
All of a sudden the lines slackened;, and all
FIGHTING A DEVIL-FISH 123
Kands frantically hauled in slack, as the devil-
fish turned and dashed toward the boat. He
came up almost under the craft, one great wing
actually lifting one side of the heavy launch well
out of the water and giving everybody a pretty
With quick presence of mind, Mr. Choate at
this moment let drive another harpoon, which
found lodgment in the monster's flat head, and
away it dashed again with the greatest vigor.
As there was now a line leading to each side
of the devil-fish's body, those in the motor-boat
found they were able actually to drive their cap-
tive as if it were a runaway horse, a gradual
bearing on one "rein" or the other tending to di-
rect the uncertain creature in that direction.
Thus very adroitly they swerved the huge fish
toward the now distant shore of Bimini, hoping
to master it in the shallower waters of the isle.
By this time the monster had carried them
out fully ten miles. It had not forgotten its
old tactics of deep diving either, and there were
numerous occasions when, after one of these sub-
mersions, it came up and started fiercely toward
the boat, and it took the most skillful maneuver-
ing on the part of the steersman, as well as
wicked use of oars on the part of those in the
craft, to drive the creature off and keep from
124 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
They let their anchor drag, and at times
reversed the propeller, hauling on this side and
that on the the harpoon lines when the devil-fish
would not be going to suit them. In this fashion it
was slowly but surely tired out; they began to reel
in slack line, and finally the immense fish was
wallowing within twenty feet of the boat, sur-
rounded by hungry sharks which had been at-
tracted by its blood. It would never do to goad
it now by hauling in on the lines, as it might
dart under the boat and upset it, and the wait-
ing sharks could then make a meal of its luck-
less inmates. So Mr, Choate told the boys to
use their automatic revolvers and see if they
could not dispatch the devil-fish at once. This
was done, John, Tom, Paul, and Bob all firing
several shots each, which put the monster in such
a helpless state that they could handle it with
less danger to themselves.
Until that moment not one of them realized
that nearly five hours had elapsed since they
first attacked this Jumbo of the sea, so busy had
they been every moment of the time in trying
to conquer the creature. And everybody was
quite exhausted, now that the excitement was
Although this fish had three harpoons in his
body and a dozen shots in its head and heart,
it was by no means dead, and the fishermen
FIGHTING A DEVIL-FISH 125
found considerable difficulty in towing it into the
harbor, some miles away.
The natives of Bimini were greatly interested
in the capture, and our friends were able to get
fifteen of them to help draw the enormous car-
cass ashore where all could get a good look at it.
They were amazed at the unusual size of the
devil-fish, and Mr. Choate declared again that
he had never seen such a large one of its kind.
It measured twenty-two feet across, and must
have weighed close to 5,000 pounds.
*'Some people call the octopus a devil-fish,"
said Mr. Choate. "This is all wrong. They are
both large and vicious creatures, but entirely
different in looks. The devil-fish belongs to
the ray family, and, as you see, is a huge bat-
like creature which uses its body fins with a
waving, undulating motion, and propels itself
through the water at remarkable speed."
"It is built on the principle of our airplane —
in looks," said Tom with a grin; "and in speed,
"So it is," responded Mr. Choate. "It de-
rives its Satanic name from these cephalic fins
or lobes which extend outward and upward from
€ach side of its flat head, like curling horns.
When it dashes into a school of smaller fish, these
fins whirl about in every direction, and as they
are often four feet long they easily reach more
126 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
than one hapless fish and he is swept into the
yardwide mouth of the monster and devoured
with ahnost hghtning speed."
After a rest, the party went out in the motor-
boat again, this time to catch foodfish. They
had fine luck, and after an appetizing meal
aboard the L' Apache, in which their small catch
played an important part, all set out for Miami,
tired and happy.
THE STRANGE AIRPLANE
TCE first thing the boys did the following
morning, after spending the night at
the home of Mr. Choate, was to go down
to the beach and see if their airplane was all
right. They found one of the two negroes
asleep, but the other fellow was faithfully on
guard, and everything about the Sky-Bird
seemed just as they had left it, although the
watchers said that a considerable number of curi-
ous townspeople had come to look at the machine
the day before and they had been very busy
keeping venturesome boys off the craft.
Our friends let the negroes go to get their
breakfasts and some sleep, and engaged two
others to take up the watch. Following this,
in company with Mr. Choate, they all retired
to the bathhouse, secured bathing suits and had
a fine time disporting themselves in the warm
surf for the next hour. The youths had never
experienced Gulf Stream bathing before, and
128 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
the water was so enticing that it was hard to
drag themselves out of it.
As they were in the act of emerging to dress
themselves, a black speck, which all had noticed
in the northern sky, had developed by nearer
approach so that they thought they could recog-
nize it as an airplane. It was coming down the
coast very rapidly. Wondering if its pilot in-
tended to land in the vicinity, they gathered on
the beach and curiously waited for it to come
At times they were puzzled to know whether
the approaching object were really an airplane
or a great bird, for it surely looked like a bird
with its swelling breast-line and slightly tilted
broad-shouldered wings. Closer and closer it
came. It was flying very high.
When it was almost over them, INIr. Giddings
uttered a startled ejaculation: "My stars, boys!
It's our machine!"
Paul and John Ross and Tom Meeks were
equally astonished. They had noticed the strong
resemblance at the same moment. Involun-
tarily, with Mr. Giddings and Mr. Choate, they
turned their heads up the beach to see if the
Sky-Bird II was where they had left it.
They saw its huge outline and its patrolling
black guards. It had not changed position.
Even a group of gaping Miami citizens lent
THE STRANGE AIRPLANE 129
reality to the situation, and some of the latter
were gazing aloft at the other flying-machine,
as our friends had been doing.
The stranger above them evidently had no in-
tention of stopping. Instead of circling the
town, as he would have done had he intended to
land, he swept straight over and kept on
his southward course, heading across Florida
On the face of every one of our friends, as
they saw this image of the Sky-Bird II cross
the sky overhead and disappear in the mists
beyond, was a look of amazement, incredulity,
and finally dark suspicion.
"Can it be—?" Mr. Giddings hesitated, and
looked inquiringly at his younger companions.
"It looks that way," said John Ross, with a
None needed to explain that the same thought
had struck him, also. The stolen blue-prints —
the skulking man with the swarthy face! He
had duplicated the Sky-Bird 1
More than that, each recalled the Clarion's
secrecy about the kind of airplane it planned to
use ; and its willingness to attempt the long "hops"
which ordinary machines would have had diffi-
culty in negotiating. It all pointed to but one
logical meaning. And Bob Giddings expressed
the opinion of all when he observed:
130 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"Dad, I believe there goes our prospective
competitor in the race around the world 1 He's
making for Panama now!"
Further comment on the situation would have
been useless. All hands, each with disturbing
thoughts of his own, went silently into the bath-
house and resumed his regular garb.
Mr. Choate and his wife begged them so
hard to remain over another day at least that
Mr. Giddings assented. That afternoon they
went for a long automobile ride along improved
roads, both sides of which were lined with
palms in places, luxuriant tropical grasses in
others, and towering forests covered with creep-
ing vines. They stopped the car a number of
times to visit great orange groves, and the boys
had their first taste of the luscious fruit just
as it ripened on the trees.
The following morning, directly after break-
fast, they were besieged by two or three local
newspaper reporters. Seeing no use of further
concealing their identity, Mr. Giddings gave
out a little information to the gleeful news-
paper men, but was careful to wire in to his own
newspaper much more detail of their doings
since leaving Yonkers, even mailing some photo-
graphs which they had taken of the tussle with
the big devil-fish.
In the afternoon our party paid a visit to
THE STRANGE AIRPLANE 131
the aquarium again, extending it to the Biologi-
cal Laboratory nearby; and took supper in the
beautiful white casino, which fronts the beach,
after they had had a refreshing plunge in the
ocean's waters. Then Paul and Bob took up Mr.
and Mrs. Choate for a short flight in the air-
Early the next morning they bade their
Miami friends good-bye, and once more took
to the air, this time to complete the last leg of
.their journey to Panama. It was found that
the Sky-Bird's fuel tanks were apparently still
full enough to carry them to their destination,
so it had not been necessary to store either gaso-
line or oil in Miami. This was very gratifying,
as it showed quite conclusively that, later on in
the race, the Sky-Bird would be able to make her
longest jumps without the peril of fuel short-
At a height of close to two thousand feet
they headed across Florida Strait, with Paul at
the throttle. It was a real joy to be looking
through the glass panels of the airplane's cabin
once more, to hear the muffled roar of her en-
gine and propeller, and to realize that probably
before dark they would be across the five hun-
dred miles of blue waters of the Caribbean and
hovering over the w^orld-famous Canal Zone.
It was a fine morning. What clouds could be
132 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
seen were well above them — light, billowy, and
white, reflecting the sunlight so strongly upon
the white-capped waters below, that the sea
seemed much closer to the voyagers than it really
Shortly after eight o'clock they crossed over
the long, low-lying island of Cuba, dipping down
close enough to get a fairly good view of the
topography. Then rising to three thousand feet,
they swerved a little to the eastward and made
off across the Caribbean Sea itself.
At a few minutes of eleven they sighted the
shore of Jamaica, five miles or so to the east-
ward of them. Then John took the throttle,
both engines were put into the work, and they
began to whizz through the air at a clip which
would have made them gasp for breath had
they been in an open cockpit. As it was, the
rush of air as it swept along each side of the
fuselage and off its narrowing tail, became a
veritable howl in whose noise they found con-
versation very difficult. Tom Meeks, who was
leaning over John's shoulder and watching
the instrument-board, triumphantly announced
presently that they were traveling at the rate
of 280 miles an hour!
For thirty minutes or more John Ross kept
the Sky-Bird going at this terrific speed, then
he slowed up, and transferred into mono-engine
THE STRANGE AIRPLANE 133
gear, as there was no use in unnecessarily heat-
ing the power-plants. As the indicator of the
speedometer retreated to 150 miles, he turned the
throttle over to Bob Giddings, and said: "Hold
her at this rate, Bob; it's plenty fast enough for
It was a little after one o'clock when Paul and
Tom announced land to the westward. After
looking at the object, which surely had the ap-
pearance of land, Mr. Giddings laid down the
glasses and consulted the chart.
"That's undoubtedly the outer point of Nica-
ragua," he said; and upon taking a look them-
selves with the binoculars, the others all agreed
Keeping the low-lying coastline of the con-
tinent on their right, and buffeted considerably
by contrary winds which now began to make
themselves manifest. Bob threw the automatic-
pilot into gear at a suggestion from John, as
this insured greater safety, and steered with the
rudder only. At once the riding became easier,
for the moment a gust of wind hit the machine
on one side, the elevators and ailerons shifted
and counteracted its uneven effect.
After a while Bob turned slightly to the east-
ward, and about mid-afternoon they came in
sight of Colon, the Atlantic terminal city of
the great Canal. Sweeping over its collection
134 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
of houses, at an elevation of about fifteen hun-
dred feet, they passed the big white Gatun locks,
and followed the trail of the Panama Railroad
across the great neck of rugged land which
joined North and South America — followed,
too, the tortuous, wonderful channel which
American enterprise had cut through.
Thus over Gatun Lake they flew, over the
Chagres River; along the course of Culebra Cut,
with its high banks, across the Pedro Miguel
and Miraflores locks on the other side of the
isthmus; over Ancon; and finally below them
lay clustered the white-robed buildings of
Panama itself, with the swelling blue reaches
of the big Pacific to the southward and west-
ward, and the bold shore-line of South America
to the southeastward.
Looking down as they circled the narrow
tongue of land on which the city proper nestled,
our friends soon made out the big Government
landing-field and airdrome, distinguished by its
whitewashed cobblestone markers at either end.
And, now, as the Sky-Bird II swooped down-
ward, several attendants in white pantaloons
could be seen running out of the building.
When the airplane had settled, these men
came up. Two were short, black fellows, prob-
ably San Bias Indians; but the other two were
whites, though well-burned by the tropical suns.
THE STRANGE AIRPLANE 135
The taller of the white men introduced himself
as Henry Masters, superintendent of the land-
ing-field, and was extremely courteous when he
learned the identity of the new-arrivals.
"We have been looking for you gentlemen,"
said he, "and I'm glad to know you had such a
fine run from Miami. There are a lot of
strangers in town — ^been arriving for the last
three or four days — all to witness the start of
this big race. Most of them seem to be news-
paper men from the States, though there are a
number from South America, and even Africa
and Europe. Is this the plane that you fellows
representing the Daily Independent are going
to fly in?"
"This is the one, Mr. Masters," responded
*Tt is a beauty," said the superintendent vAih.
enthusiasm, as he glanced over the graceful out-
lines of the Sky-Bird. "I never saw one built
on these lines until the other day, when what
seems to be its twin came in."
"Much like-um lot," remarked one of the
natives, and his companion, added more con-
cisely: "Same like-um lot."
In spite of the fact that our party had been
fearing some such information as this upon
reaching Panama, the actual announcement of it
made their hearts jump wildly.
136 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"Where is this machine now?" asked Mr.
Giddings as calmly as he could.
"In the hangar," was the reply of Masters.
"It is the one that is going to fly against you."
"Who is in charge of it?" inquired John
"Five arrived in it. Four of them are to be
in the contest, they say. The other gentleman is
Mr. Wrenn, of the New York Clarion f
A few minutes later, when they pushed the
Sky-Bird into one of the big double hangars,
their suspicions were conclusively clinched. For
there at one side stood the very counterpart of
their own airplane, differing only in the name
painted upon its sides and under its big hollow
wings. These letters spelled "Clarion"!
A FAMILIAE FACE
OUR friends exchanged glances. The
brow of every one of them contracted
into so plain a frown that Mr. Masters,
the superintendent of the airdrome, could not
help noticing it.
"I hope nothing is wrong, gentlemen^" he ven-
"So do we," responded Mr. Giddings, "but if
there is, it is nothing concerning you, sir, at
least. We thank you for your attention to our
machine, and wish you to take the best care of
it while it is here. Don't let anybody meddle
with it, will you?"
"We'll look after it right, you may depend
upon that," said the flying official; and the
party turned and left the building.
Outside, where they would be secure from the
hearing of others, all came to a pause, for there
was a lot on their minds.
"Well, boys," said the publisher, "y^u see
our suspicions back there in Miami were cer-
tainly well-founded. It seems that in some
138 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
manner those stolen blue-prints have fallen into
the hands of our rivals, and they have been wise
enough to profit by the fact."
"Do you think, dad, that Mr. Wrenn could
have been back of this theft?" propounded Bob
who, although the publisher was a business rival
of his father's, had always thought him above
"I really do not know what to think," was
Mr. Giddings's answer. "I have aways enter-
tained the greatest respect for this gentleman's
honesty, if he does differ with me politically.
But I must admit that since this thing has hap-
pened — "
*'Sh-h!" warned Bob suddenly. "Here comes
Mr. Wrenn now!"
It was as he said. Turning his head in the
direction of the entrance to the landing-field,
Mr. Giddings instantly recognized, in the short
figure in linen coming toward them, the person
of the publisher of the Clarion,
"I shall have this matter out with him right
now," was the grim declaration of the Daily In-
"Well, well! how are you, Giddings? How are
you, Robert?" cried Mr. Wrenn, sticking out
his pudgy hand when he came up to the little
group. Such was his gusto that he did not seem
to notice the lukewarmness of the father's and
A FAMILIAR FACE 139
son's greeting. Mr. Giddings introduced Jolin,
Paul, and Tom, and then the publisher of
the Clarion continued with good-humored rail-
lery: "I'm mighty glad to see you fellows
here, for I began to think you would get scared
and flunk us at the last moment. Was over
on the hotel veranda when I saw a plane land
here, and I guessed it might be you, and hurried
right over. Put your machine up yet?"
"We did," said Mr. Giddings rather sourly.
"And do you know, Wrenn, when we ran the
Sky-Bird in the hangar we saw yours in there
and received quite a disagreeable surprise — ^I
may say shock."
Mr. Giddings and the boys watched the broad
face of their rival very narrowly as this state-
ment was put. Would he act guilty?
There was an explosion of laughter, the
heartiest of laughter, from the Claiion director.
"Oh, say, that's one on you, Giddings! I knew
you'd be down in the mouth when you saw our
machine and realized that you would have to
contend against one as good or better than your
own — one of the same type!" And he laughed
again, until he had to wipe tears from his little
This was incomprehensible conduct from
a guilty conscience! What could it mean?
Surely Mr. Wrenn, of the Clarion, was either
140 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
the coldest and deepest-dyed rogue in the world
or a man entirely innocent!
"How did you know that we had an airplane
like yours?" asked John sharply.
The fat man broke into renewed chuckles at
this question, and it was a moment or two be-
fore he could find words. Then he said:
''There's a little story connected with this, and
now that we're right on the eve of the race and
there's nothing to be gained by further secrecy,
I'll tell it to you. You see, about a year and a
half ago, possibly two years, a young man came
to me for a job as sporting reporter; said he
had been a flyer in France and that the Govern-
ment wanted him as an Air Mail pilot, but he
would rather take up the newspaper game. I
put him to work, and he proved very good in
gathering news of sports, especially aviation
stuff. A week or so after you challenged me
to this race — which I would have liked to back
out of, but couldn't and save my honor — this
chap showed me some blue-prints of a novel kind
of airplane which he claimed to have co-devised
with a flyer friends who, he said, was helping to
make you a machine of the same type for this
contest. He — "
"What is this young man's name?" inquired
John Ross excitedly.
A FAMILIAR FACE 141
"Peter Deveaux!" exclaimed John and Paul
at once. And John added: "Mr, Wrenn, that
fellow did not refuse to fly in the Air Mail ser-
vice ; he did fly, and was dishonorably discharged
for drunkenness. Furthermore, he stole those
plans from our hangar!"
The publisher of the Clarion opened his eyes
wide. "Can you prove those assertions?" he in-
quired. "That last one is a serious charge, sir."
"Nevertheless we can prove it when we get
back to New York," declared John warmly.
"Well," said Mr. Wrenn, "I'll finish my
story, and then we can talk over this new de-
velopment more understandingly. As I said,
Deveaux claimed to have a half-right in the
plans, and having no reason to doubt it, I told
him to proceed, when he proposed to make an
airplane for us from the designs and to head
a crew for the Clarion in this race around the
world. Now you will understand my position
in the matter."
*Wrenn," spoke up Mr. Giddings with quick
frankness, "I beg your pardon. The young
men here and myself fancied you must have had
a guilty part in the production of this fac-simile
of our airplane. We now see who is really to
"I do not blame you for your suspicions,"
was the candid reply of the fat man, "if things
142 ABOUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
are as you state; and I will do you the honor,
Giddings, to say that, although we are business
rivals, your word is as good as gold with me.
This is a lamentable situation. What shall we
do about it?"
Mr. Giddings studied deeply before making
answer. Then he observed: *'Wrenn, this con-
test, as you know, has been too widely adver-
tised to wreck it just as it is about to begin by
the arrest of this man, Peter Deveaux. Say
nothing to him about it; in fact, we will none
of us mention a word of this to anybody; but
when the race is over you can quietly dismiss
him from your service, if you wish. As I now
look at it, no great harm has been done, if any,
by his duplicity; with two planes practically
alike, the race will really be a fairer one, and a
more exciting one for the public who read our
newspapers, and supremacy will probably go
to the better crew."
"I don't know about my crew, as Deveaux
picked them up; but they did good work when
they brought me down here the other day in the
plane," said Mr. Wrenn. "Giddings, I think
your plan is all right, and we'll let the race go
on as if nothing had happened ; but you bet your
last dollar I'll fire Pete when it's all over, if he
has done what you say!"
With that the publisher of the Clarion accom-
A FAMILIAR FACE 14S
panied our friends back to the hangar, where he
had a good look at the Sky-Bird II, and showed
his own airplane, which was in all essentials an
exact copy of the other. Following this they left
the airdrome and went to their hotels.
All had a good night's rest — probably the
last one they would have on earth for more
than a week, — and after a hearty breakfast they
proceeded to get what supplies they would need
to last them until they should reach Georgeto^vn,
British Guiana, on the north coast of South
America, This would be their first stop. Some-
how the townspeople quickly guessed their
identity, and they were followed from store to
store as they shopped by a curious and motley
throng of dark-skinned natives, among whom
were noticed quite a few white children, pre-
sumably belonging to American employees of the
With such eatables as they had bought stored
in a basket, and carrying a few other packages,
the boys went out to the airdrome. A guard
stood at the door to keep out those having no
business in the hangar, and as the young flyers
passed in they noticed that IMr. Wrenn and a
group of four fellows in flying-suits were going
over the rival airplane.
"Here, boys, come over here a minute !" called
the fat man. As they approached, the aviators
144 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
with him turned from their work. One, a slen-
der fellow with swarthy skin and a scrubby black
mustache, scowled when he looked at John Ross,
and as Bob Giddings and Tom Meeks got their
eyes on him, they gave an involuntary start, for
they recognized in the man the fellow they had
seen hanging around the fair-grounds in Yon-
kers when their machine was in process of con-
"It's time you fellows got acquainted with
each other," said Mr. Wrenn, and he forthwith
proceeded to introduce his crew as Pete Deveaux,
Chuck Grossman, Oliver Torrey, and Sam
"How are you, Ross?" greeted Pete Deveaux.
He uttered a sour sort of laugh, as his com-
panions offered their hands around the group.
"I won't do any shaking," said he, "as my hands
are kind of greasy."
"Don't worry, Deveaux," advised John quick-
ly. "We won't feel bad over a little thing like
"That your plane over there?" asked the
"That's it; quite a strong resemblance to yours
here," said John with cutting sarcasm.
"That's so," was Deveaux's comment, cast-
ing a quick look toward Mr. Wrenn. Appar-
ently he was as anxious to drop the subject aa
A FAMILIAE FACE 145
a chicken would a red-hot kernel of corn, for he
immediately observed, with an ill-concealed
sneer: "I suppose you guys think you're going
to leave us a good ways behind in this race?"
*'We're not telling what we think," put in
Paul; "but one thing is sure: we're going to
keep you hustling some."
"Oh, that's too bad, now, ain't it?" drawled
Oliver Torrey, as he leered out of one eye.
"Say, kid, wx'U beat youse so bad you'll be
squallin' before you're half-way round the
globe," put in Sam Lane.
"You bet! Ain't no use o' flying against such
veterans as us," supplemented Chuck Grossman,
with a wag of his frowsy head.
INIr. Wrenn frowned. While these might be
his own men, it was hard to countenance such
BY eleven o'clock the tanks of the Sky-
Bird II had been filled with gasoline
and oil, and the radiator of each engine
supplied with twelve gallons of water. In ad-
dition to this, its crew had carefully gone over
every brace, control, bolt, and nut to make sure
that everything was tight, the engines had been
run detached from the propeller for a few min-
utes to warm them up, and every bearing not
reached by the lubricating system was well oiled
Mr. Giddings had appeared about an hour
earUer, bringing with him the two special cor-
respondents of the Daily Independent^ as well
as several other newspaper men representing
various j)rominent foreign publications. As soon
as our boys had finished shaking hands with
these, they were introduced to a number of well-
known Government officials and aviation repre-
sentatives, who added their good wishes for the
success of the big undertaking. Then came Mr.
THE START 147
Wrenn with a party of his own distinguished
friends, which called for more hand-shaking.
At twelve-fifteen the rival machines were
pushed out of the hangar and took up positions
in the field, ready for the signal to "hop." At
twelve-fifty both crews, with the exception of
their respective crankers-up, entered their ma-
chines, and a heavy hush fell over the great crowd
which had assembled to see the start of the first
race around the world's circumference. It was
without denial an auspicious moment, and as they
stood there and looked at the two big mechanical
birds which were to attempt this prodigious
feat, embracing almost 25,000 miles, threading
every mile of the distance through the air in the
astounding time of ten days, the situation was so
fraught with awe, particularly to the native
Panamanians, that now at the last moment all
were practically voiceless.
The rival publishers gave their parting instruc-
tions as their crews climbed into the cabins, and
these were to the same effect: "Don't forget,
boys, to report to us at every stop, and mail us
all the pictures you can. Between stops use your
wireless for reports whenever possible. Good-
bye, and the best of luck!"
Lieutenant-Colonel Warren J. Hess, a gentle-
man prominent in American aviation circles, had
been selected as judge of the contest. He was
148 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
not only to give the signal to start off the flyers,
but with Mr. Giddings, was to await in Panama
their return, and demand from each crew upon
arrival a document containing the signature of
the port official at each scheduled landing.
Colonel Hess, looking at his watch, now raised
his hand, and instinctively those in the front of
each of the long lines of spectators flanking the
run-way crowded back so that the airplanes would
not strike them as they dashed down the field for
the take-off. Tom Meeks and Chuck Cross-
man spun the propellers, sprang back to
escape their vicious whirr as the respective en-
gines fired, and quickly clambered into their ma-
It was exactly one o'clock. Both airplanes
taxied down the runway side by side. They also
arose together, amid a great cheering, some
ninety feet apart, shooting grandly up into the
air above the heads of the people in the lower end
of the field. At a height of a thousand feet, the
gray Clarion bent eastward. At fifteen hundred
feet, the Sky-Bird did likewise. From the open
windows of each of the cabins fluttered white
handkerchiefs in a final farewell, and many a
broad-brimmed hat in the hands of the excited
populace below was waved in answer.
Flying low, the Clarion started away in the
lead, while her rival had been mounting to her
THE START 149
own preferred higher level. By the time the Sky-
Bird had straightened out, her contemporary
was well in advance.
''We're losing ground," said Bob Giddings
"Don't worry about that," said Paul Ross,
who was at the throttle; "we can catch them
when we're ready. We'll get a better current of
air up here."
Paul's maneuver had been due to the fact that
heavy head-winds were blowing, and he was
quite sure if he went higher he would get above
the worst of these.
As they now shot along on an even keel, it
seemed hard to realize that they had at last
started out on the important flight for which they
had been planning and working so long; and as
Paul watched his instruments and the scudding
rival machine ahead, he could not help wondering
what the issue of it all might be — if the fates
would be so kind as to smile enough on the Sky-
Bird to bring her in ahead of the Clarion
and within schedule time. Many weary miles
must be covered before they would see Panama
again. And when they would land in that air-
drome again— if in truth they ever did! — would
it be as victors, or as listeners to the jeers of the
rough crew of the other plane?
It was not an ideal day for the start from a
150 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
weather standpoint. In fact, a consultation of
the weather reports at the Panama Bureau be-
fore they left had shown a prophecy of strong
northeasterly winds and possible showers. The
sun was almost shut out by patches of cloud, glint-
ing through only occasionally; but neither crew
had felt like postponing the start, so eager were
they to be off and so confident were they in the
capabilities of their respective machines to meet
almost any sort of bad weather.
Straight along the Isthmus both machines pro-
ceeded, making a bee-line for Georgetown, which
it was hoped to reach at daylight. The coast-
line was low along here and very uneven, with
numerous pretty little islands on the Pacific side,
the waters surrounding them sparkling like
jewels when the sun's rays would struggle
through the clouds and strike the tossing waves.
In the northern part of the Republic of
Colombia they passed just to the right of the
western terminal range of the great Andes Moun-
tains, and within an hour's time were sailing
through Quindiu Pass of the central arm of the
same mountains. At this time they were over
twelve thousand feet above sea-level. Then came
the table-lands of western Venezuela, open in
places and covered with thick growths of tropical
forests in others.
THE START 151
As they approached the foothills of the eastern
chain or arm of the mountains, Paul took the
throttle, and they steadily arose in order to clear
the high pinnacles facing them, and finally, at a
height of fifteen thousand feet — ^the greatest
height they had yet attained — they went over
them. The airplane encountered several "air
pockets" in this process, which might have been
disastrous to them except for the stablizing effect
of the automatic-pilot. As it was, the machine
pitched rather roughly in surviving them.
In sweeping past the last crag they had come
very near to striking, owing to a cloud which en-
wrapped it. Just in time Paul's sharp eyes had
seen the white bank of snow on the crag
ahead, and he elevated his craft enough to pass
over. It was so cold up here, even in the cabin,
that the boys had to don their heavy coats.
Just as they turned the nose of their machine
toward a lower level, running at reduced speed, a
huge bird with curving beak, which Jolm said
was a condor, dashed from the crags after the
airplane. It was followed a moment later by
five or six others. The great birds seemed to
resent the appearance of so strange a giant
in the mountain fastnesses where they had
always held the supremacy of the air, all the
time darting angrily at it, flapping their long
152 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
black and white wings, some of which had the
immense span of fourteen feet, and croaking
The boys laughed at first, but when the crea-
tures commenced to come closer, frequently hit-
ting the windows with their sharp beaks, and
cracking two of them, they began to get really
alarmed. Once the propeller struck the tail of
one bold and incautious condor, and feathers flew
in all directions; but after a quick circle he was
back again, madder than ever.
"Say, fellov/s," cried Paul; "we've got to do
something with these birds right away! First
thing we know, one of them v/ill get hit a squarer
blow with the propeller and smash it. Then we'll
crash as sure as I'm sitting here."
This peril was very imminent, as all could see.
John seized the shot-gun from its rack, and
Tom one of the rifles. These were loaded.
Stationing themselves on either side of the cabin,
the young men drew down the windows in front
of them, poked out their weapons and watched for
a chance to use them.
Tom's gun was the first to blaze away, but it
is diflicult to hit a bird on the wing with a rifle,
and he missed. A moment later, as a condor
dashed viciously toward his window, John fired,
and the great bird, mortally stricken, tumbled
into the mists below.
THE START 153
Tom was more fortunate the next time. A
condor, with a fluttering of his immense wings,
had settled right on the tail of the machine, where
he clung with his sturdy talons, threatening to
prevent Paul from manipulating the rudder.
When Bob called Tom's attention to this alarm-
ing situation, the latter joined him at the rear
window of the cabin. Tom took careful aim,
pulled the trigger, and the condor fell with a
broken wing, uttering hoarse cries until the
clouds below swallowed him up.
Two more of the fierce creatures were killed be-
fore the remaining birds were frightened off. It
was with a sigh of relief that Paul now resumed
his descent to lower levels.
When presently they emerged out of the last
cloud, and could see the green earth below them
once more, they were across the last chain
of mountain they would encounter in South
America. They gazed with their glasses on all
sides, and checked up their position on the chart,
although in doing this they had great difficulty on
account of a curtain of thin fog which hung over
the land, and only a very low altitude of about
five hundred feet would allow of it at all.
As soon as they were sure of their bearings
they again took a searching observation in quest
of the rival airplane, but no sign of it could they
154 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"They're probably quite a bit ahead of us by
this time," observed John; "but now that we're
through the last chain of the Andes we can make
better speed. Shoot her up to two thousand feet.
Buddy. We'll set our course for Georgetown by
Paul bore upward, and at the level mentioned
he straightened the machine with her nose once
more pointed eastward, and the compass hand
pointing along the left wing of the machine.
It was now growing dark. Not knowing
whether this was caused by the closing in of the
clouds or the natural declension of the sun, Bob
looked at his watch. To his surprise he found it
was seven o'clock Panama time, which would
make it probably close to nine in their present lo-
cality. Night should now be upon them.
As it had been decided to let John and Tom
operate the night shift, at least for the first few
days, John now took his trick at the throttle,
changed to the fresh engine, and Bob and Paul
turned into their hammocks for the first sleep
aboard the airplane. They were both pretty
tired, as each had spent several hours at the helm
that afternoon, and it was only a few minutes be-
fore the gentle rocking of the plane on the bil-
lows of air had sent them into a sound oblivion.
Just before retiring, Bob had wirelessed Panama
of their safe passage through the mountains and
THE START 155
fight with the condors, stating that several snap-
shots of the birds had been secured and that these
would be mailed to the Daily Independent upon
Not long after the change of pilots a fine rain
began to fall, covering the windows of the cabin
with a film of moisture; but as it was now too
dark to see anyhow, John did not care whether
he could look outside or not. However, for the
good of the machine, as well as the better-
ment of their speed, he decided to get out
of the storm. So, switching on the little dash-
board electric lights to illuminate his instruments,
he turned the Sky-Bird upward again. Through
the very clouds which were expelling the rain,
gathered from the warm Atlantic trade-winds, he
guided the machine. At nine thousand feet he
was above them, in clear dry air, with a blue, star-
studded sky above his head and in the mellow
glow of a full moon.
"Well, John, this is more like night-flying,"
remarked Tom Meeks, who sat just behind the
pilot, ready to assist him at a moment's notice if
the need should appear.
"As long as I know there are no mountains
ahead to smash into I'm not worrying a bit," re-
plied John, "and I guess we're all right on that
score. "I'm going to let the old girl out now,
156 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"Might as well," was the response.
Thereupon John threw on the gas by degrees
until the indicator showed them to be whizzing
along at 150 miles. He easily could have gone
fifty more on the one engine had he chosen, but
was afraid such a speed would carry them beyond
their destination and out into the Atlantic before
daylight could show them their position. Had
they not previously been running somewhat be-
hind scheduled time, he would not have accel-
erated even now.
Shortly after midnight Tom relieved him at
the throttle, and running slightly slower, to make
sure they would not pass over Georgetown in the
darkness, Tom began to hum softly to himself as
he kept a sharp lookout upon his instruments.
John settled back in the seat behind, as alert for
any sudden peril as his mate had been before.
But no mishap marred the night's run, which
was as smooth up there above the clouds as any
veteran flyer could have wished. And when at
last the bright sun of another day chased the
moon and its haze into obscurity, it lighted up the
flying craft some time before its orb had peeped
high enough over the Atlantic's horizon to shed
its rays upon the affairs of earth itself.
Gradually, as the sun arose in the heavens, Tom
brought the Sky-Bird lower, until presently he
THE START 157
and John could see the ground, bathed in glisten-
ing color from its recent wetting, far below them.
At this time Paul and Bob awoke, and wash-
ing their hands and faces, came to the windows to
look out. The first thing they all did was to
sweep the sky-line for some vision of the rival
airplane, but without success. Then they put their
attention on the country below and around.
Just beneath was a pretty little blue lake,
walled in with great forest trees some of which
must have been over a hundred feet high. A
short way beyond was an immense field covered
with what they were sure must be sugar-cane,
and in which they could see dark-skinned men at
work with queer carts and clumsy oxen. At the
right, a mere thread of silver, was a river, hedged
with tropical vegetation. This swept around
toward their front, enlarging as it came, and at
what seemed no farther than five miles away,
poured its waters out into a great sea of appar-
ently limitless expanse.
The boys concluded at once that this great
body of water must be the Atlantic Ocean, and
when they saw a fair-sized town nestling among
the trees at the point where the river joined the
sea, their chart told them that the stream was the
Essequibo River, and the collection of low-roofed
buildings was none less than Georgetown!
158 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
A few minutes later, they were circling the
town to locate their landing-field which was to be
marked with a large white letter T. Seeing it
on the second turn, they swept down amongst a
curious and half -frightened throng, and taxied
to a stop.
To their relief and gratification, they found
that their rivals had not yet appeared.
TEICKED BY RIVALS
CORRECTING their watches with
Georgetown time, as given to them by
Mr. Whiteshore, the EngHshman in
charge of the field, the boys found to their joy
that they had arrived five minutes ahead of sched-
ule. This would give them, if they wished to take
it, a trifle more than three hours to spend in
But first must come business; they must go
over the machine very carefully and see if the
long, hard run from Panama had done any dam-
age; and they must replenish their fuel, oil, and
water supply. They were happy to find both en-
gines in fine shape, thanks to the possibility of
alternating them in transit, and beyond a num-
ber of scratches and the cracked glass made by
the condors in their attack in crossing the Andes
the airplane was in perfect shape. Paul climbed
up and examined the helium-gas valves, of which
there were three in each wing, one for each of
three compartments, and announced that the
pressure showed only an insignificant decrease.
160 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
At the rate of escapage indicated, they would
have plenty to last them for the whole trip. This
was reassuring knowledge, for no envelope can
be made so impervious that light gases will not
escape at all. The body compartment also showed
It took them an hour and fifteen minutes to
replenish the fuel tanks and water radiator and
put everything in shape. Just as they were finish-
ing up, a cry from the curious crowd around
them called their attention to the western sky,
and they saw an airplane approaching. This de-
veloped rapidly into the unmistakable outlines
of the Clarion, and in a few minutes the rival crew
landed in the field.
Pete Deveaux sauntered over to the crew of
the Sky-Bird II.
"Well, fellows," he said, with the sneer which
seemed to be on his leathery countenance most of
the time, "I notice you got in a little ahead of
us. Congratulations! I suppose you're tickled
"We're not quite that far gone; just a little
bit alive," grinned Tom Meeks. "What made
your crew so slow, Deveaux? Did you get wet in
that rain last night and have to stop off and dry
out your clothes?"
"Aw, cut it out; talk sense!" snarled the
French flyer. He turned on his heel, fearing
TRICKED BY RIVALS 161
more of Tom's sharp thrusts if he lingered
longer, and shot back: "You guys will have
another laugh coming one of these days, mark
my words!" With that he rejoined his com-
Not at all worried at such a prophecy, our
friends secured a native boy to guide them into
the town, a quarter of a mile distant, leaving
their airplane under guard of two Chinese out in
the open, the field boasting no such thing as a
hangar. At the little telegraph office of the
town, John dispatched their report to the Daily
Independent, also mailed at the local postoffice
the promised films of the encounter with the con-
They then purchased some breakfast and be-
gan to look about them. While it was still
early, the narrow streets were quite well crowded
with people, so much so that it looked to the visi-
tors as if the inhabitants never slept. What they
saw almost made them rub their eyes to make
sure they were not in Asia instead of South
America. There were dozens of almond-eyed
Chinese within sight, dozens of black Hindoos in
turbans and flowing garments, dozens of Parsees
wearing long black coats and hats like inverted
coal-scuttles; to say nothing of numerous Por-
tuguese and English, the latter mostly merchants
and plantation owners.
162 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
The roofs of the buildings were slanting, with
wooden or galvanized iron walls. Some of the
more important of them, such as stores, ware-
houses, government buildings, etc., were quite
large, and stood upon piles to keep them out of
the way of floods which often sweep the lowlands
in the rainy season. In many of the streets ran
canals, which their small guide told them, in
pidgeon-English, were drains for the floods.
And he also said that the long embankments
which the boys saw stretching along the sea front
were dykes built at great expense by the sugar
planters to keep these same floods from washing
the rich soil of their fields out into the ocean.
After purchasing some fresh fruit and gro-
ceries for their aerial larder, the little party be-
took themselves back to the landing-field, on the
way passing numbers of pretty little houses
which stood in the midst of beautiful gardens
filled with tropical plants.
As they neared the field, they saw that quite
a crowd had collected since their departure.
Pushing their way through the concourse about
their own airplane, they were surprised to find
Pete Deveaux and Chuck Grossman just jump-
ing doA\Ti from the wings. These flyers hurried
away through a gap in the circle of onlookers
toward their o^ati machine before our friends
could accost them.
TRICKED BY RIVALS 163
The Sky-Bird crew were considerably put out
at noting this situation, for they had particularly
told the Chinese guards to let no one meddle
with the Sky-Bird. The Celestials were squat-
ting unconcernedly upon the ground, one on
either side of the airplane, as John rushed up and
said to one of them: "Didn't I tell you not to
let any strangers around this machine?"
"No lettum stranger lound," protested the fel-
low. "Him both flylers alia samee you. Like-
uni see, you see; like-um see, he see."
*'0h, ginger!" exclaimed John, turning to his
comrades, in clear disgust, "the stupid dunce
thinks those fellows belong to us and we to them,
just because we all wear the same sort of flying
clothes! Did you ever see the like?"
Paul now took up the questioning. "What
were those fellows doing up there?" he asked of
"No tellee me; no tellee Lee," was the re-
sponse, as the fellow jerked his head in the di-
rection of his comrade. "Just lookee over alia
samee you do li'l bit ago."
"Were they in the cabin?" demanded Paul.
"No go in klabin."
They walked around the machine giving it a
cursory looking over, but could find nothing out
of the way, and every one of them felt consider-
164 AROUND THE WOULD IN TEN DAYS
"I guess they were only taking a look to see
if our construction was the same as theirs," sug-
gested Bob. This seemed a plausible explana-
tion, and they accepted it, although with some
About ten minutes later they saw the crowd
over in the other side of the field scattering, and
then the Clarion shot up into the air. In a few
minutes it was pointed down the coast and
making good headway.
Our friends were not quite ready, but when the
other machine was a mere speck against the south-
western sky, they hopped off themselves, with
Paul at the throttle. Not one of the party had
any doubt but that they could catch their rivals
before the latter should arrive at Para, where
they were due at six o'clock that evening. It
needed only that first stage of the journey from
Panama to Georgetown to show them that they
had either the speediest craft or the most skillful
Paul mounted to a height of about two thous-
and feet, then let the Sky-Bird straighten out in
the direction of their next stop. He opened up
the throttle little by little, and the machine rapidly
gained momentum. But somehow the young
pilot was dissatisfied. Finally he hitched the
stick over to the notch which should have brought
TRICKED BY RIVALS 165
the craft into a speed of 150 miles, and watched
the speedometer closely.
"Humph!" he ejaculated, after fifteen or
"Say, Paul," cried Bob just then, "we're losing
on the Clarion. She's clear out of sight now."
"Why don't you tell me something I don't
know?" growled Paul in a tone very queer for
"What's the matter with you. Buddy?" de-
manded John, stepping up. "You seem to have
an awfvil grouch on, some way!"
"Got a good reason for it," snapped Paul.
"This is enough to make a preacher almost
"Don't talk, but speed her up a bit if you don't
want them to get away," advised John.
"She doesn't act right, somehow," said Paul.
"The Sky-Bird ought to be hitting it up to a
hundred and fifty right now, but she's only mak-
ing a hundred and fifteen. She acts groggy;
don't you notice it?"
"I thought myself she was riding a little rocky
— sort of out of balance," admitted John.
"Take the stick and try her yourself," said
John did so. For fifteen minutes he said
nothing, but worked the throttle and watched
166 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
the speedometer. Then he called Paul again
to the seat.
"You might as well take her, Buddy," de-
clared John with a puzzled shake of his head; "I
can't do any better with her than you. She
wallows along like a man with a load of buck-
shot in his pockets — hea\y — and seems out of
*'What do you suppose is the matter, John?"
asked Tom Meeks.
"I'll bet Pete Deveaux and that Chuck Cross-
man have been tampering with her, back there in
Georgetown," declared Bob.
"I don't know; it certainly looks kind of sus-
picious," admitted John Boss. He thought a
moment. "Cattails and jewsharps!" he ex-
claimed very suddenly.
"What now?" asked Bob.
"I believe I've hit the trouble," stated John,
with his brown face a shade paler. "You know
we saw those fellows monkeying around our
wings. It would be an easy matter to trip one
or more of those valves and let some of the helium
out! That would make us heavier, and if more
gas were let out from one wing than from the
other, we would be out of balance in the bar-
This declaration of John's brought a startled
and troubled look to the faces of his companions.
TRICKED BY RIVALS 167
All knew that if Pete Deveaux had engineered
such a dastardly trick as John hinted at, a handi-
cap would be in store for the Sky-Bird's crew aU
through the remainder of the race, for it would
be impossible to get a renewal of their helium-
gas supply before reaching their own country:
again, and then it would be too late.
"What shall we do?" came from Bob.
"Do? There's nothing to do now, but to keep
on flying at the best gait we can until we reach
Para," decided John. "When we get there we'll
have a chance to find out what is really wrong."
This seemed the wisest course to pursue. So
Paul, vexed though he was at the contrary ac-
tions of the airplane, buckled down to the job of
guiding the machine and complained no more.
But he made up his mind that if investigations
proved the rival crew had been tampering with
the Sky-Bird II he, for one, would do his part
in giving them a warm time should they meet on
the ground again.
At noon while John and Tom slept. Bob re-
lieved Paul, and for an hour they made a little
better time by working both engines ; but, afraid
of overheating the one they termed their "night
engine", they went back to one motor for the rest
of the journey into Para, where they arrived an
hour late. And it was to find bad news awaiting
168 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
The landing-field official announced that the
Clarion's flyers had left not fifteen minutes be-
fore for Freetown, Africa. And upon investigat-
ing the helium valves in the wings of the Sky-
Bird, our boys found to their dismay that fully a
third of the pressure was gone, indicating that
an equal quantity of gas had escaped in some
It may be added that there was very little
doubt in their minds as to this manner.
ACROSS THE ATLANTIC
OUR friends looked at each other dis-
mally when they had ascertained the
cause of the Sky-Bird's sluggish flying.
Paul and Tom even gave the craft a tentative
push, and found that the loss of her hehum had
made her so much heavier to move over the
ground that the difference was manifest at once.
**This looks kind of black for us, fellows," re-
"And we've got those scoundrels to thank for
it without the shadow of a doubt," put in Paul,
with flashing eyes. *'I'd give a year of my life
to get my hands on that Pete Deveaux right
*'It's lucky they got out ahead of us," added
"Well, if they were here, and if we thrashed
the stuffing out of the entire bunch, that wouldn't
put back our lost helium and former speed," said
the practical Jolm. "What we've got to do now
is to try to remedy matters."
"Easier said than done, I'm thinking," Tom
170 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
observed. *'We can't get any more helium here ;
in fact, not mitil we get back to Panama. Of
course that will be too late."
*'I don't know about that," hinted John.
"What's your remedy?" asked Bob.
"I know," said Paul. "The machine's out of
balance now, because they have let more helium
out of one wing than the other, and none at all
out of the fuselage. By letting some out of our
body tank, and enough out of the lightest wing
to bring it in equilibrium with its mate, we can
get a perfect balance again, and that ought to
give us air steadiness and more speed."
"Right you are, Buddy," declared John.
"Good head! That's my idea exactly."
"But won't that make us even heavier than we
are now?" inquired Bob.
"Sure," responded John, "but balance is the
main thing in an airplane, you know. When we
get that, the old girl will act a whole lot better
than she did coming here."
"Still, our rivals will have some advantage over
us," argued Tom.
"That's true — in the way of a lighter machine.
But we've shown we could outspeed them when
the Sky-Bird was all right, and now we ought to
be about an even match for them," said John.
"That means a nip-and-tuck race of it, then,
the rest of the way," commented Paul.
ACROSS THE ATLANTIC 171
At this point a bright idea struck Bob. "Say,'
fellows," he cried, "why can't we send a wire
message from here to Mr. Giddings at Panama,
and ask him to have a fast vessel drop a tank of
helium off at Nukahiva. Marquesas Islands, for
His comrades slapped Bob so hard upon the
back when he made this suggestion that he had
"Fine idea, Bob!" declared John. "A fast boat
ought to reach Nukahiva before we do, and that
will give us a full load of helium again for the
last four or five thousand miles of the race. If
it's a close contest up to that point, the new sup-
ply may save the day for us I"
They now set to work equalizing the gas
supply in the wings of the Sky-Bird and reducing
that in the fuselage to the proper pressure for
perfect equilibrium, which they were able to get
by the use of the pressure-gauge and a little
figuring. Then they went over all parts of the
machine, put in gasoline and oil, and attended to
watering the radiators, following which Paul and
Bob departed for town.
As in Georgetown, they created a vast interest,
and were considerably annoyed by the crowds of
natives which followed at their heels, many of
whom carried baskets of fruit on their heads and
constantly importuned them to buy some of their
17^ AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
wares. Even in the windows of the houses they
passed women holding naked babies, who stared
out at them, and in the doorways stood girls, some
of them beautifully gowned in silks, their dark
hair falling like a shower about their comely nut-
brown faces, while their eyes opened wide in
wonder or dropped in abashment when they saw
one of the handsome young Americans look their
Para is directly on the equatorial line. It is
also the metropolis of the mighty Amazon, the
king of all the world's rivers, whose width here
at its mouth is close to two hundred miles, and
which carries into the Atlantic so much mud from
the interior of South America that it is said the
waters of that ocean are stained yellow for five
hundred miles outward. This mighty stream is
formed by countless mountain creeks and rivers
draining practically the whole northern half of
the continent, and these streams are formed in
their turn by the heavy rains which fall fre-
quently from swiftly-gathered clouds. In fact,
it rains nearly every afternoon in Para, and the
air is always moist, so much so, that articles
made of steel and iron quickly rust, and furni-
ture must be pegged together rather than glued
to keep it from coming apart.
Paul and Bob found Para quite a good-sized
city, but on very low ground. Along the docks
ACROSS THE ATLANTIC 173
of the mighty river were many kinds of boats and
ships, from stately ocean-liners to the tub-like
barges used to float down from Bolivia great car-
goes of raw rubber. There were numerous
schooners unloading vegetables and fruit, and
countless dugouts paddled by natives. Carga-
dores, in their bare feet, were carrying goods in
and out of the various large craft, supporting
the heaviest of bundles on their bare heads. Their
faces were all shades of white, brown, and black.
Among them were negroes from Jamaica, and
SjDaniards, Portuguese, and mulattoes from all
parts of Brazil.
The business buildings were three and four
stories high, and built close to the sidewalks
along narrow streets. Their w^alls, the boys
noticed as they crowded their way along, were
of all colors, some being faced with blue, yel-
low, and green porcelain tiles.
By asking questions they found the telegraph
office, and there sent the message to Mr. Gid-
dings at Panama, requesting that the helium-gas
be sent to Nukahiva by fastest boat. They also
wired a report of their progress. They had by
this time another roll of exposed kodak films,
and this was mailed to the Daily hide jy end ent.
No sooner had they reappeared from the
post-office than they were once more besieged
with peddlers asking them to make a purchase
174 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
•of their wares. Paul and Bob stopped when
they saw some particularly luscious-looking
oranges and bananas, and were surprised upon
asking the price to find that they could have
a dozen of each kind for the value of five cents;
and oh! how sweet and juicy they were when
they sank a tooth into them.
They bought some baked goods in a little
shop, and as they emerged an old man with a
parrot on one shoulder and a small monkey on
the other blocked their pathway, and begged
them to look at "nice parryote, nice monk."
They shook their heads, when they saw other
vendors crowding forward, and were about to
push by when the monkey sprang nimbly upon
Paul's own shoulder, snatched off his cap, shook
it in front of his eyes, and put it back in place
Paul and Bob both laughed, and harder yet
as the bright little animal shot a paw into Paul's
pocket and adroitly drew out a Brazilian gold
coin called a milreis, worth about fifty-four
cents in American money.
"You give five milreis, me give monk," said
the old mulatto.
Paul shook his head.
"You give four milreis, me give monk."
"No; that's more than I have of these coins."
"You give three milreis, me give — "
ACROSS THE ATLANTIC 175
"Only have two of them left," said Paul.
"You give two milreis, take monk."
"It's a bargain," laughed Paul.
And he fished another of the coins out of his
pocket, accepted the end of the rope tied to
the monkey, and went off with Bob, his newly-
acquired pet still contentedly occupying his
"We'll surprise John and Tom when we get
back to the field," chuckled Paul. ''They won't
be looking for this addition to the crew of the
"I'd say not," declared Bob, also chuckling.
And indeed Paul's little hairy friend did cre-
ate a lot of interest when they arrived beside the
airplane, John and Tom both playing with him
for several minutes, and going into hilarious
laughter at the funny antics of the weazened-
faced creature, which looked so much like the
wrinkled old mulatto from whom he had been
purchased, that Paul said he should henceforth
be called "Grandpa."
They put the monkey in the cabin, and climbed
in themselves, since all was in readiness for
the departure. Night had fallen, but the sky
was clear and moonlit. So there was no trouble,
by helping matters with their searchlight, in
hopping off and turning their head across the
big Atlantic toward the shores of Africa.
176 ABOUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
As the trade-winds were blowing quite stiffly
in their faces, John, who was at the throttle,
determined to mount high enough to overcome
their most resistant effects. When at an alti-
tude of about five thousand feet, he brought
the Sky-Bird out horizontally, with her nose
set by compass toward Freetown. Before they
could reach this African seaport it would be
necessary for them to travel considerably more
than two thousand miles and meet whatever
storms might develop. But all had such confi-
dence in the capabilities of the Sky-Bird that
none had any worries, fierce as some of the At-
lantic storms were known to be.
As they could no longer see the sea beneath
them, owing to the darkness and fog which lay
between, John had to rely entirely upon intui-
tion and his compass to strike Freetown. Aerial
navigation over immense bodies of water is
similar to navigation on the seas themselves, ex-
cept that the indispensable sextant of the
mariner is of little use in the air, owing to the
high speed of travel and the fact that allow-
ances have to be made for the drift of the ma-
chine when side-winds are blowing — an ex-
tremely difficult factor to determine accurately.
In side-winds the machine makes leeway in
addition to its forward movement, and it is the
ACROSS THE ATLANTIC 177
ratio of one to the other which the successful
pilot must work out correctly, especially when
flying above clouds or when land features are
unobserved. In this particular instance our boys
were supplied with charts indicating the trend
of all normal winds in each locality and their
approximate force at various altitudes. Thus,
by consulting his speedometer, John was able
to figure out with a fair degree of certainty
what allowances he should make from dead
reckoning in order to strike their destination —
or rather, we should say that Tom, as John's
aid, did most of this figuring, for a pilot gen-
erally has his hands full in guiding his steed.
The Sky-Bird was acting much better now,
since her equalizing of weight back at Para. She
lacked some of the speed of her old-time self,
but rode smoothly and evenly in the hardest
gusts. It was once more a pleasure to sit in her
cabin, even if the rival airplane was ahead of
"We'll give them the race of their lives yet,"
observed Tom, as he studied the maj) and the
"We surely will," said his companion.
And both of them clicked their teeth in a way
which boded no good for the rival craft ahead.
Shortly before midnight they crossed the
178 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
equator for the second time since they had left
Panama. But, rolled in their comfortable ham-
mocks and sound asleep, with Grandpa, the mon-
key, blinking drowsily in a corner nearby, neither
Bob nor Paul was conscious of the fact.
AN IRRITITINQ DELAY
PAUL was awakened the next morning by-
feeling a gentle tug at his nose. Unused
to such a summons as this, he opened
his eyes with a start.
There on his breast squatted Grandpa, his
little head cocked comically to one side, his
beady little eyes glistening with mischief, and
his slim fingers just reaching out for another
tweak. The monkey gave a lightning-like
spring to the back of a nearby seat when he
saw Paul looking at him, and here he set up
a shrill chattering, which also awoke Bob and
caused Tom and John to whirl around.
*'You fellows have got a good alarm-clock
now, the way it looks," called Tom, laughing,
and taking in the situation. ^'Grandpa will
save John and me the trouble of stirring you
sleepy heads up after this, I expect,"
Paul and Bob sprang out of their hammocks,
and the former seized the monkey and laugh-
ingly shoved his nose up against one of the
window panes. Far down below were the roll-
180 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
ing billows of the great Atlantic, the early sun
striking them into many beautiful tones of
green and blue, and cutting a silver pathway
across the curling crests. A school of dolphins
was leaping out of the water off to the left.
From the opposite window the youth could see
a small emerald island in the distance, but ev-
erywhere else was water, vast reaches of it.
Grandpa evidently had no eye for nature,
as viewed from this novel position, for he
quickly twisted out of Paul's arms and jumped
down to the floor of the cabin, where he pranced
"It's just a little bit too high to suit your
exalted monkeyship, isn't it?" chuckled Paul.
*'Well, you'll get used to it. Grandpa, before
you get around the world with us! I'll promise
you, sir, that you will be the farthest- jumping
and highest- jumping monkey that ever lived.
You ought to be proud!"
After getting something to eat, Paul re-
lieved Tom at the throttle, and Bob tried to get
Freetown by radio. Failing, he did get Para,
and advised them of their safety and approxi-
mate position over the Atlantic.
Now that the weather had cleared up so that
they could run in view of the ocean, John and
Tom themselves turned in for a much-needed
sleep, leaving their younger companions to di-
AN lERITATING DELAY 181
rect the course of the Sky-Bird on the last stage
of the lap. The trade-winds were blowing
freely, but with a lack of gustiness which made
progress against them quite rapid and smooth.
It was two hours later that those in the
Sky-Bird saw the coastline of Africa jutting
out into the sea in a great bulge, and a little
afterward they recognized landmarks agreeing
with their chart. As they were slightly south
of their course. Bob made the proper deviation,
and in twenty minutes they were over a muddy
field, marked with the looked-for white T, at
Freetown, Sierra Leone.
As they were spiraling downward they saw
a crowd of natives gathered in one portion of
the field, and caught a glimpse of an airplane's
wings in their midst. Many of this throng now
rushed over to where the newcomers had landed,
among them a tall Englishman, who intro-
duced himself as the port minister and person
who was to supply them with a replacement of
fuel. Several other Englishmen, all officers
in the garrison of the town, came up and were
"We 'av' been looking for you fellows, but
not quite so soon," stated the port minister.
'*Hif I had known—"
"How is that?" asked John. "We are just
about on schedule."
182 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"So you are; but those other flyers over there,
who 'av' been 'ere the past two 'ovirs declared
you 'ad been dela^^ed in South Hamerica hand
would not be bin before to-morrow morning, so
as w^e 'av' a coasting vessel w^ith more petrol
due 'ere then, I let them 'av' hall the petrol
they wanted, hand I fear — "
"They had no reason for telling you we were
delayed to such an extent as that, without it
was to further their own interests," interrupted
John, significantly. "But I don't see their
"I don't know, I'm sure," was the response;
"but has I was saying, they asked for an
hextra filling of their tanks, hand so — well,
gentlemen, I am sorry to say it, but there hisn't
ten gallons left."
Our friends heard this with mixed feelings.
They were rightfully incensed at their rivals
for such a dastardly trick, vexed with the port
minister, and dismayed to think that they would
have to wait until the following day before they
could resume their journey, for at Para they
had not filled their tanks to capacity.
At this point cries arose in the other part of
the field. They heard the familiar whir of an
airplane propeller, and as they looked to where
the Clarion had stood, they saw the natives
scatter and the gray machine of the other crew
AN IRRITATING DELAY 183
shoot up into the air. Rapidly it gained alti-
tude, and was soon a mere dot on the western
Ignoring the yells of the port minister and
his mihtary countrymen, the Clarion crew had
gone straight on, and there seemed nothing for
our boys to do now except await the arrival
of more gasoline as patiently as they could.
John and Tom set to work cleaning up the
Sky-Bird, for the field here was low and very
muddy from recent rains, and as they had
dashed through the slime in landing much of
it had splattered over their projpeller and under-
Paul and Bob went into town, followed by
a throng of young negroes who fought for the
privilege of getting closest to them. They
found the stores small and mostly unpainted,
and the houses principally shambling and
squatty, most of them having thatched roofs.
The streets were narrov/, crooked, and dirty,
but there were areas about some of the more
pretentious dwelling-places which were really
entrancing in the wealth of their tropical plants
and stately palms. On the whole, the stone
garrison, setting a little remote from the town
proper, was the largest and best-constructed
building, although this looked old and somber.
Freetown, the capital of the little British colony
184 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
of Sierra Leone, is all on low ground, and the
air is moist and extremely humid, even un-
healthful for those not accustomed to it.
Just before dark a terrific thunder-shower
sprang up with all of the suddenness of such
equatorial storms, and Bob and Paul made for
the field as fast as their legs could csiYry them.
They sprang inside of the Sky-Bird's cabin,
wet to the skin, where John and Tom were
already ensconsed, and Grandpa the monkey
gave them a noisy and hearty welcome. A little
later, with the rain pattering heavily down
upon the roof, all hands turned in for the first
ground sleep they had had since starting out
upon theii trip.
Shortly after daylight the next morning they
were astir, to find the rain had ceased but that
the field was a mass of ooze. Through this
Tom made his way to the cobblestone street and
down to the piers. But the coasting steamer
had not yet arrived; in fact, she did not come
in until after eight o'clock, and it was two hours
later before the flyers succeeded in getting their
tanks filled with the gasoline she had brought.
Then it was found necessary to secure the aid
of a half-dozen negroes, and to lay down many
strips of heavy bark for traction, before the
Sky-Bird could be run out of her mired posi-
AN IRRITATING DELAY 185
Paul was at the throttle as they took off.
iWhen he had attained a fair altitude, he gradu-
ally increased the speed until they were running
full out. Never since the beginning of the trip
had they felt such urgent need of putting the
airplane through at a fast clip, hut that time
had now come, for they were fourteen hours be-
hind schedule time and sixteen hours behind
The Sky-Bird fairly cut the air like a knife,
and the roar of propeller, wind, and engine was
so great that our friends found conversation out
of the question except by shouting in one an-
other's ears. Poor Grandpa cowered in the
farthest corner of the cabin, peeping out from
behind one of the hammocks, as meek as a
kitten, his tail crooking uneasily. But finding
that the strange noises did him no harm, he
presently came out and took up a position
where he could look through the glass-floor
window at the fleeting country below.
It seemed only a few minutes before, rising
higher, they shot over the ragged chain of the
Kong Mountains in western Senegambia, pass-
ing within sight of Mount Loma's bare peak.
Then, dropping again until they were not more
than a thousand feet high, they flew along over
the tablelands to the eastward, recognized the
Joliba River as it lay a yellow, twisting band
186 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
below them, and a little later crossed the south-
ern end of the district of Bambarra.
Great forests and jungles and canebrakes
swept past them. In those tangles of gnarled
trees, matted vines, interlacing rank grasses,
and clusters of towering plants, so dank with
the odor of wet and decay that the air even
up where the flyers were seemed charged with
it, lurked many a monster reptile and ferocious
beast. Often the four boys saw the majestic
form of a lion or the lumbering shape of an
elephant as these animals were quenching their
thirst at some open spot along a stream. And
once they caught a brief glimpse of a terrific
combat between what seemed to be two enor-
mous rhinos, which had met in a little glen in
the midst of a cluster of mahogany trees. How
they would have liked to see the finish of this
battle royal I Indeed, they would have enjoyed
nothing better than to land in some favored spot
and do a little big-game hunting with their rifles !
If they had been ahead of their adversaries
instead of behind, they might have indulged in
such sport, they thought. But now it would
be unwise to waste a moment. They must
make every endeavor to reach their next air-
port, Kuka, by nightfall. This small town was
on the western bank of the salty Lake Chad, in
the very heart of Africa, and on the southern
AN IRRITATING DELAY 187
border of the great Sahara Desert. It pos-
sessed no railroads or telegraph service, being
linked with the outside world only by caravan
route, and its inhabitants were practically all
half -civilized negroes of the Fulbee tribe, who
retained all of their forefathers' superstitions
and wore no garb over their frescoed black
bodies except a short gikki or skirt.
Mr. Giddings and Mr. Wrenn had had great
difficulty in getting an English-speaking man to
set up a field at this point for their flyers, and
it was only after considerable telegraphing that
a Scotch trader named Maclnnis, situated at
Lagos, the nearest coast-port of any size, had
agreed to get a supply of gasoline and oil
to Kuka and meet the airplanes when they ar-
It was five o'clock when the boys passed
over the low banks of the Niger River. By
seven they were in the heart of the wild, level
territory of Sokoto, skimming over vast ex-
panses of plume-like grasses and extensive
marshes and swamps. Strange birds of enor-
mous size flew up out of the morasses, startled
at the sight and sound of the airplane. Some
tried to follow it, evidently to give it battle, but
the swiftest of them were hopelessly outdis-
Itanced before they were well started.
. When the sun disappeared behind the forest
188 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
back of them, the flyers were still making speed
for their destination, with Bob at the throttle.
Pretty soon the lengthening shadows and ob-
scuring of detail below convinced the crew that
night was just about uj^on them, and that if they
did not reach Kuka within the next thirty min-
utes they were very likely to be in such dark-
ness that they would overrun it and never know
Some of them began to wonder if they had
not missed their course, when a cry came from
Bob, and they all ran forward and looked out
of the front windows at the object he was
SAVED BY THE SEARCHLIGHT
WHAT our flyers saw was a very large
body of water, with a strong tone of
blue to it. As far to the north as they
could see, it stretched, also to the east and
south. And the shoreline on the western side
nearest them was covered with what seemed a
never-ending border of great forest trees, many
of which had all the characteristics of man-
This great expanse of water they knew could
not be the Red Sea, nor could it be the Indian
Ocean; for they had not traveled far enough
westward to reach these bodies. Unquestion-
ably, therefore, it was that which they were
looking for — Lake Chad.
As they swept nearer, under reduced speed,
they observed somewhat to their left a good-
sized collection of dwellings in an opening
among the mangroves, evidently a town.
Swerving in that direction they were soon cir-
cling above the place at an altitude of about
five hundred feet, hoping that it might prove
to be Kuka, their next stop.
190 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
By this time it had grown so dark that they;
could just make out the buildings and sur-
roundings. The former seemed to be nothing more
than rude huts with rounded thatched roofs cov-
ered by saplings. The flyers saw many dark
figures, with little or no garb, running about and
excitedly gesticulating upward to their position.
As they circled lower, these figures, evidently na-
tives, suddenly vanished within their abodes.
"They seem scared to death of us," remarked
"Apparently they think the Sky-Bird is some
gigantic member of the feathered kingdom about
to swoop down and devour them for their
sins," added Paul, who w^as equally amused.
"Pete Deveaux and his crowd ought to have
landed here some time this morning, though,
and you would think the sight of their ma-
chine taking on gas would have gotten the
blacks used to an airplane."
Be that as it may, every one of the dusky
figures below had vanished as though the earth
had swallowed them up. A strange if not fore-
boding stillness hung over the town. You
would have thought it contained not a single
being, at least not one who was awake.
All at once John, who had been intently look-
ing around the outskirts of the town, observed
an open spot marked with the welcome sign of
SAVED BY THE SEARCHLIGHT 191
a white T. He joyfully called the attention of
his comrades to this, and as they looked they
saw the form of a man emerge from the
shadows bordering the field and wave his
arms upward at them. From the fact that
this person was attired in European costume,
they judged he must be Mr. Maclnnis, the
Scotch trader who had been appointed to look
after their fuel interests at this point.
It was a novel experience to be able to make
a landing unhampered by throngs of curious
inhabitants, as they now did. The field was
quite level, though sandy, as might be ex-
pected so close to the big desert, and they had
to dodge several clumps of small growths, pre-
sumably juju trees, before they could taxi to a
The man in linen now rushed up to them,
and introduced himself as Mr. Maclnnis. He
hurriedly shook hands with the boys, display-
ing, they thought, great nervousness while
greeting them, and several times he turned his
head and looked in the direction of the nearest
shacks of the town.
Then he asked what they thought a very
queer question. "Have you fellows enough
petrol and oil to last you through to your next
^'That's Aden," answered John; "we didn't
192 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
fill to capacity at Freetown, and I'm afraid not.
Why, what is the matter? Haven't you any
fuel here for us?"
"I have plenty of both petrol and oil here
for you," said the Scotchman, with another look
toward the huts, "but I am afraid for your lives-
if you stay to put it aboard."
"How is that?" cried Tom, his usually smil-
ing countenance growing sober for once, while
his companions felt a vague uneasiness.
"It's this way," stated Maclnnis. "About
eight o'clock this morning the airplane that is
racing you came in. It was the first machine
of the kind the natives had ever seen, and they
were greatly frightened, thinking Jobbajobba,
one of their heathen devils, had appeared in the
guise of a great bird, and was about to attack
the children of the wicked of them. When the
aviators climbed out, and they saw that they
were human, they lost some of this fear, but
remained at a respectable distance all the time
the 'great bird was being given a drink.' Then
two of the men — one was the slender and dark-
complexioned fellow — went into the town sight-
seeing. In the course of their rounds they stole
the ivory head, set with gold eyes and teeth,
off of the body of one of the tribe's most cher-
ished idols, the god of Ogu Nogo. This was
SAVED BY THE SEARCHLIGHT 193
not discovered until the aviators had departed
in their airplane, but then the Fulbees were
wild with rage at the 'bird-men,' as they called
them, and swore to kill them if they should ever
return. To-night they observed you landing, as
I did. They are now in hiding, probably with
weapons, and are undoubtedly watching your
every move, ready to strike when the time
comes, thinking you to be those other fellows
or men of as evil instincts. As I said, I fear
for your lives if you tarry here." And as he
finished he once more glanced nervously around
at the huts and shacks in the gloom of the fast-
But in that direction all was so quiet that
John hopefully remarked: *T think they are
too frightened to appear. We need more gaso-
line, as we have been running very hard and
our tanks are low. We will hurry matters up,
and three of us will fill while the other stands
guard with a rifle."
Mr. Maclnnis then helped John, Tom, and
Paul carry the big square tins of British petrol,
which is the same as American gasoline, from
the field shelter to the Sky-Bird, where, in the
course of a half-hour, two hundred gallons were
poured into the tanks, also ten gallons of oil.
In the meantime, Bob Giddings, rifle in hand.
194 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
stood close by, alert for danger. He watched
the nearest buildings of the natives sharply, but
though he saw numbers of black figures skulk-
ing in the shadows among them, no sign of
hostility was observed.
The Scotchman had signed his name to
the document certifying to the stop of the
flyers at Kuka, — the paper on which they were
to secure certifications at every scheduled air-
port, — and they were just in the act of start-
ing over to the field tank to get some water for
the airplane's radiators, when, without a mo-
ment's warning' a hair-raising chorus of yells
broke out on the brooding night air, and scores
of savage-looking figures sprang from the
shadows of the buildings into the open field.
They emerged in a long straggling line, hoot-
ing and brandishing guns, spears and bows.
They advanced toward the airplane in peculiar
hops and side jumps, as if fearing an attack
upon themselves. Not once did they cease their
blood-curdling shouts. Rapidly they neared
the objects of their anger and hatred.
For a full five seconds the boys stood as if
rooted in their tracks, too horrified and as-
tounded to think or act. The sharp voice of the
Scotchman, however, brought them to their
"You've fooled here too long; it's too late to
SAVED BY THE SEARCHLIGHT 195
get away now I They're mad as wet hornets.
Jump inside your cabin quick, and defend your-
selves as well as you can!"
"But you, sir?" cried Tom.
"They won't harm me, because I'm not a
The boys dashed into the cabin and shut the
door, while the Scotchman hurried away from
the airplane. It was certain that there was no
time to get out and crank the propeller and rise
before the mad Fulbees would be upon them.
Cornered in the little cabin of the machine they
would sell their lives as dearly as possible.
As they stood, guns in hand, watching
through the windows, while the frenzied blacks
drew cautiously nearer, spreading a cordon of
hundreds all around the Sky-Bird, they could
see in the moonlight that the Fulbees were gro-
tesquely painted on arms and faces, while their
bodies were entirely naked except for a dirty-
looking cloth wrapped around their loins in the
form of a short skirt. Every one of them was
armed, and as they contracted their circle, guns,
spears, and bows were frequently raised in
threatening position; but for some reason no
shots were fired. The inmates knew, however,
that when nearer approach brought more assur-
ance of hitting their target, the blacks could be
counted upon to open up actual hostilities.
196 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
And now this thought brought a sudden and
grave fear to their minds, one unnoticed be-
fore. The helium-gas tanks in the hollow wings
and rear fuselage! Bullets, spears and arrows
striking them v/ould penetrate, and the tanks thus
punctured would lose their last ounce of the
It was a terrible predicament in which the
flyers now found themselves, to be sure. By-
fighting they might preserve their lives, but
that very act would make their world-trip im-
possible. What could they do?
As the drowning man catches with hope at
the floating straw, Bob now conceived an almost
impossible but startling idea for delivering them
from their dilemma.
"The searchlight!" he cried. "These blacks
never have seen one. Perhaps we can frighten
them away with ours!"
"Great idea. Bob," approved John, while the
others also applauded the scheme. "Paul, you
work the lever that revolves the lamp up on
top of the cabin there, and. Bob, you throw in
No sooner had he spoken, than both boys were
at their stations. The next moment a great
white path, widening as it went, streamed out
into the darkness, lighting up everything in its
reach with the brilliancy of day, but with a
THEY SHRANK, CRINGING, BACK IN THEIR TRACKS
SAVED BY THE SEARCHLIGHT 197
bluish-whiteness which must have been de-
cidedly terrifying to the superstitious ne-
groes. Like an accusing finger the strange light
swept around the field, raising and lowering,
resting a few moments on this group and then
that group of petrified, hideously-painted faces,
from which eyeballs stood out like knobs of
In an instant their incensed cries had ceased,
and they had shrunk, cringing, back in their
tracks. But only for a few moments, and then
their gurgled yells arose once more, this time
in ear-splitting fright, as all turned and fled
toward the nearest forest. And that great, ter-
rifying white eye of the big "bird" followed
them, shining for many a rod on black backs
which were so wet with perspiration that they
looked like oiled eelskin. Weapons were thrown
in every direction as the Fulbees fled. When-
ever one would look around and see that glaring
eye looking straight at him, he would shut his
own eyes and shriek, and then go dashing fran-
tically on. Some even threw themselves pros-
trate when the flood overtook them, and uttered
invocations to their gods for protection from the
monster, until they could pluck up courage
enough to continue their flight.
Had the situation not recently been such a
serious one for them — indeed they were not out
198 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
of it yet!— the flyers would have roared witH
laughter. As it was, they kept the light travel-
ing over the Fulbees until the very last one had
fled. Then at a quick word from John, they all
jumped out of the cabin and swung the airplane
around for a quick take-off.
Tom spun the propeller; there was a roar as
the engine caught, and a few seconds later they
were mounting up into the starlit heavens of
the equatorial night. At a height of two thou-
sand feet, they presently looked down, safe
from the menace of the black populace whose
reception had been so rabid.
But Kuka was blotted out in the mantle of
gloom which lay between. Only the sparkling
ripples of Lake Chad, struck by the beautiful
tropical moon, could be seen.
A JUNGLE ADVENTURE
SO FAST had the flyers in the Sky-Bird
come across the western part of the Afri-
can continent, at its greatest bulge, that,
coupled with their very brief stop in Kuka, they
found they were starting out for Aden, Arabia,
with a gain of approximately seven hours upon
their lost time of fourteen hours in Freetown.
They were now, therefore, just seven hours be-
hind schedule — perhaps a little more than that
behind their rivals, — but in the very fact that
they were cutting down both items, they felt
vastly encouraged, and as the airplane headed
eastward across Lake Chad there was only one
thing to worry them to any extent.
This was the need of water; that is, all felt
that the need would become an urgent one be-
fore daylight should come and a chance be given
to land and replenish the limited amount which
they knew must now be in the radiator, owing
to the impossibilit;^ of getting water as expected
200 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
John was at the throttle, with Tom assisting.
Paul and Bob were playing with Grandpa, still
too excited over their recent adventure to turn
in and get some sleep, as John said they ought
to do. After a little while they turned their at-
tention to studying the chart and schedule. Fre-
quently they compared notes, and now and then
jotted down some figures on a pad.
"Do you know, John," observed Paul, look-
ing up very cheerfully, "that if we continue to
travel at the rate we did between Freetown and
Kuka we shall make up all lost time by morn-
ing, and arrive at Aden about on schedule?"
"You don't say!" exclaimed John.
"You kids have made a mistake," informed
"No mistake about it," protested Bob; "it's
an out-and-out fact."
"Well, that's cheerful news, then," said Tom.
"I know we hit her up to well over two hun-
dred an hour coming across to Kuka."
"And we'll do as much on this stretch, if our
water only holds out," declared John determin-
"That's the rub," put in Paul. "I'm sure it
won't hold out, and if we work right up to the
last drop, I'm afraid we may have to make a
forced landing, and that may be in the tops o£
I the trees, for all we know."
A JUNGLE ADVENTURE 201
"Or on an elephant's back," added Bob jo-
"Well, I don't know but that we had better
try to make a landing as soon as we come to a
favorable spot where there is water," remarked
John. "It is a fine moonlight night, and if we
strike the right place I think we can make the
ground. In a pinch, you know, we can use our
"Speaking about searchlights — oh my! oh,
my! will I ever forget hov/ frightened those
blacks were?" And Paul laughed until the
tears came into his eyes, now that the tension
was off. Tom joined him until both of them
staggered and bumped together, causing Grand-
pa to set up an excited chatter of inquiry.
John kept the Sky-Bird low, down to less
than a thousand feet, after crossing the lower
neck of Lake Chad, for the chart showed no
marked elevations which would make flying at
that height hazardous, and it was certain that
the closer they were to the earth the better they
could detect a favorable place to land.
It was really a beautiful night, and they open-
ed the cabin windows after a while to enjoy
the soft balmy air to the full. The vvdnd then
rushed through the cabin like a hurricane, roar-
ing so that conversation was out of order; but
they enjoyed its cool touch on their hot faces.
202 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
One by one the stars had made their appear-
ance, until now the heavens fairly glittered with
them. How pretty they looked up there in the
great blue vault in w^hich they seemed the choic-
est settings of an angel's handiwork! Some-
how they seemed to sparkle more brightly, and
the sky seemed a richer cobalt, than the sky the
boys knew at home. But they missed many of
the stars which they loved in America. The
swift airplane in which they rode had taken
them, day by day, and night by night, away
from them. JMany stars which were unknown to
them had taken their places, and they realized
more strongly than all the pictures in the world
could have shown them how very unlike were the
skies of the northern and southern hemispheres.
One of the most striking sights to them now
was the constellation of the Cross, commonly
known by mariners as the Southern Cross, and
which is composed of four brilliant stars. Sirius,
Canopus, and Centaur also filled a part of the
heavens with their splendid light. JNIars, Ve-
nus, Saturn, and Jupiter were old friends in new
surroundings, and were all dazzlingly dressed.
The part of the INIilky Way between the
stars Sirius and Centaur was so rich in stars and
crowded nebulae that it seemed a perfect blaze
of illumination. And there were the Magellanic
clouds, white-looking patches made up of count-
A JUNGLE ADVENTURE 203
less stars individually unseen to the naked eye,
and nebulee — ^mists of radiating light — all shin-
ing brilliantly and revolving around the star-
less South Pole. To the northward was the con-
stellation of the Great Bear, which reaches its
meridian altitude about the same time as the
constellations of the Cross and the Centaur. As
the boys looked, stars appeared and disap-
peared. They were like a succession of guests,
coming and going.
After a while, the flyers saw a small river
glinting in the moonlight and running along for
the most part in the direction they were taking.
"The first time we come to a level, open spot
along this stream we will try for a landing,"
stated John. "It will afford us plenty of water
for the radiator if we can get down to it."
"And plenty of water for a good plunge,
too," said Paul. "I haven't had a bath since
we left jNIiami, and I'm fairly suffering for a
wetting, if it's no more than a quick dip."
"Same here," seconded Bob and Tom.
They were running much lower now, on the
lookout for a place to stop, and so once more
they could hear each other's voices.
Presently, just after clearing a dense forest,
they saw the opening they sought. It was a
grassy level, free of bushes and other obstruc-
204 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
tions, and well bathed in the soft light of the
stars and moon.
After some careful maneuvering, John
brought the Sky-Bird down, and though the tall
grasses wound in the landing-gear in coming to
a stop, they broke off without doing any dam-
"We'd better take the guns along," Tom re-
"That's so," agreed John; "we might run into
some ferocious animal in this wild jungle."
So each armed himself with a rifle and a
pail, and John led the way, as he was the only
one of the party supplied with a lantern, the
others having small flashlights which were none
too good for breaking a path in such wilds.
They knew the river lay a short distance to the
north, but in order to reach its banks from the
place where they had landed, they had to cut
through a strip of woods bordering it.
It was tedious work getting through. The
trees were close together and had to be dodged,
and great leaves of plants as large as their
bodies seemed to be everywhere, while vines of
the toughest fiber frequently shut off their
passage and had to be pushed aside or cut with
knives. More than once one of the partj^ tripped
over unseen obstacles and measured his length
in the soft, rank ground-vegetation.
A JUNGLE ADVENTURE 205
But it was only a little way to the river, and
soon they stood upon its grassy bank. It was
a pretty stream, not very deep, and seemed
quite clear when John held the lantern down to
it. They filled their pails, and then, risking
all dangers of snakes and crocodiles, disrobed
for a plunge.
First one and then the other jumped in.
How refreshing the cool waters felt to their hot,
sticky bodies ! They would have liked to do some
diving, but were afraid of sunken logs, and con-
tented themselves by s^Dlashing about, swimming
a little, and making the woods ring with their
laughter and shouts.
Then they came out and put on their clothes.
Picking up guns once more, and the pails now
filled with w^ater, they started back, John still
leading. But they had not gone far when some-
where in advance of them they thought they
heard the sound of a breaking limb. So sudden
was the sound on the still night air, that all
stoi)ped very quickly, their hearts beating fast.
They listened, but the sound was not repeat-
ed. They started on again, thinking the limb
must have been a dead one and had fallen from
some tree of its own weight. But scarcely had
they taken a dozen steps when they heard another
sharp cracking of wood, this time very close
in front of them.
206 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
Their intuition told them now that they were
near to some night prowler of the animal king-
dom, and perhaps one of considerable size, judg-
ing from the crash. Hardly realizing what they
were doing, they set down their pails, and cocked
their rifles, facing, with alertness and uneasiness,
the direction whence the sounds had come.
Now they heard some rustling, as of leaves,
directly ahead. It came slowly and cautiously
closer. Just as it seemed about to burst out upon
their view it stopped. There was no more noise.
All was silent ; not even the note of a night-bird
or the gentle chirp of an insect could be heard.
For the first time the soughing of the tree-tops
in the soft breeze above failed to meet their
ears. What a deathly stillness it was!
Suddenly, right out of the black shadows
ahead, there sounded on the hushed air of the
night three terrific yells, one following imme-
diately after the other. These piercing cries
had hardly died out when another, of deeper note,
and a veritable roar, filled the forest with its din.
The leaves about the boys seemed fairly to quiver
under the violent guttural reverberations.
John Ross may well have been excused for
shaking as he held up his lantern in his right hand
and threw its rays upon the tall undergrowth
ahead, while his fingers tightened like bands of
steel around the stock of his repeating-rifle.
A JUNGLE ADVENTURE 207
As he and his companions looked, they saw
peeping through the foliage a black, fierce face,
one of the ugliest and most ferocious that man
could have imagined. It was staring straight
at them. The brute's eyes were sunken under
a heavy overhanging ridge of dusky skin. His
eyes were small and black, and the iris of each
shone like a diamond set in carbon. His fore-
head was low, receding, and covered with short
bristling hair. His nose was broad and flat.
His great jaw protruded frightfully, with the
upper thin lip pressed tight, the lower curving
away and disj)laying a row of long yellow tusks
which could have bitten the hand off a man with
The animal now opened his cavernous mouth,
and uttered yell after yell again, these sounding
something like the bark of a dog but being a
hundred times louder. They were followed by
terrific roars, somewhat similar to those of a
lion, though of much greater volume. The cries
rang through the forest from hill to hill, and
died away in the distance. The woods was filled
with the echo of his horrible voice.
Then, very slowly his whole body came in
sight. He advanced clumsily and ponderously
towards the little party of flyers, walking erect,
his plain intent being to kill them. His short
legs were hardly strong enough, as sturdy as
208 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
they were, to support his huge body. All at
once he stopped to look at them. How vindic-
tive his eyes were! They seemed to say to the
boys: "I will soon finish you!"
Then he beat his chest with his great fists and
the noise was like a bandman striking a bass-
drum. It was his challenge to combat. How
long and muscular were the shaggy arms that di-
rected these blows! How broad was his chest
from which the sounds came! The hair stood
almost erect on his body, and the hair on his
head moved up and down.
This hesitation of the monster proved the
salvation of the flyers. It gave them a chance
to pull their shattered nerves together and ele-
vate their rifles. As he must keep the light on
the creature, which now all recognized as a
large gorilla, so that his companions and him-
self could see to shoot, John had only one arm
with which to handle his gun. But he brought
the weapon up quickly, and pressed the trigger
just as three other shots rang out from the guns
of his companions, who had stepped on either
side of their leader.
A hoarse yell of rage and pain answered the
reports. They saw the gorilla stagger, then
drop to all fours, and lunge toward them.
There was no chance to retreat. As quick as
a flash John dro^^ped his own rifle, so that he
A JUNGLE ADVENTURE 209
could hold the lantern in both hands and direct
its rays better upon the beast, and cried to his
comrades to fire again.
No sooner had the words left his lips than the
others brought their repeaters once more to their
shoulders. On account of the poor light on the
barrels of their weapons they were again com-
pelled to take snap shots, shooting with both
eyes open; but this time with greater success.
The big gorilla fell, uttering a fearful groan.
He rolled over upon his back, his massive limbs
twitched convulsively, and then he was still.
Going up to him cautiously with the lantern,
they found that he was dead.
Extended, his great arms measured nearly
nine feet ; his chest had a girth of seven feet, and
he lacked only one inch of being six feet in
height. These facts Tom ascertained with the
use of a small tapeline which he carried in his
"Let's skin him," said Tom; "I know how,
and it won't take but a few minutes."
*'Sure," agreed Paul; "his skin will be a valu-
able trophy to take back home with us. Jiminy,
I wish it had been daylight and we had brought
our camera with us ! We could have secured some
pictures worth while for the Daily Indepen-
With his keen-edged sheath knife, Tom soon
210 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
had the skin removed from the giant brute. The
performance of this operation was far from an
agreeable one, however, both for surgeon and ob-
servers. So human-like was the gorilla that it
seemed like skinning a man!
As they made their way onward again, car-
rying their trophy in a roll tied with withes
made from vines. Bob ventured to say: "I won-
der how the gorilla came to be awake and to
attack us this way?"
"I think he must have had a mate, perhaps a
family, nearby," rephed John. "I have read
that the mother and her babies always go up
into a tree to sleep, while the father squats down
at its base to guard them, and here he sleeps
with one eye open and the other closed, as the
saying is. At least he arouses at the slightest
sound of an enemy. We probably awakened
him by our shouts while in bathing, and being
so close to him when we came back along a
slightly different path, he thought we were going
to attack the family upstairs, and showed fight
The little party regained their airplane with-
out further incident; the radiator was drained,
and the fresh water put in. Then, feeling that
there was no further danger of the engines run-
ning hot, they took off.
As the Sky-Bird arose into the air, the flyers
A JUNGLE ADVENTURE 211
noticed that Grandpa the monkey was slightly
excited. This they attributed to the presence
of the gorilla's skin; but when they saw Grand-
pa continue to dash wildly about the cabin, from
their shoulders to the rear window, out of which
he would take a quick look only to fly back to
them and chatter wildly and coweringly, Paul
thought he would see what could be the trouble.
One glance was enough. He shut the open
window with a bang, and turned to his com-
panions with a pale face.
"Fellows," said he; "we've got a passenger!"
"A passenger?" cried they.
"Yes," said Paul, "a monstrous big snake!"
THE DOUBLE LOOP
FOR a moment or two John and Bob stared
at Paul blankly, unable to comprehend the
unport of his announcement. Tom was at
the throttle, and while he had heard the startling
words, he was too occupied in guiding the Sky-
Bird to do anything except take a quick glance
"A snake?" repeated Bob.
"Not on the machine?" cried John,
"Yes," Paul said, with a seriousness which left
no further doubt as to the truth of his state-
ment. "He's a whopper — must be twelve or
fourteen feet long and as thick as my leg. He's
there on the fuselage just outside of the win-
dow, hanging on for dear life. If I hadn't
shut that window just as I did, I believe he
would have crawled in here in a minute."
John and Bob now hurried to the window and
looked out. In the moonlight they could dis-
tinctly see a huge reptile, either a python or a
boa-constrictor, coiled up in the angle formed
THE DOUBLE LOOP 213
by the juncture of the airplane body and the
broad base of the left wing. The creature was
so long that its tail passed up over the rounded
fuselage and out upon the other wing. Bob
flashed his electric pocket lamp upon it, and by
the yellow and brown mottled spots upon its
body and the double plates of whitish scale at
its tale, and the wicked-looking triangular head,
they were sure it must really be a python, one
of the most dreaded of African snakes. These
creatures think a monkey a very choice morsel
of food, and undoubtedly it had been attracted
to the airplane, while it stood in the grass, by
the appearance of Grandpa in the oj)en cabin
window, but had been frustrated in its designs
by the return of the flyers and the sudden rising
of the machine.
Now, with the window shut, the boys seemed
safe enough for the present. The\^ could see
that the big snake was extremely uneasy. As
the wind whistled by him, his great tail twisted
and untwisted, and he seemed to be trying to
get a better hold on the smooth surface, while his
beady eyes glared at them only a moment in
the glow of the flashlight, and then he trans-
ferred his attention to the landscape below them.
His forked fangs darted in and out during this
time with the angriest lightning-like movement.
Paul relieved Tom at the tlu'ottle for a few
214 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
minutes, so that the latter could have a look at
When Tom came back again to his post, he
said, with plain uneasiness: "I never saw such
a big snake before, Paul. Between the rush of
wind and the roar of the engine and propeller,
he seems scared out of his wits."
"We've got to get him off of there somehow
— and mighty soon, too," put in John, with de-
cision. "Tom, if that monster should begin to
slip a little most likely he will coil his tail around
some of our control wires, — and then what?"
Their faces blanched at this prospect. They
knew what that would mean. It would mean
that the great creature would either operate the
airplane's rudders when they should not be op-
erated, or would prevent Tom from moving
them when they must be moved. In either event,
the result would be disaster to machine and
"Good heavens, boys!" said Tom, so nervous
his voice shook, "get rid of that snake as quick
as you can!" He fancied he could see the rear
control levers moving at that instant.
The other three flyers knew the importance of
these instructions, but how were they to carry
them out? The reptile was too large to be
shoved off with a stick or pole, and would prob-
THE DOUBLE LOOP 215
ably squirm through the window while they
were attempting it. And they were afraid to
use a gun, as, in the case of a miss or a little
lurch of the airplane at the moment of firing,
the bullet might puncture the hollow wing or
rear fuselage and let helium escape.
It was Bob who solved the puzzle.
"Why not try a loop or two?" he asked.
Their hearts jumped with hope at tliis. So
everything was made tight in the cabin, with
the straps and fastenings which had been pro-
vided when the machine was made. Even
Grandpa had to submit to being roped up in one
of the swinging hammocks. When the boys had
buckled themselves down to their seats, John
gave Tom the word, and he began to rise slowly.
At close to two thousand feet he brought the
Sky-Bird quickly and smoothly upward until she
stood almost on her tail end.
Then Tom threw the elevators and ailerons
hard up, and held them there. They were going
at a rate of close to a hundred miles an hour
at the moment, and their velocity brought them
around in a pretty loop. There was no way for
them to tell if the serpent had been dislodged,
so, to make as sure as he could of accomplishing
his purpose, Tom kept his controls as set, and
they made another or double loop.
216 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
This time he straightened out his controls as
he came up to the horizontal, and they ran
swiftly ahead again on a level keel.
His companions quickly unloosened their
straps, and ran for the rear window. A feeling
of the greatest thanksgiving jSUed their souls and
joy lit up their faces. The python was gone!
He had hurtled through the air during one
or the other of the loops, and his long sinuous
body was probably at that moment lying crushed
upon the hard ground, or impaled u^oon the
sharp stub of some forest tree, far below.
It had been a night of intense excitement.
Now that they began to beat through the air
in the old timeful way, and there was nothing
more to claim their attention until they should
arrive at Aden sometime in the morning. Bob
and Paul took to their hammocks for sleep, but
first Bob got Khartum on the wireless and de-
livered their position and a brief description of
their adventures. As may be imagined, how-
ever, the two youths did not shut their eyes im-
mediately. There was much to think about and
to talk about before even fatigue could get the
better of them.
Tom put the Sky-Bird through on a straight
course for Aden as fast as he dared run the
night engine, which was very close to its limit,
now that it had had a chance to cool off and was
THE DOUBLE LOOP 217
well supplied with water. It was important that
they should make speed, for in the stop for
water and the subsequent maneuvering to rid
themselves of their unwelcome passenger, the
python, they had lost upwards of an hour's
Flying high, and depending entirely upon
the compass for striking Aden, they shot
through the starlit tropical night like a meteor,
showing no lights except the two small ones on
the dashboard in the cabin, by means of which
Tom could observe the instruments and the con-
trolling levers below. Thus they crossed the
famous Nile, sweeping below Khartum and
across the plains of Kordofan, and when the
first streaks of daylight appeared ahead of them
they were just entering the plateaus of north-
Paul and Bob now relieved Tom and John,
and the latter young men took a nap. It was
their custom to work in pairs, the observer pre-
paring food for himself and the pilot during the
course of flight. Sometimes the observer took
the throttle long enough to give his friend a
chance to eat, and sometimes the pilot retained
his seat, allowing the automatic arrangement to
do the guiding for him while he munched his
Just before seven o'clock Paul and Bob saw
218 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
two larges bodies of water ahead of them, one
stretching to the right and the other to the left.
The chart told them that the northern bod}' Avas
the Red Sea and the southern one the Gulf of
Aden, which opens into the Indian Ocean. Be-
tween these bodies lay a narrow belt of water,
flanked on the western or African side by rocky,
wooded hills, and on the eastern side by low,
sandy shores dotted with palms. This was the
Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, and the country be-
yond was Persia.
Aden could not be more than fifteen minutes'
run east now, and so Bob awakened his sleep-
ing comrades while Paul guided the airplane
across the strait. They flew a little higher, later,
following the general contour of the terraced
slopes of the mountains along the Arabian coast.
As the Sky-Bird came leisurely over the
hills surrounding this British seaport of Aden,
they could see that the town nestled in the crater
of an extinct volcano, as they had read. All
around the low, white buildings spread the
rugged hillsides, and in declivities they passed
over numbers of the great brick tanks or reser-
voirs which catch and store the scanty rainfall
of the region and thus furnish Aden with its only
The flyers saw many gowned figures, some on
camels, pause to look upward at them, as they
THE DOUBLE LOOP 219
began to circle the town in quest of their landing
field. Bob was the first to discern it — a fairly
level stretch in the southern end of the valley
or basin, marked in the way agreed upon, and
containing two small buildings, neither of which
was large enough to admit the machine.
But they cared nothing for shelter for the Sky-
Bird, as they did not purpose staying any
longer than necessary for fuel replenislmient
and news dissemination by telegraph and letter.
So they quickly settled down in the midst of a
wondering ring of Arabs.
Mr. Griggs, the American consul here, now
came forward with a couple of British military
officers, and the flyers met with a hearty recep-
tion. It seemed good to run upon one of their
own countrymen again, after seeing so many
strange faces since leaving Panama. Mr.
Griggs insisted upon them all going to his home
with him for breakfast, and to this they consent-
ed as soon as they found he had made full ar-
rangements for having some British workmen
at the garrison refill the Sky-Bird's tanks.
They found that their rivals had arrived just
after daylight, and had departed for Colombo,
Ceylon, less than twenty minutes before their
own appearance. This was cheering news.
They had gained a lot on them in crossing the
ABOVE THE CLOUDS
MR. GRIGGS, the American consul at
Aden, proved an affable, pleasant en-
tertainer. His little wife was also very-
genial and painstaking for their comforts, de-
claring at their protests that she was doing no
more for them than she had done for the other
flyers when they came through, a short time be-
fore. The couple had two children, a boy and a
girl, and both of these plied the boys with in-
numerable questions about their journey, ex-
pressing the greatest interest and excitement
when they worked out of Paul the story of the
adventure with the gorilla and python.
After the meal, which was very appetizing and
refreshing, they spent a short time preparing
their reports to the Daily Independent, and then
accompanied their host to the post-office, where
the letter and roll of films were mailed. At the
telegraph office they received a pleasant sur-
prise in the shape of a message from Mr. Gid-
dings, which stated their reports were coming
in to the newspaper all right, and that the great-
ABOVE THE CLOUDS 221
est interest was being manifested in them by
the world in general and by New York people
"Whatever you do, don't let the other crew
beat you," were his concluding words. "I have
ordered the helium shipped to Nukahiva by fast
"That's good news," said John, with satis-
faction, referring to the helium, and the others
accorded with him.
They dispatched a telegram to Mr. Giddings,
and then started out to buy some fruit and other
foods. As they went along the narrow, crook-
ing street upon which they had been walking
they met so many Arabs with small sprays of
dark-green leaves which they put in their mouths
and chewed, that their curiosity was aroused,
and Bob asked Mr. Griggs what the leaves
"Those are the leaves of the khat bush," was
the response. "You must have passed numerous
plantations of such bushes up on the hillsides as
you flew over into the basin here. The Yemen
Arabs like to chew the leaves so well that they
have all of the passion for them that a toper has
for whiskey, and they will spend their last rupee
for a small bundle."
"Does this chewing of the leaves intoxicate
them?" asked John.
222 AEOUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"Oh, no; the leaves are quite harmless. But
they do produce a strangely exhilarating effect
upon those who chew them. If you ask a
Yemen Arab what he chews the leaves for, he
will invariably look at you with astonishment
and tell you that he forgets all his troubles, sees
the most beautiful of fairies and the richest rose-
gardens of Allah, and lives in a new world."
"Do they go to the fields after it themselves?"
"Not at all," said Mr. Griggs; "the khat is
brought into town every morning about eleven
o'clock by long caravans of camels which pro-
ceed from the khat farms along the mountain
slopes. Long before these camels appear in the
valley, with a bundle of khat swung on each side
of the beasts, messengers on fleeter camels have
brought the tidings of approach. From the
shelters of the shops, so silent except just now,
cheerful cries break out; the streets are filled
with Arabs who sing joyfully; tikka gharries
rattle madly by, whips waving and turbans
awry; there are flashes of color from rich men's
gowns and the sounds of their clicking oryx-
hide sandals as they raj^idly strike the stony pave-
ments ; there is a continual blunt clatter from the
tom-toms in the hands of long-gowned feUows.
They are all going to the market where the
khat will soon arrive, each one anxious to have
ABOVE THE CLOUDS 223
first choice and get the best bargain. There
they will bicker Avith the khat traders for an hour
sometimes, then in will come the desj)ised had-
jis, the venders of firewood, who will buy up for
a few pice the scraps which remain."
This was all very interesting to the flyers, but
it was high time to hurry back and resume their
flight; so, restraining their imj^ulse to ask more
questions or investigate the attractions of the
town, they bought their supplies, and returned
with the American minister to the landing-field.
Ten minutes later the Sky-Bird was mounting
easily up into the sky, viewed by hundreds of
shouting Arabs. It was good-bye to Persia
Looking at his watch, Paul, at the throttle,
saw that it was nine-fifty. They were leaving
Aden only fifty minutes behind schedule. That
was not at all bad; but it was not pleasant to
think that their rivals were still ahead of them.
And two hours was a pretty stiff lead.
They were not long in passing over the hills
to the south, and then headed eastward out over
the elongated gulf. Looking back, John saw
the sandhills by the sea glistening in the bright
sunlight like mounds of gold-dust. Every leaf
and stem in the scrub stood out in black and
silver filigree; and euphorbias and adeniums,
gouty and pompous above the lower growths.
224 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
seemed like fantasies of gray on a Japanese
screen covered with cerulean velvet. It was
their last sight of Persia, and one not soon to be
Our friends now settled down for a long hop,
for they would have to fly all day and all night
before reaching Colombo.
After a while they sighted Socotra, the little
isle off the coast of Cape Guardafui, from
whence comes most of the world's supply of
frankincense; then leaving its rocky shores be-
hind them they cut straight across the Persian
Sea, braving whatever tropical storm might
All that day they swept over the blue waters
of this great body, frequently seeing ships below
and sometimes small islands. Toward night
they ran into such hard headwinds that Bob
went up higher. He climbed steadily until the
Sky-Bird had attained an altitude of nine thou-
sand feet. Here, as expected, they found the
winds much less forceful, but the sea was blotted
out entirely by the clouds through which they
had passed in the process of rising and which
now lay between.
Indeed, these clouds resembled a billowy
ocean of white foam in themselves, or a land-
scape covered with hills and valleys of snow.
The rounded cloud contours could easily be
ABOVE THE CLOUDS 225
likened to the domes of snow-covered mountains.
It was really difficult to conceive that that amor-
phous expanse was not actually solid. Here
and there flocculent towers and summits heaved
up, piled like mighty snow dumps, toppling and
crushing into one another, as the breezes stirred
Then there were tiny wisps of cloud, more
delicate and frail than feathers or the down of
a dandelion-blow. Chasms hundreds of feet
deep, sheer columns, and banks, extended almost
be3'0nd eye-reach. Between the flyers and the
sun stretched isolated towers of cumulus, cast
up as if erupted by the chaos below. The sun-
light, filtering through this or that gossamer
bulk, was scattered into every conceivable shade
and monotone. And around the margins of the
heaving billows the sun's rays played unham-
pered, unrestricted, outlining all with edgings
of the purest silver.
The scene was one of such extravagance that
the brain was staggered with what the eye tried
to register. Below the aviators, the shadow of
their machine pursued them on white film like a
grotesque gray bird of some supernatural region.
The shadow followed tirelessly, gaining as the
hour of noon approached, gaining still as after-
noon began to gather, swell, and wane; and al-
ways it skipped from crest to crest down there
226 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
just below, jumping gulfs like a bewitched
It was so cold at this height that the aviators
were content to open the windows only a slight
way for ventilation,
had to put on their heaviest garments, and they
When darkness fell, they were still flying
high, though at reduced speed, as John was
afraid that a rate too much over schedule might
cause them to overrun their destination before
daylight could disclose its outlines to them.
Every half-hour the x^ilot's helper checked up
their position on the chart. Had this not been
done from the very start of the trip, they never
could have struck their ports with the accuracy
they did, and disaster v/ould have been the re-
sult, if not death to the crew.
As it was, they had taken every precaution
they could. When they had crossed the At-
lantic they had been careful to inflate the four
spare inner tubes of their landing wheels, as
these would make capital life-preservers in case
the flyers were thrown into the sea ; and one of the
last things they did before leaving Aden was to
see that the tubes were still inflated.
The long night passed with considerable
anxiety on the part of Tom and John, but when
dawn finally broke they felt like uttering a
*'hurrah," and called Paul and Bob up from
ABOVE THE CLOUDS 227
their sleep to witness the cheering sight ahead of
At a distance of what must have been close
to fifty miles, was a white patch in a haziness of
green plain surrounded by hills and low moun-
tains. The land itself was encircled by the sea,
and when they saw a great peninsula spreading
away to the northward, they knew that the
island was Ceylon, and the other land the penin-
sula of Hindustan.
Somewhat off their course, they wheeled a
little north. Soon details became apparent in
the island. The white jDatch grew, developing
into a considerable town — Colombo.
They swept up and around it, then settled,
and climbed stiffly out of the Sky-Bird not
twenty yards from another airplane, about which
four men in flying-suits had been working.
These fellows looked toward the new arrivals
But our flyers, overjoyed to think they had
caught the Clarion's crew, only smiled back in-
BOMBED BY ROCKS
OUR friends had landed in the lowlands
just to the north of Colombo, whose
scattered buildings contained upwards
of a hundred thousand inhabitants, most of
whom were native Singhalese, descendants of
the colonists who came from the valley of the
Ganges and settled the island G.ve hundred years
before the birth of Christ. To the southward
arose the rocky headlands of the coast, and to the
westward could be seen the somber peak of
Pedrotallagalla, the highest mountain of the
island. Numerous ships, some very crude and
with queer sails, were in the harbor as the boys
landed, and scores of natives in short skirts were
loading and unloading these. Undoubtedly the
huge square boxes which some of them carried
aboard so easily upon their heads contained tea,
for which Ceylon is famous.
The person in charge of the landing-field here
was a Mr. Young, an American clergyman con-
j^ected with the local Baptist mission. This tall
BOMBED BY ROCKS 229
gentleman came forward, accompanied by the
British governor of the island, within a few mo-
ments after the flyers struck the ground. In
fact, they were still stretching their cramped legs
and arms when he greeted them and introduced
the governor. Sir Henry Hurst.
"Young men, I am more than delighted to
shake hands with you," said the governor. "It
looks as if you and the other crew over yonder
were upon an epoch-making tour, for you are
not ten minutes behind your schedule, as we
have it in the London papers and also in our
own Colombian newspaper. My only regret is
that you do not represent England instead of
America." He laughed good-naturedly as he
made the last remark.
"It was quite a task for the governor and
myself to get up at this early hour to receive
you, but the occasion is well worth the effort,"
observed Mr. Young, smiling. "Here we usu-
ally sleep very late, often as late as nine o'clock.
Even the Singhalese and Burghers are not yet
generally up from their beds, though those who
work at the wharves have appeared. If you had
arrived a few hours later there would be thou-
sands of the population here to see you."
"We are well satisfied with the hour, then,"
said John. "The fewer natives we have around
the Sky-Bird, the better we like it, both for
230 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
working and taking off. How long has that
other crew been in, sir?"
"Not more than a half -hour. They are taking
on their fuel now, being assisted by a couple o£
Burghers. They advised us that they would
probably remain here until noon, being tired
from their long flight from Aden. I don't kno^vi
why, but the slender man with the dark skin
and mustache particularly requested me to sea
that you knew this intention of theirs."
The flyers thought this was rather strange*
Why should the Clarion's crew remain so long
in Colombo, when their interests in the race de-
manded as much time put into flying as possi-
ble? It was still more incomprehensible whati
object they would have in wishing the Sky-
Bird's flyers to understand this intention, as by;
so doing our boys could make their plans to gain)
a heavy lead.
It was too much of a puzzle for them to work:
out, so Bob and Paul, aided by two Burghers
(naturalized Europeans), went to work over-
hauling the machine and storing fuel, while John)
and Tom made their way into town with Sir
Henry Hurst to transact their business. When
they returned they found the two younger mem-
bers of their crew in a heated discussion with the
"What's the matter here, anyhow?" demand-
BOMBED BY ROCKS 231
ed John, as he and Tom pushed tlieir way;
through the little ring of natives who had gather-
ed about the principals.
"It's just this way," said Pete Deveaux, with
a grin meant to be very cool and indifferent, al-
though his eyes roved uneasily: "We fellows
were working on our machine here, minding our
own business, when these two kids of yours came
up and demanded to know why we had played
you dirty at Freeto^vn and Kuka. They accused
us of purposely carrying off your share of fuel
at Freetown, and of stirring up the natives at
Kuka so you couldn't make a safe landing."
"We simply couldn't stand keeping quiet any
longer, John," put in Paul very heatedly. "We
thought it a good time to have it out with these
fellows for their crookedness."
"That's right; they're a bunch of snakes!"
supported Bob, his cheeks red with excitement
and anger, and his fists doubled menacingly.
John turned to the slouching figures of the
rival crew. "Do you fellows deny these
charges?" he asked quietly.
Grossman, Torrey, and Lane looked at their
leader, merely shrugging their shoulders. Pete
Deveaux took a quick glance in their direction,
in turn. Then his face clouded a little darker,
and he blurted out to his men: "You confound-
ed babies, why don't you deny it? You know
232 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
we didn't do anything on purpose to hold these
"That's right; we sure didn't/' said Sam
"Of course not," added Chuck Grossman.
"Wouldn't think of it/' interjected Oliver
Our boys were disgusted by the cringing atti-
tude of Pete Deveaux's cronies. Two of them
were larger than the Frenchman, yet they seemed
to be afraid of him. John saw that nothing
was to be gained at this time by continuing the
argument, so he pulled his comrades away with
this parting and significant warning to their
rivals: "Well, Deveaux, we'll let this drop now;
but we certainly hope that you will take pains
to see that nothing more of so strongly a sus-
picious character occurs on this trip!"
Pete Deveaux snarled back some answer
which they could not make out.
Our friends returned to the Sky-Bird. In a
few minutes Bob, who had climbed on top of
the fuselage to test the helium valves, came down
and said: "Something new is going on over in
our neighbor's yard, fellows. When I was up
there I could see right over the natives' heads, and
I noticed Chuck Crossman and Pete Deveaux
hunting around the field till they found half-a-
dozen rocks as big as a football, and they put
BOMBED BY ROCKS 233
these in the cabin of the Clarion. Wonder what
on earth they intend to do with those?"
''It's too hard a nut for me to crack," an-
The others expressed equal inability to discern
the purpose of their rivals, and the incident was
But twenty minutes later the faniiliar roar of
a revolving airplane propeller greeted their ears,
and they were surprised to observe the Clarion
rising up over the field. They watched the ma-
chine until it had disappeared in the cloud mists
to the east. Then they awoke.
All saw the game of their rivals now. By
making the Sky-Bird's crew believe they did
not intend to leave until noon, the latecomers
would be inclined to take their time fitting up
for the next hop, and this would give the Cla-
rion's party a chance to make a sudden exit and
gain a good lead before the others could get
There was no getting around it — Pete De-
veaux was clever, if he were a rascal. This our
friends had to admit to themselves, despite their
dislike of the fellow. His methods of getting
the best of them seemed to have no limit; and
yet thus far they had been able to cling, by the
hardest kind of work, right at his heels. This
last trick was more honest strategy than De-
234 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
veaux had exhibited before, and they could
therefore adniire it iii that sense. They hoped
that from now on his maneuvers might be as
free from mahciousness.
But their rivals had not fooled them as badly
as they thought. Our flyers had lost no time
upon landing in refitting, and when they saw the
Clarion take off, they speeded up operations so
fast that they were able to depart only fifteen
Almost straight eastward they headed, bear-
ing just a little to the southward, so as to strike
Singapore on a bee-line. They hoped to reach
this stop some time before dark, which would give
them approximately twelve hours' flying time.
Under ideal weather conditions, they could make
the journey in considerably less time, but it was
the season for the well-known monsoons of the
Indian Ocean, and it was quite unlikely that
they would be able to wing their way across the
fourteen hundred odd miles of sea without en-
countering some of these deterrent trade-winds.
It took them just an hour to cross the island
of Ceylon, and flying at about fifteen hundred
feet, they winged their way out over the white-
caps of the ocean. To their unspeakable pleas-
ure they found the winds not at all bad, and
made good speed. Bob was at the throttle, Paul
BOMBED BY ROCKS 235
was observing, and John and Tom were sleep-
They had been flying thus for perhaps two
hours, when Paul saw that for which he had been
keenly watching for some time. It was a faint
black speck, like a tiny bird, against the blue
of the heavens ahead of them. He continued
to watch this silently, after calling his chum's
attention to it, until, under an increase of
speed, the Sky-Bird had drawn close enough for
them to observe that it was what they suspected
— an airplane.
In another hour they were near enough to
recognize in it the unmistakable outlines of the
Clarion. To all appearences their rivals had
also observed them, and were crowding on
power, for now they gained much slower. Yet
they still continued to narrow the breach between
them, steadily, rod by rod, and minute by min-
ute. They could see that the Clarion was not
well handled, for she wavered in her flight con-
"They'd be wise if they'd throw those rocks
out which they took aboard," commented Paul.
"That might help them to fly steadier."
"They're flying all of a thousand feet higher
than we are," said Bob. "We're going to pass
under them, I think, in the next half -hour."
AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
That was the way matters looked. The
Clarion was riding high, and was so close by
this time that the windows in her cabin could be
made out. Against those panels of glass our
friends felt sure some of the rival crew were
even at that moment pressing anxious faces as
they watched the Sky-Bird steadily creeping up
It was such an auspicious moment that Paul
went and aroused John and Tom, so that they
could see the Sky-Bird overtake and pass her
adversary. Those two worthies grumbled a
whole lot for a few moments, being half asleep,
but when they grasped the situation and saw the
Clarion just ahead, they were as much interested
Slowly, surely the Skj^-Bird overtook the rival
machine. When it seemed her nose was almost
up to the tail of the Clarion, they saw a move-
ment in the bottom of the fuselage of the craft
above them, where her trapdoor of glass was
situated in the floor of the cabin. Then something
gray streaked down through the air. It went
whizzing by just in front of the Sky-Bird, and a
few moments later plunged into the sea with a
*'Huckleberry pie!" ejaculated Tom Meeks,
"one of their rocks has burst through their floor
trap. Say, that was a close call for us 1"
BOMBED BY ROCKS 237
"Watch out! Here comes another!" cried
Paul, as a second gray missile went by them on
the other side.
Barely had it struck the waters beneath, when
a third rock came so close that they could feel
the rush of air as it passed downward. It was
as if they were being bombarded by an enemy
above, who used great stones instead of explosives.
Their faces paled when the truth struck them
like a thunderbolt. With calm deliberation,
deadly intent, and a skill born of dropping
bombs on targets during the war, some of the
fellows in the machine above were trying to
wreck the Skj^-Bird with the rocks they had
gathered in the field back in Ceylon!
"Quick, Bob!" cried John to their pilot.
"Swerve out from under these devils as fast as
you can! If another stone comes down here, it
The words he intended to say never were
uttered. At that very moment another gray
object streaked its way down through the heavens,
whirling uglily. They thought sure it would
strike the cabin roof and crash through, and in-
tuitively they cowered back in the corners for
But their speed carried the stone farther to
the rear. There was a tearing, rending sound.
238 ABOUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
Their faces blanched. And then Bob called
out: "Hi, fellows, something's gone wrong!
The Sky-Bird's bound to put her nose into the
sea. The tail elevators don't workl"
RIDING AN AIRPLANE^S TAIL
FILLED with the gravest fears for the
safety of the Sky-Bird and themselves,
all except Bob rushed to the rear win-
dows of the cabin and looked out to see what
had caused the ripping noise, and what could be
wrong with the tail.
Paul reached a point of vantage first. One
swift look showed him the trouble. The left ele-
vator had a big hole through it, made by the
stone, fragments of silk showing all round the
ragged gap. But this could not have caused
the derangement of the steering controls en-
tirely, and looking for a reason, Paul saw that
the impact had caused the wire running to the
right elevator to become twisted around a
bracket near the end of the fuselage. Under
this condition neither elevator could be controlled.
With the good one held downward, it was
no wonder that the airplane had started a stub-
born, slow dive toward the ocean in spite of
Bob's frantic efforts to work the lever normally
"Shut off your engine!" called Paul to Bob.
240 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
*'That will hold us back. Three minutes of time
I think will save us!"
With the words, Paul seized the end of a long
coil of rope which lay near, and fastened it
about his waist. Both Bob and John saw what
he meant to do. He would crawl out upon the
fuselage and attempt to untangle the inactive
control wire, freeing the now useless right ele-
It was a daring thing to do — a most perilous
proceeding. But the older men knew that it
was the only thing that could prevent them
from plunging into the sea. So John threw
open a window for his brother, the nimblest one
of them, gave his hand a parting squeeze, and
Paul climbed through.
Paul never had realized as he did now how
smooth that rounded body of the machine was,
nor how strong the wind shot back along it
when the machine was in flight. Although he
clutched it with both arms and legs, and lay as
close to it as he could press, he thought two or
three times, as he made his v/ay out toward the
tail, that he would be torn loose. He knew that
his friends in the cabin, whom it might be he
would never speak to again, were watching his
progress with fear gripping their hearts, and
were probably inwardly praying for his success
with every breath.
RIDING AN AIRPLANE'S TAIL 241
Finally the boy reached the tail. He dare not
look down at the sea to see how much closer they
were now, for the sight might unnerve him
and prove disastrous to his purpose. So, glazing
his vision to aU except his environs and intent,
he wrapped his legs around the narrowing body
of the machine, let go with his arms, and in a
crouching posture seized the tangled wires. Two
or three tugs and he had them free. He an-
nounced this fact with as loud a yell as he could.
Inmiediately afterward he heard his brother's
voice. "Hang right there where you are, Paul!
Don't try to come back until we get elevation
again and I give you the word."
He realized what this meant and looked down
as he once more wrapped his arms around the
fuselage, with his shoulders against the rudder
bracket. What he saw was the restless sea less
than two hundred feet below! Had Bob waited
for him to attempt to crawl back into the cabin
with the tail elevated, the Sky-Bird would have
buried herself in the waters before he was half-
way to his objective. They must now rise, if that
were possible, to a good height; then Bob would
slowly spiral the airplane downward and afford
him a declining surface to work back upon.
Luckily Paul's freeing of the right elevating
plane, gave the pilot fairly good control over
the machine, so Bob had no difficulty; m bring-
242 AROUND THE WORLDlIN TEN DAYS
ing the Sky-Bird into a rising swoop, although
none too soon. Mounting at a good angle, but
one which would not be likely to displace the
youth clinging at the tail, he brought the air-
plane up to two thousand feet.
"Now, P^ul! Slide for it!" cried John, as the
machine began a slow descent in a great circle.
Paul then worked his way back like a crab,
sliding a little, but not once allowing his ten-
sioned limbs to relax to the danger point. Be-
fore the airplane had come within five hundred
feet of the sea, he felt his legs grasped in the
strong hands of John and Tom, and the next
moment they bad hauled him bodily through the
"Ginger, Buddy, that was a close call for us
— and you, too!" exclaimed John. "I hope I
never see you in such a ticklish place again!"
Paul sank into a seat. He was too exhausted
to do anything but smile. When at last he
could find his voice he asked, anxiously: "Can
Bob control her all right now?"
"Well enough to land us where we wish to
go, he says," observed Tom.
"That's right," put in Bob himself, who had
overheard the conversation. "The Sky-Bird
isn't what she was before that rock went through
her, but if nothing worse happens we'll reach
Singapore, though it will probably be somewhat
RIDING AN AIRPLANE'S TAIL 243
later than our sweet friends in the other plane."
"We can land at Sumatra, I think, if we have
to make repairs before," ventured John. "We
ought to cross the northern end of that island in
the course of an hour."
Searching the horizon for their rivals, tliey saw
that, evidently satisfied with the mischief they
had done, the Clarion crew had gone on at full
speed, for they were now far ahead.
"If I ever run onto Pete Deveaux again I
believe I shall be angry enough to choke him till
he's unable to speak his own name," declared
"I'm afraid I'U have to help you at that job,
Paul," cried Tom. "He's the most unprincipled
scoundrel that ever went unhung."
"You are right, Tom; Deveaux is a brute,"
said John. "His deviltry came near being the
end of us. When we get home, we must see to
it that he is punished as he deserves. But we
must keep it out of the papers now, as it will look,
in case we get beat, as if we wanted an excuse."
John and Tom now resumed their hammocks
and broken sleep, for they saw that, although the
shattered tail elevator caused the Sky-Bird to
ride roughly and at reduced speed, Bob and Paul
could probably handle her all right from now on.
The cross winds of the monsoon also hindered
iheir progress a good deal, blowing erratically
244 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
from different directions, but they plugged along
at a pace slow enough to keep themselves within
the zone of safety.
A little later they came In sight of Sumatra,
but as they were going fairly well, thought it
best not to attempt a landing for repairs. So
they crossed the northern tip of the island, and
proceeded on over the Strait of Malacca. Some-
time since, Paul had taken Bob's place at the
throttle, and the latter had communicated with
their destination by wireless, learning that the
other airplane had arrived.
It was twilight when they at last reached Sing-
apore, and made a landing in the race-course in
the outskirts of the town. By long odds this was
the smallest island upon which they had so far
stopped, but they found the city one of the busi-
est. Their rivals had left fully two hours before.
Now came the task of repairing the broken
tail elevator. As the frame was undamaged, it
was only necessary to straighten out a few bent
supports and put new covering on. The British
official at the field showed them where to
purchase the necessary silk and glue, also a
good waterproof varnish for coating the cover-
ing. From his o^^n home he secured a pair
of scissors with which to do the cutting, and John
and Bob worked at the task, while Paul and Tom
took on fuel and water and looked after other
RIDING AN AIRPLANE'S TAIL 245
preparations for resuming their journey as soon
During this process, Grandpa the monkey was
permitted to come out of the cabin and entertain
the crowd of onlookers wdth his antics, which he
did to perfection, as he had done at other stops.
To the ivory ring about his slender little waist,
Paul always fastened a long thin rope, which he
had bought in Para, when he let Grandpa out.
This leash prevented him from wandering off,
something nearly all unfettered monkeys will do
if not watched very closely by their masters. Al-
most any place seems to be home to a monkey,
and almost any man seems to suit him for a
Grandpa himself delighted in running out
upon the wings of the Sky-Bird at the stops. He
pulled the control wires and made the ailerons
swing up and down, which always raised a
laugh among the crowds. Another favorite pas-
time with him was to post himself in front of
the reflector of the big searchlight up on the
cabin, and make the most comical grimaces at his
image on the polished reflector inside, sometimes
uttering queer noises as if he were crying, and at
other times chattering with the utmost anger at
the phantom monkey, mixing these demonstra-
tions up with wild dashes around behind the lamp
to see if the mimicking animal were there. No
246 AROUND THE WORLD m TEN DAYS
matter what language the natives of each port
might speak, they never failed to understand and
appreciate these little sideshow comedies of
Grandpa's. And when it would become noised
about among them that this particular monkey-
had traveled all the way from South America
through the air with the "bird-men," their aw^e
for him was amusing to behold.
ENGULFED IN A VOLCANO's DUST
WITH three hundred gallons of gaso-
line in her tanks, and her broken tail-
elevator well repaired, the Sky-Bird
was ready at eleven o'clock that evening to take
off. Her crew were all tired out, but they knew
they would soon be able to occupy the comfort-
able seats or hammocks in the cabin for another
long stretch of over-sea travel, for it would be
morning before they would reach Port Darwin,
Australia, their next stop.
It had been raining very hard in Singapore
just before they arrived, and the field was quite
wet, with many puddles in the low spots.
Through one or two of these they had had to run
in landing, and it seemed that in hopping off
they would be forced to do so again. Fortunate-
ly the ground was sandy, so they had come to a
stop in a spot not at all muddy, and had thus
been able to work upon the machine without the
discomforts of wading in slime while doing it.
They now started the engine, Tom climbed in,
248 ABOUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
and they were off, running over the soft ground
at increasing speed. Then the airplane struck a
pool of water, five or six inches deep, which almost
pulled them up. It also held them back so that
when the machine emerged it was going very
little faster than at the beginning. The next
patch of ground was a little longer, but they had
not risen when they struck it at a rate of about
twenty-five miles an hour.
This pool was also quite deep, and the sudden
resistance almost threw the Sky-Bird onto her
nose. It did cause her to dip so that her long
propeller struck the puddle, and immediately
water and sand were sucked up and thrown in
almost every direction by the swiftly revolving
blades. Much of it reached the natives, who in
two long rows of curious humanity, formed a lane
for the passage of the craft, and many a poor
fellow gave a howl and fell back against those be-
hind, spluttering and rubbing grit and water
from his face, while rivulets coursed down his
dusky body amid the howls of laughter of his
The flyers had only a fleeting glimpse of this
amusing incident before they found the front
windows of the cabin so covered with the deluge
of spray that they could scarcely see ahead. Two
of them quickly opened the portals, for a grave
danger menaced them.
ENGULFED IN A VOLCANO'S DUST 249
Less than sixty yards ahead was the lower
fence of the field, and just back of this arose scrub
trees and houses, with no opening between which
could be utilized. They must clear these for-
midable obstacles, looming bigger every second,
and the distance was alarmingly short, for the
last pool had again retarded their momentum to
such an extent that they had just barely stag-
gered through it.
Picking up speed once more at every turn of
her propeller, the Sky-Bird shot down the last
stretch of ground reaching to the fence. How
fast this obstruction loomed up! Just in the
nick of time the airplane left the ground. They
sailed over the tops of trees and houses so close
that the wheels of their landing-gear almost
scraped. It was one of the finest maneuvers of
the whole voyage, and the boys praised John so
for his good piloting that he had to ask them to
After a wide sweep above Singapore, they
headed for the open water, which in this case hap-
pened to be South China Sea.
The weather was very threatening. Dark-
looking clouds began to efface the moon and
stars, whose light had aided in the take-off at
Singapore, and within fifteen minutes occasional
flashes of sheet-lightning could be seen far ahead,
throwing into relief the immense bulk of the fore-
250 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
boding clouds and shedding a pallid gleam over
the sea. Occasionally a light zephyr came out of
the east, but it would last only a moment.
"We ought to be just about over the equator
now," announced John a little later.
Paul and Bob had stayed up on purpose to
witness this event, and by dead reckoning had
computed their position so closely that John's
announcement had come just as they were about
to make a similar statement. Although they
could see no "line" stretching along down there
in the sea, they fancied they could, with the most
pleasant imagery. That great line, the belt of
the universe, dividing the Northern and Southern
hemispheres, they had already crossed once, in
their zigzagging course, at the mouth of the
Amazon. Now here in the South China Sea they
were crossing it a second time. At no time had
they been more than thirteen degrees away from
it. One more crossing of it, if all went well, and
they would be almost within sight of the end of
their journey — Panama!
With this pleasant thought Bob and Paul
rolled up in their hammocks, trusting John and
Tom to bring them safely through the bad
weather that seemed in store, and were soon
To the two older flyers, used to all conditions
of aerial passage as a result of several years' ex-
ENGULFED IN A VOLCANO'S DUST 251
perience, the present conditions were not at all
terrifying. Although the spectacle of the dark
clouds in front of them was extremely uncanny,
they realized that they were only local thunder
showers which could probably be avoided by a
little careful navigating.
In this they were right. By wheeling a little
out of their course, to the left or right, and by
flying up ovcx one big cloud which could not be
avoided in any other manner, they managed to
dodge the most dangerous fields of lightning and
the worst torrents of rain.
Presently they left the dark clouds far behind,
and once more the stars appeared in the blue
firmament above and the pale moon lit up the
With relief John guided the Sky-Bird lower,
so that they could keep a sharp lookout for guide-
posts of land. They passed several small islets
which w^ere uncharted with them, but when, about
midnight, they made out a great black blotch not
far ahead, they recognized it as the southern end
of the island of Borneo, and knew they were all
In a little while Borneo was sweeping along
below them, its mangroved shores gloomy and
desolate-looking, not to say wierd, in the pale
moonlight. Among those dense forests and
thickets the flyers knew many a wild animal was
252 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
prowling at that very moment, and in the
thatched huts in the glens slept many a fierce-
visaged savage with weaj)ons close at hand.
Toward morning the flyers observed a volcano
in active eruption off to the southeastward, ap-
parently on the island of Timor. It was a beau-
tiful sight, so wonderful that John awoke the
slee]3ers, that they too might enjoy it. Fantastic
lights of various colors shot upward from the
crater. These shafts lit up billowing clouds of
smoke and ashes, which j)oured out in awe-in-
spiring volume. Back of it all stood the dark-
blue velvet sky, against which the pyrotechnics
were embossed in a stunning manner. Man could
never have wished to witness a more remarkable
manifestation of nature than did the young avia-
tors, as they viewed the spectacle from their own
favored position in the air.
Swiftly the Sky-Bird drew them toward the
volcano, for it v/as directly in their course. As
they approached, they could see flames licking
their way upward from the dark mass of rock
constituting the shaft, and could make out
streams of lava pouring over the sides of the
crater, going down into the unknown blackness
below. What a sight it was! How their pulses
beat! How their hearts quickened!
But now, very unexpectedly, the sight was
shut out. Thin, pungent, volcanic smoke and
ENGULFED IN A VOLCANO'S DUST 253
ash began to surround them. In a few moments
it was so thick that they grew alarmed. All had
the same fearful thought —
If this should continue a little while, they would
lose their bearings, and might run right into the
fountain of fire itself!
This was a terrifying possibility, for it would
mean a horrible death to every one of them.
Fireproof though the airplane was in the general
sense of the word, every one of those in her cabin
knew that if they should ever pass thi'ough those
licking flames, the great heat in them would
fairly melt the light structure of the machine in
the twinkling of an eye. No metal or wood could
withstand that terrible blast a moment, much
less human flesh.
It is small wonder, therefore, that Tom now
sent the Sky-Bird off to the right, and higher,
also. They closed the windows, to keep out the
foul smells, and anxiously awaited developments.
They could not see a yard in front of them, so
thick were the smoke and gases. It was a trying
Fortunately Tom had taken the best course he
could. Five minutes passed — ten minutes — fif-
teen — and then the air began to clear. Slowly
the curtain lifted; and presently looking back,
they saw that they had passed the volcano and
were leaving it and the island well behind.
254 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
Its fires, too, seemed to be burning out. Only
a few forks of ghostly light were coming up
from the crater. These grew fainter and fainter,
and in a little while the eruption seemed to have
entirely subsided, for Timor was swallowed up
once more in the impenetrable mantle of night.
SHORTLY after five o'clock the next after-
noon, Paul saw ahead and to port what
appeared to be haze, but which he and Tom
hoped was the coastline of Australia. Ten min-
utes later the observer joyfully pointed out to the
pilot unmistakable evidence of an island upon
which stood a tall object — Bathurst Island light-
John and Tom were routed out, and all saw
the rugged outline of the great island — a con-
tinent itself, as large as the United States and
much the same shape — stretching away to the
southward and slowly dwindling into low, sandy,
barren shores as it went.
Less than forty minutes later they were circling
over Port Darwin, on the northwest corner of
the continent, while a good-sized crowd of people
down below pointed excitedly uj^ward. The
flyers soon made out the landing-field by reason
of its white marker, and swooped gracefully
down, while those below cheered.
Two zealous customs officials were anxious to
256 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
examine the new arrivals, also a health officer;
but this did not take long, and during the process
they were able to converse pleasantly with Mr.
Seth Partlow, the British official in charge of
the field, also with the mayor of Darwin, who
gave them the most cordial welcome.
They were sorry to learn that Pete Deveaux
and his flyers had departed less than a half -hour
before their own arrival; but they had been ex-
pecting such a report owing to the fact that they
had been left so far behind at Singapore. They
now determined to hurry up refitting operations,
and leave at the first opportunity, hot upon the
Messages were dispatched to Mr. Giddings at
Panama and to his newspaper in New York;
and another roll of films containing numerous in-
teresting views taken that morning just before
and after landing, were mailed in to the Daily
Here, for the first time, they were able to se-
cure a paper containing accounts of their own and
their rival's passage. It was a novel experience
to read these glowing descriptions of incidents
still fresh in their minds — descriptions which had
in some cases flown by wire, in others by air-
waves, from point to point, more than half-way
around the world. It provoked thoughts which
made them marvel at the wonderful ingenuity
IN AUSTRALIA 257
and power of the very equipment which they
were using themselves every chance they could
get — their wireless telegraph and telephone sets.
The remarkable news-gathering efficiency of the
world, the coordination of agencies in gathering
and disseminating news, was astounding to con-
The mayor of the town insisted upon the boys
partaking of dinner at his home near by, and
they thankfully agreed to do this when Mr. Part-
low declared he would personally see to the fill-
ing of the Sky-Bird's tanks, for which task he
had plenty of assistants.
They were most cordially received by the
mayor's wife. Within fifteen minutes they had
the satisfaction of sitting down to one of the
most satisfying meals they had ever had. N"ot
only was everything well cooked, but there was
a great variety of viands. They were all par-
ticularly impressed with the toothsomeness of the
meat which the maid served, so much so that Paul
could not refrain from remarking: "Mr. Bailey,
I never ate sweeter chicken than that."
"No, I don't believe you ever did," laughed
the mayor. "The fact is, young man, that is not
domestic chicken at all. It is the flesh of the
brush-turkey, a wild fowl which the bushmen or
blackfellows bring in here to market. It is a
258 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
''I have read of these bushmen," said Bob.
"Are they quite wild?"
"Indeed they are," the mayor repHed. "The
blackfellow is, I beheve, on the lowest rung of
civilization. He is unlike the negro, the Malay,
the Mongohan, and the American Indian, in
many ways. If you could stay a few days, I
would be glad to take you back in the bush and
show you a few specimens in their native state.
They have a long skull, with a low, fiat forehead.
Their brows overhang deep-set, keen eyes, and
they have a heavy lower jaw, with teeth as strong
as a dog's. Their hair is generally wavy or curly,
being usually auburn or black in color. As a
rule their faces are almost hidden by beards and
whiskers, which they never comb and which, like
the hair on top of their heads, are always in a
"How do they dress, sir?" asked Paul.
This brought another laugh from Mr. Bailey.
"That doesn't worry them in the least!" he de-
clared. "Most bushmen are covered from head
to foot with hair, and I imagine they think this
is a good enough uniform, for they wear nothing
except what nature gave them. In bad weather,
however, they do add some artificial protection
to their tough bodies by making a rough wrap
out of the skin of a kangaroo or a piece of flexi-
ble bark. Some tribes use rushes and seaweed
m AUSTRALIA 259
for this purpose, while others make a blanket
from the dried frog scum of the swamps and
ponds. For boats, pieces of eucalyptus bark,
folded and tied at the ends and daubed with clay,
suit them very well. They are too lazy to dig
out the trunk of a tree for a canoe, like the natives
of most other countries."
"Do these blackfellows live in huts?" asked
"That's where their laziness manifests itself
again," said the mayor, smiling. "The blackfel-
low has no permanent dwelling. His shelter is
a cave or overhanging rock, as an animal might
select one ; sometimes it is only a large section of
bark which he tears from a tree, and under which
he walks or squats in storms or lies at night."
"Back in the States," remarked Tom, "we hear
much about the skill of these fellows with the
boomerang. I dare say a lot of these stories are
"Possibly," said their host, "and yet it is a fact
that these natives are undoubtedly more adept at
casting various forms of wooden implements than
any other people in the world. Their very in-
dolence leads them to adopt all sorts of easy-
made weapons, and wood is surely one of the
most common materials for the purpose one could
find. Clubs of all kinds are hurled at prey or
human enemies. Among these the boomerang
260 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
is a favorite. They have several forms. One
type is very light, round on one side and fiat
on the other, and slightly twisted on its axis. It
is used almost entirely for play, though some-
times to hurl at flocks of birds in the sky. The
war and hunting boomerangs are much heavier;
they are bent differently, and do not return to
the thrower, but are a deadly weapon in the
hands of these bushmen at ranges up to four
hundred feet. But stone-pointed spears are
their chief weapons."
"With this skill I presume they have no trouble
in securing enough to eat," suggested Paul,
sipping his cocoa.
"On the contrary, there are times when weather
conditions, such as drouth, make it a very diffi-
cult matter for some tribes to get sufficient food.
Then they will turn to human flesh, and will eat
men who have fallen to their weapons, or their
own tribesmen who have succumbed to disease or
hunger. Even infants are sometimes kifled and
eaten by their parents."
"Horrible!" cried the flyers. This seemed al-
most incredible, with civilization in abundance so
"I agree with you," said Mr. Bailey, faihng
to notice his wife holding up a protesting finger
toward him. "Of course the blackfellow prefers
EST AUSTRALIA 261
to have other foods when he can get them. The
kangaroo, wallaby, and opossum, form his chief
food supply, but no animal or nourishing plant
is neglected. He even eats ants, caterpillars,
moths, beetles, grubs, snakes, lizards, often un-
At that point Mr. Bailey felt a sharp twist of
his ear, and looking up, found his wife gazing
at him with a very severe expression.
"Thomas Bailey! You are a cannibal yourself!
Where is your sense of propriety? Have you
lost your head in your interest in this subject?
Don't you know you are eating? — that you have
guests here who are also eating?"
"Myl my! Goodness gracious!" ejaculated
their host, in a great fuss. "Young men, I was
not thinking. Will you ever pardon me for this
transgression of etiquette?"
The flyers smilingly hastened to assure both
their friends that they had not lost their appetites
in the least; that they really had enjoyed every
morsel of food and information passed out. They
remained to chat long enough to convince the
lady and gentleman of this fact, and then took
their departure. They had actuallyspent a most
entertaining hour, one which they would not have
missed for a good deal.
At eight-fifty local time the Sky-Bird took off
262 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
for her long hop to Apia, principal city of Upolu,
an island of the Samoan group. It was the be-
ginning of their long flight across the big Pacific,
an ocean so wide, so fraught with perils, that
no aircraft had ever before attempted to nego-
tiate it. Some eight thousand miles away over
those great w^aters lay Panama, their goal.
Would they reach it ahead of their rivals ? Would
they reach it within their schedule of ten days?
To these two queries in their minds, our stout-
hearted young friends answered doggedly and
determinedly, "Yes !" Fortune might frown upon
them, it is true; but if so they would face her
smilingly, with confidence, with that pertinacity
for which Americans are famous, and try to make
her look pleasant, too ! They felt that they must
win; that they would win. And yet they left
Port Darwin handicapped by being fully three
hours behind their rivals.
As they wheeled over the town the}^ waved a
last farewell to the hundreds below, whose forms
they could just make out in the fast-gathering
darkness. Then, turning off straight east, they
flew over the dark-green canopy of eucalyptus
forests of fertile Arnhem Land, and crossed the
Gulf of Carpentaria in the full darkness of the
night. When they passed over Cape York
peninsula, Tom was at the throttle, and the
younger boj^s had been asleep for a number of
IN AUSTRALIA 263
hours. They had now left the whole continent
of Australia behind them, and were facing the
broad wastes of the Pacific.
Their perils had begun in earnest. Should
anything happen to cause them to be forced
down, there was nothing but a vast basin of
water miles deep to catch them, and there would
not be one chance in a thousand that they would
survive. This, surely, was no place and no time
for engines to fail or steering apparatus to go
wrong. Yet each flyer was ready for such a mis-
hap — attested by the mute evidence of an inflated
rubber tube about his waist. Even Bob and
Paul slumbered on the airy contrivances.
Fortunately the weather was ideal. It is true
that headwinds blew mildly and insistently,
causing some bumpiness, but the night was
calm and starry, and with the engine running
close to full-out, they saw that they were making
up lost time very fast.
When morning broke, and Paul took the
throttle, fair skies looked down upon their skim-
ming bird, and the sea was bathed in brilliant
sunshine. Bob wirelessed Sydney their position
about noon. He made no attempt to get Apia,
because he knew there was no telegraph or radio
Flying low, early in the afternoon they passed
close enough to the Vanikord islands to see hordes
264 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
of natives watching them from the coral shores.
Numerous smaller islets, gems set in the ultra-
marine blue of the sea, were also passed within
the next hour. Gulls, ospreys, and other swift-
winged seabirds sailed about these pretty out-
croppings of the mighty deep, and sometimes
the creatures came after the Sky-Bird with shrill
cries of challenge, only to be quickly left behind.
Once more the shades of night fell, and once
more John took the destinies of the airplane in
hand. For a time Bob and Paul worked on re-
ports, then played with Grandpa, who in such
tedious spells of flying as this was a never-ending
source of entertainment to all. Nine o'clock
found them in their hammocks, hoping that when
they opened their eyes again it would be to see
the welcome shores of their destination.
Nor in thisihope were they to be disappointed.
It seemed they had no sooner fell asleep when
they were aroused by a hand shaking them and
the voice of John saying: "Come on, you sleepy-
heads ! Rout out here and have a look at what's
Having their clothes still on — so that they
might be ready for an emergency at any time of
the night — the two chums were up to the windows
about as soon as John himself. The latter had
raised two of these a short time before, and the
boys shoved their heads through to take a look.
IN AUSTRALIA ^^5
It was broad day. Light, fleecy clouds cov-
ered the heavens to the southeast, but in the blue
between a huge rift the sun shone down be-
nignly. And in its bright rays they could count
nine islands and islets, sprinkled here and there
like emeralds in a sparkling sheet of mother-of-
pearl. It needed only a glance at the chart to
tell them that these were the Samoan group, and
a little searching also told them that the nearest
large one was Upolu.
In less than another hour they were circling
above the beautiful island of their choice, directly
over the little town of Apia, which nestled in the
center of a luxuriant forest of palms and other
tropical trees. A number of boats and sailing
vessels were in the harbor, and on board these as
well as on the ground hundreds of people were
looking up aloft and waving a w^elcome.
Now our flyers saw what they really were most
concerned about — a T made of white stones in an
open spot by the beach. And in that field they
also saw something else they were very glad to
witness. This was the airplane of their rivals.
They had caught up with them at last!
PAUL VERSUS PETE
THERE was a wild scamper of natives as
our flyers came down upon the smooth,
hard sands of the beach. In this opera-
tion they had to use the utmost care to avoid
striking the machine of their contemporaries, but
it was accomplished without mishap, and the Sky-
Bird came to a stop about seventy feet from the
They were immediately surrounded, at a very
respectable distance, by a cordon of Samoans.
These were splendid-looking fellows. Their
dusky bodies were strong and stalwart, and their
faces were intelligent-looking. It was plain to
be seen that they had not the slightest hostile
intentions toward the aviators. On the contrary
their features expressed clear friendliness, al-
though it was obvious that their experience with
the Clarion was still too fresh to eradicate their
natural timidity of such a strange thing as an
Our friends were very stiff and cramped from
their long ride from Port Darwin. It seemed
PAUL VERSUS PETE 267
so good now to be able to stretch their limbs, to
feel solid ground once more under their feet, and
to see the blue sky all around their heads !
The morning was hot, but a cool breeze blew
inshore, giving a delightful freshness to the air.
Near at hand were rows of native huts, made of
poles and bark, and back of these loomed fine
groves of cocoanut trees and other tropical vegeta-
tion in the richest profusion. Even the elevations
of this volcanic island had their barrenness al-
leviated by growths of greenery which seemed
entirely to cover them.
No sooner had the boys sprung out of the ma-
chine than three white men approached them.
These introduced themselves as Mr. Plusson, in
charge of the local mission; Mr. Hart, a British
trader; and Mr. Shoreman, the American trader
who had been engaged to look after their fuel
at this airport. These gentlemen expressed the
liveliest cordiality in their welcome, and Mr.
Plusson plead so hard for them to accompany
him to his home and join him and his wife at
breakfast that they consented.
They learned that their rivals had arrived about
twenty minutes before. Ever since the dastardly
attempt of Pete Deveaux and his crowd to wreck
the Sky-Bird in the Indian Ocean, our flyers had
been greatly incensed at them, or rather at Pete
Deveaux himself, for they had no doubt but that
268 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
it was he who had instigated the attack. Paul
Ross was particularly inflamed at the French
aviator's act, and had more than once declared
since, that the first time they met Deveaux again
he was going to thrash him until he begged for
mercy. This was rather a bold statement for
Paul to make, since he was but a youth of eighteen
while Pete Deveaux must have been close to
thirty; but the lad was strong and skillful with
his fists, in addition to which his resentment was
just. When justice is on one's side it goes a long
way toward giving that person staying powers
in any contest against wrong.
For these reasons, when Paul now declared that
he could not bear to wait another minute before
taking Pete Deveaux to account, his chums made
no attempt to dissuade him, except in the matter
of time. John pulled him aside, so that explana-
tions would not have to be made to their new
acquaintances, and asked him to defer the matter
until after they should have had breakfast, to
which Paul reluctantly agreed.
When they once more reached the field, it was
to see their rivals also just arriving. Without
further ado, Paul walked straight up to Pete
Deveaux and said: "Deveaux, why did you drop
those rocks down on us back there when we were
overhauling you between Colombo and Singa-
PAUL VERSUS PETE 269
The Frenchman's face paled visibly. He did
not like the look in Paul's eye, nor the stern
countenances of his friends. But he hoped to
bluff his way through.
"Why accuse me of anything like this?" said
he, trying to look surprised and hurt. "We had
nothing to do with those stones falling. Their
weight broke the catch off of the glass trap, and
they went through before we could stop them;
didn't they, guys?" He turned to his three flyers
Grossman, Torrey, and Lane nodded their
"Sure," averred Grossman.
"What did you have those stones on board
for?" demanded John.
The Glarion men were silent. Their leader
was the first to reply.
"We got some kola nuts from the natives at
one of our stops, and wanted the stones to crack
them with," stated Deveaux.
"It's a lie!" accused Paul. "Stones do not ac-
cidentally fall as straight as those did. Pete De-
veaux, you and your crowd did the best you
could to wreck us, and I'm going to take it out
of your hide right now!"
"Oh, you are, are you?" sneered the French
aviator. "It seems to me I'll have something to
say about that, you young whippersnapper ! If
270 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
these friends of yours will keep out of this, I'll
promise my boys will keep out, and I'll give you
all the show you want."
"Fair play; that's right!" cried Mr. Shore-
man, stepping forward. He had heard enough
to convince him that nothing but a fistic settle-
ment of the controversy would be adequate, and,
with the help of several white traders and sailors,
he formed a ring.
Like lightning the word went out, and scores
of natives came running up to see the encounter.
An affair of this kind just suited their primitive
instincts ; it was even a greater treat than seeing
an airplane land upon their fair island.
So by the time that Paul and Pete Deveaux
had thrown off their coats, a great ring of natives
surrounded them, and in its front were numerous
whites from the ships in the harbor.
Pete Deveaux was inwardly very nervous, al-
though he was careful not to show it. Had Paul
not been so much younger, Deveaux would prob-
ably have made some excuse to back out of the
fight. As it was, he had a sneaking ho^De of get-
ting the better of Paul, now that the youth's
friends had agreed not to interfere. He also
hoped to injure the boy so badly in the encounter
that he could not take his turn operating the Sky-
Bird for the rest of the journey; at least, cripple
PAUL VERSUS PETE 271
him enough to delay his party in getting away
from the island.
With these evil intents the French flyer con-
ceived still another. He stepped aside and whis-
pered something in Chuck Grossman's ear, then
came back and faced Paul.
Mr. Shoreman gave the signal, and Pete De-
veaux feinted and shot his other fist savagely at
Paul's eye. But the boy was wary, dodged the
blow, and struck his adversary a hard one in the
chest. For a moment Deveaux was staggered;
but he quickly recovered, and once more sprang
]\Iissing with his right, he succeeded in hitting
Paul in the shoulder with his left. Wheeling like
a flash, Paul shot out a fist before the Frenchman
could recover his guard, and struck him a smash
under the ear which sent him reeling back into
Pete Deveaux was now thoroughly alarmed.
He had not expected such science, nor such
force, on the part of his opponent. He ap-
proached Paul with much more caution, amid the
howls of the natives, and decided to let him take
Paul was willing. Encouraged by his suc-
cess thus far, and bent upon ending the fracas
as soon as possible, he met his adversary with a
272 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
heavy swing which just cleared the man's ear.
Deveaux struck, but missed also. Pressed back-
ward, he clinched to save himself, and in this posi-
tion, where nobody could see his movements, he
viciously tried to put some short jabs into Paul's
Fortunately for himself Paul succeeded in
breaking away before he was doubled up by the
blows, one of which had landed with sufficient
power to make him utter an involuntary smoth-
ered exclamation of pain.
"No more of that, Mr. Deveaux!" warned the
referee suspiciously, as Paul shoved his oppo-
nent back. "Keep out of the clinches! Fight
"Fair! Fair!" yelled the sailors; and the na-
tives took up the cry in their own language.
Paul now advanced, and Pete Deveaux re-
treated. The latter was really frightened.
Something was beginning to tell him that in this
youth of eighteen he had met his superior.
"I think we'd better quit, Ross, before we
hurt each other," suggested the French flyer
eravenly. "This flight business of ours won't
stand such delays as this. We can have this out
when we land in Panama."
"No, we can't have it out in Panama!" cried
Paul. "Stand up if you're a man and settle this
thing right now. Watch out; I'm coming!"
PAUL VERSUS PETE 273
By this time Pete Deveaux had retreated to
the lower end of the improvised ring. He saw
that he was cornered; that he must fight once
more. Lunging foward Uke a trapped rat, he
struck a wicked blow for his opponent's head.
Paul parried it, and as swift as a stroke of
lightning his right hand streaked out and caught
Deveaux under the jaw. The Frencliman reeled
backward a few steps, and toppled over, full
length upon the ground. What a cry went up
from the onlookers! By this time the sympathies
of every one, except Deveaux's own comrades,
were with the youth. No one, even a half-civil-
ized savage, at heai-t likes a coward.
For a few moments Pete Deveaux was dazed.
But after his cronies had helped him to his feet,
and started away with him, he still had enough
spite left to shout back, as he shook a fist:
"We're not done with you fellows yet!"
Paul was now the recipient of congratulations
from all sides. Everybody wished to slap him
on the shoulder or shake hands with him, it seemed,
and the native populace gave him so many
cocoanuts, bananas, and pineapples that he was
literally hemmed in with fruit, and John, Bob,
and Tom had to open up a pathway before he
could get out of his sweet-smelhng barricade.
Our flyers put as much of the gifts in the cabin
of the Sky-Bird as they could find room for, in-
274 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
eluding an abundance of nuts for the happy
Grandpa, and then they turned their attention
to the pressing business of overhauHng the en-
gines and storing fuel.
While they were thus engaged, the Clarion's
motor was heard to start ; and a few moments later
she arose and took off to sea.
"Humph!" ejaculated Tom, "those fellows
have beat us to it again."
"They ought to; didn't they arrive anead of
us?" asked Tom.
"We'll be out of here in fifteen minutes more,"
But the words were no more than out of his
mouth when Paul, who had been inspecting the
rear end of the machine came dashing excitedly
"Fellows, hob is to pay! Those rascals have
cut the wire braces that support the tail-skid, and
it's lopping away over!"
A MIX-UP IN DATES
PAUL'S announcement threw his friends
into a state of consternation. As they
viewed the wire braces, neatly cut with a
pair of nippers, they recalled Pete Deveaux's act
of whispering in the ear of one of his party just
preceding the recent fight, and realized now its
full import. This fellow had slunk out of the
crowd, slipped over to the unguarded airplane,
and performed the unprincipled trick without
any risk of being caught at it.
Since there was no chance for immediate re-
dress from the guilty j)arty, who were almost out
of sight to the eastward, all our flyers could do
was to bend every effort to make repairs as fast
as possible. After considerable skirmishing
around, they managed to secure some wire from
one of the vessels in the harbor. The severed
strands were then removed and new pieces cut
It was found that the weight of the macnine
upon the unsupported skid, had cracked the skid
past repair; so they had to whittle out another
276 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
from some tough wood, which the natives brought
them from the nearby forest, before they could
connect the new wires and were ready to start.
Finally they took off at a few minutes past
noon, more than three hours behind their rivals.
It was disheartening, to say the least — all the
more so on account of the fact that their delay
had again been caused by the sinister acts of the
other crew. They made up their minds that if
they should meet Pete Deveaux and his crowd at
another stop, something worse than a single fistic
encounter would take place!
As they soared away toward Nukahiva, with
Upolu growing constantly dimmer, John, who
had been studying the schedule, turned to his
companions and asked:
"Do any of you fellows know what date this
"Let's see," mused Bob, at the throttle; "we
left Port Darwin the evening of the 26th; the
evening of the 27th we were still at sea, and the
next morning — the 28th — "
"You're ahead of time just one day," laughed
John. "This is the 27th of the month."
"How do you make that out?" asked Bob.
"Didn't we leave Port DarAvin on the 26th?"
"Yes," admitted John.
"And the following evening we were at sea?"
"Granted. That was last evening — ^the 27th."
A MIX-UP IN DATES 277
"Then any dunce can see that to-day is the
28th," said Bob witheringly.
"That's what I say, too," supported Paul.
But John only laughed harder, and this time
Tom joined him.
"John's right," said Tom; "to-day is the 27th."
"It can't be," protested Bob. "You own up
that yesterday was the 27th, don't you?"
"I certainly do," chuckled John; "but you
forget one thing, young man: that same eve-
ning, all in a moment's time, we crossed the One
Hundred and Eightieth Meridian — the date-line
of the world— and while it was Thursday, the
27th on the west side of this line, it became Wed-
nesday, the 26th the instant we crossed over to
the east side."
"Oh, surel" exclaimed Bob and Paul, feeling
very silly. And the latter added : "That's where
we gain a day in our lives — and to think that Bob
and I were asleep at that auspicious moment !"
"I know an old maid who swears she is fifteen
years younger than she really looks," commented
Tom. "I think she must have done a lot of globe
trotting, and always east!"
"There's no danger of the fair sex ever circling
the globe in a westerly direction," laughed John,
"for that would make them one day older every
The day could not have been better. Hardly
278 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
a cloud was to be seen on the horizon, and the
regular trade-winds blowing westward were soft
and steady, and they were making excellent time.
Grandpa frisked about, perching on this object
and that, and occasionally running back into
some secret nook where he had hidden his supply
of nuts. With one of these in his paw he would
jump up on something, crack it in his powerful
small jaws, and look very wise and serious as he
picked out the meats with his slim fingers.
Finally the monkey had his fill, and hopped up
into Tom's lap. He began to play with Tom's
hair, smoothing it down pretty soon with the
flyer's comb, which he discovered in a pocket. So
handy was Grandpa with this utensil that the
others went into peals of laughter. Tiring of
this, the monkey's eye caught sight of several
freckles upon the back of Tom's hand. He tried
in vain to pick the freckles off; then he became
excited, for he could not understand why they
would not lift up. He chattered scoldingly at
everybody; then tried again. Failing, he sprang
down and went to a far corner, in a fine sulk.
Evidently he thought Tom was playing a trick
on him, and had glued the freckles down some-
way just to tease him; for Tom, it must be ad-
mitted, was greatly given to bothering Grandpa
in some such manner.
Shortly before ten o'clock the following morn-
A MIX-UP IN DATES 279
ing all hands were up to take a look at their next
stopping-oif place — Nukahiva, the main island of
the Marquesas group, the place where they hoped
to find a supply of helium-gas awaiting them.
A fine island this — as fine a volcanic upheaval
as one will find anywhere. Sheer walls of cloud-
capped rock 6,000 feet high, some literally over-
hanging the crystal-clear water, and all embossed
and engraved with strangely patterned basalt.
There are pillars, battlements, and turrets; so
that, with half -closed eyes, it seems you are ap-
proaching a temple, a medieval castle, or a
mosque of the East. And the valleys — deep,
choked with the most rampant growths of lux-
uriant vegetation, in the heart of which silvery
streams gurgle their way tortuously along — fade
away into mysterious purple mists. Small won-
der that this gorgeously beautiful island should
have been the home for a century of one of the
finest races of primitive people the world has
ever known! Sad indeed is it that to-day the
Marquesans are rapidly dying off from consump-
tion and fever introduced into their fair domain
by civilization itself.
Nestling in a good-sized valley near the har-
bor our fl3^ers saw scores of native houses, as they
drew nearer. These were constructed of yellow
bamboo, tastefully twisted together in a kind of
wickerwork, and thatched with the long tapering
280 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
leaves of the palmetto. Here, too, was the big
white T of their hopes.
In a short time they had safely landed, one hour
behind schedule. Their rivals had left an hour
and ten minutes before. But joy of joys! here
were four tanks of helium, and with a filling of
this they would show those fellows how to fly!
As fast as they could work, our friends over-
hauled their machine and put it in shape for the
long trip to San Christobal. They would have
given almost anything to have joined the many
natives they saw swimming in the cool waters of
the harbor, but felt that they could not afford to
waste a single minute.
At twelve-thirty, with the sun at its zenith,
they once more took to the air. This was Thurs-
day. By Friday evening they should be at
the Gallapagos Islands — their last stop before
Panama. What a cheering thought it was!
Heading just a trifle north of east, they ran
almost full-out. It was easy to note the differ-
ence in the behavior of the Sky-Bird since her
helium tanks had been fully charged. She sped
along as she had in the very beginning of their
journey — like a long bullet fired from some
gigantic cannon. How the engine did sing! The
wind rushed by them like a hurricane, and they
had to shout in order to be heard when they had
anything to say to each other.
A MIX-UP IN DATES 281
Satisfied that all was going right, Tom and
John soon turned in, for they were very sleepy.
When the operating crew awoke them it was
dark. Bob then got into wireless communication
v>dth Panama, and delivered a message for JMr.
Giddings. Following this, he and Paul also took
to the hammocks.
When the two youths awoke it was morning,
and the Sky-Bird was not behaving as well as
vv^hen they had retired. Looking outside they
saw the reason for this. The entire heavens ahead
were hidden under dun-colored clouds which in
places seemed to be gathering themselves to-
gether into formidable leaden arrangement. The
gentle trade-winds had developed into a stiff
wind. Down below, the sea vv^as covered with
whitecaps, while in the distance the water was
swinging into immense swells v/ith foaming
John and Tom both looked worried. The tvv^o
younger boys felt more uneasy when they noticed
"I guess we're in for a pretty hard storm," said
John, as he gave the throttle up to Paul. "Tom
and I will stay up a while and see how things turn
out. The Sky-Bird's down to about a hundred
an hour now. Better keep her there, Buddy.
That's fast enough in a blow like this."
A few minutes later a fork of lightning split
282 AEOUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
the sky ahead. This was followed by another off
to the right, then by one off to the left. Then
they heard the rumble of thunder, and a heavy
gray haze slowly began to engulf the sea, rapidly
"That's rain," cried Paul. "Say, John, if
you're not too done out maybe you had better
take the stick again; I'm afraid I won't be equal
to what's coming."
His brother complied. John did not wish to
frighten his comrades, but the truth is he knew
this would be the worst storm he had ever faced
in his four years of flying.
"We'll try to get above those clouds," he said
quietly. He did not like to tell them just what
he thought— that if they did not get above the
clouds without delay they would either be struck
by lightning or torn to pieces by the terrible
whirlpool of winds which he knew those churning
black masses ahead contained.
A FLYING RESCUE
JOHN turned the Sky-Bird upward at as stiff
a slant as he felt would be safe for them in
that high wind. At nine thousand feet they
emerged above the first layer; but eastward the
clouds appeared to terrace up gradually, and in
the distance there extended another great wall,
towering several thousand feet higher.
Some of the rain was now beginning to reach
them. It came pattering down upon the roof;
and under the strong impulse of wind and their
speed, it struck the glass windows in front with
a smack like buckshot. The moisture on the panes
made it difficult to see out,
"Take a reading with the anemometer,
Tom," ordered John, straining his eyes hard
This little instrument was something like a
miniature windmill. Its four wings were sup-
supplied with cups which, as Tom held the instru-
ment out of the window facing the wind, caused
the spider to revolve. The latter was geared to
a small dial, over the face of w^hich passed a
hand, much like a clock, indicating the speed of
284 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"She's blowing fifty miles an hour, and gain-
ing every minute," announced Tom. "That's the
hardest wind wx've been in yet."
"If we stay down here it will be blowing sixty
within ten minutes," was the pilot's grim re-
Just then there was a blinding flash of light a
little way ahead of them, accompanied by such a
terrific crash of thunder that their ears rang.
"Gee!" cried Bob, "that was a close call! I'll
bet that bolt came within a rod of striking us."
"A miss is as good as a mile," shouted John
cheerfully. He and the others found that they
would have to yell in order to be heard, so great
was the noise from engine and storm.
Ziij! went a zigzagging livid streak across their
range of vision. It seemed to be running straight
for them, and instinctively they dodged — all but
Tom and John. These old veterans continued to
gaze coolly straight ahead as though nothing had
happened. Crash-h! went a clap of thunder. It
seemed as if the w^hole heavens w^ere being turned
topsy-turvy. Even the airiDlane, usually so
steady, heaved and rode like a rocking-horse.
The two younger members of the party were
not to be blamed for feeling pretty well fright-
ened by this time. It was one thing to be cutting
through the fleecy w^hite clouds of a calm day,
and quite another to go stabbing through murky
A FLYING RESCUE 285
black ones which were rolling angrily, ejecting
both wind and rain, and spitting out vicious roars
and jagged streaks of pale-blue flame. One mo-
ment they would be in gloom; the next instant
a cloud would be rent asunder with a ripping,
tearing sound, and the whole turbid, boiling sky-
universe would be bathed in the ghostly light.
What a weird, fantastic, chaotic world they
But it was only for a few minutes that they
were in the worst danger. Soon, to their in-
finite relief, they had reached their ''ceiling."
They were now 15,000 feet up — almost three
miles, — and below them lay the vast sea of trou-
bled cloudland, dark and forbidding, rolling tu-
multously like an ocean of curdled ink. It was
a novel experience to be running in the clear air
over all of this infernality of sounds and sights,
while above them the blue, star-studded heavens
looked down upon them cahnly and peaceably.
For almost an hour the furious storm contin-
ued in the lower regions. Then it began slowly to
subside. First the lightning stopped, then the
thunder. The banks of clouds took on a lighter
hue, and began to drift apart ; a pinnacle here and
a crag there were swept off by the winds, until
the masses of nimbus became flattened out into
patches of sun-flecked foam as beautiful as fresh-
286 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
The anemometer spun slower and slower as the
gale decreased in violence, and presently the air-
plane was gliding along with its normal smooth-
ness. Here and there, between the patches of
white cloud, they caught glimpses of the ultra-
marine sea, thousands of feet below them.
It was so cold up here, even with the windows
closed, that all the boys were shivering in their
warmest wraps. The air, too, was so rarefied
that it was with considerable difficulty that they
could breathe, for they had been in it for some
time. Not one flyer in a hundred can live at an
altitude of twenty thousand feet, as he bleeds at
the nose and mouth ; and our aviators were up to
within five hundred feet of that height. It was
now time to descend.
John shut off both engines, and they began to
volplane down in a great stillness, sailing like an
immense hawk. Lower and lower they went —
fourteen, thirteen, twelve, eleven, ten thousand
feet. Now they were gliding through clear, thin
air ; now cutting a hole through a heavy cloud so
impregnated with moisture that it sweat over the
glass and the boys would have to wipe a sleeve
across hastily to improve the vision. Eight,
seven, six, five, four, three, two!
That was low enough. All this time the pro-
peller had been spinning from the rush of air
alone. Now John threw in the clutch; the re-
A FLYING RESCUE 287
volving propeller shaft grabbed the crankshaft
of the engine, and once more it began its rhyth-
mic purr. Just a little upthrust of the tail-ele-
vators and ailerons brought them again into the
horizontal in a huge swoop. Nothing could have
been prettier. They had escaped the terrible tor-
nado, leaving it still galloping westward far be-
hind them, and were once more in normal posi-
tion for continuing their flight toward the goal!
Below them, for miles around, they could once
more see the ocean uninterrupedly. Its moun-
tainous waves and deep gorges of a short time
previous had probably swallowed up many an un-
lucky ship that morning; but its temper was ex-
pended, and all it could do now was to sulk in
long, even billows which every moment became
flatter and flatter.
How had their rivals fared? This question
was in the minds of every one of our flyers as
the Sky-Bird continued swiftly on her course. In
their hearts was a vague feeling that perhaps
Pete Deveaux and his crowd might not have come
out of the storm as lucky as they, for not one
airplane out of a score could have outlived it.
Their own escape had been almost miraculous.
But for the good generalship of John they surely
would have met with mishap.
So now, as they went along, a sharp lookout
was not only kept for their rivals in the sky
£88 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
ahead, but anxious looks were cast over the ex-
panse of white-capped waters. Calculations told
them that by this time the other airplane could
not be far ahead.
Less than ten minutes later, Tom espied a
small object far away on their port quarter. It
was bobbing about on the waves, rising and fall-
ing. Bob seized a pair of glasses, and took a long
look. He turned around with his face full of
"Heavens, fellows!" he cried; ''that object
looks like an airj)lane!"
All took a look. Then they, too, were excited.
There could be no doubt about it — the object w^as
a wrecked airplane. And as it was extremely un-
likely that there were other machines in the vicin-
ity than their own and that of their adversaries',
they were quite sure that it must be the remains
of the Clarion.
John turned the Sky-Bird in the direction of
the floating thing, and soon they saw what seemed
to be the form of a human being clinging to
one of the wings. John threw in both engines in
an effort to get all possible speed out of the craft.
In a little while they were close enough to see
that the wreck was really the Clarion. But what
a sad-looking sight was the former handsome
craft! Her tail had been wrenched off, and only
half of one of her long wings could be seen. Out
A FLYING RESCUE 289
upon the other, on hands and knees, clinging
desperately to the aileron brace, was the hatless,
water-soaked figure of a man. As they came
closer still they could see him waving his hand
frantically at them.
With a glass, Paul saw that this person was
Oliver Torrey. Anxiously his eyes roved over
the wreck in quest of other survivors, but none
could he discern. Irony of fate! had all of the
others been drowned?
John brought the Sky-Bird down to within
seventy-five feet of the sea as they approached.
Tom seized the speaking trumpet, and as they
swept over the Clarion he bawled out; "Hang
on, Torrey! We'll stand by, and save you if we
But they were farcing a herculean task, and
realized it. They could not light upon the water.
Nor could they stop in midair. How in the
world could they effect the hapless flyer's rescue ?
John circled at reduced speed while all of their
minds were busy trying to work out the problem.
In the meantime Torrey 's frantic pleadings for
them not to go away and leave him to his fate
filled their ears. It was a trying, nerve-racking
Bob Giddings struck upon the first idea.
"Why can't we trail a rope for him to catch?"
290 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
"He's probably too weak to climb a rope," ob-
*'I'll tell you what we can do," said Paul, with
a happy thought. "We can take this coil of rope
we have here and make a narrow ladder of it!
That will be easy for him to catch, and easy to
All agreed instantly that this was the only hope
of rescue. So John kept the Sky-Bird slowly
wheeling, while his three mates cut and tied until
they had formed a narrow rope ladder about fifty
feet long. One end of this they securely fastened
in the cabin, while they let the other drop down
through the glass trap in the floor.
To their dismay the rush of wind carried the
light ladder out so horizontally behind that they
saw they could never get low enough with safety
for Oliver Torrey to reach it! What could they
do now? It seemed they were destined to failure ;
that Torrey must be left to the cruel and hungry
'T have it!" cried Bob. "We'll fasten Grand-
pa near the lower end of the ladder. His weight
will be sufficient to keep it down straight."
This was a splendid scheme, surely. Accord-
ingly, the monkey, wondering what new form of
teasing was about to be imposed upon him, was
fastened about three feet from the bottom end of
the ladder, and Grandpa and his strange trapeze
TORREY'S HANDS SEIZED THE BOTTOM RUNG OF THE
A FLYING RESCUE 291
was tKen slowly let down until all of the ladder
had been paid out. The crew were glad to note
that it now hung almost perpendicularly.
Now the success of everything depended upon
John. He must be skillful enough to bring the
ladder across Torrey's position in just the right
place for the flyer to grasp it as it swept past.
They shouted to the man below to stand up if
he could, and comprehending in an instant his
part of the program, he struggled to his feet,
spreading them wide apart to brace himself, for
the wrecked airplane was rocking somewhat from
the action of the waves.
The first time John brought the Sky-Bird by
he was too high ; Torrey could not reach the lad-
der. The second time a sudden gust of wind blew
the ropes too far to one side at the critical mo-
ment. The third time the machine itself was a
trifle too far to one side. But on the fourth at-
tempt success met their patient efforts; Torrey's
hands seized the bottom rung of the ladder, and
a few minutes later he had climbed up into the
cabin and sunk weakly upon the floor. Paul then
brought in the ladder, laughing nervously, and
released Grandpa, who had not relished his part
of the proceedings in the least, to judge from his
excited chattering, most of which was bestowed
upon the rescued man.
AN ALARMING DISCOVERY
ONE of the first questions our flyers asked
of Oliver Torrey, after they had helped
him remove his wet clothing, was:
**Where are your friends?"
The Clarion flyer shook his head sadly,
"They're done for — drowned. I'm the only one
left of our crew. That was an awful storm,
boys! I don't see how you ever survived it."
"We did it by flying over the greater part
of it," said Tom. "How did it happen to get
"Pete and Chuck were operating," explained
Oliver Torrey. "Sam and I both wanted to get
above the tornado, but they said they thought it
wouldn't amount to much. When they saw how
bad it really was, it was too late. A whirlpool
of wind struck us at three thousand feet, Pete
lost control, and we went into a nose-dive from
which we never recovered. When we struck the
sea the force crushed in the front of the cabin,
stunning Pete, and before any of us could grab
him the waves had washed him out of our sight.
AN ALARMING DISCOVERY 293
Chuck, Sam, and I managed to get out and
climb up on the fuselage; but the seas were run-
ning so high that half of the time we were buried
in water. Coming out of one of these deluges,
I looked around and saw that I was alone. Then
the storm passed, and things looked better for
me. But I was just about read}^ to give up when
I saw the Sky-Bird coming."
Oliver Torrey paused a moment, wiped his
haggard face, and then continued, as he looked
earnestly at his rescuers:
"Boys, I never can thank you enough for sav-
ing my worthless life. It's awful to think that
we guys let Pete Deveaux coax us into doing
all those dirty things to hold you back. I guess
we deserved this punishment. If I ever get back
to Panama I'll certainly make what am.ends I can
by telling the whole disgraceful story to the
Tom stepped in front of the Clarion flyer, and
shook his finger in his face. "Torrey," said Tom,
"I think at heart you are all right; but listen!
Mr. Wrenn, who hired you fellows, is a straight
man through and through. If this story gets out
it will be published broadcast, and people will
think he abetted your crimes against us. So, for
his sake "
"I see; I hadn't thought of that," ejaculated
Torrey. "I will keep still; as far as the pub-
294 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
lic'll ever know, they'll think this was a fair and
square contest — and so it was on your part."
It must be remembered that John and Tom
had had no sleep since the day previous. They
were so tired by now, especially John, that they
were very glad to retire to the hammocks, leav-
ing Paul and Bob to take care of the Sky-Bird.
Oliver Torrey was also exhausted, and accepted
with alacrity Paul's invitation to him to jump
into the spare hammock. Within five minutes
the two youths were the only ones awake.
It seemed good to the boys to feel that soon
they would be at San Cristobal, their last stop
before the final hop. They flew along with the
throttle wide open for the next hour, eager to
make up for the delay caused by the storm and
the rescue of Torrey. Then they reduced the
speed a little, to make sure they would not over-
heat the engine, but still they made good time.
Shortly before six o'clock that afternoon
they sighted a blue haze which a little later de-
veloped into a group of several islands. These
they knew, by consulting their chart, were the
Gallapagos, the home of the largest land-turtles
ever known, monsters so enormous that one of
them could walk off with two half -grown boys on
his broad back.
There are over two thousand volcano cones in
these islands, and soon our friends were almost in
AN ALARMING DISCOVERY 295
the midst of them. On all sides and at all dis-
tances were rugged peaks one hundred to two
thousand feet high, rising sheer from a rose-pink
sea over which the declining sun played ravish-
ingly. Along the shores pelicans soared above the
shallow inlets, watching for unwary fish. Tiny
birds darted in and out among the cliffs. Down
in the crystal depths of the sea, over shelves of
coral, vague shapes hovered and passed and re-
passed — sharks, dolphins, turtles, and grunts,
even the ghastly devil-fish.
All life seemed confined to water and to air;
never was dry land so desolate-looking as those
myriads of barren volcanic cones. Yet one of
these islands was peopled with human beings —
Wliich one was it? The easternmost of the
group, said the chart.
Circling that way. Bob gave a yelp like a pup
which sees his younger master after he has been
away all day.
"I see Dalrymple Rock!" he cried, with the
binoculars to his eyes. "I see Wreck Point, too,
and a bay between 'em, with houses on the beach.
That looks like our number, all right. What
more do j^ou want, Paul?"
"Nothing," laughed Paul, — "except our land-
ing field. Find that, wake up the other fellows,
and I'll be satisfied."
296 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
In a moment Bob pointed out a flat field
marked with the welcome white T, then he
aroused John and Tom while Paul was bringing
the Sky-Bird down. From a rickety old pier,
also from the shores where they had gathered, a
crowd of curious natives rushed forward to wit-
ness the landing of the most startling object they
had ever seen. They were a mixture of South
Americans, mostly Ecuadoreans, and not until
our friends stepped out of the cabin did they
summon up enough courage to get very close to
Among them was the owner of the island — a
good-looking young Ecuadorean, highly edu-
cated, who was to look after their interests in
the matter of fuel, — and the chief of police (pre-
sumably "chief," because there is only one repre-
sentative of the law in the Galapagos) .
The owner of San Cristobal informed the
flyers in excellent French, — which all of them
except Oliver Torrey could speak,— that he was
delighted to welcome the first airplane crew to his
little domain; that weeks ago the ship had
brought gasoline and oil, which was now await-
ing their pleasure in the little nearby shanty;
that he and his police officer and the peons were
eager to serve them in any way they could; and
would the brave American aviators favor him
AN ALARMING DISCOVERY 297
and his police officer by joining them at the ha-
cienda for dinner that evening?
Our friends graciously accepted this invitation,
upon finding that their host would appoint a
v^atch for the airplane. They then went with
him to his pretty hacienda in the valley — a green,
undulating country, dotted with grazing cattle
and horses, patches of sugar-cane, coffee bushes,
and lime trees, stretching away to a cloud-capped
range of mountains.
Situated upon a hillock, in the midst of this
entrancing valley, and surrounded by the peons'
grass houses, was the owner's home. Here the
flyers partook of an excellent repast, garnished
with the best the island could afford, including
tender wild duck from the surrounding lagoons
and savory turtle soup. Then followed songs by
their host, and jolly college melodies by them-
selves, accompanied by the sweet strains of a
guitar in the hands of the police officer.
Out in the compound, the peons also celebrated
the occasion. There were great oil flares, thrum-
mings of guitars, gyrating dancers in bright-hued
ponchos, merr}^ cries, the laughing of children,
the barking of dogs.
Everybody seemed thoroughly happy and con-
tented. And, after all, what else matters ? That
is the Ecuadorean point of view, and who shall
say it is a bad one?
298 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
It was difficult for the boys xo remind them-
selves that here they were precisely on the
equator, so positively chilly was it. And yet they
were. It was the third time which they had
touched that imaginary girdle of the earth in
the past week or so; and it was to be their last
crossing. How inspiring the thought that they
were now within one hop of their goal ; that some-
time on the morrow they would probably reach
Panama well within their time limit of ten days!
The fact is, they had only 650 miles ahead of
them — a distance which could easily be covered,
barring accidents, inside of five hours, and they
had until one o'clock the following day in which
to reach their destination. When they realized
this, and were pressed most insistently by the
owner of the island to spend the night, under the
shelter of his roof, where there were two spare
beds, the tired, bed-hungry flyers decided to re-
main over, Oliver Torrey going to the house of
the police "chief." Torrey was really in no physi-
cal condition, as it was, to continue the flight
immediately, for he had suffered a chill as the
result of his exposure, and felt very weak.
Next morning they were up at the break of
day, and at once began the task of refilling the
tanks of the Sky-Bird and giving her machinery
a general overhauling. Torrey felt much better,
and assisted in these operations. His gratitude
AN ALARMING DISCOVERY 299
to the boys for deciding not to divulge the duplic-
ity of the unfortunate crew with whom he had
been connected was very great, and he spared
no effort to help them on toward success — which
goes to show that this fellow was not at all bad
at heart but had simply gotten in with a bad
It was a good thing that the flyers went over
their engines. John found a loose coupling in
one, and a stretched fan belt in the other. Had
they gone on in this condition trouble would have
been sure to visit them. It was small wonder,
however, that something should not be out of
good working order, for these faithful pieces of
mechanism had been given the hardest kind of
usage day in and day out, each in its turn, and
sometimes working together, in this long flight
around the earth. Their final test had been the
storm. More than once the boys had marveled
at the remarkable efficiency of their motive
power. What a tribute to the mechanical genius
of modern man had these engines paid! They
were almost human in intelligence, more than
human in their untiring zeal.
The repairs were not difficult to make: the
belt was cut and fastened again with a leather
lace borrowed from the police "chief's" shoe, and
the careful use of a wrench and other tools out of
their kit finally fixed the loose coupling. But
300 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
these operations had consumed unlooked-for valu-
able time, and when they had had breakfast with
their friends and were ready at last to go, they
found that the watch of their host indicated the
hour of nine.
Setting their own watches to this local time,
as had been their custom in all towns upon ar-
riving or leaving, our flyers once more thanked
their entertainers for courtesies extended, wished
them good-bye, and got in their machine.
As they taxied swiftly down the course, the
rush of wind from the big propeller sent more
than one Ecuadorean's wide-brimmed hat flying
from his head, and to the enjoyment of all, a
native who was perched precariously upon an up-
ended cask was blo^vn heels -over-head backwards.
No sooner had they straightened out upon their
northeasterly course than Bob sat down to his
instruments and called up the Panama wireless
station. In about ten minutes he got it, and told
of their position and the accident to the Clarion.
They all knew that when the news of this catas-
trophe reached the American newspapers there
would be the greatest excitement, and that Mr.
Wrenn would not only be grievously disap-
pointed but horrified at the fate of the three mem-
bers of his crew.
They now had just four hours in which to
reach their goal. That meant they must travel
AN ALARMING DISCOVERY 301
at an average rate of better than 160 miles an
hour. Since they had gone considerably faster
than this when the occasion had warranted it in
the past, they felt no anxieties now. John, who
was at the throttle, opened the Sky-Bird up to
165, and at this gait they skimmed swiftly along
over the blue-green waters of the big Pacific.
''This speed ought to bring us in by twelve-
thirty — a good half -hour ahead of our limit, — so
there's no need of rushing matters," said John,
to which sentiment his comrades agreed.
By eleven o'clock all were keenly on the look-
out. Each flyer coveted the honor of being the
first one to see the coastline of Central America,
the resting-place of Panama.
Paul, with the binoculars to his eyes, was the
one to win. It was just exactly 11 :25 when he
shouted in true mariner's style: "Land ho, my
Taking the glass, one by one his comrades
gladly echoed the announcement.
But suddenly Bob's face turned chalky. "Jim-
iny, fellows," he cried, "what boneheads we are!
We have been figuring on San Cristobal time all
the while. Panama's close to an hour ahead!"
"And we've only got thirty-five minutes in
which to land!" said Tom. "Huckleberry pie!
Boneheads we are! Boneheads, boneheads! I re-
peat it — boneheads, boneheads ! It's all off now."
302 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
Tom actually wrung his hands in his misery, and
the others felt just about as humiliated and dis-
gusted with themselves.
"Here's where our prize goes a-flickering,"
groaned Paul. "We never can make Panama in
thirty-five minutes 1"
"I don't know about that," declared his brother
grimly. "Here goes for the effort, anyhow. I'll
make the Sky-Bird fly as she has never flown be-
With that he brought the throttle ^\ade open,
and two minutes later threw the second engine
TIEY were not beaten yet! The wind
whistled, shrieked, and roared as it swept
aft along the smooth body of the Sky-
Bird. The propeller whirred, and the engines
purred like two huge twin cats. So great were
the noises combined that the voice was completely
overwhelmed, and no effort was made by the
flyers to talk with one another.
With their pulses beating wildly and hearts
thumping in accord, they watched the hazy streak
on the horizon line ahead rapidly develop into the
unmistakable rugged form of land. As they drew
closer, they could even see the glint of water on
the other side, and knew without the shadow of
doubt that what they were looking at was the
long belt of earth connecting the two Americas
— the Isthmus of Panama itself. And down their
backs ran a new thrill at the recognition.
Larger and larger loomed the brown and green
strip in advance. Presently, amid the checker-
board of nature's colorations, they could make
304 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
out a bay and on a tongue of land a considerable
collection of buildings. It was Panama City!
Five minutes later they could even distinguish the
American flag — how glorious the sight ! — flutter-
ing at the staff head of the courthouse, and could
see the streets and ships in the harbor thronged
with people who were evidently waiting to wel-
The excitement of the throngs increased as
the airplane drew closer. People jumped up and
down, yelled, and waved their hats. It had been
only a few minutes before that Bob had received
the radio admonition from the Panama station:
"Town gone wild ; but hurry in. You only have
six minutes left!"
Now they were circling high over the heads of
the populace, with one engine shut off and the
speed of the other much reduced. In graceful,
pretty circles the Sky-Bird began to spiral her
way downward, John's eyes fastened upon the
big white T of the familiar airdrome. As they
came down, people in the outlying districts rushed
madly toward the field, and the streets every-
where were choked with the concourse pouring
toward the center of attraction.
Scores of others had previously posted them-
selves in the airdrome; but all were kept back
'by a cordon of ropes and a guard of Zone police-
men. Inside of the barrier were a favored few
THE FINISH 305
- — Government officials and distinguished per-
sonages, newspaper men, photographers, and Mr.
Giddings and Mr. Wrenn themselves. Colonel
Hess, the judge of the contest, was also present,
ready to receive the flyers' affidavits of stops.
As the flyers stepped out of their machine
many a camera clicked, and the air was filled with
the cheers of the multitude.
Colonel Hess stepped quickly up. In one hand
was a watch; the other was extended.
"My heartiest congratulations, boys!" he ex-
claimed, as he received their paper. "You have
arrived just in the nick of time. Panama time,
it is now exactly fifty-nine minutes after twelve!"
They had won by one minute ! The flyers were
so tickled that they also felt like cheering. But
they were sobered instantly when Mr. Wrenn
came forward and they saw how sorrowful he
looked in spite of the brave smile with which he
"Young men," said the publisher of the Clar-
ion, "as the loser in this contest I also wish to
congratulate you. We have suffered a heavy
blow ourselves, but you deserve full credit for the
good work you have done, and I am not the kind
of a contemporary to withhold compliments so
fairly earned. I trust my men conducted them-
selves as true sportsmen, poor fellows."
Noticing that Oliver Torrey was on the point
306 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
of making reply, John gave him a warning look,
and a moment later pulled him aside and said in
a low voice: "Mr. Wrenn should not know that
you fellows did not conduct yourselves otherwise
than fair in this race. That would make him feel
all the worse. Keep mum to everybody about
this, and we'll do the same."
Oliver Torrey nodded — tears in his eyes as he
saw how desirous the Sky-Bird's crew were of
protecting his o^\ti interests as well as the good
name of his former associates. What fine fellows
they were! How he wished he could have been
allied with them on this cruise, instead of with
Pete Deveaux and his bunch!
The hardships and perils of the past ten days
were forgotten in the excitement of the present.
Our flyers hardly knew what they were doing, so
great was their joy. They shook hands with
scores, hearts swelling with those emotions in-
voked by achievement and the glamor of the mo-
ment. It was — and always will be, perhaps, — ^the
supreme hour of their lives.
Almost reverently they looked over the Sky-
Bird. Through every possible climatic rigor the
airplane had passed, and practically without any
attention. Not once, from the time they had left
this very airdrome until they had reached it again,
after traversing close to 25,000 miles, had she
been under shelter or sulked on them through de-
THE FINISH 307
ficient construction. Given a few days to over-
haul her engines, they felt they would be quite
capable of repeating their world record-breaking
achievement, if it were necessary.
These reflections were of brief duration, how-
ever; for the crowd, having forced its way past
the barriers, and having satisfied its curiosity over
the machine, directed their attention to the flyers.
Brimming with enthusiasm, they lifted every one
of them shoulder high, laughing and cheering,
and conveyed them to an extemporized platform
made from a large box. From this elevation, each
flyer in his turn was called upon for a speech. The
boys made these quite brief, but were vociferously
applauded; and then the two famous publishers
were asked to contribute. Following came the
governor of the Zone, who very eloquently ex-
pressed the pride the little Republic felt in start-
ing off and witnessing the finish of this memor-
able event, and he said the keys of Panama were
at the disposal of the young aviators until they
should feel it incumbent upon them to leave for
For three days our friends remained, and dur-
ing that time they were the almost constant re-
cipients of honors from civic clubs and associa-
tions of the city, as well as from the English-
speaking citizenry in general. They were enter-
tained at dinners, at the theater, and at sporting
308 AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
events out-of-doors — and not a penny were they
allowed to spend themselves.
To the aviators it all seemed like a festival
snatched from the covers of "Arabian Nights."
Had genii and fairies, elfs and goblins, appeared
before them bearing gifts of gold and jewels they
would hardly have been surprised, so unreal did
everything appear to their tired minds ; and tired
bodies only grew more tired under the stress of
the social demands.
Strange indeed were their feelings when, upon
looking at back files of newspapers, they read the
history of their exploits, recorded with a degree
of detail which must have taxed the imaginative
resources of editorial staffs to gray hairs; and
saw picture after picture taken with their own
camera and sent across many a continent in the
form of undeveloped film, now to bring before
their eyes once more the realism of the moment
when they were taken. There v/ere photographs
of themselves collectively and individually in
many a place now far distant; views of the ma-
chine at rest, and of parts of it among the clouds
and above them; two views of the fight with the
condors; several of Grandpa in various amusing
positions ; many pictures of foreign places and of
natives; illustrations showing the battle with the
devil-fish; storms as seen from below, and storms
as seen below when flying above them. Even
THE FINISH 309
pictures of the wreck of the Clarion, and of Oliver
Torrey climbing up the rope ladder, were not
Before the flyers left Panama, Paul received
many offers to sell Grandpa to various admirers,
but no amount of money could have induced him
to part with this faithful little mascot. Ohver
Torrey particularly felt that he owed a great
debt of gratitude to the monkey.
When the party finally reached New York
City, after a non-incidental flight of one night
and the major portion of a day, they were given
another ovation — one which far outrivaled in
volume the one they had received at Panama. The
mayor and city officials wished to fete them, but
the boys were too exhausted to stand more of
such doings; they wished to get home as soon as
possible, hide from everybody but those in their
immediate families, and just rest — rest — rest.
They didn't think they would even care to see
their dear old Sky-Bird again for several months.
It would be hard indeed to comprehend the
feelings that surged through the flyers as they
landed the airplane in the fair-grounds of their
own native town — Yonkers — and were greeted
by hundreds of familiar faces and voices, to say
nothing of the hand-clasps of many old-time
But, after all, the reunion with their own rela-
SIO AROUND THE WORLD IN TEN DAYS
tives was the cause for the greatest thanksgiving,
as we may assume. Both Paul's and Bob's
mothers had prepared the choicest of dinners for
their famous sons, and that evening the Ross and
Giddings families were the happiest and merriest
ones in town.
Mr. Giddings and Mr. Wrenn both realized
more out of the advertising than the contest had
cost them. The former met his agreement by
giving each of his flyers five thousand dollars,
and his business rival did likewise by Oliver Tor-
rey. Later on, Bob and the Ross boys sold their
patents on the Sky-Bird to a large airplane
manufacturing company for a sum which prom-
ised to make them independent for the rest of
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