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UNIVERSITY OF N.C. AT CHAPEL HILL
Digitized by the Internet Archive
in 2012 with funding from
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
HEROES OF AIR
David C. Cook Publishing Co.
By David C. Cook Publishing Co.
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA
By ISABEL HORNIBROOK
The Boy Golfer.
4 4 TV 7 ELL, this is the slowest place that I was ever
^^ in. Is there anything at all to be done here?"
Blair Hammond, aged fifteen, seated himself
despondently upon a low stone wall bordering a highway
of Cape Ann, and emitted a whistle, drawn-out and dis-
mal, which showed him to have entered upon the third
degree of boredom.
" I'd put a patent on that whistle, lad, if I were you !
It's quite new and original in these parts," drawled the
person addressed, a weather-beaten old seaman, disdain-
ing a direct answer to the question put to him.
" Well ! it is a dead place," urged the boy, his discon-
tented gaze roving over stretches of pasture and wood-
land girdled by sea, to a more appreciative eye teeming
with life and beauty. " There doesn't seem to be any-
thing exciting going on."
" What did you expect to find here — at Myrtle Cove ?
A sort of Wonderland, where you could ' shoot the
chutes ' and fly around in mock airships, until you'd feel
as if your heels had changed places with your head — is
that the sort of thing you're pining for, eh, lad?" inquired
the elderly sailor.
Blair had a suspicion that this gray-bearded sea captain
— whose voice had the habitual, though kindly, bluster of a
4 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
man who has often shouted orders to his crew with the
sea slapping him in the face and drowning his words —
was secretly laughing at him for his moping self-pity.
But he remembered that he was the son of a rich bank
director ; that his father could buy up a dozen such ves-
sels as this old man had commanded; so he answered
with an important air of knowing the world better than
" I don't want a ' Wonderland,' but other years we —
father, mother, my sister and I — have gone to a fine shore
resort and stayed at a big hotel where there was an en-
tertainment every evening, with yacht races in the day-
time, and other fun ! Last spring my sister was ill, the
doctor advised my father to bring her to Cape Ann —
to a quiet spot — so he took that villa back there on Surf
Avenue." The boy nodded over his shoulder at the gables
of a summer home rising above an intervening stretch of
woodland. " But there's no excitement of any kind here;
it makes me tired."
Repeating the whistle of self-pity, Blair dropped his
chin dejectedly into the collar of his sweater; a startling
sweater it was, very long, of the lightest, finest wool and
the most vivid crimson hue.
" It depends upon what you call ' excitement ' whether
there's any here, or not," remarked the elderly sailor.
" For instance, out there at the ocean breakwater which
Uncle Sam is building two miles off shore, there are no
less than fourteen divers at work to-day who find life
exciting enough, because every time that they go down
under the sea there is the possibility that they may never
see the sun again. Ever see a diver go down at close
"No; I guess I'm not interested in seeing divers go
down. What I want to see is an aviator go up!"
For the first time during the conversation the boy's
moping eyes sparkled with life.
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 5
" Ah ! Now you're talking," exclaimed the old man
vivaciously. " I want to see a man-bird myself. I've
fought the sea at its wildest a hundred times and got the
better of it," he added in a gust of energy, speaking more
to himself than to his listener. " But what I want to see
is the man who has conquered the air !"
" Who knows but we may get a chance to see an aviator
making a flight around this Cape one of these fine summer
days?" he went on presently. "In the meantime, can't
you hunt up some pastime, lad? It seems to me that, as
we sailors say, ' you're in everybody's mess and nobody's
watch,' just now; which means that you have nothing
in particular to do. Don't you row and swim?"
" I do, some."
Blair's listless answer betrayed to the shrewd old sea-
fighter that the boy had, up to the present, loved surface
pleasure so much as even to shun the work necessary to
perfect himself in these sports. " I play golf a little,"
added the lad presently. " My uncle is a champion golfer
and he taught me. He said that it took years to make a
player and I might as well begin young. My golf-bag is
in the field there," glancing down at a leather case re-
posing on the grass behind him. " Somebody told father
that there were golf links here. Where are they?"
" Over there !" The seaman pointed toward a broad
expanse of pasture-land sloping upward in a gentle hill,
from whose crest came distant sounds of drilling and
hammering, with the faint rattle of a hoisting engine —
all the noises of a busy granite quarry.
" Pshaw ! those granite quarries spoil the Cape,"
grumbled the boy, gazing off at a barely visible quarry
engine house plumed with dark smoke.
" Some of the finest buildings in Massachusetts have
come out of them just the same," was the reproving re-
joinder. " I wouldn't play golf on those links to-day,
if I were you, my lad," suggested the old man, as Blair
6 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
jumped into the field, picked up his golf-bag with its
assortment of clubs, and vaulted back into the road, show-
ing an agility in bright contrast to his " dumpish " mood.
" The ground is rough ; nobody has played on it since the
Myrtle Cove hotel was burned down six weeks ago. And
old man Jewett has been pasturing his cows on the upper
end for the past few days. I hear there's a young bull
among them that's quite a sprinter."
" If he's young I guess I could scare him off with a
golf-stick," Blair's laugh had the ring of ignorance, as he
slipped the strap of his golf-bag over his shoulder. " But
I must find somebody to act ' caddy ' for me. Could you?"
He turned to a sturdy-looking boy, five months younger
than himself, who came strolling up.
The Cape boy shook his head.
" No, I've got to do some errands for Captain Andy —
my grandfather, I mean," he answered, nodding toward
the old man.
" They call me ' Captain Andy ' hereabouts ; my name is
Andrew Davis," explained the seaman. " This is my
grandson, Quintin Davis, popularly known as Quin ; he
has been my right hand since the main boom of my vessel
fell on me in a storm a few months ago and broke my
arm and leg. Take my advice and don't go over to the
golf links, lad. They say that young bull chased an
Italian quarryman day before yesterday, who came near
jumping down into a quarry pit to escape him, but saved
himself by hopping onto a moving stone-car instead. And
that flaming sweater of yours might get on the animal's
" Oh, I guess the Italian was ' stretching it ' a little; his
doesn't sound like a real bull story." Blair laughed, still
obstinately moving off, with his golf-bag under his arm.
The boy had a shrewd suspicion that Captain Andrew
had formed a poor opinion of him during their brief con-
versation. He felt that now was his opportunity to prove
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 7
to the old man and the strange boy that this " dead "
place held no danger big enough to scare him.
Captain Andy looked musingly after him as he walked
" That city boy is smart enough, Quin," he said. " And
he's built to be as active as they make 'em. The trouble
with him is he's been reared in a flowerpot ! Well, as we
can't head him off from playing golf, let us stroll round by
the lane that skirts the links to Jewett's farm; I'll give
Sam Jewett a piece of my mind about keeping that young
bull out there, and get him to send out a farm hand, to see
that that obstinate lad doesn't come to harm." The old
man moved his right side stiffly as he spoke. " Then we'll
go on to the quarry and I'll telephone from there to Mr.
Hammond telling him that his son has not brought quite
the right brand of daring to the Cape."
Meanwhile, Blair had reached the mound which formed
the first " tee " at the starting point of the golf links.
Taking a handful of sand from the heap placed there
for former players, he set the hard little golf-ball on it,
and letting swing with his " driver " sent the ball a hun-
dred yards over the rough course.
" Pretty good !" he murmured to himself. " Two more
drives will land in the ' putting green,' near the first hole."
He started and at the same time from that distant
engine house on the crest of the hill came a loud shrill
whistle announcing to the quarrymen that their day's
work was over, this being Saturday afternoon.
Blair had forgotten the disfiguring quarries, and
Farmer Jewett's sprinting young bull, as he picked up his
bag of clubs and followed the ball.
Becoming absorbed in his play, he was driving for the
fifth hole when another ear-splitting whistle startled him;
this time it came from a red-funneled tugboat lying be-
side a quarry pier jutting out into the sea, to which the
other side of the hill sloped down.
8 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
"Pshaw! that whistle made me jump," ejaculated the
boy, suddenly awakening to the fact that there was not
a human being in sight, that the noises in the quarry,
including the friendly cackle of the hoisting engine, had
ceased, and that he was between Jewett's cows and that
Among the cattle there was one spectator apparently
so deeply interested in Blair's play that he seemed am-
bitious of becoming a golfer himself; this was a small,
wiry young bull whose distant salmon-colored hide shone
in the sun like pink satin.
" I wish he wouldn't look at me so ; it — it brings the
gooseflesh," gurgled the boy, conscious of a corresponding
wish that he had stayed with Captain Andy and his
Bravely he placed his ball on the fourth " tee," a shaggy
mound, and made a wabbly drive at it with his driver.
At the same instant there was a distant, menacing bellow.
That salmon-colored young bull had become suddenly
wrathful at sight of the crimson sweater elevated on the
"I declare! He's coming for me; c-coming at a clip!"
The panic-stricken words kicked in Blair's throat. He
had a momentary wild idea of facing that angry quadru-
ped with a golf-club. But the resolution was blown off
like a bubble by his terrified breath.
Down went the " driver '" into the grass beside its
brother clubs. Blair fled for his life in the direction of
the despised quarry — toward that gray engine-house — the
only visible refuge.
Its door was open. For the engineer, having dumped
his fire and drawn off the water from the boiler, had
stepped out to gossip in a neighboring shed, while waiting
for that boiler to cool sufficiently to enable him to do a
Saturday afternoon's cleaning on it and his engine.
Fighting off a paralysis of terror, Blair made for that
BLAIR FLED TOWARD THE ENGINE HOUSE.
10' HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
open door in an agony which made him see two or three
gray engine-sheds instead of one.
His tongue lolled like that of his bovine pursuer as he
darted in. There was no time to close the rude plank
door and fumble for a bolt in this unknown place. A
half-glance over his shoulder showed the bull but twenty
yards behind him, its tail lashing its thin, heaving sides
as it charged ferociously with lowered head for that flam-
ing red sweater which aroused its indignation, being the
opposite color to the green of the pasture on which it fed.
At the sight Blair staggered. His eyes frantically
searched the engine-house for any barricade against the
enemy. The low hoisting engine, with its spool-like
drums which worked the derricks that hoisted stone,
offered no barrier should the bull pursue him into the shed.
The furious animal might only crowd and corner him.
Sick with horror, the boy who only half an hour before
had complained petulantly because he missed a few diver-
sions, saw that he had only run into a trap. He could
almost feel that young bull's horns making their first dead-
ly onslaught on his back.
But, as Captain Andy had said, he was quick-witted.
In the shadows of the engine-house loomed the tall up-
right boiler, like an ebony pillar. The door of its fire-
box sagged open, showing only dead ashes where the
engineer had drawn his fire.
Blair's dizzy eyes saw two shining black boilers. His
breath coming in whistling gasps, he flung himself at one
of them; it was the solid one, not the double which his
Like a wireless message in a fog, the blurred idea darted
through him that his only way of escape was to climb to
the top of that nine-foot boiler.
Placing one foot on a projection called the " mud-cock,"
just above the still hot bed-plate, he reached up and
grasped the brass rods of the water gauge.
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 11
Drawing himself up desperately, he managed to get his
left foot on another projection, the hand-hole cover, and
thence, with the help of a protruding valve or two, to
reach the dome of the boiler where, curling his legs up,
he twined himself round the steel chimney, reckless of
The bull, pursuing him into the engine-house, butted that
warm bed-plate with his horns. But the cast iron base
of the steel boiler, firmly bolted to the ground, did not
tremble; and the angry quadruped backing off from it,
stood blocking the narrow doorway, his tail switching his
salmon-colored sides, which heaved with a low, baffled
" You did — didn't get — me !" An hysterical sound, half
a laugh and half a scream bubbled up from the depths of
mortal fear in Blair, which had been stirred for the first
time. " This — old — boiler — is too m-much for you !"
panted the boy, breathing defiance at the enemy while his
crimson arms hugged the steel .smokestack as if it were
the warm neck of a protector. Blair's laugh was more
pronounced this time. " I declare this is worse than be-
ing treed by a moose."
i i I ""HIS is worse than being treed by a moose; I — I
^ didn't bargain for this kind of excitement !"
panted Blair breathlessly, as he hugged the steel
chimney of the boiler in that quarry engine-house, and
hurled defiance at the bull which still blocked the narrow
The boy was shaking all over from terror at his narrow
" I wonder if he means to ' stick me out ' ; to keep me
here till midnight?" he speculated. For that angry young
bull showed no intention of retreating. Once and again
he butted the base of the boiler with baffled horns, sending
a gust of shudders down Blair's backbone.
But the quarry boiler was an impregnable fortress.
" You can sharpen your horns on it all day, old fellow,"
laughed the boy, on whom the comical aspect of the situa-
tion was dawning, with returning breath and the sense of
" This isn't the most comfortable perch in the world,
but it isn't hot enough to burn me through my clothing;
so I guess I can tire you out." In the great relief from
danger Blair hardly felt the trifling blisters on his hands
from their contact with the still hot steel in his climb.
" I wonder whether the quarry engineer has gone home
or if he'll be coming back here?" pondered the boyish
refugee; "I'm beginning to get kinks in my limbs."
Almost immediately he gave a great gasp of mingled
relief and apprehension. Over the bull's back he saw
through the doorway the head and shoulders of a man
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 13
in black linens, who threw up his hands with an amazed
cry as he saw the horned besieger blocking the threshold
of his engine-house.
The quarry engineer, for it was he, disappeared like
lightning, to reappear almost as speedily armed with a
long pole, and accompanied by a brawny-armed quarry
blacksmith who carried as weapon a tool taken from his
The engineer attacked the bull from behind with his
pole, and as the belligerent young animal turned upon
him, it was met by the blacksmith with his tool. Before
the hot iron actually touched him, however, the bull,
realizing that this kind of warfare was not to his taste,
swerved nimbly and beat a retreat to his pasture.
The engineer sprang into the engine-house and stared
aloft in comical amazement at the boy in the vivid sweater
perched upon the dome of the black boiler, affectionately
embracing its half-cool chimney.
" So the bull chased you in here, did he?" laughed the
man in black linens. " And you had to climb the boiler
to escape him ; 'twas a good thing for you it wasn't very
hot. Here, let me help you down; I guess you've got
kinks in your backbone!"
Blair was eagerly preparing to descend when his eyes,
which had not lost the wildness of fear, dilated suddenly;
his face took on the hue of his sweater: at the engine-
house doorway were two other spectators, old Captain
Andy, whose warnings he had disregarded, and his grand-
" Hullo ! my lad, I guess you'd have done better to have
minded me," breezed the old sea-captain, as the boiler
refugee with the engineer's help jumped to the ground.
" I came up here to the quarry on purpose to telephone to
your father. It was well for you that the engineer had
dumped his fire and drew off the water from his boiler
directly after sounding the steam-whistle for work to stop."
14 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
" Well ! I've heard of many queer escapes, but climbing
a quarry boiler to avoid an angry bull beats 'em all, up
to date," exclaimed that young engineer, slapping his side,
and bursting into a roar of laughter — for he was little
more than a boy himself.
Captain Andy's fourteen-year-old grandson Quintin
whom Blair had condescendingly invited to act as " caddy "
for him while he played golf, joined in the laugh. So
did the brawny blacksmith.
The ears of the rescued lad tingled. Only an hour ago
he had regarded himself — boy, though he was — as of con-
siderable importance in this " slow " place. Now, here
were two quarry workmen and the strange Cape boy all
laughing boisterously at the predicament in which his own
foolhardiness had landed him.
But the danger through which Blair had just passed
was like a threshing-mill : it had blown away the chaff of
self-consequence and discontent, freeing the fine grain, of
real boyhood. He pulled himself together and joined
shakily in the mirth.
" I guess I got only what was c-coming to me for not
taking your advice," he stammered when the mirth sub-
sided, looking respectfully at Captain Andrew. " I'll be
wiser next time, Captain."
Captain Andy's old eyes twinkled. He loved all boys.
Secretly he had been setting this one down as a " sissy "
and " flowerpot fellow." Now he acknowledged the real
boy. None but a real boy could take discomfiture like
He laid his hand, big and warm, on Blair's shoulder.
" You're not a laughing-stock, my lad," he said ; " far
from it ! You kept your nerve and showed presence of
mind in climbing that boiler to save yourself, when per-
sons older than you are might have been too fogged with
fear to think of it. Otherwise, the bull would have at-
tacked you here in the engine-house. Let me see
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 15
your hands ; oh ! they're not burned much to speak of."
" But — " he bent down to Blair's ear, " in future, lad,
don't go about blowing the smoke of your little troubles
into other people's nostrils — it's not manly; nor doing
something foolhardy to offset it — that's not courage !
Now, Quin and I will cruise along home with you by a
path that doesn't lead through the golf links."
Ten minutes later as the trio were strolling toward
Blair's summer home together, Captain Andrew turned
to the city boy :
" If you're hard up for amusement," he said, " why don't
you take a trip with me to that Government breakwater
of which I was telling you, which is being built to create a
safe harbor for ships, and see those fourteen divers at
work. The ' Etna,' that tugboat which is lying by the
quarry pier now, will be going out there on Monday, tow-
ing the flat scow laden with stone for the breakwater.
My son has command of the ' Etna ' ; no not Quintin's
father," hastily; " Quin's father was drowned when he was
a small boy."
" I'd like to go very much," Blair's answer showed more
interest in amphibious divers than he had manifested an
hour ago; he had learned the great pain of danger, and
he began to feel a respect for anyone who necessarily
faced it in the service of his fellow men.
But he was quite unprepared for the wonder of the
sight which greeted him when on the following Monday
he stood on the " Etna's " deck as the tugboat lay moored
beside that growing ocean breakwater.
The August sea was so perfectly calm and clear that
Blair, peering into it, could see as if he were looking down
fifty feet through tier after tier of green glass, over a
dozen strange figures moving round upon the sea-bed, like
goblins of the deep !
Grotesque, bulky, round-headed figures they appeared
to be. And they worked as busily as any colony of bea-
16 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
vers building a dam under water, as they moved great rocks
down there in the greenish twilight beneath the ocean, and
piled them up at the base of the breakwater.
A gust of feeling like a breeze from a strange climate
swept over Blair at the sight, stirring even his hair. He
knew that these men were the ocean divers, and that they
were not toiling for their own ends, but building up a
future protection for storm-tossed vessels, threatened with
destruction by the sea.
" I declare ! it makes one feel more of a man even to
watch them," he blurted out involuntarily to Quintin
Davis, who stood by him.
These two boys who had known each other only about
forty-eight hours, were chums already. There had been a
little diffidence between them at first, which was blown
away on the trip out, when Quin startled Blair by tiptoe-
ing up behind him and speaking into his ear through the
tugboat's megaphone, which made his tones like the voices
of three giants melted into one, asking him " whether
he had recovered from his bull-scare yet?"
Blair retaliated by wresting the huge trumpet from him
and chasing him round the deck with it. After which, the
ice having been effectually broken, they amused them-
selves by hailing every passing fishing vessel and lumber-
ing coaster through the megaphone, with bantering
Now, as they stood watching these submarine divers
through the glassy sea, Quin plucked at the sleeve of
Blair's crimson sweater.
" Uncle Jim is going down himself to-day !" he ex-
claimed excitedly, pointing to the master of the tugboat
who was known ashore and afloat as " Captain Jim," to
distinguish him from his father, Captain Andrew Davis.
" As the ' Etna's ' captain, Uncle Jim has to practice div-
ing; he has to go down to see about the placing of the
stone which is lowered to the breakwater."
DON T l'OU WANT TO SEE MY TENDER MAKE
MY TOILET?" ASKED CAPTAIN JIM.
18 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
" He's going to use his diver's raft, too," Quintin went
on, " because the sea is so calm and he wants to move
from point to point to inspect some work which has been
done by the other divers. Oh ! wouldn't it be gr-reat if
he'd take us out on the raft with him?"
" 'Twould be immense !" Blair was feeling that not all
the entertainments he had ever known at fashionable sea-
side resorts could compare for excitement with the thrill
of watching these heroes of the deep at their unselfish
work. Already, it had made him want to be " more of a
man," less easy-going and less selfish.
" Well, as a rule I don't take passengers with me, but
I'm willing to make an exception to-day in favor of you
boys — if you'll promise not to wreck the raft !" suddenly
said the big voice of Captain Jim Davis behind them;
he had descended from the tugboat's turret pilot-house,
leaving his father, old Captain Andy in charge of the
" Etna." " Don't you want to see the ' tender ' make my
toilet, Blair?" he added laughingly. "A diver's toilet is
a ' weighty matter,' I assure you !"
Then he seated himself on a stool while one of the
tugboat's crew who acted as " tender " or attendant, in-
vested him with the heavy copper breastplate, studded
with thumbscrews by which it was screwed to the rubber
" If I were to put on the rest of my armor now, I
couldn't heave myself over the tugboat's side," chuckled
Captain Jim presently, rising heavily to his feet.
"Lower away the raft!" he commanded. And a flat
raft some twelve feet long and eight wide was lowered
upon the tranquil sea and held steady while the diver
dropped cautiously onto it, balancing himself right on the
middle of the flat structure.
The remainder of his armor helmet, belt and iron slip-
pers, were lowered to him, followed by the airpump, from
which air would be pumped through the hose into his hel-
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 19
met, the hose itself and coiled lifeline. The diver's two
attendants, tender and pump-man, dropped onto the raft,
too, together with Blair and Quintin.
Quin's thirteen-year-old brother Owen who had come
out with them on the " Etna," watched the departure and
wished he might go, too.
"This is great; this is exciting!" murmured Blair, curl-
ing himself upon the raft.
But the climax of excitement was yet to come when old
Captain Andy suddenly thrust his head out of the
" Etna's " pilot-house, waving a newspaper as if it were a
" Whoo' ! Whoo' ! Boys ! I've big news for you !" he
whooped. " We've all been wishing to see an aviator !
Well, there's one on the Cape now, with his monoplane.
And who should he be but Harry Desper — little Harry
Desper — who spent a summer at Myrtle Cove with his
family when he was the same age as you youngsters.
He's only ' a boy of a man,' as you might say now — barely
twenty-one !" chuckled the old sailor. "/ taught him how
to manage a sailboat on the sea, and now he's piloting an
airship ! The paper says that he has only lately entered
' the fields of aeronautics,' and is going to try out his ma-
chine by making flights around the Cape, preparatory to
taking part in one of the great air races from Boston to
" Hurrah ! Who knows but that we may get a chance
to see him to-day — from the diver's raft — flying over the
breakwater?" Blair's face grew tense at such a glorious
possibility, while his eyes and imagination soared aerially.
" This is simply immense," he added, as that flat raft was
pushed off with a boat hook from the tugboat's side.
" But I feel as if I had just been shipwrecked !"
A Winged Man.
O THE two boys floating on the diver's raft over the
tranquil sea, it was the most exciting cruise they had
ever known. Crouching on the flat structure with
their chins between their knees, they imagined themselves
shipwrecked sailors drifting on a desert shore; or savages
who did not know how to construct a better craft.
The raft was propelled over the glassy ripples with a
boat hook, as an Indian would pole a canoe downstream,
by one of the diver's attendants who would presently work
the air-pump and supply air to the diver through his hel-
met, when he fell to working on the sea bed.
This " pump-man," as he was called, assumed control
of the two passengers, directing them where to sit so as
to balance the diver's weight upon the raft, and threaten-
ing them with dire penalties when in their imaginary role
of undeveloped savages they waxed boisterous and threat-
ened to capsize it.
" If you begin to ' cut up ' on the raft, I'll heave yois
overboard and let you swim back to the ' Etna ' !" Thus he
threatened them. " This isn't a birch-bark canoe where
you have to part your hair in the middle to avoid cap-
sizing it; still as the edge of the raft is elevated only three
inches above the water you could tip it down pretty easily.
You see we distribute the weight of the pump and the
diver's armor so as to balance it."
" Well, it isn't as bad as an aeroplane which an aviator
might capsize with a good big sneeze — that's what I've
read !" remarked Quintin, whose keen young eyes every
now and then searched the dappled blue sky for any sign
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 21
of the aeronaut who, according to newspaper report,
might be seen from now on making flights around the
Cape, for Harry Desper on his monoplane.
" If / should try not to sneeze, that's the time I'd be
sure to bring out a thumping big one !" laughed Blair,
keeping an eye on the fleecy cloudlets, too.
But now his attention was chained by a sight as new to
him as would be an ascending aeroplane — that of the diver
beside him preparing to go down.
That diver, Captain Jim, occupied the only seat upon
the raft, a humble stool. .He had removed his nautical-
looking cap, substituting a knitted red one whose scarlet
tassel capered in the slight breeze now springing up.
" He looks like a grand Turk, or a Sultan of some out-
of-the-way place in that loose gray dress, copper breast-
plate and tasseled cap," commented Blair as the diver
made ready to don the rest of his armor.
" Hand me my ' Cinderella slippers ' !" joked that am-
phibious knight to his attendant. " Try and lift one of
them!" to Blair.
The boy did so.
" Ouch !" he cried, as he lifted the iron slipper, weigh-
ing twenty-three pounds, a few inches from the raft. " I
should think a diver's toilet is a ' weighty matter ' !"
But once again that strange sensation like a breeze
from a new climate swept over Blair, making his skin
feel chilly while all his heart bubbled up inside him; for
the diver weighted now with breastplate and slippers, rose
laboriously to his feet; and with one great stride — for
Captain Jim was a powerful man — heaved himself onto
a short ladder, the top rungs of which were lashed
to the raft's side, and the rest of it submerged in the
As the diver balanced himself on that descending ladder
with half his body out of water — while the boys, pump-
man and pump distributed their weight so as to steady the
22 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
raft — the tender buckled upon him the leaden belt weigh-
ing a trifling matter of a hundred pounds, and held the
round copper helmet weighing forty poised above his head.
Ere that helmet descended the diver shot a glance at his
" So lone, boys !" he said. " Perhaps you'll see me com-
ing up feet foremost for fun."
But as he signaled to the attendant for his helmet, Cap-
tain Jim shot another glance, a grave look, upward at the
summer sun, which he would see through the ocean's twi-
light only as a winking evening star, as if he were saying
good-by to that too.
The helmet, with its four " bull's-eyes," or glass win-
dows, descended, shutting him out from the sweet summer
air, and was screwed to the collar of his dress.
The pump man who now grasped the brake of the patent
air-pump, began to work that handle rhythmically, pump-
ing air through the rubber hose, the other end of which
was connected with a protruding " elbow " in the diver's
helmet. Captain Jim backed down the ladder.
The glassy sea closed over him. A wave of feeling en-
gulfed the boys at the same time. Blair could hardly
account for the warm tickling in his throat. But as the
diver disappeared, his eyes were wet and winking. He
looked shamefacedly at Quin. The latter nodded back
" I always feel like that, too, if I'm close to a diver
when he goes down," said the Cape boy. " Uncle Jim is a
good diver, and he's stronger in the dress than out of it —
folks say he's a regular Samson in the dress. He's a good
man, I tell you !" proudly. " Won't it be fun to see him
come up, feet foremost in those iron slippers? Well,
while we're waiting for it we may as well watch the sky
for that aviator," Quin stretched himself on the raft,
now rocking gently on the placid sea, stirred by a baby
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 23
Blair followed his example. Chin in hands, both boys
stared expectantly skyward. The sea becoming a little
ruffled and the depth being greater here, they could not
watch the diver at work. Neither did they behold a man-
bird soaring across the blue sky or hear the buzz of an
After twenty minutes of dreamy rocking there were
three quick jerks on the diver's lifeline which the tender,
now seated on the stool, held between his finger and thumb.
" He's signaling up from below. Three jerks. That
means he's coming up to breathe !" cried Quintin.
With catlike caution the boys rose to their feet and
stared at the sea, breaking into shout after shout of laugh-
ter as a pair of iron toes — the toes of those " Cinderella
slippers " — were seen clearing the ripples. Turning a
floundering somersault in the waves the diver landed on
the ladder, his mittened hands grasping its sides.
" Bravo ! that was comical," applauded the boys.
Captain Jim, his helmet removed, clung to the ladder for
a few minutes, drinking in the summer air with great
" Boys, if you should see an aviator flying overhead,
come and get me !" he laughed, preparing to go down
again. " I'd like to see the man-bird's first appearance
in our skies,"
" We won't see a ' man-bird ' ; that's too good to be
true," murmured Quin pessimistically, stretching himself
again upon the raft.
But scarcely had the diver's iron-shod feet again touched
the bottom when the pump-man, staring off at the horizon,
while he monotonously worked the brake or handle of the
air-pump, gave a cry.
" There — there it is !" he exploded, " there's the mono-
plane ! See — see that speck high above the headland?
See — boys — see !" He was the only one on the raft who
had seen an aeroplane before.
24 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
" It is ! It is a flying machine. I can hear the engine !"
he added in a low shout, inclining an ear forward, the
excitement in his hitherto stolid face contrasting strangely
with the slow, steady working of the air-pump on which
depended the life of the diver below.
The boys were on their feet like a flash, less cautiously
"Where? Where is it?" they cried gustily.
" There — I see it, too !" Blair's discovery exploded like
a firecracker on the heels of his questioner. "/ see it!
Oh-oh-h ! the big dragon fly !"
Quin had located it, too, now — that developing winged
speck — skimming nearly a thousand feet above the bold
cape headland. And in the wonder of it the boys' breath-
ing was as the deep breathing of the sea about them —
heavy, ruffled, joyous ! Each felt as if all the thrills he
had ever known were concentrated into one big joy thrill.
Here, on the diver's raft, they were between the hero
of the deep and the hero of the air !
On came the monoplane, the glittering monster dragon
fly, swimming toward the point of blue sky right above
the breakwater. And beyond one or two gusty mono-
syllables the boys could not find speech to welcome it.
They quivered from neck to heels with exultation, proud
to be alive, proud to claim human brotherhood with that
winged man — with Harry Desper — that " boy of a man,"
as old Captain Andy called him — now flying triumphantly
above the sea.
Other generations before them had seen the advent of
the train, steamboat, telegraph, telephone, " wireless," and
many other discoveries ; but, oh, as they vaguely felt, it
was great to be a boy when this latest, greatest wonder
of the world was in its boyhood — the conquest of the air !
" He's heading this way now — going to pass right over
us, over the breakwater !" exclaimed Quintin in stifled
tones, thrilling to his boots.
LOOK OUT! YOU LL CAPSIZE US, SHRIEKED
THE TENDER IN ALARM.
26 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
The diver's tender had not signaled down to his chief,
because he knew that nothing short of disaster could bring
Captain Jim up from the sea bed when he was at work.
But old Captain Andy, left aboard the " Etna," had
espied the aeroplane on high, piloted by " little Harry
Desper," whom as a boy, he had taught to master one
element, the sea, and who had now conquered the air.
In his excitement the old man directed the tugboat's
engineer to salute the triumphant aviator with three loud
screams of the " Etna's " steam whistle — a nautical three
Two other tugs, moored near the breakwater, took up
the whistling, too, celebrating the first appearance of a
man-bird on the cape shores.
The noise broke the spell which held the boys motion-
less. Together with the audible buzz of the monoplane's
engine so high above them, it threw them into a frenzy
of excitement. They burst into wild cheering, too.
As if dazed by that aerial buzz, Quin, forgetting that he
was floating on another unstable element, on a flat raft
that needed balancing, though not so nicely as the air
craft above, made two blind steps toward the raft's edge.
Blair, his eyes riveted skyward on that superb air-con-
quering dragon fly, with the sun silvering its forward
wings and the aluminum propeller (corresponding to the
insect's head) which dragged it through the air, stepped
rashly after him; both boys thus throwing their weight
on one side of the raft with the tender and his stool.
" Look out ! Look out ! You'll capsize us. You'll tip
over the raft!" shrieked the tender in alarm.
Too late ! The raft's side had dipped already until the
sea curled over it.
With cries so loud that it seemed as if they must be
heard by the soaring aviator above, with a frantic flour-
ishing of legs and arms the boys strove to right it and
recover their equilibrium. In vain ! The flat structure
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 27
dipped more still, like a tilting table, as the waves rippled
over the edge.
The tender and pump-man, both nimble seamen, hung
on desperately to the partly submerged raft, the former
hugging the air-pump which meant breath to the diver
The two boys slid off into the sea, shrieking, while
overhead the man-bird sailed proudly on.
* s/ ^S~ g %f s * m
The Ascending Monoplane.
IE THAT aviator on his monoplane, flying triumphantly
over harbor and breakwater could, looking down, have
beheld the catastrophe caused by his first appearance
as a man-bird on the Cape coast, consternation would
have filled him.
The flat raft, after playing a wild game of seesaw with
the waves, righted itself without injury to the air-pump,
which the pump-man had protected at risk to himself.
The tender had lost his stool in the watery scrimmage;
it slipped off into the sea with the boys, and cruised away
on its own hook with its four sturdy legs in the air, like a
Quintin who, as a Cape boy, could swim like an eel,
managed to scramble back onto the raft. But Blair, never
having practiced swimming sufficiently to become expert
for his age, hampered by his clothing, would have sunk
speedily to join the diver on the sea bed, had not the
tender, taking that diver's lifeline between his teeth,
snatched up the boat hook whereby the raft had been
propelled, which had not gone overboard. Hooking its
iron crook into Blair's clothing, he lifted the struggling
boy bodily out of the waves, and landed him on the raft,
as one might gaff a big fish, before the " Etna's " lifeboat
which had been lowered at once could reach the spot.
" Well, that was the worse d-ducking I — ever — had,"
sputtered the rescued Blair, as breath returned, his words
splashing in the amount of sea water which he had swal-
" It would have been a pretty bad accident for the diver
30 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
if the air-pump had gone overboard," returned the tender;
" he would never come to the surface again alive. Well,
the lifeboat had bet^r take you two boys back to the
1 Etna.' Perhaps they can find you some dry clothing
there. I'm pretty badly drenched myself, but we " — nod-
ding toward the pump-man — " will have to stay on the
raft until the diver comes up again."
" And we lost sight of the aeroplane ; it must have
passed right over our heads while we were kicking round
in the water !" lamented Quintin, shaking the wet out of
his hair, his eyes greedily searching the horizon for a fur-
ther glimpse of that winged man.
" Oh ! The aviator was out of sight long ago; he
must have been going about a mile a minute; the mono-
plane was ' humming !' " chuckled the diver's tender.
" Doesn't that stool look comical ?" sniffed Blair, as
two dripping boys were transferred to the lifeboat. " I've
lost my cap, so has Quintin !"
The stool was picked up, but not the headgear.
A quarter of an hour later the lads were parading the
" Etna's " main deck, Blair enveloped in a suit of black
overalls lent by the tugboat's engineer, while Quin strut-
ted about in a costume suggestive of pirate pictures, shirt
and trousers belonging to a huge deck hand of the tug-
boat's crew, with the sleeves rolled back to the elbow and
trousers turned up to the knee. Round his head the boy
twisted, turban-fashion, a red cotton handkerchief found
in the pocket of the latter.
"Death to pirates!" laughed Blair, rushing upon him;
and there ensued a sham battle in which, hampered by
their garments, neither could declare a victory, Quin's
thirteen-year-old brother, Owen, taking part in the merry
" It's the first time I've worn working overalls ; per-
haps it won't be the last," panted Blair, pausing breath-
lessly. " One thing I know ; I'm going to learn how to
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 31
swim as well as any Cape boy; if I should fall overboard
again, I don't propose to be hooked back like a fish !"
" Right you are, my lad !" Captain Andy who had
descended from the pilot house, stroked the boy's shoul-
der. " If you're to assist yourself or others — and there'll
come a time, mark you, when you'll want to help some-
body else more than you ever wanted to help yourself —
you can do it only by making the best of every power
that God has given you of mind and body."
Blair nodded respectfully. During their experience on
the raft both boys had felt that in a world where men
faced such dangers as did these ocean divers in the serv-
ice of their fellow-men — or took risks, as did the aviator,
in the cause of progress — a boy would disgrace his boy-
hood who could not be hard working and unselfish, too.
" If Uncle Jim had taken me on the raft, I wouldn't
have fallen into the water," piped up Owen. " I saw the
man-bird longer than you did, Blair !"
" Yes ; I wonder when we'll catch sight of him again ?"
young Hammond sighed longingly.
" Well, Harry Desper is staying at Bayhead with his
family," suggested Captain Andy. " The ' Etna ' will be
going round there, next Friday. I'm going on her. You
boys can come, too, if you want to ! I'm bound to see
that monoplane again; and I'd like to know whether
Harry remembers me, and the summer mornings, six
years ago, when he got up early to go fishing with me in
my little dory. That dory is hauled up on the beach near
my home now; she's getting old and tender," added the
sailor quaintly. " I don't know whether she's seaworthy
Harry Desper did remember that dory, and the sturdy
little rowboat, in which he had gone dawn-fishing on
many a morning with old Captain Andy Davis, long be-
32 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
fore he ever dreamed of navigating an airship. He re-
membered Captain Andrew, too.
When on the Friday morning following his first start-
ling appearance as an aviator on the Cape shores, the
tugboat " Etna " hove to alongside a jutting pier at Bay-
head, and three boys — Blair, Quintin and Owen — jumped
ashore with Captain Andy, they beheld a very boyish-
looking young man, leaning against a shed, whistling
"There he is! There's Harry Desper!" exclaimed the
old captain joyously, making towards him.
The boys approached, too, with beating hearts. They
could hardly believe, Blair and Quintin, that the daring
aviator, who had created such a gale of excitement when
they first beheld him facing an aerial gale, stirred up by
his propeller, as he flew a thousand feet above headland
and sea, could walk the earth like an ordinary mortal.
Owen almost expected to see wings attached to his
person, which he could spread at will and soar into the
But, at sight of the sea captain, Desper sprang for-
ward with outstretched hand and manner as boyishly
eager as their own.
" Hullo, Captain Andy!" he cried, " I'm ever so glad to
see you. I was thinking of making a flight across the
Cape to call on you ; but I remembered that there is no
safe landing place for an aeroplane in that swampy field
near your home — my machine might have turned turtle
with me as I came clown."
"Well, if I had seen you 'coasting' down from the
clouds near my doorway, I guess the shock might have
been too much for me," chuckled the old man. " But I'm
mighty glad to see you, Harry, and proud to know that
you've done something in the world. I did catch a sight
of you Monday last, flying from headland to headland,
high above the harbor and breakwater. Here are two
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 33
boys who were thrown into such a gale of excitement
by the sight of you, that, like a pair of geese-heads, they
slipped off the diver's raft into the sea. They nearly
wrecked the raft and brought disaster to the diver. How-
ever, they'll know better next time. And they'd be proud
to shake hands with a real aviator."
" Oh ! I read of that raft accident in the newspaper,"
returned Harry Desper, extending a ready palm to each of
the three lads in turn. At touch of that glad hand, awe
of the air hero melted away.
"I didn't fall into the water; I wasn't on the raft,"
declared Owen, bent on proving an alibi.
" Oh, ho ! Then I'll let you see my monoplane, since
you were the only one to keep dry !" jested the aviator.
" Don't you want to have a look at it, Captain Andy? It's
under the tent in that field."
He led the way to a canvas shelter.
And there was the aeroplane, earth's latest wonder,
with its light framework of aluminum, its spreading
wings, or main supporting planes, at the forward end of
the machine, with the smaller auxiliary wings at the
rear, connected with the rudder.
" I declare ! There's a great deal of a flying machine,"
" It certainly is a slick bit of mechanism," commented
" It has to be. An aviator takes risks enough even
with the best machine," was Harry Desper's reply.
" 'Twas well for me, Captain Andy," he added warmly,
" that you made me throw my first cigaret into the sea,
and promise never to light another that summer morning,
six years ago, when I went fishing with you in your little
dory. If I were to light one in the air, I'd stand a good
chance of hitting the ground pretty quickly !"
The three boys, listening, registered a vow that they
would have nothing to do with cigarets either.
34 HEROES OF AIR AXD SEA.
" My wings, you see, are of rubberized silk, made water-
proof by varnishing," explained the aviator. " On the
monoplane the propeller is in front, and drags it through
the air, instead of astern, as it is on the tugboat which
brought you here."
"How does it feel to fly?" inquired Blair, bringing
out a question which had long trembled on his lips.
" Oh ! I guess one likes it from the first, unless there's
too much wind, or one strikes a current of air which is
gusty and choppy, when you have to soar higher or drop
lower, where the current is calmer."
"I suppose you wouldn't take up a passenger?" The
boy's chest heaved up as he put the daring question.
" Xot one of your age ! I don't think I'd ever consent
to carry boys aloft, who couldn't keep cool under excite-
ment on the diver's raft," Harry Desper laughed.
" Perhaps we'd show you that we could keep our
heads !" put forward Blair. Desper smiled again, with
" Blair certainly did show presence of mind once, when
he climbed a quarry boiler to escape an angry bull," sug-
gested Captain Andy, proceeding to narrate the incident
which the aviator would have set down as a story if it had
not been Captain Andrew who told it.
" Now, I'm sorry, but I'll have to ask you to get out-
side the field : I'm going to make a flight presently, and I
can't have anybody near but my mechanicians when I go
up." said Desper, after he had exhibited his fine gasoline
engine, with the pilot's seat right over it in what he called
the monoplanes "cockpit." " Oh, I forgot to call your at-
tention to the number on my rudder at the tail of the ma-
chine !" indicating a big black "9" on the rudder — on the
steering apparatus so delicately strung with piano wire
connecting it with the aviator's body. " If I should be
flying low, boys, in that race from Boston to the Light, and
you are there to see, you can identify me by this number."
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 35
"Won't we cheer if we see you winning?" chorused
the trio, as with Captain Andy, they reluctantly betook
themselves into a neighboring field.
" So the aviator, like the diver, has two attendants,"
remarked Quintin as, watching from a distance, they be-
held the pair of mechanicians bring the monoplane forth
from the tent.
There ensued a period of breathless waiting while the
two attendants busied themselves with preparations.
"There! he's off. He's — off!" cried Blair of a sudden,
his excited breath tickling his throat like a feather, as
that dragon-fly monoplane started away in a little run
along the ground, after the manner of some great birds
when preparing to fly; then rose proudly into the air, its
engine humming like a mammoth bee.
As it climbed the sunlight to the tree tops' level, with
the body of the aviator, now in his suit of tan leathers,
like the golden body of a bird between the spreading for-
ward wings, Quin clasped his hands in semi-despair.
" Ouch ! he struck the branches of that maple tree.
He's into the elm — now. Oh ! he'll hit the ground again !"
cried the boy, tragically.
" No ! No ! He's steered clear of the elm tree !"
Blair's mouth yawned like a fissure as he gazed upward,
his nostrils being quite insufficient for breathing at this
moment, while the rebounding aeroplane, on the verge
of a fall, righted itself miraculously, owing to the skill
and nerve of its youthful pilot, bidding adieu to the tallest
bough that would ensnare it.
" He's going to fly right over this apple tree, above our
heads," exclaimed Blair, entranced. "If I could throw an
apple high enough I might hit him !"
He shot a ruddy pippin into the air as he spoke. The
apple, tethered by gravitation, fell humbly earthward
again, struck the crown of Captain Andy's straw hat, and
rebounded to the ground.
36 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
" Whoo ! whoo !" barked the sea captain, " when next
you, Blair, want to make a target of an air man I hope
I won't be around. But doesn't he look proud sailing off,
up there, Harry Desper, that ' boy of a man,' to whom
we were talking down here half an hour ago?" And
Captain Andrew waved his battered straw hat at the sun-
tipped aeroplane with its youthful pilot, which soared ever
higher into the blue. " It lays over anything that I ever
saw or even dreamed of, lads !" he added, with a humid
light in his eye.
The latter broke into exultant joy whoops.
" Three cheers for Desper — for Harry Desper !
Whoo ! whoo ! bravo ! hurrah !" they shouted exultantly.
" We know he'll win in that air-race !"
The little crowd of spectators around them took up
The tugboat " Etna," now under the command of her
diving master, Captain Jim, tooted shrilly with her steam
whistle applause that mingled with the monoplane's climb-
"What are you thinking of, Blair?" asked Captain
Andy, catching a peculiar expression of the boy's face as
his dazzled gaze dropped earthward.
" I'm thinking — " Blair drew a long breath, " of how
I wish that we — Quin and I — could show the aviator that
we could ' keep cool,' have presence of mind in an emer-
gency," feeling that by their behavior on the raft they
had forfeited the opportunity of ever being taken aloft
by Harry Desper as passengers on an " air-ride " !
He little dreamed that the day was not far distant when
the aviator's shining triumph would temporarily collapse
like a bubble, and his life be in the hands of two boys
whose feet pressed the humble sod of Mother Earth.
Disaster to the Aviator.
IN THE days which followed his witnessing the ascen-
sion to cloudland of Harry Desper's monoplane, the
wish was often in Blair's mind that he could prove to
the daring aviator his ability to be cool and resourceful
in an emergency — notwithstanding the fact that Quintin
and he had allowed excitement to oust judgment on the
Under the prod of this desire — but more still due to
the heroic examples before him in the diver and aviator
— the boy set himself, as Captain Andy had devised, to
develop every power he possessed of mind and body, feel-
ing that, otherwise, if the time should come for him to
prove his mettle, the great moment would catch him un-
He practiced rowing and swimming until he could al-
most outdo Quintin, who was half amphibious, learning
that in sport or study the door to the highest pleasure
opens only to the lad who strives for perfection.
" That whistle of yours is much better worth ' patent-
ing ' now, my lad, than it was on the day when I first
ran across you !" joked Captain Andy one morning to-
ward the end of August, when Blair met him on the
quarry pier with a new whistle on his lips, so full of
original flourishes, so crisp and expressive of manly ac-
tivity, that it might have justified exclusive proprietary
rights — if buoyancy and cheer could be "patented."
" That boy is going to make good. He's beginning to
go ahead under all the sail he can carry," muttered the
38 HEROES OF AIR AXD SEA.
old captain to himself in his seaman's metaphor. Aloud
he added : " Are you going off on the 'Etna ' to the break-
water this morning, Blair — Quin and you? You two are
becoming as inseparable as a pair of magpies."
" Yes, we're bound out to the breakwater," Blair made
answer. " I love to watch those fourteen divers at work
when the ocean is calm enough to see them, or to watch
Captain Jim coming up, feet foremost, for fun, when it
But he did not see Captain Jim perform that comical
feat that day. He beheld something more laughable still.
He saw that old practical joker, Grandfather Ocean,
tumble the diver about on the surface of the waves, in-
stead of allowing him to go down beneath them, because
he happened to get too much pumped air into his rubber
dress, inflating it so that, despite all the metal weight on
him, he could not sink, but floundered about on the sea's
breast like half a dozen porpoises rolled into one !
Shriek after shriek of laughter burst from the boys —
Blair, Quintin and Owen — as they watched the aquatic
gambols of that baffled diver, with the sunlight burnishing
his globelike helmet and its plate-glass windows, like the
great round head of some sea monster with eyes before
" When, next, Captain Jim twits us with nearly capsiz-
ing his raft and losing his air-pump on our first catch-
ing sight of an aviator, we'll get back by joking him
about a diver who couldn't dive !" suggested Blair, as that
floundering diver, letting the superfluous air escape
through a valve in his helmet, at last disappeared to the
" Yes, that's an annoying trick, boys, when one get's
too much air in the dress," said Captain Jim later, when
he came to the surface to rest and breathe, and faced a
volley of banter from the two elder lads. " But there's
a queerer trick still which that pumped air plays on me
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 39
once in a while, when it gets into the toes of the rubber
dress and steals under the soles of my feet while I'm at
work, so that I can't keep my footing on the bottom."
" How does it feel then ?" questioned both boys in the
" Why, as if the diver had wings on his feet which
carry him upward through the sea as Harry Desper's.
fine wings bear him upward when he starts to fly ! And
there's something worse than coming to the surface
against your will; that's being forced to stay down when
you want to come up, being caught below!"
"How does this happen?" Blair asked eagerly.
" Oh, if one is moving great, heavy rocks under water,
.as we divers are doing at the base of the breakwater,
sometimes one gets a leg or one's whole body jammed
between those rocks; then, it is often impossible to free
one's self, until another diver comes down to extricate
It was on the afternoon of that very day when the
two elder boys stood on the deck of the flat-bottomed
scow which transported stone from the quarries to the
breakwater, and which was connected with the tugboat
by a short tow-rope, that Quintin nudged Blair's arm
" It seems to me that Uncle Jim is down longer than
usual, this time, without coming up to breathe !" he re-
marked, with a catch in his breath.
To-day, the diver had gone down from the scow's side,
not from his raft.
Almost simultaneously that diver's life line, held be-
tween his tender's finger and thumb, began to twitch.
Blair was used to the three distinct jerks on the line
which, according to the diver's signaling code, meant,
"Go ahead; haul me up!"
Now, the startled color rushed in a hot splash to both
boys' faces — hoisting the red flag of danger.
40 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
That hempen lifeline twitched five times.
"Caught below!" Quin translated the meaning of
those five jerks as if in a nightmare. " Uncle Jim is
caught below !"
The scarlet flush receded from Blair's cheeks, leaving
them paler than they had been in the quarry engine-house
after his escape from Jewett's bull.
During the past month the boy, awakening to hero
worship, had set up in his imagination twin pedestals and
on them placed two heroes, Captain Jim, the diver, and
the daring aviator, Harry Desper.
Now, somewhere beneath that sea — not glassy to-day,
but gray and impenetrable — one of these heroes was
prisoned, his powerful body jammed between heavy rocks.
Blair knew that the pinioned diver, looking up, could see
the brilliant afternoon sun like a tiny star winking down
at him through the green twilight of ocean's bed. He
might never see it as the sun again !
And at the thought, to the boy, too, that sun seemed to
go out of commission; the summer afternoon to become
gray, miserable twilight !
" If I could do something for him ! If only I could
do something!" he gasped, his hands closing and unclos-
ing as if they must grapple some means of rescue.
" There's nothing we boys can do — yet." Quintin's
face was colorless, too, as he answered. " None of the
other divers are working near him. But — see ! the
' Etna's ' lifeboat has been lowered. It's flying through
the water to that distant tugboat, to bring along another
diver, to go down and — free — Uncle Jim."
To the two lads the next half-hour was about the worst
they had ever known, while they watched that speeding
lifeboat fetch a second diver, saw him don the belt and
helmet, and go down under the waves, like a rescuing
They kept their eyes riveted on Captain Jim's lifeline.
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 41
" If there should be five jerks again, that would mean
that the other diver couldn't extricate him/' murmured
Quin through dry lips.
Ten slow minutes passed. That drab lifeline began to
twitch. The big world seemed balancing itself on a hair
to the boys as they counted the jerks. "If there should
be five ? One — two — three ! The hemp ceased vibrating.
" Three tugs on the line ! That means, ' Haul up !'
Lend a hand to haul him up, boys ! " s K xploded the tender.
And the two lads laying hold of that Incline hauled with
every grain of strength they possessed.
There was a floundering commotion in the sea. The
second diver came to the surface, with Captain Jim in
" I had— hard work — to extricate him," panted the res-
cuer when his helmet was removed. " His right leg was
caught — between two big rocks; I guess it's badly —
Swooning from pain and stifled exhaustion, Captain Jim,
relieved of his heavy armor, was laid on the sunlit deck.
Presently his heavy eyes opened and turned to the lads
" Oh ! I'm not hurt badly," he said. " I'll be wearing
the dress again in a few days. I guess you were fright-
ened, boys; your faces are the color of stale foam," he
added with a glimmering smile. " When we get ashore I
want you — lads — to run and tell my mother that — that
I've had a little accident. She's not well. You'll know
how to do it, Blair — so's not to frighten her. My father,
Capt'n Andy, is getting to think a whole lot of you !"
"Didn't I tell you that Uncle Jim was a fine man?"
whispered Quin passionately, the light reviving in his
Blair nodded; his eyes, too, held some salt water which
did not come in over the scow's rail with the divers; truly,
as he felt, in association with this brave knight of the rub-
42 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
ber dress and heavy armor, no boy could help becoming
a fine man himself !
During the ensuing days when Captain Jim was laid
up and the boys' trips to the ocean breakwater, perforce,
ceased, they made up for the deprivation by frequent ex-
cursions to Bayhead, where they seized another oppor-
tunity of seeing Harry Desper soar into the air on his
monoplane, and perform wonderful circling flights at
varying heights above the sea.
The aviator treated them with such cordial intimacy,
at first for the sake of his old friend, Captain Andy, and
later on their own account, that they became a center of
attraction among the boys on the Cape, and walked about
in reflected glory as friends of the " boy aviator," Desper.
He permitted them again to examine his monoplane, at
length, explaining the various feats he performed in fly-
ing ; how he " coasted " down from cloudland, as they
might coast downhill on a bicycle, and the danger when
he " banked at a turn," and the tilting aeroplane drifted or
skidded many feet through the air.
Also, in company with the boys, he visited the injured
diver, Captain Jim, and entertained him with lively ac-
counts of his first experiences as a man-bird.
" I'm planning to make a flight round this part of the
coast, past Myrtle Cove, to-morrow," he said, " if the
weather is not too gusty. If you're on the watch, you
may see me."
" I don't think you'll fly to-morrow, Harry, my lad —
unless you want to do so in the worst wind you ever flew
in !" prophesied old Captain Andy, who was present. " It
will be blowing pretty hard before morning."
Captain Andy was right. Steptember came in like a
lion; gales which usually did not strike the Cape until
its second week, assailed it in the first. For two days
and nights it blew a " screecher," as Captain Andrew said.
The third day the wind decreased. On the fourth there
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 43
did not seem to be a breath stirring in the heavens. But
the wild-looking sea still hurled itself in great, shaggy
waves against the shore, with the roar of a battering-ram.
" I never saw the sea like that before ; those wide rings
of foam inclosing about an acre of water — and the slow,
towering waves throwing up their white bonnets !" re-
marked Blair to his inseparable friend, Quintin, as they
sat on a stone fence below Captain Andy's cottage at
Myrtle Cove, watching the angry ocean.
" That's what we sailors call the ' old sea ' after a
storm," explained Captain Andrew, himself, limping out
to join them, moving stiffly, as was his wont, since the
accident of which he had told Blair at their first meeting;
his right arm was almost powerless. " And a bad old sea
that is for any craft to face, be it sailing vessel or row-
boat !" he went on. " The ocean, when it has been lashed
into fury, doesn't subside as quickly as the wind: it is
often at its worst when the gale seems over.
" I wonder the storm didn't tear my little old dory
from her moorings," continued the sea captain, after a
pause, pointing to a small rowboat hauled up high and
dry on the sands of a narrow cove beneath them, the
only boat within sight. " That's the dory, boys, in which
Harry Desper used to go fishing with me, six years ago.
She's almost worn out now; I haven't overhauled her for
some time ; I don't know whether she's seaworthy or not !"
"Harry Desper wasn't able to make the flight round
this part of the Cape, of which he talked four days ago,"
Blair suggested. "Maybe he'll attempt it to-day; he
wants to get all the practice he can before entering this
" Whoo ! whoo ! I hope he won't try it to-day," ejacu-
lated Captain Andy. " A hard puff of wind might strike
him that would mean an end to the aeroplane I"
" But the wind has ceased," argued Blair.
" Ho ! ho ! has it? Look at those low-lying clouds; not
44 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
much more than a thousand feet above the sea !" The
gray-haired sailor shook his finger at the dark banks
of vapor merging into clinging tendrils of fog. " There's
wind enough in those clouds, my lad, to blow the hair off
your heads. It's breezing up even now !" as a rising gust
slapped his cheek.
" The wind she blew a hurricane,
Bimeby she'll blow some more I"
he sang in a fuzzy, blustering voice.
" Oh, go on, gran'father ; sing that song through,"
coaxed Quintin, whose delight was in the old man's sea
But Blair, who at another time would have joined in the
pleading, had sprung to his feet in a tumble of excitement
that matched the commotion of the old sea.
" Don't you hear it? Don't you hear it?" he cried.
" The buzz of an aeroplane. I can't see it. But I hear
the engine." The boy bent forward, listening, as if every
pulse in his body were an ear.
" Pshaw ! you dream aeroplanes," mocked Quintin,
springing to his feet, too, however.
" He's not dreaming. I hear it, too, the engine !" Cap-
tain Andy had likewise risen; his old body towered, stiff
as a ramrod, with excitement and alarm.
" I see it ! I see it — now !" fired off Blair. " It's Harry
Desper's monoplane. Oh ! that dragon fly !" as the buz-
zing aeroplane darted from behind a barrier of dark
cloud, was seen for five seconds, festooned with fog-ten-
drils, then disappeared through another gateway of cloud-
" That's the greatest thing that ever happened. I — I
see it again." Quintin waved his cap almost hysterically
at that gray, exploring dragon fly flitting across another
46 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
cloud-gap, to be lost again in aerial mystery, high above
the ocean, at a point nearly half a mile from shore.
"Isn't it gr-reat to hear him buzzing and thumping up
there in the clouds, when you can't see him?" Blair's
upturned face was touched with shining awe.
The wild wonder of this flight fairly bewitched the two
boys; to see that youthful aviator, Harry Desper, dar-
ingly playing a game of bopeep with them in cloudland
above the foamy tumble of the old sea !
* y *^S : ~2/ N ^
4<\/OU'RE right, Blair; it certainly beats all, to hear
\ him buzzing and thumping- up there in the clouds
— when we can't see him !" exclaimed old Captain
Andrew, echoing the boy's words, as his trained eyesight,
accustomed to scan long distances at sea, searched the
low-lying clouds for another glimpse of that daring avia-
tor, playing a game of bo-peep with Mother Earth.
" There he is ! I make him again !" cried the sea-cap-
tain, as that dragon-fly monoplane darted forth from be-
hind another screen of clouds, exciting the spectators by a
view of it for half-a-dozen seconds, then teasingly van-
ished once more, while the bee-like buzz of its engine was
" Well, if that isn't the greatest thing that ever hap-
pened : to see him skylarking — really skylarking — up there
in the clouds !" laughed Blair. " I think it's positively
'spooky!'" His gaze searched those gray cloud-tents for
another peep at the invisible winged man — secreted among
" Who knows but he may be camping up there by'n-by :
so may we all be, for that matter !" suggested Quintin,
blinking as if, dazzled by the prospect, he began to see no
limit to the aerial possibilities of man.
" Oh, there's nothing small about you," Blair threw
back at him. " As for me, I'd be satisfied if Harry Desper
would only take us up aloft — one at a time — on an air trip !
There ! he's not playing hide-and-seek in the clouds any
longer," added the boy excitedly. " He has dropped lower
— he's flying lower, now."
48 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
" I guess he found the atmosphere up there too thick
for him," suggested Captain Andrew. " I'm afraid he's
finding the air pretty gusty, too; it keeps breezing up!"
sniffing the freshening wind.
The aeroplane had dropped several hundred feet; as the
aviator glided down from cloudland, his body, between those
spreading wings, was visible to the thrilled spectators.
" He's turning !" cried Quintin, suddenly. " I guess he's
going to head toward shore ! Perhaps he'll make a land-
ing on the little beach here !"
Speechlessly the trio, old Captain Andy and the boys,
watched the youthful aviator as he attempted this most
dangerous feat in his whole flight, that of " banking at a
turn," when his tilting monoplane, turning at a sharp
angle, would drift many feet in the air.
Harry Desper had performed this difficult exploit many
times before, but he had never yet flown in such a wind
as the reviving breeze which was springing up. For the
gale which had stirred up the " old sea " beneath him,
was not dead, but dozing.
Right on the turn, a hard puff of wind, such as Captain
Andy had dreaded, struck his forward wings — those main
supporting planes — and tilted the flying machine to a dan-
He dropped through the air like a shot.
" He's— going; He's f- falling ! Oh ! oh ! oh-h ! There
— he goes !" The cries, blending into one shocked wail,
broke from the old man and boys.
They saw Harry Desper beneath those dark clouds
among which he had been sporting a few minutes before,
make a desperate attempt to right his machine, to control
it, and recover his equilibrium.
In vain ! Down he came — his golden triumph collaps-
ing ! The falling aeroplane struck the ocean in the center
of one of those wide, pale circles of foam left by the recent
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 49
The two boys and Captain Andy, stiff with horror, saw
that still angry old sea open its white-bearded mouth and
swallow Harry Desper w r ith his monoplane as completely
as, in calmer mood, they had seen it swallow the diver.
" His machine has carried him under with it. But he
may — he may free himself and come to the surface !" It
was Captain Andy who broke the stony silence which fell
upon the three watchers. " Oh ! if only I had my right
arm and a boat !" cried the old man wildly. " There's no
boat but my old dory and I don't know whether she's
seaworthy !" his eyes vainly searching sea and shore for
a more trusty craft.
Even as he spoke, he was limping, with all the hurry
he could make, toward the beach and that doubtful dory.
" If only I could hurry as I once could !" he cried
again, groaning at every ten steps, not because of the
pain which the attempt at speed caused in his right leg,
which, with the right arm, had been broken in that acci-
dent a few months before, neither having mended proper-
ly yet, but because every second's delay lessened the
chance of rescue for the submerged aviator.
If a rescue could" be made?
Of a sudden, the impotent groan ceased on the old sea-
Something shot swiftly past him, making such a vivid
spot of color against the grayness of sea and sky (so
much darker since the accident), that, irresistibly, it shot
a thin streak of rosy hope through Captain Andy's
It was Blair Hammond's crimson sweater; the iden-
tical sweater, shrunken an inch by watery vicissitudes,
which he wore when he foolishly tempted danger and
Jewett's bull on the disused golf links.
The boy's face was red, too, congested by shock ! The
eyelids and lips trembled as if facing a pinching gust.
But in his eyes, as he glanced backward over his crimson
50 HEROES OF AIR AXD SEA.
shoulder, was a staggering light of courage and resolu-
tion that fairly shone.
"Quin!" he cried, "we can get that dory out faster
than Cap'n Andy can. He can't row fast because of his
right arm and we can !"
Quintin was already at his heels, fired by the same
Slighting the roundabout pathway where Captain Andy
was straining in a stiff attempt at speed, the two boys
leaped, like goats, from crag to crag, and ledge to ledge,
downward over a stretch of ragged rocks that separated
them from the narrow beach.
" Boys ! Boys !" Captain Andy's cry rang after them.
" I don't know whether that dory is seaworthy or not.
Harry mayn't come to the surface. And that old sea for
you to face ! Her oars are in her, boys !" he added, torn
between an anguish of longing to save the aviator and
terror for the two lads rushing to breast the sullen swell
of the sea in a doubtful boat.
If the lads heard they paid no heed, for, now, a
whooping cry broke from Blair whose eyes — turned sea-
ward as he ran — were riveted on triat spot of heaving
ocean within the pale ring of foam, which had swallowed
Harry Desper and his monoplane.
"There he is!" cried the boy. "There's — his head!
And his hands up ! He's come to the surface !"
With the sight of those hands appealing to them —
though they disappeared instantly as the aviator went
under again — nothing could hold the two lads back from
an attempt to save him.
Captain Andy ceased to shout discouragement, too.
He. also, had momentarily seen the youthful aviator's
head, like a black ball, on the crest of a tumbling wave,
and those upflung arms praying for help, with a cry
whose faint echo reached the shore.
"There's Harry! There's the lad!" yelled the old sea-
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 51
man. " Oh, if only he can keep afloat until the boys
reach him! Oh, if only they had an able boat!"
" As a boy, Harry was a star swimmer," he told him-
self in a stifled mumble. " But he can't swim much in
that rough water, hampered by his clothes and leathers
and that old sea slapping him in the mouth, and shutting
his breath off !"
But there was no " able boat." And even at this mo-
ment the two boys, in whom hope joined hands with hero-
ism, now that they had seen the aviator's head, and ap-
pealing hands, were severing the mooring-line that
secured the aged dory, with two quick slashes of Blair's
pocketknife, and shoving her off into the surf, breaking
wildly in the little cove.
" Oh ! she's such an old tub; we can't make her fly fast.
One might as well put to sea in a shoe-box!" groaned
" All the same, we've got to make her go ; we've got
to save him !" Blair's words were drowned in the spray
slapping him in the face as, splashing through the foamy
surf, he took his place in the boat, and started to row,
with all the developed strength and skill which recent
practice had given to his arms.
Quintin's rowing equaled his swimming. It was not
the first time that he had put off through a rough sea,
to rescue a drowning man. But his previous experiences
had been in company with some mature life-saver and in
a boat whose strength and speed could be trusted.
It was a different matter to fight the towering swell of
the sullen sea in this old dory.
" We're — making her go just the — same !" he gasped,
panting with rowing, as if answering his own thoughts
aloud. " We — we'll be at him in ten minutes — if he can
only keep afloat ! Whoo ! there's a big one coming," with
a glance over his shoulder at a great white-headed wave,
rearing upward into a towering curl as it advanced upon
52 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
the struggling little boat, as if to trample and swallow her.
Both boys set their teeth, feeling through all their
straining bodies that it might prove too much for their old
But the " big one " broke before it reached them. The
boat was caught in its curl, lifted high, swept nearer to
the struggling aviator.
" He's on top — still. I can see — his — head," Blair
coughed out the words presently, with a glance over his
ruddy shoulder, drenched now with spray, as he bent to
the oar. " Here's another, the size of a house — pushing
its white comb along !" he panted in the next breath, as
again a white-crested comber swept towards them, as
if bent on annihilating the rescuing dory.
Captain Andy had clambered painfully to a tall rock,
whence he could watch for glimpses of Harry Desper's
head and for those appealing arms, thrown aloft for a
second amid the tumble of sea — Captain Andy held his
" They're brave boys," he gasped. " If only they had a
better boat ! Oh ! if she should wash to pieces under
them?" with his eyes on the buffeted dory.
But the once sturdy little rowboat seemed like a human
creature, realizing that she had done fine service in her
day, had saved other drowning people, and that the last
feat which mankind asked of her was that she should res-
cue this youthful aviator, who had fished from her many
a morning before he dreamed of navigating an airship
and having his name known over the country.
She creaked in every plank, racked by the boys' furious
rowing, like a thing in pain. But she breasted that big
comber grandly. It tossed her high, lifted her bow out
of water, and tried to trip her; but Quintin was accus-
tomed to managing a rowboat in a rough sea, and Blair
had had practice lately : the dory held her own, and rode
triumphantly on the great wave's back !
BOTH BOYS SET THEIR TEETH,
FEELING THAT THE NEXT
WOULD PROVE TOO MUCH
FOR THE OLD DORY.
54 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
" I thought that comber would trip her ; I thought
'twould roll her over like a chip !" murmured Captain
Andy, feeling as if there were a heaving sea within him-
self. " But she's holding her own ; she's making good.
And Harry is on top still ! He's swimming towards her.
" That dory is certainly behaving herself. Those boys
are setting their teeth and driving her for all she's worth,"
he told himself, a minute later, with his eyes on Blair's
red sweater — still like a rosy spot of hope amid the foamy
tumble of sea.
The old man's gaze turned upward a moment; a prayer
quivered on his lips. Then' he shouted encouragement to
the rowers — advice which failed to reach them.
" Take it easy, boys ! Don't get excited ! Keep cool — ■
and you'll land him yet !" he cried in his gusty, far-carry-
ing voice, trained to travel distances at sea.
And then to the swimming aviator, having hard work to
keep his chin out of water amid those foamy water hills —
trammeled by the clothing he wore in the air — with that
old sea stealing up his nostrils and into his mouth, trying
to choke his breath off:
" Keep cool, Harry ! Hang on ! Keep up ! Those
boys'll get you ! They'll reach you in a minute with the
boat !" he shouted.
They did reach him — fighting inch by inch the ocean.
But now came the worst test for them, for the dory, and
for Captain Andy, straining his eyes to watch them, and
feeling his own inactivity as keenly as the boys had felt
theirs when the diver was " caught below."
" Can they land him? Can they get him aboard, with-
out capsizing her?" the old seaman asked himself, tortured
by anxiety. If only I were with them ! But Quin knows
how to rescue a drowning man ; he's helped me do it be-
fore. And Harry wouldn't lose his head !"
However, that flat-bottomed dory, despite its age, was
hard to capsize. One racking minute ! Captain Andrew
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 55
drew his breath like a stepladder, whose every rung was
a gasp of suspense. Then he broke into a cry:
" Bravo ! They've landed him, so far. They've got
him into the boat. Those boys are — crackajacks !" as
the brave old boat headed back toward shore, with a third
figure, that of Harry Desper, in her stern.
But the fight was not over.
There were other " big ones," great waves, to grapple
with. But, now, these, as they " shoved their white combs
along," swept the dory shoreward, too; for the incoming
tide was in her favor.
Once the giant push of the old sea was too great. She
disappeared altogether in the embrace of a wave — went
down into a foamy hollow ! The light which was flicker-
ing again in Captain Andy's eye was blown out, as by a
" She — she's gone ! The sea's got her !" he cried, tot-
tering where he stood.
But once more, the dory, dripping from stem to stern,
reappeared : that vivid blotch of color and spot of hope,
Blair's sweater, rose above the foam.
"She's on top still!" cried the old man. "If — if the
Lord hadn't been with them, she wouldn't have come up
again, that time !"
Sure in faith that " the Lord would be with them "
still, and bring those brave boys, with the aviator whom
they had rescued, safe to shore, Captain Andy dropped
from his rock, limped, with all the speed he could make,
to where the sea broke on the narrow beach, and plunged
knee-deep into the surf, standing by to grasp the dory's
bow directly it should come within reach.
The Air Race.
WHEN the boys, Blair and Quintin — followed by the
rescued aviator — leaped from the dory, and, splash-
ing through the surf breaking in the little cove,
waded ashore, they found, not Captain Andy only, but
a small crowd of men, women and boys, waiting to wel-
come them. For the aviator's flight and the accident to
the aeroplane had been witnessed from more distant spots
along the shore.
The news had spread. Two little steam launches came
panting up, ere the dory reached the beach, and among
the greeting throng was Captain Jim, the diver, whose
injured leg was so far recovered that he could now hobble
" So they got you, Harry, my boy !" said Captain Andy,
as the aviator, a strange spectacle in his dripping leathers,
leaned, exhausted, against a tall bowlder. " Those boys
landed you, all right ! I never saw lads of their age row
as they did. They made that old dory stretch herself."
He pointed exultingly to Blair and Quintin squatted on
the sands in two breathless heaps, with their aching arms
hugging their knees and feeling as if their hearts creaked,
like the dory's planks, from the strain they had endured.
" Yes, they got me; they saved my life," returned Harry
Desper gaspingly. " I — couldn't — have kept up until one
of the steam launches — reached me. I couldn't have kept
afloat— another minute. My machine dragged me under,"
thinking sadly of the submerged monoplane. " And I had
hard work — to disengage myself."
"Boys!" he added, after a minute or two, recovering
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 57
from the effects of that submerged struggle and his fight
with the sea. " Boys !" with a half-choked little laugh,
" / take it all back."
"Take what back?" Blair, purring like a grampus, lifted
one eye from his breathless study of the defeated sea.
" I take back the charge I brought against you — be-
cause of the diver's raft — that you couldn't ' keep your
heads ' and show presence of mind in an emergency !"
returned Harry Desper, his laugh coming freer. " If ever
I take any passengers aloft with me on my aeroplane, it
will be you two — one at a time, of course !"
" Your aeroplane — is gone." It was Quintin who spoke
breathlessly now. "How about that coming air-race?"
" Yes, isn't it too bad that I lost my machine, with the
race so near?" The aviator looked reproachfully at the
sea which had robbed him. " But this breeze is the worst
wind I ever flew in !" he added, apologizing for his acci-
dent, while the said breeze stirred the hair plastered to his
" What are you going to do about it ?" asked Captain
Jim, the " Etna's " master.
" Why, I think I'll send word at once to the aeronautic
factory for another monoplane of the same type, and enter
the race just the same," was Harry's reply.
A hearty cheer greeted this answer.
" Then I'll tell you what I'll do," Captain Jim turned to
the small throng about him. "I'll run the 'Etna' round
to Boston Harbor that day. As many of you as like can
come on her. And we'll watch the air-race from the
"Can we be of the party?" asked Blair.
"Well, I should think so," returned the "Etna's" cap-
tain with a broad smile. " Why, you boys will be the
topnotch, the guests of honor ! You saved the aviator's
" I couldn't have done that two months ago," mur-
58 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
mured Blair, speaking low and breathlessly, as if to him-
self. " I'd have wanted to — badly — but I couldn't have
" What did I tell you, lad ?" Captain Andy bent to the
boy's ear. " Didn't I say that a time would come when
you'd want to help somebody else more than you ever
wanted to help yourself, and that if you failed to make
the most of your powers, you wouldn't be 'in it ' when
that big minute came ? You'll find the same thing true as
regards your school work and growth in other ways.
" We'll all go on the ' Etna,' added the old sea-captain
in louder tones. " And I'll tell you what; we'll take along
my best binoculars ; I guess, with their help, we'll be
able to distinguish the number on the rudder of an aero-
plane — unless the bird-men are flying very high indeed —
and tell who's winning !"
" What, gran'father ! those splendid marine glasses
which were presented to you two years ago, for saving
the crew of that Canadian steamer, in your fishing ves-
sel?" cried Quintin in amazement. " He's so proud of
those ' presentation binoculars ' that he has kept them on
exhibition in his parlor and never used them !" whispered
the grandson in Blair's ear.
Captain Andy nodded his gray head.
I guess we have, at last, found a fitting occasion to
make use of those fine binoculars — by seeing the air-race
through them," answered the old sea-conqueror.
And so it happened that a week later the tugboat
" Etna," with a merry sight-seeing party aboard, steamed
round to the entrance of Boston Harbor, and hove to at a
little distance from Boston Light — the tall lighthouse
tower, whose red eye gleams at night, at the entrance to
that historic harbor.
" The air-men aren't due to round the Light before one
o'clock. It's only half-past twelve now; so we're in good
time to see them," said Captain Jim, descending from the
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA. 59
crystal-paneled pilot-house of his tugboat. " The aviator
who is leading on the first 'leg' of the race out to the
Light, will probably win — unless some accident happens
to his machine on the return flight to Boston."
" Oh ! I simply can't wait to see them and find out
whether Harry 'Desper is winning !" cried Blair, who,
with Quintin, was quite unable to keep still; both boys
feeling that if the leading flying-machine should be a
monoplane — and a great black 9, the number on the glit-
tering rudder — they, by their rescue of Harry Desper
from a watery grave, would have a share in the winning
of this world-stirring race.
" Here comes gran'father, with those grand binoculars !"
cried Quintin, as Captain Andy approached the group on
the main deck, a handsome leather case in his hand, from
which he drew a superb pair of marine glasses, the re-
ward of one of the many deeds of heroism during his sea-
" Well, I guess we can see the men-birds through them
all right !" laughed Blair admiringly.
It was nearly an hour later, punctuality not being a vir-
tue of the air-race as yet, that Captain Andrew, search-
ing the sky-line through those magnifying glasses, gave
a welcoming cry.
" Here they come ! Here's one of them ! It's a mono-
plane/' he announced in a breeze of excitement, sighting
on the horizon a seagull-like speck, which developed
rapidly into the beautiful aerial dragon fly — the type of
aeroplane which the boys had learned to know so well.
"Let us see! Let its sec!" they cried wildly.
Captain Andy handed the glasses to Blair, and Blair to
Quintin; each could view it plainly above a point of sea
many miles off, that air-conquering dragon leading the
" I'm sure it's Desper's monoplane ! I'm sure Harry
Desper is leading!" they shouted in a delirum of excite-
60 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
ment, as they returned the glasses to the old sea-captain
— feeling that he ought to make early use of his own gift
presented by a grateful Government by viewing the air-
race through them.
Other marine glasses there were, and magnifying glasses
of every description, rapidly passing from hand to hand
among the pleasure party on the " Etna's " main deck.
Captain Jim was studying the sky through his own par-
But the swiftly skimming monoplane could now be
plainly seen by the naked eye, sailing some fifteen hundred
feet above the sea.
"Doesn't it look proud, skimming along up there? It
seems to be telling the sea gulls that they're beaten at their
own game of flying," suggested Quintin, with a laugh.
" Proud " it did look ! Most wonderful ! Most beauti-
ful ! Man's bird-challenging triumph ! So the victorious
dragon fly, leading on the first " leg " of the race, circled
round the gray old lighthouse tower, but high above it —
high, high above the outdone seabirds wheeling about
that stone tower !
" Can you see the number — the number on the rudder,
Captain Andy?" cried Blair, his heart fluttering between
his parted lips.
Captain Andrew silently handed the glasses to him, as
if he felt that the boys who had rescued the aviator should
be the ones to proclaim his triumph, so far, to the excited
throng on that main deck; the weather-beaten tan of the
old man's face shone golden ; his eyes glistened.
And Blair, looking through those presentation glasses,
emitted a joy-whoop that rent the air.
" The number on the rudder is ' 9 ' !" he proclaimed to
the deck. " It's Desper's monoplane. Harry Despcr is
leading!" and he handed the powerful glasses to Quintin,
It seemed as if the very deck itself took part in the
cheering that followed; certainly it did through the
62 HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
stamping and shuffling of excited feet upon it. Applause
rainbowed the air that bore the winning aviator back to
Boston — and victory !
High and clear rose a chorus of cheers, as if to sup-
port him on his return flight; the boys who had saved
him, having the loudest and the final crow; while the
engineer of the tugboat, who had been watching, too,
made for his engine-room, and blew off three shrill blasts
of the " Etna's " steam whistle, then another whistling
triplet, and another; giving the winning man-bird "three
times three " with a vengeance, until it seemed as if the
" Etna " would really burst her steel throat !
Every other tugboat and steam launch in the harbor
took up the whistling, too, and a little later came another
sky-wonder, a beautiful biplane, looking more like a great
white bird as it circled above the gray tower than did
the dragon-fly monoplane.
But the climax of that glorious day came some hours
later when the tugboat " Etna " was lying by a Boston
wharf, and a taxicab whirled on to that wharf.
Harry Desper sprang out. " I managed to get away
from the judges and the crowd at the aviation field," he
said, jumping onto the " Etna's " deck. " I told them that
I wanted to meet some old friends and the boys who had
rescued me when I fell into the water.'' - r
As the admiring throng gathered round him, one old
gentleman of the party, moved by a sudden inspiration,
" I propose three cheers for the hero of the air — and
three more for the heroes of the sea !" he nodded toward
Captain Andy and Captain Jim.
Never were cheers given with a better will.
When the joyous tumult had subsided. Harry Desper
" I thank you, friends !" he said. " And, now, I want «L
to propose three cheers for the two boys who saved the
HEROES OF AIR AND SEA.
aviator's life. I think they proved themselves heroes of
the deep all right, when they faced the swell of that old
sea in a worn-out boat to rescue me. Perhaps they'll
be heroes of the air some day, when I take them aloft, as
Enthusiastically the applause broke forth again, while
the boys chimed in and cheered themselves, on the pros-
pect of that future air trip, to the amusement of every-
body else, until wharf and tugboat rang with the music of