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Title: Tom Swift and His Giant Telescope
Author: Appleton, Victor [pseud.]
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Tom Swift and His Giant Telescope" ***

[Transcriber's note: Extensive research did not uncover any evidence
that the copyright on this publication was renewed.]



His Giant Telescope


_Illustrations by_

Racine, Wisconsin

Copyright, 1939, by
Racine, Wisconsin

All Rights Reserved

Printed in U.S.A.


CHAPTER                                    PAGE

I    The New Project                          9

II   Suspicions                              42

III  An Accident                             90

IV   A Murderous Attempt                    124

V    In Peril                               168

VI   Tom Drugged!                           216

VII  Deep Sea Diving                        264

VIII Trapped By a Sea Monster               296

IX   A Robber                               346

X    Success!                               380

[Illustration: Tom Swift Appeared Calm]

TOM SWIFT and His Giant Telescope



Tom Swift appeared to be calm, although in reality he was about as
excited over his latest invention as he ever had been about anything in
his life.

"I'm sure it's going to work, Ned!" he said eagerly to his chum as they
neared Tom's private laboratory. "With my new device I hope to learn
more about the planets. I want to start soon--"

"Listen here!" broke in Ned Newton. "If you're thinking of going to Mars
or the moon, just count me out! I've gone with you to many strange
places and have never kicked. But this--"

"Hold on, young fellow!" interrupted the youthful inventor with an
amused chuckle. "I've nothing like that in mind YET! All I want to do
is show you my new 'space eye.'"

[Illustration: Ned Newton, Tom's Chum]

"Can't say as I like that word 'yet,'" Ned muttered darkly. "But I'll
take a look at your new jigger if you'll promise not to shoot me through
space in a rocket or cannon-ball!"

"Word of honor I won't," promised Tom, crossing his heart with mock
solemnity. "Well, here we are."

The two boys had reached the laboratory, a small building at the rear
of the spacious lawn surrounding Tom's father's home and close to the
extensive work of the Swift Manufacturing Company at Shopton.

[Illustration: Tom Crossed His Heart]

"I'll bet these shelves have more scientific apparatus on 'em than any
other shelves in the world," remarked Ned, as his chum opened the door.

Various cabinets containing hundreds of chemicals stood about. Against
one wall was a huge transformer, from which the youthful scientist,
Tom Swift, could draw almost any kind of electric current he might

[Illustration: They Entered the Laboratory]

"Here goes!" said the young inventor.

He rolled back a small rug in the middle of the floor to expose a
massive steel trap door. This he unlocked by twirling the dial of a
complicated mechanism. Some years before Tom had constructed beneath his
laboratory an impregnable chamber to safeguard his secret plans. He
called it his Chest of Secrets, and guarded it well.

[Illustration: Tom Rolled Back a Small Rug]

Even Ned Newton, Tom's closest friend and business associate, did not
know the entire contents of the massive vault. Only Tom and his father
were aware of all the inventions concealed there.

"Some of these inventions must not be known to the world in its present
state," the elder man had said.

One of them was the terrible electric death-ray, capable of destroying
anything in its path. Only if the United States should be invaded by
an enemy power, would this be revealed.

[Illustration: There Was a Death Ray]

"Here it is," said Tom, joining his chum after a few minutes spent in
the vault.

He was carrying a small wooden box which he placed on the desk and
opened. If Ned, as he leaned over eagerly, expected to see anything
astonishing he was disappointed. Resting on the velvet lining was simply
a round disk of a greenish substance perhaps six inches in diameter.
This was mounted in a gleaming metal ring from the edges of which there
projected five electric binding posts.

[Illustration: He Was Carrying a Wooden Box]

"Funny kind of an eye," observed Ned. "You can't even see through it."

"You'll soon see through it, all right," retorted Tom, laying the disk
on his desk and connecting four dry cells to the binding posts. He
placed a small rheostat in the circuit so that the strength of the
current might be regulated.

[Illustration: The Disk Was Mounted in a Metal Ring]

Slowly he moved the little handle over the graduated dial. A minute
passed during which, so far as Ned could see, nothing happened. Without
warning the green crystal suddenly glowed brightly for a fraction of a
second, then could not be seen at all. The polished ring of metal in
which it had been mounted alone remained.

"It's gone!" cried Ned in bewilderment. "I can see your desk top right
through where it was!"

"No," smiled the inventor, "it's still there as you'll find if you try
to poke your finger through the metal ring."

[Illustration: "It's Gone!" Cried Ned]

A trifle gingerly his chum extended his hand toward the circle of metal.
Though Tom had assured him that the little disk was still in place, Ned
was unable to repress a start when his finger touched a cool, polished
surface which his eyes told him could not be there.

"Say, that's wonderful!" he exclaimed, staring at the invisible
substance with awe. "That stuff must be a hundred times more transparent
than the finest plate glass!"

[Illustration: His Finger Touched the Cool Surface]

"Yes, and more," said Tom. "But that's not the most wonderful feature of
the new substance."

"What, then?"

"Well, it's difficult to explain. Even now I know very little about it.
I can tell you WHAT it can do, but the WHY is still as much of a mystery
as ever. Briefly, this new element, or maybe it's a compound, I'm not
sure which, reacts in a very strange manner to light. Let me show you.
That'll beat any long-winded theory I could spout."

[Illustration: "That's Wonderful!" He Exclaimed]

Going to the door, Tom called in his giant servant Koku, who once had
been a prince in his own far-off savage land, before Tom Swift had
brought him to Shopton.

"What want, Master?" came a deep-toned reply, as the huge dark-skinned
man, who stood a trifle over eight feet in height, entered.

"Just carry outside that telescope there in the corner," requested
Tom, pointing to the instrument. "Better be careful; it's a bit heavy."

[Illustration: Tom's Giant Servant Koku]

"Not heavy for Koku," boomed the giant. "Liftum in one hand!"

Though it was not a large instrument as telescopes go, this one, with
the massive iron pier upon which it was mounted, weighed not far from
four hundred pounds. When Koku clamped his mighty hand about the stand
he seemed to lift it as easily as a boy might raise a baseball bat or
a golf club.

[Illustration: Koku Lifted It Easily]

"I'll never get used to his strength," murmured Ned as the boys followed
the giant through the laboratory door, Tom carrying his marvelous green

"He is a big boy, for fair," laughed Tom. "Lucky for our prize-fighters
he hasn't gone into the ring."

After carefully placing the telescope where the inventor directed, Koku
returned to the bench under a near-by apple tree where it was his wont
to rest when he was not needed.

[Illustration: Tom Carried the Green Disk]

"Now what, Tom?" questioned Ned. "Surely you're not expecting to see
stars in broad daylight?"

"Oh, no, though it could be done," returned Tom, pointing the instrument
toward the crest of a wooded hill several miles distant from Shopton.
"Now we're ready. Take a peek."

"Well," said Ned, peering into the eyepiece, "all I see are a few

[Illustration: "Take a Peek," Invited Tom]

"Just stand by," directed his friend, clamping his green disk over the
front lens, or objective, of the telescope and turning on the current.
As before, the green stuff seemed to vanish. "Now, look again," he said.

No sooner had Ned put his eye to the instrument than he gave a start.
"It's magic!" he exclaimed. "Why, that hill seems as if it were right
here and the view is much brighter. I can see every leaf on the trees
and--yes! even a bird's nest and the little birds in it!"

[Illustration: "It's Magic!" He Exclaimed]

"Now maybe you have an idea as to how I propose to discover the secret
of life on the planets," responded Tom calmly.

"The secret? What do you mean? Surely you don't expect to see men on

"I mean to build a telescope with a space eye big enough and powerful
enough to do it!" The young inventor's face lit up with a strange light.
"It's the greatest thing yet, Ned!"

[Illustration: "What Do You Mean?" Asked Ned]



"Yes," said Ned dubiously, "if you can do it. Oh, I'll admit that your
invention improves a telescope marvelously. But to see life on another
world, millions of miles away--well, that sounds like a pretty tall
order even for you, Tom Swift!"

[Illustration: "That Sounds Like a Tall Order!"]

"Let's go back in the lab and I'll tell you more about the project."

Tom directed Koku to carry the telescope inside. As the three walked
back, the giant suddenly gave a yell.

"Quick, Master!"

With that the servant let go the big instrument, placing it with a thud
none too gently on the hard ground. In a bound he was off. Tom and Ned
caught a glimpse of someone just disappearing around the edge of the
building. Had the stranger sneaked into the laboratory while Koku's
back was turned?

[Illustration: Koku Bounded Off]

"I hope the space eye isn't smashed!" exclaimed Tom, examining the
instrument. "Or the telescope lens."

Anxiously Ned waited as his chum detached the green disk and held it up.

"I--I guess it's O.K.," said Tom at length. "I'll test it in the lab and

[Illustration: "I Hope the Space Eye Isn't Smashed!"]

At this moment Koku reappeared, saying the intruder had vanished.
Moreover, he was very contrite about having handled the telescope
roughly. In a few seconds the fears of the three vanished. Put to the
electric test, the disk was found to be all right.

"Who do you suppose was sneaking around here?" asked Ned.

"No telling," replied Tom. "But nothing seems to be missing," he added,
glancing around.

[Illustration: "Nothing Seems to Be Missing."]

"I hope you're right," said Ned. "Now tell me more about this green
disk. How did you happen to discover the stuff?"

"As to just what it is," replied the other slowly, "I'm not sure yet.
When I analyzed it, I found a substance absolutely new to chemistry."

"Where did you get it?" asked Ned.

"I scraped it from that meteorite down in Koku's country in South

Ned whistled. "Ever since we found that thing which we called a planet
stone, you've been discovering all sorts of things about it."

[Illustration: "I Scraped It From a Meteorite."]

"Right now I hope to revolutionize the field of astronomy with it," said

"Tell me more about this wonderful green substance."

"It may be a new compound or it may be an unknown element. Anyway, in
experimenting with it I found that heat and electricity both change the
stuff. The former has an apparently permanent effect, while an electric
current, as you saw, alters it only temporarily."

[Illustration: "Heat and Electricity Change It."]

"Why didn't you make a big disk? Then you could have tested your theory
right away," stated Ned Newton.

"For two good reasons," replied Tom, opening a drawer and taking out a
small vial filled with yellow powder. "I wasn't sure it would improve a
telescope for one thing, and this is the other." He handed the bottle to
Ned. "This is all I have on hand of the new stuff."

[Illustration: "This Is All I Have."]

"'X,'" murmured Ned, reading the label. "But this powder isn't green.
And why the X?"

"When the stuff is melted and then cooled it changes color," explained
Tom. "As for the X, if you remember your algebra you know that letter
stands for the unknown quantity."

"Too bad you can't make a huge green disk."

[Illustration: "This Powder Isn't Green!"]

"Don't worry about that," smiled his friend. "I'll soon have plenty of
the powder. You haven't forgotten how the natives of Giant Land feared
the meteorite and insisted that we take it away. It seems, however, that
we got but a small piece of it. Evidently when it struck the ground the
thing split, the heavier portion burying itself deep in the earth while
the part we found remained near the surface."

[Illustration: "An Earthquake Caused the Upheaval."]

"About six weeks ago Koku got a letter from his brother, King Amo of
Giant Land, telling of an earthquake which caused the upheaval of the
huge stone. His people think we are great magicians or else witch
doctors, and Amo wrote begging us to take the meteorite from his land.
Of course, I was only too glad to oblige 'em."

"Then you plan going to South America--"

"Bless my passport, but I'm glad to hear that!" exclaimed a voice from
the open doorway. "It seems as if I'm just in time!"

"Mr. Damon!" cried both boys together.

[Illustration: "Mr. Damon!" Cried Both Boys]

A jolly-looking, rather portly gentleman entered, swinging his cane
excitedly. Tom and Ned gave him a warm welcome, for he was a friend of
long standing and had accompanied them on many an expedition to remote
quarters of the globe.

"Come in," invited Tom. "Sit down, Mr. Damon, and tell us the news."

"And what was it you were so tickled to hear just now?" added Ned.

[Illustration: "Come in and Tell us the News!"]

"I'll tell you," said the rather eccentric man, for once forgetting to
bless something. "I'm in trouble, boys, and I need your help."

"You know we'll do anything we can, Mr. Damon," Tom assured him. "Just
what is the difficulty?"

"My wife," said the caller glumly. "She's the trouble."

[Illustration: "I'm in Trouble, Boys."]

On hearing this both boys experienced no little difficulty in keeping
their faces straight. Although Mrs. Damon was a fine woman in many ways,
she was inclined to be very domineering where her husband was
concerned. Ever since Tom Swift had rescued the man from a band of
kidnapers, Mrs. Damon had had a great liking for the youthful scientist.
Yet she felt that her husband should remain quietly at home with her and
not go off on any wild trips, as the good lady called them.

"But I don't see--well, suppose you explain," suggested Tom.

[Illustration: "Bless My Headache Pills!"]

"My wife wants me to go on a week-end house party with her next Friday
and I detest 'em. Bless my headache pills, but it's enough to drive a
man distracted. Now, I heard you boys talking about South America as I
came in and I want to go along!"

"Well, Mr. Damon, if we were going South you know I'd be only too
pleased to have you a member of the party. But Ned and I were merely
talking about a shipment of freight I'm expecting from Giant Land."

"Koku's country?" asked Mr. Damon, somewhat astonished. "I thought
Ambolata was still unknown to commerce. Bless my bill-of-lading, if the
world isn't moving faster than I thought!"

[Illustration: Some Freight From Giant Land]

Tom smiled. "I had to arrange for an expedition through the consular
office at Buenos Aires to get what I want. It seems we didn't receive
all of that strange meteorite even with the help of your magic wig."

[Illustration: Tom Smiled and Explained]

Even Mr. Damon had to laugh when he recalled the ludicrous situation
in which he had been placed in the jungles of South America. Surrounded
by savages, he had absent-mindedly taken off his wig, thereby
frightening the simple natives half out of their wits. They had thought
he could scalp himself at will. Nevertheless, this action had saved the
lives of Tom Swift and his party, ultimately enabling them to escape
when the giants turned against them.

[Illustration: They Thought He Could Scalp Himself]

"Ah, those were the days, Tom," sighed the eccentric man, "those were
the days! Even if you're not going off to the wilds, maybe you might
give me some kind of a job here so that my wife can't drag me off to
that house party. I feel it in my very bones that old Hiram Leatherby
will be there and he ALWAYS singles me out to talk about his fossil

"I can sympathize with you," muttered Ned. "Mr. Leatherby used to be a
director in the bank where I worked before Tom made me his business
manager, and I've often thought he was a bit fossilized himself!"

[Illustration: "I'll See What Can Be Done."]

"Well, Mr. Damon, I'll see what can be done," promised Tom.

"Good!" came an enthusiastic exclamation. "Bless my cup of tea, I'm
counting on you!"

"In the meantime, why don't you go up to the house and have our
housekeeper, Mrs. Baggert, make you a cup of tea? Stop in the library
and see Dad. He's been working too hard lately on his electrical book
and he needs company."

[Illustration: "Stop in and See Dad."]

"I will, Tom. Your father is a mighty fine man. Oh, my goodness! Bless
my poor memory, Tom, but I had some news for you. Good or bad I don't
know, but I feel uneasy about it."

"Tell us what it is," suggested the young inventor.

[Illustration: "Two Men Called on Me."]

"It's a rather odd thing. You see, last evening I was reading my paper
on the porch when two men called on me. Said they were long-lost
relatives--cousins, or something of the sort--just back from a stay in
South Africa. They seemed nice enough fellows, but bless my family tree,
I had never heard of 'em! At any rate, they seemed to know a good deal
about the Damon family and so I asked them to dinner. What got me
thinking something might not be right was the way those chaps tried to
pump me about you, Tom."

"Pump you?" asked young Swift, a puzzled look on his face. "About what?"

"Glass," said the eccentric character promptly. "Some kind of glass.
Bless my windshield-wiper, what was it? Oh, yes! Flexible glass, that
was it."

[Illustration: "They Tried to Pump Me."]

Tom and Ned exchanged startled glances. For many months experiments
directed toward the production of a glass as bendable as rubber had been
going forward in the Swift plant. Every possible precaution had been
taken to cloak the work in deepest secrecy, yet somewhere evidently a
leak had developed among Tom's employees.

[Illustration: Tom and Ned Exchanged Glances]

"Are these men still at your home, Mr. Damon?" asked Ned, a worried look
on his face.

"No, they left after dinner. Mr. Brown said they had some important
business up state. Is this glass business some new invention, Tom?"

"I hope it will be. So far my experiments haven't turned out
successfully. But I can't understand how anyone outside our plant could
have known about them."

[Illustration: "They Left After Dinner."]

Mr. Damon could tell little more about his self-styled relatives.
After giving a description of the two men he took his leave. The boys
were rather worried about the information he had brought along.

"It's not so much the glass," said Tom, "for we don't know if it will be
a success. What bothers me is the idea of there being a traitor in the
shops. I thought we had weeded out all unscrupulous employees."

[Illustration: He Described the Two Men]

"The Apex Glass Works are located in Portville," said Ned, struck with
an idea, "fifty miles north of here. Mr. Damon's visitors claimed to
have business up state. To my mind that's more than a coincidence,
especially since the Apex people would give their back teeth to get hold
of your formula, Tom!"

[Illustration: "That's More Than Coincidence."]



"Oh, I think you're letting your imagination run away with you, Ned,"
grinned Tom. "I know Mr. Stern, the president of Apex, very well, and
I'm positive that he wouldn't stand for any underhanded tactics."

[Illustration: "I Know Mr. Stern," Grinned Tom]

"I hope you're right," said his business manager. "But you know better
than anyone else how unscrupulous gangs have tried to steal your
inventions. At first it was Happy Harry the tramp, and the last was
Doctor Bane. No telling how many thugs were after you and your father in
between. You'd be wise to get some extra guards."

"I think Koku is well able to handle any intruder," declared Tom
confidently. "Besides, I think you're getting excited over nothing. You
know Mr. Damon is inclined to make mountains out of molehills."

[Illustration: "Koku Is Able to Handle Anyone."]

"That's all very well," persisted his friend stubbornly, "but just
suppose Mr. Damon is right in his suspicions? It'd be too late then to
do anything about it."

"Don't worry, old man. My Chest of Secrets will hold its contents secure
against any burglar's attack. Now it's late. You'd better stay to
dinner. Afterward, if you care to and have no other date, we can talk
over some unfinished business."

[Illustration: The Chest Would Guard the Secrets]

"Thanks, Tom. I'll be glad to spend the evening with you."

Locking up the laboratory, the two boys walked leisurely through the
warm June twilight toward the big white house. Low in the sky hung the
silvery crescent of the new moon, while almost overhead Mars glowed

"There's our goal, Ned," murmured Tom, pointing to the red planet. "I
feel sure that our meteorite came from that far-off world!"

[Illustration: "There's Our Goal, Ned."]

"Granting that it did come from another planet," objected Ned, "I don't
get the reason why you're so sure it came from Mars. There are nine
planets circling the sun, including the earth. Ruling out the sun, it
seems to me that there is but one chance in eight that you are right."

[Illustration: "Nine Planets Circle the Sun."]

"If it were simply a matter of chance, there'd be a lot of weight behind
your argument, Ned. But a lot of other factors enter the problem. I
should say that the only planets where life as we know it might exist
are Mars and Venus. The latter I ruled out, for astronomers have found
that it is forever covered thickly with dense clouds. Thus the
inhabitants, if any, must be ignorant of any world but their own."

"What have people on the planets got to do with the question, anyhow?"
asked Ned. "Huge chunks of metal break off of any heavenly body and go
hurtling through space. The inhabitants don't throw them off!"

[Illustration: Chunks of Metal Rushing Through Space]

"But our meteor was no ordinary one as we have proved already," replied
Tom. "I firmly believe that someone on another planet deliberately fired
that missile into space, hoping it would reach this world. Since
scientists agree that Mars probably is inhabited by a highly intelligent
race, that planet is a reasonable guess."

"Whew!" whistled Ned. "Such ideas are beyond me."

[Illustration: "Someone on Another Planet Fired the Missile."]

As he finished speaking, the boys reached the Swift residence. The
young inventor's father had built the handsome white house many years
before his son was born. Beyond were the several buildings where the
inventions of Tom Swift and his father, Barton Swift, were manufactured.

Of recent years the latter had not been active, but had put the affairs
in the hands of his capable son Tom, ably assisted by Ned Newton. The
older man now spent most of his time writing scientific books and

[Illustration: The Boys Reached the Swift Residence]

The boys washed as quickly as possible so as not to delay dinner, for
both possessed healthy appetites. Joining Mr. Swift in the library, they
found him and Mr. Damon deep in a game of chess.

"Check!" cried Tom's father triumphantly, moving his king. "Got you
again, Damon!"

"Bless my pawns and castles!" exclaimed the eccentric gentleman. "You've
won three straight games!"

[Illustration: Mr. Swift, Tom's Father]

"Hello, Dad!" said Tom suddenly. "I see you're up to your old tricks!"
In spite of his bantering tone the young inventor was pleased that his
father was relaxing in a friendly game.

"Your father shouldn't be in the amateur class any more, Tom!" Mr. Damon
grumbled playfully. "Bless my trophy cup, but I'm afraid to play with

"Better luck next time," consoled Mr. Swift, a twinkle in his eye.

Mr. Damon left, refusing an invitation to dinner and saying that he
had to take his car to a garage for a minor repair job before starting
for his home in Waterford, a near-by town.

[Illustration: "Hello, Dad," Said Tom]

"How goes it with you, son?" asked Mr. Swift when Tom returned from
seeing his guest to the door. "Your new space eye, as you call it--is it
working out?"

"I think so, Dad, but wait until I get the big model built!"

[Illustration: Tom Saw Mr. Damon to the Door]

"Genmens, dinnah am serbed!" An old negro thrust his white-fringed
head through the library door. "An' it sho' am good!" Eradicate Sampson,
so-called for his work in younger days of eradicating dirt from the
homes of Shopton, had been attached to the Swift household for many
years and now regarded himself as one of the family.

As they sat at table the conversation of the three turned naturally to
Tom's latest invention. Mr. Swift had not heard yet all Tom's ideas of
the proposed telescope and was full of eager questions.

[Illustration: Eradicate Sampson]

"Just how long do you think it will take to make your big disk, son?"
asked Mr. Swift. "That is, if you find any more of the new material."

"The meteorite is already on board a north-bound freight steamer,"
answered Tom, "and ought to get here within the next ten days. It'll
require at least three weeks to extract all the X and cast it into
shape. Taking everything into consideration, I should say it will be
at least six weeks before we can test the device. The matter depends
entirely on finding a lot of X in the planet stone. But I'm sure I

[Illustration: "The Meteorite Is Northbound!"]

After dinner the boys went over to the main office of the Swift
Construction Company to clear up a number of routine business matters
which required Tom's personal attention. He had postponed them for a
while to give more time to his new experiments.

[Illustration: The Boys Went to the Main Office]

"Now, young fellow, I'm not letting you get away until you've looked
over these papers!" declared Ned, pretending to threaten his chum with a
yardstick. "I've been after you for a week about 'em!"

Tom dodged and pretended to be scared. "You're right, though," he

The two worked rapidly. Within an hour the seemingly endless stack of
documents had shrunk to a few letters and bills. Just as Ned was
reaching for one of them the telephone rang in the outer office.

[Illustration: The Two Worked Rapidly]

"I'll get it, Tom," his chum said.

"Sit still," replied the young inventor. "I'll switch it to my private

"Tom Swift speaking," he said into the mouthpiece a moment later. "Oh,
hello, Mrs. Damon. What's that? But I don't understand. No, there must
be some mistake!" A loud click sounded in the receiver and Tom jerked
the instrument from his ear.

"What's wrong?" asked Ned, noting his friend's serious face.

[Illustration: Tom Jerked the Instrument From His Ear]

"Mr. Damon's been hurt in an auto accident. For some reason his wife is
blaming it on me! Come, we must get to the hospital at once!"

[Illustration: "Mr. Damon's Been Hurt!"]



"You drive, Tom," said Ned, for they had come from the Swift home in his

"O.K., and hang onto your hat!"

Tom Swift had once driven a fast racing auto of his own design and Ned
knew his chum could get the most out of his roadster. In a few seconds
the little car reached the gate of the works, where the watchman halted

[Illustration: "Hang on to Your Hat."]

"Oh, an' 'tiz you agin, Misther Swift," said Malligan. "Sure, an' I
wouldn't have stopped yez but me orders is to inspect iveryone."

"You did right, Pat," commended Tom, shifting gears. "Good-night."

The Shopton Hospital was located a couple of miles from the Swift plant.
Under the young scientist's guidance the roadster reached its entrance
within a few minutes. At the information desk the boys were informed
where Mr. Damon had been taken.

[Illustration: They Reached the Hospital]

"Room 302, Mr. Swift. Doctor Chilton is with him now."

Just as the boys reached Room 302 the physician came out. Tom was glad
to note that the man was smiling.

"How is he, Doctor?"

[Illustration: "How Is He, Doctor?"]

"Hello, boys. Mr. Damon will be as good as new in a week or so. Barring
a sprained wrist his injuries are trifling--a few bruises and a slight
cut. From the way he's blessing everything in the place no one would
think he was hurt in the least!"

"I'm relieved," said Tom. "May we see him?"

"Go right in. He'll be glad to have some company. But don't stay too

"Bless my operating table, if it isn't Tom and Ned!" exclaimed Mr.
Damon, seeing his visitors enter. The eccentric gentleman was propped
up in bed by several pillows. His left arm was in a sling and around his
head was a big bandage. "You two got here almost as quickly as I did.
But I'm glad they didn't have to carry you in!"

[Illustration: Mr. Damon Was Propped up in Bed]

"Your wife phoned me the news," explained Tom. "We're mighty glad you
weren't injured badly. Tell us how it happened."

"It all occurred so suddenly that I hardly know myself. But I know one
thing!" Mr. Damon seemed very indignant. "The scoundrels deliberately
ran into my car!"

[Illustration: "The Scoundrels Ran into My Car!"]

"Did you get their license number?" inquired Ned Newton. "If you did,
I'll call the police!"

"No, I couldn't see it in the dark. But I know the villains well enough.
They were my two so-called relatives that I told you about--Jones and
Brown! It was spite work for my refusal to tell 'em about your glass!"

Tom now saw the reason why Mrs. Damon was blaming him for the accident.

[Illustration: "My Two So-Called Relatives."]

"We'll notify the authorities and also do a little detective work
ourselves," he said. "We must leave now because the doctor wants you to
get some rest."

"Come back again, boys. At any rate, I've escaped that house party!"

After reporting the accident at the local police station, Tom and Ned
visited all the garages and repair shops in the little town in an
attempt to learn if any damaged machine had been brought in. They met
with no success, however.

[Illustration: They Visited All the Garages]

"Guess their bus wasn't hurt much," commented Ned as they left the last
place. "We might as well give up for the night."

"The police will be on the job. Unless the two men hid the car somewhere
it's sure to be found. The teletype will flash the word all through the

The following morning the Police Chief telephoned Tom to tell him that
no trace of the mysterious Jones and Brown could be discovered, nor
had any witness to the accident been located.

[Illustration: The Police Chief Called Tom]

Later Ned went to the hospital where he found Mr. Damon much improved
and able to sit up in a wheel chair. After a visit with him he attended
to some business at the bank. On returning to the Swift plant, he found
Tom busy with his green disk, which once more was clamped to the little

"Mr. Damon is a lot better," Ned reported, watching his friend's work
curiously. "When I left him he was blessing his hat and coat, so I
suppose he's eager to get out of the hospital."

[Illustration: Mr. Damon Was Much Improved]

"That's great," said Tom. "I knew he was getting along all right. I was
too busy to go with you so I called Doctor Chilton. He told me that the
X-ray showed no broken bones, but our friend must remain under
observation for a few days more."

"You've changed the wiring on the disk, haven't you?" asked Ned, who
knew a little about electricity.

[Illustration: "I Want to Try Alternating Current."]

"I want to try alternating current instead of direct and see if doing so
won't improve it. Dad suggested that. What is it, Koku?"

"Boy bringum letter for Master. Say must put name on book." The man held
out an envelope and pad.

"It's a radiogram. Sign for me, Ned, will you?"

Tom ripped open the envelope and glanced over the message.

"Bad news?" asked his chum, seeing a changed expression on the
inventor's face.

[Illustration: Tom Ripped Open the Envelope]

"I should say so. Here, read it yourself. We might just as well forget
the whole telescope idea, that's how bad it is!"

Ned took the sheet, which Tom had crumpled, spread it out on the desk,
and read as follows:

   "Regret inform you was compelled to jettison your cargo last night in
   bad storm to save ship. Approximate location four miles due east Port
   Baracoa, Cuba. Salvage boat take position at apex isosceles triangle
   27.6 degrees with lighthouse and summit hill a mile to the south."

   "(Signed) A. Mawson,
   Captain S.S. Perry."

[Illustration: "Was Compelled to Jettison Your Cargo."]

"Say, Tom, that IS tough, having your meteorite thrown overboard!"
exclaimed Ned, rereading the message. "All your work wasted and your
marvelous invention junked--"

"Not yet!" broke in the young scientist grimly as he grabbed the
telephone from his desk. "Hello, operator, get me long distance,

[Illustration: Tom Grabbed the Telephone]

"What are you going to do?" asked Ned excitedly.

"Get divers," replied Tom as he waited. "I'm going to recover that
meteorite or know the reason--Oh, hello! Yes. I want the main office of
the Neptune Salvage Company in New York City. No, I haven't the address.
Yes, I'll hold the line.

"These people are experts," he told his chum while waiting for his
call to be put through. "If the stone isn't in too deep water they'll be
able to raise it if anyone can."

[Illustration: "I'm Going to Recover the Meteorite."]

"But how can they ever find it? Seems to me it'll be like hunting for
the proverbial needle in a haystack, only more so!"

"Not quite that bad. Captain Mawson gives what seem to be pretty
complete directions. You might try getting any further data the man may

[Illustration: "Captain Mawson Gave Directions."]

Unfortunately for Tom, as he learned in the next two hours, the
Neptune Company and other salvage concerns he called were very busy and
could not spare a barge of the required size. Moreover, Ned could get no
more information, when he finally contacted the freighter, than her
commander had given already.

"Why doan yo' tak' yo' submarine boat down dere, Massa Tom?" asked
Eradicate as he served luncheon to the young inventor, his father and
Ned. "Ah 'members we once got some treasure off'n de bottom ob de sea
dat way."

[Illustration: Eradicate Served Luncheon]

"I did think of that, Rad," answered Tom a bit wearily, "but my ship
isn't big enough to raise such a great weight."

"And so, son," said the elder Swift, "if you can't get the use of a
large salvage craft you will have to give up your project; is that

"That's right, Dad, and I surely hate to think of it. But I'm not going
to give up, even if I have to bring men and equipment from the Pacific

[Illustration: "I'm Not Going to Give Up!"]

"That'd be mighty expensive," objected Ned. In his capacity as the
Swifts' business manager, he had earned the nickname "watchdog of the
treasury." "Why not wait until some local firm can take the job?"

"Too risky. You see, ocean currents or some submarine upheaval might
shift the big stone so great a distance that we could never find it.
Don't forget that to the best of our knowledge the meteorite is the only
source of X on earth."

[Illustration: "Ocean Currents Might Shift the Stone."]

"Hmm," frowned Mr. Swift. "I used to know an old fellow very well who
was in the diving business. Met him when we built the submarine
'Advance'--you boys remember her--but I can't seem to recall his name.
Let me see--Ha! I have it! Britten! That's it, John Britten, the best
salvage man on the coast!"

"Maybe he's busy too," said Ned, "as all the others seem to be."

[Illustration: "Maybe He's Busy, Too."]

"I think not," replied the elderly scientist, "because he's retired.
Yet I believe he'll undertake the job if I ask him as I once did him a
great favor. His salvaging outfit is in Florida, but he lives on
Delaware Bay. I'll phone him at once."

"That's great, Dad!" cried Tom, his face lighting up with renewed hope.
"Tell him I'll bring him here by plane tomorrow. We can talk things over
and start for Florida from here."

"He'll go," said Mr. Swift a few minutes later, turning away from the
telephone with a smile. "Said he'll be tickled to get back in

[Illustration: "He'll Go," Said Mr. Swift]

"Thanks a million, Dad! You've saved the day!"

The following morning the boys hurried out to the Swift private airport
to oversee the fueling of the huge plane Tom had decided to take. At
first he had thought of making the trip in his small two-seated racer,
since it was the fastest craft in the hangar. Realizing, however, that
Captain Britten might want to bring along considerable baggage, the
young inventor had told Ned he felt it best to go in his flying boat.

[Illustration: They Fueled the Huge Plane]

The "Winged Arrow," in which Tom once had made a memorable rescue flight
to Iceland, was equipped now with a retractable landing gear as well as
with pontoons, enabling the craft to descend on both land and water.
Suddenly Tom became very excited as he looked at the hydroplane.

"Look, Ned!" he cried. "Can you beat that!"

[Illustration: "Look, Ned," Tom Cried]



Upon inspection, it was found that three half-inch holes had been
drilled into each pontoon. It was evident that only an enemy of Tom or
of the Swift Company could have done such a thing.

"Ned, that proves it!" declared the young inventor gloomily.

[Illustration: Three Holes in Each Pontoon]

"Proves what?" Ned asked.

"Can't you see? It all ties in with Mr. Damon's so-called relatives, and
their knowledge of my formula for a bendable glass. Someone in our shops
is a traitor--or worse!"

"But what has a damaged hydroplane to do with that?" objected Ned.

"If we had landed on water with these damaged pontoons, we'd have
drowned most likely," replied Tom. "That would have suited the
villains who want my formula, and no one would have been the wiser as
to what caused the accident."

[Illustration: "We'd Have Been Drowned!"]

"Admitting you're right, the thing's a pretty serious mess," said Ned.
"But of course crooked people will go to long lengths for money, and if
your formula is a good one, it certainly will bring a lot of money to
someone or something."

"And that something is going to be the Swift Company!" declared Tom.

[Illustration: "It's a Pretty Serious Mess."]

"Since we can't take off in the hydroplane today," said Ned, "let's go
back to the office. I suppose it'll require some time to patch up those

Tom immediately sent for one of his skilled mechanics, a man whom he
knew to be trustworthy. He set the fellow to work welding patches over
the holes. After cautioning his employee to maintain strict silence, he
and Ned drove away.

[Illustration: He Welded Patches Over the Holes]

"Don't say anything to Dad about this," warned Tom as the two left the
field. "It would only worry him and could do no good. You and I must
work out this mess by ourselves."

After dinner that evening Tom went to his private laboratory to check
the thermostat controlling the temperature of the annealing oven in
which his batch of new glass was being slowly cooled. Then he spent some
time at his desk over certain intricate formulas. The room was in
semi-darkness, lighted only by a shaded reading lamp.

[Illustration: Tom Checked the Thermostat]

"Well, that's that," yawned the young inventor at length, locking up his
desk. "Guess I'd better put the valuable disk back in the vault before I
go home," he decided, switching on the ceiling lights and glancing
toward the corner where Koku had placed the telescope.

With a start he saw that his invention was gone!

[Illustration: His Invention Was Gone]

Quickly examining the instrument, he found that the green disk had been
jerked roughly from its clamps by someone who evidently had been in
too great a hurry to bother unscrewing the bolts which had held it in

"Ho!" suddenly boomed a deep voice. Tom became aware of a commotion
outside the laboratory. "You no get 'way fum me! How you like 'nother
knock on top head?"

"Don't hit me again!" whined someone. "I won't try to escape!"

Tom flung open the door and saw his giant servant dragging a man up
the steps. A feeling of tremendous relief swept over young Swift as he
discovered his precious green disk in Koku's left hand.

[Illustration: Koku Was Dragging a Man]

"Ha, Master Tom! Catchum bad mans tryin' to sneak through gate! See
green thing stick out of pocket and grabbum--bringum here. Want me
hittum again?"

"Please don't let him hurt me, Mr. Swift," snivelled the man. "He hit me
an awful blow back there."

[Illustration: "Want Me Hittum Again?"]

"You had it coming to you," retorted Tom sternly. "Besides, you're not
hurt very much. Koku, bring him in here. You certainly did a good piece
of work when you nabbed this fellow. Take him into the office and we'll
have a word or two with him before I call the police."

"I ain't talkin'," muttered the man, shifting uncomfortably and looking
rather uneasily at the giant. "You ain't got nothin' on me. I just found
that chunk of green glass in the field."

[Illustration: "You Ain't Got Nothin' on Me."]

"Don't lie to me, unless you want to be mussed up some more," said Tom
grimly, glancing at Koku. "I think I'll just take a look through your
pockets. Perhaps you found a few other little things when you broke in

Under the menacing eye of the giant, the man submitted sullenly to the
search. There was nothing in his clothes to identify him. Apparently he
had stolen nothing else from the laboratory. He refused to answer any
questions, however. Tom gave up and summoned the police by telephone.

[Illustration: Tom Searched the Man]

"O Master, here other thing in man's pocket!" exclaimed Koku, after the
thief had been carted away to jail. "It stuck to round green thing when
I yank away from um." He handed Tom a bit of pasteboard from which the
lower third had been torn.

"It's a business card of the Apex Glass Works with the representative's
name ripped off!" exclaimed young Swift aloud. Then to himself he added,
"I wonder? Maybe Ned was right after all and they ARE after my formula
for bendable glass!"

[Illustration: A Business Card]

Tom immediately called the home of Mr. Stern, head of the glass works,
to whom he related the occurrence. The executive was shocked and very
indignant at the thought of there being a criminal among his employees
and promised to investigate thoroughly.

"I hope you don't think I had anything to do with this, Mr. Swift!" the
man exclaimed.

[Illustration: The Executive Was Shocked]

"Not in the least, sir. But if you turn up any clues, I hope you'll let
me know."

"I most assuredly will. You may count on my help."

An early hour next day found Tom and Ned flying south over the sandy
coast of New Jersey. Every inch of the "Winged Arrow" had been
thoroughly inspected, but no other signs of damage had been discovered.
Even so, the young business manager sat a bit uneasily in his seat as he
peered out anxiously at the broad wings.

[Illustration: Tom and Ned Flew South]

"Afraid they'll drop off, old man?" grinned Tom. "Don't worry. We
X-rayed 'em and no struts have been filed nor any time-bombs planted!"

"Huh, I was just looking at the weather," grunted Ned indignantly. He
was secretly relieved, for he had been pondering how easily a charge of
dynamite could have been secreted aboard ship. "How soon do you think
we'll reach Delaware Bay?"

[Illustration: Ned Was Uneasy]

"Within the next twenty minutes," answered his chum, glancing at the
instrument board. "Mr. Britten is to meet us at a dock near Lewes."

Less than half an hour later the pontoons of the "Winged Arrow" were
plowing through the waters of Delaware Bay toward a near-by pier. A
wharf attendant caught the line Ned threw him and the ship was moored
securely to a stout post.

As Tom and his companion climbed up, a grizzled-looking old man hailed
them in a voice that seemed well able to travel from quarterdeck to
fo'c'sle even in the teeth of a hurricane.

[Illustration: The Plane Plowed Through the Waters]

"Ahoy there!" he bellowed, though scarcely twenty feet away. "Are you
young Swift and company?"

"Right you are. Captain Britten, I take it?"

Vastly flattered by the title, the red-faced old seaman warmly shook
hands with the boys. "Correct ye are, me lad. Your good father tells
me you need a bit o' salvagin' done an' I'm the man as'll do it proper!"

[Illustration: Captain Britten, the Grizzled Old Man]

"Good for you, Captain!" said Tom. "That's exactly what my father said.
And now, have you your equipment handy? If it's not too heavy we can
load it aboard the plane right away. Oh, and I want to introduce my good
friend here, Ned Newton."

[Illustration: "I Want to Introduce My Friend."]

"Glad to meet ye, shipmate! As for my salvagin' outfit, it's aboard
ship. We'll pick up my old barge, the 'Elizabeth B.,' but I calls her
the 'Betsy B.,' at Key West, where I keeps her anchored. She's in a
manner o' speakin' my winter home." Captain Britten picked up a huge,
battered old suitcase. "If your flyin' machine is ready, so am I!"

The old man was obviously a trifle eccentric, but both boys were warmly
attracted to him by his sincere and friendly manner. Besides, as Tom
noted, there was a certain air of competence about him, as if he was
well able to tackle and solve the hardest of problems in his line.

[Illustration: Captain Britten Carried His Suitcase]

"Let's go, then!" proposed Ned, motioning to the attendant to cast off
and handing him a coin at the same time.

Listening to a number of quaint seafaring expressions from old Captain
Britten, who was starting his first voyage into the upper air, Tom sent
the big craft roaring above the smooth water toward Shopton.

[Illustration: Tom Sent the Big Craft Roaring]

"How do you like flying, Captain Britten?" Ned asked. "Ever been up?"

"Well, I guess it's all right," rumbled the salvaging expert, looking
down at the sea dubiously. "But to tell you the truth, I'm more at home
ON the water than OVER it!"

In a short time the nose of the "Winged Arrow" turned inland as Tom set
his course direct for home. When they were nearing Shopton, the young
inventor, intending to come down on solid ground, grasped the device
which lowered the landing wheels. It seemed to work very stiffly, he
thought, so he leaned over farther to exert more force. Suddenly there
came a snapping noise.

[Illustration: The Plane Turned Inland]

"What's up, Tom?" called Ned, hearing the noise and seeing his chum
fumbling with the now useless mechanism.

"Landing gear out of commission. But there's no need to worry as we can
descend on Lake Carlopa easily with the pontoons."

[Illustration: "Landing Gear out of Commission."]

"By George!" exclaimed Ned Newton, banging his fist on the instrument
panel. "Ten to one this is the work of the same scoundrel who bored
holes in the floats. If I could get my hands on--"

"I hope you'll be in a condition to do so," cut in Tom in an oddly
strained voice. "Take a look at the fuel gauge."

"It--it says zero! But that's impossible. We saw the tanks filled last

[Illustration: "Look at the Fuel Gauge."]

"Sure, and when we took off this morning the gauge showed they were
still full. Someone tampered with the pointer of the instrument and all
but drained the gas containers when they wrecked the landing gear. Just
now you dislodged the jammed needle when you struck the instrument board
with your fist."

"Then we're in a pretty bad way, eh, Tom?" asked Captain Britten calmly.

[Illustration: "We're in a Pretty Bad Way?"]

"I'll say," replied young Swift grimly. "We can't hope to reach
Carlopa and there is nothing beneath us now but thick woodland. No
question about it. A crack-up is the next thing on the program!"

As he finished speaking, the starboard motor emitted a groaning cough
and stopped. The port engine might run for another five minutes or it
might give out within the next five seconds!

[Illustration: The Starboard Engine Stopped]



Tom had headed the ship up at a steep angle so as to get as much
altitude as possible before the other motor should stop. But he knew in
his heart that he could not hope to glide so heavy a plane as far as the

[Illustration: Tom Headed the Ship Up]

In some surprise Ned observed that Captain Britten was fumbling with
the straps about his big, old-fashioned valise. Young Newton wondered
what the elderly man was looking for so intensely.

"Ahoy there, Tom Swift!" boomed the old diver, straightening up with a
bottle in his hand. "I've got a drop o' gasoline here that may help ye!"

[Illustration: "I've Got a Drop of Gasoline."]

"What's that?" gasped the pilot. Turning, he saw the quart bottle.
Already the remaining engine was dying of thirst. "Quick, Ned!" he
ordered, snatching the container. "Take the controls and hold the ship

Five seconds later the inventor was creeping out along one wing toward
the intake valve of the port gas tank. Their hearts almost in their
mouths, his companions watched his hazardous progress. In spite of the
clutching hand of the wind and the quavering of the ship under Ned's
inexpert guidance, Tom managed to reach his goal.

[Illustration: He Crept Along One Wing]

Removing the cap with no little difficulty, he dumped the precious
drops of gasoline into the tank. In a few moments he got back to the
cabin. As he closed the door the laboring engine once more resumed its
full-throated roar.

"Lad, you've got what it takes!" rumbled Captain Britten, shaking Tom's
hand approvingly. "You're a mighty brave young fellow!"

"You mean YOU had what it takes," laughed the inventor, taking over the
controls preparatory to landing on Carlopa. "Without that extra bit of
gas we'd be piled up in a tree by now!"

[Illustration: He Emptied the Precious Drops]

The quart of fuel was just sufficient to carry the ship safely down to
the lake's surface at a point about three miles from the town.
Fortunately one of Tom's friends was sailing near-by in his cat-boat and
gladly offered to take the three over to the Swift dock, which jutted
out from the grounds behind Tom's home.

It was mid-afternoon before the "Winged Arrow" was towed across to the
dock and her tanks refilled with high-test gasoline. While this was
being done, Tom and Ned went to the home of Mr. Damon to ask if he would
like to accompany them to the West Indies.

[Illustration: Tom Saw a Friend]

The man was found to be sitting in an easy chair on his front porch,
where he spent much time, now that he was home from the hospital.

[Illustration: They Went to See Mr. Damon]

"Bless my parachute, I'd like nothing better than to make the trip!" he
said a trifle wistfully. "To tell you the truth, though," his voice
sank to a whisper, "between the doctors and Mrs. Damon I'll be lucky if
I'm allowed to walk around the block alone for some time to come!"

"Well, that's too bad, Mr. Damon. We were counting on you."

[Illustration: "We Were Counting on You."]

"Bless my fishing tackle, Tom, I'm sorry too. But tell me! How did
Captain Britten happen to be carrying a quart of gasoline in his
satchel?" asked the eccentric gentleman after he had been told of the
airplane's narrow escape.

"I thought it strange myself," said Tom, "but he claimed he always
carries some with him to remove grease spots from his clothes."

"Ha! He must be quite a character. I suppose aboard a salvage boat folks
get their clothes pretty dirty, at that."

After the boys returned home it was decided that they and Mr. Britten
would set out for Florida the next morning. In the meantime, the
elderly diver telegraphed his caretaker to get the "Betsy B." in order
and arrange to hire a tug-boat.

[Illustration: They Planned to Start the Next Day]

Late in the afternoon Tom called his chum on the phone. "Can you spare
me a few minutes?" he asked. "Think I'm going to have something
interesting to show you."

"Be right over," replied Ned. "Where are you?"

"In the lab."

A few minutes later young Newton had joined his friend. "What's up?"
he asked Tom as he entered.

[Illustration: "What's up?" Asked Ned]

Tom had discovered that his bendable glass mixture had cooled to a
critical temperature, making it necessary to remove it from the furnace
at once lest it be ruined. In a small secret chamber beneath his private
laboratory he had set up a sort of miniature glass works which would
have astonished any ordinary glass worker, for the young inventor had
devised an entirely new method of procedure. As to its outcome, well,
even to its inventor that feature remained in doubt.

[Illustration: A Miniature Glass Works]

"Do you think it'll work, Tom?" asked Ned Newton anxiously as he
followed the youthful scientist down the stairs. "Your experiments have
cost a mint of money already--"

"Don't croak," chuckled Tom. "I've a few pennies left, haven't I?"

"You won't have so very many after you finish with your new telescope
idea," declared Ned grimly. "And THAT certainly won't bring in any

[Illustration: Ned Followed Tom]

"Nor is it intended to," said Tom a bit sharply. "There is, you know,
such a thing as pursuing knowledge for its own sake."

"I'm sorry. You ought to know, though, that I'm thinking only of your
interests, not of mine," he said as they reached the room below.

"Forgive me, old man!" Tom clapped Ned warmly on the back. "Don't feel
for a minute that I don't appreciate everything you've done for me. To
tell you the truth, I'm as worried about this new glass as you are.
That's why I jumped on you. Let's forget it!"

[Illustration: "Forgive Me, Old Man!"]


The two were standing now before the cylindrical furnace containing the
mixture of silicates and other ingredients from which Tom Swift hoped
would emerge a glass as flexible as rubber and as strong as steel. The
thermometer on the front stood at twenty-one degrees Centigrade.

[Illustration: They Looked at the Thermometer]

"She's just right," muttered the inventor, consulting a complicated
chart hanging on the wall. "Now we'll see!"

The asbestos-coated door clanged open. Tom drew out a shallow tray, the
contents of which were buried in a black powder.

"Charcoal!" he explained, setting the pan on a table. "It prevents any
rapid temperature change. Even common glass must be cooled slowly or it
becomes as brittle as peanut candy."

[Illustration: Tom Drew out a Shallow Tray]

With the aid of a wooden rod Tom pulled out a glass bar about ten
inches long and an inch thick. After picking it up carefully he examined
it closely. In no way did the object appear different from ordinary

"Well, here goes!" said the inventor and forthwith bent the bar into the
shape of a horseshoe!

"Hurrah!" yelled Ned, clapping his friend on the back. "You've done it
again, Tom Swift!"

[Illustration: He Bent the Glass]

"Don't crow too soon. Perhaps it won't bend back again. If a rod of
copper is annealed in a certain way it can be bent ONCE like rubber but
then the crystal breaks up and it becomes as rigid as ever. Maybe this
glass will act the same way."

"Then try it! Don't keep me in suspense!"

Perhaps Tom had been tantalizing his business manager, or maybe he
really was doubtful about the flexibility of the bar. At any rate, when
he applied pressure he did not seem surprised when the glass became
straight again. Then he proceeded actually to tie a knot in it, so
bendable was the new substance!

[Illustration: The Glass Became Straight Again]

"This will revolutionize the glass industry!" declared Ned, noting that
even the blows of a heavy sledge-hammer failed even so much as to crack
the rod.

"It's not half as wonderful as that other kind of glass," said Tom,

"Your glass eye, d'you mean?" chuckled Ned in high good humor. In his
mind he could already see fat profits for the company.

[Illustration: A Heavy Hammer Did Not Crack It]

"I'll give you a pair of black eyes if you make another bad joke!"
laughed Tom, giving his chum a playful push. "But seriously, I'm mighty
well pleased with this stuff; it turned out better than I dared hope.
You know, I got the idea for bendable glass while I was trying to figure
out a way to make a huge telescope mirror. That was before we found the

"And I suppose you'll go back to the glass mirror if you can't find
the big stone so you can make the large green disk."

[Illustration: "I'm Well Pleased With This."]

"Yes, that's what I'll have to do if the salvage attempt fails. But I'm
sure we'll succeed."

Captain Britten had been given a room at the Swift home. When the boys
got there they found their guest and Tom's father deep in a game of

[Illustration: The Two Men Were Playing Chess]

"Well, son," laughed Mr. Swift, "I've met my match at last. John Britten
has beaten me three straight games! But don't tell Damon about it!"

"I won't, Dad," grinned Tom. "What do you think of this?" He handed his
father the bar of bendable glass.

"What do I think of it? Why, it looks like a glass rod, that's all I can

"Then watch!" Tom took the bar and deftly twisted it into the shape of a
fat pretzel.

"You've done it, son!" cried Mr. Swift. "And to think I told you such
a thing was impossible! Congratulations!"

[Illustration: "What Do You Think of This?"]

At dinner that evening the conversation turned mainly to the projected
flight to the West Indies. It was decided to start the next day at
sunrise, as Captain Britten had received word from Florida that his
barge had been made ready. A tug was getting up steam to haul it to the
Cuban coast.

[Illustration: "Congratulations!" Cried Mr. Swift]

"Mr. Damon can't go with us, Dad," said Tom. "His wife won't let him! By
the way," he added with a laugh, "she was looking up the names of all
his relatives--Mr. Damon said she was glad of the excuse to do so!--but
she could find none named Jones or Brown. So that definitely proves
those two fellows were fakes and that they merely pretended relationship
in order to pump him about my work."

After supper Ned went to his home to pack a suitcase, for he was to
spend the night at the Swifts' to be on hand for the early start that
was being planned. Tom spent the evening in his office studying the
latest available data on diving operations, and plotting the route over
which the party would travel to the coast of Cuba.

[Illustration: Ned Packed His Suitcase]

Immersed in his work, he at first paid but little attention to a
peculiar odor that gradually was pervading the atmosphere.

Suddenly he realized that something was wrong; a strange buzzing filled
his ears and the lights seemed to be growing dim. He started to get
up, but instead fell across his desk.

[Illustration: Something Was Wrong]

As Tom lay there motionless, a window opened noiselessly. Stealthily a
masked figure climbed in. After a hasty glance around the room, the
intruder hastened to the desk and leaned over the unconscious youth.

[Illustration: A Masked Figure Entered]



Swiftly the masked man took a bunch of keys from Tom's pocket. With a
directness that indicated familiarity with the place, he went straight
to the rug covering the entrance to the secret vault. Throwing this
aside, he unlocked the trap door and quietly raised it. The
combination lock, which gave warning if tampered with, had not been set
for the night.

[Illustration: He Unlocked the Trap Door]

Now the intruder very carefully draped the rug over the door in such a
way that it would spread itself as before when the trap should be closed
from below. Two minutes later Tom was alone in the office, which
appeared exactly as it had before he was rendered unconscious. Yet there
crouched in the vault a hidden spy whose purpose was as sinister as his

[Illustration: He Draped the Rug Over the Door]

"Mist' Swift, Massa Tom ain' come back fum de office yit," announced Rad
Sampson as he placed the elderly inventor's nightly glass of hot milk on
the library table. "I wuz jest up t' his room to ax him suffin' an' he
wuzn't dar."

"Well, I guess the boy is working a bit late tonight. But you sound a
trifle anxious, Eradicate. Do you think anything is wrong?"

"Uh--Oh, no suh. No suh," mumbled the old Negro. "I jest wondered ef
yo'd seen him. Good night, suh! Good night!"

[Illustration: "Massa Tom Ain' Back Fum de Office."]

"Good night, Rad."

"Mustn't worry ole Mist' Swift," the servant muttered to himself as he
shuffled back to the kitchen. "But Massa Tom tole me hisself he gwine t'
baid early 'cause he gotta git up befo' sunrise.

"Look hyah, Koku," he went on when he got to the kitchen. "Quit stuffin'
dat 'ar pie an' go out an' see ef Massa Tom all right. He ought t' have
bin in de house long sence. I'se skeered mebbe some villains mought've
cotched him!"

[Illustration: "See Ef Massa Tom All Right."]

"Whoo!" growled the giant, jumping up so quickly that his big,
specially-built chair crashed over. "Where um war-club? Me fixum!"

"Doan make sich a racket, yo' big lummox! Yo' want to skeer ol' Mist'
Swift? Heah, take mah rollin'-pin."

Clutching the rolling pin as a "war-club," Koku started through the
darkness toward Tom's private laboratory. Following him at a discreet
distance came old Rad Sampson, who had armed himself with a big
butcher knife.

[Illustration: Rad Followed]

"Dar's a light in de office, big boy," whispered the Negro. "Be keerful,

The giant merely grunted, crept up to the window and peered within. His
great height enabled him to do so easily. "Come," he said finally,
turning toward the door. "We go in."

"Whut de matter?" demanded Eradicate, struggling to keep up with his
companion. "Am suffin' wrong? Mah goodness!" he cried a moment later
in the office. "Po' Massa Tom done been killed! Look at him a-layin'

[Illustration: The Giant Peered in the Window]

"Him no dead!" rumbled Koku, leaning over his master. "Him heart still
beatum. Him need fresh air." Gently he picked Tom up and carried him

"I'll git a doctah!" exclaimed the old colored man. "Dey's a phone in

[Illustration: "Him No Dead!" Rumbled Koku]

Before the physician could be reached, the beneficial effects of the
cool night air had brought the young inventor back to consciousness. At
first he could not recall what had happened and was not a little
astonished to find himself lying on the grass.

"What in the world is the matter, Koku?" he demanded, pressing his hand
to his aching head. "What am I doing out here?"

"Master out, get knockum," said the giant. "We find you on desk. Rad
callum medicine man now."

[Illustration: "What Am I Doing Here?"]

"A doctor? No, I'm all right. Tell him to cancel the call." Tom
managed to struggle to his feet. "I remember now! Some kind of gas must
have been used on me. But I must see to the office. Maybe I've been

Leaning heavily on the giant's arm, Tom walked as fast as he could into
the laboratory. At first glance everything seemed to be in order, and to
his relief he found the vault was locked.

[Illustration: The Vault Was Locked]

The young inventor did not know that a key was missing from his ring,
nor, as he twirled the dial of the combination-lock, did he realize that
a slender lever had been severed from below, thus rendering useless the
intricate mechanism.

"Who done dis to you', Massa Tom?" asked Rad.

"Wish I knew. Anyhow, there's been no damage done except to me! My
head's splitting, so I must get to bed. Koku, stay on guard here from
now on until I return from Cuba. And get several of the men to relieve
you. Another thing: I don't want either of you to mention this affair to
anyone. Dad would hear about it and worry."

[Illustration: "Koku, Stay on Guard Here."]

"If I catchum fella I breakum in little bits!" cried Koku fiercely. He
shook the rolling-pin vigorously. "Better him stay 'way fum me!"

Tom awoke the next morning little the worse for his experience. Thanks
to a rugged constitution, he had been able to throw off the ill effects
of the poisonous fumes which had overcome him.

[Illustration: "Better Him Stay 'Way Fum Me!"]

"I can't make it out, Ned," he said as the boys stood watching the
mechanics warm up the engines of the big seaplane. "Nothing is missing.
Whoever did the job didn't even rob me, and I had a good deal of cash in
my wallet."

"Maybe nobody made an attempt on you or your property at all, Tom," Ned
remarked slowly.

"What d'you mean? I certainly was knocked out!"

"Oh, I know that. But couldn't some sort of gas have seeped into your
office from your adjoining laboratory? A bottle of acid might have
cracked, or--"

[Illustration: The Mechanics Warmed up the Engines]

"Nothing like that happened. I'm positive, because the same thought
struck me. I made a careful inspection this morning. Everything was in
perfect order."

"It certainly is strange," said Ned. "It looks as if some enemy is
camping on your trail, Tom!"

"He'll have a hard time picking up that same trail in a few minutes,"
chuckled the inventor. "Here come Captain Britten and Dad. I guess we
can take off soon."

[Illustration: "A Bottle of Acid Might Have Cracked."]

"So your sea-goin' air-yacht is ready to cast off, is she?" asked the
old diver. "Well, when ye haul in the gangplank, so to speak, I'll be

"Take care of yourself, son," said Barton Swift, shaking Tom's hand. "I
hope you will be successful in your attempt."

"Good-bye, Dad. And thanks."

"Doan git et up by no sharks or allygators!" cautioned Rad.

[Illustration: "Take Care of Yourself, Son."]

The mechanics had finished their work and were seen climbing down from
the fuselage. The passengers took their places in the roomy cabin while
Tom seated himself behind the controls.

After running a critical eye over the score of instruments he reached
for the throttle and clutched the wheel tighter. The intermittent
coughing of the powerful motors changed to a deafening roar, and the
huge ship lumbered off down the long field, gathering speed every

[Illustration: Tom Sat Behind the Controls]

"We're off!" cried Ned, waving at the already distant figures left

"And we'll bring home the meteorite!" muttered Tom to himself as the
"Winged Arrow" glided smoothly toward the clouds lining the southern
horizon. "For I'm going to make the most wonderful telescope the world
has ever known!"

[Illustration: "We're off!" Cried Ned]



"This is travelin' in style, all right," approvingly remarked Captain
Britten, looking about the comfortably appointed cabin and sniffing the
appetizing odor of lamb chops on the electric grill. When necessary, Ned
Newton could cook an impromptu meal. He really was rather proud of his

[Illustration: Ned Cooked Some Lamb Chops]

As the amateur chef placed the meal on a small, collapsible table, Tom
announced that they were now flying over the state of Georgia. "We
should reach Key West about three P.M.," he said.

The ship droned steadily onward. At two o'clock in the afternoon they
were passing near a large city. "Miami," declared Ned, who had been
poring over a chart. "Airplanes go to many parts of South America from

[Illustration: "Miami," Declared Ned]

Tom sent the "Winged Arrow" lower and lower. Finally he leveled off at
an altitude of about five hundred feet above the blue sea. Here the full
force of the fierce subtropical sun began to make itself felt.

The travelers, fresh from the comparatively cool northern summer, made
haste to open all the air vents in the plane. Then they changed into
white linen suits.

[Illustration: They Changed into Linen Suits]

"Whew!" exclaimed Tom, mopping his brow. "I've traveled in the jungles
of Africa but have never felt hotter!"

"Ah, it's the ship, my boy. You see, the dark metal hull fairly soaks up
the sun, an' that's why we're a bit uncomfortable," said Captain
Britten. "Once we land, you'll think the climate fine!"

Shortly afterward they flew over a grim-looking American battleship. It
greeted them with a hoarse blast of her whistle as the flying boat shot
by at the rate of two hundred miles an hour. On either side tiny
islands, or cays, appeared, then vanished as if by magic. Finally a blue
blur straight ahead began to loom even larger, and in a few minutes the
"Winged Arrow" landed in the harbor of Key West.

[Illustration: They Flew Over a Battleship]

"Half-past three," said Tom, glancing at the clock on the instrument
panel. "A slow passage."

"Fast as I'd want to make it," declared Captain Britten. "A steamer'd
have taken a good many hours where we needed only minutes. There's the
old 'Betsy B.' tied to her pier, so let's get over to her!"

[Illustration: In the Harbor at Key West]

The idling engines were speeded up and the flying boat moved slowly
across the harbor. A tug with smoke curling from her single thick funnel
lay near the broad-beamed barge.

[Illustration: A Tug Lay Near the Barge]

Over the stern of the latter several grinning Negroes leaned. Their
ancestors might have been stricken dumb at sight of the great sky craft
tying up to their ship, but these darkies were familiar with daily
passage of planes bound for South America and showed but little
astonishment. In a liquid Spanish-English patois they bade the whites
welcome. All of them were old retainers of Captain Britten.

As the elderly man had said, the old barge had served as winter quarters
for him during the past years. In consequence, he had had her little
cabins fitted up more luxuriously than is customary on such vessels.
Tom and Ned were given one far more comfortable than they had expected.

[Illustration: The Cabins Were Comfortable]

The rest of the afternoon was taken up with inspection of the ship, the
arrangements for the safe-keeping of the "Winged Arrow," and the laying
of plans. Immediately after the hydroplane had been moored to a small
pier owned by Captain Britten, the tug-boat chugged out into the Gulf of
Mexico at the rate of ten knots.

[Illustration: The Tug Chugged out into the Gulf]

"I'd say we should reach the spot some time tomorrow afternoon," said
Tom after studying the chart. "It's just under two hundred miles."

"And we'll get your meteorite for you!" predicted the old salvage man
confidently. "Lucky the captain of that freighter 'Perry' took a bearing
on the lighthouse at Port Baracoa; otherwise it would be like lookin'
for a boll weevil in a bale o' cotton!"

[Illustration: Tom Studied the Charts]

Ruiz, the coal-black cook, served a good supper at sundown. Shortly
afterward the boys went to their bunks, for both were tired after the
long flight. Then too, Tom was still feeling the effects of the gas
inhaled the previous night.

Next morning found the "Betsy B." wallowing through a smooth sea a few
miles off the east coast of Cuba. Under the supervision of Captain
Britten, several of the crew were busy oiling the huge winch,
overhauling steel cables, and seeing to a dozen other minor but
important details. Altogether, it was a busy scene that met the eyes
of Tom and Ned when they emerged on deck.

[Illustration: The Crew Was Busy]

"Your father was right, I think," said Ned. "You certainly have a
competent man. See how the crew jump at his word!"

"I agree," said Tom with satisfaction. "But me for breakfast! This sea
air surely gives a fellow a good appetite."

A head wind coupled with a rising sea combined to hold back the tug and
her rather clumsy tow as the day waned. Occasional heavy rain squalls
made the deck of the barge a rather uncomfortable place, so the boys
stayed in the main cabin and discussed plans.

[Illustration: Head Winds Held Back the Tug]

"I think the rainy season must be at its height," groaned Ned at last as
he and Tom sat sweltering. "Maybe we'll be cooped up here for the whole

[Illustration: Rain Kept the Boys in Their Cabins]

"Not me," declared the young inventor with a laugh. "Since when have you
grown afraid of a little rain? By afternoon we ought to be near the
spot where Captain Mawson jettisoned the meteorite and then we'll begin
to get busy, weather or no weather!"

"I hope the thing will be worth all our trouble," said Ned a bit
crossly. "Perhaps we won't even be able to find it. What then?"

"You're just suffering from a touch of 'mal de mer'!" teased Tom,
refusing to consider his chum's gloomy remarks.

"I'm not a bit seasick!" protested Ned indignantly. "I just think
we're on a wild goose chase, that's all!"

[Illustration: "I'm Not Seasick," Protested Ned]

"Wait and see."

Evening drew nigh, and the sudden tropical night fell. On the Cuban
coast lights went on, dominated by the intermittent glare of a powerful
beacon many miles ahead.

"Baracoa Light," announced Captain Britten, seeing this. "We will lay
off-shore till morning and begin our work tomorrow."

[Illustration: The Captain Pointed to the Beacon]

It spoke well for Tom Swift's nerves that he slept soundly, despite
his great interest in the morrow's activities. During the night the sea
abated and the rain ceased. Dawn broke with a brilliance to be seen only
in tropical lands.

In order to reach the spot in the sea beneath which the meteorite lay,
it was necessary to get the barge into a position corresponding to the
apex of an isosceles triangle in relation to the lighthouse tower and
the peak of a small hill near by.

[Illustration: Tom Made Some Observations]

Captain Britten and Tom, sextants in hand, made repeated observations.
Ned stood by the telephone connecting the tug and her tow, transmitting
to the former's captain the navigation directions. Finally the barge was
supposed to be exactly where the freighter had thrown overboard the big

"We may have to look around a little, though," remarked Tom as Captain
Britten ordered the tug halted and anchors lowered. "In the big storm
Captain Mawson might have made a mistake in his reckoning."

[Illustration: The Chart Showed the Depth of the Water]

The water was about three hundred feet deep here, the Hydrographic
Office charts showed. When Ned learned this, he looked serious.

"The record depth attained by a diver is only 204 feet!" he exclaimed.
"At least, that's what I read in an encyclopedia."

"Guess you're referring to James Hooper, who reached that depth off the
South American coast some years ago," smiled Tom Swift. "But since
then diving-dress has undergone considerable improvement, eh, Captain

[Illustration: A Boom Was Swung Overside]

"That's right. I have on board several of the newest type suits.
Besides, I use native divers, men who, even without protection, can
descend to almost unbelievable distances."

Quickly a boom was swung out overside. From it hung several pulleys to
which was attached a narrow steel platform. Presently three tall
Negroes carried out of the storeroom grotesque-looking diving suits
which weighed over two hundred and fifty pounds apiece.

[Illustration: He Shuffled Across the Deck]

Captain Britten spoke in Spanish to one of them, then the fellow began
putting on the weird uniform. It made him look like a visitor from
another world. The tremendous weight of his garb prevented him from
moving at more than a slow shuffle across the deck, strong though he

[Illustration: A Trail of Bubbles]

A section of the railing had been removed to allow access to the
dangling metal platform upon which the diver stepped. The boom swung out
and the drum of the winch began unrolling. In a few seconds only a trail
of vanishing bubbles marked the spot where the Negro had gone into the

"How long will it take him to reach bottom?" asked Ned, peering overside
in fascination.

"About forty minutes," replied Captain Britten. "A diver must be
lowered and raised gradually in order to avoid the terrible
after-effects of a sudden change in pressure. At three hundred feet the
pressure is more than eighteen thousand pounds per square foot!"

[Illustration: Tom Held His Watch to His Ear]

Time dragged on. Down, down rolled the heavy cable supporting the diver.
Finally Tom held his watch to his ear, as though he were afraid it might
have stopped.

"Oh, it's still running," laughed Ned a little nervously as he observed
his chum's action. "Only five more minutes, Tom!"

[Illustration: He Reported a Good Sandy Bottom]

At last a bell tinkled and Captain Britten grabbed up the telephone
instrument which connected barge and diver. For a few seconds he
listened, then replied briefly in Spanish.

"Alvarez is down," he said to Tom as he hung up the receiver. "He
reports a good, sandy bottom but no sight yet of the meteorite. At any
rate, there's no danger of it having sunk in an oozy bottom."

Ten minutes later the phone buzzed again, this time with a request
that the ship be moved a little east and that Manuel, Alvarez's mate, be
sent down to help. This was done, and another telephone instrument was
plugged in.

[Illustration: Manuel Was to Go Down]

Tom, who understood a little Spanish, stood by to hear the report of the
second diver. Both lines were now kept open continuously.

Finally Manuel reached bottom, saying that he had contacted Alvarez. For
some minutes nothing came through either telephone but the sound of
the submerged men's breathing.

[Illustration: Something Has Gone Wrong!]

"I see something, Señor! A rock--'que grande'!" came to Tom's ears
suddenly. "It must indeed be that which the Señor seeks. But, Santa
Maria! there is something else--!" Manuel's voice broke off suddenly.

"Captain Britten! Can you hear your man?" shouted Tom after his repeated
attempts to renew, the connection had failed.

"No! I can hear only a muffled groaning. Something has gone wrong.
That's sure!"

[Illustration: "Stop, Señor!" Screamed the Engineer]

"Pull 'em up quick, then!" advised Ned.

This seemed good advice, so the auxiliary engine was started and the
winches began turning slowly.

"Stop, Señor!" suddenly screamed the native engineer, waving his arms
excitedly and cutting off the steam. "The drums turn--si--but the cables
do not rise. Something has caught the men!"

[Illustration: Loose the Winches]



"Loose the winches a little!" ordered Captain Britten sharply. "The
air-hoses are strained almost to the breaking point."

"Si," mumbled the engineer, easing off the brake a trifle.

"What's the trouble, in your opinion, Captain?" asked Tom.

[Illustration: The Engineer Eased the Brake]

"Hard to say, young fellow," came the worried reply. "What I'm afraid of
is that a huge octopus or some such monster has attacked the poor
divers. Whatever it is, I fear it's the end for 'em, as there's not
another diver aboard and we can't haul the men up for fear of breakin'
their air-lines."

"Have you another diving suit?" asked Tom rapidly. "I've had
considerable experience in undersea work and can't let those boys drown
without trying to help 'em!"

[Illustration: "I'm Afraid It Is an Octopus!"]

"Can you do it, lad? Yes, I've a brand-new outfit aboard that's of the
latest type. But what'll I say to your father if anything happens to

"Dad wouldn't want me to stand back at a time like this," rejoined the
young inventor. "I sent these men down and it's up to me to see they get
back safely!"

"But, Tom!" cried Ned. "What of the octopus? You may be trapped too, and
not save Manuel and Alvarez either!"

[Illustration: "It's up to Me!"]

"You forget, or maybe you didn't know, that I brought my electric rifle
with me. That'll polish off any devil-fish I'm likely to meet!"

"Well, at least let me go too!"

"Isn't but one suit," said Captain Britten. "Now, Tom Swift, if you're
ready, here's the suit."

"All set," said the young inventor calmly. He began to remove his outer
clothing. "Ned, please bring up my rifle."

By the time the young scientist had been helped into the massively
armored suit, Ned was back on deck carrying a peculiar-looking gun.
Unlike other weapons, this one could discharge a bolt of electricity
which would slay the largest animal or merely tickle a baby, according
to the adjustment. Tom set it to its highest power.

[Illustration: They Helped Tom into the Suit]

"Good luck!" cried Ned as the heavy helmet was lowered into place.

Tom attempted to wave in reply but the gear was too weighty. Later, when
he got into the depths, the buoyant effect of the water would enable
him to move more freely.

[Illustration: Ned Carried a Peculiar Gun]

Clutching his gun in his armored hand, Tom crept slowly on to the
platform suspended over the sea. As it was lowered to the water he got a
last glimpse of Ned Newton's face staring down at him.

The young business manager paced the deck of the barge, at every step
reproaching himself for allowing his chum to undertake so hazardous a
venture. As his watch told him that Tom must be nearing the bottom he
seated himself by the switchboard, headphones clamped over his ears.

[Illustration: Tom Crept Slowly to the Platform]

"Ground floor," announced Tom at last. "Pretty dark down here. I'll
switch on my flash. Now--by George!"

Ned heard a muffled silence.

"Tom! Tom!" he shouted frantically. "What's happened? Are you all

For nearly ten minutes Ned crouched by the instrument trying to get in
touch with his friend. Just as he was giving up hope he heard a weak
voice gasp:

[Illustration: "Ground Floor," Announced Tom]

"Not so loud, old man! You've nearly broken my ear-drums. Everything's
under control!"

"Hurray!" shouted Ned. "He's found 'em, Captain Britten!"

"Easy!" protested Tom from the depths. "Don't shout like that so near
the phone! Yes, the men are O.K. A big fish had 'em--don't know what it
was, as I never heard of anything like it. But a couple of shots from
the rifle killed it."

[Illustration: "A Big Fish Had 'Em!"]

"Tell Captain Britten to send down some heavy chains. We've found the

The now jubilant crew, who had feared their companions lost, scurried
about. In a few minutes the stout chain was snaking its way down through
the blue-green ocean.

"Seems to me they're taking a mighty long time about it," said Ned to
Captain Britten after an hour had passed with no word from the three

[Illustration: A Chain Snaked Its Way Down]

"You're right," agreed the other. "Working at that depth it's decidedly
unsafe to stay below so long. I'll warn Tom."

"Can't be done!" was that young man's decisive answer to the old salvage
expert's warning. "This is a tougher job than I thought, for the bottom
of the stone seems to be sinking slowly. If we can't finish our job now
I'm afraid we'll lose our prize. But don't worry. We ought to be through
in another twenty minutes."

[Illustration: "This Is a Tough Job."]

The twenty minutes passed, and another like period was nearly run
through before Tom announced himself and the other two ready to come to
the surface.

To avoid the dreaded "bends," an affliction suffered by divers drawn to
the surface too rapidly, they made their ascent as slowly as their
descent. Thus it was that the great meteorite reached the top long
before Tom and the two natives did.

[Illustration: They Made Their Ascent Slowly]

"What in the name o' tarnation did he want with that?" demanded
Captain Britten as the giant stone was lowered cautiously to the deck.
Weighing many tons, it had tilted the barge far over to one side as the
powerful derrick drew it up. "It looks like some old rock a man might
pick up 'most any place."

"Oh, Tom Swift usually has a good reason for everything he does," smiled
Ned noncommittally. "I'm no scientist, but he is, so perhaps he wants to
experiment with this stone from another planet."

[Illustration: The Powerful Derrick Drew It Up]

At last the three divers reached the surface and were hauled rapidly
up to the deck of the barge. All of them appeared exhausted, but Tom's
eyes expressed the greatest satisfaction when he saw the meteorite
safely aboard.

At his request the tug was put under way and the "Betsy B." started back
to her home port in Key West. During the trip Tom managed to cut from
the meteorite a fifty-pound chunk.

[Illustration: Tom Cut off a Large Chunk]

"I'm very eager to see if this stone contains more X," he explained to
Ned, "so I'm planning to fly straight home with this sample to analyze
it. I want you to put the rest of the meteorite on a fast freight train
and travel north with it."

The sun was setting when the dock at Key West was reached. Tom waited no
longer than was necessary to take on a supply of gasoline for the
"Winged Arrow." He paid Captain Britten a generous fee and added a bonus
for the divers who had helped him. Then with a hasty good-bye the
excited young inventor roared off in the gathering darkness toward his
distant home.

[Illustration: He Paid Captain Britten]

After an uneventful flight he reached Shopton at about half-past one the
following morning. The wheels of the plane had barely stopped turning
when the tall figure of Koku came rushing out of the shadows of the
hangar to greet his master.

[Illustration: Koku Came Rushing Out]

"You're right on the job!" exclaimed Tom, climbing stiffly from the
cabin. "How is everything?"

"All thing good!" declared the giant, grinning to see the young inventor
back. "Catchum skystone?"

"We caught it, all right. You might tote this sample of it over to the
lab." Tom handed his servant the segment he had chiseled from the main

"Master knows 'bout secret cave under lab'tory?" questioned the giant as
the two walked across the field in the moonlight.

[Illustration: "Tote This Sample to the Lab."]

"Cave? Oh, you mean the vault?" asked Tom, who had been thinking of
other matters.

"Night you go 'way in sky-bird, Koku watch. Koku hear bell go

Suddenly Tom was paying strict attention.

"Great Scott! D'you mean to say someone broke into my Chest of Secrets?
Tell me about it quickly!"

[Illustration: Tom Paid Strict Attention]



"Me tell!" said Koku. "Hear bell, know bad mans hide in cave. I creep up
an' watch!" His dramatic pause might have seemed funny at any other time
but Tom was badly worried.

[Illustration: Tom Swift Was Worried]

"Hurry up!" commanded the young inventor sharply, grabbing the giant's
arm. "What happened?"

"Nothing happen US," answered Koku. "Plenty happen HIM! I catchum fella,
crawl up fum cave, knockum out, callum policemans."

"Good boy! You rate a new suit for that. You can tell the tailor to make
it as loud as you like!"

Nothing could have pleased the simple giant more, for he loved to dress
up in gaudy clothes, a trait left over from his savage life before the
young inventor had brought him to America.

[Illustration: "I Catchum Fella!"]

Too excited to sleep, Tom Swift went straight to his office and called
the police station. The desk sergeant verified what Koku had said and
asked the young scientist to come down and prefer charges.

As he was about to leave he saw on top of his accumulated mail a letter
from the Apex Glass Works. It was from Mr. Stern. The man advised Tom
that he suspected two discharged workmen as the pair who had attempted
to rob him. Photographs were enclosed.

[Illustration: Photographs Were Enclosed]

"That he, Master!" suddenly boomed Koku, who had been gazing at the
photos. "That man steal green glass thing I ketch back!"

"By Jove, I believe you're right!" declared Tom. "This picture most
certainly resembles the fellow you dragged in here. Come on, you and I
will go over to the jail and check up."

Late as the hour was, the two took out a car and hastened over to the
county prison. No sooner had the sleepy officer on duty conducted them
back to the prisoner's cell than Tom immediately recognized the man as
the one Koku had captured with the green disk.

[Illustration: They Drove to the County Prison]

Eager to get off as lightly as possible, the fellow, who had been a
confidential clerk in the main offices of the glass works, made a full

"It was Hammer who got me into this, Mr. Swift," whined Anton. "He
overheard Mr. Stern talking about your experiments with bendable
glass. He said you'd surely succeed and that the invention would be
worth a fortune. So we decided to steal your formula. I've got a sick
wife, Mr. Swift--"

[Illustration: Hammer Overheard Mr. Stern]

"A pack of lies!" roughly interrupted the policeman. "He's a single man,
Mr. Swift, and has a police record to boot!"

"Well, hold him. And I hope you will catch his confederate."

"Don't worry. The boys'll bring him in!"

[Illustration: "He Has a Police Record."]

Although the hour was late, Tom decided to return to the laboratory
and inspect the vault. There had been a certain sly expression in
Anton's eyes which had vaguely disturbed the inventor. It was as if the
man were holding something back and grinning over it.

In a few minutes Tom's feeling was proven correct, for the formula
dealing with the flexible glass was gone! Koku, when questioned,
admitted that he had seen some papers drop from Anton's pocket when he
had seized him just outside the laboratory, but the simple giant had
paid no attention to them. There followed a frantic search with a
flashlight by Tom but there was no trace of the missing documents.

[Illustration: The Formula Was Gone]

"They couldn't have blown away!" he declared. "They were clipped
together by a special heavy binder. Somebody must have picked them up!"

[Illustration: He Made a Frantic Search]

When Tom visited Anton in jail the next day, the fellow denied loudly
that he had taken anything. The police promised to redouble their
efforts to capture Hammer. With that assurance the inventor was forced
to content himself.

The next few days Tom was so busy that he gave only an occasional
thought to his loss. Analysis of the sample cut from the meteorite
showed that it was even richer than he had hoped in the new substance,
X. Immediately he telegraphed a large science supply house for huge
flasks, beakers, retorts and other paraphernalia necessary to extract
and refine the material.

[Illustration: The Sample Was Rich in X]

This done, he arranged for the loan of a large refracting telescope from
a near-by observatory to be used in conjunction with the big green disk
he proposed to make. Professor Standish of the college was so interested
in the project that Tom invited him to the forthcoming test.

Work was begun on an improvised observatory to be erected on a mountain
in the Adirondacks. This would place the telescope above most of the
blurring effects of the dense, lower atmosphere, filled as it is with
smoke and dust.

[Illustration: Work Was Begun on the Observatory]

Ned Newton wired that the meteorite had been safely placed on a fast
freight train. He added that he was traveling in the caboose of the same
train by special arrangement with the road officials. Tom met his chum
at the station.

"How do you like riding in style?" he teased.

[Illustration: Ned Traveled in the Caboose]

"Humph!" grunted Ned. "I'll take a plane next time."

A huge truck transported the planet stone to the shops of the Swift
Construction Company. One of the buildings had been cleared of all other
work, and in it a very large furnace had been erected to cast the green
disk. Powerful mechanisms crushed the meteorite to a fine powder which
was dissolved by strong acids, then separated into its various

[Illustration: The Meteorite Was Crushed]

"The furnace will have to be enlarged!" declared Tom. "I had planned
to make a disk twenty feet long but there is so much X that we can
easily make it thirty-five feet. There'll still be several hundred
pounds left."

"Why not use it all and make the biggest 'scope you can?" suggested Ned

"I believe this will be large enough. Besides, I have an idea that the X
has other and even more remarkable powers. I don't want to use it all up
in this device."

[Illustration: "We Can Make a Larger Disk!"]

A gang of men had been employed to clear a trail up the side of the
mountain in the Adirondacks and construct a road to the summit as none
ever had been made to the spot Tom intended to use. A specially large
motor truck was built to carry first the telescope, then the giant green

It may well be supposed that all these preparations ran into money. Many
a groan did Ned give when he studied the mounting cost sheets. Tom,
however, was deaf to all his chum's protestations.

[Illustration: A Special Truck Was Built]

"I had hoped your new bendable glass would more than repay the cost of
your telescope," grumbled Ned. "That's gone, and it looks to me as
though everything else'll go too. The Swift Construction Company will
soon be bankrupt, Tom Swift, if you don't slow down!"

"What do you mean, my flexible glass is gone? Why, I've had an
application on file in the Patent Office for several months."

"Well, for Pete's sake, why didn't you tell me? Here I've been
worrying my head off for nothing!"

[Illustration: "You'll Be Bankrupt!" Warned Ned]

"Sorry, old man. But you know I've had a lot on my mind. However, we
must get back the papers, for the thief can make things pretty
uncomfortable if he chooses to."

As Tom had found out, X would be useful only in an absolutely pure
state. To refine it to the proper degree was a painfully slow process,
taking in this case a full six weeks. While his chemists labored away
under the young inventor's supervision, everything else had been made
ready. At last the new element was prepared. The tons of yellow powder
were dumped into the heated furnace.

[Illustration: His Chemists Worked Away]

Three days later the stuff had cooled sufficiently for an inspection to
be made. A traveling crane slowly hoisted the massive iron lid of the
electric furnace. Tom climbed a ladder and peered down.

"It's perfect!" he shouted a moment later. Mr. Damon and Barton Swift
were standing anxiously with Ned and the workmen to hear the verdict.
At the young inventor's words the group gave a cheer.

[Illustration: Tom Peered Down at the Disk]

"Bless my stars and planets!" cried Mr. Damon, capering about like a
boy. "I can hardly wait till you have your big glass set up!"

"It won't be long now," promised Tom, much pleased himself.

While the giant disk was being given a final electrical treatment, the
youthful inventor was called to the police station. The fugitive crook,
Hammer, had finally been nabbed, still with the formula for the
bendable glass in his possession. Tom was glad to get this back, even
though patent proceedings were under way, for anyone holding the papers
could have instituted a costly legal contest.

[Illustration: Hammer Had Been Nabbed]

At last the time arrived when the great disk was wrapped in hundreds of
bales of cotton, suspended on racks and loaded onto the great truck. Tom
insisted upon riding with his precious creation. The rest of his party,
including his father, Ned Newton, Mr. Damon, Professor Standish, Koku
and Rad, traveled by train to the foot of the mountain.

[Illustration: The Disk Was Loaded on the Truck]

"Massa Tom gonna look about six scrillion miles froo space," confided
Eradicate Sampson to Koku. The old Negro leaned heavily upon the massive
arm of his huge companion. "He see wonderful things!"

"He sure make big medicine!" declared the giant, for once agreeing with
his old rival. He had only the vaguest idea about what his master was

[Illustration: Koku and Rad Went Along]

When the entire group assembled on top the mountain there was a sudden
hush. The sun had set in a fiery glow that presaged a clear night, and
now darkness overtook the expectant onlookers.

At last Tom stepped to the giant telescope and adjusted it upon the
planet Mars. He electrified the immense disk, which glowed, then could
not be seen at all.

Looking through the eyepiece, the young inventor stood as though
transfixed. One minute! Two!

[Illustration: Tom Stepped to the Telescope]

"Tom! How does it work?" asked Ned finally, unable to restrain himself
any longer.

"Look for yourself!" cried Tom, turning from the instrument. His face
wore an expression of awe.

Ned quickly took his place.

"Marvelous!" he exclaimed.

Before his eyes were revealed a great city, nearly seventy-five million
miles distant!

Peculiar people surged along the avenues, weird aircraft thronged the
upper atmosphere, and gigantic buildings and palaces dotted the place.
All on far-distant Mars!

[Illustration: He Saw a Gigantic City]

As each one in Tom's party saw the wonderful sight, he in turn
congratulated the youthful inventor in his own way. Ned grasped his
chum's hand but could say nothing. Mr. Damon blessed the distant stars.
Koku and Rad fell upon their knees. Into the eyes of Barton Swift came
tears as he said:

"Tom, my son, you have performed the greatest miracle of the Age!"

[Illustration: "You Have Performed a Miracle!"]



TOM SWIFT and His Giant Telescope

MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN and the Midnight Monster

MEN WITH WINGS: Thrilling Story of Flyers

TAILSPIN TOMMY and the Sky Bandits

Captain Frank Hawks, Famous AIR ACE, and the League of Twelve

PAT NELSON, Ace of Test Pilots

MAC OF THE MARINES in War-Torn China

BARNEY BAXTER in the Air With the Eagle Squadron

BUCK ROGERS, 25th Century A.D., in the War With the Planet Venus

FLASH GORDON in the Forest Kingdom of Mongo

SKYROADS, with Clipper Williams of the Flying Legion

DON WINSLOW of the Navy vs. the Scorpion Gang



THE LONE RANGER and the Red Renegades (With Silver and Tonto)

JARAGU, Indian Boy of the Jungle (Rex Beach)

TIM McCOY on the Tomahawk Trail

BUCK JONES in the Rock Creek Cattle War

TOM MIX and the Hoard of Montezuma

KEN MAYNARD in Western Justice

BRONC PEELER, the Lone Cowboy


TEX THORNE Comes out of the West


GUNS in the Roaring West

KING of the ROYAL MOUNTED Gets His Man (Zane Grey)



The PHANTOM and the Sign of the Skull

TERRY and the Pirates and the Giant's Vengeance

JANE ARDEN and the Vanished Princess

MYRA NORTH, Special Nurse, and Foreign Spies

Little ORPHAN ANNIE and the Mysterious Shoemaker

TARZAN'S Revenge (Edgar Rice Burroughs)

KAY DARCY and the Mystery Hideout

Blaze Brandon With the FOREIGN LEGION

Little ANNIE ROONEY on the Highway to Adventure

MARY LEE and the Indian Bead Mystery

WASH TUBBS and Capt. Easy Hunting for Whales

JACK ARMSTRONG, All-American Boy, and the Ivory Treasure

BRICK BRADFORD Fighting Brocco the Modern Buccaneer

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Tom Swift and His Giant Telescope" ***

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