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Title: Dave Dashaway Around the World - or A Young Yankee Aviator Among Many Nations
Author: Rockwood, Roy
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  _Dave Dashaway Around the World_ _Page_ 120


                             Dave Dashaway
                            Around the World

                   A Young Yankee Aviator Among Many

                              ROY ROCKWOOD


                                NEW YORK
                         CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY


                             BOOKS FOR BOYS

                            BY ROY ROCKWOOD

                          DAVE DASHAWAY SERIES

                       12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.
                 Price per volume, 40 cents, postpaid.


                       THE SPEEDWELL BOYS SERIES

                       12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.
                 Price per volume, 40 cents, postpaid.


                        THE GREAT MARVEL SERIES

                       12mo. Cloth. Illustrated.
                  Price per volume 60 cents, postpaid.

                   THROUGH SPACE TO MARS
                   LOST ON THE MOON



                          Copyrighted 1913, by
                         CUPPLES & LEON COMPANY





              CHAPTER                                 PAGE
                   I. THE “COMET”                        1
                  II. AN INVOLUNTARY PASSENGER           9
                 III. ON THE WING                       17
                  IV. A MYSTERIOUS VISITOR              24
                   V. SOMETHING WRONG                   32
                  VI. THE STOLEN BIPLANE                40
                 VII. FOUND                             48
                VIII. SOMETHING OF A MYSTERY            54
                  IX. THE PATH OF THE EAGLE             61
                   X. A MIDNIGHT ALARM                  68
                  XI. IN PERIL                          76
                 XII. THE SECRET TOLD                   83
                XIII. AN EXCITING MOMENT                91
                 XIV. THE TRAMP MONOPLANE               97
                  XV. STRICTLY BUSINESS                107
                 XVI. A SIBERIAN ADVENTURE             117
                XVII. A GRATEFUL FRIEND                125
               XVIII. IN STRANGE LANDS                 134
                 XIX. STRANGE COMPANIONS               143
                  XX. RESCUED                          151
                 XXI. WAR                              161
                XXII. LOST IN THE AIR                  170
               XXIII. THE BLAZING BEACON               178
                XXIV. THE HOME STRETCH                 187
                 XXV. CONCLUSION                       195


                             DAVE DASHAWAY
                            AROUND THE WORLD

                               CHAPTER I

                               THE COMET

“I wish Dave Dashaway would hurry up here,” said Hiram Dobbs, who was
for the time being in charge of the biplane, the _Comet_.

“What’s your great anxiety, Hiram?” questioned Elmer Brackett, reclining
comfortably in one of the spacious seats behind the pilot post of the

“Do you know that fellow with the long frock coat over yonder—the one
who looks like some cheap sharp lawyer? There,” added Hiram, pointing at
a group near a hangar, “he’s talking now with that fat, porpoise-looking
man with gold braid on his cap and a badge on his coat.”

“I see them,” nodded young Brackett. “Never saw either before that I can
remember. What of them?”

“Just this,” replied the young airman, quite seriously. “That lawyer
fellow has been rustling around like a hen on a hot griddle for the last
ten minutes. He seemed to be waiting for someone. Then I saw that man
with the light fuzzy hat, and a moustache and glasses, come in a great
hurry up to him, and direct his attention to the airship here. Just now
the same fellow pointed it out to that constable—policeman—or whatever
he is.”

“I declare!” exclaimed Elmer, with a start, sitting up and taking
notice. “Why, I know the man with the fuzzy hat.”

“You do?”

“I am sure of it, Hiram. He is disguised, but I certainly recognize him.
That fellow is my enemy,” and the speaker shifted around in his seat,
greatly disturbed. “Do you remember that fellow Vernon?”

“I should say so, and I suspected it to be just that individual all
along,” explained Hiram. “He’s made all of us trouble enough not to be

“I wish Dave would come,” said Elmer, anxiously. “It would be a terrible
thing if, after all my hopes and preparations, something should come up
to prevent my going with you on the great airship trip around the

Elmer Brackett spoke very earnestly. He might well do so. When he
referred to an exploit that sounded like the scheme of some visionary,
his words had a tangible and sensible business basis.

His companion was pretty nearly a professional airman, and Elmer himself
knew a great deal about aircraft. His father was practically the owner
of the Interstate Aero Company. The person they were now awaiting, Dave
Dashaway, was a youth who had won fame and fortune in the aviation

Young as Dave was, this expert had pretty nearly reached the top as a
professional airman. Those who have been introduced to him in the first
book of the present series, named “Dave Dashaway, the Young Aviator,”
will recall with interest his first struggles to earn recognition and a
living in a line to which he was naturally adapted. Dave Dashaway’s
father had been a scientific balloonist, and when Dave met the old
aviator, Robert King, he found a man who was glad to help him on in his
ambition to succeed as a sky sailor.

Dave steadily and earnestly studied aeronautics as if he was learning a
trade. In the second volume of this series, entitled “Dave Dashaway and
His Hydroplane,” the energetic young airman won marked distinction at an
aero meet by his monoplane and hydroplane work. His ability won the
attention of a friend and former professional associate of his father,
and the latter agreed to finance the most stupendous aerial proposition
ever attempted.

The result has been told in the preceding volume of this series called,
“Dave Dashaway and His Giant Airship.” The remarkable adventures of Dave
and his friends while sailing the mammoth airship, the _Albatross_,
across the Atlantic Ocean have there been narrated. After the giant
airship had started on its extraordinary trip, a stowaway had been
discovered—Elmer Brackett.

It seemed that the lad had gotten into bad company. His father was rich
and he had plenty of money, which he spent very foolishly. He had formed
the acquaintance of a clever schemer named Vernon. This man had so
enmeshed Elmer in his toils, that he made the boy believe that he could
send him to prison, and ruin his father’s business. All this was untrue,
but in sheer desperation, believing he had wrecked all his chances in
life, the frightened lad had secretly stolen aboard of the _Albatross_.
In a very heroic way he had saved the crew of the giant airship from
capture by some mountain outlaws in North Carolina, where the
_Albatross_ had descended for repairs. This had made him a welcome
comrade to Dave and Hiram. When the former returned to the United
States, victor in the great race across the Atlantic and the possessor
of a small fortune in prize money, his first task was to hunt up the
schemer, Vernon. Dave gave the rascal to understand that if he annoyed
Elmer any further, he would find himself in serious trouble.

For all that Dave Dashaway and the powerful friends he had made did,
however, Vernon was slow to abandon his hope of fleecing his victim out
of more money. He tried to blackmail Mr. Brackett, and even brought a
suit against the wealthy manufacturer on some notes he had induced the
son to sign under false pretences. To get rid of him, Mr. Brackett had
finally given Vernon a sum of money to cease his annoying persecutions.
Then Vernon had disappeared, and Dave had supposed that he was “off the
map” for good.

Elmer had acted like a new being since coming under the healthy
influence of the brisk, high-minded young airman, Dave Dashaway, and his
ardent assistant, Hiram Dobbs. For the first time in his life, the zest
of adventure and the ambition to make something of himself had acted
like a spur on the young fellow.

For over a month our hero, Dave, and his two loyal comrades had led an
existence of delight. The young airman had become greatly interested in
an exploit in which he had been invited to take part. The National Aero
Association had arranged for a wonderful novelty and a test in the
aviation field. This was nothing less than an aeroplane race around the

The route had been marked out, the prizes announced and the rules of the
contest adopted. Nearly half a score of contestants had registered. In
the official list there had been published a line or two that the
adventurous Hiram read proudly a dozen times a day: “Entrant VI—the
biplane _Comet_, pilot Dave Dashaway.”

An aero meet was now in progress near the city of Washington, which was
to be the starting point of the great race. Dave and his young
assistants had fairly lived at the plant of the Interstate Aero Company.
Every facility of the great factory had been placed at the command of
Dave. The result had been the construction of the _Comet_, probably the
most perfect and splendid aircraft ever built.

There was a permanent aero practice field near the factory, and on the
afternoon when our story opens the _Comet_ was ready to make its daily
trial flight. With the morrow, entirely equipped and its crew aboard,
the model biplane was to sail across the country for Washington, to be
on hand for the start of the race around the world a few days following.

Other skycraft were in practice or motion about the field. Hiram and
Elmer had gotten their machine in order for a non-stop flight of one
hundred miles. They were waiting for the arrival of Dave, when Hiram
made the discovery that upon the very eve of their grand and stimulating
star exploit, an old enemy had suddenly appeared upon the scene.

Hiram Dobbs bent a keen, suspicious glance at the three men whom he had
pointed out to his comrade. A worried look came into Elmer’s face as he,
too, watched them.

“Yes,” said the latter in an uneasy tone, but convincedly, “one of those
men is Vernon.”

“And the others are a lawyer and an officer of the law,” added Hiram.
“There’s something afoot, Elmer. I guess what it is and—I’ll fool them.”

“The constable is coming this way!” exclaimed Elmer, apprehensively.

“He won’t get here quick enough,” declared Hiram. “I see through their
tricks—Vernon is bent on having you arrested on some flimsy charge. The
scoundrel counts on the belief that your father will pay him more money
rather than see the _Comet_ delayed for the race. We’ll disappoint him.”

The speaker shot out his hand to the wheel. His foot was ready to
depress the self-starter button.

“All clear?” he called to the field man who stood close by, and the
latter nodded and waved his hand.

“The constable is running towards us,” said Elmer rapidly.

Chug! chug! The _Comet_ rose from the ground. Elmer Brackett uttered a
great sigh of relief. Hiram chuckled softly to himself.

“Hold on! I’ve got a warrant! In the name of the law—ugh!”

The _Comet_ gave a great sway. Its pilot dared not relax attention to
his duties, but he shot a swift glance at the source of the outcry.

“The mischief!” uttered Hiram, in surprise and concern.

The big bulky constable was clinging to the machine body, his feet
dangling, his face white and scared-looking, swaying helplessly except
for his frantic hand-hold fifty feet above the ground!

                               CHAPTER II

                        AN INVOLUNTARY PASSENGER

Dave Dashaway’s assistant knew his business too well to attempt any rash
or reckless change in the course of the biplane. At a glance Hiram had
taken in the situation. In a flash he gave the right order.

“Help him—pull him in,” he directed.

“Yes, he’ll smash the wing and we’ll all go down in a heap if he hangs
on there,” declared Elmer, quickly.

“Let me off! Let me off!” puffed and panted the constable. “Help! I’ll
drop! Murder! I’m a goner!”

“Easy, officer!” cried out Hiram, in his clear, ringing tones. “Don’t
get rattled or you’ll be gone, indeed.”

Elmer had grasped the arm of the clinging man. He had strapped himself
into his seat, and this position assisted in giving him a tugging
strength that counted for something. The white, scared face of the
constable came nearer and nearer to him. Through great efforts the
trespasser was hauled up over his center of balance, and he tumbled into
the vacant seat all in a heap.

“Let down this balloon! I’ve got a warrant,” began the constable,

A whirl of the biplane sent the man banging against the side of the seat
till his teeth rattled.

“Strap him in,” called out Hiram, “if he don’t want to get a spill.”

“Oh, my! Stop! Please stop! Let me out!”

Meantime Elmer had snapped the belt in place. It was well that he had
acted speedily. The _Comet_ made a switch just there which caused the
involuntary passenger to tremble with terror, yell outright, and crouch
back in his seat.

Hiram directed a smooth volplane and made an even spurt of speed on a
set level. This gave the intruder a chance to steady his nerves and
regain his breath. He was still, however, big-eyed and chattering. The
young pilot dared not direct attention from his task of running the
machine, but he managed to turn his face sideways so as to give Elmer a
significant glance. The latter half smiled as he understood what was on
the programme.

“Now, see here, officer,” spoke Hiram, past his shoulder, “I can’t give
you any further attention than to tell you what to do. If the machine

“Is there danger?” gasped the overcome constable. “Say, please go down!
Easy, you know! P-please-p—please!”

“You had better show some sense,” retorted Hiram, with pretended
sternness. “There is always danger of a spill. Don’t help it any.”

“N-no, I won’t,” chattered the officer. “I—I’ll do just what you tell

“Then sit still and keep still. Elmer, get him into that airman armor.
He’s pretty bulky, and if we take a flop——”

“Br-rr-r!” shivered the unfortunate passenger. “Oh, don’t talk about

“Get the aerodrome safety helmet on him,” pursued Hiram. “It will save
his head if he tumbles.”

“Say, I don’t want to! You’ve got to stop! I’m an officer of the law and
I order you to lower this balloon.”

“You want to drop, do you?” called back Hiram, “All right, if you say
so, only——”

“No! no! no!” fairly bellowed the constable, as the pilot described a
manœuvre pretty near to accomplishing a “shoot-the-chutes” dive in
aviation. “You know best. I’ll do as you say.”

He allowed Elmer to fasten on the helmet as the machine steadied. It
made his big shock-haired head look bigger than ever.

“Now then, the felt safety buffers,” directed Hiram, and his willing
accomplice bundled the passenger in between two thick pads covering
chest and shoulders like a wad of pillows.

“He’d better have the earflaps and respirators if you’re going up into
the rarefied air,” suggested Elmer, solicitously.

“Don’t go! Say, I’m not well! This air is good enough for me,”
remonstrated the constable.

“Now for the non-concussion girdle,” ordered the merciless pilot.

Elmer was almost bursting with suppressed merriment. He was so sure that
Hiram knew his business and that no real danger was imminent in that
calm air with a perfect head breeze, that he enjoyed the occasion

By this time their frantic fellow passenger resembled a diver, swathed
as he was in thick leather safety devices crowned with steel. Muffled up
and helpless, he squirmed, groaned and closed his eyes with a sickening
shudder every time he glanced over the edge of the machine. The unusual
sight of the earth fading away, the swift passage of the landscape,
fairly chilled him.

For five or ten minutes the passenger was content to remain mute, trying
to realize and become accustomed to his unexpected condition. The
machine had a duplicate control system. That is, the rudder wires ran to
the right hand second seat as well as to that of the pilot. This made it
possible for Hiram to confine his attention exclusively to spark and
throttle control, while his assistant could cooperate as to the steering
gear whenever the tail trailed heavily. Elmer, too, could cooperate in
the aileron and elevator control, and the flight settled down to a
smooth, perfect rush through the atmosphere.

“Ahem,” ventured their passenger as he regained his scattered wits. He
spoke in a vague, uncertain tone. “I told you that I had a warrant and I
want to explain—whew!”

Hiram Dobbs was bound to shut off the passenger from any official
complication of matters. His eye had been fixed to a row of hills ten
miles distant. He had marked out his course and he had a definite
destination in view. Just now he stirred up the officer considerably
with a new joggling twist of the machine, just as he had planned to do.
The fright of the constable was renewed. He forgot what he had started
to say.

“What’s the programme?” whispered Elmer, bending over close to the ear
of the pilot.

“I want to get you to a point of safety before that fellow has a chance
to read that warrant of his,” was the low-toned reply.

“I see; but how are you going to work it?” questioned Elmer, in some

“Leave that to me,” returned Hiram, in a confident way.

“Yes, I’m going to.”

“I want to get beyond the ridge ahead—in fact, as far away from our
starting point as I can.”

“I want to explain,” here again broke in their passenger. “I’ve got a
document here——”

There he stopped. Hiram had to laugh and Elmer chuckled. The constable
made several ineffectual efforts to reach a pocket in his coat. The
muffling devices he wore prevented him. He was like a man encased in a
suit of armor.

“Never mind the document,” said Hiram. “Just tell us what it’s about.”

“It’s a warrant, and it charges this young man with trespassing on the
property of a farmer with an airship. The complainant has a legal right,
_ipse dixit_, to claim malicious intent, which makes it a criminal

“I thought so. Pretty flimsy,” remarked Hiram. “They’ve raked up some
trifle to give that miserable Vernon an excuse to keep you in court for
a week or more. All right officer,” he added, “read your warrant.”

“How can I read it when I can’t get my hands with these pesky things on
them anywhere near my pocket?” demanded the constable, wrathily.

“Very well, then don’t say I obstructed the law by refusing you your

“When you land I’ll read the warrant,” explained the constable. “This
boy has got to come with me. It’s defiance of law to refuse.”

“We will land very soon now,” promised Hiram. “Whisper, Elmer.”

The skillful pilot worked the exhaust purposely to cover a quick
undertoned interview with his friend. There was a perfect understanding
between them by the time the colloquy was concluded.

“All right,” said Elmer simply, and with a satisfied expression on his
face, as he sank back in his seat.

The young air pilot skirted a great grove of trees and flew the _Comet_
high above a range of hills beyond. Then, near a little town with a
railroad depot showing in its midst, he prepared to descend.

Hiram made a thrilling dive that nearly sent the constable into
hysterics. The _Comet_ reached the ground and settled down upon it as
safely and gracefully as a bird sinking to its nest.

“Jump out,” he said simply, to Elmer.

The latter unbuckled the seat belt promptly and leaped to the ground
beside the machine.

“Hold on! Stop!” shouted the constable.

Elmer showed no disposition to run away. He only walked briskly up and
down, stamping his feet and exercising his arms.

“That boy is under arrest,” continued the officer, struggling with his
burden of wraps.

“Not quite yet, officer, I fancy,” retorted Hiram.

“Well, he will be soon as I get out and read my warrant. I order you to
help me, young man. If you refuse, I shall complain of your aiding and
abetting a criminal to escape.”

“Bah!” cried Hiram, “you know as well as I do that he is no criminal.
Here,” and he assisted his passenger in getting rid of the hampering
devices. “I’ll help you.”

With a great snort of relief the bulky officer stepped to the ground.
His first act was to shake his cramped limbs. Then he fished in his
pockets for the warrant.

“In the name of the law,” he began with assumed dignity, producing a
folded document.

“Hold on,” challenged Hiram, “what are you up to?”

“I’m going to arrest one Elmer Brackett.”

“I think not,” retorted Hiram, coolly. “It seems you’ve forgotten
something rather important, Mr. Officer.”

“What’s that?” snorted the constable.

“We have landed just over the state line and your warrant is no good in
this locality.”

                              CHAPTER III

                              ON THE WING

The constable stared at Hiram. He glanced at Elmer with half a scowl.
Then he rubbed his head as if seeking for new ideas. Finally a sort of
sickly grin overspread his flabby face.

“You’d make a good lawyer,” he observed. “Over the state line I am, sure
enough, with no warrant served. Well, I’m not so sorry as you may

“I’m glad to hear you say so,” declared Hiram. “You’ll be glad, too,
when you come to know that the man behind the gun in this case is an
unmitigated rascal.”

“I didn’t know anything about that, I simply followed orders,” said the
official, in a slightly apologetic tone.

“Well, good-bye, officer, I suppose I can go?” broke in Elmer.

“I shan’t hinder you. Only keep out of my territory.”

Elmer exchanged a look of mutual understanding with Hiram, and walked
slowly away. He soon disappeared beyond a little thicket, heading in the
direction of the town and the railroad station.

“Well, officer?” spoke up Hiram, moving about the biplane to see that
everything was in order.

“Well, lad,” returned the constable, “I suppose it’s in order for me to
get back home after this fool’s errand.”

“I’ll be glad to take you back with me,” said Hiram.

“Humph!” and the constable shrugged his shoulders in a dubious way. “I’m
safe on the ground once more, thank goodness; and I reckon I’ll stay

“Oh, come ahead in the machine,” invited the young pilot. “No capers,
officer, honestly. I had to do some gliding to make you forget business
till my friend was over the safety line, but I’ll take you home steady
as a Pullman, I promise you.”

“No diver’s suit, though, mind you.”

“That isn’t necessary,” laughed Hiram. “Just strap yourself in and I’ll
give you a nice ride.”

By the time they got back to the aero grounds the constable was as
friendly as could be. He shook hands good-bye with Hiram, and winked at
him and chuckled to himself as he walked over to where the lawyer-like
man and the disguised Vernon stood waiting for him. They evidently had
seen the _Comet_ returning and had hastened to the grounds to hear the

Hiram lingered, watching the group until they disappeared. Dave Dashaway
came out of the hangar as the assistants ran the biplane towards it.

Bright as a dollar, looking every inch the active, ambitious fellow his
friends called him, the young airman regarded his assistant inquiringly
and expectantly.

“You didn’t wait for me,” observed Dave.

“No, I was in a hurry,” laughed Hiram. “I suppose you know what was

“I’ve heard something about a warrant for Elmer. I’ve guessed out the
plot. Mr. Brackett was here, quite worried.”

“He needn’t be,” declared Hiram, reassuringly. “There he is now. It’s
all right, Mr. Brackett,” added Hiram, advancing to meet the wealthy
manufacturer. “They didn’t get Elmer, and, what’s more, they won’t get
him very soon.”

Dave Dashaway led the way into the little portable house adjoining the
_Comet_ hangar where the boys slept nights. All sat down on camp stools.

“I hope this new trouble is not going to disturb your plans,” spoke Mr.

“Not a bit of it,” replied Hiram. “Elmer is safely out of the way, and
everything is arranged to keep that miscreant, Vernon, from annoying

Hiram recounted all that had transpired. The cloud of uneasiness passed
from the brow of the president of the Interstate Aero Company. He smiled
approvingly at the keen-witted narrator.

“Elmer will take a train and go right on to an arranged rendezvous,”
explained Hiram. “He will be on hand for the start, Mr. Brackett.”

“I shall start for Washington,” announced the manufacturer. “I want to
see the _Comet_ begin the big race in which I feel Dashaway and his
friends will win new laurels.”

“Thank you for your confidence in us,” said the young airman. “I expect
to deserve it. There’s a reason—you have given us a biplane that is a

“Yes,” declared Hiram, enthusiastically, “there will be nothing in the
field that can even begin to compare with the _Comet_.”

Our hero and his assistant spent some time going over the splendid piece
of mechanism, after Mr. Brackett had gone away. The highest skill had
been employed in the construction of the _Comet_. From barograph to
breeches buoy it was as nearly perfect and thoroughly equipped as money
and intelligence could make it.

The biplane was of original design. It had a tube mechanism and
universal bearing that were entirely new in the aviation field. The
arrangements for gasoline, oil and water had been the main
consideration. The capacity for carrying extra weight the second. The
coverings were rubberized fabric, the machine had the very newest shock
absorbers, and the double-control system admitted of a manipulation that
not only divided the operation work, but added to the safety of

As to the superb balancing and self-righting powers of the _Comet_, the
boys had demonstrated these merits only the day previous. With a ripping
crash the machine had entered the perimeter of a corkscrew glide. Dave
found the tilt so steep there seemed no chance to come out of the
spiral. Hiram, in the second seat, by a deft, quick operation of the
rudder control, changed the equilibrium. Dave did the rest, and the
_Comet_ passed a hair-breadth ground swoop clean as an acrobat.

On account of the long flights necessary, probable landings in desert
spots far from civilization, and the menace of supplies giving out, the
_Comet_ had been constructed of a weight, breadth and length that would
admit of the utilization of a so-called ballast pit. This was located
directly behind the seats. It was compactly filled at the present time,
all ready for the start scheduled for a few days later. With every
article cared for, and after a close calculation of the effect of
dislodgment and replacement, the young aviator in command of the machine
felt that he had mastered most of the details of the prospective trip
around the world.

Before Mr. Brackett had left them, he had made arrangements to join them
at the aero meet at Sylvan Park, near Washington. There were some final
details of the journey to arrange for after they reached the aviation
field. So far as their present situation was concerned, however, the
_Comet_ was all ready for the flight.

The sky was clear, the stars shone brightly and there was a gentle
breeze entirely favorable to them, as, about ten o’clock the _Comet_ was
quietly rolled out of the hangar. The young airman purposely evaded any
publicity as to their start on account of Elmer and his enemies. The two
assistants waved them a hearty adieu, but stirred up no commotion.
Within five minutes the splendid piece of mechanism was speeding on its
way for a point fifty miles distant.

“At Fordham, you said,” remarked Dave, as they settled down to an even
course of progress.

“Yes, just beyond the town. We all know the town, it’s right in our
course—and I thought that the best place to have Elmer wait for us.”

The _Comet_ passed over half a dozen quaint little villages. Then it
followed the railroad tracks, the signal lights operating as guides.
They knew Fordham, because they had made several trial spurts to and
from the place. They passed its rows of street lights, slowed down, and
the _Comet_ reached _terra firma_ inside of the town baseball grounds.

“Hello!” at once hailed them, and Elmer came forward from a seat on the
bleachers, where he had been resting. “Everything all right?”

“As a trivet,” pronounced Hiram. “Been a slow wait; eh?”

“Oh, I snoozed a little,” replied Elmer; “lunched some, and had a hard
time explaining my being here to a suspicious old watchman who looks
after the grounds.”

“Get aboard,” directed Dave, and Elmer sank into the seat with a
contented sigh.

“It’s business now, I suppose,” he remarked. “Say, fellows, it’s a big
thing we hope to do; isn’t it?”

“Yes,” assented the sprightly Hiram; “and I reckon we’ll have seen some
startling sights before we come this way again.”

                               CHAPTER IV

                          A MYSTERIOUS VISITOR

Dave Dashaway stood at the entrance to the hangar of the _Comet_ at
Sylvan Park. The machine had done nobly on the trial field near the
Capitol city. Now it was housed among the group of competitors in the
great race. The pick of the world’s best airmen was represented at this
international meet, and the scene was one of activity and interest.

The airship boys were comfortably housed in the living tent just beyond
the hangar. At first upon arriving it had been decided to have Elmer
stay away from the field until the final start was made. This procedure
was actuated by the fear that the troublesome Vernon might put in an
appearance and continue to annoy and hamper the young airman. The next
morning, however, Mr. Brackett arrived.

“I am here for two reasons,” he had announced. “First, I wish to see our
last word in biplanes, the _Comet_, sail off on the race I know you are
going to win. Next, I want to be on hand if that troublesome Vernon
tries any more of his tricks.”

“I hardly think he will attempt to follow us this far,” was the
expressed opinion of our hero. “It would cost him some money, and it
would be somewhat dangerous for him to work any trumped-up charge with
so many of our airmen friends around to defeat his plans.”

“There is still more than that,” remarked the airship manufacturer, in a
confident way.

“What do you mean, father?” inquired his son.

“Just this,” answered Mr. Brackett, “as I left home my lawyer, who was
looking up Vernon, put in my possession some documents that will enable
me to baffle this wretch at every turn. I only hope he will appear. It
will be to receive a final quietus, believe me.”

The big event was now only three days distant. The _Comet_ was in
perfect shape for its long flight. The boys had used prevision and
judgment in all their preparations; and had not really much to do. Dave,
however, was kept pretty busy with a constant stream of visitors.
Professional and otherwise, those who had seen descriptions of their
splendid machine in the public prints were eager to view that work of
mechanical perfection. A group of them were now gathered inside the
shelter building. Experts were examining and admiring the _Comet_.

It pleased Mr. Brackett to exhibit this last masterpiece from the
Interstate Aero Company’s factory. As a strictly passenger carrying
biplane it had never been equalled. Mr. Brackett showed all its
improvements, from the new chain drive apparatus to the high pitch
revolution screws. The original model of the _Comet_ had represented a
machine weighing over one thousand five hundred pounds with a spread of
thirty-eight by sixty-three and one-half feet, pitch speed five thousand
six hundred feet, average flight record fifty miles. The old style rear
propeller drive had been supplanted by tractor screws. The tubing truss
underneath the center section and skid bracing also in the rib or plane
section was a new feature. A divergence from the popular headless screw
traction design was the use of the Curwell type of outriggers. This did
away with an attachment at the end of a monoplane type of fuselage.

It was almost dusk when the visitors began to depart. Dave was giving
orders to two of the hangar men to lock up the machine for the night,
when an automobile drew rapidly up to the spot. As the young aviator
glanced casually at the machine, he saw that besides the chauffeur it
contained a veiled, girlish form.

The chauffeur stopped the machine directly before the living tent. He
leaped from the auto and approached Mr. Brackett, who was standing near

“Can you direct me to the _Comet_ hangar?” he inquired, touching his cap

“This is the place,” explained the manufacturer.

“And Mr. Dave Dashaway—do you know where I can find him?”

The young airman overheard this conversation. He stepped forward at once
with the words:

“I am Dave Dashaway. What can I do for you?”

The chauffeur moved aside with a movement of his head towards the
automobile. Its occupant leaned slightly forward, and extended a
daintily gloved hand. As Dave advanced and lifted his cap she spoke to
him in a low, tremulous tone.

“I wish to speak to you for a few moments, Mr. Dashaway,” she said. “In
private,” she added, with a glance at the several persons in view.

“Certainly,” responded Dave readily, but in some wonderment. “There is
our office, miss. May I assist you?”

The little lady uttered a fluttering sigh as our hero helped her from
the machine and led the way to the living tent. Hiram had just lighted a
lamp. Both he and Elmer regarded their friend’s companion in some
surprise. They were too well bred, however, to stare at the newcomer,
who seemed timid and uncertain. The boys moved quietly from the tent,
Dave set a stool for his visitor and seated himself at a little
distance, awaiting her pleasure.

“You must not think it strange that I have come to you, Mr. Dashaway,”
she said. “I—that is, I was directed to you by a very close friend, who
knows you well.”

“Ah, indeed?” spoke the young airman.

“Yes, I bring you a letter from a friend of my dear father, who is as
well a close friend of your own—Mr. Robert King.”

“I am pleased and interested at once, Miss,” said Dave, trying to set
the young lady at her ease under such strange surroundings. “Mr. King
is, indeed, a close friend, and his friends are very welcome.”

“You are most kind,” said the visitor, nervously searching for the
letter in question, and in her confusion lifting her veil. From her face
Dave saw that she was about his own age. There was an anxious look in
her eyes. She finally found the letter, and handed it to the young
airman with the explanation:

“We went to Mr. King where he is sick at his home in New York City.”

“Yes, I know,” said Dave. “He wrote me only last week.”

“I am Edna Deane,” proceeded the young lady. “My father is himself
something of an invalid and could not come with me to-day. We went to
Mr. King to ask his help in a case where he only, or somebody like him,
could be of any assistance.”

“You mean in the aviation way?” inquired Dave, getting interested.

“Yes, Mr. Dashaway,” replied the young girl. “I want my father to
explain to you about it. He has written our address on the
envelope—Hampton Flats. He wishes to have you make an appointment to
meet him, if you will be so kind.”

“I certainly shall be glad to be of service to any friends of the
gentleman who taught me all I know about sky sailing,” began Dave, and
then he added very heartily: “Surely I will come, Miss Deane. To-morrow
morning, if you wish. Shall we say at ten o’clock? I have some few
things to attend to that will take up my time until then.”

“My father will be very glad,” murmured the girl, gratefully.

A glance at the letter from the veteran aviator, Mr. King, had at once
influenced Dave. The old airman wrote briefly, but to the point. He
stated, that were he in shape to do so, he would at once assist Mr.
Deane. He asked his former assistant to act in his place, could he at
all arrange to do so. Mr. King hinted that there was an opportunity for
a great humane act. He said he was sure that when Dave knew its details,
his generous heart would respond to an unusual appeal for help in a
strangely pathetic case.

Meantime Hiram and Elmer had strolled to a distance. They passed Mr.
Brackett, who was seeing to it that the hangar men safely housed his pet
biplane for the night. Hiram looked curiously at his companion.

“Well,” he observed, “sort of mysterious, Elmer; eh?”

“You mean that young lady?”

“I do. Automobile—mysterious veiled visitor,” said Hiram with a smile.

“Maybe it’s another of those venturesome college girls wanting to make a
flight for the name of it. Dave will tell us when he sees us. No
nonsense about him. He’s too busy for romance.”

“That’s so. There she goes, Elmer,” announced Hiram.

The boys made out Dave, cap in hand, walking beside the automobile as it
started up slowly, and conversing with its occupant. Then, curious and
eager to learn the merits of the interesting episode, they proceeded
towards the living tent, approaching it by a roundabout route so as not
to look as if they were “snooping around,” as Hiram put it.

Just as they neared it, Elmer grasped the arm of his companion, bringing
him to a halt with a startling: “S—st!”

“What is it?” demanded Hiram, staring ahead in the direction in which
the glance of his companion was fixed.

“Look for yourself,” whispered back Elmer, pointing to a crouching
figure just behind the tent. “See—a man, a lurker, a spy! Who do you
suppose he is; and what is he up to?”

                               CHAPTER V

                            SOMETHING WRONG

The boys stood perfectly still. The crouching man had not heard them
coming nor did he see them now. He half rested on one elbow and one
knee, close up to the end of the tent. It looked as if he had been
posted there for some time, as if peering into the tent through some
break in the canvas and listening to what had been spoken inside.

Just now he was guardedly looking past the corner of the tent and
following Dave and the automobile with his eyes. It was fast getting
dark, but the glint of the headlight of the auto as it turned towards
the entrance to the grounds swept over him, and Elmer gave a great

“Why,” he spoke suddenly, “Hiram, it’s that man—Vernon!”

“You don’t say so,” returned Hiram. “Are you sure of it?”

“Yes, I am,” declared Elmer, in a disturbed way. “He is after me again,
and may make all kinds of new trouble for us.”

“He won’t,” asserted Hiram, with a quick snap of his lips, and the old
farmer-boy fight and determination in his face. “Get ready to help me.”

“What are you going to do?” inquired Elmer, as his companion began to
roll up his coat cuffs.

“I’m going to nail that fellow, good and sure,” pronounced Hiram. “Maybe
your father would like to see him. Now then!”

Hiram made a spring. He landed on the shoulders of the crouching figure,
Elmer close at his heels. The unsuspecting spy went flat, the nimble
Hiram astride of him.

“What are you up to, and who are you?” demanded Hiram. “You needn’t
tell,” he added swiftly, as his prisoner squirmed about and his face
came into view. “You’re that mean rascal Vernon, and we’re going to know
what you are plotting this time before we let you go. Grab him, Elmer.”

Each seized an arm of the squirming captive. Hiram arose to his feet
without letting Vernon go, although the latter struggled fiercely. He
managed to break the grasp of Elmer, but Hiram held on to him—would have
held on to him if he had dragged him all over the field.

“What’s this?” cried Mr. Brackett, attracted to the spot by the noise of
the struggle. Then he recognized Vernon. “Ah, it’s you is it?” he said,
bending his brows at the prisoner. “I have something to say to you,” and
he seized the man by his coat collar and assisted Hiram in dragging him
around to the front of the tent.

“Oh, you have?” sneered Vernon, ceasing to struggle as he found his
efforts in that direction vain. “Well, you want to say it quick and

“What are you doing around here?” demanded the aeroplane manufacturer,

“What do you suppose?” retorted the schemer boldly, thinking brag and
bluster only would serve him now. “I’m in the market with information,
and you had better buy it.”

“You sit there,” ordered Mr. Brackett, forcing the miscreant upon a
stool with the gesture of disgust. Then he motioned to Hiram and Elmer
to guard the doorway and sat down facing the captive. “You have gone to
the last length, my man, in persecuting my son. There is not a vestige
of accusation against him that you can press legally.”

“Oh, I think I can make you a little uneasy,” boasted the conscienceless

“We shall see. It is only a few days since my lawyer reported to me the
facts of an investigation into your career. I have a few questions to
ask you. After that, I fancy you will be glad to get away from us and
stay away in the future.”

“Oh, is that so?” said Vernon, coldly.

“My lawyer has placed certain documents and information in my hands,”
continued Mr. Brackett. “One of them,” and he reached into his pocket
and produced a photograph, “is a picture of a man who served a prison
term. Do you recognize it?” and the speaker held up the photograph full
in the lamp light.

Vernon changed color. He quaked and wriggled about, but he was silent,
for it was his own portrait, in prison garb.

“How far the word of a convict will go against that of my son, whom you
duped into signing notes he could not pay, and which I will never pay,
for no consideration was involved, I do not know,” proceeded the
aeroplane manufacturer. “I do know, however, that you dare not make
another move. This document,” and he showed a folded paper, “describes
you as the man who is wanted in Boston for forfeiting a bail bond. I
have only to send word to the authorities there of your whereabouts to
have you shut up for some time to come. Now go. If I so much as hear of
your hanging around this vicinity, I will telegraph to the people who
are searching for you.”

Mr. Brackett pointed to the doorway. Vernon arose and like a whipped cur
slunk through it. An expression of relief crossed Elmer Brackett’s face.

“I only hope we are rid of him for good,” he said, fervently.

“There seems to be no doubt of that,” declared Hiram, with a satisfied
smile. “Say, though, I wonder why he was sneaking around the hangar

“To pick up what information he could about our plans, to disturb them
if he could, I suppose,” said Elmer.

Just then Dave appeared. His friends noticed that he was somewhat
thoughtful. No one alluded to the visit of the girl whom the young
aviator had just escorted to the automobile. Dave did not seem to have
any explanations to make. The others told him about the discovery of
Vernon and his summary disappearance. Then the incident was dismissed
from their minds as they all went over to the restaurant at the other
end of the big aviation grounds for supper.

Dave told his young assistants that he had an engagement in the city the
next morning. There were some little purchases to make for the _Comet_,
and he took Hiram along with him.

“I am going to call upon the friends of the young lady you saw last
evening, Hiram,” he confided to his friend. “They live at the Hampton
Flats,” and he gave Hiram the location. “If you like, after you get
through with your shopping you can call there for me. Then we can go
back to the park together.”

“All right,” assented Hiram, “I shan’t be busy for more than an hour.”

It was about eleven o’clock when Hiram started for the Hampton Flats. He
finally turned into the street where the building was located. As he
neared it, a man came hurriedly down its steps, passed down the street,
and disappeared from view around the corner.

“Well, I’ll be bumped!” exclaimed Hiram, forcibly.

He came to a dead stop, irresolute as to the course he ought to pursue.
Hiram had recognized the man as Vernon. He wondered how the rascal came
to be in the building where his airman friend was.

“Why, he’s nagging Dave, that’s sure,” declared Hiram. “But why? It
won’t do any good to run after him. I must tell Dave about it, though,
and—there he is now.”

The young aviator appeared at just that moment. He looked up and down
the street and then advanced towards Hiram as he made him out. The
latter fancied he had never seen Dave look so grave and thoughtful, but
our hero roused up into instant interest as Hiram said:

“I saw Vernon come out of that building just before you did.”

“What’s that!” challenged Dave. “Out of that building?”

“Yes, he did, Dave. Now what do you suppose he was doing there?”

The young airman did not reply. He walked along in silence. Hiram saw
that he was a good deal stirred up, but all Dave said about the incident

“I’m glad you discovered this, Hiram, and told me about it. We want to
look out for that fellow.”

All that day, Hiram noticed that the pilot of the _Comet_ seemed to be
preoccupied. The hum and bustle of the approaching event, however, took
up the attention of all hands. They had a busy day of it, and Hiram was
so tired out by nightfall that he had well-nigh forgotten all about the
unexplained incident of the earlier hours of the day.

Just after daylight the next morning Elmer stirred on his sleeping cot
and drowsily cried out:

“What’s up? I thought I heard some one call for Dave.”

“You did,” replied Hiram, jumping from under the bedclothes. “I just
roused up to see one of the hangar men scurrying out of here, and Dave,
half dressed, rushing after him. Hurry up, get your clothes on.”

“What for?” inquired Elmer, sitting up in his cot and rubbing his eyes

“Because I caught a remark the hangar man made.”

“What was it?”

“‘Something wrong with the _Comet_!’”

                               CHAPTER VI

                           THE STOLEN BIPLANE

The alarming words spoken by Hiram were sufficient to at once bring
Elmer out of bed and onto his feet. Speedy as Elmer was, however, Hiram
was outside, shoeless and hatless, almost before his drowsy companion
had drawn on his sweater.

“What’s the trouble?” panted Elmer, trailing after his companion a
minute later.

His eyes grew big with wonder and suspense as he noticed Dave and the
hangar man running around to the rear of the portable biplane shelter.
In front he saw Hiram posed like a statue and staring hard.

“The _Comet_ is gone!” announced Hiram. “Look there—gone!”

He spoke in a tone of voice as if the whole world was slipping away from
them. Elmer, gaining his side, saw that the hangar was empty.

“Oh, say!” he gasped, “you don’t mean to say——”

“Stolen? Yes! That is sure,” came in Dave’s tones, and the young aviator
hurried around to the spot.

“You see, whoever took it drew the steel frames and canvas out of the
whole back,” the hangar man was explaining. “The wheel marks yonder run
about twenty feet. Whoever did it knew his business. There was no wasted
fooling around—up and away was the programme.”

Dave stood silent, thinking hard. Elmer came up to him, worried and
anxious. By this time Hiram had got full steam of excitement on.

“See here, Dave,” he cried, “what is this—a trick, or something

“It’s pretty serious,” answered the young airman. “Whoever ran away with
the _Comet_ had a bad motive in view—I feel certain of that.”

“You mean, to keep us from making the start in the race?” inquired
Elmer, anxiously.

“Just that,” assented Dave, positively. “No ordinary thief would steal
the biplane, for he couldn’t sell it. Professionals do not meddle with
other people’s machines. I’ve got a lot of suspicions about this
mysterious piece of business, but there’s no time to lose in

“No, we must get on the track of the _Comet_ right away,” declared
Hiram, adding, “but how?”

Dave gave a few rapid, undertoned directions to the hangar man. Then he
hurried back to the living tent, followed by his friends, and all
completed dressing. Then, Dave piloting the way, they made a brisk run
for the office building of the club in control of the meet.

The young airman was lucky in running across the manager, a man who knew
his business thoroughly. Inside of an hour, with his perfect knowledge
of details, he had telegraphed every aviator and practice station in the
East to be on the watch for the stolen machine. Dave was leaving the
office building when they met Mr. Brackett.

“Oh, father!” exclaimed his son, in distress, “the _Comet_ has been

The aeroplane manufacturer was stunned by the announcement. Dave
motioned him instantly to one side. Hiram’s heart took hope as he noted
the business-like look on Dave’s face.

“He’s got some plan worked out already,” announced Hiram to Elmer. “Dave
isn’t telling us all he has guessed out.”

Whatever information the young airman was imparting to Mr. Brackett, the
latter seemed greatly interested, and his troubled face cleared somewhat
as Dave proceeded. Soon the manufacturer hurried away. Dave consulted
his watch and came briskly up to his young fellow aviators.

“There’s just time to get our breakfast,” he announced.

The boys had about completed the meal, when an automobile drove up in
front of the restaurant and the aeroplane manufacturer got out. Dave
hurried to his side. There was a brief consultation, and our hero
beckoned to his friends.

“You had better come with me, Hiram,” said the young aviator; “I shall
need you. If you will keep track of things around the hangar, Elmer, it
will help out.”

Dave waved his hand to the manufacturer and his son, and told Hiram to
jump into the seat beside him. They made a quick spin for the office of
the manager. The young airman came out with several telegrams in his
hand. He read these over carefully while his companion was cranking the
machine. Then he thrust them into his pocket and took charge of the

“Say,” began Hiram, as they left the aero grounds and started down a
lonely country road; “tell me are you going on a hunt for the _Comet_?”

“Yes,” replied the young airman. “I don’t know that there is much chance
of running down the people who stole the biplane, but they can’t sail
far without being reported.”

“What is their object in stealing it, anyhow?” asked Hiram.

“If you want my honest opinion, I think they are trying to keep us out
of the race,” replied Dave.

“Oh!” exclaimed his companion, “then you think it’s professionals who
are at the bottom of this mischief?”

“It was certainly an expert airman who piloted the _Comet_ away so
snugly,” declared Dave. “I believe, though, that he was hired by

“Why, Dave, what do you mean?” inquired the puzzled Hiram.

“I can’t explain everything to you just now,” replied Dave. “I am not
trying to throw any air of mystery about this strange disappearance of
the _Comet_, but you remember telling me about seeing that schemer,
Vernon, come out of the Hampton Flats in the city?”

“Why, yes,” assented Hiram, with a start of enlightenment.

“Well, I have reason to believe that he is mixed up with this affair.”

“You don’t say so! Bound to bother the Bracketts to the last limit, is

“No, I believe his motives lead in an entirely different direction this
time,” replied Dave, but he would say no more on the topic just then. He
resumed: “Of course, we must find the _Comet_ by this time to-morrow, or
start in the race with another machine.”

“Oh, then we’ll go anyway?” asked Hiram, brightening up. “Say, that’s
great!” and he uttered an immense sigh of relief.

“Mr. Brackett has telegraphed for the _Zephyr_, which is at Baltimore,”
explained Dave. “It will be on the grounds before night.”

“Have you any clue as to what has become of the _Comet_?” asked Hiram.

“I have a very strong theory,” replied the young aviator. “Whoever made
away with the _Comet_ did not venture to fly north—too many machines
were on their way to the meet, and they would be seen. The manager wired
in every direction. An unknown airship was sighted twice, early this
morning, both times about fifty miles from Washington, going southwest
and making for the mountain districts.”

“What do you guess from that, Dave?” inquired Hiram, eagerly.

“I think they are trying to hide or lose the _Comet_ until it is too
late to start in the race. Of course, hopeless as it may seem, we must
try and recover the machine.”

“Yes, the _Zephyr_ cannot begin to compare with our special machine,”
said Hiram.

“Besides that,” added Dave, “I hope to find out who ran away with the
biplane. If Vernon is indeed back of it, that discovery would throw a
good deal of light on a certain subject in which I am greatly interested
at the present time.”

Hiram was prudently silent. He wondered to himself, however, if the
subject at which his companion hinted had anything to do with the young
lady in the automobile and Dave’s visit to the Hampton Flats.

It was about eleven o’clock when the young airman stopped at a town
named Wayne. He made a second stop at a little settlement ten miles
beyond. The automobile had now gotten well in among the hills, and the
scenery had grown wilder and wilder.

“Some airship passed over here just before daylight this morning,” Dave
finally reported to Hiram.

“Do you know the direction it went in?” asked the latter.

“Yes. We will keep on and make Tarryford. If we get no information
there, I guess we will have to give up the hunt.”

It was shortly after noon when they passed an old farmhouse. As they
whizzed by, Hiram remarked some sheds in ruins, and smoking yet as if
recently consumed by fire. He called the attention of his comrade to the
fact. They sped on. Less than half a mile accomplished, they saw ahead a
steep, high hill. By the side of the road, seated on a level rock, was a
man holding a rifle between his knees.

Something about the grim, watchful manner of the farmer attracted the
curious attention of both of the boys. Dave brought the machine to a
halt at the side of the road.

“Say, my man,” he called out, pleasantly, “have you seen or heard of an
airship anywhere around here this morning?”

It was quite startling the way the farmer came to his feet. His eyes
flashed and he handled his weapon in a menacing way.

“Have I?” he cried, fiercely. “I reckon so, and I’m ready to riddle the
troublesome old contraption the minute she shows herself again!”

                              CHAPTER VII


“We’re going to find out something sure,” declared Hiram. “Say, Dave,
that man knows something about our machine.”

The young airman leaped from the auto and approached the farmer. The
latter stood viewing the newcomers in a surly, suspicious way.

“You say you have seen an airship,” observed Dave. “Where? when?”

The farmer eyed our hero and his companion shrewdly.

“What do you want to know for?” he questioned.

“Well,” answered Dave, bluntly, “someone stole a biplane from the aero
field, near Washington, last night, and we are looking for it.”

“Oh, you are?” muttered the man. “Belongs to you, maybe?”

“To a company which we represent.”

“Responsible for damages?” insinuated the farmer, with a shrewd glint in
his calculating eyes.

“Is there some damage to account for?” inquired Dave.

“I reckon,” pronounced the man seriously. “Did you happen to notice the
last farm down the road?”

“We saw it, mister,” nodded Hiram, impatient to hurry up the man with
his disclosures.

“I suppose you saw them smoking ruins. Them was a shed, a pigsty and a
stack of hay. I don’t reckon fifty dollars would replace them.”

“What has an airship to do with them?” inquired Hiram.

“Everything. See here, just at daylight this morning I came to the back
door. I heard a whir and a ping overhead, and I saw an airship going
licketty-switch. Just as it passed over the house, some one in it must
have thrown a lighted cigar overboard. I didn’t see it fall, but after I
had gone into the house and finished dressing and came out again, I saw
the airship dropping into the basin on top of Pike Hill up yonder. Then
I smelled smoke. I ran around towards the sheds. The stack was blazing.
I know it was a cigar that started it, for I found one on the ground
where the fire started, and we smoke nothing but corncob pipes around
these diggings.”

“And you say the airship landed on top of Pike Hill, as you call it?”
inquired Dave. “How do you know that?”

“Say, get up on this rock with me. That’s it. Now then, take a squint
past the spur of rock way up near the crest of the hill. See it?”

“Hello!” instantly exclaimed Hiram, in a state of great excitement.

“Why, sure as you live it’s the end of a wing,” declared Dave. “Have you
seen anything of the persons running it, mister?”

“No, I haven’t. The way I figure it out is that they ran out of steam.
Mebbe they thought no one saw them when they flew over the farm. Mebbe
they’re hiding. Mebbe, when they saw me start on guard down here with my
rifle, after we’d tried to put the fire out, they were afraid to budge.”

“It is very likely they alighted on account of the lack of gasoline,”
Dave said to Hiram. “We didn’t leave much in the tanks last night.”

“That’s so,” assented Hiram. “What are you going to do?”

The young aviator reflected for a moment. Then he turned to the man

“See here, mister,” he said, “I must find out the condition of that
biplane up there. It may not be ours. If it is, I promise you one

“And what’s that?” demanded the farmer.

“Your bill will be paid, and as much more on top of it for directing us
to the machine. Is the ascent of the hill hard?”

“A stranger might find it so,” replied the man. “Very few ever go there,
and there’s no regular path to the top. If you’ll wait till some
neighbors I’ve sent for to help rout out those fellows up there come,
we’ll make an attack on them.”

“I don’t think you will find anybody up there,” said Dave. “No, I
don’t,” he reiterated, as Hiram regarded him inquiringly. “I reason it
out just as I said at the first, that whoever stole the _Comet_ planned
to hide it where we couldn’t find it. That is a capital place up there
to fit into their scheme. I’ll tell you, mister, you stay down here if
you want to, and we will go up and see what we can find out.”

“I don’t know about that,” demurred the farmer, suspiciously.

“Why not?” inquired Dave.

“How do I know but what you belong to the crowd and have been telling me
a fool story all along? Easiest thing in the world for you to start up
in the airship and leave me to whistle for my damages.”

“What, with the automobile here for security?” asked Dave, with a laugh.

“That’s so,” remarked the farmer, thoughtfully. “All right, go ahead.
You’ll find it no easy job, though. I can tell you another thing—if I
see that airship rising, I’ll plug it.”

“We will report to you before we go away,” promised the young aviator.
“Come on, Hiram.”

The farmer had not misstated the ascent of Pike Hill. Country bred as he
was, Hiram grumbled heartily at the brambles, and Dave got tangled
several times in a network of hampering vines.

“Whew! the last climb,” announced Hiram, finally, as they gained a
topmost ridge of rocks.

“No one here,” cried the young airman. “See, Hiram, they have let the
_Comet_ sink down into this natural basin here, thinking it was a safe
hiding place.”

“It would have been a famous one if that old farmer hadn’t caught sight
of the machine,” said Hiram. “No one would ever think of looking for an
airship in this out of the way place.”

The _Comet_ lay slightly tipped to one side, unharmed. Dave examined the
machine casually.

“Everything is all right,” he reported to his companion. “I was correct
about the gasoline. There isn’t enough juice left to run the machine a

“But where are the people who stole it?” asked Hiram.

“Went down the other side of the hill, I suppose. They had accomplished
what they were hired to do. Now then, Hiram, this is a great piece of
good luck.”

“I should say so,” enthused Hiram.

“You go back down the hill—it will be easier than climbing up.”

“I should hope so,” grimaced Hiram, rubbing his bruised knees.

“Tell the man down there about the situation, and that I am going to fly
the machine over onto his farm and fix things up with him.”

Dave waited till his handy assistant had reached the bottom of the hill.
In a few moments, on the watch for some signal from below, he noticed
Hiram conversing with the farmer. There were apparent explanations and
discussions. Then Hiram waved his hand as had been agreed on with the
young aviator, and Dave knew that the coast was clear for a run with the

                              CHAPTER VIII

                         SOMETHING OF A MYSTERY

Our hero found the gasoline tanks pretty well emptied of oil. He
realized that the “juice” on hand would not admit of a long flight.
Satisfied, however, that there was sufficient fuel to fly the _Comet_
out of its resting place and down to level ground, Dave got to the pilot
post and operated the self-starter.

The biplane arose promptly to the occasion. A little deft guiding
cleared the hill. The machine and its occupant came safely and gently to
a new landing place in a field nearby. Hiram and the farmer hastened to
the spot as Dave alighted.

“I call that purty cute,” announced the farmer, a good deal interested.
“Now then, stranger, what about them damages?”

“Just what I said,” replied Dave. “You have done us a great service and
we appreciate it. There is your money.”

“Say, you’re square and white,” declared the farmer, overjoyed at the
possession of so much cash.

“We try to be,” answered Dave, pleasantly. “Just sign that receipt, will
you? The aeroplane company will pay for this, and I want my voucher all
straight and regular.”

Dave wrote out a receipt on the back of a card and the man signed it.
Then the young aviator proceeded to the automobile.

“Can’t I help you some?” inquired the farmer, accommodatingly.

“If you will loan us a tin pail for a bit it will be of service to us,”
replied Dave. “There is plenty of spare gasoline in the auto tank,
Hiram,” he explained.

It did not take the boys long to transfer enough of the gasoline to last
the _Comet_ for a home flight. Dave arranged to fly the machine and
directed Hiram to take charge of the automobile.

It was about two o’clock in the afternoon when the adventurers reported
on the aero grounds. Mr. Brackett was delighted at their success and
Elmer was fairly overjoyed. No damage whatever had been done to the
biplane, it was found, after a careful inspection of the machine.

“I say, Dave,” spoke Hiram, as he and his chief sat eating a fine dinner
sent by Mr. Brackett from the restaurant; “there’s a good deal about
this business that puzzles me.”

“I suppose that is true,” responded the young aviator, with a slight
smile. “What principally is troubling you, Hiram?”

“Why, the whole proceeding. If somebody wanted to put us out of
business, why didn’t they sink the airship somewhere or burn it up?”

“I think they counted on the _Comet_ remaining undiscovered until long
after the other entries had started,” said Dave.

“Spite, then?” suggested Hiram.

“No, I don’t think that.”

“Then if that Vernon had anything to do with it——”

“I am satisfied that he did,” declared Dave. “His object was not to keep
Elmer from getting out of the country, though.”

“Why, what else could it be?” questioned Hiram in wonderment.

“I shall tell you later, Hiram,” replied Dave in quite a serious way.
“The fact is, there are some things about stealing the airship that I do
not entirely understand myself. When I have posted myself on those
details, I fancy I shall have a decidedly interesting story to tell you
and Elmer.”

“Say, can I ask you one question?” propounded Hiram, and then, as Dave
nodded in assent, he added: “Has that girl, and your visit to the city
and the appearance of Vernon at the Hampton Flats got anything to do
with it?”

“Everything, in my opinion,” answered the young airman, gravely.

“Humph!” commented Hiram. “A romance and a mystery, eh?”

“Hardly, Hiram,” responded Dave gravely. “It is business, pure and
simple. I will say this much to you at the present time: whatever
dealings I am having with Mr. Deane, the father of the girl you saw, may
involve all the skill and nerve the crew of the _Comet_ have at their

The young airman had given his interested assistant a good deal to think
over. Hiram, however, and in fact everybody about the place, were soon
immersed in things strictly professional. At noon the following day the
race around the world was to start. There were not a large number of
entries, but every individual contestant had his own pet machine and his
coterie of friends and admirers.

The field was a lively scene all day. The various machines made trial
flights. Then there was the packing of supplies, which necessarily had
to be of limited volume. All of the contestants in turn visited the
office of the Aero Association to receive definite route instructions.
There was a good deal of red tape to go through, credentials to secure,
and arrangements made for reporting progress to headquarters from set
points along the route.

The young aviator and his assistants spent nearly an hour over a blue
print map which had been furnished each of the contestants by the
management of the event. Hiram got out a geography and studied out the
situation in a more detailed way. Elmer, at the suggestions of Dave,
made two copies of the list of points from which the _Comet_ was to
report progress.

The boys were interrupted in this congenial work by the appearance of
one of the hangar men at the door of the living tent. He beckoned to
Dave, who at once went outside, received some message, and called back
to his friends:

“I’ve got to go to the city, fellows. Won’t be over two hours. Keep a
close watch on everything until I get back.”

“Wonder what’s up now?” remarked Hiram, speculatively. Then he went to
the door and looked out. “H’m,” he observed, “Dave has a good deal of
mysterious business on hand, it seems to me.”

“Where has he gone?” asked Elmer only casually, for he was deeply
absorbed in his work.

“To the city he said, and say, in that same automobile that brought the
young lady here day before yesterday.”

“Well, it must be something important to take Dave away from here at
just this time,” commented Elmer.

The young aviator reappeared about two hours later. The chauffeur who
had come for him brought him back. Dave came into the living tent all
briskness and cheery as usual. The watchful Hiram, however, whispered
cautiously to Elmer that “he acted as if he had something heavy on his

The boys made frequent visits to the _Comet_ during the evening. Hiram
noticed that Dave seemed very solicitous that a double watch should be
kept over the machine during the night. He hired two extra men to spell
the regular watchmen, and gave them close directions as to their care of
the biplane.

A band of music woke up the three young airmen early in the morning. It
announced a reception to some French experts who had arrived to take
part in the international flights. Dave was out of bed first, as usual,
and bolted out of the place, anxious to see if all was well with the

Hiram and Elmer began to dress. They felt buoyant and eager for the work
of the day. In sport, as Elmer finished dressing first, he made a grab
for the pillow on the cot Dave had occupied and sent it hurtling at the
head of his companion.

“That’s the last pillow you’ll see for a long time to come,” he
announced. “Hello! Why, Hiram, look here!”

The speaker stood stock still, gazing spellbound at the head of the cot
whence he had taken the pillow. Hiram, joining him, looked down like
himself in sheer, startled wonder.

                               CHAPTER IX

                         THE PATH OF THE EAGLE

“Well, I declare!” almost shouted Hiram Dobbs.

“I should say so,” vociferated Elmer. “You see, Dave in his hurry forgot
that package under his pillow. There’s a photograph——”

“Of the girl who came in the automobile! What is it Dave calls her? Oh,
yes—Edna Deane.”

“And that pile of bank bills, Hiram!” cried the astounded Elmer, as he
gingerly flicked over the edge of a heap of bills surrounded by an
elastic band. “Big bills! See, look! Why, there must be hundreds there!”

“Hundreds?” repeated Hiram, equally dumbfounded, like his comrade. “See
the printed figures on that paper band—‘$5,000.’ Don’t touch them, cover
them up. It’s Dave’s business, and we have no right to spy into his
affairs. All the same—thunder!”

Elmer replaced the pillow. Then both boys sat down on stools and stared
at the cot and then at each other.

“It’s a mystery,” broke out Elmer, after a tantalizing spell of silence.
“What’s Dave doing with all that money? It puzzles me.”

“No, it’s what is he going to do with it,” corrected Hiram. “You can
make up your mind, it’s business. The girl’s picture I can’t exactly
figure out. Dave will explain it all when the right minute comes. Here
he is now.”

Somewhat flushed, the young aviator came hurrying into the tent. Hiram
pretended to be arranging his necktie and Elmer was lacing a shoe. Dave
proceeded to the bed and threw aside the pillow. He stored the package
he found there in an inside pocket.

“You want to hurry, fellows,” he said. “There’s a lot to do this
morning, you know.”

There was so much to do, that after a hurried breakfast the crew of the
_Comet_ found every minute occupied for the ensuing two hours. The
_Comet_ was in perfect trim for the start. There were a hundred little
things to think of in the way of supplies and duplicate parts of
machinery. Mr. Brackett appeared on the scene early, and went over the
biplane he understood so well with the care and anxiety of an automobile
owner entering his pet car for a race.

All the time bands were playing, banners flying, and a vast concourse of
people had gathered. There was a speech from the president of the
National Aero Association, with the contestants to the fore. The young
airman and his friends went down the line, looking over the various
machines that were to take part in the event. Each one bore a numeral,
and had some distinctive mark that gave it a clear identity.

“We are number three,” said Hiram. “That was always my lucky number. I
went to school three years, got licked three times before I left and
worked three years on the farm. This is the third big event I’ve had
anything to do with, there are three of us——”

“Three cheers for number three!” cried Elmer. “There’s father beckoning
to me. No, he wants us all, fellows.”

Our hero and the aero manufacturer had talked over all business details
earlier in the morning. The kind-hearted Mr. Brackett, however, could
not see his proteges start out on a long and perilous flight without a
few words of fatherly counsel. He gave them some sensible advice, and
Dave fancied he looked with considerable pride at Elmer. It was with
satisfaction that the indulgent father compared the present courageous
ambitions of his son with the useless life the prodigal had once led.

A bell was rung at the grandstand. This was the half-hour preparation
signal. The airmen now proceeded to their machines. The scene became one
of lively activity and gay colors. The _Comet_, neat, compact and
perfect, showed up for the beautiful piece of mechanism it was in the
clear, dazzling sunlight. Its crew, nattily attired, seemed to fit into
a pleasing natural picture.

There was no expectation of a general uniform start when the second bell
rang. With the long perilous journey before them, it was a matter of
small consequence starting on the moment. Some of the aeroplanes, in
fact, would not be in line for some hours to come. Ever ready at the
business call, however; always on time as a matter of principle, the
young pilot of the _Comet_ wasted no time. Number three was the first to
leave the field, and got all the first overflow of cheers and
enthusiasm. Until a course due northwest was attained, Elmer and Hiram
sat waving to the little group outside of their abandoned hangar. Mr.
Brackett kept them in sight until the _Comet_ was a fading blur, a mere
speck in the far distance. The splendid machine struck its best gait
staunchly, steadily, leaving a gasoline trail behind.

The boys had talked so much over the trip—they understood the _Comet_ so
well, that everything went like clockwork. Elmer had charge of the maps
and charts. Hiram insisted on being purser extraordinary. All hands were
prepared for any emergency that might arise.

The Aero Association had mapped out the general route the contestants
were to pursue. None was tied to rigid rules, however, outside of
reporting at certain stations. All this had been arranged by letter and
cable. The first reporting stop was to be made at Chicago, the next at
Winnipeg. Between all reporting points, the contestants could follow
their own route. They could land when they chose. Each one, however,
must report at the stations designated and secure the credentials
necessary to prove that he was still in the race.

The route chart showed towns and cities where an aero club or interested
airman could be located. These would also answer as repair and supply
stations. Even in foreign countries, so far as could be arranged, the
contestants would be able to locate friends and receive succor or
assistance as needed.

“We are going to blaze a great international trail,” observed Hiram,

“That is, if we get through all right,” remarked Elmer.

“Oh, we’ve got to do that,” proclaimed his light and airy comrade. “The
_Comet_ was made to do it. I wonder how many of the others will even
reach Canada?”

“There were twelve entries,” spoke their pilot. “I will say, a finer lot
of machines never started a flight. Of course they won’t all get

“It will be kind of lonesome when we get pretty well scattered, and
trailing over some desert or water waste, way out of range of
civilization; eh, fellows?” suggested Elmer.

The _Comet_ made a non-stop run of nearly two hundred miles. It was
mid-afternoon when they descended half-way across a high mountain range.
Dave went all over the machine and Elmer oiled and cleaned up the
bearings. Hiram gathered some scraps for a little fire, and they had hot
coffee, as well as ham broiled on long forks, and the rest of a really
good meal.

Then there was a pleasant chat, some exercise, and they were all aboard
again and driving through a brief mountain rainstorm, coming into clear
weather beyond.

Before dusk Hiram reported four competitors visible through his field
glass. Two of them came pretty near to the _Comet_, and one signalled
them. Then their routes deviated, and after a second landing the boys
got ready for a six-hour steady night run.

About two o’clock in the morning they landed in a convenient field. The
register showed four hundred and ninety-two miles accomplished in a
little less than fourteen hours, almost straight flying.

It was late in the afternoon of the day following that the _Comet_ came
to a stop on the aero grounds just outside of Chicago. From having been
there before and from their description chart, Dave was able to locate
the place readily.

No meet was on at the time, but enthusiastic brother airmen were on hand
expecting an arrival. Amid cheers and warm hand clasps, the tired crew
of the _Comet_ were greeted royally.

There was a blackboard outside the office building of the course. As
they neared it Hiram uttered a triumphant chuckle. Its surface was
unmarked until a man approached it, and chalked on its line the first
arrival from starting point.

“_No. Three—the Comet._”

                               CHAPTER X

                            A MIDNIGHT ALARM

“Why, hello, Hiram Dobbs!”

The young sub-pilot of the _Comet_ turned quickly at the hail. It was
half an hour after the arrival at the Chicago aero grounds. Hiram felt
pretty important over the royal reception his comrades and himself had
received from the aviation officials. Never too proud to greet a friend
of humbler pretensions, however, he turned with his usual broad smile of
good nature. Then he shot out his hand heartily.

A pale, thin lad, somewhat poorly dressed, had accosted him. Pleased and
eager, he clasped the hand Hiram extended.

“Well,” exclaimed the latter, “if it isn’t Will Mason! How in the world
do you come to be here?”

“You,” answered the lad promptly—“you’re to blame for my getting a
splendid outdoor job, fine pay and jolly good people to work for,” and
the speaker’s eyes twinkled.

“Let’s see,” said Hiram, ruminating. “It was at Columbus I met you;
wasn’t it?”

“Yes, too sick to keep drudging my life away in the poison air of the
zinc works,” nodded Will. “The doctor said I’d last a month longer,
maybe. But there was mother, and I had to stick at my post till you
kindly interested yourself in me.”

“And Dave Dashaway did the rest by getting you placed with the Chicago
crowd; eh?” added Hiram. “It worked out? Good!”

“It worked out because you started the machinery,” declared the grateful
Will. “Oh, it’s fine, Mr. Dobbs.”

“Hey! what? Wow! O-oh, my!” and, forgetting all dignity, Hiram fell
against a hangar rope and almost roared. “‘Mister!’” he gasped. “First
time in my life I was called that. It will be ‘Professor’ next. Oh, but
I’m getting on in the world. I suppose it may come to ‘Sir Hiram Dobbs,’
unless we fall down somewhere along the line. Then it will be back to
plain Hiram, or just ‘Hi.’ I’m Hiram to my friends, though, always; so
call me that and I’ll think you are really a friend.”

Will Mason was bubbling over with delight at his vastly improved
condition and heartfelt gratitude towards the true friends who had
helped him attain it. He was full of the subject and Hiram had to listen
to the details.

Will told how he had a position clear up to the end of the year and a
dozen prospects for the next season.

“It’s only helping around the hangars for the present,” he explained;
“but Mr. King sent word that as soon as he gets well he will give me a
regular place among his assistants. I’ve been able to send quite a bit
of money to mother. This week there are some amateur airmen here who
want special care for their machines, and I’m making a heap of extras.”

“Grand!” commended Hiram. “You’ll make it. You’re the kind that will.”

“And I feel so much better in health,” added Will. “I’ve gained ten
pounds, and I feel just like a bird let out of its cage. That’s your
machine over yonder; isn’t it?” asked Will, indicating the _Comet_,
which was surrounded by interested investigating airmen.

“That’s the winner of the international race around the world, yes,”
proclaimed Hiram grandly.

“She looks it,” enthused Will. “I wanted to ask you about the biplane.
You’re going to stay here till morning, aren’t you?”

“Yes, I guess that is the programme,” replied Hiram.

“Then you want to house the machine. I heard that some one stole the
_Comet_. It was talked around here that some wanted to put the _Comet_
out of the race because of her good chances.”

“Oh, is that so?” remarked Hiram.

“So, if you want the machine well taken care of,” proceeded Will, “give
me the pleasure of doing it. You see that hangar over yonder—the one
built of light cement blocks? It’s a remodeled storehouse. Belongs to
Mr. Givins, a rich amateur. I take care of his machine when it’s here.
He took a run up to Milwaukee this morning, and won’t be back until
to-morrow, he said. There isn’t a safer, cleaner, more roomy place on
the grounds. You see the windows are barred and there is a great big
lock on the doors.”

“Why, say, that’s just famous,” said Hiram. “Dave will be glad to know
of such good accommodations as you offer, Will.”

“Besides,” continued the hangar lad, “I’ll sleep in the place all night.
Nobody will run away with the _Comet_ while I am on watch.”

“I believe you,” cried Hiram buoyantly. “Come on, I want you to meet
Dave. He will be mighty glad to see you.”

Number eight of the contestant group came in at dusk. Number eleven, a
high power machine, reported an hour later. A wire had come from
Pittsburgh announcing the smash—up of number five, nobody hurt, but
machine totally disabled and permanently out of commission.

The young pilot of the _Comet_ had some very pleasant words for Will
Mason. The offer of the hangar lad to take charge of the _Comet_ for the
night was entirely satisfactory. The local airmen vied in showing
attention to their guests, and the eight hours stop was an enlivening
break in the long expedition before them.

“What’s that you’ve got in that box, Hiram?” asked our hero, as they
left the association building.

“Some of those fine dainties they set before us at that reception
lunch,” reported Hiram. “I tipped the waiter to put it up for me. For
Will Mason, you see.”

“That’s good,” commended Dave, “Will is a fine-going fellow.”

“Yes, and proud as can be to think you’ll trust him to keep any
stragglers away from the _Comet_.”

The boys decided to look in on the machine before returning. A knock at
the door of the hangar brought a sharp mandatory challenge from the
vigilant guardian inside.

“Who is there?” demanded Will, approaching the portal.

“Midnight lunch for the watchman!” cried Hiram, in a jolly tone.

“Enter midnight lunch,” ordered Will, unlocking and swinging open the

“You are pretty fine and cozy here,” remarked Dave.

A lantern burned on a shelf. Will had made a comfortable bed on a tilted
board. He smacked his lips as Hiram disclosed the contents of the box.

“Why, it is a regular banquet,” declared the pleased lad. “What with
that and my reading there’s no danger of my going to sleep.”

Hiram picked up a book lying on the shelf and read its title.

“H’m,” he remarked, “‘Advanced Aeronautics—1850.’ Say, this must seem
queer along with the flying machines of to-day.”

“It’s almost funny in places,” explained Will. “I wonder what those old
fellows with their big awkward gas bags would think of the nifty machine
here, and a trip around the world in it, easy as a Pullman sleeper.”

“We don’t know that yet,” observed Dave. “There are probably some very
unusual experiences ahead of us.”

“Oh, well, we’ll take it as it comes, a section at a time,” said Hiram.
“With Dave Dashaway at the helm, we simply can’t fail.”

They were a sanguine, light-hearted group. The crew of the _Comet_
chatted in a friendly way with Will for a few minutes. Then the trio
repaired to a little hotel just outside the grounds. The association had
made arrangements for them there. The young airman left word to be
called at daylight and the comrades were shown to a doubled-bedded room.

“This is pretty fine,” observed Hiram, bunking in with Elmer and
stretching himself luxuriously. “There won’t be a lot more of it for
some time to come, so let’s see who can sleep soundest.”

Our hero was certainly the expert aviator of the group. He did not carry
off the laurels in the slumber field, however. His comrades wrapped in
profound sleep, Dave awoke and with a shock.

It must have been about three o’clock. It seemed to the young airman as
though a cannon had gone off near by. His ears still rang with the
echoes. Dave found the window frames of the room were still rattling.

“Wonder what that was?” he mused. He glanced towards the windows, but
there was no glare of fire. Perfect stillness reigned outside. About to
leave the solution of the question until daybreak, our hero listened
intently as he heard someone in the next room spring from bed, cross the
room hurriedly and apparently pick up a telephone receiver.

“Hello. This the hotel office?” fell upon Dave’s hearing. “All right.
Say, what was that just went off? Wait a minute? All right.”

There was a brief lapse of silence. Then the bell in the next apartment
rang out sharply. A message seemed to come over the wire, the young
airman could catch its crackling echoes.

“What’s that!” exclaimed the man at the ’phone. “Explosion at the aero
grounds? Is that so? Hangar and machine blown to pieces! What was it?
Oh, dynamite! Well! well!”

With a start and a thrill the young aviator sprang out of bed.

                               CHAPTER XI

                                IN PERIL

“Wake up, Hiram,” shouted our hero, seizing the arm of his sleeping
assistant, who, rolling against Elmer, jogged him into wakefulness also.

“Ah, what did you say?” droned Hiram. “I was just dreaming that we were
on the last home stretch with the _Comet_ and——”

“Hurry up and dress, fellows,” ordered the young airman, rapidly.

“Why, it isn’t daylight yet,” remonstrated Elmer, with a drowsy stare.

“No,” answered Dave, seriously. “But there is some trouble over on the
aero grounds, and we may be interested.”

“Say,” cried Hiram, fully aroused at the announcement, “you don’t mean
trouble for the _Comet_?”

“I don’t know,” replied Dave. “There was an explosion. The man in the
next room heard it, too. He called up the hotel clerk, and he told him
that a hangar and its machine had been blown to pieces. Take everything
with you, fellows,” advised the young airman. “We won’t come back here,
even if this affair doesn’t affect us.”

“Do you think it does?” inquired Elmer anxiously. “How could there be an
explosion of an airship? Yes, I’m ready.”

The boys hurried down the stairs. Dave, in the lead, found two men who
had machines on the aero grounds. They, too, had been aroused and were
questioning the clerk.

“All I got over the ’phone from the office on the grounds was what I
told you,” the clerk was saying—“building and machine blown to pieces.”

“Let’s hurry,” said Hiram anxiously, as they reached the street. The two
men from the hotel ran along with them. They overtook others, aroused by
the explosion, and discussing it and trying to figure out what it might

The guard at the gate of the grounds knew no more than what the boys had
already learned. He said, however, that several from the office building
had gone to the scene of the trouble. Half way across the field, a
hangar man running to the office building with information, met them.

“What’s the trouble?” inquired one of the hurrying group.

“One of the hangars blown up—dynamite, I guess,” was the reply.


“No, looks more like malicious spitework. The superintendent and his men
are trying to find out.”

Our hero and his comrades could see lanterns moving about over at the
row of hangars where the _Comet_ was housed. Another man from the scene
was halted by them, and Dave asked quickly:

“Which one of the hangars was blown up?”

“The concrete one—the one the _Comet_ was in.”

Hiram uttered a groan. Dave grew pale with anxiety and distress. Elmer
grasped hold of his arm as if the blow had made him reel.

“Dave,” spoke Hiram, in a trembling tone, “they stole our machine back
at Washington. They’ve destroyed it, now!”

The young airman did not reply. His lips tightly compressed to hide his
emotion, he hurried on. Then they all came to a stop. In dismay they
stood staring at a mass of ruins—what was left of the wrecked hangar.

Pieces of concrete blocks littered the ground in all directions. Parts
of an airship mechanism showed in the glare of the lanterns. The young
aviator felt sick all over. He had known all along what there was to
fear. His mind was quickly decided as to the motive and source of the
vandal act.

“Dave,” suddenly whispered Hiram, in a shaking tone, “the _Comet_ is
gone! That may not matter, for we might get another machine, but—what
about Will Mason?”

Dave thrilled at the question. He steadied himself as he best could, and
touched the superintendent of the grounds, who was standing nearby, on
the arm.

“There was somebody in the hangar,” he said.

“We suppose so,” replied the official, gravely. “Young Mason slept there
nights and——”

“I’m all right,” interrupted an excited but clear voice, and the person
under discussion came into view pulling on his sweater. “Just woke up,
and they told me about this.”

“Will! Will!” spoke Dave, grasping the hand of the hangar lad fervently.
Elmer was crying for joy. Hiram threw an arm about the young fellow and
fairly hugged him.

“Oh, nothing matters so long as you wasn’t blown to pieces along with
the machine,” almost sobbed the loyal Hiram. “How was it—how did you get

“I wasn’t in,” replied Will. “When I moved the _Comet_ out——”

“When you what?” shouted Hiram, in a frenzy of suspense.

“Why, I guess you’re thinking your machine was blown up,” said Will.

“Of course we do,” answered Elmer.

“Well, the _Comet_ is all snug and safe in that fourth hangar down the
row. The man who owns the wrecked hangar came in with his machine
shortly after midnight. He routed me up, and I got the _Comet_ out and
his biplane in. I promised you I would keep an all-night watch over your
biplane, and stayed with it.”

“Oh, Dave, I’m so glad!” cried Hiram, in a tone of immense relief.

The young pilot of the _Comet_ left the group and drew the
superintendent to one side.

“This is a pretty mysterious happening,” that official had just

“I may be able to throw some light upon it,” said Dave, in a very
serious way. “I feel certain that the explosion was intended to destroy
the _Comet_.”

“Is that so!” exclaimed the superintendent. “Then it was done by

“Yes,” affirmed Dave, positively. “I think the Association people should
know about it. Perhaps some search can be made for the persons who did
the work. You know, the _Comet_ was stolen from the grounds near

“It seems to me I did hear something about that,” replied the official.

“We did not say much about it at the time,” went on Dave; “but I had my

“What were they?”

“Someone was very much interested in keeping us out of the race,”
explained the young airman.

“You mean professional rivals?”

“I won’t say that positively,” responded Dave, “although expert airmen
certainly shared in the Washington end of the plot. I cannot doubt that
instructions were sent to confederates here at Chicago to catch the
_Comet_ and finish the work.”

“You can’t name any one in this outrage; can you, Dashaway?” inquired
the superintendent, roused up to a high pitch of excitement and

“I have a suspicion as to the person at the bottom of the scheme,”
answered Dave. “I have a further idea as to the men who are carrying out
instructions, but I have no positive proof as to their guilt. Neither of
them is probably here. No, they must have wired accomplices at this
point. All I can say is, that hired emissaries in a big plot to keep us
out of this race are probably posted and instructed all along the line,
determined to carry out their plan to prevent our making the
world-circling flight.”

“I must report this to the officers of the association at once,
Dashaway,” said the superintendent.

Hiram had sidled up to Dave. He seized the arm of the latter in a
detaining grip as he was about to move nearer to the ruins of the

“See here, Dave Dashaway,” he said, earnestly, “there’s a lot you are
keeping to yourself, and I’ve a right to know what it is.”

“I think so, too,” replied the young airman at once. “I saw no good
accomplished by worrying you with that I only guessed, until this
explosion occurred. Now I feel it a duty to share my knowledge with you
and Elmer, just as you are sharing the risk and danger of this journey.
As soon as we get started again, I will have an interesting story to
tell you.”

“All right, Dave,” agreed Hiram, “only I’m terribly anxious and curious.
Can I ask you just one question?”

“Yes, if you choose,” replied Dave.

“Is the man behind all this trouble the fellow I have all along
guessed—that fellow, Vernon?”

“You needn’t guess it,” answered Dave. “You have hit it just right. It
is Vernon.”

                              CHAPTER XII

                            THE SECRET TOLD

“Now then, Dave, we are all ready to hear that promised story of yours,”
said Hiram Dobbs.

“Yes,” added Elmer Brackett, “there’s no danger of any spies or
eavesdroppers in this lonely place.”

It was a lonely place, indeed. Half a week in time and over a thousand
miles in distance removed from the Chicago aero grounds, the three young
airmen were taking a rest in the midst of a far-spreading Canadian

Right at the spot where they were camping was a knob, or hill. At its
bottom, a level stretch of some extent, there spread about a vast, wild
swamp. This afforded a good anchor spot for the biplane. The _Comet_
rested on its base somewhat travel-stained, but staunch and reliable as
at the start. The crew of the machine looked as if they had never felt
better in their lives. Wind, rain and sun had begun to brown them up
like gipsies. Energy showed in their clear, vigilant eyes, and
confidence and ambition in every movement they made. They had just
dispatched what Elmer had described as “a royal feast,” which sharp
appetites had fully enjoyed. Then, each of the trio outstretched on the
grass, they luxuriated in a restful position that a rigid posture in the
_Comet_ during a day of hard traveling had not allowed.

“All right, fellows,” said the young airman, “I guess the time has come
when it is safe for you to know what you have called a great secret.”

“Yes, out with it, Dave,” urged Hiram, “I’ve been dying with curiosity
ever since I got a hint that some big mystery was afoot.”

“It is less of a mystery than an important piece of professional work,”
explained our hero. “I didn’t tell you about it at Washington, because I
was in doubt myself. When we escaped that explosion at Chicago, I was
afraid it would unnerve and worry you to have a dread and uncertainty on
your mind. I really thought something was going to happen to us at
Winnipeg. It didn’t. We’re ahead or out of range of the enemy now, I
feel pretty certain. To sum it all up, I hardly think we will be
interfered with again—at least this side of the first Coast station,

“No, it doesn’t look as if anybody would try to chase us through three
thousand miles of wilderness,” remarked Elmer.

“Anyway, there has been no sign of it so far,” said Dave.

“Provided that tramp monoplane we noticed at Winnipeg isn’t sneaking
around somewhere,” put in Hiram, quite seriously.

Dave smiled, and Elmer laughed outright, with the words:

“That was all fancy.”

“Was it?” protested Hiram, getting excited. “I tell you, that
black-looking machine was after something. You two didn’t see it as many
times as I did. There wasn’t an airman I questioned who recognized the
machine. It was a tramp, a pirate, and you won’t convince me that it
wasn’t hanging around purposely to make somebody trouble.”

“Well, we missed it, if it was the _Comet_ they were after,” said Dave.
“Now then, fellows.”

With a business like air Dave took from his pocket a box-like envelope.
He proceeded to undo its flap. Then he drew out its contents. Just as
his peering comrades expected, the young aviator revealed a heap of bank
notes and a photograph.

“Hold on, Dave,” interrupted Hiram, as his friend was about to speak;
“we don’t want to hide anything from you. We have seen that money and
picture before.”

“Oh, is that so?” asked Dave, in some surprise.

“Yes,” and Hiram related when and where.

“No harm done,” said Dave lightly. “You are good, true chums, I see
that. About this packet: Its story leads back to the day that a young
lady in an automobile came up to our hangar near Washington. Her name is
Edna Deane, and her father is General Deane, a man of some means. His
son, Morris Deane, was a noted traveler and explorer. For over two years
he has been missing. It was not until quite recently that his devoted
father and sister learned that he was either dead or a prisoner.”

“A prisoner?” exclaimed the interested Hiram. “A prisoner? Tell me how
and where, Dave?”

“In the heart of Thibet, thousands and thousands of miles away from
here. It is a strange story, fellows, and a serious one. It seems that
young Deane in his travels ventured to enter the great sacred city of
Lhassa. It meant death or permanent imprisonment, but he risked it.
There he disappeared. His anxious father and sister know this, but
nothing further. They tried to hire detectives and daring adventurers
outside of that profession to penetrate to his place of captivity.
Knowing the peril, none would go. It appears that it is almost
impossible to reach Lhassa by land or water. Every road is guarded to
keep out intruders. General Deane knew Mr. King. The thought came to him
that an airship might accomplish what ordinary vehicles of travel could

“I see,” said Hiram. “That might be all right, if it was simply a dive
and a quick rescue.”

“Which it will not be,” replied Dave, “for the information General Deane
has gathered up as to the exact fate or whereabouts of his son is very
vague. Well, as I said, the General went to Mr. King. Our old friend is
laid up, as you know. He directed the general to us, knowing about the
intended trip around the world. That little business lady, Miss Deane,
came to see me. Then I went to her father.”

“And he gave you all that money to undertake the search for his missing
son?” guessed Elmer.

“Not at all,” replied Dave. “He told me a story that not only interested
me, but excited my sympathy greatly. A year ago an uncle of Morris Deane
died, leaving an enormous estate. The relative left the estate to a man
who had been his nurse and private secretary for years. His name is
Arnold Wise. It seems he is a perfect villain, and that is not putting
it one bit too strong, I think.”

“What about him?” pressed the curious Elmer.

“According to the terms of the will, Wise was to inherit the estate,
unless within two years Morris Deane appeared and claimed it. At the
time he made his will, the uncle had about made up his mind that his
nephew was dead.”

“Suppose he turns up or is found?” inquired Hiram.

“Then Wise is to deliver the estate over to him minus one hundred
thousand dollars, which will be his rightful share. The uncle left a
note urging Wise to seek for his missing nephew.”

“Did he do it?” asked Elmer.

“Yes, he did, and found out something, the general and his daughter
believe, although he reported to them that young Deane was surely dead
long since. They finally got to believing that Wise was wicked enough to
think of having the rival heir put out of the way. Later events proved
that he is a cruel, soulless man. This brings us to our old-time enemy,

“Aha! he’s mixed up with it, too?” cried Hiram.

“You remember that you discovered Vernon lurking around the hangars that
night near Washington?”

“Yes, and later coming out of the house where the Deane family lived,”
added Hiram.

“Well, I am now satisfied that Vernon overheard my entire first
conversation with Miss Edna Deane. Also that later he sneaked into
Hampton Flats, and probably overheard enough more to suggest a new
scheme to that crafty mind of his. At all events, there was a faithful
old servant of the dead uncle who had been retained by Wise. She came to
the Deanes and told them that a man named Vernon had come to Wise and
told him that the general was sending an airship expedition to find his
missing son.”

“I begin to see the light,” remarked Hiram.

“From what happened later,” proceeded the young airman, “I am satisfied
that some bargain was made between Wise and Vernon. I believe that Wise
hired our old-time enemy to outwit us. I feel sure it was Vernon who got
somebody to run away with the _Comet_. Failing to stop us he wired
accomplices in Chicago to blow up the machine. We have gone so fast that
he probably was not able to reach us at Winnipeg. He is undoubtedly
supplied with plenty of money. I should not be surprised if he kept up
his game of trying to block us all along the route. That, fellows, is
the story. The money you see here is the sum of five thousand dollars,
supplied by General Deane to use if necessary to secure the release of
his son.”

“And the photograph, Dave?” inquired Hiram. “Keepsake, eh?”

“Not at all,” replied the young aviator. “That, shown to young Deane, if
we once find him, is a token that will convince him that we are sent by
friends. Fellows, I know you are like me—willing to do all you can for a
fellow being in trouble. It would be a grand, humane act if we
succeeded. The general places no limit to the reward, but I wouldn’t
listen to that kind of talk.”

“Good for you,” applauded Elmer. “Say, I only hope we can find Morris

“We are going to try to,” announced our hero, quietly, but in a
determined way. “Get out the chart, Hiram, and I’ll show you how I
believe we can take in Thibet without seriously losing time in the

Hiram arose to his feet to obey this direction, when Elmer got up and
began sniffing.

“I say, Dave,” he observed, “do you smell it? Smoke! There’s fire

                              CHAPTER XIII

                           AN EXCITING MOMENT

“Yes, there is smoke—and fire behind it!” cried Hiram. “And see—the wind
is changing—whew!”

The biplane boys had been so engrossed in their own affairs that they
had not noticed until now that a dense, high-up vapor had gradually
clouded the sun. All of a sudden, however, some new current of wind
drove the smoke downwards. As it struck the hill it wound around it like
a veil. It came so thick and fast that it began to choke and blind them.
Filmy cinders and a growing heat in the air were to be observed.

“See here, Dave,” spoke Hiram, “hadn’t we better get aloft?”

“Look at that now,” chimed in Elmer, pointing across the broad surface
of the hill.

The three young aviators stood quite spellbound for a moment, witnessing
a new and novel spectacle. The top of the knob was covered with a great
growth of dried-up weeds, fine and fibrous. From time to time, as the
branches dropped away from the parent stem, they had rolled or were
blown part way down the hill.

Great masses in the aggregate had lodged on shelves and crevices among
the rocks. Now the sweep of the strong breeze had suddenly arisen and
the suction of the hot, swirling air moved these accumulations. They
blew over each other and together. Gaining a momentum, here and there
rounded masses began to wad up and grow as they progressed in their mad

“I have heard of those,” said the young airman. “They are called

“Snowballs!” shouted the excitable Hiram. “Look at that now!”

A blast of hot air sent a perfect shower of sparks and smoking filaments
over the brow of the hill. These ignited the rolling spheres, some of
which had become gigantic globes. At one time over a hundred of the
strange, rolling balls were set aflare.

“Fireworks!” added Elmer. “It’s a pretty sight, but—whoof!”

A great sphere, all ablaze, landed against the speaker, burst like
fluffy thistle down, and scorched him slightly.

“All aboard!” ordered Dave, sharply. “Don’t waste a second, fellows!”

“Yes, high time, I’m thinking,” declared Hiram, making a run for some
cooking utensils he had been using in preparing their lunch.

The _Comet_ as usual was in perfect shape for a speedy flight. Dave, at
the pilot post, his assistants in their accustomed places, a touch of
the self-starter sent them off on a sharp tangent away from the hill and
across the tinder-like fields of weeds.

“Just in time,” spoke Hiram, as they arose to a higher level, above the
crest of the hill. “There’s a grand sight for a fellow, if there ever
was one.”

Each of the aviators was enwrapt in the vivid panorama beneath them. Far
as they could look—south, north, and west—acres and miles of flame-swept
surface greeted their vision. By this time the sparks had ignited the
swamp. A solid wall of flame seized upon the dry stalks with a roar. The
hill was now the center of a glowing caldron of fire.

“That was pretty quick,” remarked Dave. “We were lucky to get warning in

In places where little thickets beneath them were burning, entire sight
of the ground was shut out for the heat or smoke. They were now too high
for the heat or smoke to reach them. The fire, however, was of
considerable extent, and even on the distant horizon there seemed no end
or beginning to the great conflagration.

They passed over a long lake. It was shallow, but at that spot the body
of water had presented a barrier to the immediate forward progress of
the flames.

“See,” spoke Hiram, “the fire is eating around the edges of the lake to
the other side. Dave,” he suddenly shouted, “there’s a house!”

“Yes, and it’s on fire, too,” echoed Elmer.

The lake was about half a mile wide. Its beach was lined with clumps of
flags and reeds. These had fed the flames around the body of water in
two directions. At the south end of the opposite shore of the lake, the
fire had entirely surrounded a small, cultivated patch with a rude log
cabin in its center. This structure was blazing fiercely. To the west
and the far north the fire was sweeping in giant strides, licking up
everything that came in its path.

There was just one space between the onrushing and the backing up
section of the conflagration. This was a little stretch of beach. As
they approached it, the young aviator made a veer with the biplane that
told his companions of a sudden change of purpose.

“What is it, Dave?” asked Elmer, quickly.

“Don’t you see?” replied Dave. “There are a woman and child down there.”

“Gracious!” shouted Hiram—“why, so there are! She’s running for her
life! No, she’s stopped. Now she’s stepped into the water. She’s wading
in. Dave, Dave, do something!”

It was truly an exciting situation. All three of the boys now saw in
plain view the forlorn fugitives of the fire. A woman, terrified and
frantic, was visible. She carried a young child in her arms. Apparently
she had just come from the burning cabin.

Behind her a rushing wall of fire pursued. West and north a half-circle
of solid flame told her of impending doom. She ran out into the lake,
but there she faltered, not ten feet from shore. It seemed that she
realized that she could not get far enough beyond the fringe of flags to
escape the fire, and she stood rooted to the spot in helpless despair.

“We have a bare five minutes before the flames reach her,” said Dave,
his tone a trifle strained and unsteady, but determined. “Fellows, we
must take her aboard.”

“Can we land all right?” questioned Elmer.

“We’ve got to, even at a risk,” replied Dave.

“It means a big added weight,” suggested Hiram. “Something has got to go

“Lighten up the best you know how,” directed Dave rapidly.

It was no careless trick to land. Dave strained every sense and nerve to
carry out the projected rescue safely. Hiram and Elmer knew the part
expected of them. The former reached back in the pocket, or compartment,
containing their equipment and supplies.

“Help me, Elmer,” he said hastily. “Toss it out,” and he dragged a can
of water within reach, and his companion sent it whirling over the edge
of the machine.

Two out of four heavy rods, duplicates of a part of the steering outfit,
followed, then a large bag of sugar. Hiram selected from the food supply
articles that could be readily replaced at the first town they might

“That will do,” he announced, just as the _Comet_ sailed downward,
struck the ground, and glided to a stop.

                              CHAPTER XIV

                          THE TRAMP MONOPLANE

Instantly Hiram leaped from the machine, Elmer following him. The woman
had waded to a rocky reef coming up out of the water. There she had
sunk, throwing her apron over her head and clasping her babe close to
her breast.

She had not seen the airship. In fact, it was all the boys could do to
keep their eyes clear from smoke and cinders. Hiram ran straight out
into the water.

“Get up, lady, quick,” he cried, touching her arm. “We have come to get
you out of here.”

The woman shrieked in alarm, but dropped the covering from her face. Her
brain was reeling, it seemed, and her senses were benumbed by all the
strange happenings about her.

“Help me, Elmer,” directed Hiram, and together they drew her out of the
water and led her up to the biplane. She stared at it blankly.

“I—I don’t understand,” she said, and swayed in a lost manner, as if she
was about to swoon.

“Get her in, quick!” ordered Dave, with a glance ahead of them as a rain
of sparks flew over and past the machine.

The woman was now almost passive in the hands of her helpers. They got
her into the seat Elmer usually occupied, while he climbed over into the
space to its rear. Hiram got aboard. Then the _Comet_ shot up into the

The woman turned pale and shrank back. She clung to her little child and
stared wildly about her.

“Don’t be afraid, lady,” spoke Hiram, soothingly. “It’s all right. There
is no one else around here; is there?”

“Not a soul,” gasped the woman, faintly. “I was alone—all alone,” she
continued in a dreary tone. “Oh, it was awful, awful! I feared I would
never see my husband again.”

“May I ask where he is?” pressed Hiram.

“He went to Doubleday to get some winter supplies,” explained the woman.
“It takes three days. I hope he got there safely.”

The pilot of the _Comet_ and Elmer were able to hear all that was said
as their comrade patiently drew out her story. The burned cabin was the
only habitation in the wilderness district.

“How far away is this Doubleday?” inquired Hiram.

“It is about a hundred miles,” she explained; “nearly south of here.
There’s a sort of trail to follow through the valleys, but I guess it’s
all burned over.”

“Of course we will take the lady to Doubleday, Dave?” suggested Hiram.

“Yes, we must do that,” replied the young airman.

Twenty miles covered, the _Comet_ passed the extreme southern limit of
the fire. There was a full moon, and as darkness came on Dave was able
to still keep track of the landscape.

It was not quite nine o’clock in the evening when some scattering land
lights showed in the distance.

“That must be Doubleday,” spoke Hiram.

“I think it is,” said the woman. “I have been there only once or twice
with my husband. That little cluster of lights, I think, is the town

It was in the center of a vacant square back of this rambling old
frontier building, that Dave brought the _Comet_ to a halt. He left
Hiram and Elmer with the machine. The woman took leave of them with
grateful tears in her eyes.

“I hope my husband has not started back for home,” she said,
anxiously—“I hope he wasn’t caught in the fire.”

When they got around to the front of the inn, Dave inquired for her of
the landlord as to her husband. Abel Lyme, she said, his name was. The
tavern keeper said he was stopping there, but was probably just then at
the general store. His wife was so anxious, she could not wait for his
return. The young airman wished to secure some supplies to make up for
what they had been obliged to throw out of the _Comet_. Both went over
to the store.

It took Dave half an hour to get through with his business, ordering the
goods he bought sent at once up to the tavern. It took him half an hour
longer to get rid of the husband of the woman they had rescued. The
grateful fellow, poor as he was, paid hardly any attention to the loss
of his home. He was so thankful that the lives of his wife and child
were saved, so overcome with admiration of the daring exploit of Dave
and his comrades, that he overwhelmed the young aviator with offers of
reward clear down to his last dollar. On his return to the inn Dave
found his faithful assistants guarding the biplane and waiting for

“What’s the programme?” inquired Hiram briskly, but stretching himself
as if a good nap would not be unwelcome.

“It’s a fine night for traveling,” remarked the pilot of the _Comet_;
“but it has been rather a hard day for us. Every hour counts, of course,
but I think we may do all the better work for a little rest. Three or
four hours sleep will make us fresh for a non-stop moonlight run about

“That haymow over there strikes my fancy,” announced Elmer.

“All right,” replied our hero. “Take your turn. You, too, Hiram. I’ll
stay on guard duty till you spell me. I expect some supplies from the
general store here.”

“I reckon they’re coming now,” said Hiram. “I’ll stay and help you get
them aboard.”

A man with a loaded pushcart came into view from the front of the
tavern. He was noticed by the landlord, who talked with him and then
kept up with him until they neared the two young aviators.

“Why,” exclaimed the tavern keeper, with a stare at the _Comet_, “came
back, did you?”

“Eh?” spoke Hiram—“came back from where?”

“S-st!” warned Dave, in an instant making a broad guess, at least
canvassing a quick suspicion that came into his mind. Then he addressed
the landlord with the words: “We need some store supplies, and we’ll be
very much obliged if you will allow us to anchor here for a few hours.”

“Sure, sure,” answered the man readily. “This is an airship, really and
true; isn’t it now?” and the speaker walked clear around the machine,
inspecting it in open-mouthed wonder. “Well, well, what a contrivance.
I’ve seen pictures of these affairs. That’s how I knew what it was when
you flew over the town just after dusk.”

“H’m!” whispered Hiram, nudging his companion secretly. “I see.”

Dave “saw,” too. An airship had sailed over a few hours previous! As the
young aviator well knew, it was not the _Comet_. Naturally, it might be
some one of the other contestants in the great race around the world.
Thinking of his enemies, however, Dave was wise enough to remain wary
until he was sure of the identity of the machine referred to by the

“Where’s the man that came here about an hour ago?” questioned the
landlord, looking over the young airmen and beyond them.

Dave gave his hand a vague swing westward and skywards.

“Yes,” nodded the man, “I saw you go that way. Landed on Lookout Hill,
didn’t you? The man who came here to have his bottle filled said so. He
asked me if I had seen any other airships around here. There’s a good
many of you for such a light little machine as that of yours.”

The young airman let the landlord do most of the talking, replying
evasively. Some others, attracted by curiosity, approached the spot. It
was getting late, however, and nobody stayed long.

“Let’s see, where is Lookout Hill from here?” Dave asked carelessly of
the man with the pushcart, after the inn-keeper had gone away.

“That’s it,” said the man, pointing. “Where some one’s got a campfire,
it looks. See, right through the trees yonder, beyond the creek.”

“Oh, yes,” replied Dave. “Here’s a dollar for getting here so promptly
with those goods, and helping us.”

“Now then, Hiram,” said our hero, as the supplies were placed in the
biplane and they found themselves alone, “it is you and I for a council
of war.”

“I understand,” nodded his lively assistant—“you mean about the other

“Just that. One arrived here to-night, as you know.”

“The landlord mistook our machine for the one he saw.”

“Yes, and spoke of a man who came here later from the machine that
passed over the town,” added Dave. “That light the other fellow showed
us is probably the campfire at the landing place of the airship. I am
going to find out who is in charge of it, friend or foe.”

“Supposing it’s the pirate tramp we saw at Winnipeg?” propounded Hiram.

“Then we know our danger. They evidently are not aware that we are here.
You stay on guard here. It can’t be more than two miles to that
campfire. I will be back soon.”

“Going to spy on them?” suggested Hiram.

“Yes. I will be back and report just as soon as I find out who these
airmen are,” responded Dave.

He gave his comrade definite orders to arouse Elmer if anything
suspicious occurred, and to give an alarm at the tavern if help was
necessary. Then Dave started out on his lonely expedition.

Our hero knew nothing of the traversed route leading to Lookout Hill.
Fortunately the fire glow in the distance continued.

Dave followed a regular road. A lateral path led in the direction of the
hill. Arrived at its base, he made his way up one side.

“There is the campfire,” mused the young airman, as he passed through a
thicket on a level with the glow ahead of him. “Ah, just in time.”

Dave caught hold of a bush and took a downward swing. He saved himself a
good hard fall, however, by clinging to the bush. The whole face of the
plateau he found was full of treacherous pits. He proceeded slowly and
cautiously now.

A fringe of bushes surrounded the spot where the campfire was. Dave
crept to their edge. One glance with the radius of the dying glow of the
fire showed him an interesting picture.

At one side stood a monoplane. Its dark color and a peculiar arrangement
of the planes enabled our hero to recognize it at once.

“It is Hiram’s pirate tramp machine, sure enough,” reflected Dave, “and
the men.”

One of these was walking up and down in something of a rage, it seemed.
Propped up against a tree trunk was a second man, clasping a bottle.
This latter person was swaying as he sat. His eyes blinked. There was a
vacant expression to his face.

“It’s all right,” he was saying, in a maudlin state. “Want to sleep.”

“It’s all wrong, you mean!” raved the other man. “I want to tell you one
thing! I shan’t lose a chance of a thousand dollars to humor a
worthless, irresponsible reprobate like you. I simply won’t stand it.”

“Then—he! he! sit down,” chuckled the other—“like I do.”

“I’m through with you,” cried his companion, in tones of positive fury,
and shaking his fist at the other. “I’ll get the _Comet_ alone. Sleep,
you loafer, and when you wake up find your way back to Winnipeg on foot
as best you can.”

The speaker seized the half-filled bottle and dashed it to pieces on the
nearest rock.

“All right,” mumbled the sitter. “Get some more.”

“Bah, you wretch!” shouted his comrade, and he gave the swaying,
helpless man a kick that sent him onto his side with a groan.

“I’ll make it alone,” Dave heard the man mutter.

The young aviator knew his bearings now. There was not the least doubt
in the world that these two men were new emissaries of Wise through the
villain, Vernon. They had been hired to locate and destroy the _Comet_.

                               CHAPTER XV

                           STRICTLY BUSINESS

Our hero had accomplished his mission. He had learned all that he had
come to Lookout Hill to find out. The two men and their mysterious
machine had been located. Their connection as accomplices of Dave’s
enemies was positive.

“Here is something to think over before we make a definite move,”
reflected the young aviator. “These fellows will, of course, hear about
us if they go back to the town, which they probably will do. Then it
will be a new, closer chase.”

The professional curiosity of the pilot of the _Comet_ held him to the
spot momentarily. He made a detour of the campfire. His object was to
inspect the monoplane.

A score of ideas crowded Dave’s thoughts. He might tell his story to an
officer of the town, possibly have the tramp airship and its crew
arrested, or at least detained. Again, he might quietly start up the
_Comet_, strike a new route, and count on outdistancing all pursuers.

Dave glided along in the shelter of the underbrush until he came up
directly to the monoplane. A near glance told him that it was a superb
machine. Whoever the airmen hired by the wily Vernon were, they
thoroughly understood their business, that seemed sure.

The young aviator was so engrossed in his inspection of the machine,
thinking so fast as to what was best to do, that he was taken all
unawares as some one nearly ran upon him. It was the man he had just
seen at the campfire.

“Hello, who are you?” shot out the man, and he paused not five feet from
the young airman and looked him over from head to foot.

“I heard of your machine and came to take a look at it,” replied Dave,
on his guard and watching his challenger closely, for he had a bad face.

“Oh, you did?” said the fellow, moving a step nearer. “That’s a strange
jacket you wear. Why, you’re an airman yourself and—you’re Dashaway!”

The man was too quick for Dave. As he spoke he made a deft spring. It
showed that he was a natural acrobat. His grip on Dave’s arm was like

“Let me go. Suppose I am?” demanded our hero, struggling.

“Well, then I have a little business with you,” coolly answered his
captor. “Oh, you’re Dashaway. I saw you twice in Winnipeg. Come on. Tom!
Tom!” he called out loudly, to his companion, as he found himself unable
to budge his prisoner, although he weighed nearly double what Dave did.

The man near the campfire neither responded nor stirred. He was past
helping his comrade. There was a reason why the young airman was able to
make so sturdy a resistance. His free hand clutched a sapling right at
hand. His foot he had twisted in among the network of strong roots.

The combatants stood directly at the edge of one of the pits that
honeycombed the plateau. Its edge crumbled as the man gave Dave a jerk.

“Look out!” cried our hero, “if you don’t want both of us to get a

“You come on,” ordered his captor, savagely. “I’ll stand no fooling.

He gave Dave a terrific jerk. It was so forceful that our hero’s grasp
of the tree tore loose, and he toppled over. In doing so his assailant
lost his balance. He stumbled over Dave’s entangled foot. In some
astonishment the young aviator found the fellow had completely
disappeared as he got to his feet.

“He’s done for himself, sure enough,” said Dave, and he peered down into
the pit. It was about twenty feet deep. He heard a groan. Then he traced
a rustling about. His eyes becoming accustomed to the darkness, Dave was
finally enabled to make out his enemy trying to climb up the steep sides
of the pit.

The roots he clutched at gave way in his grasp and a shower of dirt and
gravel drove him back. The young aviator discerned that the man was not
seriously hurt. He realized also that sooner or later his enemy would
manage to get out of the pit. If not at once, at least when his now
helpless comrade came to himself, the man would be rescued.

“He is just where I want him,” thought the young aviator. “It won’t do
to leave him the machine.”

Dave walked up again to the flying machine. He soon estimated its
condition and capacity. He found it to be a capable piece of mechanism.

“Hi, stop—Oh, thunder!”

This was shouted out after the runaway as the machine lifted into the
air, Dave at the helm. Its rightful pilot spoke, but, his call barely
completed as he grasped at the edge of the pit, down he slid again to
its bottom.

Fifteen minutes later the machine dropped to earth in the field behind
the inn at Doubleday, not a hundred feet from the _Comet_. Hiram came
running towards it.

“You, Dave?” he called out cautiously.

“With company,” answered Dave promptly.

“Gracious! It’s the pirate tramp, isn’t it?” cried the astonished Hiram.
“Why, what does it mean? How did you manage it?”

“Don’t ask any questions just now,” responded the young airman. “Wake up

“We’re going to get out of here?”

“Quick as we can. There’s a reason.”

Hiram bolted for the haymow. Elmer very shortly came up to the spot
where Dave stood.

“For mercy’s sake, two of them!” he exclaimed, rubbing his eyes and
staring in surprise at the captured airship.

“Yes, this is the pirate,” explained the young pilot. “The fellows who
ran it tried to follow us from Winnipeg. Turn about is fair play,
fellows. Some of the same gang stole our machine near Washington for a
bad purpose. We will retaliate by borrowing theirs now for a good

“Yes,” put in Hiram, with animation, “get them and the machine safely
out of harm’s way.”

“I intend to,” said Dave. “You’ll have to fly the craft, Hiram.”

“I reckon I can do it,” asserted Hiram promptly. “What’s your idea,

“A two hours’ flight, due west. Then we will hold a new council of war.
We had best not delay. I don’t know how soon the fellow who runs that
craft may be on our trail.”

No one appeared to observe or hinder the airship boys as they made their
preparations to resume their journey. The pilot of the _Comet_ gave his
trusty assistant explicit orders as to what was required of him.

The biplane started first from the ground. In the clear moonlight its
course was not difficult to follow. Soon the leader and its consort were
started on a steady course, due west. Hiram was in gay humor. Dave had
explained the details of his encounter with the enemy, and the new pilot
of the pirate airship chuckled as he drove it forward.

The incident had fully awakened Elmer, and Dave found him good lively
company. There was a rare spice of adventure in the incident of the

“You handled things just grand,” voted Dave’s enthusiastic admirer. “I
wonder how those fellows are feeling just about this time?”

It was after midnight when the young aviator directed his companion to
take the distance record.

“Ninety-seven miles,” reported Elmer.

“I guess that will do,” said our hero. “We are going to land.”

A pleasant stretch of forest glade looked inviting. The _Comet_ came to
anchor. In about ten minutes the other machine made an easy descent
almost at the side of the _Comet_.

“Well done, Hiram,” commended his friend, warmly. “Your lessons under
old John Grimshaw are bringing famous results.”

“Glad you think so,” answered Hiram, with affected indifference, but he
looked both pleased and proud.

“It’s about midnight,” said Dave. “We will turn in soon as we can,
fellows. I will take the first watch.”

“Going to stay here until daylight?” inquired Hiram.

“Yes, and for a good breakfast,” replied the young airman. “We need the
rest, and there is little likelihood of our enemies catching up with us

“I should say not,” echoed Hiram with a chuckle.

“No, you have spiked their guns for keeps, Dave,” added Elmer.

It was a little later than sunrise when Hiram, on the last watch, woke
up his comrades. He had a fire of twigs going.

“Coffee on the boil, fellows,” he announced cheerily; “ham done to a
turn, and the bread being a little dry I thought we would have some
buttered toast.”

“Hurrah!” shouted the hungry and jubilant Elmer. “I feel as if I could
eat a horse.”

“Yes, this brisk Canadian air certainly gives a fellow a great
appetite,” declared Dave.

“Next town we stop at,” spoke Hiram, “I want to get some pancake flour.
I’ve been just hankering for some old fashioned flapjacks. I’ve got a
griddle among the traps, and I know I can turn out some elegant

“This is good enough for anybody,” insisted Elmer, his teeth deep in a
piece of luscious ham cooked to a turn.

“Say,” spoke Hiram a few minutes later, “I strolled around the end of
that grove of trees yonder before I woke you up. There’s a road just
beyond them, and there’s a town not half a mile away.”

“Is that so?” questioned the young aviator. “That suits my plans

“How is that?” asked Elmer.

“I will show you after breakfast,” replied Dave.

He got a pad of writing paper from the supply aboard the biplane. Dave
was busy writing for some time. Then he got the repair outfit of the

“Come on, you can help me,” he said to Hiram and Elmer.

The young airman partially upset the captured airship. His comrades very
soon understood what this manœuvre meant. Dave removed a dozen or more
screws and bolts. Then he unhinged alternate struts and set to work on
the engine. The parts removed were stored aboard of the _Comet_.

“I guess that will cripple the craft enough to serve our purpose,” said
Dave. “I don’t want to be a vandal and wholly destroy as pretty a
machine as this is.”

“Can’t afford to take any risks with the bad crowd trying to break us up
though,” reminded Hiram.

“I don’t intend to,” answered Dave. “It will take a long trip clear back
to Winnipeg to replace those parts. If those fellows we left back at
Doubleday come on after the machine, it will be fully a week before they
can think of taking up the chase again.”

“By that time we will have reached Alaska; won’t we, Dave?” queried

“And far beyond, if we fill the schedule blocked out,” replied the young
pilot of the _Comet_. “I’ll be back soon, fellows.”

Dave lined the grove of trees and was soon lost beyond it to the present
sight of his friends. In about half an hour he reappeared, walking

“It’s all right,” he reported. “Get the _Comet_ in trim.”

“Going to start up, eh?” remarked Elmer.

“We had better, I think, to avoid complications,” said Dave. “The town
beyond here has a telephone service probably, running to Doubleday. The
note I wrote told of the dismantled machine here. It also explained
enough to warrant a ’phone call, explaining about it, sent to Doubleday.
Those Winnipeg fellows can get their machine by coming for it.”

“You mean what is left of it,” corrected Hiram.

“I hired a boy I met to take my note to the postmaster of the town near
here,” explained the young aviator. “I think I have been as fair all
around as we can afford to be under the circumstances.”

“That’s right,” assented Hiram, with vigor, and Elmer echoed the

“The coast is clear—as far as Sitka, anyhow,” proceeded the young
airman. “And now, fellows,” he added briskly—“business, strictly

                              CHAPTER XVI

                          A SIBERIAN ADVENTURE

“Brrr-rr!” chattered Hiram Dobbs, with a shiver. “I say, Dave, have we
got to stand this much longer?”

“I sincerely hope not,” replied the young pilot of the _Comet_, in a
really concerned tone. “I hoped to outride the storm. But it appears to
me the snow is coming down thicker and faster every minute.”

“I’m just about drifted in,” piped up Elmer.

The scene was a vast void, a chaos. The three young airmen were much in
the situation of a ship driven before a blinding gale in unknown,
fog-covered waters. All bearings were lost. The angle glide was obscured
with snow; Dave resembled a great white statue. The biplane was the
rushing center of large driving flakes whirling in eddies all about

They had run thus for nearly an hour, but now the machine, staunch and
reliable as it was, threatened to depart from its usual good conduct
record. The planes were crusted and over-weighted. The bulk of snow
Hiram and Elmer tried to dislodge from other parts of the machine was
duplicated before they could go the entire rounds.

There had been several ominous creaks. Once the _Comet_ struck an air
pocket. Through some deft but dangerous skidding the pilot evaded this
peril. A sudden change in the wind almost precipitated a new

“I don’t know what we are going to strike,” said our hero; “but we’ve
got to make a landing. No machine could stand much more of this.”

“Good,” cried Hiram heartily, as the _Comet_ made a rapid dive that was
nearly a somersault. “It’s solid land all right. I was afraid it might
be water, and a ducking just now—brrr—rr!”

When Dave had told his friends way back in Canada that their motto must
be “business, strictly business,” he and they had set themselves
zealously to work to carry out the sentiment. Dave was an expert airman.
The _Comet_ was a noble machine of its type. They had met with “good
luck,” too, Hiram had insisted. The biplane crossed the vast stretch of
Canadian wilderness without a mishap.

At Sitka no new trap nor harmful attempt on the part of their enemies
had confronted them. A government official had been deputized by
telegraph from Washington to receive and identify the contestants as
they arrived. The crew of the _Comet_ were proud and happy to learn that
they were the first on the scene.

They rested a day at Sitka. Dave realized that the hardest part of the
route lay before them. It was no easy task to pilot a course past Cape
Prince of Wales, across Bering Strait and make sure of reaching
Stamavoie, a point in Kamchatka where arrangements had been made for
gasoline and other supplies.

Elmer had started keeping what he called a “log.” During the ensuing six
days he had some odd and spirited incidents to record. They had left the
mild fall weather behind them and encountered genuine wintry blasts. The
expert young pilot took no unnecessary risks. Their stops were frequent,
and for the most part fortunately they managed to land near settlements
or habitations. Dave had to accommodate the machine to new wind
conditions. He and his friends suffered a good deal with the cold. It
was now late afternoon, and according to calculations and the charts
they were traversing Siberian territory.

The storm had not abated one whit as all three of the boys left the
biplane. They found themselves ankle deep in a soft clinging snow.

“We can’t stay here,” said the young aviator.

“Hardly,” replied Hiram, “unless we want to see the machine and all
hands covered up in a snowdrift within an hour.”

“We have lost our exact reckoning,” added Dave, “and no landmarks to go
by. We are somewhere between Zashiversh and Virkni. Probably we have
landed on what is known as the Nijni steppe. It is something of a barren
waste, if I remember right, but dotted here and there with stations and
a few little farms.”

“Wish we could find one of them,” grumbled Hiram, good naturedly.

“No chance of supper if we don’t,” observed Elmer.

“See here, fellows, we’ll push the machine along, anyway, and see what
we come to,” remarked Dave. “Any shelter is better than this all out of
doors position. Even a stretch of timber or the side of a hill would
seem homelike just now.”

“It’s better to keep moving, anyhow,” declared Hiram, stamping his feet
vigorously. “This will be a big thing to tell about if we ever get home
again, fellows.”

“Steady,” ordered Dave, and he slowed up the biplane, the wheels of
which ran along pretty lightly, deep as the snow was. “The ground is
changing. Stop the machine. I’ll prospect a bit ahead.”

In addition to the enveloping gloom of the storm, it had begun to get
dusk. Dave proceeded alone. He discovered that the ground was rough and
rising. Then he ran against a tree, and clearing his sight of the
obstructing snowflakes he made out that they had come upon a little
stretch of timber.

“Come on, but cautiously,” he called back to his comrades.

The _Comet_ was pushed along and halted between two heavily needled
trees, affording it considerable shelter. Hiram gave a shout of delight
as he discovered a spot where the ground was almost bare. A double row
of immense fir trees formed a protecting canopy for several yards.

“Come in out of the wet, Dave!” shouted Elmer, in a jolly tone, joining
Hiram, and all hands shook the snow from their garments.

“Shelter, plenty of fuel and a chance for a warm meal,” observed Hiram
with satisfaction. “Here’s some good bits of wood,” and he began
gathering up pieces of dead branches with which the spot was littered.

“I’ll get a lantern,” said Dave, moving over towards the biplane.

“This is not half bad,” declared Elmer, assisting his comrade in
gathering up the loose fuel.

“Say, what’s that?”

Hiram spoke in a startled tone. He dropped his armful of wood and stood
stock still. Elmer edged nearer to him.

An ominous sound had greeted their hearing. It was a howl near at hand,
sharp and resonant. Then it was repeated. Staring in the direction from
which the sounds came, Hiram jumped back, shouting out sharply:

“It’s wolves! Dave, look out! Elmer, grab a club! Quick! Here they

Scurrying forms came flying into the tree-formed arcade. The outlines
were dim, but none the less threatening and terrifying. Hiram had
grabbed up a heavy piece of wood. Elmer was no coward, and did not lose
his nerve. He armed himself speedily as his comrade had done, and ranged
himself by his side.

“It’s wolves,” declared Hiram—“two, three, half a dozen of them. Stand

Fiery-eyed, red-tongued, seeming to skim the ground, the foremost animal
of an alarming pack came flying towards the boys. Hiram had struck out.
The blow was aimed with all his strength and skill. It sounded like a
hammer landing hard on a thick metal ball.

The animal fell back to all fours and limply turned to one side. Two
others leaped boldly over its slinking body.

“Strike your hardest,” puffed and panted Hiram. Whack! whack! One of the
new combatants of the boys limped off with a shattered paw. The other,
infuriated with pain from a terrific clip across the jaws, made direct
for Elmer. Its claws clutched its prey by the shoulders. Its distended
mouth sought the lad’s throat.

Once, twice, thrice the billet of wood in the grasp of Hiram arose and
descended. The wolf dropped away, dripping with blood, but Elmer was
saved from its murderous fangs.

“They’re coming,” he cried “A half dozen of them! Oh, good! It’s all
right now.”

Over the imperilled lads and beyond them, and squarely into the faces of
the howling pack, a great glare suddenly shot out. Dave had caught the
situation at Hiram’s first outcry. He could not in a hurry reach the
armament of weapons carried by the _Comet_. The big reflector lantern,
however, was kept always in a handy spot, especially at nightfall. Dave
had secured this. Lighting it as he ran, he flared its broad beams,
focused to a dazzling brilliancy. The wolves, blinded and affrighted,
drew off with sullen, menacing growlings.

“Light the fire. It will be an added safeguard,” ordered the young
airman rapidly, and he moved in a circle, swinging the lantern glow

Hiram hurriedly got leaves, chips and branches together in a heap. He
flared a match and ignited it.

“Those animals have given us up as hard cases, I guess,” observed Elmer,
with a laugh, half nervous, but quite triumphant.

“We must draw the machine closer to us,” suggested Dave. “Help me,

The campfire began to blaze, Dave, with the lantern, ventured as far as
the spot where the _Comet_ was. With the aid of his companion the
biplane was wheeled a few yards along the arcade, where it seemed they
must make a camp, at least until the storm abated.

Hiram was getting ready to secure some food and cooking utensils from
the machine, when he paused, bent his ear, and his face expressed a new

“Hark!” he cried out sharply. “What was that?”

                              CHAPTER XVII

                           A GRATEFUL FRIEND

The oncoming night in the dreary solitude with which the young airmen
were environed seemed filled with alarms. All three listened intently.

At a further distance away than at the first, the renewed howling of the
wolves broke forth. The pack seemed to have chanced upon some new trail
of prey.

“Why,” Hiram was the first to break the thrilling silence, “do you hear
that, fellows?”

“Sleigh bells!” cried Elmer, instantly.

“Yes, and I hear the neighing of horses,” added our hero. “More than
one. Listen!”

Muffled yet unmistakable, the sound of sleigh bells jangling sharply
broke upon the air. There followed loud echoing neighs. Then there rose
a sudden scream.

“Oh, Dave!” gasped Hiram, “it was a human voice! A man’s scream, I’ll
wager! There it is again!”

“One of you keep with me,” shouted Dave, in an urgent tone. “This way!”

Seizing the reflector lantern, the young aviator dashed along the
arcade. It was Hiram who first heeded his order. He had grabbed up the
heaviest club at hand. At the end of the arcade Dave halted for a
moment, confused by the blinding snow eddies and the dim obscurity.

“That way, straight ahead,” panted the wrought up Hiram, as another wild
scream rang out.

It was mingled with the echoes of the sleigh bells in quite another
direction. It was mixed with the baying and howls of the wolves nearer
at hand.

The pilot of the _Comet_ dashed on. The snow was deep and clogging.
Hiram labored at his heels. The eye of light showed nothing until they
had gone nearly fifty feet. Then its rays illumined a startling picture.

Upon the snow, lying upon heavy fur robes, was a man. Supporting himself
upon one elbow, he was slashing about him with a short, horn-handled,
thick-bladed knife. Around him more than a dozen wolves were seeking to
spring upon and disable him. The minute the light dazzled the ravenous
pack, they drew away, baffled.

The rescued man was clad in heavy furs. His cap, the gloves he wore, his
whole equipment indicated comfort and wealth. He seemed to take in the
situation at a glance. As he struggled to his feet, a motion of his hand
showed deep gratitude.

He shuddered as he bent his ear to catch the retreating bayings of the
wolves. Just a faint echo of the sleigh bells was now audible. A look of
satisfaction came into the man’s face as he discovered this. He spoke
some words in a language the young airmen could not understand. Dave
pointed to the campfire, and the man bowed. Then Hiram helped him pick
up the scattered sleigh robes. Dave leading the way, all hands started
for the arcade.

“Who is he?” whispered the curious Elmer to Hiram, as the trio came
within the radius of the cheery blaze he had built up with great armfuls
of wood.

“Russian, I guess,” replied Hiram. “He can’t tell us, though, for we
don’t understand him.”

“Did the wolves attack him?”

“It looks that way. I think the horses got frightened and ran away. They
seemed to have tipped him and the sleigh robes over into the snow. I
tell you, we reached him just in time, or those hungry brutes would have
had him.”

The rescued man came up to the fire, removing his gloves and extending
his chilled hands towards the grateful blaze. One coat sleeve had been
ripped from end to end in his encounter with the wolves, his face bore a
deep scratch. Otherwise he seemed uninjured from his recent thrilling

He glanced strangely and then with interest at the three boys in turn.
He stared hard as his eye fell upon the biplane. His glance lingered
upon it in a puzzled, studious way. Finally he turned to its pilot, and
extended his hands upwards, as if imitating a bird flying. Dave nodded.

Then the man spoke. From the deep gutterals, mingled long drawn out
words and “skis.” Dave decided that he was speaking in the Russian
tongue, and shook his head. More mellow and natural sounding, some words
followed which Dave took to be French. He smiled, but showed that he did
not yet understand.

“It is English, then?” spoke the man, with very fair pronunciation.

“Yes, English—American,” replied Dave, pleased to be understood. “We
stopped our airship here on account of the storm.”

“It is so?” answered the man. “A few versts further, and you would have
reached the station. That is Mokiva. I am the superintendent. You shall
come there to share the best I have. You have saved my poor life.”

And then quite solemnly the man went the rounds. He shook each of his
young friends by the hand, looking them steadily in the eyes.

Hiram hurried up the meal, got some hot coffee ready, and passed it
around. It warmed up, and acted as an excellent accompaniment to some
canned pork and beans, some toasted cheese, and plenty of crackers.

The glow of the fire was penetrating and comforting. They were seated on
the thick, heavy robes. Hiram was quite jolly over their pleasant

The rescued man had to talk slowly and pick his words to make them
understand him. He told them that his name was Adrianoffski. He was a
trader, and lived at Mokiva, about twelve miles distant. He had been at
another station across country, and had started to return home, not
dreaming that he could not reach it before dark. The unexpected
snowstorm had overtaken him, and the wolves had gotten after the sleigh.
The tragic climax had been averted by the prompt action of Dave

It more than compensated the boys for their trouble as they got better
acquainted with the man. It seemed that he had agents, friends, and
trading stations, all through Russia and in several Asiatic countries.
With some of these he only exchanged goods, while others he owned. At
the end of two hours the interested young airmen had learned more of
real geography right on the spot than they had ever picked up at school.

The storm let up finally. An adverse wind, however, had set in.

“I hardly think we had better risk the hard work and danger of a run
to-night,” our hero advised his helpers. “We are fairly comfortable

“That’s right,” assented Elmer, who had been enjoying it immensely,
writing up his “log.” “We’ll have great fun when we get home in some
snug and cozy corner, telling our friends of what a real snowstorm is.”

“There’s something!” exclaimed Dave, suddenly, starting up from his
resting place on the robes.

“Why, it’s another sleigh!” cried Hiram. “If they see our fire, whoever
is coming, we will have some more company.”

“Ah, it is well,” broke in Adrianoffski, his eyes brightening. “I much
thought they would seek me.”

The speaker reached inside his heavy coat and drew out a whistle, and
proceeded to blow on this. It was so small that the boys were fairly
amazed at the shrill, clear, far-reaching sound it made. The Russian
sent out a dozen or more calls. They seemed timed to some rhythmic
signal, for as the boys listened there was a response.

Going to the end of the arcade, they noticed lights approaching. These
outlined three horses attached to a sleigh bearing lamps. The vehicle
came directly up to them and halted. Two men leaped from the sleigh and
approached their employer with pleased words.

“My horses ran home, as I thought they would,” Adrianoffski explained to
the boys, after conversing with his servants in their native dialect.
“My people at once started out to find me. Ah, this is excellent. You
shall partake of the best at Mokiva this night.”

“We would be glad to go with you,” said Dave, “but we dare not leave our
machine unguarded.”

“Unguarded?” repeated the Russian with forcefulness. “My friends, you
know not the fidelity of these, my people. They shall remain here all
night, and your airship shall be guarded as though it were pure gold.
Fear nothing, these men are trusty and tried.”

A thought of all Adrianoffski might tell them of practical details of
their route ahead, induced the young airman to agree to his wishes. He
made sure that the Russian instructed his servants as to due
watchfulness in their vigil. It was understood that they should be
brought back to the camp very early in the morning. Then the boys,
muffled up in cold-defying fur robes, took a real bracing Russian sleigh

They found that the station comprised two large warehouses. In one of
these Adrianoffski had his living quarters. They were comfortable, even
luxurious. Nothing would do but that another meal should be served. Then
the host of the airship boys took them to his office and library

Our hero had explained at the camp on the steppe about their proposed
race around the world. Adrianoffski was deeply interested. He had a
large globe showing the world, and he made Dave indicate the route they
had come, and the proposed one ahead. In turn, with considerable pride
he showed red crosses he had made in red ink all over European and
Asiatic Russia, Persia, Turkey and Northern Africa.

“I have learned something of many languages and peoples,” he said. “As
you see, I have posts or stations all over this part of the world. You
saved my life. Let me direct you to good friends, who will surely
cherish you for that kindly act.”

Dave passed his finger over that part of the globe marked Thibet. For a
long time he questioned the trader.

“There is a wonderful city there, called Lhassa,” observed the young
airman. “You know of it?”

“I know of it,” assented Adrianoffski—“ah, well, indeed. It is here, a
few versts only from Lhassa, that my trusted partner, Ben Mahanond
Adasse, has his great depot. He trades solely in Thibet. You would go

“To Lhassa, yes,” answered Dave.

“Impossible!” exclaimed the Russian, with almost startling force. “My
son, you know not what you say. Lhassa—it is the city of mystery, the
sacred metropolis of the tried and chosen. For an outsider to appear at
its gates is capture—life imprisonment. For a foreigner to penetrate to
its secret recesses, is sure death.”

“But your partner, this Ben Mahanond Adasse?” questioned the young
aviator, “I could visit him without risk?”

“With certain welcome,” promptly responded Adrianoffski. “He is
powerful, he is favored. He could protect you. But go no further than
his home, lest you go to your doom. As to my partner—see, I give you a
talisman, a token.”

The Russian removed from his finger a large seal ring, and pressed it
into the hand of Dave Dashaway.

                             CHAPTER XVIII

                            IN STRANGE LANDS

Dave and his boy friends had no cause to regret their meeting with
Adrianoffski. Their stay at the trading station, brief as it was, had
given new impetus and encouragement to the expedition. The Russian gave
them points as to their route that enabled them to save time and
distance. Besides that, he named places where they might stop and be
assured of friendly and helpful service from his agents.

“I tell you, meeting Mr. Adrianoffski was fine luck,” said Hiram,
enthusiastically, one morning, as they started up for the day’s flight.
“We are pretty sure to reach Lhassa without much trouble; aren’t we,

“To reach its vicinity, you mean,” corrected the young airman. “I am
greatly depending on this Ben Mahanond Adasse to whom our Russian friend
has directed us.”

They had left the severe wintry blasts behind them two days flight out
of Mokiva. While the weather was not at all summery, the milder climate
as they proceeded southward was in pleasing contrast to what they had
endured in the bleak and barren solitude of Siberia.

So far everything had gone pretty close to the schedule the pilot of the
_Comet_ had laid out when they left Washington. They reached stations as
planned. There was no trouble in securing gasoline and other supply
stores. Then, too, there were pleasant breaks in their arduous flights.
The ring Adrianoffski had given Dave acted magically when shown at
depots along the route to which he had directed him.

It was at Kolyvan that a full day’s stop had to be made. There were some
machine repairs necessary. Through telegrams and newspapers the airship
boys were able to glean some information as to their competitors in the
race. Out of the twelve that had started only four had reached Sitka.
The closest rival was machine number seven, reported at that point six
hours after the _Comet_ had left.

The machine crossed Thibetan territory about noon time. Dave was able to
determine this from charts, points given by Adrianoffski, and the
contour of the district. It was an interesting panorama they viewed all
the rest of that day. They passed over great camel trains traversing the
barren plains. They had a chance to see the native yaks, trained to
perform all the duties of horses. The extensive lamaseries, or
monasteries, some of them built on the very apex of well-nigh
inaccessible cliffs, amazed them.

The _Comet_ was viewed by gaping groups whenever they passed over a
settlement. Dave had a town called Zirva for his evening destination. It
was near here that Ben Mahanond Adasse had his trading station. The
young air pilot calculated upon arriving after dark. It might interfere
with his plans to have the _Comet_ publicly seen so near to the sacred
city of mystery.

“Judging from the landmarks described by Mr. Adrianoffski,” said Dave,
towards the middle of the afternoon, “I think we are quite near to

“That is the trading post of his partner?” spoke Hiram.

“Yes,” nodded the young aviator. “Those glittering spires and domes in
the distance must be Lhassa. We must look for a secure and secluded
landing place.”

This they found soon afterwards. It was at the edge of a rugged hill.
Beyond it were some straggling settlements, but the _Comet_ was screened
from these as it approached the hill from the east.

“I don’t care about attracting the attention of the natives,” explained
our hero. “They are quite fanatical, and have probably never seen an
airship before. They might think it some demon of the air, or an
infernal machine come to destroy their gods and temples.”

“Yes, I think myself we had better keep in the background as much as we
can,” agreed Hiram. “It would be a pity to have a mishap now, with the
hardest part of the route covered.”

“But how are you going to locate this Adasse?” inquired Elmer.

“According to what Mr. Adrianoffski told us,” replied Dave, “his station
cannot be more than a few miles from here.”

“What’s your plan about finding him, Dave?” asked Hiram.

“Why, as soon as it gets dusk I will venture down into the valley there.
You two will stay here on guard. Keep ready for a quick flight, if any
of the natives discover the machine.”

The trio enjoyed the luxury of a grateful rest on the ground while they
conversed. Hiram, speedy to recuperate and always active, strolled away
from his comrades. He looked out over the country. Then he became
interested in watching a man just below the point where the _Comet_ had

“Say fellows,” he observed briskly, coming back to his friends; “if you
want to see something queer just take a peep over the edge of that rock

“What is it, Hiram?” inquired Elmer.

“You have to come with me to find out,” was the reply. “I can’t imagine
what a funny old fellow down below there is up to.”

“All right, we’ll take a look,” said Dave.

“There he is,” pronounced Hiram, after the others had followed him a
little distance, and he pointed past a shelving rock.

On the level of the valley below a native was squatted before a flat
boulder. He held in his hand a comical metal object with an ivory
handle. He seemed turning the handle. The boys, even at the distance
they were, could hear a click-clack sound, apparently proceeding from
the device.

“Say, whatever is that contraption?” asked the puzzled Hiram.

“Looks like a cross between a nutmeg grater and a music box,” suggested

Dave ventured no opinion. Like the others he continued to watch the
curious pantomime of the native. The lips of the man moved incessantly,
making a dull monotonous drone. Finally he placed the device on the
stove before him and closed his eyes.

His body swayed and he flung his arms aloft. Then he bent his forehead
clear to the ground. All the time he kept up a steady monotone.

Finally he arose to his feet and picked up a knapsack and a long,
sharp-pointed spear. He was about to resume his way. Just then a huge
bird resembling an eagle, only snowy white, sailed down from a tree on
the hillside. It swooped over the boulder and made a peck at its
surface. The next moment it soared aloft, the trinket in its bill.

The native uttered a wild, frantic shriek. Of a sudden he was transposed
into a being denuded of reason. As the bird flew up over the crest of
the hill, the man cast himself prostrate on the ground; writhing there
in agony. Beating his head with his hands, his face distorted, he acted
like some person in a fit.

“Well, that’s something odd to see,” began Hiram—“what is it, Dave?”

The young airman had watched the course of the thieving bird, eagle,
macaw, crow, or whatever it was. He saw the bird sail along until its
glance fell upon the biplane. Then it dropped to one of the wings. The
bauble retained in its bill, it walked over to one of the seats, dropped
its prize, and began pecking at the seat cushions.

Our hero was on his feet in an instant of time. He ran towards the
machine, intent on scaring away the predatory intruder. Dave had picked
up a stick. This he hurled at the bird. It gave a sullen croak and took
to wing, disappearing on the other side of the hill.

The young airman was curious and interested enough to lean over into the
body of the machine and secure the object dropped by the bird. He was
viewing it critically and with some comprehension of its use, when his
comrades joined him.

“What is it, Dave?” queried Hiram eagerly. “That old fellow below yonder
is tearing up the ground and rolling all about in a fearful fashion.”

“I know what it is,” pronounced Dave, “and I think we had better get it
back to its owner and save some mischief for him. This is what is called
a prayer mill. See, this handle turns a silken scroll on a reel all
covered with queer-looking characters. These represent the prayers the
Thibetans make to their great idol, Da-Fan-Jan. The priests supply them
to the worshippers. They are highly prized. I have read about them, and
have seen pictures of these queer prayer mills, as they call them.”

“You’re not going down there to give it back to the native; are you?”
asked Hiram; in some surprise, as Dave looked about him to discover the
easiest way of descending the hillside.

“Yes, I think I had better,” was the reply. “You don’t know how these
superstitious people value such charms. This prayer mill may have been
cherished in that man’s family for centuries. It is regarded an
heirloom, and the person losing it probably thinks he is condemned if he
does not recover it.”

Our hero hurried his steps. Descending the hillside alone he chanced to
glance at the native. The man had now arisen to his feet. All his
violent manner had disappeared. His face wore a look of sullen despair.

He had taken his spear and fastened its end stoutly under an edge of the
boulder in a slanting position. Its keen point showed breast high. The
man had retreated some twenty feet. There he stood posed for a run. Dave
recalled something he had read of the hari-kari of the rude Asiatic
tribes. Suicide, swift and terrible, was the rule where some great loss,
disgrace, or bereavement unsettled the mind.

“He means to impale himself with all his force on that spear point and
end his life,” decided the young aviator. “Hoi-hoi!”

Just in time did Dave distract the native from his tragic purpose. He
fairly tumbled down the hill as the man, running at full speed, had
almost reached the waiting instrument of death. Dave’s shout made him
waver. As he dangled the prayer mill towards the wretched man, the
latter came to a pause like a statue.

The eyes of the native were glued to the amulet as if he was fascinated.
To his overheated fancy Dave possibly suggested some “white god” sent
from the clouds to restore the precious prayer mill.

The young airman came directly up to the native and extended the
trinket. The dark, bony hand of the devotee reached out and clasped it.
He burst into tears, kissed it, caressed it. He thrust it into his
bosom, and raising his arms in wild gyrations began a shrill, joyful

When it was concluded he cast himself on the ground. Crawling abjectly
he embraced Dave’s knees. He lifted his eyes in gratitude.

A stout steel chain bearing at one end a serviceable watch and at its
other the ring Adrianoffski had given Dave, met the glance of the
grateful suppliant.

“Oi-e! oi-e!” he suddenly shouted. His fingers touched the ring. His
eyes, showing an intelligence he could not express, rested on the face
of the young aviator.

                              CHAPTER XIX

                           STRANGE COMPANIONS

Our hero was not slow in discovering that the native saw something in
the ring he wore which centered his attention and interest. As Dave
smiled and looked upon him in a friendly way, the man showed less
strangeness and timidity.

He touched the ring now and arose to his feet. He again touched the ring
and then two of his fingers. Dave fancied that he understood his
companion. He believed that the man wished to inform him that there was
another ring—two rings, both alike.

Then the native again inspected his restored prayer mill. He gazed at it
fondly, with a great smile of joy. He pointed at the spear and shuddered
and shrank away from it. Then he fairly beamed on the young airman. He
dropped to the ground and placed Dave’s foot on his neck. He acted as if
he wanted his new friend to know that he was his slave for life.

After the man had gone through all these manœuvers Dave held up the
ring. The native made a motion to describe a long flowing beard.
Adrianoffski wore such and doubtless his partner did also. Now our hero
felt certain that not only was the ring familiar to the native, but
likewise that he was telling that its duplicate belonged to Ben Mahanond
Adasse, and that he knew the merchant.

“Where?” spoke Dave, and exhausted his pantomimic skill in trying to
express the word in signs. He pointed first in one direction and then in
the other. His companion followed every gesture he made intently,
seeming anxious to understand what he meant.

The man pointed to the southwest, and moved his finger along the
horizon. He tried to express distance. The young aviator by signs
conveyed the idea that he wished to see the owner of the other ring, the
man with long flowing beard.

The native nodded a dozen times with intelligence and satisfaction. He
promptly took up his knapsack and spear and faced about, posed to assume
the part of a guide.

The pilot of the _Comet_ did not wish to leave his friends without
apprising them of his intentions. He motioned to the native to remain
where he was. He then went up the hillside about half way. He knew that
his comrades could now hear him.

Dave in a sing-song voice, so as not to make the native suspect that he
was speaking to anybody, managed to tell Hiram and Elmer as to his
plans. When he came back to the valley the man started away and Dave
followed him.

It was not more than three miles from the hill that they began to near a
high enclosure. It was formed of high, thick stakes driven close
together, and was a kind of palisade. The native halted at its rear. He
selected one knotted stake and ran up it with the agility of a monkey.
He disappeared on the other side. Then there was the sound of a metal
latch moving, and a section of the palisade opened. Dave’s guide pulled
him inside a yard. He led the way to a flat, broad building that filled
all the front of the place. They entered a room dimly lighted, piled
high with furs, pelts and wicker boxes of merchandise. It was a great
warehouse, the young airman surmised, stored with rich silks from
Persia, teas from China, ivory and oils from India, and miner’s supplies
for the secret, guarded gold mines of Thibet.

When they came to a door with a sash in its upper part, Dave glanced
curiously through this window. The front of the building was open. Upon
platforms there were displayed in great confusion all kinds of goods. A
noisy throng was bartering and bustling about, as if it was some street
fair. Beyond them were rude wooden wheeled vehicles, and yaks, camels,
and even bison, used as beasts of burden.

Rude and uncultured as the native was, his loyalty to Dave seemed to
arouse some instinct of caution. He motioned his companion to remain
where he was, and passed out into the emporium. In a very few minutes he
returned with a long-bearded man. Dave noted his resemblance in feature
and dress to Adrianoffski.

“It is Mr. Adasse?” spoke Dave.

The merchant bowed assentingly, but stared wonderingly at his visitor.
It appeared that few persons foreign to the country ventured thus far
into Thibet.

“I came from Mr. Adrianoffski,” explained Dave. “He gave me this ring,”
and our hero exhibited the object in question.

“Ah, then, you must be a very good friend,” exclaimed the Russian, his
face brightening into a warm welcome at once. “My poor roof, as was his,
is yours.”

Adasse led Dave to a far end of the house, where there was a comfortable
room. Its owner spoke English quite as well as his partner. He told his
guest that he would get through his trading as quickly as possible, and
return to entertain him.

This did not occur for nearly an hour. It was dusk by then, lamps were
lit, curtains drawn, and two native servants brought in an appetizing

All this time the native to whom Dave had restored the prayer mill lay
down upon a mat in the room. Adasse explained to his guest that the man
was named Faiow. He was a trusted agent, sometimes employed by Adasse in
making sales to persons in Lhassa.

The young airman found Adasse to be quite as kindly disposed towards him
as Adrianoffski had been. Dave inquired closely as to Lhassa and its
mysteries. Finally he made up his mind to implicitly trust his host.

From an inner pocket Dave drew a photograph. It was the one furnished to
him at Washington by Miss Edna Deane. The picture of her missing

“I have come a long distance to find this man,” said Dave. “He is an
explorer, detained in Lhassa.”

“You expect to find him!” exclaimed Adasse, in a startled tone. “Ah, my
friend, you seek death in even speaking of it, should one of the
faithful hear you. Many rash explorers and adventurers have ventured to
pass the gates of Lhassa. They have never returned.”

The speaker as well as the young airman started as a voice behind them
uttered a sharp intelligent sound. It proceeded from Faiow, who,
unheeded by them, had been moving about the room. Looking up, Dave saw
the man with his eyes fixed upon the photograph.

“Speak to him,” said Dave, quickly. “I believe that picture suggests
something to him.”

Adasse directed some questions in the native tongue to Faiow, and there
was quite a colloquy between them. Then the Russian turned to his guest
with the words:

“He knows the man. He has seen him.”

“Where? when?” inquired Dave, eagerly.

“He does not tell. He says he will take you where you, too, may see

“Take me into Lhassa?” asked Dave, wonderingly.

“Yes. His gratitude towards you is almost fanatical. Let me question

It was at the end of a second conversation with the native that Adasse
imparted some new information to the young aviator.

“Faiow has the right of entry to Lhassa as a trader,” he explained.
“Once a week he carries dates boiled in wild honey to the great temple
of Oi-Fou-Jan. It is there that he has seen a man, a stranger, the face
in that picture. He says there are several of these intruders in the
city. They have been imprisoned in strong dungeons, or given menial work
to do for the priests. The grand Llama will not permit them to be
executed, for the blood of such is believed to profane the sacred city.”

“But how will it be possible for me to visit the city?” inquired our

“Faiow will arrange all that, he says,” replied Adasse. “You wish to
know where your friend is?”

“Yes,” nodded Dave.

“He promises to show you. No outsider is allowed to enter the city gates
unveiled. He says it is better to go now. He will provide you with a
garb like his own. Weekly he carries two bags of dates boiled in honey
to the city priest. You will help him, appearing as his servant. You
will probably pass muster. But, if you are suspected, it will mean sure

“I am ready to take the risk,” pronounced the young airman, resolutely.

It was half an hour later when Dave started for the sacred city with the
native. Each carried a bag, each wore the native costume, and each was

The pilot of the _Comet_ knew that his fellow aviators would take good
care of the biplane. He was anxious primarily to find out where young
Deane was imprisoned. He did not understand the Thibetan tongue, and
therefore could not converse with his guide. He felt sure, however, that
he could rely on the fidelity and intelligence of Faiow.

They reached the gates of the city in about two hours. Faiow and his
companion were admitted without challenge. Dave was filled with interest
at all the strange sights he viewed. Immense temples and queerly
constructed stores and houses were on every hand. A busy populace filled
the lighted streets. Faiow finally reached a temple, in front of which
was a great squat idol, its feet alone ten feet across. Its hideous head
reached up nearly to the roof of a high, broad, stone pillar-shaped

In front of it Faiow halted. He touched the arm of his companion to
attract his attention, and pointed to the roof of the building. This was
guarded with a sort of railing. At intervals along this lamps were

Ever and anon a bird resembling a stork would light on the railing. A
man approached them, bearing on the end of a golden rod a fragment of
food. He would feed this to a bird, and then go to another of his
feathery visitors.

The young airman thrilled, as in the full flare of the many lights he
closely studied the face of this strange hermit aloft. Even at that
distance he was able to observe that the lone roof sentinel was not a

“It is my man,” spoke the young pilot of the _Comet_ to himself. “I have
found the missing Morris Deane!”

                               CHAPTER XX


The native uttered a low, warning sound, and touched the arm of the
young aviator. Dave was absorbed in studying the singular being on the
roof of the structure, but at a glance he saw a street guard
approaching. He knew that the movements of his companion urged him not
to arouse any suspicion. He followed him as he turned away.

Our hero took a final view of the pillar-like building and its
surroundings. He tried to fill his mind with landmarks so he could
locate it again. Not, however, by the land route. Dave Dashaway realized
that the biplane must play a part in his plans if he hoped to succeed in
the rescue of young Deane.

“What does it mean—the strange situation of my friend?” was Dave’s first
question, after he and his guide had returned to the trading post.

Adasse spoke for a long time in his native tongue to Dave’s guide. Then
he explained:

“Your friend is a perpetual prisoner on the roof where you saw him.”

“But for what purpose?” inquired our hero.

“A true devotee must not touch an evil bird; it is contagious, they
think, nor a sacred bird either,” continued the Russian; “it is
sacrilege. The duty of your friend is to keep the unclean birds away
from the sacred pillar in the daytime. At night he feeds the sacred
birds with honeyed dates. They know the food is awaiting them and come

“He is there alone, then?” asked Dave.

“He lives always on duty on that roof,” replied Adasse. “There, I
suppose, he has a shelter of some kind, probably a tent. There is a
grating in the roof. Through this his food is probably passed to him.
Beyond it and around the pillar are constantly armed guards.”

“You have done a great deal for me,” said Dave gratefully. “I must leave
you now.”

“I shall forget all you have told me,” observed the Russian,
significantly; “except that it has been pleasant to entertain a friend
of my partner. There is nothing I may do for you?”

“There is this,” replied the young aviator—“Mr. Adrianoffski has given
me the address of an agent fifty miles west of here. I wish you would
explicitly direct me to him.”

After receiving and memorizing his information, Dave proceeded at once
to rejoin his friends. The native insisted on going with him as far as
the hill. When they parted he handed Dave a basket bag. Then through
signs and grimaces he tried to indicate the gratitude he felt towards
the restorer of his precious prayer mill.

It must have been after midnight when Dave reached the summit of the
hill. He found Hiram seated near the _Comet_, armed with one of the
rifles the machine carried. Elmer lay asleep on the ground.

“All safe and sound, eh?” commended the young airman, in a pleased tone.

“Yes, we haven’t been discovered or visited,” reported his loyal
assistant. “We began to wonder what kept you away so long, though.”

“Wake up, Elmer, and I’ll tell you both all about it,” announced Dave.

His two friends listened with the intensest interest to his narrative.
Hiram glanced curiously at the basket bag as Dave spoke of it.

“Wonder what’s in it?” questioned Elmer.

“I’ll find out,” suggested Hiram.

It proved to contain over a dozen packages. These were wicker covered
porcelain jars. Removing their covers, Hiram smacked his lips with
satisfaction as he sampled their contents.

“Say,” he gloated, “just sample these dainties! Why, it beats homemade
molasses candy all hollow!”

All hands did some “sampling.” They found preserved ginger, honeyed
dates, some melon rind finely flavored—in fact a series of native
confections as toothsome as they were rich and novel.

“What’s the programme now, Dave?” inquired Hiram, the spell of feasting

“Morris Deane, of course,” responded the young airman, promptly.

“To-night; right away?” asked Elmer.

“We must lose no time getting on our route,” replied our hero. “It seems
to me that we have been most fortunate in meeting the people who have
assisted us so grandly in locating the man we are after. I feel positive
I can find the structure where I saw Deane. Its roof is large enough for
a safe descent. Get ready, fellows.”

“Say, it will be a great feather in your cap if you get this Mr. Deane
safely away from there; won’t it, Dave?” spoke Hiram.

“I hope to do just that,” replied the pilot of the _Comet_, confidently.
“You can imagine what joy his friends will feel to have him restored to

“Especially that pretty little miss who drove up to the hangar near
Washington in that automobile, Dave,” suggested Elmer, mischievously.

The _Comet_ was in starting trim, and the young aviators took their
places. The air and the breeze showed ideal conditions for an easy

There was clear moonlight, but Dave counted on the city being asleep. As
he neared it, however, the bright lamps on the top of towers and temples
caused him to take to a high area to avoid being discovered.

Circle after circle he described in a narrowing course, at last making
sure that he had located the structure he had visited with the native.
He indicated this to his comrades. All of them were infused with
suspense and expectation.

The expert young aviator hovered over the structure. He estimated time,
distance and risks. The _Comet_ made a superb dip. It skimmed the
parapet of the pillar and landed silently on the roof. In doing so,
however, one of its wings tipped over one of the many ornate lamps
lining the sides of the enclosure.

Dave sprang from the machine, his eye fixed on a small skin tent at one
corner of the roof. Glancing within it, he saw lying upon a mat the man
the native had pointed out to him six hours previous. Our hero seized
his arm and shook him.

“Quick Mr. Deane!” he called out. “We are friends—friends from your

Startled and confused at the suddenness of the waking up, the pillar
sentinel sprang to his feet. He seemed about to rush towards the grating
in the roof to sound an alarm.

“Look, look,” continued Dave, rapidly, producing the picture of Edna
Deane. “It is your sister! She sent this as a token! Quick, now!”

“Dave, make haste!” called out Hiram, sharply. “There’s something

The young airman almost dragged the bewildered captive across the roof.
He acted in a great hurry, for something had emphasized Hiram’s warning
cry. A series of yells rang through the grating in the roof. Beyond it a
man was dancing up and down in frantic state of excitement.

The pilot of the _Comet_ at once decided that this must be some watchman
or sentinel. He had discovered the arrival of the airship. Now he was
shouting out the news of his discovery, probably to others within the

Another cause of alarm was an incipient blaze directly on the roof. The
lamp that the wing of the biplane had overturned had spilled its
contents. The oil had ignited, some rugs had taken fire, and the blaze
had caught a canopy near by. The _Comet_ itself was menaced by the
rising blaze. Dave reached the machine and gave rapid orders to his

“Get in, quick!” he directed his companion, but the rescued captive was
too overcome to act for himself. Hiram helped pull him over into his own
seat, vacating this and getting into the storage space behind it.

Dave got to the pilot post at once, and glanced back. Elmer was flapping
back the encroaching flames with a robe. Just then the grating in the
roof was unlocked. Up through it came a dozen native guards.

But for the fact that these men were so startled at the unusual scene
presented to them, the _Comet_ and its passengers might never have left
the mystic city of Lhassa. Thrown off their mental balance by a sight of
the unfamiliar machine, the guards stood staring helplessly about and
then rushed forward to extinguish the fire on the roof.

“That was a tight squeeze,” gasped Hiram Dobbs.

“We’re safe—grand!” cried the relieved Elmer.

The man they had rescued shrank back as the _Comet_ arose like some
great bird. Just then the loud brazen notes of an alarm bell sounded
out. Then some shouts followed the speeding biplane. Leaving a vast
turmoil behind them, the airship boys glided off into space, over the
city, past its outer walls, making straight west for the haven of safety
Dave had in view.

The young airmen did not attempt to converse with the rescued Deane. The
latter, thin, pale and weak, was overcome with the excitement of the
past few minutes. He sat like one in a daze, staring in marvelling
wonder at the receding landscape. He made no move when Elmer belted him
into the seat. He could not yet realize his removal from the wretched
post of servitude which he had lately filled.

It was a lucky thing for our hero that Ben Mahanond Adasse had given him
explicit directions as to the trading post fifty miles away from Lhassa,
where Adrianoffski had another partner. It saved time and enabled a
direct route, and two hours later the _Comet_ descended to the ground in
an open space behind a warehouse on the edge of a native settlement.

“Look after our friend and keep a sharp lookout,” Dave directed his
assistants, and left the machine and walked around to the front of the
building nearby.

There were no lights or signs of habitation about the place. The young
aviator seized a weighted cord suspended from a hook near the entrance
to the building. He swung this time and again against the door.

A gleam of light soon showed, and the door was unbarred. A man wearing a
fez appeared, a suspicious blink in his sleepy eyes. He stared
challengingly at the disturber.

“You are Talzk Prevola?” inquired our hero, at once.

“An English!” exclaimed the man. “I am he whom you bespeak. But what of

Dave produced the signet ring. As before along the journey its magical
effect was immediate.

“It is from Adrianoffski,” said the trader. “You are welcome. Enter, my
son. The place is yours.”

Dave was sure that the man was Prevola, and he was just as certain that
he could be trusted implicitly. He briefly spoke of his acquaintance
with Mr. Adrianoffski and the claim he held upon his confidence and

“I have a friend,” explained our hero, “who must be conveyed quickly and
safely to the nearest railroad point in Russia. He must be taken out of
Thibet speedily and secretly.”

“The order of my friend’s friend is law with me,” declared Prevola,
gravely. “You but speak, I obey.”

“I will shortly return,” said Dave, and he went out to the biplane and
approached it.

“I wish to have a talk with you,” he said to Morris Deane. “Help him
out, Elmer.”

The rescued young man was assisted from the machine. Our hero linked his
arm in Deane’s in a friendly, reassuring way. He led him to where a pile
of wood lay and made him sit down beside him.

“Mr. Deane,” he said, gently, “you understand that we are friends sent
to rescue, to save you?”

“I am just trying to comprehend it all,” was the reply, in a wavering
tone of voice. “It seems incredible, astounding,” and the speaker passed
his hand over his face in a vague manner.

“Try and realize it all,” urged the young airman, “for time is
precious.” And then our hero told all that there was to tell.

Each succeeding moment Morris Deane seemed to take in more clearly the
extraordinary disclosures the young pilot had to make.

“I never dared dream of escape, of a rescue,” spoke Deane. “And you and
your friends have done this noble act! Can I ever show my gratitude?
Think of it, that hopeless life at Lhassa, and now freedom—freedom!”

The speaker threw up his hands in an ecstatic way. He looked at his
rescuer with tears in his eyes.

“Yes,” replied the young airman, “it is freedom—your anxious father—your
devoted sister—a fortune awaiting you and—home!”

                              CHAPTER XXI


“What was that, Dave?” asked Hiram Dobbs.

“War,” replied the young pilot of the _Comet_, and he used the word very
seriously, “we have taken the wrong course, but there’s no going back

The champion biplane was sailing over a broad, deep valley two hours
after dusk. Everything was in brisk going trim. The days that had
elapsed since the rescued captive, Morris Deane, had been cared for by
the young airmen had passed pleasantly. They had crossed Russia, had
reported at Teheran, had seen some of the wonders of Arabia, and now
were traversing Turkish territory.

The affairs of young Deane had been adjusted with supreme satisfaction
for our hero. It warmed his loyal heart to think that through the
unselfish efforts of the crew of the _Comet_, the brother of Edna Deane
was now speeding safely and comfortably on his way to those who had
mourned him.

The trader friend of Adrianoffski had done everything in his power to
make sure the homeward journey of the fugitive. The young airman had
insisted on paying him liberally for his cooperation. He had arranged so
that Morris Deane could be provided with money current in the different
countries through which he must pass. The trader was to convey Deane out
of Thibet concealed in a cart carrying merchandise. He was to be
provided with a disguise. Until he passed the Russian frontier and was
placed upon a train bound for St. Petersburg, two trusty agents were to
accompany and protect him.

The boys felt happy over all this. They had lost little time and gained
some experience in doing a humane act. Then the regular schedule of
progress was resumed. Now, as noted, Hiram had put a startling question.
The pilot of the _Comet_ had responded with an ominous assertion.

When Hiram had asked: “What was that?” a sudden glare in the distance
followed by a harsh, detonating crash had caused his sudden query.

Our hero had explained that it was “War.” He intimated further that this
was a possible menace to their expedition, in that they might not
retrace the route they had come.

“I hoped to keep out of the Turkish trouble,” proceeded the young
airman; “but we must take the edge of it, I fear. You know we passed
over a great military camp just before dusk.”

“Yes, and they sent a brisk volley after us,” reminded Hiram.

“Without calculating the way the _Comet_ can fly,” added Elmer, with a

“We had better keep at a pretty high level just the same,” observed
Dave. “I will be glad when we get out of these intricate mountain
ranges. Then we can see what is ahead of us and get our bearings.”

Just then another explosion sounded. It was mingled with a series of
minor reports, echoing from past the ridge of hills to the East.

“That sounded like a powder mill blowing up, followed by a lot of musket
shots,” suggested Hiram.

“I have no doubt that it was a bomb,” replied Dave. “Fighting is going
on somewhere beyond us.”

For some time echoes of near explosions reached the airship boys. Then
there was a lapse into silence. The contour of the country changed and
the hills lessened, and at length a level expanse spread out before

They could make out lights scattered all over the area. Here was a
settlement, beyond it a town. Then in the distance they noticed what the
young aviator decided to be a camp. Still farther beyond, flashes and
booms apprised him that some kind of a combat was going on.

“We had better get out of this,” remarked the young pilot.

“O-oh!” fairly shouted Hiram, in spellbound wonder.

Of a sudden, from the direction of the camp, there shot up a broad,
dazzling beam of radiance. It moved steadily, broadened and began to
sweep the western horizon. Slowly traversing the sky, the sharp rays
focused upon an object speeding through the air. A further sweep, and a
duplicate for just an instant was framed by the piercing glow.

“A searchlight!” cried the startled Elmer.

“And two airships,” added Hiram. “Dave, what are we going to do?”

The young airman’s active brain was busy. He fancied he took in the
situation. They were passing over a camp. Ahead of them was a walled
town, now being attacked. The two airships to the west were probably
bomb-carrying machines, stealing over the enemy to drop death-dealing
projectiles into the midst of their camp.

“Dave,” whispered Elmer, almost too excited to speak, “we have been

This was true. A lateral sweep of the searchlight brought the _Comet_
into clear view. The operator of the great eye of radiance focused the
piercing rays directly upon the _Comet_. Then, sweeping along, for an
instant only they showed an airship almost directly over the craft of
the young aviators.

“Another one,” cried Hiram sharply—“ugh!”

He shivered. All hands felt a jar, an impact. They heard a distinct

“Something was dropped!” pronounced Elmer, hoarsely. “There!”

Directly beneath them some descending object reached the ground. There
were a thousand darting sparks of fire, then a tremendous boom.

“An airship from that camp,” said Dave, rapidly. “They took us for one
of the enemy! We must get out of range! Hold steady, fellows!”

The pilot of the _Comet_ knew that the moment had arrived for prompt,
expert tactics. There might be as swift machines as his own among the
war craft in action, but he doubted if any of them was constructed to
take the higher level the _Comet_ could attain. The machine made a
superb shoot on a sharp tangent. Its progress was so rapid that it
almost took away the breath of the excited crew. Again the groping
searchlight sought to reveal the situation aloft.

“Hurrah—safe! beat! They’re not even in the race,” crowed the jubilant

The sweeping glow showed the machine that had dropped a bomb towards a
supposed rival fully a thousand feet below the _Comet_. Now its pilot
put on full speed. Out of range of camp, town and the firing limit the
splendid biplane sailed.

Two days later, none the worse for their unique experience, the airship
boys arrived at Cairo. The _Comet_ seemed to be no particular novelty to
the crowd which greeted its arrival in the center of a great public
square. They greeted the machine and its crew, however, with cheers.
Dave left the machine in charge of his assistants, who were kept busy
answering questions from the curious bystanders.

It was nearly an hour before Dave returned. He arrived seated on a wagon
containing new fuel and food supplies for the _Comet_.

“Going to make any kind of a stop here, Dave?” inquired Hiram.

“Not a minute longer than it is necessary,” was the speedy reply. “We
are third in the race, fellows, and that means no delay.”

“Yes,” nodded Elmer excitedly, “a man in the crowd speaking English said
he knew we were one of the machines in the international race, and that
two others had reported here at Cairo and had left again.”

“That is true,” answered the young airman. “Number seven is three days
ahead of us, number eleven, six hours. Help get things in order,
fellows. We can’t afford to lose any time now.”

When the _Comet_ started up again the cheers and good wishes of the
crowd were renewed. Dave made a fifty-mile run, came down in a lonely
spot, and at once brought out the route charts.

“Look here, fellows,” he said, his finger tracing a course across the
map; “there are three routes to choose from. From Morocco, the Azores,
or Senegal; the Cape Verde Islands, St. Paul Island, and Cayenne. Those
are the routes most talked about at the start. They are favored because
they are the farthest north and the most direct. I have a better, a
least safer, idea.”

“I’ll warrant you have, Dave, if it’s to be found,” declared Hiram.

“What is it?” inquired Elmer.

“The objection to those routes,” explained the young airman, “is that
the water stretches are of wide extent. What I dread most is the fear of
being caught away from land.”

“Is there a shorter route than those you speak of?” asked Hiram.

“Yes, there is,” asserted Dave.

“What is it?”

“Egypt, the Sahara Desert, the French Congo, Ascension Island, St.
Helena, Trinidad, Rio Janeiro, and we are on American soil.”

“Capital!” cried Hiram.

“I wouldn’t lose an hour, Dave,” advised Elmer, with real anxiety. “Ever
since we found out that there are two of the crowd ahead of us, it seems
as if I’d be willing to sleep in the seat in the machine all the way to
get ahead of them.”

It was a warm, clear day when the _Comet_ came to a rest at the city of
Mayamlia, in French Congo. Looking back over the ten days consumed in
making the run across Egypt, through Fezzan, the width of the great
desert, over darkest Africa, and into the Soudan, the airship boys had
viewed a country never before thus inspected by an aerial explorer.

“Baked, boiled, and soaked,” was the way Hiram put it, good-naturedly,
but very grimly.

“And sandstorms and deluges,” added Elmer, with a grimace.

The flight had certainly been a hardy but instructive one. More than
once the adventurous young aviators had a thrilling experience amidst
unfamiliar air conditions. Twice they had been discovered in temporary
camps by natives. The watchfulness and skill of their pilot had baffled
efforts at capture.

“Just to think,” said Hiram, gazing longingly at the ocean—“just a bit
of water to cover, and we are on home territory.”

“Yes,” smiled our hero, “it looks nice and easy on the map. Remember one
thing, though, fellows: here at Mayamlia we take in full supplies. The
food and fuel will be easy as far as Helena or Trinidad. Between those
points and the final flight to Rio, though, the gasoline supply is what
we must look out for.”

“We’re going to make it—I feel it in my bones!” crowed the optimistic
Hiram Dobbs.

                              CHAPTER XXII

                            LOST IN THE AIR

“This is serious, fellows,” spoke Dave. “Get ready for the worst.”

“What is the worst?” inquired Elmer Brackett.

“A sudden drop. You had better have the breeches buoys ready.”

“Oh, Dave!” cried Hiram Dobbs, in actual distress. “You don’t mean to
say that the brave old _Comet_ is going back on us just as it looks as
though the home stretch is right ahead of us?”

“It’s the fog, fellows,” explained Dave. “We have beaten around in it
for twelve hours, until I feel certain we are all out of our course. In
a word, we are lost.”

“Lost in the air!” exclaimed Hiram—“who’d ever have thought of it!”

“Yes, just like a ship in strange waters,” said Dave. “If we were not so
far from the mainland we left last week, there might be some hope.
According to my calculation, we have missed St. Helena. If that is true,
we can count on no land this side of Trinidad.”

“That must be hundreds of miles away,” remarked Hiram.

“Worse than that,” declared Elmer, who was pretty well posted on chart
and “log” details. “If the fog would only lift!”

“That is our only hope,” declared Dave. “I do not wish to alarm you,
fellows; but we must face the music like men. I don’t believe the
_Comet_ will last out six hours.”

“As bad as that?” said Hiram, in a subdued tone.

“Yes,” asserted the young airman. “If we could sight some ship I would
not hesitate to descend upon its deck. This fog, of course, shuts out
any chance to depend on that. The trouble is with our wires. That strain
we had in last night’s wind seems to have played havoc with the entire
steering gear.”

“Can’t it be fixed?” inquired Elmer, anxiously.

“Not while we’re flying,” replied Dave. “You know, the post is really a
lever and the wheel a handle. The cloche, or bell-like attachment that
runs to the warping wires, has got out of kilter. You know, the steering
post is made of one-inch, twenty-gauge steel tubing. At the lower end of
this is a fork made of pieces of smaller tubing, bent and brazed into
place. The fork forms part of the universal joint on which the post is
mounted. From this run the warping wires through pulleys to the

Hiram nodded intelligently at this technical explanation. Elmer, too,
understood what their pilot wished to convey to them.

“Some of the tubing is loose,” continued the young airman. “I have felt
it vibrate for the past hour. If any part gives way, and a puff of wind
should come up, we will lose all control of the steering gear.”

“The mischief!” ejaculated Hiram, who always got excited readily. “We’re
in a bad fix; aren’t we?”

“Bad enough to keep on a low level, for fear we may turn turtle at any
moment,” declared Dave.

The young aviator had not misstated conditions. The situation was a
critical one, and he had known it for some time. Even now, as they made
a straight volplane, there was an ominous creak in the tubing joints,
and the machine wabbled.

“Fellows, she’s going!” declared our hero. “We’ve got to drop or take a
risk of a sudden plunge that may end everything.”

The _Comet_ had no float attachment. Hiram got the breeches buoys and
the life preservers ready. The fog was so heavy they could not see the
sky above nor the sea beneath them. Dave allowed the machine to drift on
a long, inclined dip. Something snapped. The _Comet_ wavered from side
to side but did not upset. There was a second sudden jar.

“Get ready. It’s a sure drop, any way we manage it,” shouted Dave.

All hands were ready to leap from the machine when it struck. Suddenly
Dave shut off the power at a contact. The machine grated, ran on its
wheels, and came to an astonishing but substantial standstill.

“Dave, Dave,” cried the delighted Hiram, springing out. “Land, solid

“It can’t be! Must be a rock!” gasped Elmer, unbelievingly.

“Whoop! hurrah!” yelled Hiram. “Oh, glory!”

Dave’s young assistant acted mad as a March hare. He could not help it.
He sang and danced. Then he reached down and grabbed up handfuls of the
light sand at his feet, and flung it joyously up in the air as if it
were grains of precious gold.

“Sure as you live,” exclaimed the bewildered Elmer. “It’s solid land—oh,
what luck!”

The young aviator was filled with surprise and satisfaction. Such rare
good fortune seemed incredible. He stood still, not caring if it was a
sand bank or a desert island. They had escaped a fearful peril—and the
_Comet_ was safe.

“Who cares for the fog. Why, if it’s only a ten foot mud bank we’re so
glad nothing else matters much just now,” declared the overwrought

“It’s something better than that,” responded our hero brightly, all
buoyed up now after the recent heavy strain on nerve and mind. “We must
have landed on some island not down on the chart.”

“Let us explore,” suggested the impetuous Hiram.

“Let us eat first,” added the hungry Elmer. “It’s brought back my
appetite, after that big scare.”

Dave went all over the machine, more with the sense of touch than actual
eyesight inspection in that enveloping fog. He came back to his comrades
not a whit discouraged.

“How is it, Dave?” asked Hiram.

“I can’t tell exactly,” was the reply. “Some of the tubing is loose and
the gear is out of center. With what tools we have and duplicate parts,
we may be able to fix things up good enough to carry on to the South
American coast.”

“Let’s do it, then,” suggested the eager Elmer. “Those other fellows may
get the biggest kind of a lead on us while we are delaying here.”

“They are probably having troubles of their own,” remarked Dave. “It
would be impossible to do anything in this fog. Besides, it will take us
at least a day to repair the _Comet_. We might just as well take a
resting spell and a bite to eat.”

The food supply aboard the biplane was abundant, but no attempt was made
to cook a meal. The airship boys indulged in a lunch composed of
crackers, cheese and some lemonade, in the manufacture of which beverage
Hiram had become something of an expert.

“I say,” he suddenly exclaimed, ten minutes later, as he bolted a
mouthful of cracker—“look there!”

The speaker pointed, and all hands arose to their feet. In the far
distance a growing yellow glow began to diffuse itself over the western
sky. As suddenly and completely as the dense fog had come down upon them
earlier in the day, a grand clearing up transpired.

“Why, it’s just like the rolling up of a curtain,” cried Elmer.

The airship boys stood viewing a swift panorama. Vague shapes and
outlines began to stand out before their vision. The blue sky showed to
their left, the ocean at quite some distance. The sinking sun sent up
its radiant beams and they made out that they were on an island.

Its rounding end was disclosed as they swept the scene with interested
glances. Little patches of forest and grassy plain showed.

“Why, a famous camping spot,” spoke the elated Hiram.

“How lucky we didn’t miss it,” added Elmer.

The young pilot could now inspect the _Comet_ more clearly. He reported
his conclusions after going over every part of the machine.

“I think time and patience will fix things up,” he announced.

“How much time?” inquired Hiram.

“I hope not a great lot of patience,” said Elmer, with a longing thought
of the home mainland.

“There will be some brazing and hammering to do,” explained Dave. “We
will have to build a fire. It will soon be dark and we must wait for
daylight. Now then, fellows, don’t waste any nerve force worrying. What
we lose to-day we’ll try to make up for when we get started again. We
will find a good camping spot, have a pleasant evening, and a full
night’s sleep. That will put us in fine trim for real business in the

“Begone dull care,” sang Hiram, in a jolly tone. “We’ll forget that
we’re circling the globe for one ten hours, and be common, everyday boys
out on a picnic lark, and report for duty in the morning.”

“There’s an inviting spot,” observed Dave, pointing to a copse on a
little rise in the near distance.

Before dusk the airship boys had gotten the _Comet_ safely placed,
blankets out, a campfire built, and were settled down comfortably for
the evening. There was nothing to indicate that the island was inhabited
with wild beasts. It seemed to be a little emerald patch set down in the
ocean, a sort of lost Crusoe reef, too small to have a name or a place
on the marine charts.

One by one the boys drifted into slumberland. It must have been nearly
midnight when Hiram and Elmer awakened to find Dave shaking them

“Get up, fellows,” directed the young airman. “Something’s going on that
we have got to investigate.”

                             CHAPTER XXIII

                           THE BLAZING BEACON

“What’s the trouble now, Dave?” speedily inquired Hiram, getting to his
feet and Elmer after him.

“No trouble at all, I fancy,” was the reply; “quite the contrary, in
fact. Look there.”

The young pilot of the _Comet_ pointed across country towards the beach.
Where a hill ran up to a sharp promontory jutting out over the ocean, a
bright light showed.

“Why,” cried Hiram, “it’s a blazing heap of some kind. Looks as if it
was up off the ground.”

“Yes, and it doesn’t burn like wood or oil. Notice the smoke and the way
the flames leap up in the air? What do you suppose it is, Dave?”
inquired Elmer.

“I can’t imagine, unless it is some beacon,” replied the young aviator.

“We can soon find out,” declared Elmer. “Wait a minute.”

The speaker ran to the biplane. He soon returned, his telescope in hand.
This he leveled at the distant glow.

“You’re right, Dave,” he announced excitedly. “It’s a beacon, sure, and
it’s pitch, sure. See for yourself.”

“Yes,” assented the young aviator, levelling the glass. “There is no
doubt that it is a signal of some kind. I can make out the skeleton legs
of some kind of a brazier.”

Hiram came in for a show at the spyglass. His decision enforced that of
his friends.

“What will we do—investigate?” he asked of their leader.

“We must do that,” replied Dave. “It can’t be very far away.”

“What will we do with the machine?” questioned Hiram, who did not relish
being left behind.

“We can roll it to the beach and keep it with us,” explained Dave. “Come

“Maybe this is an inhabited island after all,” suggested Elmer. “I’d
like to know. We don’t want to run into cannibals and have them roast

The airship boys got ready to leave their temporary camp. They gained
the beach, where progress was level and clear for the _Comet_. The
blazing beacon was an excellent guide, and they neared it rapidly. When
they came to the foot of the hill, they discovered a deep embrasure in
its surface.

“Run the machine in there,” directed our hero. “Nobody is likely to
disturb it before we return.”

It was with a good deal of curiosity and excitement that the boys
ascended the hill. That gained, Dave took a broad survey of its top. No
habitation or person was in view. At the edge of the highest point,
commanding an open view of the ocean, was a large brazier, such as is
used in light blacksmithing work. Its broad flanging top held a barrel,
evidently containing pitch or some readily inflammable material. The
fire sent up dense clouds of thick, black smoke. At the same time,
however, the bright flames shone far out over the waters with a
brilliant glow.

“Queer,” observed Hiram, staring at the brazier with no clue as to the
hand that had lighted it.

“Yes, some one started that fire, and quite recently,” declared Dave.

“I wonder why? And who it could be?” chimed in Elmer.

“We had better set about finding out,” suggested Hiram.

The young airman took the lead in a search for the mysterious owner of
the brazier. Finally, as they approached a slight dip in the surface of
the ground, he swung his arm back to command a halt.

Where some trees showed, the reflection from the fire outlined a ragged
tent made out of a sail. Near it were some boxes and barrels. There was
a small table and a stool, a little oil stove, and some cooking

A hammock swung between two trees. Lying in this, apparently asleep, the
curious explorers made out a human form. The young airman waved his
comrades back and cautiously approached the unexpected layout before

A near glance showed our hero that the occupant of the hammock was a
white man garbed in nautical costume. There seemed to be no other person
in the vicinity. Dave reached out and gave the hammock a rough swing.

Its occupant must have been a light sleeper. With wonderful suddenness
and a sharp yell he bounded from his bed. He was a thin, short man, not
weighing more than ninety pounds—so undersized, in fact, as he stood
gaping at Dave in open-mouthed wonder, that the latter felt inclined to
laugh at the grotesque figure he made.

“Why—where—when!” gasped out the man, and, almost overcome, he could
utter no further coherent words.

“Do I happen to come here—and my friends? That beacon directed us; who
are you?” asked our hero.

“Shipwrecked mariner,” was the reply, in a mournful tone.

“You are a castaway, then?”

“That’s it—good ship _Flying Scud_, Nantucket. Been here two months.
What’s your craft?”

“The airship _Comet_,” replied our hero.

“W-what?” and the man looked astounded and then grinned. He rubbed his
eyes to convince himself that he was not dreaming. Then he gazed at Dave
in a hurt way, as if he felt that our hero was making fun of him.

“That’s true,” the young airman hastened to say. “Myself and my friends
arrived here by accident only a few hours since. The power on our
machine gave out, and we landed in the fog, not knowing where and we
don’t know now.”

By this time Hiram and Elmer had advanced to the spot. The man scanned
them closely. He rubbed his head in a worried, uncertain sort of a way,
as if figuring out something that puzzled him. Then he said, after a
long pause:

“I was in hopes my beacon had called a ship. Seeing as it isn’t, I
suppose there is no chance of my getting away from here?”

“Why not?” challenged Dave, encouragingly. “Did you ever ride in an
airship, my friend?”

“No, never saw one. I’ve read about them and have seen pictures of them.
To a regular tar, used to solid planks for nigh onto twenty years, those
flimsy things don’t appeal, somehow.”

“That’s because you don’t know what real sailing is,” declared Hiram.

“Where is this new-fangled contrivance of yours?” inquired the man,
looking into the sky and then all around the hill.

“Come with us and we’ll show it to you,” promised Dave.

“All right. Then I’ll show you my ship.”

“Oh, you have one?” inquired Elmer in surprise.

“What is left of the good old _Flying Scud_, yes,” answered the
castaway, mournfully. “You see, friends, she must have struck a reef and
sprung a leak. Anyhow, that dark, stormy night when I found myself
drifting on her alone, I had to figure out that the captain had given
her up as doomed. They had abandoned her in the long boat while I was
asleep in the forecastle. Anyhow, when I came on deck, I found the ship
deserted. Maybe the crew thought I had been swept overboard. Perhaps
they couldn’t find me—you see, I’m so small,” concluded the speaker,

“Say, mister, how did you get out of it?” asked the interested Hiram.

“The _Flying Scud_ was rolling like a dancing sailor. I thought it was
the last of Jabez Hull, yours truly. As she sided over, I strapped a
life belt on me and dropped into the sea. Well, to make a long story
short, I landed on this island. The next morning I found the old ship a
wreck but her bow out of water, down on the beach yonder. She’s been
there since. Can’t be budged, can’t be used, but I’ve been breaking her
up to build some kind of a craft to get away in. Then, too, I’ve got
food and furniture for my camp here. I ain’t much of a ship carpenter
and got sort of discouraged, and for a week I’ve got busy and burned up
a barrel of tar as a beacon.”

The boys pulled the _Comet_ into view when they reached the spot where
they had stowed it. The flare from the beacon enabled a full view of the
biplane. It seemed as though Jabez Hull would never cease staring at it.
He forgot all about his own forlorn situation in asking half a hundred
wondering questions as to the machine and what it could do.

When he led the airship boys down the beach and showed them the wreck,
it was their turn to become interested. What pleased the young aviators
most of all was the discovery of a small portable forge. This the
castaway had removed from the ship to assist in building his boat of
escape. This, scarcely begun, was lying on the sand.

“Fellows,” said Dave, to his assistants, “this is a great stroke of luck
for us. We can repair the machine in a good way, with a forge and tools
to help us.”

“Yes, and there’s a whole tank of gasoline aboard the _Flying Scud_,”
volunteered Hull.

The boys went back with the castaway to his camp. No one thought of
sleeping amid the excitement of the occasion.

“We must get up early in the morning,” said Dave. “We must lose no time
in starting on our way.”

“See here,” spoke up the castaway; “I suppose there’s no chance of my
thinking of having a show to get away from here with you?”

“We shall certainly try to find a place for you,” replied Dave,

“You will?” cried Hull, joyously. “Oh, but that’s grand! See here,
friend, you know what I’ll do if you fellows get me safely to the
American coast?”

“What, now?” questioned Hiram, who liked to hear the odd old mariner

“I’ll give you twenty thousand dollars.”

Our hero said nothing, but Elmer stared hard at the speaker and Hiram
nudged him and winked.

“Provided,” continued Jabez Hull—“provided you take my treasure also
along in your airship.”

“Your treasure, Mr. Hull?” repeated Dave. “What does it consist of?”

“A keg—yes, friend, probably the most valuable keg in the world. It
weighs over fifty pounds, and it’s precious as diamonds. Land me
anywhere near to a big city till I realize, and I’ll hand you over
twenty thousand dollars in good, solid, hard cash.”

                              CHAPTER XXIV

                            THE HOME STRETCH

“Ready for a start,” ordered Dave.

It was under new and favorable circumstances that the young pilot of the
_Comet_ spoke the words. The lonely island in the South Atlantic was now
a mere fading memory, the many leagues traversed by land and sea lost in
the past. The _Comet_ and the airship boys were stationed in a field
near to a little hostelry on the outskirts of Rio Janeiro.

It was rare good fortune, indeed, that the young adventurers had
happened across Jabez Hull. Within twenty-four hours after discovering
the shipwrecked mariner the _Comet_ was on her way due west, with a new

The forge, tools and metal material once belonging to the wrecked
_Flying Scud_ had come in most usefully. Dave knew enough of popular
mechanics to utilize them practically. He declared the biplane as solid
and perfect, after a careful overhauling and repairing, as when the
machine had left the original starting place of the great international
race around the world.

The “treasure” of the eccentric Jabez Hull had been taken aboard. It
represented a keg sewn up in a coarse canvas jacket. Hiram was alive
with curiosity to know what possible material the package could contain
to equal in value the vaunted twenty thousand dollars. On that point,
however, the castaway had insisted on preserving utter silence.

“I’m a man of my word,” he said, “and that is all there is about it.
Land me anywhere on American territory and I will divide my riches.”

With this the airship boys were forced to be content. Room was made for
the precious keg by leaving behind on the island the greater part of the
exigency equipment of the _Comet_. The young pilot felt that now all
they need fear was the giving out of the gasoline supply. There was
plenty of this aboard the wrecked ship, and they managed to find storage
for quite an extra supply of it.

It was a daring dash, this final one over leagues of open sea in their
frail aircraft. Once begun, however, the airship boys were dauntless and
tireless. Fine weather and favorable winds assisted them, and without a
single notable mishap they had reached the great Brazilian metropolis.

The young aviator was anxious to get to a telegraph office at once. He
left Hiram and Elmer in charge of the _Comet_. Jabez Hull insisted on
accompanying him to the city.

“I want to get action on that keg of treasure,” he said. “I know several
shipping houses in Rio. I’ll be back here to the airship by noon.”

“Make it noon, sharp,” advised Dave, “for we cannot afford to lose a
single second in the race now.”

“I’ll be here on time, don’t you fret,” declared the castaway.

He and Dave parted when they reached the heart of the city. The young
airman was back with his friends before noon. He had gotten in touch
with Washington. What he learned made him more than anxious to resume
the flight.

“We are third, fellows, so far as heard from, I am sorry to say,” he
announced to his anxious comrades, and this put them in a great flutter.

“You don’t mean to say that any of the machines has reached goal?” cried
Hiram, his heart sinking to his boots.

“No,” replied our hero; “but number seven was reported at Para
yesterday. This morning number two was at Cayenne. They are hundreds of
miles nearer home than we are.”

“Then it’s a run day and night from this on,” insisted Hiram, bustling
about excitedly.

“It will have to be, if we expect to make good,” said Dave. “Mr. Hull
has not returned yet?”

“Not a sign of him,” reported Elmer.

They were all busy for the next hour, getting things in shape for a
speedy and sustained flight on the home stretch. Dave glanced at his

“It is after noon,” he observed. “I don’t see how we can afford to wait
any longer for Mr. Hull.”

“Why, we simply mustn’t,” declared the impatient Hiram.

“Get ready for a start, then. Here, Elmer,” and Dave wrote a few lines
on a card. “Take that to the hotel keeper and tell him to give it to Mr.
Hull when he shows up.”

“What were you writing?” inquired Hiram, as Elmer darted away on his

“Directions as to how he can wire us and where he can find us later,”
replied our hero.

They waited ten minutes after the return of Elmer, but there were no
signs of the missing passenger of the _Comet_. The machine went aloft as
if filled with the spirit that infused its crew. They were soon whizzing
on their way north.

“Wonder what our queer shipwreck friend will say when he finds us gone?”
inquired Hiram.

“He will understand the urgency of the situation, for I explained it in
my note,” said Dave. “He has some money with him, I know, and will
doubtless make for Washington at once.”

“I say,” broke in Elmer; “what do you fellows think about this boasted
treasure of his?”

“I, for one, don’t think anything about it at all,” responded Hiram,
bluntly. “He’s either a dreamer or a skeesicks. His not coming back to
us looks as if he had served his purpose in getting to safe territory
and has abandoned his old keg.”

“I’d like to know what it holds,” said Elmer.

“Well, it isn’t gold and it isn’t diamonds,” replied Hiram, rather
contemptuously. “I noticed in shifting it this morning that its canvas
jacket was greasy at one place, just as if the keg was full of oil.”

“Never mind,” spoke Dave. “It will do for ballast till we reach home.
Then, if Mr. Hull does not appear, we will have to open the keg and see
what is in it.”

The _Comet_ made five hundred miles in three laps. Once only, at
Caracas, did they have to stop for gasoline. It was early one morning
when the _Comet_ came to a stop near Belize.

Dave as usual hurried to the nearest telegraph office, and soon had the
wires busy. His anxious assistants greeted his return all in a quiver
over expected news.

“What have you found out, Dave?” projected Hiram.

“Yes, we’re all on edge to know if there is a chance to get in first,”
added Elmer.

“Number seven is two hundred miles ahead of us—just sighted at Vera
Cruz,” said the young airman. “No word has been received about number
two since our last report.”

“Oh, Dave,” cried Hiram, in a wild fever of longing and suspense, “we’ve
just got to reach goal first!”

“We shall make a very hard try, at all events,” replied our hero,
doughtily. “Get out the chart, Elmer. We must save every needless crook
and turn from this on.”

The eager boys were soon inspecting the chart. Vera Cruz was two hundred
miles away. Number seven had over six hours’ lead, estimating the
situation on a full speed basis. The young air pilot did some intense
calculating. Then he drew his finger across the chart past New Orleans,
across Louisiana, and on a line as the crow flies for Washington.

That day was one of the greatest stress for the airship boys. There was
no thought of sleep, and they cared little for food. Hiram chattered the
greater part of the time. Elmer was so anxious that he was restless and
worried. Dave kept at the wheel, grim, determined and persevering.

They ran steadily all the next night. At a little town over the border
of Georgia they had to stop for gasoline. The storekeeper from whom they
obtained it gave them some information that spurred them up afresh.

“You’re the second in the last three hours,” he informed them.

“You mean the second airship?” inquired Hiram, eagerly.

“Just that. One flew over about daylight.”

“How headed? What did it look like? Where did it go?” In his hurry and
eagerness Elmer stumbled over his words recklessly.

The man could not describe the airship, but enough was gathered from him
in a general way to give the boys some idea of the course taken by their

“It’s number seven, I have every reason to believe,” said Dave, when
they started up again.

“Then it will be a close finish,” declared Hiram. “We’ve gained on her a
good deal, you see.”

It was superb running for several hours after that. The landscape
beneath them, now wild and desolate, seemed to spin along like a rapid
panorama. They were traversing an uphill and down dale course, when
Hiram suddenly uttered a positive yell.

“Dave, Elmer,” he shouted—“look there!”

“It’s number seven, sure as you live!” echoed Elmer, excitedly.

“I think so, too,” agreed their pilot more quietly, but all his senses
were on the keenest alert.

Over beyond a high ridge all hands saw distinctly an airship. Its
outline answered to the description of number seven. The way it sailed
told that it was an expert racer and under the control of a true

It was lost to view behind a tree-capped ridge. When the _Comet_ in its
course has got past this obstruction, the airship had disappeared.

“It’s gone, but where?” called out Hiram.

“There it is,” suddenly cried Elmer.

About three miles ahead of them was a little settlement. This side of it
a fenced-in farm showed. In the center of its barnyard the airship boys
saw the machine that had been sailing aloft a short time previous.

Apparently it had descended on account of some break or accident. There
seemed to be no valid reason why it should land at a remote farmhouse.

“Why, there’s trouble,” exclaimed Hiram.

                  *       *       *       *       *

“There surely is,” said the young pilot of the _Comet_, and the trio
viewed a somewhat startling spectacle.

The owner of the other airship stood near his biplane. Four men
surrounded him. Three of them were armed with guns, and they confronted
the airman in a menacing way.

                              CHAPTER XXV


The airship boys at once saw that their fellow aviator was in trouble.
Our hero made a direct descent. The _Comet_ came to a standstill beside
the other machine. Its pilot leaped out and approached the group.

Dave at once recognized number seven, and the young man, Pierce, who ran
it. He hailed him in a friendly fashion. Then he turned to the four
farmers. A frowsy, obstinate-looking old fellow with a pitchfork was
evidently the father of the three stalwart youths armed with shotguns.
First he regarded the newcomers with surprise, and then suspiciously and
with dislike.

“Why, what is the trouble here?” inquired the young airman.

“That’s the trouble,” growled the old man, pointing to a row of upset
bee hives and a break in the field fence beyond. “Do you see that horse
over there making for the woods? Well, that’s old Snorter, my primest
animal. This here young fellow comes down in his b’loon and scares the
hoss nigh into fits.”

“Ran out of gasoline and a bolt out of gear,” explained the pilot of
number seven.

“You have no right dropping into my yard!” shouted the farmer,
wrathfully. “It’s trespassing.”

“That’s right,” drawled the biggest of his sons. “I’m a deputy of the
sheriff in this county. You have violated the law. I shall have to take
you to Millville to court to answer in an action of wilful trespass.”

“Yes, and I shall insist that you be held in a civil suit for damages,”
declared another of the sons.

Young Pierce cast a hopeless look at his machine and anxiously at Dave.
The latter took in the situation at a glance.

“See here, mister,” he said to the old farmer; “we are desperately sorry
that this has happened.”

“Yah!” sneered the shrewd old schemer—“money talks.”

“How much?” demanded our hero, without hesitation.

“Well, them bees is a special brood. The hives and the fence ain’t much,
but there’s old Snorter. He may wander away and get lost; he may fall
into some of those lime pits beyond the timber and get hurt. Then again,
he’s so frightened he’ll probably run away at the least scare after
this. One hundred dollars, I told this young man here.”

“But I haven’t got it,” cried Pierce. “I offered to give you an order on
Washington, and you won’t take it.”

“Not I,” retorted the hard-fisted old fellow. “Cash down on the nail

“I ran short at Savannah,” explained Pierce to Dave. “I fancied I could
get through with the twenty dollars I had left, being so near home.”

Dave took out his pocket book. The old farmer’s eyes glistened as our
hero handed him five crisp twenty-dollar banknotes.

“Now then, Pierce,” spoke the young airman, “that’s settled. What’s the
trouble with your machine?”

It did not take the expert Dave long to find out. Within half an hour he
had the faulty gear sound as ever. The _Comet_ had a full supply of
gasoline. A transfer of some of it was made to the tanks aboard number

The farmer and his sons, fully satisfied now, stood watching operations.
Hiram and Elmer hustled about, giving their leader and his fellow
aviator all the help they could.

“Everything is in trim,” announced our hero, finally. “Good-bye and good

Pierce held the hand so generously extended by Dave in a tremulous
grasp. Tears of gratitude and esteem had rushed to his eyes.

“Dashaway,” he said, in a choked, broken voice; “you’re a man, every
inch of you!”

Number seven went aloft. Dave called “all aboard!” Hiram pulled his face
at the mean-spirited old trickster who had bled them. Elmer shook his
fist at the farmer crowd.

“That’s you!” exclaimed Hiram. “Just fitted Pierce out to beat us, and
delayed us, besides.”

“Wasn’t it the best kind of fair play?” challenged Dave.

“So good,” declared Elmer; “that I’d almost rather come in second with
the big heart you’ve got, than think I’d left a fellow airman in the

“Well, it’s a free for all now, I hope,” spoke the anxious Hiram. “When
a fellow is so near the winning post as we are, it makes him selfish, I
guess. Yes, you did just right, Dave Dashaway; only, if you see some
stray tramp limping along, don’t stop to give him a lift.”

Within an hour the advance pilot of the race, number seven, was nowhere
in view. Our hero had made a study of this one close rival in the field
as well as repair the machine. He had found out where it was weak and
the _Comet_ strong. Barring accident, the young pilot of the _Comet_
felt sanguine that his machine would reach the winning post first.

The airship boys did some splendid running. They made no stops except
for fuel and water. They ate and slept on the wing. Hiram counted the
moments and Elmer the miles. At midnight, thirty hours later, they were
within two hundred miles of Washington.

It was a momentous climax in their earnest young lives. They had circled
the globe. They had overcome every obstacle in their path. They had won,
the proud pilot of the _Comet_ and his eager assistants hoped and

With a cheer, husky with emotions, seeming to swell up in his heart like
a fountain of joy, Hiram Dobbs arose in the machine as it settled down
almost at the very spot whence it had started—“oh, almost years before!”
Elmer declared.

Dave Dashaway stepped from the machine. The cares, the hardship, the
worry, the doubt of long arduous weeks seemed to fall from him like a
garment. He gave one vast sigh of relief and satisfaction. Every eye was
at once directed towards the club house. Some field men came running
from the distant hangars.

“Say,” spoke Hiram, with a queer anxious jerk in his voice—“the bulletin

His heart sank as he ran towards it. Elmer followed close on his trail.
There were notations opposite the various numbers. Had someone preceded
them—had someone won the race?

And then, after a single glance, Hiram threw his cap up in the air, his
face beaming, and Elmer grasped his hand, delirious with excitement.
Dave, coming up, found them dancing about as if half mad with joy.

For the lines on the bulletin board bore only such notations as these:
“Number ten—abandoned at Winnipeg.” “Number six—wrecked at Cape Nome.”
“Number five—abandoned,” and others “out of commission.”

There were blanks after number seven and number two. As the airship boys
stood there, a man came quickly out upon the veranda which held the
bulletin board. He cast an excited glance at the travel-worn _Comet_. He
waved his hand gaily at the three young champions. Then with a piece of
chalk he wrote on the third blank line:

“_Number three, Comet; pilot, Dashaway—first._”

A date, an hour, a minute, even down to odd seconds followed. The world
knew that the airship boys had won the great international prize!

There were so many pleasant and rapidly occurring events transpiring
close on the heels of the great race around the world, that for over two
weeks our hero and his loyal comrades had a busy, interesting time of

Twelve hours after the arrival of the _Comet_, number seven came into
the goal. She was a bird with a broken wing. A patched-up plane told of
a last dash under decided disadvantages.

“Don’t you crow over me, Mr. Dave Dashaway,” said the energetic young
Pierce, playfully. “I win second prize, all alone by myself. You three
have to divide yours. But, better than the international trophy, is the
big thing you did for me, and people are going to know about it, too,”
declared Pierce, and he kept his word.

Mr. Brackett was very proud of the son who had “made good” in an exploit
calling for more than ordinary ability and grit. To our hero he insisted
all the credit was due, and the young airman realized that he had made
strong, lifetime friends.

It seemed to the airship boys the very happiest moment of their lives,
the day a dainty little miss drove up to the _Comet_ hangar, and Miss
Edna Deane, with tears of joy and gratitude, and her lovely face fairly
glowing, told them what heroes they were.

“My brother is resting with a relative in England,” she narrated.
“Father has gone to bring him home. If you are a thousand miles away
from Washington when they return, you must promise, all three of you, to
come to the family reunion, of which you are surely members, as friends
and brothers. Father and brother will have something interesting to say
to you. We are very, very grateful—and, oh, so proud of you!”

“It’s worth something to find a little sister like that,” cried Hiram,
as their visitor left them, all sunny smiles and happiness.

“‘Something interesting’ means a right royal reward, of course,” spoke
Elmer. “Why, fellows, if we keep on, we’ll soon have the capital to
start an aero meet all our own!”

It was just a week after that, early one morning, that the airship boys,
seated in the aero association club room, were hailed joyously by an
unexpected visitor.

“Why, Mr. Hull!” exclaimed Dave, greeting the newcomer warmly.

The shipwrecked mariner looked like a new man. He wore a spick and span
suit, and was cleanly shaven. He seemed well fed and happy.

“Missed you at Rio,” he announced; “but knew you’d do the square thing.
Met a chum who financed me, and came on to get my keg.”

“Which is safe and sound in the storage room here,” announced our hero.

“Well, all we’ve got to do is to get it hauled down to a chemical works
in Washington to get our money—half of it is yours,” observed the old

“Say, Mr. Hull,” broke in the irrepressible Hiram; “what in the world is
in that keg, anyway?”

“Can’t you guess?” asked the old salt.

“We haven’t the least idea, unless it’s grease.”

“Grease! Ha! ha!” laughed the sailor. “Not much, my lad. Give another

“I don’t see what could be worth such a sum of money as you claim,”
returned Hiram, his face showing how puzzled he was.

“You haven’t opened the keg?”

“No,” answered Dave, promptly.

“It ain’t leaked none either?”

“Not enough to count.”

“I am glad o’ that, lads. I wouldn’t want that stuff to git away from
me, after all the trouble I had gittin’ it, an’ all the trouble you had
carryin’ it so far.”

“But we are wildly excited to know what it is!” cried Hiram. “Please
don’t keep us waiting any longer.”

“Hiram has made all sorts of wild guesses,” laughed Dave. “First he
thought you had gold dust—but gold dust isn’t greasy.”

“No, it ain’t gold dust.”

“Then what?” pleaded Hiram. “Come, out with it, Mr. Hull.”

“Ambergris,” promptly replied Jabez Hull. “Found it floating on the
water off that island where you met me. I suppose you know it’s worth
just double pure gold an ounce, and so rare that the price never goes

“Well, what next?” asked Hiram, some time later.

“I don’t know,” answered Dave. But many more adventures were in store
for our hero, and what some of them were will be related in the next
volume of this series, to be entitled: “Dave Dashaway, Air Champion; Or,
Wizard Work in the Clouds.”

So we leave our young friends for the present, happy, honored and still
ambitious. They had been leaders and heroes in the aviation field. Their
efforts had been practical and not reckless. They had shown a new course
around the world. They had proven a new possibility in aerial science,
and fame and fortune had been the reward of Dave Dashaway and his
intrepid airship boys.

                                THE END


                           THE DAVE DASHAWAY
                            By ROY ROCKWOOD

  Author of the “Speedwell Boys Series” and the “Great Marvel Series.”
        12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 40 cents, postpaid.

         Never was there a more clever young aviator than Dave
         Dashaway. All up-to-date lads will surely wish to read
                               about him.



                _or In the Clouds for Fame and Fortune_

  This initial volume tells how the hero ran away from his miserly
guardian, fell in with a successful airman, and became a young aviator
of note.

              _or Daring Adventures Over the Great Lakes_

Showing how Dave continued his career as a birdman and had many
adventures over the Great Lakes, and how he foiled the plans of some
Canadian smugglers.

               _or A Marvellous Trip Across the Atlantic_

How the giant airship was constructed and how the daring young aviator
and his friends made the hazardous journey through the clouds from the
new world to the old, is told in a way to hold the reader spellbound.

             _or A Young Yankee Aviator Among Many Nations_

An absorbing tale of a great air flight around the world, of adventures
in Alaska, Siberia and elsewhere. A true to life picture of what may be
accomplished in the near future.

                      DAVE DASHAWAY: AIR CHAMPION
                     _or Wizard Work in the Clouds_

Dave makes several daring trips, and then enters a contest for a big
prize. An aviation tale thrilling in the extreme.


                CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers, NEW YORK


                           THE WEBSTER SERIES
                          By FRANK V. WEBSTER



                 Mr. WEBSTER’S style is very much like
              that of the boys’ favorite author, the late
               lamented Horatio Alger, Jr., but his tales
                       are thoroughly up-to-date.

             Cloth. 12mo. Over 200 pages each. Illustrated.
                       Stamped in various colors.

                 Price per volume, 40 cents, postpaid.

              Only A Farm Boy
                _or Dan Hardy’s Rise in Life_

              The Boy From The Ranch
                _or Roy Bradner’s City Experiences_

              The Young Treasure Hunter
                _or Fred Stanley’s Trip to Alaska_

              The Boy Pilot of the Lakes
                _Nat Morton’s Perils_

              Tom The Telephone Boy
                _or The Mystery of a Message_

              Bob The Castaway
                _or The Wreck of the Eagle_

              The Newsboy Partners
                _or Who Was Dick Box?_

              Two Boy Gold Miners
                _or Lost in the Mountains_

              The Young Firemen of Lakeville
                _or Herbert Dare’s Pluck_

              The Boys of Bellwood School
                _or Frank Jordan’s Triumph_

              Jack the Runaway
                _or On the Road with a Circus_

              Bob Chester’s Grit
                _or From Ranch to Riches_

              Airship Andy
                _or The Luck of a Brave Boy_

              High School Rivals
                _or Fred Markham’s Struggles_

              Darry The Life Saver
                _or The Heroes of the Coast_

              Dick The Bank Boy
                _or A Missing Fortune_

              Ben Hardy’s Flying Machine
                _or Making a Record for Himself_

              Harry Watson’s High School Days
                _or The Rivals of Rivertown_

              Comrades of the Saddle
                _or The Young Rough Riders of the Plains_

              Tom Taylor at West Point
                _or The Old Army Officer’s Secret_

              The Boy Scouts of Lennox
                _or Hiking Over Big Bear Mountain_

              The Boys of the Wireless
                _or a Stirring Rescue from the Deep_

              Cowboy Dave
                _or The Round-up at Rolling River_

              Jack of the Pony Express
                _or The Young Rider of the Mountain Trail_

              The Boys of the Battleship
                _or For the Honor of Uncle Sam_


                CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers, NEW YORK


                         THE SADDLE BOYS SERIES
                        By CAPTAIN JAMES CARSON
        12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 40 cents, postpaid.

All lads who love life in the open air and a good steed, will want to
peruse these books. Captain Carson knows his subject thoroughly, and his
stories are as pleasing as they are healthful and instructive.



                       THE SADDLE BOYS OF THE ROCKIES
                       _or Lost on Thunder Mountain_

    Telling how the lads started out to solve the mystery of a great
    noise in the mountains—how they got lost—and of the things they

                        _or The Hermit of the Cave_

    A weird and wonderful story of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado,
    told in a most absorbing manner The Saddle Boys are to the front in
    a manner to please all young readers.

                       THE SADDLE BOYS ON THE PLAINS
                       _or After a Treasure of Gold_

    In this story the scene is shifted to the great plains of the
    southwest and then to the Mexican border. There is a stirring
    struggle for gold, told as only Captain Carson can tell it.

                      THE SADDLE BOYS AT CIRCLE RANCH
                       _or In at the Grand Round-up_

    Here we have lively times at the ranch, and likewise the particulars
    of a grand round-up of cattle and encounters with wild animals and
    also cattle thieves. A story that breathes the very air of the

                       _or In the Hands of the Enemy_

    The scene is shifted in this volume to Mexico. The boys go on an
    important errand, and are caught between the lines of the Mexican
    soldiers. They are captured and for a while things look black for
    them; but all ends happily.


                CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers, NEW YORK


                           THE SPEEDWELL BOYS
                            By ROY ROCKWOOD
   Author of “The Dave Dashaway Series,” “Great Marvel Series,” etc.
        12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 40 cents, postpaid.


All boys who love to be on the go will welcome the Speedwell boys. They
are clean cut and loyal lads.



               _or The Mystery of a Great Conflagration_

The lads were poor, but they did a rich man a great service and he
presented them with their motor cycles. What a great fire led to is
exceedingly well told.

                     _or A Run for the Golden Cup_

A tale of automobiling and of intense rivalry on the road. There was an
endurance run and the boys entered the contest. On the run they rounded
up some men who were wanted by the law.

                  _or To the Rescue of the Castaways_

Here is an unusual story. There was a wreck, and the lads, in their
power launch, set out to the rescue. A vivid picture of a great storm
adds to the interest of the tale.

                  _or The Lost Treasure of Rocky Cove_

An old sailor knows of a treasure lost under water because of a cliff
falling into the sea. The boys get a chance to go out in a submarine and
they make a hunt for the treasure.

                  _or The Perils of a Great Blizzard_

The boys had an idea for a new sort of iceboat, to be run by combined
wind and motor power. How they built the craft, and what fine times they
had on board of it, is well related.


                CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers, NEW YORK


                            THE FRED FENTON
                            ATHLETIC SERIES
                            By ALLEN CHAPMAN
  Author of “The Tom Fairfield Series,” “The Boys of Pluck Series” and
                      “The Darewell Chums Series.”

12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 40 cents, postpaid.

A line of tales embracing school athletics. Fred is a true type of the
American schoolboy of to-day.



                        FRED FENTON THE PITCHER
                  _or The Rivals of Riverport School_

When Fred came to Riverport none of the school lads knew him, but he
speedily proved his worth in the baseball box. A true picture of school

                        FRED FENTON IN THE LINE
               _or The Football Boys of Riverport School_

When Fall came in the thoughts of the boys turned to football. Fred went
in the line, and again proved his worth, making a run that helped to win
a great game.

                        FRED FENTON ON THE CREW
               _or The Young Oarsmen of Riverport School_

In this volume the scene is shifted to the river, and Fred and his chums
show how they can handle the oars. There are many other adventures, all
dear to the hearts of boys.

                        FRED FENTON ON THE TRACK
                 _or The Athletes of Riverport School_

Track athletics form a subject of vast interest to many boys, and here
is a tale telling of great running races, high jumping, and the like.
Fred again proves himself a hero in the best sense of that term.

                      FRED FENTON: MARATHON RUNNER
                _or The Great Race at Riverport School_

Fred is taking a post-graduate course at the school when the subject of
Marathon running came up. A race is arranged, and Fred shows both his
friends and his enemies what he can do. An athletic story of special


                CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers, NEW YORK


                        The Tom Fairfield Series
                            By ALLEN CHAPMAN
    Author of the “Fred Fenton Athletic Series,” “The Boys of Pluck
               Series,” and “The Darewell Chums Series.”
        12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 40 cents, postpaid.


Tom Fairfield is a typical American lad, full of life and energy, a boy
who believes in doing things. To know Tom is to love him.



                       TOM FAIRFIELD’S SCHOOLDAYS
                     _or The Chums of Elmwood Hall_

Tells of how Tom started for school, of the mystery surrounding one of
the Hail seniors, and of how the hero went to the rescue. The first book
in a line that is bound to become decidedly popular.

                          TOM FAIRFIELD AT SEA
                   _or The Wreck of the Silver Star_

Tom’s parents had gone to Australia and then been cast away somewhere in
the Pacific. Tom set out to find them and was himself cast away. A
thrilling picture of the perils of the deep.

                         TOM FAIRFIELD IN CAMP
                    _or The Secret of the Old Mill_

The boys decided to go camping, and located near an old mill. A wild man
resided there and he made it decidedly lively for Tom and his chums. The
secret of the old mill adds to the interest of the volume.

                     TOM FAIRFIELD’S PLUCK AND LUCK
                     _or Working to Clear His Name_

While Tom was back at school some of his enemies tried to get him into
trouble. Something unusual occurred and Tom was suspected of a crime.
How he set to work to clear his name is told in a manner to interest all
young readers.

                      TOM FAIRFIELD’S HUNTING TRIP
                      _or Lost in the Wilderness_

Tom was only a schoolboy, but he loved to use a shotgun or a rifle. In
this volume we meet him on a hunting trip full of outdoor life and good
times around the campfire.


                CUPPLES & LEON CO., Publishers, NEW YORK


                      THE MOTOR BOYS Second Series
                  _(Trade Mark, Reg. U. S. Pat. Of.)_
                           By CLARENCE YOUNG
        12mo. Illustrated. Price per volume, 60 cents, postpaid.


This, the Second Series of the now world famed Motor Boys virtually
starts a new series, but retains all the favorite characters introduced
in the previous books. The Motor Boys Series is the biggest and best
selling series of books for boys ever published.

                    _or The Motor Boys as Freshmen_

Fresh from their adventures in their automobile, their motor boat and
their airship, the youths are sent to college to complete their
interrupted education. Some boys at the institution of learning have
heard much about our heroes, and so conclude that the Motor Boys will
try to run everything to suit themselves.

A plot is formed to keep our heroes entirely in the background and not
let them participate in athletics and other contests. How the Motor Boys
forged to the front and made warm friends of their rivals makes
unusually interesting reading.

                Send For Our Free Illustrated Catalogue


                 CUPPLES LEON CO., Publishers, NEW YORK


                            Transcriber's Notes:

    Italicized phrases are presented by surrounding the text with
    _underscores_. Small capitals have been rendered in full capitals.

    Punctuation has been standardized. Minor spelling and typographic
    errors have been corrected silently, except as noted below.
    Hyphenated words have been retained as they appear in the original
    text, except as noted below.

    On page 139, "knap-sack" has been changed to "knapsack" for internal
    and time-period consistency.

    On page 144, "long-flowing" has been changed to "long flowing".

    On page 202, "areo" has been changed to "aero"

    On the ad page "Tom Fairfield Series", "camp-fire" has been changed
    to "campfire" for internal consistency.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Dave Dashaway Around the World - or A Young Yankee Aviator Among Many Nations" ***

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