Tom Swift And His Motor-Boat or The Rivals of Lake Carlopa
Part 2 out of 3
desired, Tom noted, as he and his chum hurried down to the dock
before breakfast to put their blankets in the boat. As the young
inventor entered the craft he uttered an exclamation.
"What's the matter?" asked Ned.
"I was sure I locked the sliding door of that forward
compartment," was the reply. "Now it's open." He looked inside
the space occupied by the gasoline tank and cried out: "One of
the braces is gone! There's been some one at my boat in the night
and they tried to damage her."
"Much harm done?" asked Ned anxiously.
"No, none at all, to speak of," replied Tom. "I can easily put a
new block under the tank. In fact, I don't really need all I
have. But why should any one take one out, and who did it?
That's what I want to1now."
The two lads looked carefully about the dock and boat for a sign
of the missing block or any clews that might show who had been
tampering with the ARROW, but they could find nothing.
"Maybe the block fell out," suggested Ned.
"It couldn't," replied Tom. "It was one of the new ones I put in
myself and it was nailed fast. You can see where it's been pried
loose. I can't, understand it," and Tom thought rapidly of
several mysterious occurrences of late in which the strange man at
the auction and the person he had surprised one night in the
boathouse had a part.
"Well, it needn't delay our trip," resumed the young inventor.
"Maybe there's a hoodoo around here, and it will do us good to get
away a few days. Come on, we'll have breakfast, get dad and
A little later the ARROW was puffing away up the lake in the
direction of Sandport.
MR. SWIFT IS ALARMED
"Don't you feel better already, dad?" asked Tom that noon as they
stopped under a leaning, overhanging tree for lunch on the shore
of the lake. "I'll leave it to Ned if you don't look more
contented and less worried."
"I believe he does," agreed the other lad. "Well, I must say I
certainly have enjoyed the outing so far," admitted the inventor
with a smile. "And I haven't been bothering about my gyroscope.
I think I'll take another sandwich, Tom, and a few more olives."
"That's the way to talk!" cried the son. "Your appetite is
improving, too. If Mrs. Baggert could see you she'd say so."
"Oh, yes, Mrs. Baggert. I do hope she and Garret will look after
the house and shops well," said Mr. Swift, and the old, worried
look came like a shadow over his face.
"Now don't be thinking of that, dad," advised Tom, "Of course
everything will be all right. Do you think some of those model
thieves will return and try to get some of your other inventions?"
"I don't know, Tom. Those men were unscrupulous scoundrels, and
you can never tell what they might do to revenge themselves on us
for defeating their plans."
"Well, I guess Garret and Mrs. Baggert will look out for them,"
remarked his son. "Don't worry."
"Yes, it's bad for the digestion," added Ned. "If you don't mind,
Tom, I'll have some more coffee and another sandwich myself."
"Nothing the matter with your appetite, either," commented the
young inventor as he passed the coffee pot and the plate.
They were soon on their way again, the ARROW making good time up
the lake. Tom was at the engine, making several minor adjustments
to it, while Ned steered. Mr. Swift reclined on one of the
cushioned seats under the shade of the canopy. The young owner of
the ARROW looked over the stretch of water from time to time for a
possible sight of Andy Foger, but the RED STREAK was not to be
seen. The Lakeview Hotel was reached late that afternoon and the
boat was tied up to the dock, while Tom and Ned accompanied Mr.
Swift to see him comfortably established in his room.
"Won't you stay to supper with me?" invited the inventor to his
son and the latter's chum. "Or do you want to start right in on
"I guess we'll stay to supper and remain at the hotel to-night,"
decided Tom. "We got here a little later than I expected, and Ned
and I hardly have time to go very far and establish a temporary
camp. We'll live a life of luxurious ease to-night and begin to
be 'wanderlusters' and get back to nature to-morrow."
In the morning Tom and his chum, full of enthusiasm for the
pleasures before them, started off, promising to come back to the
hotel in a few days to see how Mr. Swift felt. The trip had
already done the man good and his face wore a brighter look.
Tom and Ned, in the speedy ARROW, cruised along the lakeshores all
that morning. At noon they, went ashore, made a temporary camp
and arranged to spend the night there in the tent. After this was
erected they got out their fishing tackle and passed the afternoon
at that sport, having such good luck that they provided their own
supper without having to depend on canned stuff.
They lived this life for three days, making a new camp each night,
being favored with good weather, so that they did not have to
sleep in the boat to keep dry. ' On the afternoon of the third
day Tom, with a critical glance at the sky, remarked:
"I shouldn't be surprised if it rained to-morrow, Ned."
"Me either. It does look sort of hazy, and the wind is in a bad
"Then what do you say to heading for the hotel? I fancy dad will
be glad to see us." "That suits me. We can start camp life again
after the storm passes."
They started for Sandport that afternoon. When within about two
miles of the hotel dock Tom saw, just ahead of them, a small
motor-boat. Ned observed it too and called out:
"S'pose that's Andy looking for another race?"
"No, the boat's too small for his. We'll put over that way and
see who it is."
The other craft did not appear to be moving very rapidly and the
ARROW was soon overhauling it. As the two chums came nearer they
could hear the puffing of the motor. Tom listened with critical
"That machine isn't working right," he remarked to his chum.
At that moment there sounded a loud explosion from the other boat
and at the same time there came over the water a shrill cry of
alarm. "That's a girl in that boat!" exclaimed Ned. "Maybe she's
"No, the motor only backfired," observed Tom. "But we'll go over
and see if we can help her. Perhaps she doesn't understand it.
Girls don't know much about machinery."
A little later the ARROW shot up alongside the other craft, which
had come to a stop. The two lads could see a girl bending over
the motor, twirling the flywheel and trying to get it started.
"Can I help you?" asked Tom, shutting off the power from his
The young lady glanced up. Her face was red and she seemed ill at
ease. At the sight of the young inventor she uttered an
exclamation of relief.
"Why, Mr. Swift!" she cried. "Oh, I'm in such trouble. I can't
make the machine work, and I'm afraid it's broken; it exploded."
"Miss Nestor!" blurted out Tom, more surprised evidently to see
his acquaintance of the runaway again than she was at beholding
him. "I didn't know you ran a motor-boat," he added. "I don't,"
said she simply and helplessly. "That's the trouble, it won't
"How comes it that you are up here?" went on Tom.
"I am stopping with friends, who have a cottage near the Lakeview
Hotel. They have a motor-boat and I got Dick Blythe---he's the
owner of this---to show me how to run it. I thought I knew, and I
started out a little while ago. At first it went beautifully, but
a few minutes ago it blew up, or---or something dreadful
"Nothing very dreadful, I guess," Tom assured her. "I think I can
fix it." He got into the other boat and soon saw what the trouble
was. The carburetor had gotten out of adjustment and the gasoline
was not feeding properly. The young inventor soon had it in
order, and, testing the motor, found that it worked perfectly.
"Oh, I can't thank you enough," cried Miss Nestor with a flash
from her brown eyes that made Tom's heart beat double time. "I
was afraid I had damaged the boat, and I knew Dick, who is a sort
of second cousin of mine, would never forgive me."
"There's no harm done," Tom assured her. "But you had better keep
near us on your way back, that is, if you are going back."
"Oh, indeed I am. I was frightened when I found I'd come so far
away from shore, and then, when that explosion took place---well,
you can imagine how I felt. Indeed I will keep near you. Are you
stopping near here? If you are, I wish you'd come and see me, you
and Mr. Newton" she added, for Tom had introduced his chum.
"I'll be very glad to," answered our hero, and he told how he
happened to be in the neighborhood. "I'll give you a few lessons
in managing a boat, if you like," he added.
"Oh, will you? That will be lovely! I won't tell Dick about it,
and I'll surprise him some day by showing him how well I can run
"Good idea," commented Tom.
He started the motor for Miss Nestor, having stopped it after his
first test, and then, with the DOT, which was the name of the
small boat Miss Nestor was in, following the larger ARROW, the run
back to the hotel was made. The young lady turned off near the
Lakeview dock to go to the cottage where she was stopping and the
lads tied up at the hotel boathouse.
"Yes, we are in for a storm," remarked Tom as he and his chum
walked up toward the hotel. "I wonder how dad is? I hope the
outing is doing him good."
"There he comes now," observed Ned, and, looking up, Tom saw his
father approaching. The young inventor was at once struck by the
expression on his parent's face. Mr. Swift looked worried and Tom
anxiously hastened forward to meet him.
"What's the matter dad?" he asked as cheerfully as he could.
"Have you been figuring over that gyroscope problem again, against
my express orders?" and be laughed a little.
"No, Tom, it's not the gyroscope that's worrying me."
"What is it then?"
"Those scoundrels are around again, Tom!" and Mr. Swift looked
apprehensively about him.
"You mean the men who stole the turbine model?"
"Yes. I was walking in the woods near the hotel yesterday and I
saw Anson Morse. He did not see me, for I turned aside as quickly
as I had a glimpse of him. He was talking to another man."
"What sort of a man?"
"Well, an ordinary enough individual, but I noticed that he had
tattooed on the little finger of his left hand a blue ring."
"Happy Harry, the tramp!" exclaimed Tom. "What can he and Morse
be doing here?"
"I don't know, Tom, but I'm worried. I wish I was back home. I'm
afraid something may happen to some of my inventions. I want to
go back to Shopton, Tom."
"Nonsense, dad. Don't worry just because you saw some of your
former enemies. Everything is all right at home. Mrs. Baggert
and Garret Jackson will look after things. But, if you like, I,
can find out for you how matters are."
"By taking a run down there in my motor-boat. I can do it to-
morrow and get back by night, if I start early. Then you will not
"All right, Tom; I wish you would. Come up to my room and we will
talk it over. I'd rather leave you go than telephone, as I don't
like to talk of my business over the wire if I can avoid it."
A CRY FOR HELP
"Now, dad, tell me all about it," requested Tom when he and Ned
were in Mr. Swift's apartment at the hotel, safe from the rain
that was falling. "How did you happen to see Anson Morse and
Happy Harry?" My old readers will doubtless remember that the
latter was the disguised tramp who was so vindictive toward Tom,
while Morse was the man who endeavored to sneak in Mr. Swift's
shop and steal a valuable invention.
"Well, Tom," proceeded the inventor, "there isn't much to tell. I
was out walking in the woods yesterday, and when I was behind a
clump of bushes I heard voices. I looked out and there I saw the
"At first I thought they were trailing me, but I saw that they had
not seen me, and I didn't see how they could know I was in the
neighborhood. So I quietly made my way back to the hotel."
"Could you hear what they were saying?"
"Not all, but they seemed angry over something. The man with the
blue ring on his finger asked the other man whether Murdock had
been heard from."
"Who is Murdock?"
"I don't know, unless he is another member of the gang or unless
that is an assumed name."
"It may be that. What else did you hear?"
"The man we know as Morse replied that he hadn't heard from him,
but that he suspected Murdock was playing a double game. Then the
tramp---Happy Harry---asked this question: 'Have you any clew to
the sparkler?' And Morse answered: 'No, but I think Murdock has
hid it somewhere and is trying to get away with it without giving
us our share.' Then the two men walked away, and I came back to
the hotel," finished Mr. Swift.
"Sparkler," murmured Tom. "I wonder what that can be?"
"That's a slang word for diamonds," suggested Ned.
"So it is. In that case, dad, I think we have nothing to worry
about. Those fellows must be going to commit a diamond robbery or
perhaps it has already taken place."
The inventor seemed relieved at this theory of his son. His face
brightened and he said: "If they are going to commit a robbery,
Tom, we ought to notify the police."
"But if they said that 'Murdock,' whoever he is, had the sparkler
and was trying to get away with it without giving them their
share, wouldn't that indicate that the robbery had already taken
place?" asked Ned.
"That's so," agreed Tom. "But it won't do any harm to tell the
hotel detective that suspicious characters are around, no matter
if the has been committed. Then he can be on the lookout. But I
don't think we have anything to worry about, dad. Still, if you
like, I'll take a run down to the house to see that everything is
all right, though I'm sure it will be found that we have nothing
to be alarmed over."
"Well, I will be more relieved if you do," said the inventor,
"However, suppose we have a good supper now and you boys can stay
at the hotel to-night. Then you and Ned can start off early in
"All right," agreed Tom, but there was a thoughtful look on his
face and he appeared to be planning something that needed careful
attention to details.
After supper that night Tom took his chum to one side and asked:
"Would you mind very much if you didn't make the trip to Shopton
"No, Tom, of course not, if it will help you any. Do you want me
to stay here?"
"I think it will be a good plan. I don't like to leave dad alone
if those scoundrels are around. Of course he's able to look after
himself, but sometimes he gets absent minded from thinking too
much about his inventions."
"Of course I'll stay here at the hotel. This is just as good a
vacation as I could wish."
"Oh, I don't mean all the while. Just a day or so---until I come
back. I may be here again by to-morrow night and find that my
father is needlessly alarmed. Then something may have happened at
home and I would be delayed. If I should be, I'd feel better to
know that you were here."
"Then I'll stay, and if I see any of those men---"
"You'd better steer clear of them," advised Tom quickly. "They
are dangerous customers."
"All right. Then I'll go over and give Miss Nestor lessons on how
to run a motor-boat," was the smiling response. "I fancy, with
what she and I know, we can make out pretty well."
"Hold on there!" cried Tom gaily. "No trespassing, you know."
"Oh, I'll just say I'm your agent," promised Ned with a grin.
"You can't object to that."
"No, I s'pose not. Well, do the best you can. She is certainly a
"Yes, but you do seem to turn up at most opportune times. Luck is
certainly with you where she is concerned. First you save her in
"After I start the runaway," interrupted Tom.
"Then you take her for a ride in your motor-boat, and, lastly, you
come to her relief when she is stalled in the middle of the lake.
Oh you certainly are a lucky dog!"
"Never mind, I'm giving you a show. Now let's get to bed early,
as I want to get a good start."
Tom awoke to find a nasty, drizzling rainstorm in progress, and
the lake was almost hidden from view by a swirling fog. Still he
was not to be daunted from his trip to Shopton by the weather,
and, after a substantial breakfast, he bade his father and Ned
good-by and started off in the ARROW.
The canopy he had provided was an efficient protection against the
rain, a celluloid window in the forward hanging curtains affording
him a view so that he could steer.
Through the mist puffed the boat, the motor being throttled down
to medium speed, for Tom was not as familiar with the lake as he
would like to have been, and he did not want to run aground or
into another craft.
He was thinking over what his father had told him about the
presence of the men and vainly wondering what might be their
reference to the "sparkler." His thoughts also dwelt on the
curious removal of the bracing block from under the gasoline tank
of his boat.
"I shouldn't be surprised but what Andy Foger did that," he mused.
"Some day he and I will have a grand fight, and then maybe he'll
let me alone. Well, I've got other things to think about now.
The hotel detective can keep a lookout for the men around the
hotel, after the, warning I gave him, and I'll see that all is
right at home."
The fog lifted somewhat and Tom put on more speed. As he was
steering the boat along near shore he heard, off to the woods at
his right, the report of a gun. It came so suddenly that he
jumped involuntarily. A moment later there sounded, plainly
through the damp air, a cry for help.
"Some one's hurt---shot" cried the youth aloud.
He turned the boat in toward the bank. As he shut off the power
from the motor he heard the cry again:
"Help! Help! Help!"
"I must go ashore!" he exclaimed. "Probably some one is badly
wounded by a gun."
He paused for a moment as the fear came to him that it might be
some of the patent thieves. Then, dismissing that idea as the
ARROW's prow touched the gravel, Tom sprang out, drew the boat up
a little way, fastened the rope to a tree and hurried off into the
dripping woods in the direction of the voice that was calling for
A QUICK RUN
"Where are you?" cried Tom. "Are you hurt? Where are you?"
Uttering these words after he had hurried into the woods a short
distance, the young inventor paused for an answer. At first he
could hear nothing but the drip of water from the branches of the
trees; then, as he listened intently, he became aware of a groan
not far away.
"Where are you?" cried the lad again. "I've come to help you.
Where are you?"
He had lost what little fear he had had at first, that it might be
one of the unscrupulous gang, and came to the conclusion that he
might safely offer to help.
Once more the groan sounded and it was followed by a faint voice
"Here I am, under the big oak tree. Oh, whoever you are, help me
quickly! I'm bleeding to death!"
With the sound of the voice to guide him, Tom swung around. The
appeal had come from the left and, looking in that direction, he
saw, through the mist, a large oak tree. Leaping over the
underbrush toward it he caught sight of the wounded man at its
foot. Beside him lay a gun and there was a wound in the man's
"Who shot you?" cried Tom, hurrying to the side of the man. "Was
it some of those patent thieves?" Then, realizing that a stranger
would know nothing of the men who had stolen the model, Tom
prepared to change the form of his question. But, before he had
an opportunity to do this, the man, whose eyes were closed, opened
them, and, as he got a better sight of his face, Tom uttered a
"Why, it's Mr. Duncan!" exclaimed the lad. He had recognized the
rich hunter, whom he had first met in the woods that spring
shortly after Happy Harry, the tramp, had disabled Tom's motor-
cycle. "Mr. Duncan," the young inventor repeated, "how did you
"Is that you, Tom Swift?" asked the gunner. "Help me, please. I
must stop this bleeding in my arm. I'll tell you about it
afterward. Wind something around it tight---your handkerchief
The man sighed weakly and his eyes closed again. The lad saw the
blood spurting from an ugly wound.
"I must make a tourniquet," the youth exclaimed. "That will check
the bleeding until I can get him to a doctor."
With Tom to think was to act. He took out his knife and cut off
Mr. Duncan's sleeves below the injury, slashing through coat and
shirts. Then he saw that part of a charge of shot had torn away
some of the large muscular development of the upper arm. The
hunter seemed to have fainted and the youth worked quickly. Tying
his handkerchief above the wound and inserting a small stone under
the cloth, so that the pebble would press on the main artery, Tom
put a stick in the handkerchief and began to twist it. This had
the effect of tightening the linen around the arm, and in a few
seconds the lad was glad to see that the blood had stopped
spurting out with every beat of the heart. Giving the tourniquet
a few more twists to completely stop the flow of blood, Tom
fastened the stick-lever in place by a bit of string.
"That's---that's better," murmured Mr. Duncan. "Now if you can go
for a doctor---" He had to pause for breath.
"I'll not leave you here alone while I go for a doctor," declared
Tom. "I have my motor-boat on the lake. Do you think I could get
you down to it and take you home?"
"Perhaps---maybe. I'll be stronger in a moment, now that the
bleeding has stopped. But not---not home---frighten my wife.
Take me to the sanitarium if you can---sanitarium up the lake, a
few miles from here."
The unfortunate man, who had tried to sit upright, had to lean
back against the tree again. Tom understood what he meant in
spite of the broken sentences. Mr. Duncan did not want to be
taken home in the condition he was then in, for fear of alarming
his wife. He wanted to be taken to the sanitarium, and Tom knew
where this was, a well-known resort for the treatment of various
diseases and surgical cases. It was about five miles away and on
the opposite shore of the lake.
"Water---a drink!" murmured Mr. Duncan.
Seeing that his patient would be all right, for a few minutes at
least, Tom hurried to his motorboat, got a cup and, filling it
with water from a jug he carried, he hastened with it to the
hunter. The fluid revived the man wonderfully and now that the
bleeding had almost completely stopped, Mr. Duncan was much
"Do you think you can get to the boat, if I help you?" asked Tom.
"Yes, I believe so. To think of meeting you again, and under such
circumstances! It is providential."
"Did someone shoot you?" inquired Tom, who could not get out of
his head the notion of the men who had once assaulted him.
"No, I shot myself," answered Mr. Duncan as he got to his feet
with Tom's help. "I was out with my gun, practicing just as I was
that day when I met you in the woods. I stooped down to crawl
under a bush and the weapon went off, the muzzle being close
against my arm. I can't understand how it happened. I fell down
and called for help. Then I guess I must have fainted, but I came
to when I heard you talking to me. I shouldn't have come out to-
day as it is so wet, but I had some new shot shells I wished to
try in order to test them before the hunting season. But if I can
get to the sanitarium, I will be well taken care of. I know one
of the doctors there."
With Tom leading him and acting as a sort of support, the journey
to the motor-boat was slowly made. Making as comfortable a bed as
possible out of the seat cushions, Tom assisted Mr. Duncan to it,
and then starting the engine he sent his boat out from shore at
half speed, as the fog was still thick and he did not want to run
upon a rock.
"Do you know where the sanitarium is?" asked the wounded hunter.
"About," answered Tom a little doubtfully, "but I'm afraid it's
going to be hard to locate it in this fog."
"There's a compass in my coat pocket," said Mr. Duncan. "Take it
out and I'll tell you how to steer. You ought to carry a compass
if you're going to be a sailor."
Tom was beginning to think so himself and wondered that he had not
thought of it before. He found the one the hunter had, and
placing it on the seat near him, he carefully listened to the
wounded man's directions. Tom easily comprehended and soon had
the boat headed in the proper direction. After that it was
comparatively easy to keep on the right course, even in the fog.
But there was another danger, however, and this was that he might
run into another boat. True, there were not many on Lake Carlopa,
but there were some, and one of the few motor-boats might be out
in spite of the bad weather.
"Guess I'll not run at full speed," decided Tom. "I wouldn't like
to crash into the RED STREAK. We'd both sink."
So he did not run his motor at the limit and sat at the steering-
wheel, peering ahead into the fog for the first sight of another
He turned to look at Mr. Duncan and was alarmed at the pallor of
his face. The man's eyes were closed and he was breathing in a
"Mr. Duncan," cried Tom, "are you worse?"
There was no answer. Leaving the helm for a moment, Tom bent over
the injured hunter. A glance showed him what had happened. The
tourniquet had slipped and the wound was bleeding again. Tom
quickly shut off the motor, so that he might give his whole
attention to the work of tightening the handkerchief. But
something seemed to be wrong. No matter how tightly he twisted
the stick the blood did not stop flowing. The lad was frightened.
In a short time the man would bleed to death.
"I've got to get him to the sanitarium in record time!" exclaimed
Tom. "Fog or no fog, I've got to run at full speed! I've got to
Making the bandage as tight as he could and fastening it in place,
the young inventor sprang to the motor and set it in motion. Then
he went to the wheel. In a few minutes the ARROW was speeding
through the water as it had never done before, except when it had
raced the RED STREAK. "If I hit anything---good-by!" thought Tom
grimly. His hands were tense on the rim of the steering-wheel and
he was ready in an instant to reverse the motor as he sat there
straining his eyes to see through the curtain of mist that hung
over the lake. Now and then he glanced at the compass, to keep on
the right course, and from time to time he looked at Mr. Duncan.
The hunter was still unconscious.
How Tom accomplished that trip he hardly remembered afterward.
Through the fog he shot, expecting any moment to crash into some
other boat. He did pass a rowing craft in which sat a lone
fisherman. The lad was upon him in an instant, but a turn of the
wheel sent the ARROW safely past, and the startled fisherman,
whose frail craft was set to rocking violently by the swell from
the motor-boat, sent an objecting cry through the fog after Tom.
But the youth did not reply. On and on he raced, getting the last
atom of power from his motor.
He feared Mr. Duncan would be dead when he arrived, but when he
saw the dock of the sanitarium looming up out of the mist and shut
off the power to slowly run up to it, he placed his hand on the
wounded man's heart and found it still beating.
"He's alive, anyhow," thought the youth, and then his craft bumped
up against the bulkhead and a man in the boathouse on the dock was
sent on the run for a physician.
Mr. Duncan was quickly taken up to the sanitarium on a stretcher
and Tom followed.
"You must have made a record run," observed one of the physicians
a little while afterward, when Tom was telling of his trip while
waiting in the office to hear the report on the hunter's
"I guess I did," muttered the young inventor "only I didn't think
so at the time. It seemed as if we were only crawling along."
Under the skill of the physicians at the lake sanitarium Mr.
Duncan's wound was quickly attended to and the bleeding, which Tom
had partly checked, was completely stopped. Some medicines having
been administered, the hunter regained a little of his strength,
and, about an hour after be had been brought to the resort, he was
able to see Tom, who, at his request, was admitted to his room.
The young inventor found Mr. Duncan propped up in bed, with his
injured arm bandaged.
"Is the injury a bad one?" asked Tom, entering softly.
"Not as bad as I feared," replied the hunter, while a trained
nurse placed a chair for the lad at the bedside. "If it had not
been for you, though, I'm afraid to think of what might have
"I am glad I chanced to be going past when you called," replied
"Well, you can imagine how thankful I am," resumed Mr. Duncan.
"I'll thank you more properly at another time. I hope I didn't
delay you on your trip."
"It's not of much consequence," responded the youth. "I was only
going to see that everything was all right at our house," and he
explained about his father being at the hotel and mentioned his
worriment. "I will go on now unless I can do something more for
you," resumed Tom. "I will probably stay at our house all night
to-night instead of trying to get back to Sandport."
"I'd like to send word to my wife about what has happened," said
the hunter. "If it would not be too much out of your way, I'd
appreciate it if you could stop at my home in Waterford and tell
her, so she will not be alarmed at my absence."
"I'll do it," replied our hero. "There is no special need of my
hurrying. I have brought your gun and compass up from the boat.
They are down in the office."
"Will you do me a favor?" asked Mr. Duncan quickly.
"Then please accept that gun and compass with my compliments.
They are both of excellent make, and I don't think I shall use
that gun this season. My wife would be superstitious about it.
As for the compass, you'll need one in this fog, and I can
recommend mine as being accurate."
"Oh, I couldn't think of taking them," expostulated Tom, but his
eyes sparkled in anticipation, for he had been wishing for a gun
such as Mr. Duncan owned. He also needed a compass.
"If you don't take them I shall feel very much offended," the
hunter said, "and the nurse here will tell you that sick persons
ought to be humored. Hadn't they?" and he appealed to the pretty
young woman, who was smiling at Tom.
"That's perfectly true," she said, showing her white, even teeth.
"I think, Mr. Swift, I shall have to order you to take them."
"All right," agreed Tom, "only it's too much for what I did."
"It isn't half enough," remarked Mr. Duncan solemnly. "Just
explain matters to my wife, if you will, and tell her the doctor
says I can be out in about a week. But I'm not going hunting or
practicing shots again."
A little later Tom, with the compass before him to guide him on
his course through the fog, was speeding his boat toward
Waterford. Now and then he glanced at the fine shotgun which he
had so unexpectedly acquired.
"This will come in dandy this fall!" he exclaimed. "I'll go
hunting quail and partridge as well as wild ducks. This compass
is just what I need, too."
Mrs. Duncan was at first very much alarmed when Tom started to
tell her of the accident, but she soon calmed down as the lad went
more into details and stated how comparatively out of danger her
husband now was. The hunter's wife insisted that Tom remain to
dinner, and as he had made up his mind he would have to devote two
days instead of one to the trip to his house, he consented.
The fog lifted that afternoon, and Tom, rejoicing in the sunlight,
which drove away the storm clouds, speeded up the ARROW until she
was skimming over the lake like a shaft from a bow.
"This is something like," he exclaimed. "I'll soon be at home,
find everything all right and telephone to dad. Then I'll sleep
in my own room and start back in the morning."
When Tom was within a few miles of his own boathouse he heard
behind him the "put-put" of a motor craft. Turning, he saw the
RED STREAK fairly flying along at some distance from him.
"Andy certainly is getting the speed out of her now," he remarked.
"He'd beat me if we were racing, but the trouble with his boat and
engine is that he can't always depend on it. I guess he doesn't
understand how to run it. I wonder if he'll offer to race now?"
But the red-haired owner of the auto boat evidently did not intend
to offer Tom a race. The RED STREAK went on down the lake,
passing the ARROW about half a mile away. Then the young inventor
saw that Andy had two other lads in the boat with him.
"Sam Snedecker and Pete Bailey, I guess," he murmured. "Well,
they're a trio pretty much alike. The farther off they are the
better I like it."
Tom once more gave his attention to his own boat. He was going at
a fair speed, but not the limit, and he counted on reaching home
in about a half hour. Suddenly, when he was just congratulating
himself on the smooth-running qualities of his motor, which had
not missed an explosion, the machinery stopped.
"Hello!" exclaimed the young inventor in some alarm. "What's up
He quickly shut off the gasoline and went back to the motor. Now
there are so many things that may happen to a gasoline engine that
it would be difficult to name them all offhand, and Tom, who had
not had very much experience, was at a loss to find what had
stopped his machinery. He tried the spark and found that by
touching the wire to the top of the cylinder, when the proper
connection was, made, that he had a hot, "fat one." The
compression seemed all right and the supply pipe from the gasoline
tank was in perfect order. Still the motor would not go. No
explosion resulted when he turned the fly-wheel over, not even
when he primed the cylinder by putting a little gasoline in
through the cocks on the cylinder heads.
"That's funny," he remarked to himself as he rested from his
labors and contemplated the "dead" motor. "First time it has gone
back on me." The boat was drifting down the lake, and, at the
sound of another motor craft approaching, Tom looked up. He saw
the RED STREAK, containing Andy Foger and his cronies. They had
observed the young inventor's plight.
"Want a tow?" sneered Andy.
"What'll you take for your second-hand boat that won't run?"
asked Pete Bailey.
"Better get out of the way or you might be run down," added Sam
Tom was too angry and chagrined to reply, and the RED STREAK swept
"I'll make her go, if it takes all night!" declared Tom
energetically. Once more he tried to start the motor. It coughed
and sighed, as if in protest, but would not explode. Then Tom
cried: "The spark plug! That's where the trouble is, I'll wager.
Why didn't I think of it before?"
It was the work of but a minute to unscrew the spark plugs from
the tops of the cylinders. He found that both had such
accumulations of carbon on them that no spark could ever have
reached the mixture of gasoline and air.
"I'll put new ones in," he decided, for he carried a few spare
plugs for emergencies. Inside of five minutes, with the new plugs
in place, the motor was running better than before.
"Now for home!" cried Tom, "and if I meet Andy Foger I'll race
him this time."
But the RED STREAK was not in sight, and, a little later, Tom had
run the ARROW into the boathouse, locked the door and was on his
way up to the mansion.
"I suppose Mrs. Baggert and Garret will be surprised to see me,"
he remarked. "Maybe they'll think we don't trust them, by coming
back in this fashion to see that everything is safe. But then, I
suppose, dad is naturally nervous about some of his valuable
machinery and inventions. I think I'll find everything all right,
As Tom went up the main path and swung off to a side one, which
was a short cut to the house, he saw in the dusk, for it was now
early evening, a movement in the bushes that lined the walk.
"Hello, Garret!" exclaimed the lad, taking it for granted it was
the engineer employed by Mr. Swift.
There was no reply, and Tom, with a sudden suspicion, sprang
toward the bushes. The shrubbery was more violently agitated and,
as the lad reached the screen of foliage, he saw a man spring up
from the ground and take to his heels.
"Here! Who are you? What do you want?" yelled Tom.
Hardly had he spoken when from behind a big apple tree another man
sprung. It was light enough so that the lad could see his face,
and a glimpse of it caused him to cry out:
"Happy Harry, the tramp!"
Before he could call again the two men had disappeared.
TOM IN DANGER
"Garret! Garret Jackson!" cried Tom as he struggled through the
hedge of bushes and ran after the men. "Where are you, Garret?
Come on and help me chase these men!"
But there came no answer to Tom's hail. He could not hear the
sound of the retreating footsteps of the men now and concluded
that they had made their escape. Still he would not give up, but
dashed on, slipping and stumbling, now and then colliding with a
"What can they be doing here?" thought Tom in great anxiety. "Are
they after some more of dad's inventions because they didn't get
his turbine motor?"
"Hello! Who's there? Who are you?" called a voice suddenly.
"Oh, Garret! Where have you been?" asked the young inventor,
recognizing the tones of his father's keeper. "I've been calling
you. Some of those scoundrels are around again!"
"Why if it isn't Tom!" ejaculated the engineer. "However in the
world did you get here? I thought you were at Sandport."
"I'll explain later, Garret. Just now I want to catch those men,
if I can."
"Happy Harry and another one. I saw them hiding down by the
orchard path. Come on, they're right ahead of us."
But though they hunted as well as they were able to in the fast-
gathering darkness, there was no trace of the intruders. They had
to give up, and Tom, after going to the boathouse to see that the
ARROW was all right, returned to the house, where he told the
engineer and housekeeper what had brought him back and how he had
surprised the two men.
"Is everything all right, Garret?" he concluded. "Dad is nervous
and frightened. I must telephone him at the hotel to-night and
let him know, for I promised to come back. I can't, though, until
"Everything is all right as far as I know," answered Jackson.
"I've kept a careful watch and the burglar alarm has been in
working order. Mrs. Baggert and I haven't been disturbed a single
night since you went away. It's curious that the men should be
here the very night you come back. Maybe they followed you."
"I hardly think so, for they didn't know I was coming."
"You can't tell what those fellows know," commented the engineer.
"But, anyhow, I don't suppose they could have gotten here from
Sandport as soon as you did."
"Oh, yes they could, in their automobile," declared Tom. "But I
don't believe they knew I was coming. They knew we were away,
however, and thought it would be a good time to steal something, I
guess. Are you sure nothing has been taken?"
"Perfectly sure, but you and I will take a look around the shop."
They made a hasty examination, but found nothing disturbed and no
signs that anyone had tried to break in.
"I think I'll telephone dad that everything is all right," decided
Tom. "It is as far as his inventions are concerned, and if I tell
about seeing the men it will only worry him. I can explain that
part better when I see him. But when I go back, Garret, you will
have to be on your guard, since those men are in the
"I will, Tom. Don't worry."
Mr. Swift was soon informed by his son over the telephone that
nothing in the shops had been disturbed, and the inventor received
the news with evident satisfaction. He requested Tom to come back
to the hotel in the morning, in order that the three of them might
go for a ride about the lake in the afternoon, and Tom decided to
make an early start.
The night passed without incident, though Tom, who kept the gun
Mr. Duncan had given him in readiness for use, got up several
times, thinking he heard suspicious noises. After an early
breakfast, and having once more cautioned the engineer and
housekeeper to be on their guard, Tom started back in the ARROW.
it would not be much out of his way, the young inventor decided to
cut across the lake and stop at the sanitarium, that he might
inquire about Mr. Duncan. He thought he could speed the ARROW up
sufficiently to make up for any time he might lose, and, with this
in mind, he headed out toward the middle of Lake Carlopa. The
engine was working splendidly with the new spark plugs, and Tom
was wondering if there was any possible method of getting more
revolutions out of the motor. He had about come to the conclusion
that a new propeller might answer his purpose when he heard the
noise of an approaching boat. He looked up quickly and exclaimed:
"Andy Foger again, and Pete and Sam are with him. It's a wonder
he wouldn't go off on a trip instead of cruising around so near
home. Guess he's afraid he'll get stuck."
Idly Tom watched the RED STREAK. It was cutting through the water
at a fast rate, throwing up curling foam on either side of the
sharp bow. "He seems to be heading this way," mused Tom. "Well,
I'm not going to race with him to-day."
Nearer and nearer came the speedy craft, straight for the ARROW.
The young inventor shifted his helm in order to get out of Andy's
course, but to his surprise he saw that the red haired lad changed
the direction of his own boat.
"Guess he wants to see how close he can come to me," thought our
hero. "Maybe he wants to show how fast he's going."
The RED STREAK was now so close that the features of the occupants
could easily be distinguished. There were grins on the faces of
Andy and his cronies.
"Get out of the way or we'll run you down!" cried the bully.
"We've got the right of way."
"Don't you try anything like that!" shouted Tom in some alarm, not
that he was afraid of Andy, but the RED STREAK was getting
dangerously near, and he knew Andy was not a skillful helmsman.
The auto-boat was now headed directly at the ARROW and coming on
speedily. Andy was bending over the wheel and Tom had begun to
turn his, in order to get well out of the way of the insolent,
squint-eyed lad and his friends.
Suddenly Andy uttered a cry and leaped up.
"Look out! Look out!" he yelled. "My steering gear has broken!
I can't change my course. Look out!"
The RED STREAK was bearing right down on Tom's boat.
"Shut off your power! Reverse!" shouted Tom.
Andy seemed confused and did not know what to do. Sam Snedecker
sprang to the side of his crony, but he knew even less about a
motor-boat. It looked as if Tom would be run down, and he was in
But the young inventor did not lose his head. He put his wheel
hard over and then, leaping to his motor, sent it full speed
forward. Not a moment too soon had he acted, for an instant later
the other boat shot past the stern of the ARROW, hitting it a
severe but glancing blow. Tom's boat quivered from end to end and
he quickly shut off the power. By this time Andy had succeeded in
slowing down his craft. The young inventor hastily looked over
the side of the ARROW. One of the rudder fastenings had been torn
"What do you mean by running me down?" shouted Tom angrily.
"I---I didn't do it on purpose," returned Andy contritely. "I was
seeing how near I could come to you when my steering gear broke.
I hope I haven't damaged you."
"My rudder's broken," went on Tom "and I've got to put back to
repair it. I ought to have you arrested for this!"
"I'll pay for the damage," replied Andy, and he was so frightened
that he was white, in spite of his tan and freckles.
"That won't do me any good now," retorted Tom. "It will delay me
a couple of hours. If you try any tricks like that again, I'll
complain to the authorities and you won't be allowed to run a boat
on this lake."
Andy knew that his rival was in the right and did not reply. The
bully and his cronies busied themselves over the broken steering
gear, and the young inventor, finding that he could make a shift
to get back to his boathouse, turned his craft around and headed
for there, in order to repair the damage.
THE ARROW DISAPPEARS
Paying no heed to the occupants of the bully's boat, who, by
reason of their daring, had been responsible for his accident that
might have resulted seriously, Tom was soon at his dock. He had
it conveniently arranged for hoisting craft out of the water to
repair them, and in a few minutes the stern of the ARROW was
elevated so that he could get at the rudder.
"Well, it's not as bad as I thought," he remarked when, with
critical eye, he had noted the damage done. I can fix it in about
an hour if Garret helps me."
Going up to the house to get some tools and to tell the engineer
that he had returned, Tom looked out over the lake and saw Andy's
boat moving slowly off.
"They've got her fixed up in some kind of shape," he murmured.
"It's a shame for a chump like Andy to have a good boat like that.
He'll spoil it in one season. He's getting altogether too
reckless. First thing he knows, he and I will have a clash and
I'll pay back some of the old scores."
Mr. Jackson was much surprised to see the young inventor home
again so soon, as was also Mrs. Baggert. Tom explained what had
happened, and he and the engineer went to work repairing the
damage done by the RED STREAK. As the owner of the ARROW had
anticipated, the work did not take long, and, shortly before
dinner time, the boat was ready to resume the interrupted trip to
"Better stay and have lunch," urged Mrs. Baggert. "You can hardly
get to the hotel by night, anyhow, and maybe it would be better
not to start until to-morrow."
"No, I must get back to-night or dad would be worried," declared
Tom. "I've been gone longer now than I calculated on. But I will
have dinner here, and, if necessary, I can do the last half of the
trip after dark. I know the way now and I have a compass and a
The ARROW was let down into the water again and tied outside the
boathouse ready for a quick start. The dinner Mrs. Baggert
provided was so good that Tom lingered over it longer than he
meant to, and he asked for a second apple dumpling with hard sauce
on. So it was with a very comfortable feeling indeed and with an
almost forgiving spirit toward Andy Foger that our hero started
down the path to the lake.
"Now for a quick run to Sandport," he said aloud. "I hope I
shan't see any more of those men and that dad hasn't been bothered
by them. His suspicions about the house weren't altogether
unfounded, for I did see the tramp and some one else sneaking
around, but I don't believe they'll come back now."
Tom swung around the path that led to the dock. As he came in
sight of the water, he stared as if he could not believe what he
saw, or, rather, what he did not see. For there was no craft tied
to the string-piece, where he had fastened his motor-boat. He
looked again, rubbed his eyes to make sure and then cried out:
"The ARROW is gone!"
There was no doubt of it. The craft was not at the dock.
Breaking into a run, Tom hastened to the boathouse. The ARROW was
not in there, and a look across the lake showed only a few
rowboats in sight.
"That's mighty funny," mused the youth. "I wonder---"
He paused suddenly in his thoughts.
"Maybe Garret took it out to try and see that it worked all
right," he said hopefully. "He knows how to run a boat. Maybe he
wanted to see how the rudder behaved and is out in it now. He got
through dinner before I did. But I should have thought he'd have
said something to me if he was going out in it."
This was the one weak point in Tom's theory, and he felt it at
"I'll see if Garret is in his shop," he went on as he turned back
toward the house.
The first person he met as he headed for the group of small
structures where Mr. Swift's inventive work was carried on was
Garret Jackson, the engineer.
"I---I thought you were out in my boat!" stammered Tom.
"Your boat! Why would I be out in your boat?" and Mr. Jackson
removed his pipe from his mouth and stared at the young inventor.
"Because it's gone!"
"Gone!" repeated the engineer, and then Tom told him. The two
hurried down to the dock, but the addition of another pair of eyes
was of no assistance in locating the ARROW. The trim little motor
craft was nowhere to be seen.
"I can't understand it," said Tom helplessly. "I wasn't gone more
than an hour at dinner, and yet---"
"It doesn't take long to steal a motor-boat," commented the
"But I think I would have heard them start it," went on the lad.
"Maybe it drifted off, though I'm sure I tied it securely."
"No, there's not much likelihood of that. There's no wind to-day
and no currents in the lake. But it could easily have been towed
off by some one in a rowboat and then you would not have heard the
"That's so," agreed the youth. "That's probably how they did it.
They sneaked up here in a rowboat and towed the ARROW off. I'm
sure of it."
"And I'll wager I know who did it," exclaimed Mr. Jackson
"Who?" demanded Tom quickly.
"Those men who were sneaking around---Happy Harry and his gang.
They stole the boat once and they'd do it again. Those men took
your boat, Tom."
The young inventor shook his head.
"No," he answered, "I don't believe they did."
"Well, because they wouldn't dare come back here when they knew
we're on the lookout for them. It would be too risky."
"Oh, those fellows don't care for risk," was the opinion of Mr.
Jackson. "Take my word for it, they have your boat. They have
been keeping watch, and as soon as they saw the dock unprotected
they sneaked up and stole the ARROW."
"I don't think so," repeated Mr. Swift's son.
"Who do you think took it then?"
"Andy Foger!" was the quick response. "I believe he and his
cronies did it to annoy me. They have been trying to get even
with me-or at least Andy has---for outbidding him on this boat.
He's tried several times, but he hasn't succeeded---until now.
I'm sure Andy Foger has my boat," and Tom, with a grim tightening
of his lips, swung around as though to start in instant pursuit.
"Where are you going?" asked Mr. Jackson.
"To find Andy and his cronies. When I locate them I'll make them
tell me where my boat is."
"Hadn't you better send some word to your father? You can hardly
get to Sandport now, and he'll be worried about you."
"That's so, I will. I'll telephone dad that the boat---no, I'll
not do that either, for he'd only worry and maybe get sick. I'll
just tell him I've had a little accident, that Andy ran into me
and that I can't come back to the hotel for a day or two. Maybe
I'll be lucky to find my boat in that time. But dad won't worry
then, and, when I see him, I can explain. That's what I'll do,"
and Tom was soon talking to Mr. Swift by telephone.
The inventor was very sorry his son could not come back to rejoin
him and Ned, but there was no help for it, and, with as cheerful
voice as he could assume, the lad promised to start for Sandport
at the earliest opportunity.
"Now to find Andy and my boat!" Tom exclaimed as he hung up the
A DISMAYING STATEMENT
Trouble is sometimes good in a way; it makes a person resourceful.
Tom Swift had had his share of annoyances of late, but they had
served a purpose. He had learned to think clearly and quickly.
Now, when he found his boat stolen, he at once began to map out
a plan of action.
"What will you do first?" asked Mr. Jackson as he saw his
employer's son hesitating.
"First I'm going to Andy Foger's house," declared the young
inventor. "If he's home I'm going to tell him what I think of
him. If he's not, I'm going to find him."
"Why don't you take your sailboat and run down to his dock?"
suggested the engineer. "It isn't as quick as your motor-boat,
but it's better than walking."
"So it is," exclaimed the lad. "I will use my catboat. I had
forgotten all about it of late. I'm glad you spoke."
He was soon sailing down the lake in the direction of the
boathouse on the waterfront of Mr. Foger's property. It needed
but a glance around the dock to show him that the RED STREAK was
not there, but Tom recollected the accident to the steering gear
and thought perhaps Andy had taken his boat to some wharf where
there was a repair shop and there left it to return home himself.
But inquiry of Mrs. Foger, who was as nice a woman as her son was
a mean lad, gave Tom the information that his enemy was not at
"He telephoned to me that his boat was damaged," said Mrs. Foger
gently, "and that he had taken it to get fixed. Then, he said, he
and some friends were going on a little cruise and might not be
"Did he say where he was going?" asked our hero, who did not tell
Andy's mother why he wanted to see her son.
"No, and I'm worried about him. Sometimes I think Andy is too---
well, too impetuous, and I'm afraid he will get into trouble."
Tom, in spite of his trouble, could hardly forbear smiling.
Andy's mother was totally unaware of the mean traits of her son
and thought him a very fine chap. Tom was not going to undeceive
"I'm afraid something will happen to him," she went on. "Do you
think there is any danger being out on the lake in a motor-boat,
Mr. Swift? I understand you have one."
"Yes, I have one," answered Tom. He was going to say he had once
had one, but thought better of it. "No, there is very little
danger this time of year," he added.
"I am very glad to hear you say so," went on Mrs. Foger with a
sigh. "I shall feel more at ease when Andy is away now. When he
returns home, I shall tell him you called upon him and he will
return your visit. I am glad to see that the custom of paying
calls has not died out among the present generation. It is a
pleasant habit, and I am glad to have my son conform to it. He
shall return your kind visit."
"Oh, no, it's of no consequence," replied Tom quickly, thinking
grimly that his visit was far from a friendly one. "There is no
need to tell your son I was here. I will probably see him in a
day or two.
"Oh, but I shall tell him," insisted Mrs. Foger with a kind smile.
"I'm sure he will appreciate your call."
There was much doubt concerning this in the mind of the young
inventor, but he did not express it and soon took his leave. Up
and down the lake for the rest of the day he cruised, looking in
vain for a sight of Andy Foger in the RED STREAK, but the racing
boat appeared to be well hidden.
"If I only could find where they've taken mine," mused Tom. "Hang
it all, this is rotten luck!" and for the first time he began to
"Maybe you'd better notify the police," suggested Mr. Jackson when
Tom returned to the Swift house that night. "They might help
"I think I can do as well as the police," answered the youth. "If
the boat is anywhere it's on the lake, and the police have no
craft in which to make a search."
"That's so," agreed the engineer. "I wish I could help you, but I
don't believe it would be wise for me to leave the house,
especially since those men have been about lately."
"No, you must stay here," was Tom's opinion. "I'll take another
day or two to search. By this time Andy and his gang will return,
I'm sure, and I can tackle them."
"Suppose they don't?"
"Well, then I'll make a tour of the lake in my sailboat and I'll
run up to Sandport and tell dad, for he will wonder what's keeping
me. I'll know better next time than to leave my boat at the dock
without taking out the connection at the spark coil, so no one can
start the motor. I should have done that at first, but you always
think of those things afterward."
The lad began his search again the next morning and cruised about
in little bays and gulfs looking for a sight of the RED STREAK or
the ARROW, but he saw neither, and a call at Andy's house showed
that the red-haired youth had not returned. Mrs. Foger was quite
nervous over her son's continued absence, but Mr. Foger thought it
was all right.
Another day passed without any results and the young inventor was
getting so nervous, partly with worrying over the loss of his boat
and partly on his father's account, that he did not know what to
"I can't stand it any longer," he announced to Mrs. Baggert the
night of the third day, after a telephone message had been
received from Mr. Swift. The inventor wanted to know why his son
did not return to the hotel to join him and Ned. "Well, what will
you do?" asked the housekeeper.
"If I don't find my boat to-morrow, I'll sail to Sandport, bring
home dad and Ned and we three will go all over the lake. My boat
must be on it somewhere, but Lake Carlopa is so cut up that it
could easily be hidden."
"It's queer that the Foger boy doesn't come home. That makes it
look as if he was guilty."
"Oh, I'm sure he took it all right," returned Tom. "All I want is
to see him. It certainly is queer that he stays away as long as
he does. Sam Snedecker and Pete Bailey are with him, too. But
they'll have to return some time."
Tom dreamed that night of finding his boat and that it was a
wreck. He awoke, glad to find that the latter part was not true,
but wishing that some of his night vision might come to pass
during the day.
He started out right after breakfast, and, as usual, headed for
the Foger home. He almost disliked to ask Mrs. Foger if her son
had yet returned, for Andy's mother was so polite and so anxious
to know whether any danger threatened that Tom hardly knew how to
answer her. But he was saved that embarrassment on this occasion,
for as he was going up the walk from the lake to the residence he
met the gardener and from him learned that Andy had not yet come
"But his mother had a message from him, I did hear," went on the
man. "He's on his way. It seems he had some trouble."
"Trouble. What kind of trouble?" asked Tom.
"I don't rightly know, sir, but," and here the gardener winked his
eye, "Master Andy isn't particular what kind of trouble he gets
"That's right," agreed our hero, and as he went down again to
where he had left his boat he thought: "Nor what kind of trouble
he gets other people into. I wish I had hold of him for about
The sailboat swung slowly from the dock and heeled over to the
gentle breeze. Hardly knowing what to do, Tom headed for the
middle of the lake. He was discouraged and tired of making plans
only to have them fail.
As he looked across the stretch of water he saw a boat coming
toward him. He shaded his eyes with his hand to see better, and
then, with a pair of marine glasses, took an observation. He
uttered an exclamation.
"That's the RED STREAK as sure as I'm alive!" he cried. "But
what's the matter with her? They're rowing!"
The lad headed his boat toward the approaching one. There was no
doubt about it. It was Andy Foger's craft, but it was not
speeding forward under the power of the motor. Slowly and
laborious the occupants were pulling it along, and as it was not
meant to be rowed, progress was very slow.
"They've had a breakdown," thought Tom. "Serves 'em right! Now
wait till I tackle 'em and find out where my boat is. I've a good
notion to have Andy Foger arrested!"
The sailing craft swiftly approached the motorboat. Tom could see
the three occupants looking at him, apprehensively as well as
curiously, he thought.
"Guess they didn't think I'd keep after 'em," mused the young
inventor, and a little later he was beside the RED STREAK.
"Well," cried Tom angrily, "it's about time you came back!"
"We've had a breakdown," remarked Andy, and he seemed quite
humiliated. He was beginning to find out that he didn't know as
much about a motor-boat as he thought he did.
"I've been waiting for you," went on Tom.
"Waiting for us? What for?" asked Sam Snedecker.
"What for? As if you didn't know!" blurted out the owner of the
ARROW. "I want my boat, Andy Foger, the one you stole from me and
hid! Tell me where it is at once or I'll have you arrested!"
"Your boat!" repeated the bully, and there was no mistaking the
surprise in his tones.
"Yes, my boat! Don't try to bluff me like that."
"I'm not trying to bluff you. We've been away, three days and
just got back."
"Yes, I know you have. You took my boat with you, too."
"Are you crazy?" demanded Pete Bailey.
"No, but you fellows must have been to think you could take my
boat and me not know it," and Tom, filled with wrath, grasped the
gunwale of the RED STREAK as if he feared it would suddenly shoot
"Look here!" burst out Andy, and he spoke sincerely, "we didn't
touch your boat. Did we, fellows?"
"No!" exclaimed Sam and Pete at once, and they were very much in
"We didn't even know it was stolen, did we?" went on Andy.
"No," agreed his chums. Tom looked unconvinced.
"We haven't taken your boat and we can prove it," continued the
bully. "I know you and I have had quarrels, but I'm telling you
the truth, Tom Swift. I never touched your boat."
There was no mistaking the sincerity of Andy. He was not a
skilful deceiver, and Tom, looking into his squint-eyes, which
were opened unusually wide, could not but help believing the
"We haven't seen it since the day we had the collision," added
Andy, and his chums confirmed this statement.
"We went off on a little cruise," continued the red-haired bully,
"and broke down several times. We had bad luck. Just as we were
nearing home something went wrong with the engine again. I never
saw such a poor motor. But we never took your boat, Tom Swift,
and we can prove it."
Tom was in despair. He had been so sure that Andy was the thief,
that to believe otherwise was difficult. Yet he felt that he
must. He looked at the disabled motor of the RED STREAK and
viewed it with the interested and expert eye of a machinist, no
matter if the owner of it was his enemy. Then suddenly a
brilliant idea came into Tom's head.
STILL ON THE SEARCH
"You seem to have lots of trouble with your boat, Andy," said Tom
after a few moments of rather embarrassed silence.
"I do," admitted the owner of the RED STREAK. "I've had bad luck
ever since I got it, but usually I've been able to fix it by
looking in the book. This time I can't find out what the trouble
is, nor can any of the fellows. It stopped when we were out in
the middle of the lake and we had to row. I'm sick of motor
"Suppose I fix it for you?" went on Tom.
"If you do, I'll pay you well."
"I wouldn't do it for pay---not the kind you mean," continued the
"What do you mean then?" and Andy's face, that had lighted up,
became glum again.
"Well, if I fix your boat for you, will you let me run it a little
"You mean show me how to run it?"
"No, I mean take it myself. Look here, Andy, my boat's been
stolen, and I thought you took it to get even with me. You say
"And I didn't touch it," interposed the squint-eyed lad quickly.
"All right, I believe you. But somebody stole it, and I think I
"Who?" asked Sam Snedecker.
"Well, you wouldn't know if I told you, but I suspect some men
with whom I had trouble before," and Tom referred to Happy Harry
and his gang. "I think they have my boat on this lake, and I'd
like to get another speedy craft to cruise about it and make a
further search. How about it, Andy? If I fix your boat, will you
let me take it to look for my boat?"
"Sure thing!" agreed the bully quickly, and his voice for once was
friendly toward Tom. "Fix the engine so it will run, and you can
use the RED STREAK as long as you like."
"Oh, I probably wouldn't want it very long. I could cover the
lake in about three days, and I hope by that time I could locate
the thieves. Is it a bargain?"
"Sure," agreed Andy again, and Tom got into the motor-boat to look
at the engine. He found that it would require some time to adjust
it properly and that it would be necessary to take the motor
"I think I'd better tow you to my dock," the young inventor said
to Andy. "I can use some tools from the shop then, and by to-
night I'll have the RED STREAK in running order."
The breeze was in the right quarter, fortunately, and with the
motor-boat dragging behind, the ARROW's owner put the nose of the
sailing craft toward his home dock.
When Tom reached his house he found that Mrs. Baggert had received
another telephone message from Mr. Swift, inquiring why his son
had not returned to Sandport.
"He says if you don't come back by to-morrow," repeated the
housekeeper, "that he'll come home by train. He's getting
anxious, I believe."
"Shouldn't wonder," admitted Tom. "But I want him to stay there.
The change will do him good. I'll soon have my boat back, now
that I can go about the lake swiftly, and then I'll join him.
I'll tell him to be patient."
Tom talked with his father at some length, assuring him that
everything was well at the Shopton house and promising to soon be
with him. Then the young inventor began work on the motor of the
RED STREAK. He found it quite a job and had to call on Mr.
Jackson to help him, for one of the pistons had to be repaired and
a number of adjustments made to the cylinders.
But that night the motor was fully mended and placed back in the
boat. It was in better shape than it had been since Andy had
purchased the craft.
"There," remarked Tom, "now I'm ready to hunt for those
scoundrels. Will you leave your boat at my dock to-night, Andy?"
"Yes, so you can start out early in the morning. I'm not going."
"Why not?" demanded Tom quickly.
"Well---er---you see I've had enough of motoring for a while,"
explained Andy. "Besides, I don't believe my mother would like me
to go out on a chase after thieves. If we had to shoot I might
hit one of them, and---"
"Oh, I see," answered Tom. "But I don't like to take your boat
alone. Besides, I don't fancy there will be much shooting. I
know I'm not going to take a gun. In fact, the one Mr. Duncan
gave me is in the boat. All I want is to get the ARROW back."
"That's all right," went on Andy. "You take my boat and use it as
long as you like. I'll rest up a few days. When you find your
boat you can bring mine back."
Tom understood. He was just as glad not to have Andy accompany
him in the chase, as he and the red-haired lad had never been good
friends and probably never would be. So it would cause some
embarrassment to be together in a boat all day. Then again Tom
knew he could manage the RED STREAK better alone, but, of course,
he did not want to mention this when he asked for the loan of the
craft. Andy's own suggestion, however, had solved the difficulty.
Tom had an idea that Andy felt a little timid about going in
pursuit of the thieves, but naturally it would not do to mention
this, for the squint-eyed lad considered himself quite a fighter.
Early the next morning, alone in the RED STREAK, Tom continued the
search for his stolen boat. He started out from his home dock and
mapped out a course that would take him well around the lake.
"I s'pose I could take a run to Sandport now," mused the youth as
he shot in and out of the little bays, keeping watch for the
ARROW. "But if I do dad will have to be told all about it, and,
he'll worry. Then, too, he might want to accompany me, and I
think I can manage this better alone, for the RED STREAK will run
faster with only one in. I ought to wind up this search in two
days, if my boat is still on the lake. And if those scoundrels
have sunk her I'll make them pay for it."
On shot the speedy motor-boat, in and out along the winding
shoreline, with the lad in the bow at the steering-wheel peering
with eager eyes into every nook and corner where his craft might
"THERE SHE IS!"
Anticipating that he would be some time on his search, the young
inventor had gone prepared for it. He had a supply of provisions
and he had told Mrs. Baggert he might not be back that night. But
he did not intend to sleep aboard the RED STREAK, which, being a
racing boat, was not large enough to afford much room for
passengers. Tom had planned, therefore, to put up at some hotel
near the lake in case his hunt should last beyond one night.
That it would do this was almost certain, for all that morning he
searched unavailingly for the ARROW. A distant mill whistle
sounding over Lake Carlopa told him it was noon.
"Dinner time," he announced to himself. "Guess I'll run up along
shore in the shade and eat."
Selecting a place where the trees overhung the water, forming a
quiet, cool nook, Tom sent the boat in there, and, tying it to a
leaning tree, he began his simple meal. Various thoughts filled
his mind, but chief among them was the desire to overtake the
thieves who had his boat. That it was Happy Harry's gang he was
The lad nearly finished eating and was considering what direction
he might best search in next when he heard, running along a road
that bordered the lake, an automobile.
"Wonder who that is?" mused Tom. "It won't do any harm to take a
look, for it might be some of those thieves again. They probably
still have their auto or Happy Harry couldn't have gotten from
Sandport to Shopton so quickly."
The young inventor slipped ashore from the motor-boat, taking care
to make no noise. Stealing silently along toward the road, he
peered through the underbrush for a sight of the machine, which
seemed to be going slowly. But before the youth had a glimpse of
it he was made aware who the occupant was by hearing someone
"Bless my shoe laces if this cantankerous contraption isn't going
wrong again! I wonder if it's going to have a fit here in this
lonely place. It acts just as if it was. Bless my very
existence! Hold on now. Be nice! Be nice!"
"Mr. Damon!" exclaimed Tom, and, without knowing it, he had spoken
"Hold on there! Hold on! Who's calling me in this forsaken
locality? Bless my shirt studs! But who is it?" and the
eccentric man who had sold Tom the motor-cycle looked intently at
"Here I am, Mr. Damon," answered the lad, stepping out into the
road. "I knew it was you as soon as I saw you."
"Bless my liver, but that's very true! I suppose you heard my
unfortunate automobile puffing along. I declare I don't know what
ails it. I got it on the advice of my physician, who said I must
get out in the air, but, bless my gears, it's the auto who needs a
doctor more than I do! It's continually out of order. Something
is going to happen right away. I can tell by the way it's
Mr. Damon had thrown out the clutch, but the engine was still
running, though in a jerky, uncertain fashion, which indicated to
the trained ear of the young inventor that something was wrong.
"Perhaps I can fix it for you as I did before," ventured Tom.
"Bless my eyebrows! Perhaps you can," cried the eccentric man
hopefully. "You always seem to turn up at the right moment. How
do you manage it?"
"I don't know. I remember the time you turned up just when I
wanted you to help me capture Happy Harry and his gang, and now,
by, a strange coincidence, I'm after them again."
"You don't say so! My good gracious! Bless my hatband! But
that's odd. There!" he ejaculated suddenly as the automobile
engine stopped with a choking sigh, "I knew something was going to
"Let me take a look," proposed the lad, and he was soon busy
peering into the interior of the machine. At first he could not
find the trouble, but being a persistent youth, Tom went at it
systematically and located it in two places. The clutch was not
rightly adjusted and the carburetor float feed needed fixing. The
young inventor was not long in making the slight repairs and then
he assured Mr. Damon that his automobile would run properly.
"Bless my very existence, but what a thing it is to have a head
for mechanics!" exclaimed the odd man gratefully. "Now it would
bother me to adjust a nutmeg grater if it got out of order, but I
dare say you could fix it in no time."
"Yes," answered Tom, "I could and so could you, for there's
nothing about it to fix. But you can go ahead now if you wish."
"Thank you. It just shows how ignorant I am of machinery. I
presume something will go wrong in another mile or two. But may I
ask what you are doing here? I presume you are in your motor-
boat, sailing about for pleasure. And didn't I understand you to
say you were after those chaps again? Bless my watch charm, but I
was so interested in my machine that I didn't think to ask you."
"Yes, I am after those thieves again."
"In your motor-boat, I presume. Well, I hope you catch them.
What have they stolen now?"
"My motor-boat. That's why I'm after them, but I had to borrow a
craft to chase them with."
"Bless my soul! You don't tell me! How did it happen?"
Thereupon the lad related as much of the story as was necessary to
put Mr. Damon in possession of the facts and he ended up with:
"I don't suppose you have seen anything of the men in my boat,
Mr. Damon seemed strangely excited. He had entered his auto, but
as the lad's story progressed the odd gentleman had descended.
When Tom finished he exclaimed:
"Don't say a word now---not a word. I want to think, and that is
a process, which, for me, requires a little time. Don't speak a
word now. Bless my left hand, but I think I can help you!"
He frowned, stamped first one foot, then the other, looked up at
the sky, as if seeking inspiration there, and then down at the
ground, as if that would help him to think. Then he clapped his
hands smartly together and cried out:
"Bless my shoe buttons!"
"Have you seen them?" asked Tom eagerly.
"Was your boat one with a red arrow painted on the bow?" asked Mr.
Damon in turn.
"It was!" and the lad was now almost as excited as was his friend.
"Then I've seen it and, what's more, this morning! Bless my spark
plug, I've seen it!"
"Tell me about it!" pleaded the young inventor, and Mr. Damon,
calming himself after an effort, resumed:
"I was out for an early spin in my auto," he said, "and was
traveling along a road that bordered the lake, about fifteen miles
above here. I heard a motor-boat puffing along near shore, and,
looking through the trees, I saw one containing three men. It had
a red arrow on the bow, and that's why I noticed it, because I
recalled that your boat was named the DART."
"ARROW," corrected Tom.
"The ARROW. Oh, yes, I knew it was something like that. Well of
course at the time I didn't think that it was your boat, but I
associated it in my mind with yours. Do you catch my meaning?"
Tom did and said so, wishing Mr. Damon would hurry and get to the
point. But the eccentric character had to do things in his own
"Exactly," he resumed. "Well, I didn't think that was your boat,
but, at the same time, I watched the men out of curiosity, and I
was struck with their behavior. They seemed to be quarreling,
and, from what I could hear, two of them seemed to be
remonstrating with the third one for having taken some sort of a
piece of wood from the forward compartment. I believe that is the
"Yes!" Tom almost shouted. "But where did they go? What became
of them? What was the man doing to the forward compartment---
where the gasoline tank is?"
"Exactly. I was trying to think what was kept there. That's it,
the gasoline tank. Well, the boat kept on up the lake, and I
don't know what became of the men. But about that piece of wood.
It seems that one of the men removed a block, from under the tank
and the others objected. That's why they were quarreling."
"That's very strange," exclaimed the lad. "There must be some
mystery about my boat that I don't understand. But that will keep
until I get the boat itself. Good-by, Mr. Damon. I must be off."
"Up the lake after those thieves. I must lose no time," and Tom
started to go back to where he had left the RED STREAK.
"Hold on!" cried Mr. Damon. "I have something to propose, Tom.
Two heads are better than one, even if one doesn't know how to
adjust a nutmeg grate. Suppose I come along with you? I can
point out the direction the men took, at any rate."
"I'll be very glad to have you," answered the lad, who felt that
he might need help if there were three of the thieves in his
craft. "But what will you do with your automobile?"
"I'll just run it down the road a way to where a friend of mine
has a stable. I'll leave it in there and join you. Will you let
me come? Bless my eye glasses, but I'd like to help catch those
"I'll be very glad to have you. Go ahead, put the auto in the
barn and I'll wait for you."
"I have a better plan than that," replied Mr. Damon. "Run your
boat down to that point," and he indicated one about a mile up the
lake. "I'll be there waiting for you, and we'll lose no time. I
can cover the ground faster in my auto than you can in your boat."
Tom saw the advantage of this and was soon under way, while he
heard on shore the puffing of his friend's car. On the trip to
the point Tom puzzled over the strange actions of the man in
taking one of the braces from under the gasoline tank.
"I'll wager he did it before," thought the lad. "It must be the
same person who was tampering with the lock of the forward
compartment the day I bought the boat. But why---that's the
He could find no answer to this, puzzle over it as he did, and he
gave it up. His whole desire now was to get on the trail of the
thieves, and he had strong hopes, after the clew Mr. Damon had
given him. The latter was waiting for him on the point, and so
nimble was the owner of the auto, in spite of his size, that Tom
was not delayed more than the fraction of a minute ere he was
under way again, speeding up the lake.
"Now keep well in toward shore," advised Mr. Damon. "Those
fellows don't want to be observed any more than they can help, and
they'll sneak along the bank, They were headed in that direction,"
and he pointed it out. "Now I hope you won't think I'm in the
way. Besides, you know, if you get your boat back, you'll want
some one to help steer it, while you run this one. I can do that,
at all events, bless my very existence!"
"I am very glad of your help," replied the lad, but he did not
take his eyes from the water before him, and he was looking for a
sight of his boat with the men in it.
For three hours or more Tom and Mr. Damon cruised in and out along
the shore of the lake, going farther and farther up the body of
water. Tom was beginning to think that he would reach Sandport
without catching sight of the thieves, and he was wondering if,
after all, he might not better stop off and see his father when,
above the puffing of the motor in the RED STREAK, he heard the
put-put of another boat.
"Listen!" cried Mr. Damon, who had heard it at the same time.
"They're just ahead of us," whispered his companion.
"If it's them," was the lad's reply.
"Speed up and we'll soon see," suggested Mr., Damon, and Tom
shoved the timer over. The RED STREAK forged ahead. The sound of
the other boat came more plainly now. It was beyond a little
point of land. The young inventor steered out to get around it
and leaned eagerly forward to catch the first glimpse of the
unseen craft. Would it prove to be the ARROW?
The put-put became louder now. Mr. Damon was standing up, as if
that would, in some mysterious way, help. Then suddenly the other
boat came into view. Tom saw it in an instant and knew it for the
"There she is!" he cried.
For an instant after Tom's exultant cry the men in the boat ahead
were not aware that they were being pursued. Then, as the
explosions from the motor of the RED STREAK sounded over the
water, they turned to see who was coming up behind them. There
was no mistaking the attitude of the young inventor and his
companion. They were leaning eagerly forward, as if they could
reach out and grasp the criminals who were fleeing before them.
"Put on all the speed you can, Tom!" begged Mr. Damon. "We'll
catch the scoundrels now. Speed up the motor! Oh, if I only had
my automobile now. "Bless my crank shaft, but one can go so much
faster on land than on water."
The lad did not reply, but thought, with grim humor, that running
an automobile over Lake Carlopa would be no small feat. Mr.
Damon, however, knew what he was saying.
"We'll catch them! We'll nab 'em!" he cried. "Speed her up,
The youth was doing his best with the motor of the RED STREAK. He
was not as well acquainted with it as he was with the one in his
boat, but he knew, even better than Andy Foger, how to make it do
efficient work. It was a foregone conclusion that the RED STREAK,
if rightly handled, could beat the ARROW, but there were several
points in favor of the thieves. The motor of Tom's boat was in
perfect order, and even an amateur, with some knowledge of a boat,
could make it do nearly its best. On the other hand, the RED
STREAK's machinery needed "nursing." Again, the thieves had a
good start, and that counted for much. But Tom counted on two
other points. One was that Happy Harry and his gang would
probably know little about the fine points of a motor. They had
shown this in letting the motor of the boat they had first stolen
get out of order, and Tom knew the ins and outs of a gasoline
engine to perfection. So the chase was not so hopeless as it
"Do you think you can catch them?" asked Mr. Damon anxiously.
"I'm going to make a big try," answered his companion.
"They're heading out into the middle of the lake!" cried the
"If they do, I can cut them off!" murmured Tom as he put the wheel
But whoever was steering the ARROW knew better than to send it on
a course that would enable the pursuing boat to cut across and
shorten the distance to it. After sending the stolen craft far
enough out from shore to clear points of land that jutted out into
the lake, the leading boat was sent straight ahead.
"A stern chase and a long chase!" murmured Mr. Damon. "Bless my
rudder, but those fellows are not going to give up easily."
"I guess not," murmured Tom. "Will you steer for a while, Mr.
"Of course I will. If I could get out and pull the boat after me,
to make it go faster, I would. But as I always lose my breath
when I run, perhaps it's just as well that I stay in here." Tom
thought so too, but his attention was soon given to the engine.
He adjusted the timer to get if possible a little more speed out
of the boat he had borrowed from Andy, and he paid particular
attention to the oiling system.
"We're going a bit faster!" called Mr. Damon' encouragingly, "or
else they're slacking up."
Tom peered ahead to see if this was so. It was hard to judge
whether he was overhauling the ARROW, as it was a stern chase, and
that is always difficult to judge. But a glimpse along shore
showed him that they were slipping through the water at a faster
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