Tom Swift and his Great Searchlight
Part 3 out of 3
get out of Koku's grip.
"Then I see man look up at balloon bag, so as if he like to cut it
with knife. I say to myself, 'Koku, it is time for you to go into
business for yourself.' You stand under me?"
"I understand!" exclaimed Tom. "You thought it was time for you to
"Sure," replied Koku. "Well, I get business, I give one jump, and I
am so unlucky as to jump with one foot on him, but I did not mean
it. I go as gentle as I can."
"Gentle? You nearly knocked the wind out of me!" snarled the
prisoner. "Gentle! Huh!"
"I guess he was the unlucky one, instead of you," put in Tom. "Well,
what happened next?"
"I grab him, and--he is still here," said Koku simply. "He throw
knife away though."
"I see," spoke Tom. "Now will you give an account of yourself, or
shall I hand you over to the police?" he asked sternly of the man.
"What were you sneaking up on us in that fashion for?"
"Well, I guess this isn't your property!" blustered the man. "I have
as good a right here as you have, and you can't have me arrested for
"Perhaps not," admitted Tom. "You may have a right on this land, but
if you are honest, and had no bad intentions, why were you sneaking
up, trying to keep out of sight? And why did you have a big knife?"
"That's my business, young man."
"All right, then I'll make it MY business, too," went on the young
inventor. "Hold him, Koku, until I can find Mr. Damon, or Ned, and
I'll see what's best to be done. I wish Mr. Whitford was here."
"Aren't you going to let me go?" demanded the man.
"I certainly am not!" declared Tom firmly. "I'm going to find out
more about you. I haven't any objections to any one coming to look
at my airship, out of curiosity, but when they come up like a snake
in the grass and with a big knife, then I get suspicious, and I want
to know more about them."
"Well, you won't know anything more about me!" snarled the fellow.
"And it will be the worse for you, if you don't let me go. You'd
better!" he threatened.
"Don't pay any attention to him, Koku," said Tom. "Maybe you'd
better tie him up. You'll find some rope in the motor room."
"Don't you dare tie me up!" blustered the prisoner.
"Go ahead and tie him," went on Tom. "You'll be free to guard the
ship then. I'll go for Ned and Mr. Damon."
"Tie who up? What's the matter?" asked a voice, and a moment later
the government agent came along the woodland path on his horse.
"What's up, Tom? Have you captured a wild animal?"
"Not exactly a wild animal. Mr. Whitford. But a wild man. I'm glad
you came along. Koku has a prisoner." And Tom proceeded to relate
what had happened.
"Sneaking up on you with a knife; eh? I guess he meant business all
right, and bad business, too," said Mr. Whitford. "Let me get a look
at him, Tom," for Koku had taken his prisoner to the engine room,
and there, amid a storm of protests and after a futile struggle on
the part of the fellow, had tied him securely.
Tom and the custom officer went in to look at the man, just as Ned
and Mr. Damon came back from their stroll in the woods. It was
rapidly getting dusk, and was almost time for the start of the usual
flight, to see if any trace could be had of the smugglers.
"There he is," said Tom, waving his hand toward the bound man who
sat in a chair in one corner of the motor room. The young inventor
switched on the light, and a moment later Mr. Whitford exclaimed:
"Great Scott! It's Ike Shafton!"
"Do you know him?" asked Tom eagerly.
"Know him? I should say I did! Why he's the man who pretended to
give one of my men information about smugglers that drew us off on
the false scent. He pretended to be for the government, and, all the
while, he was in with the smugglers! Know him? I should say I did!"
A queer change had come over the prisoner at the sight of Mr.
Whitford. No longer was Shafton surly and blustering. Instead he
seemed to slink down in his chair, bound as he was, as if trying to
get out of sight.
"Why did you play double?" demanded the government agent, striding
over to him.
"I--I--don't hit me!" whined Shafton.
"Hit you! I'm not going to hit you!" exclaimed Mr. Whitford, "but
I'm going to search you, and then I'm going to wire for one of my
men to take you in custody."
"I--I didn't do anything!"
"You didn't; eh? Well, we'll see what the courts think of giving
wrong information to Uncle Sam with the intent to aid criminals.
Let's see what he's got in his pockets."
The spy did not have much, but at a sight of one piece of paper Mr.
Whitford uttered a cry of surprise.
"Ha! This is worth something!" he exclaimed. "It may be stale news,
and it may be something for the future, but it's worth trying. I
wonder I didn't think of that before."
"What is it?" asked Tom.
For answer the custom officer held out a scrap of paper on which was
written one word.
"What does it mean," asked Ned, who, with Mr. Damon, had entered the
motor room, and stood curiously regarding the scene.
"Bless my napkin ring!" said the odd man. "That's the name of a
hotel. Do you suppose the smugglers are stopping there?"
"Hardly," replied Mr. Whitford with a smile. "But St. Regis is the
name of an Indian reservation in the upper part of New York state,
right on the border, and in the corner where the St. Lawrence and
the imaginary dividing line between New York and Canada join. I
begin to see things now. The smugglers have been flying over the
Indian Reservation, and that's why they have escaped us so far. We
never thought of that spot. Tom, I believe we're on the right track
at last! Shafton was probably given this to inform him where the
next trick would be turned, so he could get us as far away as
possible, or, maybe prevent us leaving at all."
An involuntary start on the part of the prisoner seemed to confirm
this, but he kept silent.
"Of course," went on Mr. Whitford, "they may have already flown over
the St. Regis reservation, and this may be an old tip, but it's
worth following up."
"Why don't you ask him?" Tom wanted to know, as he nodded toward
"He wouldn't tell the truth. I'll put him where he can't get away to
warn his confederates, and then we'll go to the reservation. And to
think that my man trusted him!"
Mr. Whitford was soon in communication with his headquarters by
means of the wireless apparatus on Tom's airship, and a little later
two custom officers arrived, with an extra horse on which they were
to take their prisoner back.
"And now we'll try our luck once more," said Mr. Whitford as his men
left with Shafton securely bound. "Can you make the reservation in
good time, Tom? It's quite a distance," and he pointed it out on the
"Oh, I'll do it," promised the young inventor, as he sent his
powerful craft aloft in the darkness. Then, with her nose pointed in
the right direction, the Falcon beat her way forward through the
night, flying silently, with the great searchlight ready for instant
In comparatively short time, though it was rather late at night,
they reached the St. Lawrence, and then it was an easy matter to
drop down into the midst of the reservation grounds. Though the
redmen, whom the state thus quartered by themselves, had all
retired, they swarmed out of their cabins as the powerful light
flashed back and forth.
"We want to question some of the head men of the tribe," said Mr.
Whitford. "I know some of them, for on several occasions I've had to
come here to look into rumors that tobacco and liquor and other
contraband goods dear to the Indian heart were smuggled into the
reservation against the law. I never caught any of them at it
With guttural exclamations, and many grunts of surprise, the
redmen gathered around the big airship. It was too much even for
their usual reserve, and they jabbered among themselves.
"How Big Foot!" greeted the custom officer, to one Indian who had an
extremely large left foot. "How!"
"How!" responded the Indian, with a grunt.
"Plenty much fine air-bird; eh?" and the agent waved his hand toward
"Yep. Plenty much big."
"Big Foot never see bird like this; eh?"
"Oh sure. Big Foot see before many times. Huh!"
"What! Has he seen this before?" asked Tom.
"No. Wait a minute," cautioned Mr. Whitford. "I'm on the track of
something. Big Foot see air-bird like this?" he questioned.
"Sure. Fly over Indians' land many times. Not same as him," and he
nodded toward Tom's ship, "but plenty much like. Make heap noise.
Come down once--break wheel mebby. Indians help fix. Indians get
firewater. You got firewater in your air-bird?"
"No firewater, but maybe we've got some tobacco, if you tell us what
we want to know, Big Foot. And so you've seen air-birds flying
around here before?"
"Sure, Heap times. We all see," and he waved his hand to indicate
the redmen gathered around him.
There came grunts of confirmation.
"We're getting there!" exclaimed Mr. Whitford to Tom. "We're on the
right track now. Which way air-birds come, Big Foot?"
"Over there," and he pointed toward Canada.
"Which way go?"
"Over there," and he pointed toward the east, in the direction of
Shopton, as much as anywhere.
"That's what we want to know. Tom, we'll just hang around here for a
while, until one of the smugglers' airships pass over head. I
believe one is due to-night, and that's why Shafton had that paper.
It was sent to him to tip him off. He was sneaking up, trying to put
your airship out of commission when Koku caught him. These Indians
have used their eyes to good advantage. I think we're on the trail
"Baccy for Big Foot?" asked the redman.
"Yes, plenty of it. Tom, give them some of Koku's, will you? I'll
settle with you later," for the giant had formed a liking for the
weed, and Tom did not have the heart to stop him smoking a pipe once
in a while. With his usual prodigality, the giant had brought along
a big supply, and some of this was soon distributed among the
Indians, who grunted their thanks.
"What plan have you in mind?" asked Tom of Mr. Whitford, when some
of the Indians had gone back to their shanties, leaving a few
staring curiously at the airship, as she rested on the ground,
bathed in the glow of her electric lights.
"Well, I think the best thing we can do is just to stay right here,
Tom; all night if need be. As Big Foot says, there have been
airships passing overhead at frequent intervals. Of course that is
not saying that they were the smugglers, but I don't see who else
they could be. There's no meet going on, and no continental race.
They must be the smugglers."
"I think so," put in Ned.
"Bless my diamond ring!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "But what are you
going to do when you see them overhead?"
"Take after them, of course!" exclaimed Tom. "That's what we're here
for; isn't it Mr. Whitford?"
"Yes. Do you think you can rise from the ground, and take after them
in time to stand a chance of overhauling them, Tom? You know they
may go very fast."
"I know, but I don't believe they can beat the Falcon. I'd rather
wait down here than hover in the air. It isn't as dark as it was the
other night, and they might see us with their glasses. Then they
would turn back, and we'd have our trouble for nothing. They've
actually got to cross the border with smuggled goods before the law
can touch them; haven't they?"
"Yes, I couldn't arrest them on Canadian territory, or over it. I've
got to get them on this side of the border. So perhaps it will be as
well to lie here. But do you suppose you can hear them or see them,
as they fly over?"
"I'm pretty sure I can. The sound of their motor and the whizz of
the propellers carries for some distance. And then, too, I'm going
to set the searchlight to play a beam up in the air. If that gets
focused on 'em, we'll spot 'em all right."
"But suppose they see it, and turn back?"
"I don't believe they will. The beam will come from the ground
straight upward you know, and they won't connect it with my ship."
"But that fellow who was sneaking up when Koku caught him, may find
some way to warn them that you have come here," suggested Ned.
"He won't get much chance to communicate with his friends, while my
men have him," said Mr. Whitford significantly. "I guess we'll take
a chance here, Tom."
So it was arranged. Everything on the airship was gotten ready for a
quick flight, and then Tom set his great searchlight aglow once
more. Its powerful beams cut upward to the clouds, making a
"Now all we have to do is to wait and watch," remarked Tom, as he
came hack from a last inspection of the apparatus in the motor room.
"And that is sometimes the hardest kind of work," said Mr. Whitford.
"Many a time I have been watching for smugglers for days and nights
at a stretch, and it was very wearying. When I got through, and
caught my man, I was more tired than if I had traveled hundreds of
miles. Just sitting around, and waiting is tiresome work."
The others agreed with him, and then the custom officer told many
stories of his experiences, of the odd places smugglers would hit
upon to conceal the contrabrand goods, and of fights he had taken
"Diamonds and jewels, from their smallness, and from the great
value, and the high duty on them when brought into the United
States, form the chief articles of the high class smugglers," he
said. "In fact the ones we are after have been doing more in
diamonds than anything else, though they have, of late, brought much
valuable hand-made lace. That can be bought comparatively cheap
abroad, and if they can evade paying Uncle Sam the duty on it, they
can sell it in the United States at a large profit."
"But the government has received so many complaints from legitimate
dealers, who can not stand this unfair competition, that we have
been ordered to get the smugglers at any cost."
"They are sharp rascals," commented Mr. Damon. "They seem to be
making more efforts since Tom Swift got on their trail."
"But, just the same, they are afraid of him, and his searchlight,"
declared Mr. Whitford. "I guess they fancied that when they took to
airships to get goods across the border that they would not be
disturbed. But two can play at that game."
The talk became general, with pauses now and then while Tom swept
the sky with the great searchlight, the others straining their eyes
for a sight of the smugglers' airships. But they saw nothing.
The young inventor had just paid a visit to the pilot house, to see
that his wheels and guiding levers were all right, and was walking
back toward the stern of the ship, when he heard a noise there, and
the fall of a heavy body.
"Who's that?" he cried sharply. "Is that you, Koku?"
A grunt was the only answer, and, as Tom called the giant's name the
big man came out.
"What you want, Mr. Tom?" he asked.
"I thought you were at the stern," spoke Tom. "Someone is there.
Ned, throw the light on the stern!" he called sharply.
In a moment that part of the ship was in a bright glare and there,
in the rays of the big lantern, was stretched out Big Foot, the
Indian, comfortably sleeping.
"Here! What are you doing?" demanded Mr. Whitford, giving him a
"Me sleep!" murmured Big Foot. "Lemme be! Me sleep, and take ride to
Happy Hunting Grounds in air-bird. Go 'way!"
"You'll have to sleep somewhere else, Big Foot," spoke the agent
with a laugh. "Koku, put him down under one of the trees over there.
He can finish his nap in the open, it's warm."
The Indian only protested sleepily, as the giant carried him off the
ship, and soon Big Foot was snoring under the trees.
"He's a queer chap," the custom officer said. "Sometimes I think
he's a little off in his head. But he's good natured."
Once more they resumed their watching. It was growing more and more
wearisome, and Tom was getting sleepy, in spite of himself.
Suddenly the silence of the night was broken by a distant humming
and throbbing sound.
"Hark!" cried Ned.
They all listened intently.
"That's an airship, sure enough!" cried Tom.
He sprang to the lever that moved the lantern, which had been shut
off temporarily. An instant later a beam of light cut the darkness.
The throbbing sounded nearer.
"There they are!" cried Ned, pointing from a window toward the sky.
A moment later, right into the glare of the light, there shot a
"After 'em, Tom!" shouted Mr. Whitford.
Like a bird the Falcon shot upward in pursuit noiselessly and
resistlessly, the beam of the great searchlight playing on the other
craft, which dodged to one side in an endeavor to escape.
"On the trail at last!" cried Tom, as he shoved over the accelerator
lever, sending his airship forward on an upward slant, right at the
stern of the smugglers' biplane.
IN DIRE PERIL
Upward shot the Falcon. With every revolution of her big propellers
she came nearer and nearer to the fleeing craft of the supposed
smugglers who were using every endeavor to escape.
"Do you think you can catch them, Tom?" asked Mr. Whitford as he stood
at the side of our hero in the pilot house, and looked upward and
forward to where, bathed in the light of the great search-lantern, the
rival craft was beating the air.
"I'm sure we can--unless something happens."
"Bless my overshoes! What can happen?" asked Mr. Damon, who, after
finding that everything in the motor room was running smoothly, had
come forward. Ned was attending to the searchlight. "What can
"Almost anything, from a broken shaft to a short-circuited motor.
Only, I hope nothing does occur to prevent us from catching them."
"You don't mean to say that you're actually going to try to catch
them, do you, Tom?" asked the custom officer, "I thought if we could
trail them to the place where they have been delivering the goods,
before they shipped them to Shopton we'd be doing well. But I never
thought of catching them in mid-air."
"I'm going to try it," declared the young inventor. "I've got a
grappling anchor on board," he went on, "attached to a meter and
windlass. If I can catch that anchor in any part of their ship I can
bring them to a stop, just as a fisherman lands a trout. Only I've
got to get close enough to make a cast, and I want to be above them
when I do it."
"Don't you think you can catch them, Tom?" asked Mr. Damon.
"Well, I'm pretty sure I can, and yet they seem to have a faster
biplane than I gave them credit for. I guess I'll have to increase
our speed a little," and he shifted a lever which made the Falcon
shoot along at nearly doubled speed.
Still the other airship kept ahead, not far, but sufficiently so to
prevent the grappling anchor from being tossed at her rail.
"I wonder if they are the smugglers?" questioned Mr. Damon. "It
might be possible, Tom, that we're chasing the wrong craft."
"Possible, but not probable," put in Mr. Whitford. "After the clew
we got, and what the Indians told us, and then to have a biplane
come sailing over our heads at night, it's pretty sure to be the one
we want. But, Tom, can't you close up on 'em?"
"I'm going to try. The machinery is warmed up now, and I'll send it
to the limit."
Once more he adjusted the wheels and levers, and at his touch the
Falcon seemed to gain new strength. She fairly soared through the
Eagerly those in the pilot house watched the craft they were
pursuing. She could be seen, in the glare of the big searchlight,
like some bird of gloom and evil omen, fluttering along ahead of
"They certainly have a fine motor!" cried Tom. "I was sure I could
have caught up to them before this."
"How do you account for it?" asked Mr. Damon.
"Well, they're flying a good deal lighter than we are. They probably
have no load to speak of, while we carry a heavy one, to say nothing
"Diamonds aren't very heavy," put in Mr. Whitford grimly. "I think
they are smuggling diamonds to-night. How I wish we could catch
them, or trace them to where they have their headquarters."
"We'll do it!" declared Tom.
"Bless my stars! They've gone!" suddenly exclaimed Mr. Damon.
"They've disappeared, Tom, I can't see them."
It was indeed true. Those in the pilot house peering ahead through
the darkness, could not get a glimpse of the airship they were
pursuing. The beam of the searchlight showed nothing but a black
All at once the beam shifted downward, and then it picked up the
"They went down!" cried Tom. "They tried to drop out of sight."
"Can't you get them?" asked Mr. Whitford.
"Oh, yes, we can play that game too. I'll do a little volplaning
myself," and the young inventor shut off the power and coasted
earthward, while Ned, who had picked up the forward craft, kept the
searchlight playing on her.
And now began a wonderful chase. The smugglers' craft, for such she
proved later to be, did her best to dodge the Falcon. Those managing
the mechanism of the fleeing airship must have been experts, to hold
out as they did against Tom Swift, but they had this advantage, that
their craft was much lighter, and more powerfully engined as regards
her weight. Then, too, there were not so many on board, and Tom,
having a combined balloon and aeroplane, had to carry much
It was like the flight of two big birds in the air. Now the
smugglers' craft would be mounting upward, with the Falcon after
her. Again she would shoot toward the earth, and Tom would follow,
with a great downward swoop.
Ned kept the great lantern going, and, though occasionally the craft
they were after slipped out of the focus of the beams, the young
bank clerk would pick her up again.
To the right and left dodged the forward airship, vainly endeavoring
to shake off Tom Swift, but he would not give up. He followed move
for move, swoop for swoop.
"She's turning around!" suddenly cried Mr. Damon. "She's given up
the flight, Tom, and is going back!"
"That's so!" agreed Mr. Whitford. "They're headed for Canada, Tom.
We've got to catch 'em before they get over the Dominion line!"
"I'll do it!" cried Tom, between his clenched teeth.
He swung his airship around in a big circle, and took after the
fleeing craft. The wind was against the smugglers now, and they
could not make such good speed, while to Tom the wind mattered not,
so powerful were the propellers of the Falcon.
"I think we're gaining on them," murmured Mr. Damon.
Suddenly, from the engine room, came a cry from Ned.
"Tom! Tom!" he shouted, "Something is wrong with the gas machine!
She registers over five hundred pounds pressure, and that's too
much. It's going up, and I haven't touched it!"
"Mr. Damon, take the wheel!" exclaimed the young inventor. "I've got
to see what's wrong. Hold her right on their trail."
Tom sprang to the motor room, and one glance at the gas generating
machine showed him that they were in dire peril. In some manner the
pressure was going up enormously, and if it went up much more the
big tank would blow to pieces.
"What is it?" cried Ned, from his position near the light.
"I don't know! Something wrong."
"Are you going to give up the chase?"
"I am not. Stick to the light. Koku, tell Mr. Damon to hold her on
the course I set. I'll try to get this pressure down!" And Tom Swift
began to work feverishly, while his ship rushed on through the night
in danger, every moment, of being blown to atoms. Yet the young
inventor would not give up, and descend to earth.
The chase was kept up, and Tom, when he had a chance to look up at
the speed register, as he labored frantically at the clogged gas
machine, saw that they were rushing along as they never had before.
"Are we catching them, Ned?" he cried to his chum, who was not far
away, playing the powerful light on the smugglers' craft.
"I think we're coming closer, but it's going to be a long chase. I
don't see why we can't close up on 'em."
"Because they've got a very fast ship, Ned, and they are flying much
lighter than we are. But we'll get 'em!"
"How are you making out with that gas machine?"
"Well, I'm doing all I can, but I can't seem to get the pressure
down. I can't understand it. Some of the pipes must be clogged with
a carbon deposit. I ought to have cleaned them out some time ago."
Ned gave a hasty glance at the gauge which showed the gas pressure.
It registered six hundred pounds now, having risen a hundred in a
"And she'll go up, sure, at eight hundred," murmured Ned, as he held
the light steadily on the smugglers' aircraft. "Well, if Tom sticks
to the chase, I will too, but I think it would be better to go down,
open up everything, and let the gas escape. We could get the rascals
Tom, however, did not seem to think so, for he kept on with his
task, working away at the pipes, trying to force the obstruction
out, so that the gas from the generator would flow into the bag. At
the same time he tried to shut off the generating apparatus, but
that had become jammed in consequence of the pipe clogging, and the
powerful vapor continued to manufacture itself automatically in
spite of all that Tom could do.
The only safe way out of the danger, unless he could remove the
obstruction, was to descend to earth, and, as Ned had said, open
every outlet. But to have done that in mid-air would have been
dangerous, as the large volume of gas, suddenly liberated, would
have hung about the airship in a cloud, smothering all on board. If
they were on the earth they could run away from it, and remain away
until the vapor had blown off.
"Is Mr. Damon keeping her on the course, Ned?" asked Tom, pausing a
moment to get his breath after a series of frantic efforts.
"Yes, and I think we're closing in on them a little."
"That's good. Are they still headed for the border?"
"Yes, I guess they're going to take no chances to-night. They're
going right back to Canada where they came from."
"Well, we'll be hot after 'em. Whistle through the tube, and tell
Koku to come here and give me a hand. He's with Mr. Damon in the
Ned sent the message, and then gave his whole attention to the
light. This was necessary, as the smugglers were resorting to
dodging tactics, in an endeavor to escape. Now they would shoot
upward, and again toward the earth, varying the performance by
steering to the right or left. Ned had constantly to shift the light
to keep them in focus, so that Mr. Damon could see where to steer,
but, with all this handicap, the eccentric man did very well, and he
was never far out in his judgment.
"By Jove!" suddenly murmured Tom, as he tried once more in vain to
open a clogged valve. "I'm afraid we can't do it. Koku, lend a hand
here!" he exclaimed as the giant entered. "See if you can twist this
wrench around, but don't break off the handle, whatever you do."
"Me shove," replied the giant simply, as he grasped the big wrench.
Once more Ned glanced at the pressure gage. It showed seven hundred
pounds now, and there was only a margin of safety of one hundred
pounds more, ere a terrific explosion would occur. Still Tom had not
given the order to descend to earth.
"Are you going to make it, Tom?" asked the government agent,
anxiously, as he stood over the young inventor.
"I--I think so," panted Tom. "Are we near the Dominion line,"
"Pretty close," was the discouraging answer. "I'm afraid we can't
get 'em before they cross. Can you use any more speed?"
"I don't know. Ned, see if you can get another notch out of her."
With one hand Ned reached for the accelerator lever on the wall near
him, and pulled it to the last notch. The Falcon shot ahead with
increased speed, but, at the same instant there came a gasp from
Koku, and the sound of something breaking.
"There! He's done it!" cried Tom in despair. "I was afraid you'd be
too strong for that wrench, Koku. You've broken off the handle. Now
we'll never be able to loosen that valve."
Ned gave one more glance at the pressure gage. It showed seven
hundred and fifty pounds, and the needle was slowly moving onward.
"Hadn't we better descend," asked Mr. Whitford in a low voice.
"I--I guess so," answered Tom, despairingly. "Where are we?"
Ned flashed the light downward for an instant.
"Just crossing over the St. Regis Indian reservation again," he
replied. "We'll be in Canada in a few minutes more."
"Where are the smugglers?"
"Still ahead, and they're bearing off to the right."
"Going toward Montford," commented the government man. "We've lost
'em for to-night, anyhow, but they didn't get their goods landed, at
"Send her down, Ned!" exclaimed Tom, and it was high time, for the
pressure was now within twenty-five pounds of the exploding point.
Down shot the Falcon, while her rival passed onward triumphantly in
the darkness. Ned held the light on the smugglers as long as he
dared, and then he flashed it to earth to enable Mr. Damon to pick
out a good landing place.
In a few moments Tom's silent airship came to rest on a little
clearing in the forest, and Tom, with Ned's help, at once opened
every outlet of the gas machine, a thing they had not dared do while
up in the air.
"Come on, now, run, everybody!" cried Tom. "Otherwise you'll he
They leaped from the craft, about which gathered the fumes of the
powerful gas, as it hissed from the pipes. Running a hundred yards
away they were safe, and could return in a few minutes.
"We're in Canada," remarked Mr. Whitford, as they came to a halt,
watching the airship.
"How do you know?" asked Ned.
"As we landed I saw one of the stone boundary posts," was the
answer. "We're on English territory, and we can't touch the
smugglers if we should see them now."
"Well, we'll soon be back in Uncle Sam's land," declared Tom. "We
can go back on board the Falcon to sleep shortly. Jove! I wish I
could have caught those fellows!"
"Never mind, we'll get 'em yet," counseled Mr. Whitford.
Waiting until he was sure all the vapor had disappeared, Tom led the
way back to the Falcon. No great harm had been done, save to lose
considerable gas, and this could be remedied. Tired and disappointed
from the chase, they sought their bunks, and were soon asleep. In
the morning Tom and Ned began work on the clogged pipes.
This work was nearly accomplished by noon, when Mr. Damon, coming
back from a stroll, announced that they were but fifteen minutes
walk from the St. Lawrence River, as he had seen the sparkling
waters from a neighboring hill.
"Let's go over and have a look at it," proposed Ned. "We can easily
finish this when we get back. Besides, Tom, we don't want to get to
our regular camp until after dark, anyhow."
The young inventor was willing, and the two lads, with Mr. Whitford,
strolled toward the historic stream. As they drew near the bank,
they saw, anchored a little distance out, a small steamer.
Approaching it, as if she had just left the shore at a point near
where our friends stood, was a gasolene launch, containing several
men, while on shore, in front of a small shanty, stood another man.
This latter individual, at the sight of Tom, Ned and Mr. Whitford,
blew a shrill whistle. Those in the launch looked back. The man on
shore waved a red flag in a peculiar way, almost as the soldiers in
the army wig-wag signals.
In another moment the launch turned about, and put for shore, while
the lone man hurried back into the hut.
"Hum!" remarked Tom. "Those are queer actions."
"Suspicious actions, I should say," said Mr. Whitford. "I'm going to
see what this means."
MR. PERIOD ARRIVES
Greatly interested in what was about to take place, and not a little
suspicious, our friends stood on the bank of the river and watched
the motor boat returning. As it reached a little dock in front of
the hut, the man who had waved the red flag of warning came out, and
talked rapidly to those in the power craft. At the same time he
pointed occasionally to Tom, Ned and the government agent.
"This is getting interesting," remarked Mr. Whitford. "We may have
accidentally stumbled on something important Tom."
"See, they're signalling to the steamer now," spoke Ned, and, as he
said this, his companions looked, and noted the man from the hut
waving a white flag, in a peculiar manner. His signals were answered
by those on the vessel anchored out in the stream, and, a little
later, black smoke could be seen pouring from her funnel.
"Looks as if they were getting ready to leave," spoke Tom.
"Yes, we seem to have started things moving around here," observed
"Or else we have prevented from moving," remarked the custom agent.
"What do you mean?" Tom wanted to know.
"I mean that these men were evidently going to do something just as
we arrived, and spoiled their plans. I would say they were going to
land goods from that schooner. Now the are not."
"What kind of goods?" asked Ned.
"Well, of course I'm not sure, but I should say smuggled goods."
"The smugglers!" cried Tom. "Why, they can't be smugglers, for we
are on Canadian territory. The river isn't the dividing line between
the Dominion and the United States at this point. The St. Lawrence
lies wholly in Canada here, and the men have a right to land any
goods they want to, dutiable or not."
"That's just it." put in Mr. Whitford. "They have the right, but
they are afraid to exercise it, and that's what makes me suspicious.
If they were doing a straight business they wouldn't be afraid, no
matter who saw them. They evidently recognize us, by description, if
by no other means, and they know we are after smugglers. That's why
they stopped the brining of goods from that vessel to shore. They
want to wait until we are gone."
"But we couldn't stop them from landing goods, even if they know we
are working for Uncle Sam," declared Tom.
"That's very true, but it is evidently their intention, not only to
land goods here, which they have a perfect right to do, but to send
them into the United States, which they have not a right to do
without paying the duty."
"Then you really think they are the smugglers?" asked Ned.
"I'm pretty sure of it. I think we have stumbled on one of the
places where the goods are landed, and where they are loaded into
the airships. This is the best luck we could have, and it more than
makes up for not catching the rascals last night. Now we know where
to get on their trail."
"If they don't change the place," observed Tom.
"Oh, of course, we've got to take that chance."
"Here's one of them coming over to speak to us, I guess," remarked
Tom in a low voice, as he observed the man, who had waved the flag
approaching. There was no doubt of his intention for, as soon as he
came within talking distance, the stranger called out:
"What are you fellows doing here?"
"Looking at the river," replied Mr. Whitford, calmly.
"Well, you'd better find some other place for a view. This is
private property, and we don't like trespassers. Get a move on--get
"Are we doing any harm?" asked the agent.
"I didn't say you were. This is our land, and we don't like
strangers snooping around. That's all."
"Particularly when you are going to land some goods."
"What do you mean?" gasped the man.
"I guess you know well enough," was Mr. Whitford's reply.
The man suddenly turned, and gave a shrill whistle. Instantly, from
the hut, came several men who had been in the motor boat. One or two
of them had weapons.
"I guess you'd better go now," said the first man sharply. "You're
not in the United States now, you know."
"It's easy to see that, by the POLITENESS of the residents of this
section," put in Tom.
"None of your back talk! Get away from here!" cried the man. "If you
don't go peaceably--"
"Oh, we're going," interposed Mr. Whitford calmly. "But that isn't
saying we won't come back. Come on, boys. We'll get over on Uncle
The group of men stood silently watching them, as they filed back
through the woods.
"What do you make of it?" asked Tom of the agent.
"I'm positive that I'm right, and that they're the smugglers. But I
can't do anything on this side of the line. If ever I can catch them
across the border, though, there'll be a different story to tell."
"What had we better do?" inquired Ned.
"Go back to our airship, and leave for Logansville. We don't need to
land until night, though, but we can make a slow trip. Is the gas
machine all right again, Tom?"
"Practically so. If that hadn't gone back on me we would have had
those fellows captured by this time."
"Never mind. We did our best."
It did not take Tom and his chum long to complete the repairs, and
soon they arose in the air.
"Let's take a flight over where those fellows are, just to show them
what we can do," proposed Ned, and Tom and Mr. Whitford agreed to
it. Soon they were circling over the hut. The launch was just
starting out again, when a cry from the man who seemed to be a sort
of guard, drew the attention of his confederates to the noiseless
Once more the launch was turned about, and sent back to shore, while
those in it shook their fists at Tom and his friends.
"We can play tag with 'em up here!" chuckled Ned.
"There's the small vessel that pulled up anchor a while ago,"
remarked Mr. Whitford, pointing to the vessel which had steamed
around a wooded point. "They thought we had gone for good, and they
were getting ready to land the stuff. Well, we'll know where to head
for next time, when we watch for the smugglers at night."
Realizing that nothing more could be done, Tom sent his airship
toward the camp, just outside of Loganville. But he did not land
until after dark, when, making out the spot by means of the electric
lights, which were set aglow automatically at dark, he descended.
"We won't try anything to-night," said Mr. Whitford. "I doubt if the
smugglers will themselves, after their experience last night. I'll
get into town, see some of my men, and come out here to-morrow night
Tom and Ned spent the following day in going carefully over the
Falcon, making some slight repairs. The great searchlight was
cleaned and adjusted, and then, as dusk came on once more Tom
"Well, we're ready for 'em any time Mr. Whitford is."
Hardly had he spoken than the tramp of horses' feet was heard coming
along the bridle path through the woods, and a voice was heard to
"There, now, I understand it perfectly! You don't need to say
another word. I know it may be against the regulations, but I can
fix that. I'm the busiest man in the world, but I just had to come
up here and see Tom Swift. It's costing me a thousand dollars, but
the money is well spent. Now don't interrupt me! I know what you're
going to say! That you haven't time to bother with moving pictures.
But you have! I must have some moving pictures of your chase after
the smugglers. Now, don't speak to me, I know all about it. You
can't tell me anything. I'll talk to Tom. Are we most there?"
"Yes, we're here," answered Mr. Whitford's voice, and Tom fancied
the government agent was a bit puzzled by his strange companion.
"Bless my shoe string!" gasped Mr. Damon.
"Him picture man!" cried Koku.
"Mr. Period!" exclaimed Tom. "I wonder what he is doing here?" and
the next moment the excitable little man, for whom Tom had run so
many risks getting marvelous moving pictures, with the wizard
camera, entered the clearing where the airship was anchored.
HOVERING O'ER THE BORDER
"Well, Tom, you see I couldn't get along without you," exclaimed Mr.
Period, as he rushed forward and grasped Tom's hand, having alighted
in rather an undignified manner from the horse that he had ridden.
"I'm after you again."
"So I see." remarked our hero. "But I'm afraid I can't--"
"Tut! Tut! Don't say that," interrupted the moving picture man. "I
know what you're going to say. Don't do it! Don't go back on me,
Tom! Have you the wonderful moving picture camera with you."
"I have, Mr. Period, but--"
"Now! Now! That'll do," broke in the excitable little man. "If you
have it, that's enough. I want you to get me some films, showing you
in chase of the smugglers. They'll be great to exhibit in our chain
"How did you know I was here?" asked Tom. "Easily enough. I called
at your house. Your father told me where you were. I came on. It
cost me a thousand dollars--maybe more. I don't care! I've got to
have those films! You'll get them for me; won't you?"
"That's enough! I know what you're going to say. Of course you will!
Now how soon may I expect them. They ought to make a good run. Say
in a week?"
"It all depends on the smugglers," said Mr. Whitford.
"Yes, yes! I understand, of course. I know! This friend of yours has
been very kind to me, Tom. I looked him up as soon as I got to
Logansville, and told him what I wanted. He offered to show me the
way out here, and here I am. Let's have a look at the camera, to see
if it's in good shape. Are you going to have a try for the smugglers
"I think so," answered Tom. "As for the camera, really I've been so
busy I haven't had time to look at it since we started. I guess it's
all right. I don't know what made me bring it along, as I didn't
expect to use it."
"But with your great searchlight it will be just the thing,"
"Yes, I think so," added Mr. Whitford, who had been told about the
"Bless my detective badge!" cried Mr. Damon. "It may be just the
thing, Tom. You can offer moving pictures of the smugglers in court,
"Of course!" added Mr. Period. "Now, Tom, don't disappoint me."
"Well, I suppose I'll have to get the camera out, and set it up,"
conceded Tom with a laugh. "As you say, Mr. Damon, the pictures MAY
come in valuable. Come, Ned, you get out the camera, and set it up,
while Koku and I see to getting the ship in shape for a flight.
You'll come along, Mr. Period?"
"I don't know. I was thinking of going back. I'm losing about a
hundred dollars a minute by being away from my business."
"You'll have to go back alone," said Mr. Whitford, "as I have to be
with Tom, in case of a capture."
"Ride back alone, through these woods? Never! The smugglers might
catch me, and I'm too valuable a man to go that way! I'll take a
chance in the airship."
Ned busied himself over the wizard camera, which had been stored
away, and Mr. Period went with the young bank clerk to look after
the apparatus. Meanwhile Tom and Koku saw to it that the Falcon was
ready for a quick flight, Mr. Damon and Mr. Whitford lending
whatever aid was necessary. The horses, which the agent and Mr.
Period had ridden, were tethered in the clearing where they could
get food and water.
"Did the smugglers rush anything over last night?" asked Tom.
"No, we evidently had them frightened. But I shouldn't be surprised
but what they made the attempt to-night. We'll go back toward the
St. Regis Indian reservation, where they were getting ready to
unload that steamer, and hover around the border there. Something is
sure to happen, sooner or later."
"I guess that's as good a plan as any," agreed Tom, and in a little
while they started.
All that night they hovered over the border, sailing back and forth,
flashing the great light at intervals to pick up the white wings of
a smuggling airship. But they saw nothing.
Mr. Period was in despair, as he fully counted on a capture being
made while he was present, so that he might see the moving pictures
made. But it was not to be.
The wizard camera was all in readiness, but there was no need to
start the automatic machinery. For, search as Tom and his friends
did for a trace of the smugglers, they could see nothing. They put
on full speed, and even went as far as the limits of the Indian
reservation, but to no purpose. They heard no throbbing motor, no
whizz of great propellers, and saw no white, canvas wings against
the dark background of the sky, as Tom's craft made her way
"I guess we've frightened them away," said Mr. Whitford dubiously,
as it came near morning, and nothing suspicious had been seen or
heard. "They're holding back their goods, Tom until they think they
can take us unawares. Then they'll rush a big shipment over."
"Then's the time we must catch them," declared the young inventor.
"We may as well go back now."
"And not a picture!" exclaimed Mr. Period tragically. "Well, be sure
to get good ones when you do make a capture, Tom."
"I will," promised the young inventor. Then, with a last sweep along
the border he turned the nose of his craft toward Logansville. He
had almost reached the place, and was flying rather low over the
country roads, when Ned called:
"Hark! I hear something!"
The unmistakable noise of a gasolene motor in operation could be
"There they are!" cried Mr. Period.
"Bless my honeysuckle vine!" gasped Mr. Damon.
"The light, Ned, the light!" cried Tom.
His chum flashed the powerful beam all around the horizon, and
toward the sky, but nothing was visible.
"Try down below," suggested Mr. Whitford.
Ned sent the beams earthward. And there, in the glare, they saw a
youth speeding along on a motor-cycle. In an instant Tom grabbed up
the binoculars and focussed them on the rider.
"It's Andy Foger!" he cried.
NED IS MISSING
There was a period of silence, following Tom's startling
announcement. There were several plate glass windows in the floor of
the airship, and through these they all gazed at the youth on the
motor-cycle. Only Tom, however, by the aid of the glasses, was able
to make out his features.
"Bless my spark plug! Andy Foger!" cried Mr. Damon. "Are you going
to try to catch him?"
"Get him and break chug-chug machine!" suggested Koku.
"What do you suppose he's up to, Tom?" asked Ned.
"Andy Foger speeding along at this hour of the morning," remarked
Mr. Whitford. "There must be something in the wind."
"Get a moving picture of him," urged Mr. Period. "I might be able to
"I hardly think it would be worth while," decided Tom. "You see Andy
hasn't done anything criminal, as far as we know. Of course I think
he is capable of it, but that's a different thing. He may be out
only on a pleasure jaunt, and he could stop us from showing the
pictures, if we took them."
"That's so," agreed Mr. Period. "Don't run any risks of a lawsuit.
It takes up too much of my time. Never mind the pictures."
"Just capture him, Tom, and see what he is doing," suggested Mr.
Damon. "Bless my chewing gum! But he must be up to something."
"Well, he's aware of the fact that we're watching him, at all
events!" exclaimed Mr. Whitford, for, at that moment, Andy, having
seen the glare of the light, glanced up. They could see him looking
at him, and, a second later, the Shopton bully steered his machine
down a side road where the overhanging trees were so thick that he
could not be made out, even by the powerful gleams of the great
"He's gone!" gasped Ned.
"Afraid I guess," added Mr. Damon. "That shows he was up to
something wrong. Well, what are we going to do?"
"Nothing, that I can see," spoke Mr. Whitford. "We can only go back
to our camping place, and make another try. This Andy Foger may, or
may not, be in with the smugglers. That's something we have yet to
prove. However, we can't do anything now."
In vain did Ned try to get the bully within range of the light. They
could hear the sounds of the motor cycle growing more and more
faint, and then, as it was rapidly getting light, and as they did
not want to be seen dropping into their camping place, they made all
haste toward it, before dawn should break.
"Well, I can't spend any more time here," declared Mr. Period, when
a hasty breakfast had been served.
"Will you ride back with me?" asked Mr. Whitford of the moving
"Will I? Well, I guess I will! You can't lose me! I'm not going to
be captured by those smugglers. I'd be a valuable man for them to
have as a hostage. They'd probably ask a million dollars ransom for
me," and Mr. Period carefully straightened his brilliant red
Soon he and Mr. Whitford were riding back to town, taking a
roundabout way, as the agent always did, to throw any possible spies
off the track.
Everyone, even including the giant Koku was tired enough to take a
sleep after dinner. It was about three o'clock when Ned awoke, and
he found Tom already up, and at the wireless instrument, which was
clicking and buzzing.
"Message coming?" asked the young bank clerk.
Tom nodded, and clasped the receiver over his ear. A moment later he
began jotting down a message.
"Mr. Whitford says he has a tip that something is going to take
place to-night," read the young inventor a few minutes later. "The
smugglers have accumulated a big store of goods, and they are
anxious to get them over the border. There are silks, laces,
diamonds, and other things on which there is a high duty, or tax for
bringing into the United States. He will be here early, and we must
be ready for a start at once."
"All right. I guess we are ready now. Say, I'm going over to that
little brook, and see if I can catch a few trout for supper."
"All right. Good idea. Don't be gone too long."
"I won't. Say, where is my coat, anyhow? I never can seem to keep
track of that, or my cap either."
"Never mind. Wear mine, and you won't be delayed looking for them,"
so Ned donned Tom's garment and headpiece, and set out.
Three hours passed, and Mr. Damon prepared to get supper.
"I wonder why Ned doesn't come back with the fish?" he said. "It's
time, if we're going to cook them to-night."
"That's right, he ought to be here," agreed Tom. "Koku take a walk
over to the trout brook, and tell Mr. Ned to come here, whether he
has any fish or not."
"Sure, me go, Mr. Tom!"
Koku was gone perhaps five minutes, and when he came back he was
"Mr. Ned he no there!" the giant cried. "But fish pole all broken,
and ground all full of holes. Look like fight."
Tom started for the place where he knew Ned usually went to fish.
Koku and Mr. Damon followed. On reaching it our hero saw indeed that
the ground was "full of holes," as the giant described the
indentations made by the heels of boots and shoes.
"There's been a fight here!" cried Tom.
"Yes, and Ned is missing," added Mr. Damon.
THE NIGHT RACE
The three looked at each other. For a moment they could not
understand, and then, as they stood there, the meaning came to them.
"The smugglers!" whispered Tom.
"Of course!" agreed Mr. Damon. "And they must have taken him for
you, Tom, for he had on your coat and cap. What can they have done
"Taken him away, that's evident," spoke Tom. "Let's look around, and
see if we can find him."
They looked, but to no purpose. Ned had disappeared. There were the
signs of a struggle, the fish rod was broken in several places, as
if Ned had used it as a club, and the ground was torn up.
"Bless my tin whistle!" cried Mr. Damon. "What shall we do?"
For a moment no one knew what to say, then, as they looked at each
other in silence, a voice called:
"I say! What's up? What's the matter? Where are you all? Hey, Tom
"It's Mr. Whitford!" cried Tom. "He's just in time." Then he called
in louder tones:
"Here we are! In the woods by the trout brook! Come on over! Ned is
There was a commotion in the bushes, the trampling of a horse, and a
moment later the government agent had joined the others.
"What's this?" he cried. "Ned gone? What do you mean?"
"He's missing. The smugglers have him, I'm afraid," explained Tom,
and then he gave the details.
"It certainly looks so," agreed Mr. Whitford. "His wearing of your
coat and cap fooled them. They must have spied out this camping
place, and they were in hiding. When they saw Ned coming to fish
they took him for you. Having failed in their attempt to damage the
airship, they decided to get her captain. Probably they thought that
if they did the Falcon could not be run, and they would be safe. But
they got the wrong man."
"Then we must get Ned back at once!" cried Tom. "Come on, we'll
start right away! Where do you think we can nab them, Mr. Whitford?"
"Wait a minute," suggested the government agent. He seemed in deep
thought, and paced up and down. It was clear that a great question
was confronting him.
"Well!" exclaimed Tom impatiently, "if we're going to get Ned we
must start at once."
"Perhaps it would be best not to try to rescue Ned at once," said
the custom house man after a pause.
"What!" cried Tom. "Not rescue Ned, my best chum?"
"Not at once," repeated Mr. Whitford. "Look here, Tom. I know it
seems a hard thing to say, but perhaps if we proceed on our original
plan, to hover over the border, and get on the trail of the
smugglers, chasing them to where they land the goods in the United
States, it will be best."
"And not rescue Ned?"
"We can best rescue him by catching the smugglers."
"Then you think--"
"That they have him with them--on board one of their airships very
likely. If we get THEM we'll have NED."
"Then we'll get 'em!" cried Tom with energy. "Come on back to the
Falcon. We'll get ready for a big flight!"
"Yes, I think they'll make a desperate effort to-night," went on the
agent. "They have a lot of goods ready to rush over the border, and
the fact that they tried to capture you, shows that they are ready
to pull off a big trick. I think if we can catch them to-night, it
will put an end to their operations, and, at the same time, bring
Ned back to us."
"Where do you think they will start to cross the line?" asked Tom.
"Near the place where we saw the man waving the flags. I have
information to the effect that they have a store of valuable goods
there. They imagine that they have the master of the airship, and
the owner of the great searchlight in their power, and that they can
not be molested, so they will be bold."
"But they'll soon find out that Ned isn't Tom," said Mr. Damon.
"No they won't! Not if it depends on Ned!" cried Tom. "Ned is game.
He'll soon get wise to the fact that they have taken him for me, and
he'll carry on the deception. None of the smugglers know me
"Unless Andy Foger should be with them," suggested Mr. Damon.
"Oh, Ned can fool Andy any day. Come on, Mr. Whitford. We'll get the
smugglers to-night, spoil their game, and rescue Ned. Somehow, I
feel that we're going to succeed."
"Bless my tin dishpan!" cried Mr. Damon. "I hope we do."
Slowly, and with no very cheerful hearts, they filed away from the
scene of Ned's capture. In spite of the fact that they did not think
he would be harshly treated, they worried about him, Tom especially.
A hasty supper was eaten, and then, Tom, having seen that everything
aboard the ship was in good order, sent her aloft on what he hoped
would be the last chase after the smugglers. He decided to have Mr.
Damon steer the craft, as this was comparatively easy, once she was
started on her course, while the young inventor would manage the
searchlight, and start the automatic wizard camera, in case there
was anything to photograph.
Up and up went the Falcon, and soon she was making her way toward
the St. Regis Indian reservation, near which it was expected the
smugglers would start. Tom put out every light, as he wanted to
remain in darkness, until he could see a moving glow in the sky that
would tell him of a rival airship on the wing.
It did not take them long to reach the desired spot, and they
hovered in the air over it, every one with tense nerves, waiting for
what would happen next.
Tom did not want to show his searchlight just yet, as he feared the
gleam of it might stop the operations of the smugglers. So he waited
in dark-ness, approaching close to the earth in his noiseless ship
several times, and endeavoring to see something through the powerful
Suddenly, from below them, came a subdued throb and hum of a motor.
"There they are!" exclaimed Mr. Damon.
"I think so," agreed Tom. He looked below. He saw two flickering
lights, rather far apart. Mr. Whitford observed them at the same
"There are TWO of them!" exclaimed the agent, "TWO airships, Tom!"
"So I see. Koku, get out my electric rifle. We can't chase two, if
they separate, so I may have to stop one. It's best to be prepared.
I'm going to follow them in the dark, until they get over the
border, and then I'll turn on the light and the camera. Then it will
be a race to the finish."
The twin lights came nearer. Tom stood with his mouth to the signal
tube that communicated with Mr. Damon in the pilot house. From a
side window he watched the smugglers' airships. They shot upward and
then came on straight ahead, to pass to one side of him. Now they
were past. Tom started the wizard camera.
"Half speed ahead!" the young inventor signalled, and the Falcon
shot forward. The night race was on.
"Do you think they know we are here, Tom?" asked Mr. Whitford, as he
stood at the side of the young inventor in the motor room.
"I don't believe so, as yet. They can't hear us, and, unless they
have pretty powerful glasses, they can't pick us up. We can soon
tell however, if they are aware that we are following them."
"Have you made any plan about capturing them?"
"No, I'm going to wait and see what turns up. I can't certainly
chase two of them, if they separate, and that's why I'm going to
cripple one if I have to."
"But won't that be dangerous? I don't want to see any of them
killed, or even hurt, though they are smugglers."
"And I don't want to hurt them, either. If worst comes to worst I'm
going to put a few holes in the wing planes of the smaller craft.
That will cause her to lose headway, and she can't keep up. They'll
have to volplane to earth, but, if they know anything at all about
airships, they can do that easily, and not get a bit hurt. That will
put them out of the race, and I can keep on after the big ship. I
fancy that carries the more valuable cargo."
"I presume so. Well, don't bring the one to earth until you get over
Uncle Sam's territory, and then maybe there will be a chance to
capture them, and the goods too."
"I will," promised Tom. They were still over Canadian territory, but
were rapidly approaching the border.
"I think I will send a wireless to my men in Logansville, to start
out and try to pick up the crippled airship after you disable her,"
decided Mr. Whitford, and as Tom agreed that this was a good plan,
the wireless was soon cracking away, the government agent being an
adept in its use.
"I've told them we'd give another signal to tell them, as nearly as
possible where we made them take to earth," he said to Tom, and the
young inventor nodded in agreement.
"Ned in them ship?" asked Koku, as he came back from the pilot house
to report that Mr. Damon was all right, and needed no help.
"Yes, I think Ned is in one of them," said Tom. "The big one most
likely. Poor Ned a prisoner! Well, I'll soon have him away from
them--if nothing happens," and Tom looked about the motor room, to
make sure that every piece of apparatus was working perfectly.
The two airships of the smugglers were hanging close together, and
it was evident that the larger one had to make her pace slow, so as
not to get ahead of the small craft. Tom followed on relentlessly,
not using half his speed, but creeping on silently in the darkness.
"We're over the United States now," said Mr. Whitford, after a
glance earthward through the binoculars. "Let 'em get a little
farther over the line before you pop 'em with your electric rifle,
Our hero nodded, and looked out of a side window to note the
progress of the smugglers. For several miles the chase was thus kept
up, and then, suddenly the smaller craft was seen to swerve to one
"They are separating!" cried Mr. Whitford, at the same time Mr.
Damon called through the tube from the pilot house:
"Which one shall I follow, Tom?"
"The big one," the youth answered. "I'll take care of the other!"
With a quick motion he flashed the current into the great
searchlight, and, calling to Mr. Whitford to hold it so that the
beams played on the small aeroplane, Tom leveled his wonderful
electric rifle at the big stretch of canvas. He pressed the lever, a
streak of blue flame shot out through an opened port, and, an
instant later, the small craft of the smugglers was seen to stagger
about, dipping to one side.
"There they come!" cried Mr. Whitford. "They're done for!"
"One shot more," said Tom grimly. "It won't hurt 'em!"
Again the deadly electric rifle sent out its wireless charge, and
the airship slowly fluttered toward the earth.
"They're volplaning down!" cried Tom. "That's the end of them. Now
to catch the other!"
"Take the lantern!" cried Mr. Whitford. "I'm going to send a
wireless to my men to get after this disabled craft."
Tom swung the beam of the searchlight forward and a moment later had
picked up the big aeroplane. It was some distance in advance, and
going like the wind. He heard the automatic camera clicking away.
"They speeded her up as soon as they saw what was on!" cried Tom.
"But we haven't begun to go yet!"
He signalled to Mr. Damon, who pulled over the accelerating lever
and instantly the Falcon responded. Now indeed the race was on in
earnest. The smugglers must have understood this, for they tried all
their tactics to throw the pursuing airship off the track. They
dodged and twisted, now going up, and now going down, and even
trying to turn back, but Tom headed them off. Ever the great beam of
light shone relentlessly on them, like some avenging eye. They could
"Are we gaining?" cried Mr. Whitford.
"A little, and slowly," answered Tom. "They have a bigger load on
than when we chased them before, but still they have a speed almost
equal to ours. They must have a magnificent motor."
Faster and faster sped on the Falcon. The other craft kept ahead of
her, however, though Tom could see that, inch by inch, he was
"Where do they seem to be heading for?" asked the government agent.
"Shopton, as near as I can make out," replied the youth. "They
probably want to get there ahead of us, and hide the goods. I must
prevent that. Mr. Damon is steering better than he ever did before."
Tom shifted the light to keep track of the smugglers, who had dipped
downward on a steep slant. Then they shot upward, but the Falcon was
The hours of the night passed. The chase was kept up. Try as the
smugglers did, they could not shake Tom off. Nearer and nearer he
crept. There was the gray dawn of morning in the sky, and Tom knew,
from the great speed they had traveled that they must be near
"They're slowing up. Tom!" suddenly cried Mr. Whitford who was
watching them through an open port.
"Yes, I guess they must have heated some of their bearings. Well,
here's where I capture them, if it's ever to be. Koku, let down the
"Are you really going to capture them, Tom?" asked the custom
"I'm going to try," was the answer, as Koku came back to say that
the anchor was dragging over the stern by a long rope.
"You work the light, Mr. Whitford," cried Tom. "I'm going to relieve
Mr. Damon in the pilot house. He can help you here. It will be all
over in another minute."
In the pilot house Tom grasped the steering levers. Then in a final
burst of speed he sent his craft above, and past that of the
Suddenly he felt a shock. It was the grappling anchor catching in
the rail of the other air craft. A shout of dismay arose from the
"You've got 'em! You've got 'em, Tom!" yelled Mr. Whitford.
"Bless my hasty pudding! So he has!" gasped Mr. Damon.
Changing the course of his craft Tom sent the Falcon toward the
earth, pulling the other aeroplane with him. Down and down he went,
and the frantic efforts of the smugglers to release themselves were
useless. They were pulled along by the powerful airship of our hero.
A few minutes later Tom picked out a good landing place in the dim
light of the breaking dawn, and went to earth. Jamming on the brakes
he leaped from the pilot house to the stern of his own craft,
catching up his electric rifle. The other airship, caught by the
grappling anchor at the end of a long rope, was just settling down,
those in her having the good sense to shut off their power, and
volplane when they found that they could not escape.
As the smugglers' craft touched the earth, several figures leaped
from her, and started to run away.
"Hold on!" cried Tom. "I've got you all covered with the electric
rifle! Don't move! Koku, you, and Mr. Whitford and Mr. Damon take
care of them. Tie 'em up."
"Bless my hat band!" cried the eccentric man. "What a great capture!
Where are we?"
"Not far from Shopton," answered Tom. "But look after the
There was a cry of astonishment from Mr. Whitford as he reached the
sullen occupants of the smugglers' craft.
"Here are the Fogers--father and son!" the agent called to Tom.
"They were in it after all. Great Scott! What a surprise. And here
are a lot of men whom I've been after for some time! Oh, Tom Swift,
this IS a capture."
"What right have you to use these high-handed methods on us?"
demanded Mr. Foger pompously.
"Yes, dad make 'em let us go; we haven't done anything!" snarled
"I guess you won't go yet a while," said the agent. "I'll have a
look inside this craft. Keep 'em covered, Tom."
"I will. I guess Andy knows what this rifle can do. See if Ned is a
There was a few moments of waiting during which Koku and Mr. Damon
securely bound the prisoners. Then Mr. Whitford reappeared. He was
accompanied by some one.
"Hello, Tom!" called the latter. "I'm all right. Much obliged for
"Are you all right, Ned?" asked Tom, of his chum.
"Yes, except that they kept me gagged. The men who captured me took
me for you, and, after the Fogers found out the mistake, they
decided to keep me anyhow. Say, you've made a great haul."
And so it proved, for in the airship was a quantity of valuable
silks and laces, while on the persons of the smugglers, including
Mr. Foger, were several packets of diamonds. These were taken
possession of by Mr. Whitford, who also confiscated the bales and
Ned was soon aboard the Falcon, while the prisoners, securely tied
were laid in the cabin of their own craft with Koku to stand guard
over them. Mr. Damon went to Shopton, which was the nearest town,
for police aid, and soon the smugglers were safe in jail, though Mr.
Foger protested vigorously against going.
Ned explained how he had been pounced upon by two men when he was
fishing, and told how without a chance to warn his friends, he had
been gagged and bound and taken to the headquarters of the smugglers
in Canada, just over the border. They went by carriages. Then the
Fogers, who, it seemed, were hand in glove with the law violators,
saw him, and identified him. The smugglers had thought they were
"It was your coat and hat that did it, Tom," explained Ned. "I
fought against being taken away, but when I happened to think if
they took me for you it might be a trick against them. And it was.
The Fogers didn't discover the mistake until just before we started."
"They planned for a big shipment of goods last night and used two
airships. I don't know what became of the other."
"We've got her, and the men, too," interposed Mr. Whitford, as this
conversation was taking place several hours later in the Swift home.
"I just had a wire from my deputy. They got right after the damaged
airship, and reached her just as the men were hiding the goods, and
preparing to dismantle the craft. We have them all, thanks to you,
"And to think that the Fogers were in it all the while!" remarked
Tom. "They certainly fooled us."
"I'm not done with them yet," said Mr. Whitford. "I'm going to have
another look at their house, and the gardener's home."
"The Fogers were in dire straits, that's why they went in with the
smugglers," explained Ned. "Though they gagged me, they didn't stop
up my ears, and when they hid me in a little room on the airship, I
could hear them talking together. It seems that the smugglers put up
the money to buy the airships, and just happened to stumble on Andy
to run the machinery for them. His father helped, too. They shared
in the proceeds, and they must have made considerable, for the
smuggling has been going on for some time."
"Well, they'll lose all they made," declared the agent. Later he,
Tom and Ned made another inspection of the Foger premises. Down in
the cellar of the gardener's house they found, behind a cunningly
concealed door, a tunnel leading into the old mansion. Later it was
learned that the smugglers had been in the habit of bringing goods
across the border in airships, landing them in a lonely stretch of
woods outside of Shopton, and later bringing them by wagon to the
Inside there, in some secret rooms that had been constructed off of
the main apartments, the goods would be unpacked, put in different
boxes, carried through the tunnel to the gardener's house, and
thence shipped as "old furniture" to various unscrupulous agents who
disposed of them.
The hiring of Mr. Dillon had been only a blind. Later the smugglers,
in the guise of carpenters, made the desired changes. So cunningly
had the opening of the tunnel in the cellar of the gardener's house
been concealed, that it was only discovered after a most careful
There is little more to tell. With the capture of the two airships,
an end was put to the smuggling operations, especially since nearly
all the gang was captured. A few, those who brought the goods up the
St. Lawrence, from the ocean steamers, managed to escape, but they
had to go into hiding.
The goods captured proved very valuable, and partly made up to Uncle
Sam's treasury the losses sustained. Tom was offered a big reward,
but would not take it, accepting only money for his expenses, and
requesting that the reward be divided among the agents of Mr.
Whitford's staff, who needed it more than Tom did.
There was no difficulty about convicting the prisoners, including
the Fogers, for Tom's wizard camera had taken pictures of the chase
and capture, and the men were easily identified. Mr. Period was
quite delighted with the roll of films that Tom gave him. Some of
the smugglers were sent to prison for long terms, and others,
including Andy and his father, had to pay heavy fines.
"Well, Tom Swift, I can't thank you enough," said Mr. Whitford, one
day as he called to pay the young inventor a visit. "I'm ordered to
the Pacific coast and I may have to send for you with your airship,
and great searchlight."
"I don't believe I'll come," laughed the lad. "I'm going to take a
long rest and settle down."
"He's going to get married!" exclaimed Ned, taking care to get
behind a chair.
"If Mr. Tom marry, he keep Koku for servant?" asked the giant
"Oh, I'm not going to get married, just yet, Koku!" exclaimed Tom,
who was blushing furiously. "I'm going to invent something new."
"Bless my fountain pen!" cried Mr. Damon.
"Oh, Tom, it seems good to have you home again," said aged Mr. Swift
"Dat's what it do!" added Eradicate. "Boomerang hab been monstrous
lonely sence yo'-all been gone, Massa Tom."
"Well, I'm going to stay home--for a while," said Tom. And thus,
surrounded as he is by his friends and relatives, we will take leave
of Tom Swift.
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