Aeroplane boys on the wi.., p.1
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       Aeroplane Boys on the Wing, p.1
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           John Luther Langworthy
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Aeroplane Boys on the Wing


  Produced by Juliet Sutherland, Rosanna Yuen and PG DistributedProofreaders

  THE AEROPLANE BOYS ON THE WING

  or,

  Aeroplane Chums in the Tropics

  BYJOHN LUTHER LANGWORTHY

  1912

  The further trials and triumphs of the venturesome aeroplane lads areset forth in a particularly thrilling manner in the third volume of thisseries, now on sale everywhere, and which is entitled, "The Bird BoysAmong the Clouds; or, Young Aviators in a Wreck."

  CONTENTS

  CHAPTER

  I. ON THE WAY BACK FROM THE GAME

  II. FRANK'S WAY

  III. SOMETHING ABOUT THE BIRD BOYS

  IV. A STARTLING DISCOVERY

  V. A WARM FIVE MINUTES

  VI. IN SEARCH OF A CLUE

  VII. ANDY RECEIVES A SHOCK

  VIII. THE MESSAGE

  IX. UNDER TROUBLED SKIES

  X. NIPPED IN THE BUD

  XI. OUT OF THE FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE

  XII. A GREAT SURPRISE

  XIII. THE "DEVIL-BIRD"

  XIV. THE AIRSHIP LAUNCHED AT LAST

  XV. AN UNPLEASANT SURPRISE

  XVI. THE AIR CHASE

  XVII. THE CAMP IN THE TROPICAL JUNGLE

  XVIII. WHEN FRANK STOOD GUARD

  XIX. FIREBRANDS AND JAGUARS

  XX. THE AEROPLANE BOYS ONCE MORE AFLOAT

  XXI. THE LAST LITTLE HOT AIR BALLOON

  XXII. RESCUED

  XXIII. HOMEWARD BOUND--CONCLUSION

  THE AEROPLANE BOYS ON THE WING

  or, Aeroplane Chums in The Tropics

  * * * * *

  CHAPTER I.

  ON THE WAY BACK FROM THE GAME.

  "But the Bird boys won the prize of a silver cup!"

  "What if they did? It was by a hair's breadth, Mr. Smarty!"

  "And their monoplane was proven to be faster than the big biplane youbuilt, Puss Carberry!"

  "Oh! was it? Don't you be too sure of that, Larry!"

  "Didn't it land on the summit of Old Thunder Top ahead of you and Sandy,in the race that afternoon? Tell me that!" and Larry Geohegan bristledup to the recognized bully of Bloomsbury, while a dozen fellowsclustered around on the deck of the big power boat, listening eagerly tothis war of words.

  They were on their way home from a very exciting game of baseball thathad been played at Cranford, across the lake. And after ten innings ofhot work the nine from Bloomsbury had won. But not until they hadchanged pitchers, upon tying the score in the ninth, after coming upfrom behind.

  Puss and Larry both wore the uniform of the home players, and there wereothers on the boat who also belonged to the team. In fact, the staunchvessel had been placed at the disposal of the baseball club for thisday, by Commodore Elliott, the rich owner.

  Larry had never been one of the adherents whom Puss could call upon toback him up when he tried conclusions with a hostile faction; in fact,Larry had always been an admirer of Frank Bird, who was recognized asthe most persistent rival the bully had ever encountered in his wholecareer since coming to Bloomsbury.

  Puss allowed a contemptuous expression to take possession of his face,and even shrugged his broad shoulders, after a nasty fashion he had,that often angered the one he was arguing with more than words couldhave done.

  "Aw! rats!" he said, in a disagreeable, rasping voice. "Everybody knowsthat I'd won that same race only for trouble with my engine. Frank waslucky, just like he generally is when he goes in for anything. Look athim today, being called in to pitch in the tenth! We had 'em badlyrattled, and they were on the toboggan sure. Yet Frank, the great hero,gets credit for winning that game. Didn't the Bloomsbury crowd cheerhim to the echo, though, and want to ride him on their shoulders? Wow!it makes me sick, to see such toadyism!"

  "What's all this big noise about, fellows? Didn't I hear my namementioned?" asked a tall lad with a frank face and clear brown eyes, ashe pushed forward.

  It was Frank Bird himself, who had been talking with his cousin Andy,and several other fellows, in the bow of the launch, and by accidentheard the voices that were raised in dispute.

  Percy Carberry, known among his comrades simply as "Puss," did notflinch when he found himself face to face with the boy he detested sothoroughly. They had never as yet actually come to blows; but Pussbelieved that his muscular powers were far superior to those of his moreslender rival, and just now he was in a particularly bitter frame ofmind.

  "Oh! so you're there, are you?" he sneered "I was just telling your goodfriend Larry here that I considered you a greatly overrated substitutepitcher; and that luck had as much to do with our winning that gametoday as anything you did."

  Frank Bird laughed in his face.

  "Sure," he declared, cheerily. "I was a mighty small factor in thevictory, for I only played in one short inning. If I'd faced those hardhitters of Cranford nine times I reckon it'd be hard to tell what they'dhave done to my poor inshoots and curves."

  "But you held them in that inning, Frank, you know you did!" criedLarry.

  "Mere accident, my boy. Happened to be the weak end of their battinglist!" observed Frank, as if determined to agree with his enemy, andthus spike his guns.

  "Is that so?" demanded "Elephant" Small, who did not happen to be on thenine, because of his customary slow ways. "Perhaps you'll be saying thatdandy two-bagger you whanged out, that brought in the winning run, wasalso an accident?"

  "Well, I must have just shut my eyes, and struck. I seem to rememberhearing a sound like a shot, and then they all yelled to me to run; so Idid, going on to second in time to see Peterkin gallop home," and Franklooked as sober as a judge as he said this. The others saw the joke,however, and, led by Larry, burst out into a laugh that made Puss andhis loyal backers scowl.

  "If that bingle was an accident, don't we wish we had a few more playerswho could shut their eyes and meet Frazer's terrible speed balls andcurves in the same way!" one fellow exclaimed.

  "So say we all of us!" another cried.

  Puss realized that the majority on board the _Siren_ were againsthim. But he was not given to taking water; even his enemies, and he hadmany in Bloomsbury, could hardly say that Puss was lacking in a certainkind of grit; while stubbornness he possessed in abundance.

  So he just shut his white teeth hard together, and looked scowlinglyaround the bunch of fellows. And many of them felt a little chill whenthose cold gray eyes rested upon them; for they knew of old whathappened when Puss Carberry made up his mind to mark a boy for futureattention.

  Frank still stood there by the side of the boat, smiling. Perhaps hisvery apparent unconcern served to make the other still more angry. Therehad been bad blood between these two lads for a long time, and more thanonce it threatened an eruption, which somehow or other had up to nowbeen stayed.

  Although some weeks had passed since the much-talked-of race between therival aeroplanes, piloted by these two boys, in which Frank took hislittle craft up to the lofty summit of Old Thunder Top ahead of Puss inhis biplane, as narrated in the first volume of this series, entitled"The Bird Boys; or, The Young Sky Pilot's First Air Voyage," the latterhad never ceased to feel ugly over his defeat.

  As usual he had what he considered a good excuse for his arrivingsecond; but few persons ever knew how Puss and his helper Sandy hadtried to injure Frank's airship when it was directly beneath them, bydeliberately dropping a sand bag, taken along, singularly enough, as"ballast," but with this very idea in view.

  "Seems to me you've gotten the big head ever since you happened to dropon that rocky plateau on top of the mountain just three little secondsahead of me, Frank Bird!" he said, with a steely glitter in his eyesthat
those who knew him best understood to mean coming trouble.

  "Oh! I hope not, Puss," replied the other, with a smile. "I give you myword my hat fits me just as comfortably as ever. It was a close race,and the one who got there first hadn't much to crow about, for afact. We happened to be lucky not to have any trouble with our newlittle Kinkaid engine, that was all."

  "Huh!" grunted his cousin Andy, shaking his head, and scowling at Pussin turn. "But we had plenty of other sorts of trouble, all the same,sand bags full of it, in fact. They just rained down on us; but thenFrank knows how to check up his engine suddenly, and the storm passed bywithout any hurt!"

  Some of the fellows, who happened to know what this sly reference on thepart of the hotheaded Andy meant, began to chuckle. Of course such athing would only serve to make Puss more angry. He chose to believe thatthey were all only trying to bait him.

  Frank in particular came in for his dark looks. And Larry, who had oncerun in the same company as Puss, so that he knew his whims better thanmany others, took occasion to give Frank Bird a sly nudge in the side,as he whispered:

  "Look out for him, Frank; he's getting near the danger point, sure!"

  But Frank did not have to be warned. He had grown tired of warding offthis ever threatening danger of a broil with Puss Carberry. Like hiscousin Andy, the other had no father; and his wealthy mother had longsince given up in despair the idea of controlling the headstrong lad. Sothat Puss had his way, whenever he wanted to do anything out of theordinary.

  Because Mrs. Carberry was one of his father's patients, and Dr. Birdesteemed her very highly, Frank had postponed the reckoning just as longas he could endure the insults of the bully. But he believed the lastditch had been reached, and was determined to no longer raise a hand toavert the threatening storm.

  Puss had turned when Andy spoke, to flash a look in his direction. Butit had no effect upon the other, who could be as reckless at times asthe next one. Indeed, Frank often had to curb the impatience and daringof his chum.

  "Oh! that's what sticks in your craw, does it, Andy Bird?" demandedPuss. "Just because Sandy happened to drop that ballast, thinking wemight make better time if we lightened ship, you choose to make allsorts of nasty insinuations about us wanting to knock you out! Showswhere your mind is. Another fellow wouldn't ever let such a fool notionget a grip on him. And you'd better put a reef in that tongue of yours,my boy, unless you want to have it get you into trouble."

  Andy flared up at once, and would have replied; but Frank calmly steppedin between the two, as though he claimed first right.

  "Neither of us have charged you with intentionally trying to disable ouraeroplane by dropping that sand bag, Puss," he remarked quietly. "All wesay is that it was a queer coincidence you wanted to get rid of yourballast just when we were walking up on you hand over fist, and about topass under you, to take the lead. That's all!"

  Again there was a low laugh from among the boys who stood aroundlistening. To them it was a rich treat to see the recognized bully ofBloomsbury baited to his very face in this characteristic way; and theywere enjoying it hugely.

  "Well, let me tell you it ain't all, not by a jugful!" exclaimed Puss,his face taking on a purple hue, as it always did when he becameenraged. "Both of you fellows have got to stop speaking about that sandbag dropping, or there's going to be a licking in store for you. See?"and he thrust his face close to that of Frank as he said this. LarryGeohegan fairly held his breath. "Now it's coming; don't I know thesigns?" he whispered to the boy next him.

  Frank continued to stand there, close to the side of the speedinglaunch. They were about half way across the deep lake at the time.Evening was coming on, for the sun had just reached the distant ruggedhorizon in the west.

  "Do you refer to me when you say that, Puss?" he asked, with that samequeer little smile on his face--a look that mystified the other, whocould not understand what it meant.

  "Yes, both you and that loud-mouthed cousin of yours. Just because luckfavored you, and you won that blooming race by a head, you think I can'tmanage an aeroplane as well as you. Huh! perhaps you don't know that I'mgoing to take my machine with me when I go down to the cocoa plantationwe own along the Amazon, and use it exploring where a white man hasseldom been seen. You can just stay here and grow up with the country,while I'm doing great stunts. But as long as I stay here I'm going tostop this talk about trickery and low-down dodges. You're responsiblefor most of it, Frank Bird. I warn you what's coming to you.""Perhaps," said Frank, pleasantly, "you would be kind enough to tell mealso when this awful punishment is going to fall on my poor devotedneck?"

  "Any time, hang you! Right now, if you say another word!" roared Puss,doubling up his fists, and making ready for one of his well known andfeared bull rushes, that had brought him a speedy victory many a time.

  "So? That's comforting; and with all these good fellows around to seehow you wipe up the deck with me. Suppose you begin the swabbing act,Puss!" and Frank pretended to throw himself in a position of defense.

  The other gave utterance to a hoarse cry of rage, and lowering his headafter the manner of a bull, jumped forward. But the agile Frank simplystepped aside; and unable to check himself in time, Puss Carberry shotover the side of the power boat, disappearing in the clear waters ofSunrise Lake with a great splash.

  "Oh!" shouted his crony, Sandy Hollingshead, standing there as ifpetrified; "and Puss can't swim a single stroke, either!"

 
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