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| Home | Reading Room Tom Swift And His Sky Racer

Tom Swift And His Sky Racer
or The Quickest Flight on Record
by Victor Appleton

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Chapter Three

The Plans Disappear



Mr. Swift was lying on the floor, where he had fallen, in


front of his bed, as he was preparing to retire. There was


no mark of injury upon him, and at first, as he knelt down


at his father's side, Tom was at a loss to account for what


had taken place.




"How did it happen? When was it?" he asked of Mrs. Baggert,


as he held up his father's head, and noted that the aged man


was breathing slightly.




"I don't know what happened, Tom," answered the


housekeeper, "but I beard him fall, and ran upstairs, only


to find him lying there, just like that. Then I called you.


Hadn't you better have a doctor?"




"Yes; we'll need one at once. Send Eradicate Tell him to


run--not to wait for his mule--Boomerang is too slow. Oh,


no! The telephone, of course! Why didn't I think of that at


first? Please telephone for Dr. Gladby, Mrs. Baggert. Ask


him to come as soon as possible, and then tell Garret


Jackson to step here. I'll have him help me get father into






The housekeeper hastened to the instrument, and was soon


in communication with the physician, who promised to call at


once. The engineer was summoned from another part of the


house, and then Eradicate was aroused.




Mrs. Baggert had the colored man help her get some kettles


of hot water in readiness for possible use by the doctor.


Mr. Jackson aided Tom to lift Mr. Swift up on the bed, and


they got off some of his clothes.




"I'll try to see if I can revive him with a little


aromatic spirits of ammonia," decided Tom, as he noticed


that his father was still unconscious. He hastened to


prepare the strong spirits, while he was conscious of a


feeling of fear and alarm, mingled with sadness.




Suppose his father should die? Tom could not bear to think


of that. He would be left all alone, and how much he would


miss the companionship and comradeship of his father none


but himself knew.




"Oh! but I mustn't think he's going to die!" exclaimed the


youth, as he mixed the medicine.




Mr. Swift feebly opened his eyes after Tom and Mr. Jackson


had succeeded in forcing some of the ammonia between his






"Where am I? What happened?" asked the aged inventor






"We don't know, exactly," spoke Tom softly. "You are ill,


father. I've sent for the doctor. He'll fix you up. He'll be


here soon."




"Yes, I'm--I'm ill," murmured the aged man. "Something


hurts me--here," and he put his hand over his heart.




Tom felt a nameless sense of fear. He wished now that he


had insisted on his parent consulting a physician some time


before, when Mr. Swift first complained of a minor ailment.


Perhaps now it was too late.




"Oh! when will that doctor come?" murmured Tom






Mrs. Baggert, who was nervously going in and out of the


room, again went to the telephone.




"He's on his way," the housekeeper reported. "His wife


said he just started out in his auto."




Dr. Gladby hurried into the room a little later, and cast


a quick look at Mr. Swift, who had again lapsed into






"Do you think he--think he's going to die?" faltered Tom.


He was no longer the self-reliant young inventor. He could


meet danger bravely when it threatened himself alone, but


when his father was stricken he seemed to lose all courage.




"Die? Nonsense!" exclaimed the doctor heartily. "He's not


dead yet, at all events, and while there's life there's


hope. I'll soon have him out of this spell."




It was some little time, however, before Mr. Swift again


opened his eyes, but he seemed to gain strength from the


remedies which Dr. Gladby administered, and in about an hour


the inventor could sit up.




"But you must be careful," cautioned the physician. "Don't


overdo yourself. I'll be in again in the morning, and now


I'll leave you some medicine, to be taken every two hours."




"Oh, I feel much better," said Mr. Swift, and his voice


certainly seemed Stronger. "I can't imagine what happened.


I came upstairs, after Tom had received a visit from the


minister, and that's all I remember."




"The minister, father!" exclaimed Tom, in great amazement.


"The minister wasn't here this evening! That was Mr.


Gunmore, the aviation secretary. Don't you remember?"




"I don't remember any gentleman like that calling here


to-night," Mr. Swift said blankly. "It was the minister, I'm


sure, Tom."




"The minister was here last night, Mr. Swift," said the






"Was he? Why, it seems like to-night. And I came upstairs


after talking to him, and then it all got black, and--and--"




"There, now; don't try to think," advised the doctor.


"You'll be all right in the morning."




"But I can't remember anything about that aviation man,"


protested Mr. Swift. "I never used to be that way--


forgetting things. I don't like it!"




"Oh, it's just because you're tired," declared the


physician. "It will all come back to you in the morning.


I'll stop in and see you then. Now try to go to sleep." And


he left the room.




Tom followed him, Mrs. Baggert and Mr. Jackson remaining


with the sick man.




"What is the matter with my father, Dr. Gladby?" asked Tom


earnestly, as the doctor prepared to take his departure.


"Is it anything serious?"




"Well," began the medical man, "I would not be doing my


duty, Tom, if I did not tell you what it is. That is, it is


comparatively serious, but it is curable, and I think we can


bring him around. He has an affection of the heart, that,


while it is common enough, is sometimes fatal.




"But I do not think it will be so in your father's case.


He has a fine constitution, and this would never have


happened had he not been run down from overwork. That is the


principal trouble. What he needs is rest; and then, with the


proper remedies, he will be as well as before."




"But that strange lapse of memory, doctor?"




"Oh, that is nothing. It is due to the fact that he has


been using his brain too much. The brain protests, and


refuses to work until rested. Your father has been working


rather hard of late hasn't he?"




"Yes; on a new wireless motor."




"I thought so. Well, a good rest is what he needs, and


then his mind and body will be in tune again. I'll be around


in the morning."




Tom was somewhat relieved by the doctor's words, but not


very much so, and he spent an anxious night, getting up


every two hours to administer the medicine. Toward morning


Mr. Swift fell into a heavy sleep, and did not awaken for


some time.




"Oh, you're much better!" declared Dr. Gladby when he saw


his patient that day.




"Yes, I feel better," admitted Mr Swift.




"And can't you remember about Mr. Gunmore calling?" asked






The aged inventor shook his head, with a puzzled air.




"I can't remember it at all," he said. "The minister is


the last person I remember calling here."




Tom looked worried, but the physician said it was a common


feature of the disease from which Mr. Swift suffered, and


would doubtless pass away.




"And you don't remember how we talked about me building a


speedy aeroplane and trying for the ten-thousand-dollar


prize?" asked Tom.




"I can't remember a thing about it," said the inventor,


with a puzzled shake of his head, "and I'm not going to try,


at least not right away. But, Tom, if you're going to build


a new aeroplane, I want to help you. I'll give you the


benefit of my advice. I think my new form of motor can be


used in it."




"Now! now! No inventions--at least not just yet!" objected


the physician. "You must have a good rest first, Mr. Swift,


and get strong. Then you and Tom can build as many airships


as you like."




Mr. Swift felt so much better about three days later that


he wanted to get right to work planning the airship that was


to win the big prize, but the doctor would not hear of it.


Tom, however, began to make rough sketches of what he had


in mind changing them from time to time, He also worked


on a type of motor, very light, and modeled after one his father


had recently patented.




Then a new idea came to Tom in regard to the shape of his


aeroplane, and he worked several days drawing the plans for


it. It was a new idea in construction, and he believed it


would give him the great speed he desired.




"But I'd like dad to see it," he said. "As soon as he's


well enough I'll go over it with him."




That time came a week later, and with a complete set of


the plans, embodying his latest ideas, Tom went into the


library where his father was seated in an easy-chair. Dr.


Gladby had said it would not now harm the aged inventor to


do a little work. Tom spread the drawings out in front of


his father, and began to explain them in detail.




"I really think you have something great there, Tom!"


exclaimed Mr. Swift, at length. "It is a very small


monoplane, to be sure, but I think with the new principle


you have introduced it will work; but, if I were you, I'd


shape those wing tips a little differently."




"No, they're better that way," said Tom pleasantly, for he


did not often disagree with his father. "I'll show you from


a little model I have made. I'll get it right away."




Anxious to demonstrate that he was right in his theory,


Tom hurried from the library to get the model of which he


had spoken. He left the roll of plans lying on a small table


near where his father was seated.




"There, you see, dad," said the young inventor as he re-


entered the library a few minutes later, "when you warp the


wing tips in making a spiral ascent it throws your tail


wings out of plumb, and so--"




Tom paused in some amazement, for Mr. Swift was lying back


in his chair, with his eyes closed. The lad started in alarm,


laid aside his model, and sprang to his father's side.




"He's had another of those heart attacks!" gasped Tom. He


was just going to call Mrs. Baggert, when Mr. Swift opened


his eyes. He looked at Tom, and the lad could see that they


were bright, and did not show any signs of illness.




"Well, I declare!" exclaimed the inventor. "I must have


dozed off, Tom, while you were gone. That's what I did.


I fell asleep!"




"Oh!" said Tom, much relieved. "I was afraid you were ill


again. Now, in this model, as you will see by the plans,


it is necessary--"




He paused, and looked over at the table where he had left


the drawings. They were not there!




"The plans, father!" Tom exclaimed. "The plans I left on


the table! Where are they?"




"I haven't touched them," was the answer. "They were on


that table, where you put them, when I closed my eyes for a


little nap. I forgot all about them. Are you sure they're missing?"




"They're not here!" And Tom gazed wildly about the room.


"Where can they have gone?"




"I wasn't out of my chair," said Mr. Swift, "I ought not


to have gone to sleep, but--"




Tom fairly jumped toward the long library window, the same


one from which he had leaped to pursue Andy Foger. The


casement was open, and Tom noted that the screen was also


unhooked, It had been closed when he went to get the model,


he was sure of that.




"Look, dad! See!" he exclaimed, as he picked up from the


floor a small piece of paper.




"What is it, Tom?"




"A sheet on which I did some figuring. It is no good, but


it was in with the plans. It must have dropped out."




"Do you mean that some one has been in here and taken the


plans of your new aeroplane, Tom?" gasped his father.




"That's just what I mean! They sneaked in here while you


were dozing, took the plans, and jumped out of the window


with them. On the way this paper fell out. It's the only


clue we have. Stay here, dad. I'm going to have a look." And


Tom jumped from the library window and ran down the path


after the unknown thief.



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