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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 Twenty-One

"Will He Live?"

Soon there were busy scenes in the Swift home, as

preparations were made for a serious operation on the aged

inventor. Tom's father had sunk into deep unconsciousness,

and was stretched out on the bed as though there was no more

life in him. In fact, Tom, for the moment, feared that it

was all over. But good old Dr. Kurtz, noting the look on the

lad's face, said:

"Ach, Dom, doan't vorry! Maybe it vill yet all be vell,

und der vater vill hear of der great race. Bluck up your

courage, und doan't gif up. Der greatest surgeon in der

vorld is here now, und if anybody gan safe your vater, Herr

Hendriz gan. Dot vos a great drip you made--a great drip!"

Tom felt a little comforted and, after a sight of his

father, and a silent prayer that God would spare his life

for years to come, the young inventor went out in the yard.

He wanted to be busy about something, for he knew, with the

doctors, and a trained nurse who had been hastily summoned,

there was no immediate need for him. He wanted to get his

mind off the operation that would soon take place, and so he

decided to look over his aeroplane.

Mr. Damon came out when Tom was going over the guy wires

and braces, to see how they had stood the strain.

"Well, Tom, my lad," said the eccentric man, sadly, as he

grasped our hero's hand, "it's too bad. But hope for the

best. I'm sure your father will pull through. We will have

to begin taking the Humming-Bird apart soon; won't we, if

we're going to ship it to Eagle Park?" He wanted to take

Tom's mind off his troubles.

"I don't know whether we will or not," was the answer, and

Tom tried to speak unbrokenly, but there was a troublesome

lump in his throat, and a mist of tears in his eyes that

prevented him from seeing well. The Hamming-Bird, to him,

looked as if she was in a fog.

"Nonsense! Of course we will!" cried Mr. Damon. "Why,

bless my wishbone! Tom, you don't mean to say you're going

to let that little shrimp Andy Foger walk away with that

ten-thousand-dollar prize without giving him a fight for it;

are you?"

This was just what Tom needed, and it seemed good to have

Mr. Damon bless something again, even if it was only a


"No!" exclaimed Tom, in ringing tones. "Andy Foger isn't

going to beat me, and if I find out he is going to race with

a machine made after my stolen plans, I'll make him wish

he'd never taken them."

"But if the machine he had flying over here when he

dropped that bomb on the shed roof, and set fire to it, is

the one he's going to race with, it isn't like yours,"

suggested Mr. Damon, who was glad he had turned the

conversation into a more cheerful channel.

"That's so," agreed the young inventor. "We'll, we'll have

to wait and see." He was busy now, going over every detail

of the Humming-Bird. Mr. Damon helped him, and they

discovered the defect in the equilibrium weights, and

remedied it.

"We can't afford to have an accident in the race," said

Tom. He glanced toward the house, and wondered if the

operation had begun yet. He could see the trained nurse

hurrying here and there, Mrs. Baggert helping her.

Eradicate Sampson shuffled out from the stable where he

kept his mule Boomerang. On the face of the honest colored

man there was a dejected look.

"Am Massa Swift any better, Massa Tom?" he asked.

"We can't tell yet," was the answer.

"Well, if he doan't git well, den I'm goin' t' sell mah

mule," went on the dirt-chaser, from which line of activity

Eradicate had derived his name.

"Sell Boomerang! Bless my curry comb! what for?" asked Mr.


"'Case as how he wouldn't neber be any good fo' wuk any

mo'," explained Eradicate. "He's got so attached t' dis

place, an' all de folkes on it, dat he'd feel so sorry ef--

ef--well, ef any ob 'em went away, dat I couldn't git no mo'

wuk out ob him, no how. So ef Massa Swift doan't git well,

den I an' Boomerang parts!"

"Well, we hope it won't happen," said Tom, greatly touched

by the simple grief of Eradicate. The young inventor was

silent a moment, and then he softly added: "I--I wonder

when--when we'll know?"

"Soon now, I think," answered Mr. Damon, in a low voice.

Silently they waited about the aeroplane. Tom tried to

busy himself, but he could not. He kept his eyes fastened on

the house.

It seemed like several hours, but it was not more than

one, ere the white-capped nurse came to the door and waved

her hand to Tom. He sprang to his feet and rushed forward.

What would be the message he was to receive?

He stood before the nurse, his heart madly beating. She

looked gently at him.

"Will he--will he live?" Tom asked, pantingly.

"I think so," she answered gently. "The operation is over.

It was a success, so far. Time alone will tell, now. Dr.

Hendrix says you can see your father for lust a moment."



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