"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;
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
"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
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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Swift And His Sky Racer