The Boy Inventors and the Vanishing Gun
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Title: The Boy Inventors and the Vanishing Gun
Author: Richard Bonner
Release Date: June 11, 2018 [eBook #57305]
Character set encoding: UTF-8
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE BOY INVENTORS AND THE VANISHING GUN***
E-text prepared by Roger Frank
THE BOY INVENTORS AND THE VANISHING GUN
CHAPTER I—AN ECCENTRIC INVENTOR
Jack Chadwick stepped from the door of the shed where he and TomJesson, his cousin—and, like Jack, about seventeen years old—had beenbusy all the morning getting the Flying Road Racer back into shape,after that wonderful craft’s adventurous cruise along the Gulf Coast ofMexico.
“Almost eleven o’clock,” said Jack, and, thrusting his hand into thebreast pocket of his khaki working shirt, he drew out a rather crumpledbit of yellow paper.
“What time did Mr. Pythias Peregrine say he’d be here?” inquired Tom,who, like Jack, was attired in a business-like costume of khaki, toppedoff with an automobile cap.
Jack, who had been busy perusing the telegraphic message inscribed onthe bit of yellow paper, read it aloud.
“‘Jack Chadwick, High Towers, Nestorville, Mass.:
“‘Can I see you about noon on Thursday next? Wish to talk over a newinvention with you and your father. Wire if you can see me at that timeand I will call on you.
“Wonder what he can want?” mused Professor Chadwick’s son, in aspeculative tone. “Pythias Peregrine is one of the best-known inventorsin the country. I guess we all ought to feel honored by his wanting toconsult with us, Tom.”
“You bet we ought. Wonder what sort of a man he is. I suppose he’llbe inclined to look down upon us as a couple of kids when he does seeus. But—hello, Jack!” he broke off suddenly—“what’s that off there inthe sky—over there to the northwest?”
“That speck yonder? It looks like—yes, by ginger, it is—it’s anaëroplane of some sort!”
A sudden idea struck Tom.
“Say, Jack, don’t you recall reading about Mr. Peregrine and hisaëroplane Red Hawk?”
“Yes, I do, very well indeed. He captured theJordan Meritt speed and long-distance cup with it.”
“That’s right, and I’m willing to bet the hole out of a doughnut thatthat is the Red Hawk approaching right now. Pokeville is sixty miles offin that direction, and what more natural than that Mr. Peregrine shouldtake an up-to-date way of paying his call?”
“I do believe you’re right, Tom,” said Jack. “Let’s go in and spruceup a bit, and then we’ll come out and meet him.”
In the rear of the work shed, which housed the Flying Road Racer, wasa washroom, and to this the boys hastened to remove some of the grime oftheir morning’s work. While they are thus engaged, and the aëroplane iswinging its way rapidly toward High Towers, it is a good time to tellsomething about the two lads and their adventures.
As readers of the first volume of this series—“The Boy Inventors’Wireless Triumph”—are aware, Jack Chadwick was the wide-awake, good-lookingson of a man well known for his achievements in science. Thename of Chester Chadwick was one of the best known in the world alongthe lines of his chosen field of endeavor. Tom Jesson, almost as brighta lad as his chum and cousin, was, like Jack, motherless. His father,Jasper Jesson—Mr. Chadwick’s brother-in-law—lived at High Towers, theremainder of which establishment was composed of Mrs. Jarley, amotherly old housekeeper, two under servants, and Jupe, a coloredman-of-all-work about the place.
High Towers, Professor Chadwick’s estate, was, as we already knowfrom the address on Mr. Peregrine’s telegram, located near the villageof Nestorville, not far from Boston. It was a fine old place, andconsisted of a big, rambling house set in the midst of oaks and elmswith broad lawns and fields stretching on every side. But the mostinteresting features of the place were a big lake and a group of sheds,workshops and laboratories in which Professor Chadwick and his son andnephew worked over their inventions.
For Jack and Tom were more like chums to Professor Chadwick than sonand nephew. Together the three had devised the Flying Road Racer, theChadwick gas gun, and many other remarkable devices. From his patentsProfessor Chadwick had amassed a considerable fortune, thus disprovingthe popular idea that inventors are, of necessity, shiftless orneedy.
The present story opens on a day not long after the three, togetherwith Mr. Jesson, had returned from an adventurous trip in theneighborhood of the semi-savage country of Yucatan. As readers of “TheBoy Inventors’ Wireless Triumph” know, Jack and Tom, accompanied byJupe, had been despatched mysteriously to Lone Island, a desolate spotof land off the mouth of the Rio Grande. Here they had awaited awireless message from Professor Chadwick, who was cruising on achartered steam yacht, the Sea King. At last the eagerly expectedmessage came, and the boys set out on a gasolene motor boat to find theSea King, which, the message had informed them, was disabled.
They found her, and also discovered that she was in peculiar trouble.The rascally governor of the province of Yucatan, off which she lay,had, so they learned, imprisoned Professor Chadwick, Mr. Jesson and somesailors. The boys found that the Sea King carried on board the FlyingRoad Racer—of which more anon—and they determined to utilize this craftof the land and air in the work of rescue.
How Tom was re-united to his father, the explorer who had been givenup as lost in the wilderness of Yucatan for many years, cannot be toldin detail here; nor can we go into the surprising incident of the threecolored gems contained in a silver casket which caused a lot of troublefor the boys and the others. But all came out well, and wireless playeda considerable part in getting the party out of many dilemmas.
It will also be recalled by readers of the volume whose contents wehave lightly sketched, that the Flying Road Racer—the aerial auto—hadbeen badly damaged, so far as her raising apparatus was concerned, whenshe was blown to sea in a hurricane, during which those on boardnarrowly escaped with their lives. Since their return to HighTowers, the boys had been engaged in refitting the craft on newprinciples, and Professor Chadwick had been busy in Washington inconnection with some patents. Mr. Jesson had interested himself inscientific farming, and, at the very moment that the boys had hastenedinto the shed to make swift preparations to receive what they believedto be Mr. Peregrine’s Red Hawk, he was busy in a corn patch with Jupe,the colored man.
Jack had just given a hasty dab with the brush and comb to his hair,and Tom’s face was still buried in a towel when from the rear of theshed where the corn patch was came the sound of angry and alarmedvoices.
“Hyar, you, wha’ fo’ yo’ don’ look out? Wha’ fo’ yo’ mean comefloppin’ lak an ole buzzard inter dis yar cohn patch—huh?”
Then, in milder tones:
“My dear sir, I beg of you, be careful. This corn is aparticular kind. If you alight here you’ll ruin several hills ofit.”
“That’s Jupe and Uncle Jasper,” exclaimed Jack, throwing down thebrush and comb and rushing out; “wonder what’s up?”
Tom hastily followed his cousin.
“Sounds as if somebody’s trying to spoil dad’s corn patch,” hemurmured, as he ran.
As they rounded the corner of the Flying Road Racer’s shed, the boyscame on an astonishing sight—if anything can be called astonishing inthis century of marvels.
Above Mr. Jesson’s corn, of which he was justly proud, hovered abeautifully finished monoplane with bright red planes. Its propeller wasbuzzing like an angry bee—or rather like a dragon-fly, which itresembled with its long tail and bright gossamer wings.
In the air ship was seated a small, rather stout figure, whosecountenance was almost hidden by goggles and a black leather skull cappierced with holes. As this brilliant apparition of the skies swoopedover the corn, so low that it almost mowed the feathery heads of thetopmost stalks, Jupe made angry passes at it with his hoe.
Mr. Jesson, less strenuous but equally alarmed for his corn, had hisarms raised imploringly.
“Yo’ jes git out of hyar, or I gib yo’ one wid dis yar hoe!” Jupe wasexclaiming angrily, as the boys came on the scene.
“Why, I—bless my soul—I won’t hurt you,” came reassuringly in sharp,nervous tones from the occupant of the red aëroplane, which, the boyshad already guessed, was the Red Hawk, and their visitor, Mr. Peregrine.“I merely dropped to inquire if this is High Towers?”
“Ya’as, dis am High Towers, an’ we got ’nough sky schooners ’roun’hyar now widout you drappin’ in on our cohn patch,” angrily criedJupe.
“Jupe! Jupe!” shouted Jack, “be more respectful. That’s Mr.Peregrine!”
“Don’t cahr ef he is Jerry Green,” grunted Jupe, “he don’ wan’ terfustigate dis yar cohn patch wid dat red bug oh hisn.”
“Don’t be alarmed—won’t hurt it—very sorry—watch!”
With these jerky sentences, the occupant of the monoplane pulled alever and turned a wheel on the side of the body of his machine.Instantly it rose, as gracefully as a butterfly, skimmed above the cornpatch, circled around the boys’ astonished heads, and then droppedlightly in front of the shed which housed its ponderous rival of theskies.
As it came to a standstill the boys ran up to greet its operator,who, although he appeared rather fat and podgy, had already leapednimbly to the ground.
“This is Mr. Pythias Peregrine?” inquired Jack politely.
“My name—glad to see you—dropped in, as it were—how do you do?—quitewell?—glad to hear it.”
“Mah goodness,” exploded Jupe, leaning on his hoe and scratching hiswoolly head, “dat dar Jerry Green talks lak he had a package offirecrackers in him tummy.”
CHAPTER II—THE VANISHING GUN
Mr. Peregrine, having alighted from his Red Hawk, removed his helmetand goggles and mopped his forehead vigorously—for the day was warm, itbeing about the middle of August. The removal of his headpiece revealedhim as a round-faced, good-natured looking man, with a rosy complexionand