Battling the Bighorn or, The Aeroplane in the Rockies
BATTLING THE BIGHORN
By ASHTON LAMAR
- IN THE CLOUDS FOR UNCLE SAM
Or, Morey Marshall of the Signal Corps
- THE STOLEN AEROPLANE
Or, How Bud Wilson Made Good
- THE AEROPLANE EXPRESS
Or, The Boy Aeronaut’s Grit
- THE BOY AERONAUTS’ CLUB
Or, Flying for Fun
- A CRUISE IN THE SKY
Or, The Legend of the Great Pink Pearl
- BATTLING THE BIGHORN
Or, The Aeroplane in the Rockies
- WHEN SCOUT MEETS SCOUT
Or, The Aeroplane Spy
FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS IN EACH BOOK
Price, 60 Cents
Publishers The Reilly & Britton Co. Chicago
Battling the Bighorn
The Aeroplane in the Rockies
Illustrated by Joseph Pierre Nuyttens
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
BATTLING THE BIGHORN
|I||A Flight by Night||9|
|II||A Newspaper Sensation||23|
|III||A Unique Proposition||37|
|IV||Preparations for the Expedition Under Way||50|
|VI||A Chapter on Clothes||74|
|VII||Captain Ludington Talks of Big Game||89|
|VIII||Boarding the Teton||102|
|IX||A Dish of Trout||115|
|X||Koos-Ha-Nax, the Hunter||128|
|XI||A Midnight Intruder||142|
|XII||The End of the Railroad||157|
|XIII||Husha the Black Ram||170|
|XIV||Tuning up the Loon||188|
|XV||Salmo Clarkii or Cutthroat Trout||199|
|XVI||Lost in the Mountain||213|
|XVII||Tracking Mountain Goats in an Airship||226|
|XVIII||A Goat Hunt at Dawn||237|
|XIX||The Sign of the Cross||250|
|XX||A Monarch to the Death||263|
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
|The Flight in the Storm||Frontispiece|
|The Fire in the Hangar||83|
|The Loon in the Mountains||205|
Battling the Bighorn
The Aeroplane in the Rockies
A FLIGHT BY NIGHT
“Flash the light on the compass again,Frank. Let’s have another look!”
Instantly the ray of an electric hand-lightshot over the shoulder of a boy and centereditself on a curiously arranged compass fixedbetween the lad’s feet.
“About a point off northwest—”
“But what good does that do?” exclaimedthe one addressed as Frank. “It was darkwhen we came about and we didn’t know ourcourse then. By dead reckonin’ I’d say weought to head more to the north, Phil.”
“More to the north it is,” was the instantanswer. At the same time there was a creakas if the speaker had executed some movement;the crouching Frank lurched forwardand then fell back into a low chair behind theother boy. “Keep a lookout below for anylights you can recognize, but use the floor trap—don’topen that window again; the raincomes in like a waterfall. I’ll keep watchahead,” added Phil, ignoring his companion’stumble.
“You needn’t bother,” suggested Frank.“We’d ’a’ raised the town lights if we wereanywhere near ’em. I tell you, we’re way offour course!”
“Good enough,” chuckled Phil. “What dowe care? We wanted a ride in the dark andwe’re gettin’ it, good and plenty.”
“The rain and clouds may be shuttin’ outsight o’ the town lights a little,” concededFrank. “I guess you’d better keep your eyespeeled just the same. There are lights below,here and there,” he continued, “but they don’tmean anything; that is, I can’t make anythingout of ’em. I own up—I don’t knowwhere we are.”
“What’s the difference?” asked Phil.“We’re here, snug as bugs in a rug—”
“Listen,” broke in Frank.
A vivid flash of lightning had plunged intothe horizon; the heavens seemed one long roaringroll of thunder and then—as if beginninganew—torrents of rain dashed against whatwas apparently an enclosing protection ofglass.
“The rain’s comin’ from the east,” shoutedPhil. “Open one of the ports on the left; it’sin the lee of the storm and it’s gettin’ toohot in here.”
Again the boy in the rear arose and, fumblingabout in the dark as if turning a catch,at last shoved upward a swinging section ofglass. As his companion had suggested, thenew opening was in the lee of the rain. Therewas a welcome inrush of fresh, moist air butthe two boys were completely protected fromthe downpour.
“You’re right,” said Frank as he left hischair and sank down by the open window orport. “As long as the Loon don’t mind it,what’s the difference?”
He leaned his head on his hands, his elbowsbraced in the open space, and let the cool airfan his perspiring face. “Keep her goin’; goanywhere; go as far as you like. I don’tcare whether we—”
“Look at the barometer. How high arewe?” interrupted the other boy sharply.
Frank crawled from the open window,flashed his electric light again and turned itsrays on an altitude barometer hanging at theright of his companion, crawled closer to theinstrument and then announced: “Twenty-threehundred feet! Keep her to it,” he continued.“It’s great. Everything is workin’fine. The poundin’ of the rain on the glasswith us as dry as bones in here, makes mefeel mighty comfortable.”
“Like rain on a tent campin’ out whenyou’re half asleep on your dry balsam,” suggestedhis companion.
“All of that,” was Frank’s good-naturedresponse. “Here, give me that wheel. I’lltake a turn. Crawl over to the window andstick your head out. It’s great.”
Without a protest Phil slipped from the lowchair in which he had been sitting rigidly andFrank skilfully took his place. In anothermoment Phil was kneeling in the black darknessby the opening.
“It’s all right,” Phil exclaimed, “and I’mglad we did it. I suppose,” he added a momentlater, “that it’s the first time anyoneever did. It may be a little risky, but it’sworth while. Yet,” he added after severalmoments, “I guess we’ve gone far enough.There isn’t a sign of a town light in sight andI don’t know where we are. Let’s make alanding and camp out in the car till the stormis over.”
“If we do that,” suggested the boy in thechair, “we’ll stay all night. We’ll never getup again out of a wet field—if we’re luckyenough not to straddle a fence, jab a tree intous or find a perch on the comb of a barn.”
There was a grunt from his companion.
“No use to figure on all those things,” wasthe answer. “We can’t keep agoin’ till daylightand since we’ve got to stop sometime,we might as well take chances—”
“Right now?” broke in Frank. “All right!Now it is, if you say so.”
There was a creak as of a straining wireand the boys braced themselves against animmediate lurch forward. The glass windowsor ports rattled slightly as something aboveseemed to check the fast flight. Phil added:
“Stand by the barometer; it’s our onlyguide; I can’t see a thing.”
“Two thousand feet,” was the report almostinstantly. Then, the two boys yet bracedtoward the rear, came additional reports everyfew moments until nine hundred feet wasreached. “Ease her up, Phil,” suggested thelad at the barometer, “we’re doin’ sixty-twomiles by the anemometer—”
Before he could say more the creaking soundas of wires straining came again. There wasanother check and once more the motion seemedhorizontal.
“That’s better,” added Phil. “Now I’llopen the bottom port and keep a lookout forland.”
He threw himself on the floor, drew up asquare door in front of the second seat and,tossing his cap aside, stuck his head throughthe opening.
“By gravy,” he sputtered as he pulled hishead back, “that rain ain’t a lettin’ up anyto speak about.”
“Rapidly gettin’ dryer no faster,” laughedthe boy in the forward chair.
“Right,” commented Phil as his head againdisappeared through the opening. For somemoments neither boy spoke. In this silence,the rain pelting the glass sides seemed to growlouder, but this sound was dimmed by a constantwhirr behind the glass compartment—amonotonous, unvarying sound as of large wheelsin motion. Mingled with this was another tone—theunmistakable, delicate tremble of anengine or motor.
“Shut her down to half and hold yourcourse,” suddenly came a muffled call from thereinserted head of the lookout.
There was a quick snap; an instant diminutionin the tremble and whirr in the rear andPhil’s head was again far out of the trapdoorin defiance of wind and rain. The forwardmotion was lessening somewhat. When threeor four minutes had passed, the boy on lookoutdrew his head in again, dashed the rainout of his eyes and crawled to the barometer.
“Eight hundred feet,” he announced.“That’s good. I picked up a light—somefarmer’s kitchen, I guess—but nothin’ doin’;too dark. Drop her a couple hundred feet.”
Without comment from the boy in the chairthe same creaking noise sounded once more andPhil, the electric flash centered on the altituderegister, kept his eyes on that instrument.
“Six hundred feet,” he called in a few moments.“Keep her there while I have anotherlook. We—”
Before he could finish, a flash of lightningturned the sky into the inside of a phosphorescentsphere. But it was not the gorgeous displayof the wild tangle of silvered clouds thatthe two boys saw. Before the flare endedtheir eyes were fixed on what was beneaththem. There was no need of an order fromPhil. In the blaze of light it could be seenthat Frank’s feet rested on two lever stirrups.Even before the light died, his right foot shotforward, there was another sound of a strainingwire and the glass enclosed car instantlyshot to the right and slightly downward. Atthe same time Frank’s right hand, alreadyclutching a wheel attached vertically to theside of his chair, drew swiftly back and withit came a renewed jarring, checking motionabove. Almost instantly the car, while it continuedits flight to the right, became horizontalagain.
“Got our bearin’s anyway,” was the operator’sgasping remark.
“If you can bank her and get down rightaway,” said the other boy as he sprang to theopen hatch again, “we can make it in one ofthose fields. We’ve cleared the woods by thistime,” he added with no little relief. “Theway we’re headed, it’s all clear forward fora mile—”
“Except fences,” interrupted Frank. “Butwe’ll try it. Look out.”
“Bank her and when you’re right, I’ll givethe word,” was Phil’s answer, his head disappearingthrough the floor opening.
The illumination had shown the two boysthat they were directly above a wide stretchof timber land. Where this disappeared in thedistant west was blacker low ground, which awinding stream told plainly enough was amarsh. To the right lay a straight road andbeyond this miles of cultivated land in fencedfields.
Again the glass compartment lurched; thistime on an angle that made both boys bracethemselves securely.
“Not too much,” yelled Phil over his shoulderand through the roar of the storm. “Besure you clear the trees.”
“She’s well over,” called the operator.“Look out for fences!”
The boy on