His Giant Telescope
WHITMAN PUBLISHING COMPANY
Copyright, 1939, by
WHITMAN PUBLISHING COMPANY
All Rights Reserved
Printed in U.S.A.
[Transcriber's note: Extensive research did not uncover any evidence that
the copyright on this publication was renewed.]
Tom Swift Appeared Calm
and His Giant Telescope
THE NEW PROJECT
Tom Swift appeared to be calm,
although in reality he was about
as excited over his latest invention
as he ever had been about anything
in his life.
"I'm sure it's going to work,
Ned!" he said eagerly to his chum
as they neared Tom's private laboratory.
"With my new device I
hope to learn more about the
planets. I want to start soon—"
"Listen here!" broke in Ned
Newton. "If you're thinking of
going to Mars or the moon, just
count me out! I've gone with you
to many strange places and have
never kicked. But this—"
"Hold on, young fellow!" interrupted
the youthful inventor with
an amused chuckle. "I've nothing
like that in mind YET! All I want
to do is show you my new 'space
Ned Newton, Tom's Chum
"Can't say as I like that word
'yet,'" Ned muttered darkly. "But
I'll take a look at your new jigger
if you'll promise not to shoot me
through space in a rocket or cannon-ball!"
"Word of honor I won't," promised
Tom, crossing his heart with
mock solemnity. "Well, here we
The two boys had reached the
laboratory, a small building at the
rear of the spacious lawn surrounding
Tom's father's home and
close to the extensive work of the
Swift Manufacturing Company at
Tom Crossed His Heart
"I'll bet these shelves have more
scientific apparatus on 'em than
any other shelves in the world,"
remarked Ned, as his chum opened
Various cabinets containing
hundreds of chemicals stood about.
Against one wall was a huge transformer,
from which the youthful
scientist, Tom Swift, could draw
almost any kind of electric current
he might desire.
They Entered the Laboratory
"Here goes!" said the young inventor.
He rolled back a small rug in the
middle of the floor to expose a massive
steel trap door. This he unlocked
by twirling the dial of a
complicated mechanism. Some
years before Tom had constructed
beneath his laboratory an impregnable
chamber to safeguard his
secret plans. He called it his Chest
of Secrets, and guarded it well.
Tom Rolled Back a Small Rug
Even Ned Newton, Tom's closest
friend and business associate, did
not know the entire contents of the
massive vault. Only Tom and his
father were aware of all the inventions
"Some of these inventions must
not be known to the world in its
present state," the elder man had
One of them was the terrible
electric death-ray, capable of destroying
anything in its path. Only
if the United States should be invaded
by an enemy power, would
this be revealed.
There Was a Death Ray
"Here it is," said Tom, joining
his chum after a few minutes spent
in the vault.
He was carrying a small wooden
box which he placed on the desk
and opened. If Ned, as he leaned
over eagerly, expected to see anything
astonishing he was disappointed.
Resting on the velvet
lining was simply a round disk of
a greenish substance perhaps six
inches in diameter. This was
mounted in a gleaming metal ring
from the edges of which there projected
five electric binding posts.
He Was Carrying a Wooden Box
"Funny kind of an eye," observed
Ned. "You can't even see
"You'll soon see through it, all
right," retorted Tom, laying the
disk on his desk and connecting
four dry cells to the binding posts.
He placed a small rheostat in the
circuit so that the strength of the
current might be regulated.
The Disk Was Mounted in a Metal Ring
Slowly he moved the little handle
over the graduated dial. A minute
passed during which, so far as Ned
could see, nothing happened. Without
warning the green crystal suddenly
glowed brightly for a fraction
of a second, then could not be
seen at all. The polished ring of
metal in which it had been mounted
"It's gone!" cried Ned in bewilderment.
"I can see your desk top
right through where it was!"
"No," smiled the inventor, "it's
still there as you'll find if you try
to poke your finger through the
"It's Gone!" Cried Ned
A trifle gingerly his chum extended
his hand toward the circle
of metal. Though Tom had assured
him that the little disk was
still in place, Ned was unable to
repress a start when his finger
touched a cool, polished surface
which his eyes told him could not
"Say, that's wonderful!" he exclaimed,
staring at the invisible
substance with awe. "That stuff
must be a hundred times more
transparent than the finest plate
His Finger Touched the Cool Surface
"Yes, and more," said Tom. "But
that's not the most wonderful feature
of the new substance."
"Well, it's difficult to explain.
Even now I know very little about
it. I can tell you WHAT it can do,
but the WHY is still as much of a
mystery as ever. Briefly, this new
element, or maybe it's a compound,
I'm not sure which, reacts in a very
strange manner to light. Let me
show you. That'll beat any long-winded
theory I could spout."
"That's Wonderful!" He Exclaimed
Going to the door, Tom called in
his giant servant Koku, who once
had been a prince in his own far-off
savage land, before Tom Swift
had brought him to Shopton.
"What want, Master?" came a
deep-toned reply, as the huge dark-skinned
man, who stood a trifle
over eight feet in height, entered.
"Just carry outside that telescope
there in the corner," requested
Tom, pointing to the instrument.
"Better be careful; it's a bit
Tom's Giant Servant Koku
"Not heavy for Koku," boomed
the giant. "Liftum in one hand!"
Though it was not a large instrument
as telescopes go, this one,
with the massive iron pier upon
which it was mounted, weighed not
far from four hundred pounds.
When Koku clamped his mighty
hand about the stand he seemed to
lift it as easily as a boy might raise
a baseball bat or a golf club.
Koku Lifted It Easily
"I'll never get used to his
strength," murmured Ned as the
boys followed the giant through
the laboratory door, Tom carrying
his marvelous green disk.
"He is a big boy, for fair,"
laughed Tom. "Lucky for our
prize-fighters he hasn't gone into
After carefully placing the telescope
where the inventor directed,
Koku returned to the bench under
a near-by apple tree where it was
his wont to rest when he was not
Tom Carried the Green Disk
"Now what, Tom?" questioned
Ned. "Surely you're not expecting
to see stars in broad daylight?"
"Oh, no, though it could be
done," returned Tom, pointing the
instrument toward the crest of a
wooded hill several miles distant
from Shopton. "Now we're ready.
Take a peek."
"Well," said Ned, peering into
the eyepiece, "all I see are a few
"Take a Peek," Invited Tom
"Just stand by," directed his
friend, clamping his green disk
over the front lens, or objective,
of the telescope and turning on the
current. As before, the green stuff
seemed to vanish. "Now, look
again," he said.
No sooner had Ned put his eye
to the instrument than he gave a
start. "It's magic!" he exclaimed.
"Why, that hill seems as if it were
right here and the view is much
brighter. I can see every leaf on
the trees and—yes! even a bird's
nest and the little birds in it!"
"It's Magic!" He Exclaimed
"Now maybe you have an idea
as to how I propose to discover the
secret of life on the planets," responded
"The secret? What do you
mean? Surely you don't expect to
see men on Mars!"
"I mean to build a telescope with
a space eye big enough and powerful
enough to do it!" The young
inventor's face lit up with a
strange light. "It's the greatest
thing yet, Ned!"
"What Do You Mean?" Asked Ned
"Yes," said Ned dubiously, "if
you can do it. Oh, I'll admit that
your invention improves a telescope
marvelously. But to see life
on another world, millions of miles
away—well, that sounds like a
pretty tall order even for you, Tom
"That Sounds Like a Tall Order!"
"Let's go back in the lab and I'll
tell you more about the project."
Tom directed Koku to carry the
telescope inside. As the three
walked back, the giant suddenly
gave a yell.
With that the servant let go the
big instrument, placing it with a
thud none too gently on the hard
ground. In a bound he was off.
Tom and Ned caught a glimpse of
someone just disappearing around
the edge of the building. Had the
stranger sneaked into the laboratory
while Koku's back was
Koku Bounded Off
"I hope the space eye isn't
smashed!" exclaimed Tom, examining
the instrument. "Or the telescope
Anxiously Ned waited as his
chum detached the green disk and
held it up.
"I—I guess it's O.K.," said Tom
at length. "I'll test it in the lab
"I Hope the Space Eye Isn't Smashed!"
At this moment Koku reappeared,
saying the intruder had vanished.
Moreover, he was very contrite
about having handled the
telescope roughly. In a few seconds
the fears of the three vanished.
Put to the electric test, the
disk was found to be all right.
"Who do you suppose was sneaking
around here?" asked Ned.
"No telling," replied Tom. "But
nothing seems to be missing," he
added, glancing around.
"Nothing Seems to Be Missing."
"I hope you're right," said Ned.
"Now tell me more about this
green disk. How did you happen
to discover the stuff?"
"As to just what it is," replied
the other slowly, "I'm not sure yet.
When I analyzed it, I found a substance
absolutely new to chemistry."
"Where did you get it?" asked
"I scraped it from that meteorite
down in Koku's country in
Ned whistled. "Ever since we
found that thing which we called
a planet stone, you've been discovering
all sorts of things about it."
"I Scraped It From a Meteorite."
"Right now I hope to revolutionize
the field of astronomy with it,"
"Tell me more about this wonderful
"It may be a new compound or
it may be an unknown element.
Anyway, in experimenting with it
I found that heat and electricity
both change the stuff. The former
has an apparently permanent effect,
while an electric current, as
you saw, alters it only temporarily."
"Heat and Electricity Change It."
"Why didn't you make a big
disk? Then you could have tested
your theory right away," stated
"For two good reasons," replied
Tom, opening a drawer and taking
out a small vial filled with yellow
powder. "I wasn't sure it would
improve a telescope for one thing,
and this is the other." He handed
the bottle to Ned. "This is all I
have on hand of the new stuff."
"This Is All I Have."
"'X,'" murmured Ned, reading
the label. "But this powder isn't
green. And why the X?"
"When the stuff is melted and
then cooled it changes color," explained
Tom. "As for the X, if you
remember your algebra you know
that letter stands for the unknown
"Too bad you can't make a huge
"This Powder Isn't Green!"
"Don't worry about that," smiled
his friend. "I'll soon have plenty
of the powder. You haven't forgotten
how the natives of Giant
Land feared the meteorite and insisted
that we take it away. It
seems, however, that we got but
a small piece of it. Evidently when
it struck the ground the thing split,
the heavier portion burying itself
deep in the earth while the part
we found remained near the surface.
"An Earthquake Caused the Upheaval."
"About six weeks ago Koku got a
letter from his brother, King Amo
of Giant Land, telling of an earthquake
which caused the upheaval
of the huge stone. His people think
we are great magicians or else
witch doctors, and Amo wrote begging
us to take the meteorite from
his land. Of course, I was only too
glad to oblige 'em."
"Then you plan going to South
"Bless my passport, but I'm glad
to hear that!" exclaimed a voice
from the open doorway. "It seems
as if I'm just in time!"
"Mr. Damon!" cried both boys
"Mr. Damon!" Cried Both Boys
A jolly-looking, rather portly
gentleman entered, swinging his
cane excitedly. Tom and Ned gave
him a warm welcome, for he was a
friend of long standing and had accompanied
them on many an expedition
to remote quarters of the
"Come in," invited Tom. "Sit
down, Mr. Damon, and tell us the
"And what was it you were so
tickled to hear just now?" added
"Come in and Tell us the News!"
"I'll tell you," said the rather
eccentric man, for once forgetting
to bless something. "I'm in trouble,
boys, and I need your help."
"You know we'll do anything we
can, Mr. Damon," Tom assured
him. "Just what is the difficulty?"
"My wife," said the caller glumly.
"She's the trouble."
"I'm in Trouble, Boys."
On hearing this both boys experienced
no little difficulty in
keeping their faces straight. Although
Mrs. Damon was a fine
woman in many ways, she was inclined
to be very domineering
where her husband was concerned.
Ever since Tom Swift had rescued
the man from a band of kidnapers,
Mrs. Damon had had a great liking
for the youthful scientist. Yet
she felt that her husband should
remain quietly at home with her
and not go off on any wild trips, as
the good lady called them.
"But I don't see—well, suppose
you explain," suggested Tom.
"Bless My Headache Pills!"
"My wife wants me to go on a
week-end house party with her
next Friday and I detest 'em. Bless
my headache pills, but it's enough
to drive a man distracted. Now,
I heard you boys talking about
South America as I came in and I
want to go along!"
"Well, Mr. Damon, if we were
going South you know I'd be only
too pleased to have you a member
of the party. But Ned and I were
merely talking about a shipment
of freight I'm expecting from
"Koku's country?" asked Mr.
Damon, somewhat astonished. "I
thought Ambolata was still unknown
to commerce. Bless my bill-of-lading,
if the world isn't moving
faster than I thought!"
Some Freight From Giant Land
Tom smiled. "I had to arrange
for an expedition through the consular
office at Buenos Aires to get
what I want. It seems we didn't
receive all of that strange meteorite
even with the help of your
Tom Smiled and Explained
Even Mr. Damon had to laugh
when he recalled the ludicrous situation
in which he had been placed
in the jungles of South America.
Surrounded by savages, he had absent-mindedly
taken off his wig,
thereby frightening the simple
natives half out of their wits. They
had thought he could scalp himself
at will. Nevertheless, this action
had saved the lives of Tom Swift
and his party, ultimately enabling
them to escape when the giants
turned against them.
They Thought He Could Scalp Himself
"Ah, those were the days, Tom,"
sighed the eccentric man, "those
were the days! Even if you're not
going off to the wilds, maybe you
might give me some kind of a job
here so that my wife can't drag
me off to that house party. I feel
it in my very bones that old Hiram
Leatherby will be there and he ALWAYS
singles me out to talk about
his fossil collection!"
"I can sympathize with you,"
muttered Ned. "Mr. Leatherby
used to be a director in the bank
where I worked before Tom made
me his business manager, and I've
often thought he was a bit fossilized
"I'll See What Can Be Done."
"Well, Mr. Damon, I'll see what
can be done," promised Tom.
"Good!" came an enthusiastic
exclamation. "Bless my cup of
tea, I'm counting on you!"
"In the meantime, why don't you
go up to the house and have our
housekeeper, Mrs. Baggert, make
you a cup of tea? Stop in the library
and see Dad. He's been
working too hard lately on his electrical
book and he needs company."
"Stop in and See Dad."
"I will, Tom. Your father is a
mighty fine man. Oh, my goodness!
Bless my poor memory,
Tom, but I had some news for you.
Good or bad I don't know, but I feel
uneasy about it."
"Tell us what it is," suggested
the young inventor.
"Two Men Called on Me."
"It's a rather odd thing. You
see, last evening I was reading my
paper on the porch when two men
called on me. Said they were long-lost
relatives—cousins, or something
of the sort—just back from a
stay in South Africa. They seemed
nice enough fellows, but bless
my family tree, I had never heard
of 'em! At any rate, they seemed
to know a good deal about the
Damon family and so I asked them
to dinner. What got me thinking
something might not be right was
the way those chaps tried to pump
me about you, Tom."
"Pump you?" asked young
Swift, a puzzled look on his face.
"Glass," said the eccentric character
promptly. "Some kind of
glass. Bless my windshield-wiper,
what was it? Oh, yes! Flexible
glass, that was it."
"They Tried to Pump Me."
Tom and Ned exchanged startled
glances. For many months experiments
directed toward the production
of a glass as bendable as rubber
had been going forward in the
Swift plant. Every possible precaution
had been taken to cloak the
work in deepest secrecy, yet somewhere
evidently a leak had developed
among Tom's employees.
Tom and Ned Exchanged Glances
"Are these men still at your
home, Mr. Damon?" asked Ned, a
worried look on his face.
"No, they left after dinner. Mr.
Brown said they had some important
business up state. Is this glass
business some new invention,
"I hope it will be. So far my experiments
haven't turned out successfully.
But I can't understand
how anyone outside our plant could
have known about them."
"They Left After Dinner."
Mr. Damon could tell little more
about his self-styled relatives. After
giving a description of the two
men he took his leave. The boys
were rather worried about the information
he had brought along.
"It's not so much the glass," said
Tom, "for we don't know if it will
be a success. What bothers me is
the idea of there being a traitor in
the shops. I thought we had weeded
out all unscrupulous employees."
He Described the Two Men
"The Apex Glass Works are located
in Portville," said Ned,
struck with an idea, "fifty miles
north of here. Mr. Damon's visitors
claimed to have business up
state. To my mind that's more
than a coincidence, especially since
the Apex people would give their
back teeth to get hold of your formula,
"That's More Than Coincidence."
"Oh, I think you're letting your
imagination run away with you,
Ned," grinned Tom. "I know Mr.
Stern, the president of Apex, very
well, and I'm positive that he
wouldn't stand for any underhanded
"I Know Mr. Stern," Grinned Tom
"I hope you're right," said his
business manager. "But you know
better than anyone else how unscrupulous
gangs have tried to
steal your inventions. At first it
was Happy Harry the tramp, and
the last was Doctor Bane. No telling
how many thugs were after you
and your father in between. You'd
be wise to get some extra guards."
"I think Koku is well able to
handle any intruder," declared
Tom confidently. "Besides, I think
you're getting excited over nothing.
You know Mr. Damon is inclined
to make mountains out of
"Koku Is Able to Handle Anyone."
"That's all very well," persisted
his friend stubbornly, "but just
suppose Mr. Damon is right in his
suspicions? It'd be too late then
to do anything about it."
"Don't worry, old man. My Chest
of Secrets will hold its contents secure
against any burglar's attack.
Now it's late. You'd better stay to
dinner. Afterward, if you care to
and have no other date, we can talk
over some unfinished business."
The Chest Would Guard the Secrets
"Thanks, Tom. I'll be glad to
spend the evening with you."
Locking up the laboratory, the
two boys walked leisurely through
the warm June twilight toward the
big white house. Low in the sky
hung the silvery crescent of the
new moon, while almost overhead
Mars glowed brightly.
"There's our goal, Ned," murmured
Tom, pointing to the red
planet. "I feel sure that our meteorite
came from that far-off
"There's Our Goal, Ned."
"Granting that it did come from
another planet," objected Ned, "I
don't get the reason why you're so
sure it came from Mars. There are
nine planets circling the sun, including
the earth. Ruling out the
sun, it seems to me that there is but
one chance in eight that you are
"Nine Planets Circle the Sun."
"If it were simply a matter of
chance, there'd be a lot of weight
behind your argument, Ned. But
a lot of other factors enter the
problem. I should say that the only
planets where life as we know it
might exist are Mars and Venus.
The latter I ruled out, for astronomers
have found that it is forever
covered thickly with dense clouds.
Thus the inhabitants, if any, must
be ignorant of any world but their
"What have people on the planets
got to do with the question,
anyhow?" asked Ned. "Huge
chunks of metal break off of any
heavenly body and go hurtling
through space. The inhabitants
don't throw them off!"
Chunks of Metal Rushing Through Space
"But our meteor was no ordinary
one as we have proved already,"
replied Tom. "I firmly believe that
someone on another planet deliberately
fired that missile into space,
hoping it would reach this world.
Since scientists agree that Mars
probably is inhabited by a highly
intelligent race, that planet is a
"Whew!" whistled Ned. "Such
ideas are beyond me."
"Someone on Another Planet Fired the Missile."
As he finished speaking, the boys
reached the Swift residence. The
young inventor's father had built
the handsome white house many
years before his son was born. Beyond
were the several buildings
where the inventions of Tom Swift
and his father, Barton Swift, were
Of recent years the latter had
not been active, but had put the affairs
in the hands of his capable
son Tom, ably assisted by Ned
Newton. The older man now spent
most of his time writing scientific
books and articles.
The Boys Reached the Swift Residence
The boys washed as quickly as
possible so as not to delay dinner,
for both possessed healthy appetites.
Joining Mr. Swift in the library,
they found him and Mr.
Damon deep in a game of chess.
"Check!" cried Tom's father triumphantly,
moving his king. "Got
you again, Damon!"
"Bless my pawns and castles!"
exclaimed the eccentric gentleman.
"You've won three straight
Mr. Swift, Tom's Father
"Hello, Dad!" said Tom suddenly.
"I see you're up to your old
tricks!" In spite of his bantering
tone the young inventor was pleased
that his father was relaxing in
a friendly game.
"Your father shouldn't be in the
amateur class any more, Tom!" Mr.
Damon grumbled playfully. "Bless
my trophy cup, but I'm afraid to
play with him!"
"Better luck next time," consoled
Mr. Swift, a twinkle in his eye.
Mr. Damon left, refusing an invitation
to dinner and saying that
he had to take his car to a garage
for a minor repair job before starting
for his home in Waterford, a
"Hello, Dad," Said Tom
"How goes it with you, son?"
asked Mr. Swift when Tom returned
from seeing his guest to the
door. "Your new space eye, as you
call it—is it working out?"
"I think so, Dad, but wait until
I get the big model built!"
Tom Saw Mr. Damon to the Door
"Genmens, dinnah am serbed!"
An old negro thrust his white-fringed head through the library
door. "An' it sho' am good!" Eradicate
Sampson, so-called for his
work in younger days of eradicating
dirt from the homes of Shopton,
had been attached to the Swift
household for many years and now
regarded himself as one of the
As they sat at table the conversation
of the three turned naturally
to Tom's latest invention. Mr.
Swift had not heard yet all Tom's
ideas of the proposed telescope and
was full of eager questions.
"Just how long do you think it
will take to make your big disk,
son?" asked Mr. Swift. "That is,
if you find any more of the new material."
"The meteorite is already on
board a north-bound freight
steamer," answered Tom, "and
ought to get here within the next
ten days. It'll require at least
three weeks to extract all the X and
cast it into shape. Taking everything
into consideration, I should
say it will be at least six weeks before
we can test the device. The
matter depends entirely on finding
a lot of X in the planet stone. But
I'm sure I shall."
"The Meteorite Is Northbound!"
After dinner the boys went over
to the main office of the Swift Construction
Company to clear up a
number of routine business matters
which required Tom's personal
attention. He had postponed them
for a while to give more time to his
The Boys Went to the Main Office
"Now, young fellow, I'm not letting
you get away until you've
looked over these papers!" declared
Ned, pretending to threaten his
chum with a yardstick. "I've been
after you for a week about 'em!"
Tom dodged and pretended to be
scared. "You're right, though,"
The two worked rapidly. Within
an hour the seemingly endless
stack of documents had shrunk to
a few letters and bills. Just as Ned
was reaching for one of them the
telephone rang in the outer office.
The Two Worked Rapidly
"I'll get it, Tom," his chum said.
"Sit still," replied the young inventor.
"I'll switch it to my private
"Tom Swift speaking," he said
into the mouthpiece a moment later.
"Oh, hello, Mrs. Damon.
What's that? But I don't understand.
No, there must be some
mistake!" A loud click sounded in
the receiver and Tom jerked the
instrument from his ear.
"What's wrong?" asked Ned,
noting his friend's serious face.
Tom Jerked the Instrument From His Ear
"Mr. Damon's been hurt in an
auto accident. For some reason his
wife is blaming it on me! Come,
we must get to the hospital at
"Mr. Damon's Been Hurt!"
A MURDEROUS ATTEMPT
"You drive, Tom," said Ned, for
they had come from the Swift
home in his car.
"O.K., and hang onto your hat!"
Tom Swift had once driven a fast
racing auto of his own design and
Ned knew his chum could get the
most out of his roadster. In a few
seconds the little car reached the
gate of the works, where the
watchman halted them.
"Hang on to Your Hat."
"Oh, an' 'tiz you agin, Misther
Swift," said Malligan. "Sure, an'
I wouldn't have stopped yez but me
orders is to inspect iveryone."
"You did right, Pat," commended
Tom, shifting gears. "Good-night."
The Shopton Hospital was located
a couple of miles from the Swift
plant. Under the young scientist's
guidance the roadster reached its
entrance within a few minutes. At
the information desk the boys were
informed where Mr. Damon had
They Reached the Hospital
"Room 302, Mr. Swift. Doctor
Chilton is with him now."
Just as the boys reached Room
302 the physician came out. Tom
was glad to note that the man was
"How is he, Doctor?"
"How Is He, Doctor?"
"Hello, boys. Mr. Damon will be
as good as new in a week or so.
Barring a sprained wrist his injuries
are trifling—a few bruises
and a slight cut. From the way
he's blessing everything in the
place no one would think he was
hurt in the least!"
"I'm relieved," said Tom. "May
we see him?"
"Go right in. He'll be glad to
have some company. But don't
stay too long."
"Bless my operating table, if it
isn't Tom and Ned!" exclaimed Mr.
Damon, seeing his visitors enter.
The eccentric gentleman was propped
up in bed by several pillows.
His left arm was in a sling and
around his head was a big bandage.
"You two got here almost as quickly
as I did. But I'm glad they
didn't have to carry you in!"
Mr. Damon Was Propped up in Bed
"Your wife phoned me the
news," explained Tom. "We're
mighty glad you weren't injured
badly. Tell us how it happened."
"It all occurred so suddenly that
I hardly know myself. But I know
one thing!" Mr. Damon seemed
very indignant. "The scoundrels
deliberately ran into my car!"
"The Scoundrels Ran into My Car!"
"Did you get their license number?"
inquired Ned Newton. "If
you did, I'll call the police!"
"No, I couldn't see it in the dark.
But I know the villains well
enough. They were my two so-called
relatives that I told you
about—Jones and Brown! It was
spite work for my refusal to tell
'em about your glass!"
Tom now saw the reason why
Mrs. Damon was blaming him for
"My Two So-Called Relatives."
"We'll notify the authorities and
also do a little detective work ourselves,"
he said. "We must leave
now because the doctor wants you
to get some rest."
"Come back again, boys. At any
rate, I've escaped that house
After reporting the accident at
the local police station, Tom and
Ned visited all the garages and repair
shops in the little town in an
attempt to learn if any damaged
machine had been brought in. They
met with no success, however.
They Visited All the Garages
"Guess their bus wasn't hurt
much," commented Ned as they left
the last place. "We might as well
give up for the night."
"The police will be on the job.
Unless the two men hid the car
somewhere it's sure to be found.
The teletype will flash the word all
through the state."
The following morning the Police
Chief telephoned Tom to tell
him that no trace of the mysterious
Jones and Brown could be discovered,
nor had any witness to the accident
The Police Chief Called Tom
Later Ned went to the hospital
where he found Mr. Damon much
improved and able to sit up in a
wheel chair. After a visit with him
he attended to some business at the
bank. On returning to the Swift
plant, he found Tom busy with his
green disk, which once more was
clamped to the little telescope.
"Mr. Damon is a lot better," Ned
reported, watching his friend's
work curiously. "When I left him
he was blessing his hat and coat, so
I suppose he's eager to get out of
Mr. Damon Was Much Improved
"That's great," said Tom. "I
knew he was getting along all
right. I was too busy to go with
you so I called Doctor Chilton. He
told me that the X-ray showed no
broken bones, but our friend must
remain under observation for a
few days more."
"You've changed the wiring on
the disk, haven't you?" asked Ned,
who knew a little about electricity.
"I Want to Try Alternating Current."
"I want to try alternating current
instead of direct and see if doing
so won't improve it. Dad suggested
that. What is it, Koku?"
"Boy bringum letter for Master.
Say must put name on book." The
man held out an envelope and pad.
"It's a radiogram. Sign for me,
Ned, will you?"
Tom ripped open the envelope
and glanced over the message.
"Bad news?" asked his chum,
seeing a changed expression on the
Tom Ripped Open the Envelope
"I should say so. Here, read it
yourself. We might just as well
forget the whole telescope idea,
that's how bad it is!"
Ned took the sheet, which Tom
had crumpled, spread it out on the
desk, and read as follows:
"Regret inform you was
compelled to jettison your
cargo last night in bad storm
to save ship. Approximate
location four miles due east
Port Baracoa, Cuba. Salvage
boat take position at
apex isosceles triangle 27.6
degrees with lighthouse and
summit hill a mile to the
"(Signed) A. Mawson,
Captain S.S. Perry.
"Was Compelled to Jettison Your Cargo."
"Say, Tom, that IS tough, having
your meteorite thrown overboard!"
exclaimed Ned, rereading
the message. "All your work wasted
and your marvelous invention
"Not yet!" broke in the young
scientist grimly as he grabbed the
telephone from his desk. "Hello,
operator, get me long distance,
Tom Grabbed the Telephone
"What are you going to do?"
asked Ned excitedly.
"Get divers," replied Tom as he
waited. "I'm going to recover that
meteorite or know the reason—Oh,
hello! Yes. I want the main office
of the Neptune Salvage Company
in New York City. No, I haven't
the address. Yes, I'll hold the line.
"These people are experts," he
told his chum while waiting for his
call to be put through. "If the stone
isn't in too deep water they'll be
able to raise it if anyone can."
"I'm Going to Recover the Meteorite."
"But how can they ever find it?
Seems to me it'll be like hunting for
the proverbial needle in a haystack,
only more so!"
"Not quite that bad. Captain
Mawson gives what seem to be
pretty complete directions. You
might try getting any further data
the man may have."
"Captain Mawson Gave Directions."
Unfortunately for Tom, as he
learned in the next two hours, the
Neptune Company and other salvage
concerns he called were very
busy and could not spare a barge of
the required size. Moreover, Ned
could get no more information,
when he finally contacted the
freighter, than her commander had
"Why doan yo' tak' yo' submarine
boat down dere, Massa
Tom?" asked Eradicate as he served
luncheon to the young inventor,
his father and Ned. "Ah 'members
we once got some treasure
off'n de bottom ob de sea dat way."
Eradicate Served Luncheon
"I did think of that, Rad,"
answered Tom a bit wearily, "but
my ship isn't big enough to raise
such a great weight."
"And so, son," said the elder
Swift, "if you can't get the use of a
large salvage craft you will have to
give up your project; is that right?"
"That's right, Dad, and I surely
hate to think of it. But I'm not going
to give up, even if I have to
bring men and equipment from the
"I'm Not Going to Give Up!"
"That'd be mighty expensive,"
objected Ned. In his capacity as
the Swifts' business manager, he
had earned the nickname "watchdog
of the treasury." "Why not
wait until some local firm can take
"Too risky. You see, ocean currents
or some submarine upheaval
might shift the big stone so great
a distance that we could never find
it. Don't forget that to the best of
our knowledge the meteorite is the
only source of X on earth."
"Ocean Currents Might Shift the Stone."
"Hmm," frowned Mr. Swift. "I
used to know an old fellow very
well who was in the diving business.
Met him when we built the
submarine 'Advance'—you boys remember
her—but I can't seem to
recall his name. Let me see—Ha!
I have it! Britten! That's it, John
Britten, the best salvage man on
"Maybe he's busy too," said Ned,
"as all the others seem to be."
"Maybe He's Busy, Too."
"I think not," replied the elderly
scientist, "because he's retired. Yet
I believe he'll undertake the job if
I ask him as I once did him a great
favor. His salvaging outfit is in
Florida, but he lives on Delaware
Bay. I'll phone him at once."
"That's great, Dad!" cried Tom,
his face lighting up with renewed
hope. "Tell him I'll bring him here
by plane tomorrow. We can talk
things over and start for Florida
"He'll go," said Mr. Swift a few
minutes later, turning away from
the telephone with a smile. "Said
he'll be tickled to get back in harness."
"He'll Go," Said Mr. Swift
"Thanks a million, Dad! You've
saved the day!"
The following morning the boys
hurried out to the Swift private
airport to oversee the fueling of
the huge plane Tom had decided to
take. At first he had thought of
making the trip in his small two-seated
racer, since it was the fastest
craft in the hangar. Realizing,
however, that Captain Britten
might want to bring along considerable
baggage, the young inventor
had told Ned he felt it best to go in
his flying boat.
They Fueled the Huge Plane
The "Winged Arrow," in which
Tom once had made a memorable
rescue flight to Iceland, was equipped
now with a retractable landing
gear as well as with pontoons, enabling
the craft to descend on
both land and water. Suddenly
Tom became very excited as he
looked at the hydroplane.
"Look, Ned!" he cried. "Can you
"Look, Ned," Tom Cried
Upon inspection, it was found
that three half-inch holes had been
drilled into each pontoon. It was
evident that only an enemy of Tom
or of the Swift Company could
have done such a thing.
"Ned, that proves it!" declared
the young inventor gloomily.
Three Holes in Each Pontoon
"Proves what?" Ned asked.
"Can't you see? It all ties in
with Mr. Damon's so-called relatives,
and their knowledge of my
formula for a bendable glass.
Someone in our shops is a traitor—or
"But what has a damaged hydroplane
to do with that?" objected
"If we had landed on water with
these damaged pontoons, we'd have
drowned most likely," replied Tom.
"That would have suited the villains
who want my formula, and no
one would have been the wiser as
to what caused the accident."
"We'd Have Been Drowned!"
"Admitting you're right, the
thing's a pretty serious mess," said
Ned. "But of course crooked people
will go to long lengths for
money, and if your formula is a
good one, it certainly will bring a
lot of money to someone or something."
"And that something is going to
be the Swift Company!" declared
"It's a Pretty Serious Mess."
"Since we can't take off in the
hydroplane today," said Ned, "let's
go back to the office. I suppose it'll
require some time to patch up
Tom immediately sent for one
of his skilled mechanics, a man
whom he knew to be trustworthy.
He set the fellow to work welding
patches over the holes. After cautioning
his employee to maintain
strict silence, he and Ned drove
He Welded Patches Over the Holes
"Don't say anything to Dad
about this," warned Tom as the two
left the field. "It would only worry
him and could do no good. You
and I must work out this mess by
After dinner that evening Tom
went to his private laboratory to
check the thermostat controlling
the temperature of the annealing
oven in which his batch of new
glass was being slowly cooled. Then
he spent some time at his desk over
certain intricate formulas. The
room was in semi-darkness, lighted
only by a shaded reading lamp.
Tom Checked the Thermostat
"Well, that's that," yawned the
young inventor at length, locking
up his desk. "Guess I'd better put
the valuable disk back in the vault
before I go home," he decided,
switching on the ceiling lights and
glancing toward the corner where
Koku had placed the telescope.
With a start he saw that his invention
His Invention Was Gone
Quickly examining the instrument,
he found that the green disk
had been jerked roughly from its
clamps by someone who evidently
had been in too great a hurry to
bother unscrewing the bolts which
had held it in place.
"Ho!" suddenly boomed a deep
voice. Tom became aware of a
commotion outside the laboratory.
"You no get 'way fum me! How
you like 'nother knock on top
"Don't hit me again!" whined
someone. "I won't try to escape!"
Tom flung open the door and saw
his giant servant dragging a man
up the steps. A feeling of tremendous
relief swept over young Swift
as he discovered his precious green
disk in Koku's left hand.
Koku Was Dragging a Man
"Ha, Master Tom! Catchum
bad mans tryin' to sneak through
gate! See green thing stick out of
pocket and grabbum—bringum
here. Want me hittum again?"
"Please don't let him hurt me,
Mr. Swift," snivelled the man. "He
hit me an awful blow back there."
"Want Me Hittum Again?"
"You had it coming to you," retorted
Tom sternly. "Besides,
you're not hurt very much. Koku,
bring him in here. You certainly
did a good piece of work when you
nabbed this fellow. Take him into
the office and we'll have a word or
two with him before I call the police."
"I ain't talkin'," muttered the
man, shifting uncomfortably and
looking rather uneasily at the
giant. "You ain't got nothin' on
me. I just found that chunk of
green glass in the field."
"You Ain't Got Nothin' on Me."
"Don't lie to me, unless you want
to be mussed up some more," said
Tom grimly, glancing at Koku. "I
think I'll just take a look through
your pockets. Perhaps you found
a few other little things when you
broke in here."
Under the menacing eye of the
giant, the man submitted sullenly
to the search. There was nothing
in his clothes to identify him. Apparently
he had stolen nothing else
from the laboratory. He refused
to answer any questions, however.
Tom gave up and summoned the
police by telephone.
Tom Searched the Man
"O Master, here other thing in
man's pocket!" exclaimed Koku,
after the thief had been carted
away to jail. "It stuck to round
green thing when I yank away
from um." He handed Tom a bit of
pasteboard from which the lower
third had been torn.
"It's a business card of the Apex
Glass Works with the representative's
name ripped off!" exclaimed
young Swift aloud. Then to himself
he added, "I wonder? Maybe
Ned was right after all and they
ARE after my formula for bendable
A Business Card
Tom immediately called the home
of Mr. Stern, head of the glass
works, to whom he related the occurrence.
The executive was
shocked and very indignant at the
thought of there being a criminal
among his employees and promised
to investigate thoroughly.
"I hope you don't think I had
anything to do with this, Mr.
Swift!" the man exclaimed.
The Executive Was Shocked
"Not in the least, sir. But if you
turn up any clues, I hope you'll let
"I most assuredly will. You may
count on my help."
An early hour next day found
Tom and Ned flying south over the
sandy coast of New Jersey. Every
inch of the "Winged Arrow" had
been thoroughly inspected, but no
other signs of damage had been discovered.
Even so, the young business
manager sat a bit uneasily in
his seat as he peered out anxiously
at the broad wings.
Tom and Ned Flew South
"Afraid they'll drop off, old
man?" grinned Tom. "Don't worry.
We X-rayed 'em and no struts
have been filed nor any time-bombs
"Huh, I was just looking at the
weather," grunted Ned indignantly.
He was secretly relieved, for
he had been pondering how easily a
charge of dynamite could have
been secreted aboard ship. "How
soon do you think we'll reach Delaware
Ned Was Uneasy
"Within the next twenty minutes,"
answered his chum, glancing
at the instrument board. "Mr.
Britten is to meet us at a dock near
Less than half an hour later the
pontoons of the "Winged Arrow"
were plowing through the waters
of Delaware Bay toward a near-by
pier. A wharf attendant caught
the line Ned threw him and the
ship was moored securely to a stout
As Tom and his companion
climbed up, a grizzled-looking old
man hailed them in a voice that
seemed well able to travel from
quarterdeck to fo'c'sle even in the
teeth of a hurricane.
The Plane Plowed Through the Waters
"Ahoy there!" he bellowed,
though scarcely twenty feet away.
"Are you young Swift and company?"
"Right you are. Captain Britten,
I take it?"
Vastly flattered by the title, the
red-faced old seaman warmly
shook hands with the boys. "Correct
ye are, me lad. Your good
father tells me you need a bit o' salvagin'
done an' I'm the man as'll do
Captain Britten, the Grizzled Old Man
"Good for you, Captain!" said
Tom. "That's exactly what my
father said. And now, have you
your equipment handy? If it's not
too heavy we can load it aboard the
plane right away. Oh, and I want
to introduce my good friend here,
"I Want to Introduce My Friend."
"Glad to meet ye, shipmate! As
for my salvagin' outfit, it's aboard
ship. We'll pick up my old barge,
the 'Elizabeth B.,' but I calls her
the 'Betsy B.,' at Key West, where
I keeps her anchored. She's in a
manner o' speakin' my winter
home." Captain Britten picked up
a huge, battered old suitcase. "If
your flyin' machine is ready, so am
The old man was obviously a
trifle eccentric, but both boys were
warmly attracted to him by his sincere
and friendly manner. Besides,
as Tom noted, there was a certain
air of competence about him, as if
he was well able to tackle and solve
the hardest of problems in his line.
Captain Britten Carried His Suitcase
"Let's go, then!" proposed Ned,
motioning to the attendant to cast
off and handing him a coin at the
Listening to a number of quaint
seafaring expressions from old
Captain Britten, who was starting
his first voyage into the upper air,
Tom sent the big craft roaring
above the smooth water toward
Tom Sent the Big Craft Roaring
"How do you like flying, Captain
Britten?" Ned asked. "Ever been
"Well, I guess it's all right,"
rumbled the salvaging expert, looking
down at the sea dubiously. "But
to tell you the truth, I'm more at
home ON the water than OVER
In a short time the nose of the
"Winged Arrow" turned inland as
Tom set his course direct for home.
When they were nearing Shopton,
the young inventor, intending to
come down on solid ground, grasped
the device which lowered the
landing wheels. It seemed to work
very stiffly, he thought, so he leaned
over farther to exert more
force. Suddenly there came a snapping
The Plane Turned Inland
"What's up, Tom?" called Ned,
hearing the noise and seeing his
chum fumbling with the now useless
"Landing gear out of commission.
But there's no need to worry
as we can descend on Lake Carlopa
easily with the pontoons."
"Landing Gear out of Commission."
"By George!" exclaimed Ned
Newton, banging his fist on the instrument
panel. "Ten to one this
is the work of the same scoundrel
who bored holes in the floats. If I
could get my hands on—"
"I hope you'll be in a condition
to do so," cut in Tom in an oddly
strained voice. "Take a look at the
"It—it says zero! But that's
impossible. We saw the tanks filled
"Look at the Fuel Gauge."
"Sure, and when we took off this
morning the gauge showed they
were still full. Someone tampered
with the pointer of the instrument
and all but drained the gas containers
when they wrecked the landing
gear. Just now you dislodged the
jammed needle when you struck
the instrument board with your
"Then we're in a pretty bad way,
eh, Tom?" asked Captain Britten
"We're in a Pretty Bad Way?"
"I'll say," replied young Swift
grimly. "We can't hope to reach
Carlopa and there is nothing beneath
us now but thick woodland.
No question about it. A crack-up
is the next thing on the program!"
As he finished speaking, the starboard
motor emitted a groaning
cough and stopped. The port engine
might run for another five
minutes or it might give out within
the next five seconds!
The Starboard Engine Stopped
Tom had headed the ship up at a
steep angle so as to get as much altitude
as possible before the other
motor should stop. But he knew
in his heart that he could not hope
to glide so heavy a plane as far as
Tom Headed the Ship Up
In some surprise Ned observed
that Captain Britten was fumbling
with the straps about his big, old-fashioned
valise. Young Newton
wondered what the elderly man
was looking for so intensely.
"Ahoy there, Tom Swift!" boomed
the old diver, straightening up
with a bottle in his hand. "I've got
a drop o' gasoline here that may
"I've Got a Drop of Gasoline."
"What's that?" gasped the pilot.
Turning, he saw the quart bottle.
Already the remaining engine was
dying of thirst. "Quick, Ned!" he
ordered, snatching the container.
"Take the controls and hold the
Five seconds later the inventor
was creeping out along one wing
toward the intake valve of the port
gas tank. Their hearts almost in
their mouths, his companions
watched his hazardous progress. In
spite of the clutching hand of the
wind and the quavering of the ship
under Ned's inexpert guidance,
Tom managed to reach his goal.
He Crept Along One Wing
Removing the cap with no little
difficulty, he dumped the precious
drops of gasoline into the tank. In
a few moments he got back to the
cabin. As he closed the door the
laboring engine once more resumed
its full-throated roar.
"Lad, you've got what it takes!"
rumbled Captain Britten, shaking
Tom's hand approvingly. "You're
a mighty brave young fellow!"
"You mean YOU had what it
takes," laughed the inventor, taking
over the controls preparatory
to landing on Carlopa. "Without
that extra bit of gas we'd be piled
up in a tree by now!"
He Emptied the Precious Drops
The quart of fuel was just sufficient
to carry the ship safely down
to the lake's surface at a point
about three miles from the town.
Fortunately one of Tom's friends
was sailing near-by in his cat-boat
and gladly offered to take the three
over to the Swift dock, which jutted
out from the grounds behind
It was mid-afternoon before the
"Winged Arrow" was towed across
to the dock and her tanks refilled
with high-test gasoline. While this
was being done, Tom and Ned went
to the home of Mr. Damon to ask
if he would like to accompany them
to the West Indies.
Tom Saw a Friend
The man was found to be sitting
in an easy chair on his front porch,
where he spent much time, now
that he was home from the hospital.
They Went to See Mr. Damon
"Bless my parachute, I'd like
nothing better than to make the
trip!" he said a trifle wistfully. "To
tell you the truth, though," his
voice sank to a whisper, "between
the doctors and Mrs. Damon I'll be
lucky if I'm allowed to walk around
the block alone for some time to
"Well, that's too bad, Mr. Damon.
We were counting on you."
"We Were Counting on You."
"Bless my fishing tackle, Tom,
I'm sorry too. But tell me! How did
Captain Britten happen to be carrying
a quart of gasoline in his
satchel?" asked the eccentric gentleman
after he had been told of
the airplane's narrow escape.
"I thought it strange myself,"
said Tom, "but he claimed he always
carries some with him to remove
grease spots from his
"Ha! He must be quite a character.
I suppose aboard a salvage
boat folks get their clothes pretty
dirty, at that."
After the boys returned home it
was decided that they and Mr. Britten
would set out for Florida the
next morning. In the meantime,
the elderly diver telegraphed his
caretaker to get the "Betsy B." in
order and arrange to hire a tug-boat.
They Planned to Start the Next Day
Late in the afternoon Tom called
his chum on the phone. "Can you
spare me a few minutes?" he asked.
"Think I'm going to have something
interesting to show you."
"Be right over," replied Ned.
"Where are you?"
"In the lab."
A few minutes later young Newton
had joined his friend. "What's
up?" he asked Tom as he entered.
"What's up?" Asked Ned
Tom had discovered that his
bendable glass mixture had cooled
to a critical temperature, making
it necessary to remove it from the
furnace at once lest it be ruined. In
a small secret chamber beneath his
private laboratory he had set up a
sort of miniature glass works
which would have astonished any
ordinary glass worker, for the
young inventor had devised an entirely
new method of procedure. As
to its outcome, well, even to its inventor
that feature remained in
A Miniature Glass Works
"Do you think it'll work, Tom?"
asked Ned Newton anxiously as he
followed the youthful scientist
down the stairs. "Your experiments
have cost a mint of money
"Don't croak," chuckled Tom.
"I've a few pennies left, haven't I?"
"You won't have so very many
after you finish with your new
telescope idea," declared Ned
grimly. "And THAT certainly won't
bring in any dividends."
Ned Followed Tom
"Nor is it intended to," said Tom
a bit sharply. "There is, you know,
such a thing as pursuing knowledge
for its own sake."
"I'm sorry. You ought to know,
though, that I'm thinking only of
your interests, not of mine," he said
as they reached the room below.
"Forgive me, old man!" Tom
clapped Ned warmly on the back.
"Don't feel for a minute that I
don't appreciate everything you've
done for me. To tell you the truth,
I'm as worried about this new glass
as you are. That's why I jumped
on you. Let's forget it!"
"Forgive Me, Old Man!"
The two were standing now before
the cylindrical furnace containing
the mixture of silicates and
other ingredients from which Tom
Swift hoped would emerge a glass
as flexible as rubber and as strong
as steel. The thermometer on the
front stood at twenty-one degrees
They Looked at the Thermometer
"She's just right," muttered the
inventor, consulting a complicated
chart hanging on the wall. "Now
The asbestos-coated door clanged
open. Tom drew out a shallow
tray, the contents of which were
buried in a black powder.
"Charcoal!" he explained, setting
the pan on a table. "It prevents
any rapid temperature
change. Even common glass must
be cooled slowly or it becomes as
brittle as peanut candy."
Tom Drew out a Shallow Tray
With the aid of a wooden rod
Tom pulled out a glass bar about
ten inches long and an inch thick.
After picking it up carefully he examined
it closely. In no way did
the object appear different from ordinary
"Well, here goes!" said the inventor
and forthwith bent the bar
into the shape of a horseshoe!
"Hurrah!" yelled Ned, clapping
his friend on the back. "You've
done it again, Tom Swift!"
He Bent the Glass
"Don't crow too soon. Perhaps
it won't bend back again. If a rod
of copper is annealed in a certain
way it can be bent ONCE like rubber
but then the crystal breaks up
and it becomes as rigid as ever.
Maybe this glass will act the same
"Then try it! Don't keep me in
Perhaps Tom had been tantalizing
his business manager, or maybe
he really was doubtful about the
flexibility of the bar. At any rate,
when he applied pressure he did
not seem surprised when the glass
became straight again. Then he
proceeded actually to tie a knot in
it, so bendable was the new substance!
The Glass Became Straight Again
"This will revolutionize the glass
industry!" declared Ned, noting
that even the blows of a heavy
sledge-hammer failed even so much
as to crack the rod.
"It's not half as wonderful as
that other kind of glass," said Tom,
"Your glass eye, d'you mean?"
chuckled Ned in high good humor.
In his mind he could already see fat
profits for the company.
A Heavy Hammer Did Not Crack It
"I'll give you a pair of black eyes
if you make another bad joke!"
laughed Tom, giving his chum a
playful push. "But seriously, I'm
mighty well pleased with this
stuff; it turned out better than I
dared hope. You know, I got the
idea for bendable glass while I was
trying to figure out a way to make
a huge telescope mirror. That was
before we found the meteorite."
"And I suppose you'll go back to
the glass mirror if you can't find
the big stone so you can make the
large green disk."
"I'm Well Pleased With This."
"Yes, that's what I'll have to do
if the salvage attempt fails. But
I'm sure we'll succeed."
Captain Britten had been given
a room at the Swift home. When
the boys got there they found their
guest and Tom's father deep in a
game of chess.
The Two Men Were Playing Chess
"Well, son," laughed Mr. Swift,
"I've met my match at last. John
Britten has beaten me three
straight games! But don't tell
Damon about it!"
"I won't, Dad," grinned Tom.
"What do you think of this?" He
handed his father the bar of bendable
"What do I think of it? Why, it
looks like a glass rod, that's all I
"Then watch!" Tom took the bar
and deftly twisted it into the shape
of a fat pretzel.
"You've done it, son!" cried Mr.
Swift. "And to think I told you
such a thing was impossible! Congratulations!"
"What Do You Think of This?"
At dinner that evening the conversation
turned mainly to the projected
flight to the West Indies. It
was decided to start the next day
at sunrise, as Captain Britten had
received word from Florida that
his barge had been made ready. A
tug was getting up steam to haul
it to the Cuban coast.
"Congratulations!" Cried Mr. Swift
"Mr. Damon can't go with us,
Dad," said Tom. "His wife won't
let him! By the way," he added
with a laugh, "she was looking up
the names of all his relatives—Mr.
Damon said she was glad of the excuse
to do so!—but she could find
none named Jones or Brown. So
that definitely proves those two fellows
were fakes and that they
merely pretended relationship in
order to pump him about my
After supper Ned went to his
home to pack a suitcase, for he was
to spend the night at the Swifts'
to be on hand for the early start
that was being planned. Tom spent
the evening in his office studying
the latest available data on diving
operations, and plotting the route
over which the party would travel
to the coast of Cuba.
Ned Packed His Suitcase
Immersed in his work, he at first
paid but little attention to a peculiar
odor that gradually was pervading
Suddenly he realized that something
was wrong; a strange buzzing
filled his ears and the lights
seemed to be growing dim. He
started to get up, but instead fell
across his desk.
Something Was Wrong
As Tom lay there motionless, a
window opened noiselessly. Stealthily
a masked figure climbed in. After
a hasty glance around the room,
the intruder hastened to the desk
and leaned over the unconscious
A Masked Figure Entered
DEEP SEA DIVING
Swiftly the masked man took a
bunch of keys from Tom's pocket.
With a directness that indicated
familiarity with the place, he went
straight to the rug covering the
entrance to the secret vault.
Throwing this aside, he unlocked
the trap door and quietly raised it.
The combination lock, which gave
warning if tampered with, had not
been set for the night.
He Unlocked the Trap Door
Now the intruder very carefully
draped the rug over the door in
such a way that it would spread itself
as before when the trap should
be closed from below. Two minutes
later Tom was alone in the
office, which appeared exactly as it
had before he was rendered unconscious.
Yet there crouched in the
vault a hidden spy whose purpose
was as sinister as his appearance.
He Draped the Rug Over the Door
"Mist' Swift, Massa Tom ain'
come back fum de office yit," announced
Rad Sampson as he placed
the elderly inventor's nightly glass
of hot milk on the library table. "I
wuz jest up t' his room to ax him
suffin' an' he wuzn't dar."
"Well, I guess the boy is working
a bit late tonight. But you
sound a trifle anxious, Eradicate.
Do you think anything is wrong?"
"Uh—Oh, no suh. No suh,"
mumbled the old Negro. "I jest
wondered ef yo'd seen him. Good
night, suh! Good night!"
"Massa Tom Ain' Back Fum de Office."
"Good night, Rad."
"Mustn't worry ole Mist' Swift,"
the servant muttered to himself as
he shuffled back to the kitchen.
"But Massa Tom tole me hisself he
gwine t' baid early 'cause he gotta
git up befo' sunrise.
"Look hyah, Koku," he went on
when he got to the kitchen. "Quit
stuffin' dat 'ar pie an' go out an' see
ef Massa Tom all right. He ought
t' have bin in de house long sence.
I'se skeered mebbe some villains
mought've cotched him!"
"See Ef Massa Tom All Right."
"Whoo!" growled the giant,
jumping up so quickly that his big,
specially-built chair crashed over.
"Where um war-club? Me fixum!"
"Doan make sich a racket, yo'
big lummox! Yo' want to skeer ol'
Mist' Swift? Heah, take mah rollin'-pin."
Clutching the rolling pin as a
"war-club," Koku started through
the darkness toward Tom's private
laboratory. Following him at a
discreet distance came old Rad
Sampson, who had armed himself
with a big butcher knife.
"Dar's a light in de office, big
boy," whispered the Negro. "Be
The giant merely grunted, crept
up to the window and peered within.
His great height enabled him
to do so easily. "Come," he said
finally, turning toward the door.
"We go in."
"Whut de matter?" demanded
Eradicate, struggling to keep up
with his companion. "Am suffin'
wrong? Mah goodness!" he cried
a moment later in the office. "Po'
Massa Tom done been killed! Look
at him a-layin' dere!"
The Giant Peered in the Window
"Him no dead!" rumbled Koku,
leaning over his master. "Him
heart still beatum. Him need fresh
air." Gently he picked Tom up and
carried him outside.
"I'll git a doctah!" exclaimed the
old colored man. "Dey's a phone
"Him No Dead!" Rumbled Koku
Before the physician could be
reached, the beneficial effects of the
cool night air had brought the
young inventor back to consciousness.
At first he could not recall
what had happened and was not a
little astonished to find himself lying
on the grass.
"What in the world is the matter,
Koku?" he demanded, pressing his
hand to his aching head. "What
am I doing out here?"
"Master out, get knockum," said
the giant. "We find you on desk.
Rad callum medicine man now."
"What Am I Doing Here?"
"A doctor? No, I'm all right.
Tell him to cancel the call." Tom
managed to struggle to his feet. "I
remember now! Some kind of
gas must have been used on me.
But I must see to the office. Maybe
I've been robbed."
Leaning heavily on the giant's
arm, Tom walked as fast as he
could into the laboratory. At first
glance everything seemed to be in
order, and to his relief he found the
vault was locked.
The Vault Was Locked
The young inventor did not know
that a key was missing from his
ring, nor, as he twirled the dial of
the combination-lock, did he realize
that a slender lever had been
severed from below, thus rendering
useless the intricate mechanism.
"Who done dis to you', Massa
Tom?" asked Rad.
"Wish I knew. Anyhow, there's
been no damage done except to me!
My head's splitting, so I must get
to bed. Koku, stay on guard here
from now on until I return from
Cuba. And get several of the men
to relieve you. Another thing: I
don't want either of you to mention
this affair to anyone. Dad
would hear about it and worry."
"Koku, Stay on Guard Here."
"If I catchum fella I breakum in
little bits!" cried Koku fiercely. He
shook the rolling-pin vigorously.
"Better him stay 'way fum me!"
Tom awoke the next morning
little the worse for his experience.
Thanks to a rugged constitution,
he had been able to throw off the ill
effects of the poisonous fumes
which had overcome him.
"Better Him Stay 'Way Fum Me!"
"I can't make it out, Ned," he
said as the boys stood watching the
mechanics warm up the engines of
the big seaplane. "Nothing is missing.
Whoever did the job didn't
even rob me, and I had a good deal
of cash in my wallet."
"Maybe nobody made an attempt
on you or your property at all,
Tom," Ned remarked slowly.
"What d'you mean? I certainly
was knocked out!"
"Oh, I know that. But couldn't
some sort of gas have seeped into
your office from your adjoining
laboratory? A bottle of acid might
have cracked, or—"
The Mechanics Warmed up the Engines
"Nothing like that happened.
I'm positive, because the same
thought struck me. I made a careful
inspection this morning. Everything
was in perfect order."
"It certainly is strange," said
Ned. "It looks as if some enemy is
camping on your trail, Tom!"
"He'll have a hard time picking
up that same trail in a few minutes,"
chuckled the inventor. "Here
come Captain Britten and Dad. I
guess we can take off soon."
"A Bottle of Acid Might Have Cracked."
"So your sea-goin' air-yacht is
ready to cast off, is she?" asked
the old diver. "Well, when ye haul
in the gangplank, so to speak, I'll
"Take care of yourself, son,"
said Barton Swift, shaking Tom's
hand. "I hope you will be successful
in your attempt."
"Good-bye, Dad. And thanks."
"Doan git et up by no sharks or
allygators!" cautioned Rad.
"Take Care of Yourself, Son."
The mechanics had finished their
work and were seen climbing down
from the fuselage. The passengers
took their places in the roomy
cabin while Tom seated himself
behind the controls.
After running a critical eye over
the score of instruments he reached
for the throttle and clutched
the wheel tighter. The intermittent
coughing of the powerful
motors changed to a deafening
roar, and the huge ship lumbered
off down the long field, gathering
speed every second.
Tom Sat Behind the Controls
"We're off!" cried Ned, waving
at the already distant figures left
"And we'll bring home the
meteorite!" muttered Tom to himself
as the "Winged Arrow" glided
smoothly toward the clouds lining
the southern horizon. "For I'm
going to make the most wonderful
telescope the world has ever
"We're off!" Cried Ned
TRAPPED BY A SEA MONSTER
"This is travelin' in style, all
right," approvingly remarked Captain
Britten, looking about the
comfortably appointed cabin and
sniffing the appetizing odor of
lamb chops on the electric grill.
When necessary, Ned Newton
could cook an impromptu meal.
He really was rather proud of his
Ned Cooked Some Lamb Chops
As the amateur chef placed the
meal on a small, collapsible table,
Tom announced that they were
now flying over the state of Georgia.
"We should reach Key West
about three P.M.," he said.
The ship droned steadily onward.
At two o'clock in the afternoon
they were passing near a
large city. "Miami," declared Ned,
who had been poring over a chart.
"Airplanes go to many parts of
South America from there."
"Miami," Declared Ned
Tom sent the "Winged Arrow"
lower and lower. Finally he leveled
off at an altitude of about five hundred
feet above the blue sea. Here
the full force of the fierce subtropical
sun began to make itself
The travelers, fresh from the
comparatively cool northern summer,
made haste to open all the air
vents in the plane. Then they
changed into white linen suits.
They Changed into Linen Suits
"Whew!" exclaimed Tom, mopping
his brow. "I've traveled in the
jungles of Africa but have never
"Ah, it's the ship, my boy. You
see, the dark metal hull fairly
soaks up the sun, an' that's why
we're a bit uncomfortable," said
Captain Britten. "Once we land,
you'll think the climate fine!"
Shortly afterward they flew over
a grim-looking American battleship.
It greeted them with a hoarse
blast of her whistle as the flying
boat shot by at the rate of two hundred
miles an hour. On either side
tiny islands, or cays, appeared,
then vanished as if by magic. Finally
a blue blur straight ahead began
to loom even larger, and in a
few minutes the "Winged Arrow"
landed in the harbor of Key West.
They Flew Over a Battleship
"Half-past three," said Tom,
glancing at the clock on the instrument
panel. "A slow passage."
"Fast as I'd want to make it,"
declared Captain Britten. "A
steamer'd have taken a good many
hours where we needed only minutes.
There's the old 'Betsy B.'
tied to her pier, so let's get over
In the Harbor at Key West
The idling engines were speeded
up and the flying boat moved slowly
across the harbor. A tug with
smoke curling from her single
thick funnel lay near the broad-beamed
A Tug Lay Near the Barge
Over the stern of the latter several
grinning Negroes leaned.
Their ancestors might have been
stricken dumb at sight of the great
sky craft tying up to their ship,
but these darkies were familiar
with daily passage of planes bound
for South America and showed but
little astonishment. In a liquid
Spanish-English patois they bade
the whites welcome. All of them
were old retainers of Captain
As the elderly man had said, the
old barge had served as winter
quarters for him during the past
years. In consequence, he had had
her little cabins fitted up more
luxuriously than is customary on
such vessels. Tom and Ned were
given one far more comfortable
than they had expected.
The Cabins Were Comfortable
The rest of the afternoon was
taken up with inspection of the
ship, the arrangements for the
safe-keeping of the "Winged Arrow,"
and the laying of plans. Immediately
after the hydroplane
had been moored to a small pier
owned by Captain Britten, the tug-boat
chugged out into the Gulf of
Mexico at the rate of ten knots.
The Tug Chugged out into the Gulf
"I'd say we should reach the spot
some time tomorrow afternoon,"
said Tom after studying the chart.
"It's just under two hundred
"And we'll get your meteorite
for you!" predicted the old salvage
man confidently. "Lucky the captain
of that freighter 'Perry' took
a bearing on the lighthouse at Port
Baracoa; otherwise it would be
like lookin' for a boll weevil in a
bale o' cotton!"
Tom Studied the Charts
Ruiz, the coal-black cook, served
a good supper at sundown. Shortly
afterward the boys went to their
bunks, for both were tired after
the long flight. Then too, Tom was
still feeling the effects of the gas
inhaled the previous night.
Next morning found the "Betsy
B." wallowing through a smooth
sea a few miles off the east coast
of Cuba. Under the supervision
of Captain Britten, several of the
crew were busy oiling the huge
winch, overhauling steel cables,
and seeing to a dozen other minor
but important details. Altogether,
it was a busy scene that met the
eyes of Tom and Ned when they
emerged on deck.
The Crew Was Busy
"Your father was right, I think,"
said Ned. "You certainly have a
competent man. See how the crew
jump at his word!"
"I agree," said Tom with satisfaction.
"But me for breakfast!
This sea air surely gives a fellow
a good appetite."
A head wind coupled with a rising
sea combined to hold back the
tug and her rather clumsy tow as
the day waned. Occasional heavy
rain squalls made the deck of the
barge a rather uncomfortable
place, so the boys stayed in the
main cabin and discussed plans.
Head Winds Held Back the Tug
"I think the rainy season must
be at its height," groaned Ned at
last as he and Tom sat sweltering.
"Maybe we'll be cooped up here for
the whole voyage."
Rain Kept the Boys in Their Cabins
"Not me," declared the young
inventor with a laugh. "Since
when have you grown afraid of a
little rain? By afternoon we ought
to be near the spot where Captain
Mawson jettisoned the meteorite
and then we'll begin to get busy,
weather or no weather!"
"I hope the thing will be worth
all our trouble," said Ned a bit
crossly. "Perhaps we won't even
be able to find it. What then?"
"You're just suffering from a
touch of 'mal de mer'!" teased
Tom, refusing to consider his
chum's gloomy remarks.
"I'm not a bit seasick!" protested
Ned indignantly. "I just think
we're on a wild goose chase, that's
"I'm Not Seasick," Protested Ned
"Wait and see."
Evening drew nigh, and the sudden
tropical night fell. On the
Cuban coast lights went on, dominated
by the intermittent glare of
a powerful beacon many miles
"Baracoa Light," announced
Captain Britten, seeing this. "We
will lay off-shore till morning and
begin our work tomorrow."
The Captain Pointed to the Beacon
It spoke well for Tom Swift's
nerves that he slept soundly, despite
his great interest in the morrow's
activities. During the night
the sea abated and the rain ceased.
Dawn broke with a brilliance to be
seen only in tropical lands.
In order to reach the spot in the
sea beneath which the meteorite
lay, it was necessary to get the
barge into a position corresponding
to the apex of an isosceles triangle
in relation to the lighthouse
tower and the peak of a small hill
Tom Made Some Observations
Captain Britten and Tom, sextants
in hand, made repeated observations.
Ned stood by the telephone
connecting the tug and her
tow, transmitting to the former's
captain the navigation directions.
Finally the barge was supposed to
be exactly where the freighter had
thrown overboard the big stone.
"We may have to look around a
little, though," remarked Tom as
Captain Britten ordered the tug
halted and anchors lowered. "In
the big storm Captain Mawson
might have made a mistake in his
The Chart Showed the Depth of the Water
The water was about three hundred
feet deep here, the Hydrographic
Office charts showed.
When Ned learned this, he looked
"The record depth attained by
a diver is only 204 feet!" he exclaimed.
"At least, that's what I
read in an encyclopedia."
"Guess you're referring to James
Hooper, who reached that depth
off the South American coast some
years ago," smiled Tom Swift.
"But since then diving-dress has
undergone considerable improvement,
eh, Captain Britten?"
A Boom Was Swung Overside
"That's right. I have on board
several of the newest type suits.
Besides, I use native divers, men
who, even without protection, can
descend to almost unbelievable
Quickly a boom was swung out
overside. From it hung several
pulleys to which was attached a
narrow steel platform. Presently
three tall Negroes carried out of
the storeroom grotesque-looking
diving suits which weighed over
two hundred and fifty pounds
He Shuffled Across the Deck
Captain Britten spoke in Spanish
to one of them, then the fellow
began putting on the weird uniform.
It made him look like a
visitor from another world. The
tremendous weight of his garb
prevented him from moving at
more than a slow shuffle across the
deck, strong though he was.
A Trail of Bubbles
A section of the railing had been
removed to allow access to the
dangling metal platform upon
which the diver stepped. The boom
swung out and the drum of the
winch began unrolling. In a few
seconds only a trail of vanishing
bubbles marked the spot where the
Negro had gone into the sea.
"How long will it take him to
reach bottom?" asked Ned, peering
overside in fascination.
"About forty minutes," replied
Captain Britten. "A diver must be
lowered and raised gradually in
order to avoid the terrible after-effects
of a sudden change in pressure.
At three hundred feet the
pressure is more than eighteen
thousand pounds per square foot!"
Tom Held His Watch to His Ear
Time dragged on. Down, down
rolled the heavy cable supporting
the diver. Finally Tom held his
watch to his ear, as though he
were afraid it might have stopped.
"Oh, it's still running," laughed
Ned a little nervously as he observed
his chum's action. "Only
five more minutes, Tom!"
He Reported a Good Sandy Bottom
At last a bell tinkled and Captain
Britten grabbed up the telephone
instrument which connected barge
and diver. For a few seconds he
listened, then replied briefly in
"Alvarez is down," he said to
Tom as he hung up the receiver.
"He reports a good, sandy bottom
but no sight yet of the meteorite.
At any rate, there's no danger of
it having sunk in an oozy bottom."
Ten minutes later the phone
buzzed again, this time with a request
that the ship be moved a little
east and that Manuel, Alvarez's
mate, be sent down to help. This
was done, and another telephone
instrument was plugged in.
Manuel Was to Go Down
Tom, who understood a little
Spanish, stood by to hear the report
of the second diver. Both lines
were now kept open continuously.
Finally Manuel reached bottom,
saying that he had contacted Alvarez.
For some minutes nothing
came through either telephone but
the sound of the submerged men's
Something Has Gone Wrong!
"I see something, Señor! A rock—'que
grande'!" came to Tom's ears
suddenly. "It must indeed be that
which the Señor seeks. But, Santa
Maria! there is something else—!"
Manuel's voice broke off suddenly.
"Captain Britten! Can you hear
your man?" shouted Tom after his
repeated attempts to renew, the
connection had failed.
"No! I can hear only a muffled
groaning. Something has gone
wrong. That's sure!"
"Stop, Señor!" Screamed the Engineer
"Pull 'em up quick, then!" advised
This seemed good advice, so the
auxiliary engine was started and
the winches began turning slowly.
"Stop, Señor!" suddenly screamed
the native engineer, waving his
arms excitedly and cutting off the
steam. "The drums turn—si—but
the cables do not rise. Something
has caught the men!"
Loose the Winches
"Loose the winches a little!" ordered Captain Britten sharply.
"The air-hoses are strained almost to the breaking point."
"Si," mumbled the engineer, easing off the brake a trifle.
"What's the trouble, in your opinion, Captain?" asked Tom.
The Engineer Eased the Brake
"Hard to say, young fellow,"
came the worried reply. "What
I'm afraid of is that a huge octopus
or some such monster has attacked
the poor divers. Whatever it is, I
fear it's the end for 'em, as there's
not another diver aboard and we
can't haul the men up for fear of
breakin' their air-lines."
"Have you another diving suit?"
asked Tom rapidly. "I've had considerable
experience in undersea
work and can't let those boys
drown without trying to help 'em!"
"I'm Afraid It Is an Octopus!"
"Can you do it, lad? Yes, I've
a brand-new outfit aboard that's
of the latest type. But what'll I
say to your father if anything happens
"Dad wouldn't want me to stand
back at a time like this," rejoined
the young inventor. "I sent these
men down and it's up to me to see
they get back safely!"
"But, Tom!" cried Ned. "What
of the octopus? You may be trapped
too, and not save Manuel and
"It's up to Me!"
"You forget, or maybe you didn't
know, that I brought my electric
rifle with me. That'll polish off
any devil-fish I'm likely to meet!"
"Well, at least let me go too!"
"Isn't but one suit," said Captain
Britten. "Now, Tom Swift, if
you're ready, here's the suit."
"All set," said the young inventor
calmly. He began to remove his
outer clothing. "Ned, please bring
up my rifle."
By the time the young scientist
had been helped into the massively
armored suit, Ned was back on
deck carrying a peculiar-looking
gun. Unlike other weapons, this
one could discharge a bolt of electricity
which would slay the largest
animal or merely tickle a baby,
according to the adjustment. Tom
set it to its highest power.
They Helped Tom into the Suit
"Good luck!" cried Ned as the
heavy helmet was lowered into
Tom attempted to wave in reply
but the gear was too weighty. Later,
when he got into the depths, the
buoyant effect of the water would
enable him to move more freely.
Ned Carried a Peculiar Gun
Clutching his gun in his armored
hand, Tom crept slowly on to the
platform suspended over the sea.
As it was lowered to the water he
got a last glimpse of Ned Newton's
face staring down at him.
The young business manager
paced the deck of the barge, at
every step reproaching himself for
allowing his chum to undertake so
hazardous a venture. As his watch
told him that Tom must be nearing
the bottom he seated himself by the
switchboard, headphones clamped
over his ears.
Tom Crept Slowly to the Platform
"Ground floor," announced Tom
at last. "Pretty dark down here.
I'll switch on my flash. Now—by
Ned heard a muffled silence.
"Tom! Tom!" he shouted frantically.
"What's happened? Are
you all right?"
For nearly ten minutes Ned
crouched by the instrument trying
to get in touch with his friend.
Just as he was giving up hope he
heard a weak voice gasp:
"Ground Floor," Announced Tom
"Not so loud, old man! You've
nearly broken my ear-drums.
Everything's under control!"
"Hurray!" shouted Ned. "He's
found 'em, Captain Britten!"
"Easy!" protested Tom from the
depths. "Don't shout like that so
near the phone! Yes, the men are
O.K. A big fish had 'em—don't
know what it was, as I never heard
of anything like it. But a couple of
shots from the rifle killed it."
"A Big Fish Had 'Em!"
"Tell Captain Britten to send
down some heavy chains. We've
found the meteorite!"
The now jubilant crew, who had
feared their companions lost, scurried
about. In a few minutes the
stout chain was snaking its way
down through the blue-green
"Seems to me they're taking a
mighty long time about it," said
Ned to Captain Britten after an
hour had passed with no word from
the three divers.
A Chain Snaked Its Way Down
"You're right," agreed the other.
"Working at that depth it's decidedly
unsafe to stay below so long.
I'll warn Tom."
"Can't be done!" was that young
man's decisive answer to the old
salvage expert's warning. "This is
a tougher job than I thought, for
the bottom of the stone seems to be
sinking slowly. If we can't finish
our job now I'm afraid we'll lose
our prize. But don't worry. We
ought to be through in another
"This Is a Tough Job."
The twenty minutes passed, and
another like period was nearly run
through before Tom announced
himself and the other two ready to
come to the surface.
To avoid the dreaded "bends," an
affliction suffered by divers drawn
to the surface too rapidly, they
made their ascent as slowly as their
descent. Thus it was that the great
meteorite reached the top long before
Tom and the two natives did.
They Made Their Ascent Slowly
"What in the name o' tarnation
did he want with that?" demanded
Captain Britten as the giant stone
was lowered cautiously to the deck.
Weighing many tons, it had tilted
the barge far over to one side as
the powerful derrick drew it up.
"It looks like some old rock a man
might pick up 'most any place."
"Oh, Tom Swift usually has a
good reason for everything he
does," smiled Ned noncommittally.
"I'm no scientist, but he is, so perhaps
he wants to experiment with
this stone from another planet."
The Powerful Derrick Drew It Up
At last the three divers reached
the surface and were hauled rapidly
up to the deck of the barge. All
of them appeared exhausted, but
Tom's eyes expressed the greatest
satisfaction when he saw the meteorite
At his request the tug was put
under way and the "Betsy B."
started back to her home port in
Key West. During the trip Tom
managed to cut from the meteorite
a fifty-pound chunk.
Tom Cut off a Large Chunk
"I'm very eager to see if this
stone contains more X," he explained
to Ned, "so I'm planning to fly
straight home with this sample to
analyze it. I want you to put the
rest of the meteorite on a fast
freight train and travel north with
The sun was setting when the
dock at Key West was reached.
Tom waited no longer than was
necessary to take on a supply of
gasoline for the "Winged Arrow."
He paid Captain Britten a generous
fee and added a bonus for the
divers who had helped him. Then
with a hasty good-bye the excited
young inventor roared off in the
gathering darkness toward his
He Paid Captain Britten
After an uneventful flight he
reached Shopton at about half-past
one the following morning. The
wheels of the plane had barely
stopped turning when the tall figure
of Koku came rushing out of
the shadows of the hangar to greet
Koku Came Rushing Out
"You're right on the job!" exclaimed
Tom, climbing stiffly from
the cabin. "How is everything?"
"All thing good!" declared the
giant, grinning to see the young
inventor back. "Catchum skystone?"
"We caught it, all right. You
might tote this sample of it over to
the lab." Tom handed his servant
the segment he had chiseled from
the main mass.
"Master knows 'bout secret cave
under lab'tory?" questioned the
giant as the two walked across the
field in the moonlight.
"Tote This Sample to the Lab."
"Cave? Oh, you mean the
vault?" asked Tom, who had been
thinking of other matters.
"Night you go 'way in sky-bird,
Koku watch. Koku hear bell go
Suddenly Tom was paying strict
"Great Scott! D'you mean to
say someone broke into my Chest
of Secrets? Tell me about it
Tom Paid Strict Attention
"Me tell!" said Koku. "Hear
bell, know bad mans hide in cave.
I creep up an' watch!" His dramatic
pause might have seemed
funny at any other time but Tom
was badly worried.
Tom Swift Was Worried
"Hurry up!" commanded the
young inventor sharply, grabbing
the giant's arm. "What happened?"
"Nothing happen US," answered
Koku. "Plenty happen HIM! I
catchum fella, crawl up fum cave,
knockum out, callum policemans."
"Good boy! You rate a new suit
for that. You can tell the tailor to
make it as loud as you like!"
Nothing could have pleased the
simple giant more, for he loved to
dress up in gaudy clothes, a trait
left over from his savage life before
the young inventor had
brought him to America.
"I Catchum Fella!"
Too excited to sleep, Tom Swift
went straight to his office and called
the police station. The desk
sergeant verified what Koku had
said and asked the young scientist
to come down and prefer charges.
As he was about to leave he saw
on top of his accumulated mail a
letter from the Apex Glass Works.
It was from Mr. Stern. The man
advised Tom that he suspected two
discharged workmen as the pair
who had attempted to rob him.
Photographs were enclosed.
Photographs Were Enclosed
"That he, Master!" suddenly
boomed Koku, who had been gazing
at the photos. "That man steal
green glass thing I ketch back!"
"By Jove, I believe you're
right!" declared Tom. "This picture
most certainly resembles the
fellow you dragged in here. Come
on, you and I will go over to the
jail and check up."
Late as the hour was, the two
took out a car and hastened over
to the county prison. No sooner
had the sleepy officer on duty conducted
them back to the prisoner's
cell than Tom immediately recognized
the man as the one Koku had
captured with the green disk.
They Drove to the County Prison
Eager to get off as lightly as possible,
the fellow, who had been a
confidential clerk in the main
offices of the glass works, made a
"It was Hammer who got me into
this, Mr. Swift," whined Anton.
"He overheard Mr. Stern talking
about your experiments with bendable
glass. He said you'd surely
succeed and that the invention
would be worth a fortune. So we
decided to steal your formula. I've
got a sick wife, Mr. Swift—"
Hammer Overheard Mr. Stern
"A pack of lies!" roughly interrupted
the policeman. "He's a
single man, Mr. Swift, and has a
police record to boot!"
"Well, hold him. And I hope you
will catch his confederate."
"Don't worry. The boys'll bring
"He Has a Police Record."
Although the hour was late, Tom
decided to return to the laboratory
and inspect the vault. There had
been a certain sly expression in
Anton's eyes which had vaguely
disturbed the inventor. It was as
if the man were holding something
back and grinning over it.
In a few minutes Tom's feeling
was proven correct, for the formula
dealing with the flexible glass
was gone! Koku, when questioned,
admitted that he had seen some
papers drop from Anton's pocket
when he had seized him just outside
the laboratory, but the simple
giant had paid no attention to
them. There followed a frantic
search with a flashlight by Tom but
there was no trace of the missing
The Formula Was Gone
"They couldn't have blown
away!" he declared. "They were
clipped together by a special heavy
binder. Somebody must have picked
He Made a Frantic Search
When Tom visited Anton in jail
the next day, the fellow denied
loudly that he had taken anything.
The police promised to redouble
their efforts to capture Hammer.
With that assurance the inventor
was forced to content himself.
The next few days Tom was so
busy that he gave only an occasional
thought to his loss. Analysis
of the sample cut from the meteorite
showed that it was even
richer than he had hoped in the
new substance, X. Immediately he
telegraphed a large science supply
house for huge flasks, beakers,
retorts and other paraphernalia
necessary to extract and refine the
The Sample Was Rich in X
This done, he arranged for the
loan of a large refracting telescope
from a near-by observatory to be
used in conjunction with the big
green disk he proposed to make.
Professor Standish of the college
was so interested in the project
that Tom invited him to the forthcoming
Work was begun on an improvised
observatory to be erected on
a mountain in the Adirondacks.
This would place the telescope
above most of the blurring effects
of the dense, lower atmosphere,
filled as it is with smoke and dust.
Work Was Begun on the Observatory
Ned Newton wired that the meteorite
had been safely placed on
a fast freight train. He added that
he was traveling in the caboose of
the same train by special arrangement
with the road officials. Tom
met his chum at the station.
"How do you like riding in
style?" he teased.
Ned Traveled in the Caboose
"Humph!" grunted Ned. "I'll
take a plane next time."
A huge truck transported the
planet stone to the shops of the
Swift Construction Company. One
of the buildings had been cleared
of all other work, and in it a very
large furnace had been erected to
cast the green disk. Powerful mechanisms
crushed the meteorite to
a fine powder which was dissolved
by strong acids, then separated into
its various ingredients.
The Meteorite Was Crushed
"The furnace will have to be enlarged!"
declared Tom. "I had
planned to make a disk twenty feet
long but there is so much X that we
can easily make it thirty-five feet.
There'll still be several hundred
"Why not use it all and make the
biggest 'scope you can?" suggested
"I believe this will be large
enough. Besides, I have an idea
that the X has other and even more
remarkable powers. I don't want
to use it all up in this device."
"We Can Make a Larger Disk!"
A gang of men had been employed
to clear a trail up the side of the
mountain in the Adirondacks and
construct a road to the summit as
none ever had been made to the
spot Tom intended to use. A specially
large motor truck was built to
carry first the telescope, then the
giant green disk.
It may well be supposed that all
these preparations ran into money.
Many a groan did Ned give when
he studied the mounting cost
sheets. Tom, however, was deaf
to all his chum's protestations.
A Special Truck Was Built
"I had hoped your new bendable
glass would more than repay the
cost of your telescope," grumbled
Ned. "That's gone, and it looks to
me as though everything else'll go
too. The Swift Construction Company
will soon be bankrupt, Tom
Swift, if you don't slow down!"
"What do you mean, my flexible
glass is gone? Why, I've had an
application on file in the Patent
Office for several months."
"Well, for Pete's sake, why didn't
you tell me? Here I've been worrying
my head off for nothing!"
"You'll Be Bankrupt!" Warned Ned
"Sorry, old man. But you know
I've had a lot on my mind. However,
we must get back the papers,
for the thief can make things pretty
uncomfortable if he chooses to."
As Tom had found out, X would
be useful only in an absolutely pure
state. To refine it to the proper degree
was a painfully slow process,
taking in this case a full six weeks.
While his chemists labored away
under the young inventor's supervision,
everything else had been
made ready. At last the new element
was prepared. The tons of
yellow powder were dumped into
the heated furnace.
His Chemists Worked Away
Three days later the stuff had
cooled sufficiently for an inspection
to be made. A traveling crane
slowly hoisted the massive iron lid
of the electric furnace. Tom
climbed a ladder and peered down.
"It's perfect!" he shouted a moment
later. Mr. Damon and Barton
Swift were standing anxiously
with Ned and the workmen to hear
the verdict. At the young inventor's
words the group gave a cheer.
Tom Peered Down at the Disk
"Bless my stars and planets!"
cried Mr. Damon, capering about
like a boy. "I can hardly wait till
you have your big glass set up!"
"It won't be long now," promised
Tom, much pleased himself.
While the giant disk was being
given a final electrical treatment,
the youthful inventor was called to
the police station. The fugitive
crook, Hammer, had finally been
nabbed, still with the formula for
the bendable glass in his possession.
Tom was glad to get this
back, even though patent proceedings
were under way, for anyone
holding the papers could have instituted
a costly legal contest.
Hammer Had Been Nabbed
At last the time arrived when
the great disk was wrapped in
hundreds of bales of cotton, suspended
on racks and loaded onto
the great truck. Tom insisted upon
riding with his precious creation.
The rest of his party, including
his father, Ned Newton, Mr.
Damon, Professor Standish, Koku
and Rad, traveled by train to the
foot of the mountain.
The Disk Was Loaded on the Truck
"Massa Tom gonna look about
six scrillion miles froo space," confided
Eradicate Sampson to Koku.
The old Negro leaned heavily upon
the massive arm of his huge companion.
"He see wonderful things!"
"He sure make big medicine!"
declared the giant, for once agreeing
with his old rival. He had only
the vaguest idea about what his
master was attempting.
Koku and Rad Went Along
When the entire group assembled
on top the mountain there was
a sudden hush. The sun had set in
a fiery glow that presaged a clear
night, and now darkness overtook
the expectant onlookers.
At last Tom stepped to the giant
telescope and adjusted it upon the
planet Mars. He electrified the immense
disk, which glowed, then
could not be seen at all.
Looking through the eyepiece,
the young inventor stood as though
transfixed. One minute! Two!
Tom Stepped to the Telescope
"Tom! How does it work?" asked
Ned finally, unable to restrain
himself any longer.
"Look for yourself!" cried Tom,
turning from the instrument. His
face wore an expression of awe.
Ned quickly took his place.
"Marvelous!" he exclaimed.
Before his eyes were revealed a
great city, nearly seventy-five million
Peculiar people surged along the
avenues, weird aircraft thronged
the upper atmosphere, and gigantic
buildings and palaces dotted the
place. All on far-distant Mars!
He Saw a Gigantic City
As each one in Tom's party saw
the wonderful sight, he in turn congratulated
the youthful inventor
in his own way. Ned grasped his
chum's hand but could say nothing.
Mr. Damon blessed the distant
stars. Koku and Rad fell upon
their knees. Into the eyes of Barton
Swift came tears as he said:
"Tom, my son, you have performed
the greatest miracle of the
"You Have Performed a Miracle!"