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THE AIRPLANE BOYS AMONG THE CLOUDS
Young Aviators in a Wreck
JOHN LUTHER LANGWORTHY
M. A. Donohue & Company Chicago------ New York 1912
TRYING OUT THE NEW BIPLANE
"I tell you, Elephant, it's the Bird boys, and nobody else!"
"But they had a monoplane last summer, Larry; and you can see for
"Shucks! stir up your think-box, Elephant. Get a move on your mind, and look back. Don't you remember Percy lost his old biplane when he took that trip down to South America, and had some trouble with the revolutionists in Colombia?"
"Say, now, that's right. You mean the time Andy Bird found his
long-lost father, whose balloon left him a prisoner in such a queer
way? Yes, but tell me, where would Frank and Andy Bird get a biplane
"Oh! rats, what ails you, Elephant? Didn't they make the other; and
don't you know they've been busy all winter, in that shop Old Colonel
Whympers fitted up for them out in the field? And not even such bully
good friends as you and me were allowed to take a peep inside. That's
what they were working on--building this new biplane, after sending for
"Don't it just shine like fun in the sunlight, though?" declared the
little "runt," who had been nicknamed "Elephant" by his chums, possibly
in a spirit of boyish humor, and which name had clung to him ever since.
"It sure does look like a spider-like craft," Larry Geohegan went on. "Just see that white-headed eagle up in the blue sky. I bet you he's looking down, and wondering what sort of thing it is."
"Huh! don't you fool yourself there, Larry," chuckled the other. "That
wise old chap knows all about aeroplanes. He's had experience, he has.
You forget that last summer, when the race was on between the Bird boys
and Percy, to see who could land on the summit of Old Thunder-Top
first, from an aeroplane, those same eagles had a nest up there, and
tackled the boys for a warm session."
The two lads had come to a halt on the road about half a mile from the
borders of Bloomsbury where they lived. From where they stood, holding
their fishing rods, and quite a decent catch of finny prizes, they
could look out over the beautiful surface of Lake Sunrise, which was
over fifteen miles long, and in places as much as three or four wide.
"Mebbe you can tell me, Larry," the smaller boy presently said, "just why Frank keeps sailing around over the lake that way? Suppose he's taking pictures from his biplane?"
"That might be, Elephant," Larry answered, slowly and thoughtfully.
"Seems to me I did hear somebody talking about the State wanting to get
a map of the lake, with all its many coves and points. But ain't it
more dangerous for aviators hanging over water than the shore?"
"That depends," remarked the other boy, whose real name was Fennimore
Cooper Small, and who was rather apt to have an exalted idea of his own
importance, as do so many undersized people. "If a fellow dropped out
of his machine when he was even fifty feet high, he'd be apt to break
his neck, or anyhow a leg, if he struck on the land; but in the water
he might have a show."
"Look at 'em circling round and round, would you?" Larry went on, his
curiosity climbing toward the fever stage. "I'd give a fit now to know
what Frank's got in that wise old noddle of his. He ain't the one to
do things for nothing, take it from me, Elephant."
"Hi! step out of the way, Larry, if you don't want to get run over!"
exclaimed the other, suddenly gripping his companion's sleeve. "Here
comes a car, and the driver's tooting his old bazoo to beat the band."
"They're slowing up, don't you see," observed Larry, who had been
startled by the other's abrupt warning. "No need to scare a feller
like that, Elephant."
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