Dave Dashaway, Air Champion. Or Wizard-Work in the Clouds - Roy Rockwood - ebook

Dave Dashaway, Air Champion. Or Wizard-Work in the Clouds ebook

Roy Rockwood

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Never was there a more clever young aviator than Dave Dashaway, and all up-to-date youths will be will surely wish to hear about about him. In this, the last volume of the Dave Dashaway adventure series, Dave, with the assistance of his loyal chum Hiram Dobbs, makes several daring trips, and then enters a contest for a big prize. They are preparing for a new aerial contest, but competition is fierce, and dirty! An old enemy lurks in the shadows, sending spies and saboteurs. An aviation tale thrilling in the extreme. Add some new friends and a diamond thief into the mix, and you’re in for another exciting Dave Dashaway adventure! Written by Weldon J. Cobb under the Stratemeyer Syndicate pseudonym „Roy Rockwood.” A highly entertaining literature being written for young readers.

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Liczba stron: 198

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Contents

I. AT THE HANGARS

II. THE TRAMP ARTIST

III. "TARGET PRACTICE"

IV. THE UNDER-DOG

V. THE BIG EVENT

VI. A STARTLING DISCOVERY

VII. THE HIDDEN HAND

VIII. THE SECRET FOE

IX. JUST IN TIME

X. A FRIEND IN DISGUISE

XI. A STRANGE RACE

XII. A DESPERATE PASSENGER

XIII. A REMARKABLE EXPLANATION

XIV. THE NEW HELPER

XV. A TERRIBLE DISCOVERY

XVI. IN DOUBT

XVII. TROUBLE

XVIII. A STRANGE MESSAGE

XIX. ARIEL II

XX, — BEATEN

XXI. "FIFTY POINTS"

XXII. QUEER PROCEEDINGS

XXIII. A NOBLE DEED

XXIV. THE HIDDEN DIAMONDS

XXV. THE FALSE BAROGRAPH

I. AT THE HANGARS

“Dave, here is something that will surely interest you.”

As he spoke, Hiram Dobbs held up a newspaper to the view of his companion, and Dave Dashaway caught sight of the prominent head line:

“GRAND INTERNATIONAL AVIATION CONTEST.”

The two friends were amid an environment strongly suggestive of airships and their doings. They were sitting under a tree near the hangar where Dave’s various aircraft and equipments were stored. This was Dave’s home, for the time being. Here, for over a month he had slept, ate and trained for just such an event as the one which his chum had brought to his attention.

There was nothing about Dave’s present appearance to indicate that he was an expert in aviation except a medal modestly showing beyond the lapel of his coat. It might, however, have been a source of surprise to the average person to read the inscription on the medal, certifying to Dave’s championship in a feat that had startled the aviation world.

Hiram proudly wore a pin bearing the initials: “N. A. A.” (National Aero Association) showing a distinction beyond the ordinary for a boy of his age, and showing, too, that when he spoke of aviation it was not as a novice.

“Dave, you ought to go in for that,” he added.

“Yes, it looks attractive,” agreed the young aviator after a swift glance over the item under discussion.

“Ten thousand dollars–think of it!” exclaimed the interested Hiram.

“It’s a big lot of money,” responded Dave, slowly.

“And a big heap of work to win it, I suppose you would say,” supplemented Hiram. “Well, you never were afraid of work, and as to the chances–say, a fellow who has done what you’ve just done–why, it’ll be mere child’s play!”

Dave Dashaway smiled at the ardor of his companion. He was thinking, though, and impressed by the present situation. All things pertaining to aviation had a great attraction for Dave. His dreams, his practical efforts, all his ambitions lay in the direction of supremacy as an air pilot.

“I have been resting for a spell, as you might call it, Hiram,” he said finally, “and hadn’t of late, thought much of business. After that last dash of ours, you know, Mr. Brackett thought we had better let the season run out and prepare for something out of the ordinary next year.”

“This has come along all right; hasn’t it?” challenged Hiram, pointing at the item. “And the biggest kind of a thing, too. ‘Ten thousand dollars to the aviator scoring most in all events.’ Besides that, prizes for points in plain sailing, altitude and fancy stunts. It’s your class, Dave, it’s near here and you were never in better working trim in your life.”

“Why, Hiram,” spoke Dave, “you seem to have quite set your heart upon it.”

“Indeed I have!” vociferated the impetuous Hiram. “Think I’m going to sit around and keep mum, and hear a lot of would-be-airmen brag? Not much! They boast about a heap of records I know they never made. They were talking about this very prize offer last night. I took a good deal of pride in telling them about some of the things you’ve done. They knew about most of them, though. They looked glum when I hinted that you were going in for a try.”

“You shouldn’t have done that,” said Dave, quickly.

“Shouldn’t–why not?”

“Because in this line the wise man keeps his business to himself. Airmen, generally, are a jealous lot. Some of them, as we have reason to know, are untrustworthy.”

“I never thought of that,” replied Hiram, his face growing serious. “You’re right! It wouldn’t be the first time some schemers got after you, and tried to block you. That’s so! All the same, with that new Ariel, biplane, made specially for you, who can beat you? Why, Dave, your little trailer, the Scout, alone has half a dozen speed points ahead of the average machine on the field here. Those new release gears are just dandy, and there isn’t a craft on the list that has such an engine as the Ariel, let alone the fuselage angle rods and the tubular framework.”

“I declare, Hiram,” laughed Dave, “you’ve been posting up on scientific details lately; haven’t you?”

“I’ve tried to get it pat, yes, I’ll admit,” assented Hiram proudly. “Then again, I’ve had a motive in view. You see, I’ve been thinking up a grand scheme–”

Hiram came to a sudden stop, looked embarrassed, and there was a faint flush on his face. It was with a somewhat sheepish expression in his eyes that he glanced at his companion.

“I know what you’re hinting at,” observed Dave shrewdly. “I suspected you were up to something when I saw you working over those little canvas bags. What’s the mystery, Hiram? Going to tell, this time?”

“I’m not,” dissented the young airman’s assistant staunchly. “You’d just laugh and say it was another of my grand schemes. All right! Those bags mean something–provided you go into this new contest. Honest, Dave,” went on Hiram with impressive earnestness, “I can put you onto a wrinkle in aeronautics that is new enough, and strong enough, to carry the day any time–oh, bother!”

Whatever scheme the young lad had in his mind, its disclosure was prevented at that moment by the arrival of an intruder. A man of about thirty, wearing a monocle, mincing in his steps and looking the typical English “dandy” to perfection, approached the bench where the two friends sat.

“It’s Lieutenant Montrose Mortimer,” remarked Dave with a faint smile.

“Lieutenant nothing!” declared Hiram forcibly. “He’s no more a British army officer than I am.”

“Ah, Mr. Dashaway,” spoke the newcomer, bowing, “I hope you’ve thought over my proposition.”

“Why, yes, Lieutenant,” replied Dave, “I have done so.”

“And have arrived at a decision?” questioned the other with marked eagerness.

“Well, no, not exactly,” answered Dave promptly. “You see, Lieutenant Mortimer, I am not a free agent in aviation matters. In fact, you might say I am under contract indefinitely to Mr. Brackett, who has financed me in the past. I should have to refer your offer to him, you see.”

“When will he be here?” asked the man, evidently very much disappointed.

“He may be here within a week.”

“I sincerely trust you will prevail on him to accept my offer,” spoke the pretended army man. “I shall feel that my duty to the admiralty and war office has been remiss if I fail to secure your valuable services. I am aware of your opposition to leaving your native country. I also appreciate your wish to remain neutral in regard to any actual warfare. That can be arranged. What we ask of you is to act as an instructor. Please think it over,” and he turned aside.

“Now, then,” broke out Hiram promptly as the lieutenant sauntered away, “what is that fellow really after, Dave?”

“Why, Hiram, according to his own story he is a representative from the aviation department of the British war office. He has made a very creditable showing–and he offers me all expenses paid abroad, where he says a yearly contract of several thousand dollars will be offered.”

“I don’t like him. Why, say, he reminds me of one of the funny cartoons that new tramp friend of yours drew for us last evening.”

“Hello!” exclaimed Dave, glancing hastily at his watch and then at the hangar. “He’s some sleeper; isn’t he, that tramp?”

The young airman referred to a new character who had incidentally come across their path the day previous. He was a tramp, a little above the average, but still frowsy, hungry and penniless. His humor had made an impression on the boys. They had fed him and he had asked for work to repay them. He was sober, and he looked honest, Dave had consented to his sleeping in the hangar.

“I guess it’s the first comfortable bed the poor fellow has had for a long time,” explained Hiram. “Say, Dave, he must have been a good artist once, to draw those faces as cleverly as he did last evening.”

“Yes, he certainly has a sort of genius about him,” began Dave, when there was a sudden and startling interruption.

From Dave’s hangar there came a dull explosion. Both of the young aviators made a rush in its direction, wondering what accident had happened.

II. THE TRAMP ARTIST

“Somebody is trying to blow us up again!” shouted Hiram, in a great state of excitement.

That word “again” meant just what the young airman apprentice intended that it should. As we have already said, the two chums were no novices in the strange line of business activity they had taken up to earn a living. They had not only shared triumphs and gains, but many a peril besides. There had instantly come to Hiram’s mind, and to that of Dave Dashaway as well, on the present occasion a memory of past deeds of jealousy, hatred and cunning on the part of unprincipled rivals, where fire and powder were used in destructive and dangerous work.

There had been no lights in the hangar since the night before, its only occupant that the boys knew of was the tramp-artist they had accommodated. As both noticed a little puff of smoke shoot out through a ventilating pipe in the roof of the structure, they were sure that something had blown up, or had been blown up.

Hiram and Dave were greatly anxious. Inside that hangar were two machines valued as an expert horseman would cherish his pet steeds, or a crack motorist his favorite automobile. Particularly was Dave’s latest acquisition, the Ariel, to which Hiram had referred so proudly, a possession that the young birdman treasured. The active fear that this might have sustained some damage spurred him to hasten on and see what had happened.

It was by no easy or accidental route that Dave Dashaway had reached his present position as an aviator. It had been no path of roses for him. In the first book of this series, entitled “Dave Dashaway, The Young Aviator,” his struggles and initial triumphs have been depicted. He found a good friend in one Robert King, a man of some means, and by hard study and practice Dave won his laurels as a professional.

In the second volume, called “Dave Dashaway And His Hydroplane,” the further progress of the ambitious young airman is recited. His father had been a scientist and balloonist. The cooperation of one of his old associates proved a wonderful aid to Dave, and he went through some stirring experiences both up in the air and on the water.

“Dave Dashaway And His Giant Airship,” was the medium for telling of Dave’s breaking of many aviation records. In that book the flight of the dirigible Albatross, involved a fascinating series of discoveries and adventures. The last preceding book of the series, “Dave Dashaway Around The World,” describes a daring race for a rich prize, which Dave, with the willing aid of his young friends, won, honorably defeating all competitors.

Hiram Dobbs, a young aero enthusiast, Dave had picked up accidentally. It proved to be a lucky “find.” Crude, impetuous though he might be, Hiram was not only a loyal friend, but developed great efficiency as a sort of understudy of the chum and employer whom he looked up to as the ideal champion of the aviation world.

As the young airman had put it, he and his good-natured and well-intentioned assistant were now “taking a rest.” They had come to Midlothian, a practice field of a Mississippi river city, to be near several points where exhibition aviation features were in progress. Mr. Brackett had been the mainstay, financially, of Dave all through his professional career. It was true that the young aviator had essentially won his own way and had helped to make famous the output of the Interstate Aero Company, of which Mr. Brackett was practically the owner. Still, Dave felt that all he had gained had been through the encouragement and assistance of the manufacturer. As a matter of fact, Dave deferred greatly to the opinion and direction of this valuable friend. He had been expecting his arrival daily at the Midlothian grounds, to talk over the situation and prospects for future work.

“Whew!” ejaculated Hiram, as he pulled open the door of the hangar, and rushed in. “Fire!”

“No, only smoke,” corrected Dave–“and not much of that, lucky for us!”

“I say!” cried his companion in an exasperated tone as he went spinning off his feet. Contact with an indistinct, wildly-rushing human form had caused this. There had been a smoky haze inside the hangar that had hid the aroused sleeper from clear view. Now, however, the tramp was plainly visible. He looked startled and scared and he was nursing the fingers of his left hand in the palm of the other.

“What’s happened–are you hurt?” inquired Dave.

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