ERADICATE IN AN AIRSHIP
"Well, Massa Tom, am yo' gwine out in yo' flyin' machine ag'in to-day?"
"Yes, Rad, I think I will take a little flight. Perhaps I'll go over to Waterford, and call on Mr. Damon. I haven't seen very much of him, since we got back from our hunt after the diamond-makers."
"Take a run clear ober t' Waterfield; eh, Massa Tom?"
"Yes, Rad. Now, if you'll help me, I'll get out the Butterfly, and see what trim she's in for a speedy flight."
Tom Swift, the young inventor, aided by Eradicate Sampson, the colored helper of the Swift household, walked over toward a small shed.
A few minutes later the two had rolled into view, on its three bicycle wheels, a trim little monoplane—one of the speediest craft of the air that had ever skimmed along beneath the clouds. It was built to carry two, and had a very powerful motor.
"I guess it will work all right," remarked the young inventor, for Torn Swift had not only built this monoplane himself, but was the originator of it, and the craft contained many new features.
"It sho' do look all right, Massa Tom."
"Look here, Rad," spoke the lad, as a sudden idea came to him, "you've never ridden in an airship, have you?"
"No, Massa Tom, an' I ain't gwine to nuther!"
"Why not? 'Case as how it ain't healthy; that's why!"
"But I go in them frequently, Eradicate. So does my father. You've seen us fly often enough, to know that it's safe. Why, look at the number of times Mr. Damon and I have gone off on trips in this little Butterfly. Didn't we always come back safely?"
"Yes, dat's true, but dere might come a time when yo' WOULDN'T come back, an' den where'd Eradicate Sampson be? I axes yo' dat—whar'd I be, Massa Tom?"
"Why, you wouldn't be anywhere if you didn't go, of course," and Tom laughed. "But I'd like to take you for a little spin in this machine, Rad. I want you to get used to them. Sometime I may need you to help me. Come, now. Suppose you get up on this seat here, and I promise not to go too high until you get used to it. Come on, it will do you good, and think of what all your friends will say when they see you riding in an airship."
"Dat's right, Massa Tom. Dey suah will be monstrous envious ob Eradicate Sampson, dat's what dey will."
It was clear that the colored man was being pursuaded somewhat against his will. Though he had been engaged by Tom Swift and his father off and on for several years, Eradicate had never shown any desire to take a trip through the air in one of the several craft Tom owned for this purpose. Nor had he ever evinced a longing for a trip under the ocean in a submarine, and as for riding in Tom's speedy electric car—Eradicate would as soon have sat down with thirteen at the table, or looked at the moon over the wrong shoulder.
But now, somehow, there was a peculiar temptation to take his young employer at his word. Eradicate had seen, many times, the youthful inventor and his friends make trips in the monoplane, as well as in the big biplane and dirigible balloon combined—the RED CLOUD....