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首页 » 儿童英文小说 » Tom Swift and his Sky Racer汤姆·史威夫特和空中赛艇 » Chapter Four Anxious Days
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Chapter Four Anxious Days
 Peering on all sides as he dashed along the gravel1 walk, hoping to catch a glimpse of the unknown intruder in the garden or shrubbery, Tom sprinted2 on at top speed. Now and then he paused to listen, but no sound came to him to tell of some one in retreat before him. There was only Silence.
"Mighty3 queer," mused4 the youth. "Whoever it was, he couldn't have had more than a minute start of me—no, not even half a minute—and yet they've disappeared as completely as though the ground had opened and let them down; and the worst of it is, that they've taken my plans with them!"
He turned about and retraced5 his steps, making a careful search. He saw no one, until, turning a corner, a little later, he met Eradicate6 Sampson.
"You haven't seen any strangers around here just now, have you, Rad?" asked Tom anxiously.
"No, indeedy, I hasn't, Massa Tom. What fo' kind ob a stranger was him?"
"That's just what I don't know. Rad. But some one sneaked7 into the library just now and took some of my plans while my father dozed8 off. I jumped out after him as soon as I could, but he has disappeared."
"Maybe it were th' man who done stowed hisself away on yo' airship, de time yo' all went after de diamonds," suggested the colored man.
"No, it couldn't have been him. If it was anybody, it was Andy Foger, or some of his crowd. You didn't see Andy, did you, Rad?"
"No, indeedy; but if I do, I suah will turn mah mule9, Boomerang, loose on him, an' he won't take any mo' plans—not right off, Massa Tom."
"No, I guess not. Well, I must get back to dad, or he'll worry. Keep your eyes open, Rad, and if you see Andy Foger, or any one else, around here, let me know. Just sing out for all you're worth."
"Shall I call out, Massa Tom, ef I sees dat blessin' man?"
"You mean Mr. Damon?"
"Dat's de one. De gen'man what's allers a-blessin' ob hisself or his shoelaces, or suffin laik dat. Shall I sing out ef I sees him?"
"Well, no; not exactly, Rad. Just show Mr. Damon up to the house. I'd be glad to see him again, though I don't fancy he'll call. He's off on a little trip, and won't be back for a week. But watch out, Rad." And with that Tom turned toward the house, shaking his head over the puzzle of the missing plans.
"Did you find any one?" asked his father eagerly as the young inventor entered the library.
"No," was the gloomy answer. "There wasn't a sign of any one."
Tom went over to the window and looked about for clues. There was none that he could see, and a further examination of the ground under the window disclosed nothing. There was gravel beneath the casement10, and this was not the best medium for retaining footprints. Nor were the gravel walks any better.
"Not a sign of any one," murmured Tom. "Are you sure you didn't hear any noise, dad, when you dozed off?"
"Not a sound, Tom. In fact, it's rather unusual for me to go to sleep like that, but I suppose it's because of my illness. But I couldn't have been asleep long—not more than two minutes."
"That's what I think. Yet in that time someone, who must have been on the watch, managed to get in here and take my plans for the new sky racer. I don't see how they got the wire screen open from the outside, though. It fastens with a strong hook."
"And was the screen open?" asked Mr. Swift
"Yes, it was unhooked. Either they pushed a wire in through the mesh12, caught it under the hook, and pulled it up from the outside, or else the screen was opened from the inside."
"I don't believe they could get inside to open the screen without some of us seeing them," spoke13 the older inventor. "More likely, Tom, it wasn't hooked, and they found it an easy matter to simply pull it open."
"That's possible. I'll ask Mrs. Baggert if the screen was unhooked."
But the housekeeper14 could not be certain on that point, and so that part of the investigation15 amounted to nothing.
"It's too bad!" exclaimed Mr. Swift. "It's my fault, for dozing16 off that way."
"No, indeed, it isn't!" declared Tom stoutly17.
"Is the loss a serious one?" asked his father. "Have you no copy of the plans?"
"Yes, I have a rough draft from which I made the completed drawings, and I can easily make another set. But that isn't what worries me—the mere18 loss of the plans."
"What is it, then, Tom?"
"The fact that whoever took them must know that they are the plans for a sky racer that is to take part in the big meet. I have worked it out on a new principle, and it is not yet patented. Whoever stole my plans can make the same kind of a sky racer that I intended to construct, and so stand as good a chance to win the prize of ten thousand dollars as I will."
"That certainly is too bad, Tom. I never thought of that. Do you suspect any one?"
"No one, unless it's Andy Foger. He's mean enough to do a thing like that, but I didn't think he'd have the nerve. However, I'll see if I can learn anything about him. He may have been sneaking19 around, and if he has my plans he'd ask nothing better than to make a sky racer and beat me."
"Oh, Tom, I'm so sorry!" exclaimed Mr. Swift "I—I feel very bad about it!"
"There, never mind!" spoke the lad, seeing that his father was looking ill again. "Don't think any more about it, dad. I'll get back those plans. Come, now. It's time for your medicine, and then you must lie down." For the aged11 inventor was looking tired and weak.
Wearily he let Tom lead him to his room, and after seeing that the invalid20 was comfortable Tom called up Dr. Gladby, to have him come and see Mr. Swift. The doctor said his patient had been overdoing21 himself a little, and must rest more if he was to completely recover.
Learning that his father was no worse, Tom set off to find Andy Foger.
"I can't rest until I know whether or not he has my plans," he said to himself. "I don't want to make a speedy aeroplane, and find out at the last minute that Andy, or some of his cronies, have duplicated it."
But Tom got little satisfaction from Andy Foger. When that bully22 was accused of having been around Tom's house he denied it, and though the young inventor did not actually accuse him of taking the plans, he hinted at it. Andy muttered many indignant negatives, and called on some of his cronies to witness that at the time the plans were taken he and they were some distance from the Swift home.
So Tom was baffled; and though he did not believe the red-haired lad's denial, there was no way in which he could prove to the contrary.
"If he didn't take the plans, who did?" mused Tom.
As the young inventor turned away after cross-questioning Andy, the bully called out:
"You'll never win that ten thousand dollars!"
"What do you know about that?" demanded Tom quickly.
"Oh, I know," sneered23 Andy. "There'll be bigger and better aeroplanes in that meet than you can make, and you'll never win the prize."
"I suppose you heard about the affair by sneaking around under our windows, and listening," said Tom.
"Never mind how I know it, but I do," retorted the bully.
"Well, I'll tell you one thing," said Tom calmly. "If you come around again it won't be healthy for you. Look out for live wires, if you try to do the listening act any more, Andy!" And with that ominous24 warning Tom turned away.
"What do you suppose he means, Andy?" asked Pete Bailey, one of Andy's cronies.
"It means he's got electrical wires strung around his place," declared Sam Snedecker, "and that we'll be shocked if we go up there. I'm not going!"
"Me, either," added Pete, and Andy laughed uneasily.
Tom heard what they said, and in the next few days he made himself busy by putting some heavy wires in and about the grounds where they would show best. But the wires carried no current, and were only displayed to impress a sense of fear on Andy and his cronies, which purpose they served well.
But it was like locking the stable door after the horse had been stolen, for with all the precautions he could take Tom could not get back his plans, and he spent many anxious days seeking them. They seemed to have completely disappeared, however, and the young inventor decided25 there was nothing else to do but to draw new ones.
He set to work on them, and in the meanwhile tried to learn whether or not Andy had the missing plans. He sought this information by stealth, and was aided by his chum, Ned Newton. But all to no purpose. Not the slightest trace or clue was discovered.


1 gravel s6hyT     
  • We bought six bags of gravel for the garden path.我们购买了六袋碎石用来铺花园的小路。
  • More gravel is needed to fill the hollow in the drive.需要更多的砾石来填平车道上的坑洼。
2 sprinted cbad7fd28d99bfe76a3766a4dd081936     
v.短距离疾跑( sprint的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He sprinted for the line. 他向终点线冲去。
  • Sergeant Horne sprinted to the car. 霍恩中士全力冲向那辆汽车。 来自辞典例句
3 mighty YDWxl     
  • A mighty force was about to break loose.一股巨大的力量即将迸发而出。
  • The mighty iceberg came into view.巨大的冰山出现在眼前。
4 mused 0affe9d5c3a243690cca6d4248d41a85     
v.沉思,冥想( muse的过去式和过去分词 );沉思自语说(某事)
  • \"I wonder if I shall ever see them again, \"he mused. “我不知道是否还可以再见到他们,”他沉思自问。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • \"Where are we going from here?\" mused one of Rutherford's guests. 卢瑟福的一位客人忍不住说道:‘我们这是在干什么?” 来自英汉非文学 - 科学史
5 retraced 321f3e113f2767b1b567ca8360d9c6b9     
v.折回( retrace的过去式和过去分词 );回忆;回顾;追溯
  • We retraced our steps to where we started. 我们折回我们出发的地方。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • We retraced our route in an attempt to get back on the right path. 我们折返,想回到正确的路上。 来自《简明英汉词典》
6 eradicate Ui1zn     
  • These insects are very difficult to eradicate.这些昆虫很难根除。
  • They are already battling to eradicate illnesses such as malaria and tetanus.他们已经在努力消灭疟疾、破伤风等疾病。
7 sneaked fcb2f62c486b1c2ed19664da4b5204be     
v.潜行( sneak的过去式和过去分词 );偷偷溜走;(儿童向成人)打小报告;告状
  • I sneaked up the stairs. 我蹑手蹑脚地上了楼。
  • She sneaked a surreptitious glance at her watch. 她偷偷看了一眼手表。
8 dozed 30eca1f1e3c038208b79924c30b35bfc     
v.打盹儿,打瞌睡( doze的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He boozed till daylight and dozed into the afternoon. 他喝了个通霄,昏沉沉地一直睡到下午。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
  • I dozed off during the soporific music. 我听到这催人入睡的音乐,便不知不觉打起盹儿来了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
9 mule G6RzI     
  • A mule is a cross between a mare and a donkey.骡子是母马和公驴的杂交后代。
  • He is an old mule.他是个老顽固。
10 casement kw8zwr     
  • A casement is a window that opens by means of hinges at the side.竖铰链窗是一种用边上的铰链开启的窗户。
  • With the casement half open,a cold breeze rushed inside.窗扉半开,凉风袭来。
11 aged 6zWzdI     
  • He had put on weight and aged a little.他胖了,也老点了。
  • He is aged,but his memory is still good.他已年老,然而记忆力还好。
12 mesh cC1xJ     
n.网孔,网丝,陷阱;vt.以网捕捉,啮合,匹配;vi.适合; [计算机]网络
  • Their characters just don't mesh.他们的性格就是合不来。
  • This is the net having half inch mesh.这是有半英寸网眼的网。
13 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
14 housekeeper 6q2zxl     
  • A spotless stove told us that his mother is a diligent housekeeper.炉子清洁无瑕就表明他母亲是个勤劳的主妇。
  • She is an economical housekeeper and feeds her family cheaply.她节约持家,一家人吃得很省。
15 investigation MRKzq     
  • In an investigation,a new fact became known, which told against him.在调查中新发现了一件对他不利的事实。
  • He drew the conclusion by building on his own investigation.他根据自己的调查研究作出结论。
16 dozing dozing     
v.打瞌睡,假寐 n.瞌睡
  • The economy shows no signs of faltering. 经济没有衰退的迹象。
  • He never falters in his determination. 他的决心从不动摇。
17 stoutly Xhpz3l     
  • He stoutly denied his guilt.他断然否认自己有罪。
  • Burgess was taxed with this and stoutly denied it.伯杰斯为此受到了责难,但是他自己坚决否认有这回事。
18 mere rC1xE     
  • That is a mere repetition of what you said before.那不过是重复了你以前讲的话。
  • It's a mere waste of time waiting any longer.再等下去纯粹是浪费时间。
19 sneaking iibzMu     
  • She had always had a sneaking affection for him. 以前她一直暗暗倾心于他。
  • She ducked the interviewers by sneaking out the back door. 她从后门偷偷溜走,躲开采访者。
20 invalid V4Oxh     
  • He will visit an invalid.他将要去看望一个病人。
  • A passport that is out of date is invalid.护照过期是无效的。
21 overdoing 89ebeb1ac1e9728ef65d83e16bb21cd8     
v.做得过分( overdo的现在分词 );太夸张;把…煮得太久;(工作等)过度
  • He's been overdoing things recently. 近来他做事过分努力。 来自辞典例句
  • You think I've been overdoing it with the work thing? 你认为我对工作的关注太过分了吗? 来自电影对白
22 bully bully     
  • A bully is always a coward.暴汉常是懦夫。
  • The boy gave the bully a pelt on the back with a pebble.那男孩用石子掷击小流氓的背脊。
23 sneered 0e3b5b35e54fb2ad006040792a867d9f     
讥笑,冷笑( sneer的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He sneered at people who liked pop music. 他嘲笑喜欢流行音乐的人。
  • It's very discouraging to be sneered at all the time. 成天受嘲讽是很令人泄气的。
24 ominous Xv6y5     
  • Those black clouds look ominous for our picnic.那些乌云对我们的野餐来说是个不祥之兆。
  • There was an ominous silence at the other end of the phone.电话那头出现了不祥的沉默。
25 decided lvqzZd     
  • This gave them a decided advantage over their opponents.这使他们比对手具有明显的优势。
  • There is a decided difference between British and Chinese way of greeting.英国人和中国人打招呼的方式有很明显的区别。


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