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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 Eight The Empty Shed
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Chapter Eight The Empty Shed
 "Bless my dark-lantern! Where are you, Tom?" called Mr. Damon as he entered the dim shed where the somewhat frail-appearing aeroplane loomed1 up in the semi-darkness, for it was afternoon, and rather cloudy. "Where are you?"
"Here!" called the young inventor. "I'm glad to see you! Come in!"
"Ah! there it is, eh?" exclaimed the odd man, as he looked at the aeroplane, for there had been much work done on it since he had last seen it. "Bless my parachute, Tom! But it looks as though you could blow it over."
"It's stronger than it seems," replied the lad. "But, Mr. Damon, I've got something very important to talk to you about."
Thereupon Tom told all about Mr. Sharp's visit, of Andy's entry in the big race, and of the suspicions of himself and the balloonist.
"And what is it you wish me to do?" asked Mr. Damon.
"Work up some clues against Andy Foger."
"Good! I'll do it! I'd like to get ahead of that bully2 and his father, who once tried to wreck3 the bank I'm interested in. I'll help you, Tom! I'll play detective! Let me see—what disguise shall I assume? I think I'll take the part of a tramp. Bless my ham sandwich! That will be the very thing. I'll get some ragged4 clothes, let my beard grow again—you see I shaved it off since my last visit—and I'll go around to the Foger place and ask for work. Then I can get inside the shed and look around. How's that for a plan?"
"It might be all right," agreed Tom, "only I don't believe you're cut out for the part of a tramp, Mr. Damon."
"Bless my fingernails! Why not?"
"Oh, well, it isn't very pleasant to go around in ragged clothes."
"Don't mind about me. I'll do it." And the odd gentleman seemed quite delighted at the idea. He and Tom talked it over at some length, and then adjourned5 to the house, where Mr. Swift, who had seemed to improve in the last few days, was told of the plan.
"Couldn't you go around after evidence just as you are?" asked the aged6 inventor. "I don't much care for this disguising business."
"Oh, it's very necessary," insisted Mr. Damon earnestly. "Bless my gizzard! but it's very necessary. Why, if I went around the Foger place as I am now, they'd know me in a minute, and I couldn't find out what I want to know."
"Well, if you keep on blessing7 yourself," said Tom, with a laugh, "they'll know you, no matter what disguise you put on, Mr. Damon."
"That's so," admitted the eccentric gentleman. "I must break myself of that habit. I will. Bless my topknot! I'll never do it any more. Bless my trousers buttons!"
"I'm afraid you'll never do it!" exclaimed Tom.
"It is rather hard," said Mr. Damon ruefully, as he realized what he had said. "But I'll do it. Bless—"
He paused a moment, looked at Tom and his father, and then burst into a laugh. The habit was more firmly fastened on him than he was aware.
For several hours Tom, his father and Mr. Damon discussed various methods of proceeding8, and it was finally agreed that Mr. Damon should first try to learn what Andy was doing, if anything, without resorting to a disguise.
"Then, if that doesn't work, I'll become a tramp," was the decision of the odd character. "I'll wear the raggedest clothes I can find Bless—" But he stopped in time.
Mr. Damon took up his residence in the Swift household, as he had often done before, and for the next week he went and came as he pleased, sometimes being away all night.
"It's no use, though," declared Mr. Damon at the end of the week. "I can't get anywhere near that shed, nor even get a glimpse inside of it. I haven't been able to learn anything, either. There are two gardeners on guard all the while, and several times when I've tried to go in the side gate, they've stopped me."
"Isn't there any news of Andy about town?" asked Tom. "I should think Sam or Pete would know where he is."
"Well, I didn't ask them, for they'd know right away why I was inquiring," said Mr. Damon, "but it seems to me as if there was something queer going on. If Andy Foger is working in that shed of his, he's keeping mighty9 quiet about it. Bless my—"
And once more he stopped in time. He was conquering the habit in a measure.
"Well, what do you propose to do next?" asked Tom.
"Disguise myself like a tramp, and go there looking for work," was the firm answer. "There are plenty of odd jobs on a big place such as the Foger family have. I'll find out what I want to know, you see."
It seemed useless to further combat this resolution, and, in a few days Mr. Damon presented a very different appearance. He had on a most ragged suit, there was a scrubby beard on his face, and he walked with a curious shuffle10, caused by a pair of big, heavy shoes which he had donned, first having taken the precaution to make holes in them and get them muddy.
"Now I'm all ready," he said to Tom one day, when his disguise was complete. "I'm going over and try my luck."
He left the house by a side door, so that no one would see him, and started down the walk. As he did so a voice shouted:
"Hi, there! Git right out oh heah! Mistah Swift doan't allow no tramps heah, an' we ain't got no wuk fo' yo', an' there ain't no cold victuals11. I does all de wuk, me an' mah mule12 Boomerang, an' we takes all de cold victuals, too! Git right along, now!"
"It's Eradicate13. He doesn't know you," said Tom, with a chuckle14.
"So much the better," whispered Mr. Damon. But the disguise proved almost too much of a success, for seeing the supposed tramp lingering near the house, Eradicate caught up a stout15 stick and rushed forward. He was about to strike the ragged man, when Tom called out:
"That's Mr. Damon, Rad!"
"Wh—what!" gasped16 the colored man; and when the situation had been explained to him, and the necessity for silence impressed upon him, he turned away, too surprised to utter a word. He sought consolation17 in the stable with his mule.
Just what methods Mr. Damon used he never disclosed, but one thing is certain: That night there came a cautious knock on the door of the Swift home, and Tom, answering it, beheld18 his odd friend.
"Well," he asked eagerly, "what luck?"
"Put on a suit of old clothes, and come with me," said Mr. Damon. "We'll look like two tramps, and then, if we're discovered, they won't know it was you."
"Have you found out anything?" asked Tom eagerly.
"Not yet; but I've got a key to one of the side doors of the shed, and we can get in as soon as it's late enough so that everybody there will be in bed."
"A key? How did you get it?" inquired the youth.
"Never mind," was the answer, with a chuckle. "That was because of my disguise; and I haven't blessed anything to-day. I'm going to, soon, though. I can feel it coming on. But hurry, Tom, or we may be too late."
"And you haven't had a look inside the shed?" asked the young inventor. "You don't know what's there?"
"No; but we soon will."
Eagerly Tom put on some of the oldest and most ragged garments he could find, and then he and the odd gentleman set off toward the Foger home. They waited some time after getting in sight of it, because they saw a light in one of the windows. Then, when the house was dark, they stole cautiously forward toward the big, gloomy shed.
"On this side," directed Mr. Damon in a whisper. "The key I have opens this door."
"But we can't see when we get inside," objected Tom. "I should have brought a dark lantern."
"I have one of those pocket electric flashlights," said Mr. Damon. "Bless my candlestick! but I thought of that." And he chuckled19 gleefully.
Cautiously they advanced in the darkness. Mr. Damon fumbled20 at the lock of the door. The key grated as he turned it. The portal swung back, and Tom and his friend found themselves inside the shed which, of late, had been such an object of worry and conjecture21 to the young inventor. What would he find there?
"Flash the light," he called to Mr. Damon in a hoarse22 whisper.
The eccentric man drew it from his packet. He pressed the spring switch, and in an instant a brilliant shaft23 of radiance shot out, cutting the intense blackness like a knife. Mr. Damon flashed it on all sides.
But to the amazement24 of Tom and his companion, it did not illuminate25 the broad white wings and stretches of canvas of an aeroplane. It only shone on the bare walls of the shed, and on some piles of rubbish in the corners. Up and down, to right and left, shot the pencil of light.
"There's—there's nothing here!" gasped Tom.
"I—I guess you're right!" agreed Mr. Damon "The shed is empty!"
"Then where is Andy Foger building his aeroplane?" asked Tom in a whisper; but Mr. Damon could not answer him.


1 loomed 9423e616fe6b658c9a341ebc71833279     
v.隐约出现,阴森地逼近( loom的过去式和过去分词 );隐约出现,阴森地逼近
  • A dark shape loomed up ahead of us. 一个黑糊糊的影子隐隐出现在我们的前面。
  • The prospect of war loomed large in everyone's mind. 战事将起的庞大阴影占据每个人的心。 来自《简明英汉词典》
2 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。
3 wreck QMjzE     
  • Weather may have been a factor in the wreck.天气可能是造成这次失事的原因之一。
  • No one can wreck the friendship between us.没有人能够破坏我们之间的友谊。
4 ragged KC0y8     
  • A ragged shout went up from the small crowd.这一小群人发出了刺耳的喊叫。
  • Ragged clothing infers poverty.破衣烂衫意味着贫穷。
5 adjourned 1e5a5e61da11d317191a820abad1664d     
(使)休会, (使)休庭( adjourn的过去式和过去分词 )
  • The court adjourned for lunch. 午餐时间法庭休庭。
  • The trial was adjourned following the presentation of new evidence to the court. 新证据呈到庭上后,审讯就宣告暂停。
6 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。
7 blessing UxDztJ     
  • The blessing was said in Hebrew.祷告用了希伯来语。
  • A double blessing has descended upon the house.双喜临门。
8 proceeding Vktzvu     
  • This train is now proceeding from Paris to London.这次列车从巴黎开往伦敦。
  • The work is proceeding briskly.工作很有生气地进展着。
9 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。
10 shuffle xECzc     
  • I wish you'd remember to shuffle before you deal.我希望在你发牌前记得洗牌。
  • Don't shuffle your feet along.别拖着脚步走。
11 victuals reszxF     
  • A plateful of coarse broken victuals was set before him.一盘粗劣的剩余饭食放到了他的面前。
  • There are no more victuals for the pig.猪没有吃的啦。
12 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。
13 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。
14 chuckle Tr1zZ     
  • He shook his head with a soft chuckle.他轻轻地笑着摇了摇头。
  • I couldn't suppress a soft chuckle at the thought of it.想到这个,我忍不住轻轻地笑起来。
16 gasped e6af294d8a7477229d6749fa9e8f5b80     
v.喘气( gasp的过去式和过去分词 );喘息;倒抽气;很想要
  • She gasped at the wonderful view. 如此美景使她惊讶得屏住了呼吸。
  • People gasped with admiration at the superb skill of the gymnasts. 体操运动员的高超技艺令人赞叹。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
17 consolation WpbzC     
  • The children were a great consolation to me at that time.那时孩子们成了我的莫大安慰。
  • This news was of little consolation to us.这个消息对我们来说没有什么安慰。
18 beheld beheld     
v.看,注视( behold的过去式和过去分词 );瞧;看呀;(叙述中用于引出某人意外的出现)哎哟
  • His eyes had never beheld such opulence. 他从未见过这样的财富。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The soul beheld its features in the mirror of the passing moment. 灵魂在逝去的瞬间的镜子中看到了自己的模样。 来自英汉文学 - 红字
19 chuckled 8ce1383c838073977a08258a1f3e30f8     
轻声地笑( chuckle的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She chuckled at the memory. 想起这件事她就暗自发笑。
  • She chuckled softly to herself as she remembered his astonished look. 想起他那惊讶的表情,她就轻轻地暗自发笑。
20 fumbled 78441379bedbe3ea49c53fb90c34475f     
(笨拙地)摸索或处理(某事物)( fumble的过去式和过去分词 ); 乱摸,笨拙地弄; 使落下
  • She fumbled in her pocket for a handkerchief. 她在她口袋里胡乱摸找手帕。
  • He fumbled about in his pockets for the ticket. 他(瞎)摸着衣兜找票。
21 conjecture 3p8z4     
  • She felt it no use to conjecture his motives.她觉得猜想他的动机是没有用的。
  • This conjecture is not supported by any real evidence.这种推测未被任何确切的证据所证实。
22 hoarse 5dqzA     
  • He asked me a question in a hoarse voice.他用嘶哑的声音问了我一个问题。
  • He was too excited and roared himself hoarse.他过于激动,嗓子都喊哑了。
23 shaft YEtzp     
  • He was wounded by a shaft.他被箭击中受伤。
  • This is the shaft of a steam engine.这是一个蒸汽机主轴。
24 amazement 7zlzBK     
  • All those around him looked at him with amazement.周围的人都对他投射出惊异的眼光。
  • He looked at me in blank amazement.他带着迷茫惊诧的神情望着我。
25 illuminate zcSz4     
  • Dreams kindle a flame to illuminate our dark roads.梦想点燃火炬照亮我们黑暗的道路。
  • They use games and drawings to illuminate their subject.他们用游戏和图画来阐明他们的主题。


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