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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 Sixteen A Mysterious Fire
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Chapter Sixteen A Mysterious Fire
 For a few moments Tom did not know what to think. Not that the sight of aeroplanes in flight were any novelty to him, but to see one flying over his house in the dead of night was a little out of the ordinary. Then, as he realized that night-flights were becoming more common, Tom tried to make out the details of the craft.
"I wish I had brought the night glasses with me," he said aloud.
"Here they are," spoke1 a voice at his side, and so suddenly that Tom was startled. He looked down, and saw Mr. Jackson standing2 beside him.
"Did you hear the noise, too?" the lad asked the engineer.
"Yes. It woke me up. Then I heard you moving around, and I heard you come up here. I thought maybe it was a flight of meteors you'd come to see, and I knew the glasses would be handy, so I stopped for them. Take a look, Tom. It's an aeroplane; isn't it?"
"Yes, and not moving very fast, either. They seem to be circling around here."
The young inventor was peering through the binoculars3, and, as soon as he had the mysterious craft in focus, he cried:
"Look, Mr. Jackson, it's a new kind of monoplane. I never saw one like it before. I wonder who could have invented that? It's something like a Santos-Dumont and a Bleriot, with some features of Cornu's Helicopter. That's a queer machine."
"It certainly is," agreed the engineer, who was now sighting through the glasses. In spite of the darkness the binoculars brought out the peculiarities4 of the aeroplane with considerable distinctness.
"Can you make out who are in it?" asked Tom.
"No," answered Mr. Jackson. "You try."
But Tom had no better luck. There were two persons in the odd machine, which was slowly flying along, moving in a great circle, with the Swift house for its center.
"I wonder why they're hanging around here?" asked Tom, suspiciously.
"Perhaps they want to talk to you," suggested Mr. Jackson. "They may be fellow inventors—perhaps one of them is that Philadelphia man who had the Whizzer."
"No," replied the lad. "He would have sent me word if he intended calling on me. Those are strangers, I think. There they are, coming back again."
The mysterious aeroplane was once more circling toward the watchers on the roof. There was a movement on the steps, near which Tom was standing, and his father came up.
"Is anything the matter?" he asked anxiously.
"Only a queer craft circling around up here," was the reply. "Come and see, dad."
Mr. Swift ascended5 to the roof. The aeroplane was higher now, and those in her could not so easily be made out. Tom felt a vague sense of fear, as though he was being watched by the evil eyes of his enemies. More than once he looked over to the shed where his craft was housed, as though some danger might threaten it. But the shed of the Humming-Bird showed no signs of invaders6.
Suddenly the mysterious aeroplane increased its speed. It circled about more quickly, and shot upward, as though to show the watchers of what it was capable. Then, with a quick swoop7 it darted8 downward, straight for the building where Tom's newest invention was housed.
"Look out! They'll hit something!" cried the young inventor, as though those in the aeroplane could hear him.
Then, just as though they had heeded9 his warning, the pilots of the mysterious craft shot her upward, after she had hovered10 for an instant over the big shed.
"That was a queer move," said Tom. "It looked as if they lost control of her for a moment."
"And they dropped something!" cried Mr. Jackson. "Look! something fell from the aeroplane on the roof of the shed."
"Some tool, likely," spoke Tom. "I'll get it in the morning, and see what sort of instruments they carry. I'd like to examine that machine, though."
The queer aeroplane was now shooting off in the darkness and Tom followed it with the glasses, wondering what its construction could be like. He was to have another sight of it sooner than he expected.
"Well, we may as well get back to bed," said Mr. Jackson. "I'm tired, and we've got lots to do to-morrow."
"Yes," agreed Tom. "It's cooler now. Come on, dad."
Tom fell into a light doze11. He thought afterward12 he could not have slept more than half an hour when he heard a commotion13 out in the yard. For an instant he could not tell what it was, and then, as he grew wider awake he knew that it was the shouting of Eradicate14 Sampson, and the braying15 of Boomerang.
But what was Eradicate shouting?
"Fire! Fire! Fire!"
Tom leaped to his window.
"Wake up, Massa Tom! Wake up! De areoplane shed am on fire, an' de Humming-Bird will burn up! Hurry! Hurry!"
Tom looked out. Flames were shooting up from the roof of the shed where his precious craft was kept.


1 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。
2 standing 2hCzgo     
  • After the earthquake only a few houses were left standing.地震过后只有几幢房屋还立着。
  • They're standing out against any change in the law.他们坚决反对对法律做任何修改。
3 binoculars IybzWh     
  • He watched the play through his binoculars.他用双筒望远镜看戏。
  • If I had binoculars,I could see that comet clearly.如果我有望远镜,我就可以清楚地看见那颗彗星。
4 peculiarities 84444218acb57e9321fbad3dc6b368be     
n. 特质, 特性, 怪癖, 古怪
  • the cultural peculiarities of the English 英国人的文化特点
  • He used to mimic speech peculiarities of another. 他过去总是模仿别人讲话的特点。
5 ascended ea3eb8c332a31fe6393293199b82c425     
v.上升,攀登( ascend的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He has ascended into heaven. 他已经升入了天堂。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The climbers slowly ascended the mountain. 爬山运动员慢慢地登上了这座山。 来自《简明英汉词典》
6 invaders 5f4b502b53eb551c767b8cce3965af9f     
入侵者,侵略者,侵入物( invader的名词复数 )
  • They prepared to repel the invaders. 他们准备赶走侵略军。
  • The family has traced its ancestry to the Norman invaders. 这个家族将自己的世系追溯到诺曼征服者。
7 swoop nHPzI     
  • The plane made a swoop over the city.那架飞机突然向这座城市猛降下来。
  • We decided to swoop down upon the enemy there.我们决定突袭驻在那里的敌人。
8 darted d83f9716cd75da6af48046d29f4dd248     
v.投掷,投射( dart的过去式和过去分词 );向前冲,飞奔
  • The lizard darted out its tongue at the insect. 蜥蜴伸出舌头去吃小昆虫。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • The old man was displeased and darted an angry look at me. 老人不高兴了,瞪了我一眼。 来自《简明英汉词典》
9 heeded 718cd60e0e96997caf544d951e35597a     
v.听某人的劝告,听从( heed的过去式和过去分词 );变平,使(某物)变平( flatten的过去式和过去分词 )
  • She countered that her advice had not been heeded. 她反驳说她的建议未被重视。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I heeded my doctor's advice and stopped smoking. 我听从医生的劝告,把烟戒了。 来自《简明英汉词典》
10 hovered d194b7e43467f867f4b4380809ba6b19     
鸟( hover的过去式和过去分词 ); 靠近(某事物); (人)徘徊; 犹豫
  • A hawk hovered over the hill. 一只鹰在小山的上空翱翔。
  • A hawk hovered in the blue sky. 一只老鹰在蓝色的天空中翱翔。
11 doze IsoxV     
  • He likes to have a doze after lunch.他喜欢午饭后打个盹。
  • While the adults doze,the young play.大人们在打瞌睡,而孩子们在玩耍。
12 afterward fK6y3     
  • Let's go to the theatre first and eat afterward. 让我们先去看戏,然后吃饭。
  • Afterward,the boy became a very famous artist.后来,这男孩成为一个很有名的艺术家。
13 commotion 3X3yo     
  • They made a commotion by yelling at each other in the theatre.他们在剧院里相互争吵,引起了一阵骚乱。
  • Suddenly the whole street was in commotion.突然间,整条街道变得一片混乱。
14 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。
15 braying 4e9e43129672dd7d81455077ba202718     
v.发出驴叫似的声音( bray的现在分词 );发嘟嘟声;粗声粗气地讲话(或大笑);猛击
  • A donkey was braying on the hill behind the house. 房子后面的山上传来驴叫声。 来自互联网
  • What's the use of her braying out such words? 她粗声粗气地说这种话有什么用呢? 来自互联网


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