Infomotions, Inc.Tom Swift Among the Diamond Makers, or, the Secret of Phantom Mountain / Appleton, Victor [pseud.]



Author: Appleton, Victor [pseud.]
Title: Tom Swift Among the Diamond Makers, or, the Secret of Phantom Mountain
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): jenks; tom; damon; diamond makers; cave; tom swift; diamond; diamonds; phantom mountain; bill renshaw; young inventor; mountain; earthquake island; asked tom
Contributor(s): Teixeira de Mattos, Alexander, 1865-1921 [Translator]
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Identifier: etext1282
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TOM SWIFT AMONG THE DIAMOND MAKERS
or
The Secret of Phantom Mountain

by Victor Appleton

April, 1998  [Etext #1282]


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This Etext was prepared for Project Gutenberg by Anthony Matonac.




TOM SWIFT AMONG THE DIAMOND MAKERS
or
The Secret of Phantom Mountain

By
VICTOR APPLETON




CONTENTS


CHAPTER

I      A SUSPICIOUS JEWELER
II     A MIDNIGHT VISIT
III    A STRANGE STORY
IV     ANDY FOGER GETS A FRIGHT
V      A MYSTERIOUS MAN
VI     MR. DAMON IS ON HAND
VII    MR. PARKER PREDICTS
VIII   OFF FOR THE WEST
IX     A WARNING BY WIRELESS
X      DROPPING THE STOWAWAY
XI     A WEARY SEARCH
XII    THE GREAT STONE HEAD
XIII   ON PHANTOM MOUNTAIN
XIV    WARNED BACK
XV     THE LANDSLIDE
XVI    THE VAST CAVERN
XVII   THE PHANTOM CAPTURED
XVIII  BILL RENSHAW WILL HELP
XIX    IN THE SECRET CAVE
XX     MAKING THE DIAMONDS
XXI    FLASHING GEMS
XXII   PRISONERS
XXIII  BROKEN BONDS
XXIV   IN GREAT PERIL
XXV    THE MOUNTAIN SHATTERED--CONCLUSION




CHAPTER I--A SUSPICIOUS JEWELER


"Well, Tom Swift, I don't believe you will make any mistake if
you buy that diamond," said the jeweler to a young man who was
inspecting a tray of pins, set with the sparkling stones. "It is
of the first water, and without a flaw."

"It certainly seems so, Mr. Track. I don't know much about
diamonds, and I'm depending on you. But this one looks to be all
right."

"Is it for yourself, Tom?"

"Er--no--that is, not exactly," and Tom Swift, the young
inventor of airships and submarines, blushed slightly.

"Ah, I see. It's for your housekeeper, Mrs. Baggert. Well, I
think she would like a pin of this sort. True, it's rather
expensive, but--"

"No, it isn't for Mrs. Baggert, Mr. Track," and Tom seemed a
bit embarrassed.

"No? Well, then, Tom--of course it's none of my affair, except
to sell you a good stone, But if this brooch is for a young lady,
I can't recommend anything nicer. Do you think you will take
this; or do you prefer to look at some others?"

"Oh, I think this will do, Mr. Track. I guess I'll take--"

Tom's Words were interrupted by a sudden action on the part of
the jeweler. Mr. Track ran from behind the showcase and hastened
toward the front door.

"Did you see him, Tom?" he cried. "I wonder which way he went?"

"Who?" asked the lad, following the shopkeeper.

"That man. He's been walking up and down in front of my place
for the last ten minutes--ever since you've been in here, in
fact, and I don't like his looks."

"What did he do?"

"Nothing much, except to stare in here as if he was sizing my
place up."

"Sizing it up?"

"Yes. Getting the lay of the land, so he or some confederate
could commit a robbery, maybe."

"A robbery? Do you think that man was a thief?"

"I don't know that he was, Tom, and yet a jeweler has to be
always on the watch, and that isn't a joke, either, Tom Swift.
Swindlers and thieves are always on the alert for a chance to rob
a jewelry store, and they work many games."

"I didn't notice any particular man looking in here," said Tom,
who still held the diamond brooch in his hand.

"Well I did," went on the jeweler. "I happened to glance out of
the window when you were looking at the pins, and I saw his eyes
staring in here in a suspicious manner. He may have a confederate
with him, and, when you're gone, one may come in, and pretend to
want to look at some diamonds. Then, when I'm showing him some,
the other man will enter, engage my attention, and the first man
will slip out with a diamond ring or pin. It's often done."

"You seem to have it all worked out, Mr. Track," observed the
lad, with a smile. "How do you know but what I'm in with a gang
of thieves, and that I'm only pretending to want to buy a diamond
pin?"

"Oh, I guess I haven't known you, Tom Swift, ever since you
were big enough to toddle, not to be sure about what you're up
to. But I certainly didn't like the looks of that man. However,
let's forget about him. He seems to have gone down the street,
and, after all, perhaps I was mistaken. Just wait until I show
you a few more styles before you decide. The young lady may like
one of these," and the jeweler went to another showcase and took
out some more trays of brooches.

"What makes you think she's a young lady, Mr. Track?" asked the
lad.

"Oh, it's easy guessing, Tom. We jewelers are good readers of
character. I can size up a young fellow coming in here to buy an
engagement or a wedding ring, as soon as he enters the door. I
suppose you'll soon be in the market for one of those, Tom, if
all the reports I hear about you are true--you and a certain Mary
Nestor."

"I--er--I think I don't care for any of these pins," spoke Tom,
quickly, with a blush. "I like the first lot best. I think I'll
take the one I had in my hand when that man alarmed you. Ha!
That's odd! What did I do with it?"

Tom looked about on the showcase, and glanced down on the
floor. He had mislaid the brooch, but the jeweler, with a laugh,
lifted it out of a tray a moment later.

"I saw you lay it down," he said. "We jewelers have to be on
the watch. Here it is. I'll just put it in a box, and--"

With an exclamation, Mr. Track gave a hasty glance toward his
big show window. Tom looked up, and saw a man's face peering in.
At the sight of it, he, too, uttered a cry of surprise.

The next instant the man outside knocked on the glass,
apparently with a piece of metal, making a sharp sound. As soon
as he heard it, the jeweler once more sprang from behind the
showcase, and leaped for the door crying:

"There's the thief! He's trying to cut a hole through my show
window and reach in and get something! It's an old trick. I'll
get the police! Tom, you stay here on guard!" and before the lad
could utter a protest, the jeweler had opened the door, and was
speeding down the street in the gathering darkness.

Tom stared about him in some bewilderment. He was left alone in
charge of a very valuable stock of jewelry, the owner of which
was racing after a supposed thief, crying:

"Police! Help! Thieves! Stop him, somebody!"

"This is a queer go," mused Tom. "I wonder who that man was? He
looked like somebody I know, and yet I can't seem to place his
face. I wonder if he was trying to rob the placer Maybe there's
another one--a confederate--around here."

This thought rather alarmed Tom, so he went to the door, and
looked up and down the street. He could see no suspicious
characters, but in the direction in which the jeweler was running
there was a little throng of people, following Mr. Track after
the man who had knocked on the window.

"I wish I was there, instead of here," mused the lad. "Still I
can't leave, or a thief might come in. Perhaps that was the game,
and one of the gang is hanging around, hoping the store will be
deserted, so he can enter and take what he likes."

Tom had read of such cases, and he at once resolved that he
would not only remain in the jewelry shop, but that he would lock
the door, which he at once proceeded to do. Then he breathed
easier.

The town of Shopton, in the outskirts of which Tom lived with
his father, and where the scene above narrated took place, was
none too well lighted at night, and the lad had his doubts about
the jeweler catching the oddly-acting man, especially as the
latter had a good start.

"But some one may head him off," reasoned Tom. "Though if they
do catch him, I don't see what they can prove against him. Hello,
here I am carrying this diamond pin around. I might lose it.
Guess I'll put it back on the tray."

He replaced in the proper receptacle one of the pins he bad
been examining when the excitement occurred.

"I wonder if Mary will like that?" he said, softly. "I hope she
does. Perhaps it would be better if she could come here herself
and pick out one--"

Tom's musing was suddenly interrupted by a sharp tattoo on the
glass door of the jewelry shop. With a start, he looked up, to
see staring in on him the face of the man who had been there
before--the man of whom the jeweler was even then in chase.

"Why--why----" stammered Tom.

The man knocked again.

"Tom--Tom Swift!" he called. "Don't you know me?"

"Know you--you?" repeated the lad.

"Yes--don't you remember Earthquake Island--how we were nearly
killed there--don't you remember Mr. Jenks?"

"Mr. Jenks?"

Tom was so startled that he could only repeat words after the
strange man, who was talking to him from outside the glass door.

"Yes, Mr. Jenks," was the reply. "Mr. Barcoe Jenks, who makes
diamonds. I saw you in the store about to buy a diamond--I wanted
to tell you not to--I'll give you a better diamond than you can
buy--I just arrived in this place--I must have a private talk
with you--Come out--I'll share a wonderful secret with you."

A flood of memory came to Tom. He did recall the very strange
man who walked around Earthquake Island--where Tom and some
friends had been marooned recently--walked about with a pocketful
of what he said were diamonds. Now Barcoe Jenks was here.

"I must see you privately, Tom Swift," went on Mr. Jenks, as he
once more tapped on the glass. "Don't waste money buying
diamonds, when you and I can make better ones. Where can I have a
talk with you? I--" Mr. Jenks suddenly looked down the dimly-lighted
street. "They're coming back!" he cried. "I don't want to
be seen. I'll call at your house later to-night--be on the watch
for me--until then--good-by!"

He waved his hand, and was gone in an instant. Tom stood
staring at the glass door. He hardly knew whether to believe it
or not--perhaps it was all a dream.

He pinched himself to make sure that he was awake. Very
substantial flesh met his thumb and finger, and he felt the pain.

"I'm awake all right," he murmured. "But Barcoe Jenks here--and
still talking that nonsense about his manufactured diamonds. I
think he must be crazy. I wonder--"

Once more the lad's musing was interrupted. He heard a murmur
of excited voices outside the store, on the street. Then the door
of the jewelry shop was tried. Mr. Track's face was pressed
against the glass.

"Open the door! Let me in, Tom!" he called. "I've caught the
thief," and as the lad unlocked the portal he saw that the
jeweler held by the arm a ragged lad. "Ah; you scoundrel! I've
caught you!" cried the diamond merchant, shaking the small chap,
while Tom looked on, more mystified than ever.




CHAPTER II--A MIDNIGHT VISIT


While Mr. Track, the jeweler, and several citizens, attracted
by the chase after the supposed thief, are crowded into the
store, anxious to hear explanations of the strange affair, I will
take the opportunity to tell you something of Tom Swift, the lad
who is to figure in this story.

Many of you have already made his acquaintance, when he has
been speeding about in his airship or fast electric runabout, and
to others we will state that our hero first made his bow to the
public in the book called "Tom Swift and His Motor-Cycle," the
initial volume of this series.

In that story there was related how Tom made the acquaintance
of an odd individual, named Mr. Wakefield Damon, who was
continually blessing himself, some part of his anatomy, or his
possessions. Mr. Damon was riding a motor-cycle, and it started
to climb a tree, to his pain and fright. Afterward Tom purchased
the machine, and had many adventures on it, including a chase
after a gang of men who had stolen a valuable patent model
belonging to Mr. Swift.

Mr. Swift, and his son were both inventors. They lived together
in a fine house in the suburbs of Shopton, New York, and with
them dwelt Mrs. Baggert, the housekeeper (for Tom's mother was
dead), and also Garret Jackson, an expert engineer, who aided the
young inventor and his father in perfecting many machines.

There was also another semi-member of the household, to wit,
Eradicate Sampson, an eccentric colored man, who owned a mule
called Boomerang. Eradicate did odd jobs around the place, and
the mule assisted his owner--that is when the mule felt like it.

In the second volume of the series, entitled "Tom Swift and His
Motor-Boat," there was related the incidents following a pursuit
after a gang of unprincipled men, who sought to get Possession of
some of Mr. Swift's patents, and it was while in this boat that
Tom, his father, and a friend, Ned Newton, rescued from Lake
Carlopa a Mr. John Sharp, who fell from his burning balloon. Mr.
Sharp was a skilled aeronaut, and after his recovery he joined
Tom in building a big airship, called the Red Cloud. Tom's
adventures in this craft are set down in detail in the third
volume of the series, called "Tom Swift and His Airship." Not
only did he and Mr. Sharp and Mr. Damon make a great trip, but
they captured some bank robbers, and incidentally cleared
themselves from the imputation of having looted the vault of
seventy-five thousand dollars, which charge was fostered by a
certain Mr. Foger, and his son Andy, who was Tom's enemy.

Not satisfied with having conquered the air, Tom and his father
set to work to gain a victory over the ocean. They built a boat
that could navigate under water, and, in the fourth book of the
series, called "Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat," you will find
an account of how they went under the ocean to secure a sunken
treasure, and the fight they had with their enemies who sought to
get it away from them. They went through many perils, not the
least of which was capture by a foreign warship.

In the fifth book, entitled "Tom Swift and His Electric
Runabout," there was told the story of a wonderfully speedy
electric automobile the young inventor constructed, and how he
made a great race in it, and saved from ruin a bank, in which his
father and Mr. Damon were interested.

Tom's ability as an inventor had, by this time, become well
known. One day, as related in a volume called "Tom Swift and His
Wireless Message," he received a letter from a Mr. Hosmer
Fenwick, of Philadelphia, asking his aid in perfecting an airship
which the resident of the Quaker City had built, but which would
not work. In his small monoplane, the Butterfly, Tom and Mr.
Damon went to Philadelphia, as Mr. Damon was acquainted with Mr.
Fenwick.

Tom carefully inspected the Whizzer which was the name of Mr.
Fenwick's airship, and, after some difficulties, succeeded in
getting the electric craft in shape to make a flight.

Tom, Mr. Damon and Mr. Fenwick started to make a trip to Cape
May in the Whizzer, but were caught in a terrific storm, and
blown out to sea. The wind became a hurricane, the airship was
disabled, and wrecked in mid-air. When it fell to earth it landed
on one of the small West Indian islands, but what was the terror
of the three castaways to find that the island was subject to
earthquake shocks.

But the earth-tremors were not the only surprise in store for
Tom and his two friends, On the island they found five men and
two ladies, who, by strange chance, had been stranded there when
the yacht Resolute, owned by Mr. George Hosbrook, was wrecked in
the same storm that disabled the airship. Mr. Hosbrook, a
millionaire, was taking a party of friends to the West Indies.

When the castaways (among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Amos Nestor,
parents of Mary Nestor, a girl of whom Tom was very fond) found
that there was danger of the island being destroyed in an
earthquake, they were in despair. There seemed no way of being
rescued, as the island was out of the line of regular ship
travel.

Tom, however, was resourceful. With the electrical apparatus
from the wrecked airship, he built a wireless plant, and sent
messages for help, broadcast over the ocean.

They were finally heard, and answered, by an operator on board
the steamer Camberanian, which came on under forced draught, and
rescued Tom and his friends. It was only just in time, for, no
sooner had they gotten aboard the steamer in lifeboats, than the
whole island was destroyed by an earthquake shock.

But Tom, the parents of Mary Nestor, Mr. Damon, Mr. Fenwick,
and all the others, got safely home. Among the survivors from the
yacht Resolute was a Mr. Barcoe Jenks, who now, most unexpectedly,
had confronted Tom through the glass window of the jewelry
store. Mr. Jenks was a peculiar man. Tom discovered this on Earthquake
Island. Mr. Jenks carried with him some stones which he said were
diamonds. He asserted that he had made them, but Tom did not know
whether or not to believe this.

When it seemed that the castaways would not be saved Mr. Jenks
offered Tom a large sum in these same diamonds for some plan
whereby he might escape the earthquakes. Mr. Jenks said there was
a certain secret in connection with the manufactured diamonds
that he had to solve--that he had been defrauded of his rights--and
that a certain Phantom Mountain figured in it. But Tom, at that time,
paid little attention to Mr. Jenks' talk. The time was to come,
however, when he would attach much importance to it.

When this story opens, Tom was more interested in Mr. Barcoe
Jenks than in any one else, and was wondering what he wanted to
see him about. The young inventor could not quite understand how
Mr. Track, the jeweler, could come back with a lad he suspected
of being a thief, when the person who had acted so suspiciously,
and who had knocked on the glass, was the queer man, Mr. Jenks.

"Yes, Tom I caught him," the jeweler went on. "I chased after
him, and nabbed him. It was hard work, too, for I'm not a good
runner. Now, you little rascal, tell me why you tried to rob my
store?" and the diamond merchant shook the lad roughly.

"I--I didn't try to rob your store," was the timid answer.

"Well, perhaps you didn't, exactly, but your confederates did.
Why did you rap on the glass, and why were you staring in so
intently?"

"I wasn't lookin' in."

"Well, if it wasn't you, it was some one just like you. But why
did you run when I raced down the street?"

"I--I don't know," and the lad began to snivel. "I--I jest ran--that's
all--'cause I see everybody else runnin', an' I thought
there was a fire."

"Ha! That's a likely story! You ran because you are guilty! I'm
going to hand you over to the police."

"Did he get anything, Mr. Track?" asked one of the men who had
joined the jeweler in the chase.

"No, I can't say that he did. He didn't get a chance. Tom Swift
was in here at the time. But this fellow was only waiting for a
chance to steal, or else to aid his confederates."

"But, if he didn't take anything, I don't see how you can have
him arrested," went on the man.

"On suspicion; that's how!" asserted Mr. Track. "Will some one
get me a constable?"

"I wouldn't call a constable," said Tom, quietly.

"Why not?"

"Because that isn't the person who looked in your window."

"How do you know, Tom?"

"Because that person came back while you were out. I saw him."

"You saw him? Did he try to steal any of my diamonds, Tom?"

"No, I guess he doesn't need any."

"Why not?" There was wonder in the jeweler's tone.

"Why, he claims he can make all he wants."

"Make diamonds?"

"So he says."

"Why, he must be crazy!" and Mr. Track laughed.

"Perhaps he is," admitted Tom, "I'm only telling you what he
says. He's the person who acted so suspiciously. He came back
here, I'm telling you, while you were running down the street,
and spoke to me."

"Oh, then you know him?" The jeweler's voice was suspicious.

"I didn't at first," admitted Tom. "But when he said he was Mr.
Barcoe Jenks, I remembered that I had met him when I was cast
away on Earthquake Island."

"And he says he can make diamonds?" asked Mr. Track.

"What did he want of you?" and the jeweler looked at Tom,
quizzically.

"He wanted to have a talk with me," replied the lad, "and when
he saw me in your store, he tried to attract my attention by
knocking on the glass."

"That's a queer way to do," declared Mr. Track. "What did he
want?"

"I don't know exactly," answered Tom, not caring to go into
details just then. "But I'm sure, Mr. Track, that you've got the
wrong person there. That lad never looked in the window, nor
knocked on the glass."

"That's right--I didn't," asserted the captive.

The jeweler looked doubtful.

"Why did you run?" he asked.

"I told you, I thought there was a fire."

"That's right, I don't believe he's the fellow you want," put
in another man. "I was standing on the corner, near White's
grocery store, and I noticed this lad. That was before I heard
you yelling, and saw you coming, and then I joined in the chase.
I guess the man you were after got away, Track."

"He did," asserted Tom. "He came back here, a little while ago,
and he ran away just now, as he heard you coming."

"Where did he go?" asked the jeweler, eagerly.

"I don't know," answered Tom. "Only you've got the wrong lad
here."

"Well, perhaps I have," admitted the diamond merchant. "You can
go, youngster, but next time, don't run if you're not guilty."

"I thought there was a fire," repeated the lad, as he hurriedly
slipped through the crowd in the store, and disappeared down the
dark street.

"Well, I guess the excitement's all over, and, anyhow, you
weren't robbed, Track," said a stout man, as he left the store.
The others soon followed, and Tom and the jeweler were once more
alone in the shop.

"Can you tell me something about this man, Tom?" asked Mr.
Track, eagerly. "So he really makes diamonds. Who is he?"

"I'd rather not tell--just now," replied the young inventor. "I
don't take much stock in him, myself. I think he's visionary. He
may think he has made diamonds, and he may have made some stones
that look like them. I'm very skeptical."

"If you could bring me some, Tom, I could soon tell whether
they were real or not. Can you?"

The lad shook his head.

"I don't expect to see Mr. Jenks again," he said. "He talked
rather wildly about waiting to meet me, but that man is odd--crazy,
perhaps--and I don't imagine I'll see him. He's harmless,but he's
eccentric. Well, there was quite some excitement for a time."

"I should say there was. I thought it was a plan to rob me,"
and the jeweler began putting away the diamond pins. In fact, the
excitement so filled the minds of himself and Tom that neither of
them thought any more of the object of the lad's visit, and the
young inventor departed without purchasing the pin he had come after.

It was not until he was out on the street, walking toward his
home, that the matter came back to his mind.

"I declare!" he exclaimed. "I didn't get that pin for Mary,
after all! Well, never mind, I have a week until her birthday,
and I can get it to-morrow."

He walked rapidly toward home, for the weather looked
threatening, and Tom had no umbrella. He was musing on the
happenings of the evening when he reached his house. His father
was out, as was Garret Jackson, the engineer; and Mrs. Baggert,
the housekeeper, was entertaining a lady in the sitting-room, so,
as Tom was rather tired, he went directly to his own room, and, a
little later got into bed.

It was shortly after midnight when he was awakened by hearing a
rattling on the window of his room. The reason he was able to fix
the time so accurately was because as soon as he awakened he
pressed a little electric button, and it illuminated the face of
a small clock on his bureau. The hands pointed to five minutes
past twelve.

"Humph! That sounds like hail!" exclaimed Tom, as he arose, and
looked out of the casement. "I wonder if any of the skylights of
the airship shed are open? There might be some damage. Guess I'd
better go out and take a look."

He had mentally reasoned this far before he had looked out, and
when he saw that the moon was brightly shining in a clear sky, he
was a bit surprised.

"Why--that wasn't hail," he murmured. "It isn't even raining. I
wonder what it was?"

He was answered a moment later, for a shower of fine gravel
from the walk flew up and clattered against the glass. With a
start, Tom looked down, and saw a dark figure standing under an
apple tree.

"Hello! Who's there?" called the lad, after he had raised the
sash.

"It's I--Mr. Jenks," was the surprising answer.

"Mr. Jenks?" repeated Tom.

"Yes--Barcoe Jenks, of Earthquake Island."

"You here? What do you want?"

"Can you come down?"

"What for?"

"Tom Swift, I've something very important to tell you," was the
answer in a low voice, yet which carried to Tom's ears perfectly.
"Do you want to make a fortune for yourself--and for me?"

"How?" Tom was beginning to think more and more that Mr. Jenks
was crazy.

"How? By helping me to discover the secret of Phantom Mountain,
where the diamonds are made! Will you?"

"Wait a minute--I'll come down," answered Tom, and he began to
grope for his clothes in the dim light of the little electric
lamp.

What was the secret of Phantom Mountain? What did Mr. Jenks
really want? Could he make diamonds? Tom asked himself these
questions as he hastily dressed to go down to his midnight
visitor.




CHAPTER III--A STRANGE STORY


"Well, Mr. Jenks," began Tom, when he had descended to the
garden, and greeted the man who had acted so strangely on
Earthquake Island, "this is rather an odd time for a visit."

"I realize that, Tom Swift," was the answer, and the lad
noticed that the man spoke much more calmly than he had that
evening at the jewelry shop. "I realize that, but I have to be
cautious in my movements."

"Why?"

"Because there are enemies on my track. If they thought I was
seeking aid to discover the secret of Phantom Mountain, my life
might pay the forfeit."

"Are you in earnest, Mr. Jenks?"

"I certainly am, and, while I must apologize for awakening you
at this unseemly hour, and for the mysterious nature of my visit,
if you will let me tell my story, you will see the need of
secrecy."

"Oh, I don't mind being awakened," answered Tom, good-naturedly,
"but I will be frank with you, Mr. Jenks. I hardly can believe what
you have stated to me several times--that you know how diamonds
can be made."

"I can prove it to you," was the quiet answer.

"Yes, I know. For centuries men have tried to discover the
secret of transmuting base metals into gold, and how to make
diamonds by chemical means. But they have all been failures."

"All except this process--the process used at Phantom
Mountain," insisted the queer man. "Do you want to hear my
story?"

"I have no objections."

"Then let me warn you," went on Mr. Jenks, "that if you do hear
it, you will be so fascinated by it that I am sure you will want
to cast your lot in with mine, and aid me to get my rights, and
solve the mystery. And I also want to warn you that if you do,
there is a certain amount of danger connected with it."

"I'm used to danger," answered Tom, quietly. "Let me hear your
story. But first explain how you came to come here, and why you
acted so strangely at the jewelry store."

"Willingly. I tried to attract your attention at the store,
because I saw that you were going to buy a diamond, and I didn't
want you to."

"Why not?"

"Because I want to present you with a beautiful stone, that
will answer your purpose as well or better, than any one you
could buy. That will prove my story better than any amount of
words or argument. But I could not attract your attention without
also attracting that of the jeweler. He became suspicious, gave
chase, and I thought it best to vanish. I hope no one was made to
suffer for what may have been my imprudence."

"No, the lad whom Mr. Track caught was let go. But how did you
happen to come to Shopton?"

"To see you. I got your address from the owner of the yacht
Resolute. I knew that if there was one person who could aid me to
recover my rights, it would be you, Tom Swift. Will you help me?
Will you come with me to discover the secret of Phantom Mountain?
If we go, it will have to be in an airship, for in no other way,
I think, can we come upon the place, as it is closely guarded.
Will you come? I will pay you well."

"Perhaps I had better hear your story," said the young
inventor. "But first let me suggest that we move farther away
from the house. My father, or Mr. Jackson, or the housekeeper,
may hear us talking, and it may disturb them. Come with me to my
private shop," and Tom led the way to a small building where he
did experimental work. He unlocked the door with a key he
carried, turned on the lights, which were run by a storage
battery, and motioned Mr. Jenks to a seat.

"Now I'll hear your story," said Tom.

"I'll make it as short as possible," went on the queer man. "To
begin with, it is now several years ago since a poorly dressed
stranger applied to me one night for money enough to get a meal
and a bed to sleep in. I was living in New York City at the time,
and this was midnight, as I was returning home from my club.

"I was touched by the man's appearance, and gave him some
money. He asked for my card, saying he would repay me some day. I
gave it to him, little thinking I would hear from the man again.
But I did. He called at my apartments about a week later, saying
he had secured work as an expert setter of diamonds, and wanted
to repay me. I did not want to take his money, but the fact that
such a sorry looking specimen of manhood as he had been when I
aided him, was an expert handler of gems interested me. I talked
with the man, and he made a curious statement.

"This man, who gave his name as Enos Folwell, said he knew a place
where diamonds could be made, partly in a scientific manner, and
partly by the forces of nature. I laughed at him, but he told me so
many details that I began to believe him. He said he and some other
friends of his, who were diamond cutters, had a plant in the midst of
the Rocky Mountains, where they had succeeded in making several small,
but very perfect diamonds. They had come to the end of their rope,
though, so to speak, because they could not afford to buy the materials
needed. Folwell said that he and his companions had temporarily
separated, had left the mountain where they made diamonds, and agreed
to meet there later when they had more money with which to purchase
materials. They had all agreed to go out into civilization, and work
for enough funds to enable them to go on with their diamond making.

"I hardly knew whether to believe the man or not, but he
offered proof. He had several small, but very perfect diamonds
with him, and he gave them to me, to have tested in any way I
desired.

"I promised to look into the matter, and, as I was quite
wealthy, as, in fact I am now, and if I found that the stones he
gave me were real, I said I might invest some money in the
plant."

"Were the diamonds good?" asked Tom, who was beginning to be
interested.

"They were--stones of the first water, though small. An expert
gem merchant, to whom I took them, said he had never seen any
diamonds like them, and he wanted to know where I got them. Of
course I did not tell him.

"To make a long story short, I saw Folwell again, told him to
communicate with his companions, and to tell them that I would
agree to supply the cash needed, if I could share in the diamond
making. To this they agreed, and, after some weeks spent in
preparation, a party of us set out for Phantom Mountain."

"Phantom Mountain?" interrupted Tom. "Where is it?"

"I don't know, exactly--it's somewhere in the Rockies, but the
exact location is a mystery. That is why I need your help. You
will soon understand the reason. Well, as I said, myself, Folwell
and the others, who were not exactly prepossessing sort of men,
started west. When we got to a small town, called Indian Ridge,
near Leadville, Colorado, the men insisted that I must now
proceed in secret, and consent to be blindfolded, as they were
not yet ready to reveal the secret of the place where they made
the diamonds.

"I did not want to agree to this, but they insisted, and I gave
in, foolishly perhaps. At any rate I was blindfolded one night,
placed in a wagon, and we drove off into the mountains. After
traveling for some distance I was led, still blindfolded, up a
steep trail.

"When the bandage was taken off my eyes I saw that I was in a
large cave. The men were with me, and they apologized for the
necessity that caused them to blindfold me. They said they were
ready to proceed with the making of diamonds, but I must promise
not to seek to discover the secret until they gave me permission,
nor was I to attempt to leave the cave. I had to agree.

"Next they demanded that I give them a large sum, which I had
promised when they showed me, conclusively, that they could make
diamonds. I refused to do this until I had seen some of the
precious stones, and they agreed that this was fair, but said I
would have to wait a few days.

"Well, I waited, and, all that while, I was virtually a
prisoner in the cave. All I could learn was that it was in the
midst of a great range, near the top, and that one of the peaks
was called Phantom Mountain. Why, I did not learn until later.

"At last one night, during a terrific thunder storm, the
leader of the diamond makers--Folwell--announced that I could now
see the stones made. The men had been preparing their chemicals
for some days previous. I was taken into a small chamber of the
cave, and there saw quite a complicated apparatus. Part of it was
a great steel box, with a lever on it.

"We will let you make some diamonds for yourself," Folwell said
to me, and he directed me to pull the lever of the box, at a
certain signal. The signal came, just as a terrific crash of
thunder shook the very mountain inside of which we were. The box
of steel got red-hot, and when it cooled off it was opened, and
was given a handful of white stones."

"Were they diamonds?" asked Tom, eagerly.

Mr. Jenks held out one hand. In the palm glittered a large
stone--ostensibly a diamond. In the rays of the moon it showed
all the colors of the rainbow--a beautiful gem. "That is one of
the stones I made--or rather that I supposed I had made," went on
Mr. Jenks. "It is one of several I have, but they have not all
been cut and polished as has this one.

"Naturally I was much impressed by what I saw, and, after I had
made certain tests which convinced me that the stones in the
steel box were diamonds, I paid over the money as I had promised.
That was my undoing."

"How?"

"As soon as the men got the cash, they had no further use for
me. The next I remember is eating a rude meal, while we discussed
the future of making diamonds. I knew nothing more until I found
myself back in the small hotel at Indian Ridge, whence I had gone
some time previous, with the men, to the cave in the mountain."

"What happened?" asked Tom, much surprised by the unexpected
outcome of the affair. "I had been tricked, that was all! As soon
as the men had my money they had no further use for me. They did
not want me to learn the secret of their diamond making, and they
drugged me, carried me away from the cave, and left me in the
hotel."

"Didn't you try to find the cave again?"

"I did, but without avail. I spent some time in the Rockies,
but no one could tell where Phantom Mountain was; in fact, few
had heard of it, and I was nearly lost searching for it.

"I came back East, determined to get even. I had given the men
a very large sum of money, and, in exchange, they had given me
several diamonds. Probably the stones are worth nearly as much as
the money I invested, but I was cheated, for I was promised an
equal share in the profits. These were denied me, and I was
tricked. I determined to be revenged, or at least to discover the
secret of making diamonds. It is my right."

"I agree with you," spoke Tom.

"But, up to the time I met you on Earthquake Island, I could
form no plan for discovering Phantom Mountain, and learning the
secret of the diamond makers," went on Mr. Jenks. "I carried the
gems about with me, as you doubtless saw when we were on the
island. But I knew I needed an airship in which to fly over the
mountains, and pick out the location of the cave where the
diamonds are made."

"But how can you locate it, if you were blindfolded when you
were taken there, Mr. Jenks?"

"I forgot to tell you that, on our journey into the mountains,
and just before I was carried into the cave, I managed to raise
one corner of the bandage. I caught a glimpse of a very
peculiarly shaped cliff--it is like a great head, standing out in
bold relief against the moonlight, when I saw it. That head of
rock is near the cave. It may be the landmark by which we can
locate Phantom Mountain."

"Perhaps," admitted the young inventor.

"What I want to know is this," went on Mr. Jenks. "Will you go
with me on this quest--go in your airship to discover the secret
of the diamond makers? If you will, I will share with you
whatever diamonds we can discover, or make; besides paying all
expenses. Will you go, Tom Swift?"

The young inventor did not know what to answer. How far was Mr.
Jenks to be trusted? Were the stones he had real diamonds? Was
his story, fantastical as it sounded--true? Would it be safe for
Tom to go?

The lad asked himself these questions. Mr. Jenks saw his
hesitation.

"Here," said the strange man, "I will prove what I say. Take
this diamond. I intended it for you, anyhow, for what you did for
me on Earthquake Island. Take it, and--and give it to the person
for whom you were about to purchase a diamond to-night. But,
first of all, take it to a gem expert, and get his opinion. That
will prove the truth of what I say, Tom Swift, and I feel sure
that you will cast your lot in with mine, and help me to discover
the secret of Phantom Mountain, and aid me to get my rights from
the diamond makers!"




CHAPTER IV--ANDY FOGER GETS A FRIGHT


Tom Swift considered a few minutes. On the face of it, the
proposition appealed to him. He had been home some time now after
his adventures on Earthquake Island, and he was beginning to long
for more excitement. The search for the mysterious mountain, and
the cave of the diamond makers, might offer a new field for him.
But there came to him a certain distrust of Mr. Jenks.

"I don't like to doubt your word," began Tom, slowly, "but you
know, Mr. Jenks, that some of the greatest chemists have tried in
vain to make diamonds; or, at best, they have made only tiny
ones. To think that any man, or set of men, made real diamonds as
large as the ones you have, doesn't seem--well--" and Tom
hesitated.

"You mean you can hardly believe me?" asked Mr. Jenks.

"I guess that's it," assented Tom.

"I don't blame you a bit!" exclaimed the odd man. "In fact, I
didn't believe it when they told me they could make diamonds. But
they proved it to me. I'm ready now to prove it to you."

"I'll tell you what I'll do. Here's this one stone, cut ready
for setting. Here's another, uncut," and Mr. Jenks drew from his
pocket what looked like a piece of crystal. "Take them to any
jeweler," he resumed--"to the one in whose place I saw you to-night.
I'll abide by the verdict you get, and I'll come here to-morrow
night, and hear what you have to say."

"Why do you come at night?" asked Tom, thinking there was
something suspicious in that.

"Because my life might be in danger if I was seen talking to
you, and showing you diamonds in the daytime--especially just
now.

"Why at this particular time?"

"For the reason that the diamond makers are on my trail. As
long as I remained quiet, after their shabby treatment of me, and
did not try to discover their secret, they were all right. But,
after I realized that I had been cheated out of my rights, and
when I began to make an investigation, with a view to discovering
their secret whereabouts, I received mysterious and anonymous
warnings to stop."

"But I did not. I came East, and tried to get help to discover
the cave of the diamond makers, but I was unsuccessful. I needed
an airship, as I--said, and no person who could operate one,
would agree to go with me on the quest. Again I received a
warning to drop all search for the diamond makers, but I
persisted, and about a week ago I found I was being shadowed."

"Shadowed; by whom?" asked Tom.

"By a man I never remember seeing, but who, I have no doubt, is
one of the diamond-making gang."

"Do you think he means you harm?"

"I'm sure of it. That is the reason I have to act so in secret,
and come to see you at night. I don't want those scoundrels to
find out what I am about to do. On my return from Earthquake
Island, I again endeavored to interest an airship man in my plan,
but he evidently thought me insane. Then I thought of you, as I
had done before, but I was afraid you, too, would laugh at my
proposition. However, I decided to come here, and I did. It
seemed almost providential that my first view of you was in a
jewelry shop, looking at diamonds. I took it as a good omen. Now
it remains with you. May I call here to-morrow night, and get
your answer?"

Tom Swift made up his mind quickly. After all it would be easy
enough to find out if the diamonds were real. If they were, he
could then decide whether or not to go with Mr. Jenks on the
mysterious quest. So he answered:

"I'll consider the matter, Mr. Jenks. I'll meet you here to-morrow
night. In the meanwhile, for my own satisfaction, I'll let
an expert look at these stones."

"Get the greatest diamond expert in the world, and he'll
pronounce them perfect!" predicted the odd man. "Now I'll bid you
goodnight, and be going. I'll be here at this time to-morrow."

As Mr. Jenks turned aside there was a movement among the trees
in the orchard, and a shadowy figure was seen hurrying away.

"Who's that?" asked the diamond man, in a hoarse whisper. "Did
you see that, Tom Swift? Some one was here--listening to what I
said! Perhaps it was the man who has been shadowing me!"

"I think not. I guess it was Eradicate Sampson, a colored man
who does work for us," said Tom. "Is that you, Rad?" he called.

"Yais, sah, Massa Tom, heah I is!" answered the voice of the
negro, but it came from an entirely different direction than that
in which the shadowy figure had been seen.

"Where are you, Rad?" called the young inventor.

"Right heah," was the reply, and the colored man came from the
direction of the stable. "I were jest out seein' if mah mule
Boomerang were all right. Sometimes he's restless, an' don't
sleep laik he oughter."

"Then that wasn't you over in the orchard?" asked Tom, in some
uneasiness.

"No, sah, I ain't been in de orchard. I were sleepin' in mah
shack, till jest a few minutes ago, when I got up, an' went in t'
see Boomerang. I had a dream dat some coon were tryin t' steal
him, an' it sort ob 'sturbed me, laik."

"If it wasn't your man, it was some one else," said Mr. Jenks,
decidedly.

"We'll have a look!" exclaimed Tom. "Here, Rad, come over and
scurry among those trees. We just saw some one sneaking around."

"I'll sure do dat!" cried the colored man. "Mebby it were
somebody arter Boomerang! I'll find 'em."

"I don't believe it was any one after the mule," murmured Mr.
Jenks, "but it certainly was some one--more likely some one after
me."

The three made a hasty search among the trees, but the intruder
had vanished, leaving no trace. They went out into the road,
which the moon threw into bold relief along its white stretch,
but there was no figure scurrying away.

"Whoever it was, is gone," spoke Tom. "You can go back to bed,
Rad," for the colored man, of late, had been sleeping in a shack
on the Swift premises.

"And I guess it's time for me to go, too," added Mr. Jenks.
"I'll be here to-morrow night, Tom, and I hope your answer will
be favorable."

Tom did not sleep well the remainder of the night, for his
fitful slumbers were disturbed by dreams of enormous caves,
filled with diamonds, with dark, shadowy figures trying to put
him into a red-hot steel box. Once he awakened with a start, and
put his hand under his pillow to feel if the two stones Mr. Jenks
had given him, were still there. They had not been disturbed.

Tom made up his mind to find out if the stones were really
diamonds, before saying anything to his father about the chance
of going to seek Phantom Mountain. And the young inventor wished
to get the opinion of some other jeweler than Mr. Track--at
least, at first.

"Though if this one proves to be a good gem, I'll have Mr.
Track set it in a brooch, and give it to Mary for her birthday,"
decided the young inventor. "Guess I'll take a run over to
Chester in the Butterfly, and see what one of the jewelers there
has to say."

In addition to his big airship, Red Cloud, Tom owned a small,
swift monoplane, which he called Butterfly. This had been damaged
by Andy Foger just before Tom left on the trip that ended at
Earthquake Island, but the monoplane had been repaired, and Andy
had left town, not having returned since.

Telling his father that he was going off on a little business
trip, which he often did in his aeroplane, Tom, with the aid of
Mr. Jackson, the engineer, wheeled the Butterfly out of its shed.

Adjusting the mechanism, and seeing that it was in good shape,
Tom took his place in one of the two seats, for the monoplane
would carry two. Mr. Jackson then spun the propellers, and, with
a crackle and roar the motor started. Over the ground ran the
dainty, little aeroplane, until, having momentum enough, Tom
tilted the wing planes and the machine sailed up into the air.

Rising about a thousand feet, and circling about several times
to test the wind currents, Tom headed his craft toward Chester,
a city about fifty miles from Shopton. In his pocket, snugly
tucked away, were the two stones Mr. Jenks had given him.

It was not long before Tom saw, looming up in the distance the
church spires and towering factory chimneys of Chester, for his
machine was a speedy one, and could make ninety miles an hour
when driven. But now a slower speed satisfied our hero.

"I'll just drop down outside of the city," he reasoned, "for
too much of a crowd gathers when I land in the street. Besides I
might frighten horses, and then, too, it's hard to get a good
start from the street. I'll leave it in some barn until I want to
go back."

Tom sent his craft down, in order to pick out a safe place for
a landing. He was then over the suburbs of the city, and was
following the line of a straight country road.

"Looks like a good place there," he murmured. "I'll shut off
the motor, and vol-plane down."

Suiting the action to the word, Tom shut off his power. The
little craft dipped toward the ground, but the lad threw up the
forward planes, and caught a current of air that sent him
skimming along horizontally.

As he got nearer to the ground, he saw the figure of a lad
riding a bicycle along the country highway. Something about the
figure struck Tom as being familiar, and he recognized the
cyclist a moment later.

"It's Andy Foger!" said Tom, in a whisper. "I wondered where he
had been keeping himself since he damaged the Butterfly.
Evidently he doesn't dare venture back to Shopton. Well, here's
where I give him a scare."

Tom's monoplane was making no more noise, now, than a soaring
bird. He was gliding swiftly toward the earth, and, with the plan
in his mind of administering some sort of punishment to the
bully, he aimed the machine directly at him.

Nearer and nearer shot the monoplane, as quietly as a sheet of
paper might fall. Andy pedaled on, never looking up nor behind
him, A moment later, as Tom threw up his headplanes, to make his
landing more easy, and just as he swooped down at one side of the
cyclist, our hero let out a most alarming yell, right into Andy's
ear.

"Now I've got you!" he shouted. "I'll teach you to slash my
aeroplane! Come with me!"

Andy gave one look at the white bird-like apparatus that had
flown up beside him so noiselessly, and, being too frightened to
recognize Tom's voice, must have thought that he had been
overtaken by some supernatural visitor.

Andy gave a yell like an Indian, about to do a stage scalping
act, and fairly dived over the handlebars of his bicycle,
sprawling in a heap on the dusty road.

"I guess that will hold you for a while," observed Tom, grimly,
as he put on the ground-brake and brought his monoplane to a stop
not far from the fallen rider.




CHAPTER V--A MYSTERIOUS MAN


For several minutes Andy Foger did not arise. He remained
prostrate in the dust, and Tom, observing him, thought perhaps
the bully might have been seriously injured. But, a little later,
Andy cautiously raised his head, and inquired in a frightened
voice:

"Is it--is it gone?"

"Is what gone?" asked Tom, grimly.

At the sound of his voice, Andy looked up. "Was that you, Tom
Swift?" he demanded. "Did you knock me off my wheel?"

"My monoplane and I together did," was the reply; "or, rather,
we didn't. It was the nervous reaction caused by your fright, and
the knowledge that you had done wrong, that made you jump over
the handlebars. That's the scientific explanation."

"You--you did it!" stammered Andy, getting to his feet. He
wasn't hurt much, Tom thought.

"Have it your own way," resumed our hero. "Did you think it was
a hob-goblin in a chariot of fire after you, Andy?"

"Huh! Never mind what I thought! I'll have you arrested for
this!"

"Will you? Delighted, as the boys say. Hop in my airship and
I'll take you right into town. And when I get you there I'll make
a charge of malicious mischief against you, for breaking the
propeller of the Butterfly and slashing her wings. I've mended
her up, however, so she goes better than ever, and I can take you
to the police station in jig time. Want to come, Andy?"

This was too much for the bully. He knew that Tom would have a
clear case against him, and he did not dare answer. Instead he
shuffled over to where his wheel lay, picked it up, and rode
slowly off.

"Good riddance," murmured Tom. He looked about, and saw that he
was near a house, in the rear of which was a good-sized barn.
"Guess I'll ask if I can leave the Butterfly there," he murmured,
and, ringing the doorbell, he was greeted by a man.

"I'll pay you if you'll let me store my machine in the barn a
little while, until I go into the city, and return," spoke the
lad.

"Indeed, you're welcome to leave it there without pay," was the
answer. "I'm interested in airships, and, I'll consider it a
favor if you'll let me look yours over while it's here."

Tom readily agreed, and a few minutes later he had caught a
trolley going into the city. He was soon in one of the largest
jewelry stores of Chester.

"I'd like to get an expert opinion as to whether or not those
stones are diamonds," spoke Tom, to the polite clerk who came up
to wait on him, and our hero handed over the two gems which Mr.
Jenks had given him. "I'm willing to pay for the appraisement, of
course," the young inventor added, as he saw the clerk looking
rather doubtfully at him, for Tom had on a rough suit, which he
always donned when he flew in his monoplane.

"I'll turn them over to our Mr. Porter, a gem expert," said the
clerk. "Please be seated."

The young man disappeared into a private office with the
stones, and Tom waited. He wondered if he was going to have his
trouble for his pains. Presently two elderly gentlemen came from
the little room, on the glass door of which appeared the word
"Diamonds."

"Who brought these stones in?" asked one of the men, evidently
the proprietor, from the deference paid him by the clerk. The
latter motioned to Tom.

"Will you kindly step inside here?" requested the elderly man.
When the door was closed, Tom found himself in a room which was
mostly taken up with a bench for the display of precious stones,
a few chairs, and some lights arranged peculiarly; while various
scales and instruments stood on a table.

"You wished an opinion on--on these?" queried the proprietor of
the place. Tom noticed at once that the word "diamonds" was not
used.

"I wanted to find out if they were of any value," he said. "Are
they diamonds?"

"Would you mind stating where you got them?" asked the other of
the two men.

"Is that necessary?" inquired the lad. "I came by them in a
legitimate manner, if that's what you mean, and I can satisfy you
on that point. I am willing to pay for any information you may
give me as to their value."

"Oh, it isn't that," the proprietor hastened to assure him.
"But these are diamonds of such a peculiar kind, so perfect and
without a flaw, that I wondered from what part of the world they
came."

"Then they are diamonds?" asked Tom, eagerly.

"The finest I have ever tested!" declared the other man,
evidently Mr. Porter, the gem expert. "They are a joy to look at,
Mr. Roberts," he went on, turning to the proprietor. "If it is
possible to get a supply of them you would be justified in asking
half as much again as we charge for African or Indian diamonds.
The Kimberly products are not to be compared to these," and he
looked at the two stones in his hand--the one cut, and sparkling
brilliantly, the other in a rough state.

"Do you care to state where these diamonds came from?" asked
Mr. Roberts, looking critically at Tom.

"I had rather not," answered the lad. "It is enough for me to
know that they are diamonds. How much is your charge?"

"Nothing," was the unexpected answer. "We are very glad to have
had the opportunity of seeing such stones. Is there any chance of
getting any more?"

"Perhaps," answered Tom, as he accepted the gems which the
expert held out to him.

"Then might we speak for a supply?" went on Mr. Roberts,
eagerly. "We will pay you the full market price."

"What is the value of these stones?" asked Tom.

Mr. Roberts looked at his gem expert.

"It is difficult to say," was the answer of the man who had
handed Tom the gems. "They are so far superior to the usual run
of diamonds, that I feel justified in saying that the cut one
would bring fifteen hundred dollars, anywhere. In fact, I would
offer that for it. The other is larger, though what it would lose
in cutting would be hard to say. I should say it was worth two
thousand dollars as it is now."

"Thirty-five hundred dollars for these two stones!" exclaimed
Tom.

"They are worth every cent of it," declared Mr. Roberts. "Do
you want to sell?"

Tom shook his head. He could scarcely believe the good news.
Mr. Jenks had told the truth. Now the young inventor could go
with him to seek the diamond makers.

"Can you get any more of these?" went on Mr. Roberts.

"I think so--that is I don't know--I am going to try," answered
the lad.

"Then if you succeed I wish you would sell us some," fairly
begged the proprietor of the store.

"I will," promised Tom, but he little knew what lay before him,
or perhaps he would not have made that promise. He thanked the
diamond merchant for his kindness, and arranged to have the cut
stone set in a pin for Miss Nestor. The uncut gem Tom took away
with him.

Thinking of many things, and wondering how best to start in his
airship Red Cloud for the mysterious Phantom Mountain, Tom
hurried back to where he had left the monoplane, wheeled it out,
and was soon soaring through the air toward Shopton.

"I think I'll go with Mr. Jenks," he decided, as he prepared
for a landing in the open space near his aeroplane shed. "It will
be a risky trip, perhaps, but I've taken risks before. When Mr.
Jenks comes to-night I'll tell him I'll help him to get his
rights, and discover the secret of the diamond makers."

As Tom was wheeling the Butterfly into the shed, Eradicate came
out to help him.

"Dere's a gen'man here to see yo', Massa Tom," said the colored
man.

"Who is it?"

"I dunno. He keep askin' ef yo' de lad what done bust up
Earthquake Island, an' send lightnin' flashes up to de sky, an'
all sech questions laik dat."

"It isn't Mr. Damon; is it, Rad? He hasn't been around in some
time."

"No, Massa Tom, it ain't him. I knows dat blessin' man good an'
proper. I jest wish he'd bless mah mule Boomerang some day, an'
take some oh de temper out ob him. No, sah, it ain't Massa Damon.
De gen'man's in de airship shed waitin' fo' you."

"In the airship shed! No strangers are allowed in there, Rad."

"I knows it, Massa Tom, but he done persisted his se'f inter
it, an' he wouldn't come out when I told him; an' your pa an' Mr.
Jackson ain't home."

"I'll see about this," exclaimed Tom, striding to the large
shed, where the Red Cloud was kept. As he entered it he saw a man
looking over the wonderful craft.

"Did you want to see me?" asked Tom, sharply, for he did not
like strangers prowling around.

"I did, and I apologize for entering here, but I am interested
in airships, and I thought you might want to hire a pilot. I am
in need of employment, and I have had considerable to do with
balloons and aeroplanes, but never with an airship like this,
which combines the two features. Do you wish to hire any one."

"No, I don't!" replied Tom, sharply, for he did not like the
looks of the man.

"I was told that you did," was the rather surprising answer.

"Who told you?"

The man looked all around the shed, before replying, as if
fearful of being overheard. Then, stepping close to Tom, he
whispered:

"Mr. Jenks told me!"

"Mr. Jenks?" Tom could not conceal his astonishment.

"Yes. Mr. Barcoe Jenks. But I did not come here to merely ask
you for employment. I would like to hire out to you, but the real
object of my visit was to say this to you."

The man approached still closer to Tom, and, in a lower voice,
and one that could scarcely be heard, he fairly hissed:

"Don't go with Barcoe Jenks to seek the diamond makers!"

Then, before Tom could put out a hand to detain him, had the
lad so wished, the man turned suddenly, and fairly ran from the
shed.




CHAPTER VI-MR. DAMON IS ON HAND


The young inventor stood almost spellbound for a few moments.
Then recovering himself he made a dash for the door through which
the mysterious man had disappeared. Tom saw him sprinting down
the road, and was half-minded to take after him, but a cooler
thought warned him that he had better not.

"He may be one of those men who are on Mr. Jenks' trail,"
reasoned Tom, in which case it might not be altogether safe to
attempt to stop him, and make him explain. Or he may be a
lunatic, and in that case it wouldn't be altogether healthy to
interfere with him.

"I'll just let him go, and tell Mr. Jenks about him when he
comes to-night. But I must warn Rad never to let him in here
again. He might damage the airship."

Calling to the colored man, Tom pointed to the stranger, who
was almost out of sight down the road, and said earnestly:

"Rad, do you see that fellow?"

"I sho do, Massa Tom, but I sorter has t' strain my eyes t' do
it. He's goin' laik my mule Boomerang does when he's comm' home
t' dinnah."

"That's right, Rad. Well, never let that man set foot inside
our fence again! If he comes, and I'm home, call me. If I'm away,
call dad or Mr. Jackson, and if you're here alone, drive him
away, somehow."

"I will, Massa Tom!" exclaimed the colored man, earnestly, "an'
if I can't do it alone, I'll get Boomerang t' help. Once let dat
ar' mule git his heels on a pusson, an' dat pusson ain't goin' t'
come bodderin' around any mo'--that is, not right away."

"I believe you, Rad. Well, keep a lookout for him, and don't
let him in," and with that Tom entered the house to think over
matters. They were beginning to assume an aspect he did not
altogether like. Not that Tom was afraid of danger, but he
preferred to meet it in the open, and the warning, or threat, of
the mysterious man disquieted him.

When Mr. Swift came home, a little later, his son told him of
the midnight interview with Mr. Jenks, for, up to this time, the
aged inventor was unaware of it, and Tom also gave an account of
the diamonds, speaking of their value.

"And do you propose to go to Phantom Mountain, in search of the
makers of these gems, Tom?" asked Mr. Swift.

"I had about decided to do so, dad."

"And you're going in the Red Cloud?'

"Yes."

"Who are going with you?"

"Well, Mr. Jenks will go, of course, and I've no doubt but that
if I mention the prospective trip to Mr. Damon, that he'll bless
his skating cap, or something like that, and come along."

"I suppose so, Tom, and I'd like to have you take him. But I
think you'll need some one else."

"Because, from what you have told me, you are going out to a
dangerous part of the country, and you may have to deal with
unscrupulous men. Three of you are hardly enough to cope with
them. You ought to have at least another member of your party. If
I was not busy on my invention of a new wireless motor I would go
along, but I can't leave. You might take Mr. Jackson."

"No, you need him here to help you, dad."

"How about Eradicate?"

Tom smiled.

"Rad would get homesick for his mule Boomerang, and I'd have to
bring him back just when we'd found the diamonds," replied the
young inventor. "No, we'll have to think of some one else. I'll
ask Mr. Damon, and then I'll consider matters further. I expect
to see Mr. Jenks to-night, and he may have some one in mind."

"Perhaps that will be a good plan. Well, Tom, I trust you will
take good care of yourself, and not run into unnecessary danger.
Is the Red Cloud in good shape for the voyage?"

"It needs looking over. I'm going to get right at it."

"It's a pretty indefinite sort of a quest you're going on, Tom,
my son. How do you expect to find Phantom Mountain?"

"Well, it's going to be quite a task. In the first place we'll
head for Leadville, Colorado, and then we'll go to Indian Ridge
and make some inquiries. We may get on the track of the place
that way. If we don't, why I'll take the airship up as high as is
necessary and sort of prospect until we see that big cliff that's
shaped like a head. That will give us something to go by."

"Well, do the best you can. If you can discover the secret of
making diamonds it will be a valuable one."

"I guess it will, dad; and Mr. Jenks is entitled to know it,
for he paid his good money to that end. He has promised to go
halves with me, as payment for the use of the airship, and I must
say the two diamonds he gave me last night have proved very
valuable."

"Two diamonds, Tom? You only showed me one, an uncut gem"; and
Mr. Swift looked at his son.

"Oh, the other--er--the other is--I left it with a jeweler,"
and Tom blushed a trifle, as he thought of the present he
contemplated making to Mary Nestor.

That afternoon, as Tom was out in the shed of the Red Cloud
looking over the airship, to see what would be necessary to do to
it in order to get it in shape for a long trip, he heard voices
outside.

"Yes--yes, I know the way in perfectly well," he caught. "You
needn't bother to come, my good fellow. Just step this way, and
I'll show you something worth seeing."

"I wonder if it's that mysterious man coming back?" thought
Tom. He dropped the tool he was using, and hurried to the door.
As he approached it he heard the voice continue.

"Why bless my shoe laces, Mr. Parker! You'll see a wonderful
airship, I promise you. Wonderful! Bless my hatband, but I hope
Tom is here!"

"Mr. Damon!" exclaimed our hero, as he recognized the tones of
his eccentric friend. "But who is with him?"

A moment later he caught sight of the gentleman who was always
blessing himself, or something. Behind him stood another man,
whose features Tom could not see plainly.

"Hello, Tom Swift!" called Mr. Damon. "Looking over the Red
Cloud, eh? Does that mean you're off on another trip?"

"I guess it does," answered the lad.

"Where to this time? if I may ask."

"I'm thinking of going off to the mountains to find a band of
men engaged in making diamonds," replied Tom.

"Making diamonds! Bless my finger ring! Making diamonds! A trip
to the mountains! Bless my disposition! but do you know I'd like
to go with you!"

"I was thinking of asking you, Mr. Damon."

"Were you? Bless my heart, I'm glad you thought of me. You
don't by any possible chance want another person; do you?"

"We were thinking of having four in the party, Mr. Damon," and
Tom wondered who was with his eccentric friend.

"Then bless my election ticket! This is the very chance for
you, Mr. Parker!" cried Mr. Damon. "Will you go with us? It will
be just what you need," and Mr. Damon stepped aside, revealing to
Tom the features of Mr. Ralph Parker, the scientist who had
correctly predicted the destruction of Earthquake Island.




CHAPTER VII--MR. PARKER PREDICTS


Tom Swift was a most generous lad, but when he saw that Mr.
Damon had with him Mr. Parker, the gloomy scientist, who seemed
to take delight in predicting disasters, our hero's spirits were
not exactly of the best. He would have much preferred not to take
Mr. Parker on the quest for the diamond makers, but, since Mr.
Damon had mentioned it, he did not see how he could very well
refuse.

"But perhaps he won't care to go," thought Tom.

He was undeceived a moment later, however, for the scientist
remarked:

I am very glad to meet you once more, Mr. Swift. I have
scarcely thanked you enough for what you did for us in erecting
your wireless station on Earthquake Island, which, as you recall,
I predicted would sink into the sea. It did, I am glad to say,
not because I like to see islands destroyed, but because science
has been vindicated. Now I have just heard you remark that you
are about to set off to the mountains in search of some men who
are making diamonds. I need hardly state that this is utterly
useless, for no diamonds, commercially valuable, can be made by
men. But the trip may be valuable in that it will permit me to
demonstrate some scientific facts.

"Therefore, if you will permit me, I will be very glad to
accompany you and Mr. Damon. I shall be delighted, in short, and
I can start as soon as you are ready."

"There's no hope for it!" thought Tom, dismally. "I suppose
he'll wake up every morning, and predict that before night the
world will come to an end, or he'll prophesy that the airship
will blow up, and vanish, when about seven miles above the
clouds. Well, there's no way out of it, so here goes."

Thereupon Tom welcomed the scientist as cordially as he could,
and invited him to form one of the party that would set off in
the airship to search for Phantom Mountain.

"Bless my jewelry box!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, when this
formality was over. "Tell me more about it, Tom."

Which our hero did, stating the need of maintaining secrecy on
account of the danger to Mr. Jenks. Mr. Damon and Mr. Parker both
agreed to say nothing about the matter, and then the scientist
became much interested in the Red Cloud, which he closely
examined. He even complimented Tom on the skill shown in making
it, and, contrary to our hero's expectation, did not predict that
it would blow up the next time it was used.

"How did you happen to arrive just at this time, Mr. Damon?"
asked Tom.

"It was partly due to Mr. Parker," was the answer. "I had not
seen him since we were rescued from the island, until a few days
ago he called on me at my home. I happened to mention that you
lived near here, and suggested that he might like to see some of
your inventions. He agreed, and we came over in my auto. And now,
bless my liver-pin! I find you about to start off on another
trip."

"And have you fully decided to go with me?" asked Tom. "There
may be danger, and I don't like the way that mysterious man
behaved."

"Oh, bless my revolver!" cried Mr. Damon. "I'm used to danger
by this time. Of course I'm going, and so is Mr. Parker. Do you
know," and the man, who was always blessing something, came
closer to the lad, and whispered: "Do you know, Tom, Mr. Parker
is a very peculiar individual."

"I'm sure of it," answered the young inventor, looking at the
gentleman in question, who was then inside the airship cabin.

"But he's all right, even if he is predicting unpleasant
things," went on Mr. Damon. "I think we'll get better acquainted
with him after a bit."

"I hope so," agreed Tom, but he did not realize then how close
his companionship with Mr. Parker was to be, nor what dangers
they were to share later.

The friends talked at considerable length of the prospective
trip, and Tom, by this time, had ascertained what needed to be
done to the airship to get it in shape to travel. It would take
about a week, and, in the meanwhile, Mr. Damon would go home and
get his affairs in order for the voyage. Tom's father was
introduced to Mr. Parker, and, the former, finding that the
scientist held some views in common with him, invited the gloomy
predictor to remain at the Swift home until the Red Cloud was
ready to sail. Tom could not repress a groan at this, but he
decided he would have to make the best of it.

Mr. Damon left for home that afternoon, promising to be on hand
at the time set to start for Phantom Mountain.

Tom was up waiting for Mr. Jenks at twelve o'clock that night.
Shortly after the hour he saw a dark figure steal into the
orchard. At first he feared lest it might be one of the spies who
were, he was now convinced, on the trail of the man who was
seeking to discover the secret of the diamond makers. But a
whistle, which came to the lad's ear a moment later (that being a
signal Mr. Jenks had agreed to sound), told Tom that it was none
other than the visitor he expected.

"All right, Mr. Jenks, I'm here," called Tom, cautiously. "Come
over this way," and he went out from the shadow of the house,
where he had been waiting, and met the men. "We'll go into my
private work-shop," the youth added, leading the way.

"Have you decided to go with me?" asked Mr. Jenks, in an
anxious whisper. "Did you find the diamonds to be real ones?"

"I did; and I'm going," spoke Tom.

"Good! That relieves my mind. But we are still in danger. I was
followed by my shadower to-day, and only succeeded in shaking him
off just before coming here. I don't believe he knows what I am
about to do."

"Oh, yes he does," said Tom.

"He does? How?"

"Because he was here, and warned me against you!"

"You don't mean it! Well, they are getting desperate! We must
be on our guard. What sort of a man was he?"

Tom described the fellow, and Mr. Jenks stated that this
tallied with the appearance of the person who had been shadowing
him.

"But we'll fool them yet!" cried Tom, who had now fully entered
into the spirit of the affair. "If they can follow us in the Red
Cloud they're welcome to. I think we'll get ahead of them."

He then told of Mr. Damon and Mr. Parker, and Mr. Jenks agreed
that it would add to the strength of the party to take these two
gentlemen along.

"Though I can't say I care so much for Mr. Parker," he added.
"But now as to ways and means. When can we start?"

Thereupon he and Tom talked over details in the seclusion of
the little office, and arranged to leave Shopton in about a week.
In the meanwhile the airship would be overhauled, stocked with
supplies and provisions, and be made ready for a swift dash to
the mountains.

"And now I must be going," said Mr. Jenks. "I have a great deal
to do before I can start on this trip, and I hope I am not
prevented by any of those men who seem to be trailing me."

"How could they prevent you?" Tom wanted to know.

"Oh, there are any number of ways," was the answer. "But I'm
glad you found that my diamonds were real. We'll soon have
plenty, if all goes well."

As Mr. Jenks left the shop, he started back, in some alarm.

"What's the matter?" asked Tom.

"Over there--I thought I saw a figure sneaking along under the
trees--that man--perhaps--"

"That's Eradicate, our colored helper," replied Tom, with a
laugh. "I posted him there to see that no strangers came into the
orchard. Everything all right, Rad?" he asked, raising his voice.

"Yais, sah, Massa Tom. Nobody been around yeah this night."

"That's good. You can go to bed now," and Eradicate, yawning
loudly, went to his shack. A little later Tom sought his own
room, Mr. Jenks having hurried off to town, where he was
boarding.

The next few days saw Tom busily engaged on the airship, making
some changes and a few repairs that were needed. His father,
Eradicate and Mr. Jackson helped him. As for Mr. Parker, the
scientist, he went about the place, being much interested in the
various machines which Tom or Mr. Swift had patented.

At other times the scientist would stroll about the extensive
grounds, making what he said were "observations." One afternoon
Tom saw him, apparently much excited, kneeling down back of a
shed, with his ear to the ground.

"What is the matter?" asked the lad, thinking perhaps Mr.
Parker might be ill.

"Have you ever had any earthquakes here, Tom Swift?" asked the
scientist, quietly.

"Earthquakes? No. We had enough of them on the island."

"And you are going to have one here, in about two minutes!"
cried Mr. Parker. "I predict that this place will be shaken by a
tremendous shock very soon. We had all better get away from the
vicinity of buildings."

"What makes you think there will be an earthquake?" asked Tom.

"Because I can hear the rumbling beneath the ground at this
very minute. It is increasing in volume, showing that the tremors
are working this way. There will soon be a great subterranean
upheaval! Listen for yourself."

Tom cast himself down on the grass. Placing his ear close to
the ground he did hear a series of dull thuds. He arose, not a
little alarmed. There had never been any earthquakes in Shopton,
yet he had great respect for Mr. Parker's scientific attainments.

Just then Eradicate Sampson came along. He saw Tom and Mr.
Parker lying flat on the ground, and surprise showed on his
honest, black face.

"Fo' de land sakes!" cried Eradicate. "What am de mattah now,
Massa Tom?"

"Earthquake coming," answered Tom, briefly. "Better get away
from the buildings, Rad. They might fall!" Tom's face showed the
alarm he felt. What would happen to all of his valuable
machines--to the Red Cloud?

"Earthquake?" murmured Eradicate, and he, too, cast himself
down to listen. A moment later he arose with a laugh.

"What's the matter?" cried Tom.

"Why, dat ain't no earthquake!" declared the colored man.

"No. Then perhaps you know what it is," said Mr. Parker,
somewhat sharply.

"Course I knows what it am," answered Eradicate, with dignity.
"Dat noise am my mule Boomerang, kickin' in his stable, on
account oh me not feedin' him yet. Dat's what it am. I'se gwine
right now t' gib him his oats, and den yo' see dat de noise stop.
Boomerang allers kick dat way when he's hungry. I show yo'!"

And, sure enough, when Eradicate had gone to the mule's stable,
which was near where Mr. Parker had heard the mysterious sounds,
they immediately ceased.

"Dat mule was all de earthquake dere was around here," said the
colored man as he came out.

Mr. Parker walked away, saying nothing, and Tom did not make
any comments--just then.




CHAPTER VIII--OFF FOR THE WEST


It was a great relief to Tom, to find that there was no danger
from an earth tremor. Now that he had made up his mind to go in
search of the diamond makers, he wanted nothing to interfere with
it. Lest the feelings of Mr. Parker might be hurt by the mistake
he had made, the young inventor cautioned Eradicate not to say
anything more about the matter.

"'Deed an' I won't," the colored man promised. "I'se only too
glad dere wa'n't no earthquake, dat's what I is."

As for Mr. Parker, he did not appear much put out by his error
in predicting.

"I am sure that what I heard was a tremor, due to some distant
earthquake shock," he said. "The mule's kicking was only a
coincidence."

And Tom let him have his way about it. The week was drawing to
a close, and the Red Cloud was nearly in shape for the voyage. At
almost the last minute Tom found that he needed some electrical
apparatus for the airship, and as he had to go to Chester for it,
he decided he would make the trip in his monoplane, and, while in
the city, would also get the diamond pin he was having made for
Mary Nestor.

He started off early one morning, in the swift little craft
Butterfly, and soon had reached Chester. The diamond brooch was
ready for him.

"It is one of the most beautiful stones we have ever set," the
diamond merchant told him. "Don't forget, if you find any more,
Mr. Swift, to let us have a chance to bid on them."

"I may," Tom promised, rather indefinitely. Then, having
purchased his electrical supplies, he made a quick trip to
Shopton, stopping on the way to call on Miss Nestor.

"Why Tom, I'm delighted to see you!" cried the girl, blushing
prettily. "Did you come for some apple turnovers?" and she
laughed, as she referred to a call Tom had once paid, when a new
cook had been engaged, and when the pastry formed a feature of
the meal.

"No turnovers this time," said the young inventor. "I came to
wish you many happy returns of the day."

"Oh, you remembered my birthday! How nice of you!"

"And here is something else," added our hero, rather awkwardly,
as he handed her the diamond pin.

"Oh, Tom! This for me! Oh, it's too lovely--it's far too much!"

"It isn't half enough!" he declared, warmly. "Oh, what a large
diamond!" Mary cried as she saw the sparkling stone. "I never saw
one so large and beautiful!"

"It's just as easy to make them large as small," explained Tom.

"Make them?" she looked the surprise she felt.

"Yes, I'm about to start for the place where diamonds are
made."

"Oh, Tom! But isn't it dangerous? I mean won't you have to go
to some far country--like Africa--to get to where diamonds are
made?"

"Well, we are going on quite a trip, but not as far as that.
And as for the danger--well, we'll have to take what comes," and
he told her something of the proposed quest.

"Oh, it sounds--sounds scary!" Mary exclaimed, when she had
heard of Mr. Jenks' experience. Do be careful, Tom!"

"I will," he promised, and, somehow he was glad that she had
cautioned him thus--and in such tones as she had used. For Mary
Nestor was a girl that any young chap would have been glad to
have manifest an interest in him.

"Well, I guess I'll have to say good-by," spoke Tom, at length.
"We expect to start in a couple of days, and I may not get
another chance to see you."

"Oh, I--I hope you come back safely," faltered Mary, and then
she held out her hand, and Tom--well, it's none of our affair
what Tom did after that, except to say that he hurried out,
fairly jumped into his monoplane, and completed the trip home.

As the Red Cloud has been fully described in the volume
entitled "Tom Swift and His Airship," we will not go into details
about it now. Sufficient to say that it was a combination of a
biplane and dirigible balloon. It could be used either as one or
the other, and the gas-bag feature was of value when the wind was
too great to allow the use of the planes, or when the motive
power, for some reason stopped. In that event the airship could
remain suspended far above the clouds if necessary. There was
provision for manufacturing the gas on board.

The Red Cloud was fitted up to accommodate about ten persons,
though it was seldom that this number was carried. Two persons
could successfully operate the machinery. There were sleeping
berths, and in the main cabin a sitting-room, a dining-room, and
a kitchen. There was also the motor compartment, and a steering
tower, from which the engines could be controlled.

It was in this craft that the seekers after the diamond makers
proposed undertaking the trip. Mr. Damon came on from his home in
Waterfield about two days before the date set to leave, and Mr.
Jenks, had, three days before this, taken up his abode at the
Swift home. Mr. Parker, as has been stated, was already there,
and he had put in his time making a number of scientific
observations, though he had made no more predictions.

Nothing more had been seen of the mysterious man who had warned
Tom, and the young inventor and Mr. Jenks began to hope that they
had thrown their enemies off the track.

"Though I don't imagine they'll give up altogether," said Mr.
Jenks. "They're too desperate for that. We'll have trouble with
them yet."

"Well, it can't be helped," decided Tom. "We'll try and be
ready for it, when it comes," and then, dismissing the matter
from his mind, he busied himself about the airship.

The food and supplies had all been put aboard, and they
expected to start the next morning. In order to make sure that
any stones which they might succeed in getting from the diamond
makers were real gems, a set of testing apparatus was taken
along. Mr. Parker had had some experience in this line, and, in
spite of the fact that he might make direful predictions, Tom was
rather glad, after all, that the scientist was going to accompany
them.

"But what is worrying me," said Mr. Damon, "is what we are
going to do after we get to Phantom Mountain. What are your
plans, Mr. Jenks? Will you go in, and demand your share of the
diamond-making business?"

"I have a right to it, as I invested a large sum in it, and I
am entitled to more than a half-share. But, of course, I can't
say what I'll do until I get there. We may have to act very
secretly."

"I'm inclined to think we will," said Tom. "My plan would be to
gain access to the cave, if possible, and watch them at work. We
might be able to discover the secret of making diamonds, and,
after all, that's what you want, isn't it, Mr. Jenks?"

"Yes, I paid my money for the secret, and I ought to have it.
If I can get it quietly, so much the better. If not, I'll fight
for my rights!" and he looked very determined.

"Bless my powder horn!" cried Mr. Damon. "That's the way to
talk! And so we're to go cruising about in the air, looking for a
mountain shaped like a man's head."

"That's it," a greed Mr. Jenks, "and when we find it we will be
near Phantom Mountain, and the diamond makers."

The final details were completed that night. The last of the
supplies had been put aboard, the larder was well stocked, the
diamond testing apparatus was stored safely away, and all that
remained was for the adventurers to board the Red Cloud in the
morning, and soar away.

That night Tom was uneasy. Several times he got up, and looked
toward the shed where the airship was stored. He could not rid
himself of the idea that the men to whose interest it was that
the diamond-making secret remain undiscovered, might attempt to
wreck the airship before the start. Consequently both Eradicate
Sampson and Engineer Jackson were on guard. Tom looked from his
window, to the shed where the Red Cloud was housed. He saw
nothing to cause him any uneasiness.

"I guess I'm just nervous," he mused. "But, all the same, I'll
be glad when we've started."

They were all up early the next morning, Mr. Damon beginning
the day by blessing the sunrise, and many other things that
struck his fancy. The airship was wheeled out of the shed, and
Tom gave her a final inspection.

"It's all right," he declared. "All aboard!"

"Now, do be careful," begged Mr. Swift. "Don't take too many
chances, Tom."

"I'll not."

The adventurers were in the forward part of the ship, and Tom
had taken his place at the wheels and levers in the pilot house.
As he was about to start the motor he looked toward the road, and
saw a horse and carriage. In the vehicle was a girlish figure, at
the sight of which Tom blushed and smiled. He waved his hand.

"I came to wish you good luck!" cried Mary Nestor, for it was
she in the carriage.

"Thanks!" cried Tom, leaning from the window of the pilot
house. "It was good of you to get up so early."

"Oh. I'm always up early," she informed him.

"Look out that the motor doesn't scare your horse," Tom warned
her.

"Old Dobbin doesn't mind anything," was her answer. "I'll see
that he doesn't run away with me, as long as you're not on earth
to rescue me. Good-by, Tom!"

"Good-by!" he called, and then he pulled the lever that set in
motion the motor, and whirled the great propellers about. They
whizzed around with a roar, and the Red Cloud, shivering and
trembling with the vibration, rose in the air like some great
bird.

"We're off for the West and Phantom Mountain!" called Tom to
his companions.

As the airship soared upward, Eradicate Sampson ran forward
from where he had been standing near his mule Boomerang. He waved
his hands, and shouted something.

"Bless my hatband! What does he want?" asked Mr. Damon,
watching him curiously.

"It sounds as if he were calling to us to come back," spoke Mr.
Parker.

"It's too late now," decided Tom. "Maybe he forgot to tell us
good-by," but, he felt a vague wonder at Eradicate's odd motions;
for the colored man was pointing toward the stern of the airship,
as if there was something wrong there. But the Red Cloud soared
on.




CHAPTER IX--A WARNING BY WIRELESS


Rapidly the airship ascended, and, when it was high over the
town of Shopton, Tom headed the craft due west. Looking down he
tried to descry Mary Nestor, in her carriage, but the trees were
in the way, their interlocking branches hiding the girl. Tom did
see crowds of other persons, though, thronging the streets of
Shopton, for, though the young inventor had made many flights,
there was always a novelty about them, that brought out the
curious.

"A good start, Tom Swift," complimented Mr. Parker. "Is it
always as easy as this?"

"Starting always is," was the answer, "though, as the Irishman
said, coming down isn't sometimes quite so comfortable."

"Bless my gizzard! That's so," cried the eccentric Mr. Damon.
"Can we vol-plane to earth in the Red Cloud, Tom?"

"Yes, but not as easily as in the Butterfly. However I hope we
will not have to. Now, Mr. Damon, if you will just take charge of
the steering apparatus for a minute, I want to go aft."

"What for?"

"I wish to see if everything is all right. I can't imagine why
Eradicate was making those queer motions."

Mr. Damon, who knew how to operate the Red Cloud, was soon
guiding her on the course, while Tom made his way to the rear
compartments, through the motor room, where the stores of
supplies and food were kept. He made a careful examination,
looking from an after window, and even going out on a small, open
platform, but could discover nothing wrong.

"I guess Rad was just capering about without any special
object," mused Tom, but it was not long after this that they
learned to their dismay, that the colored man had had a method in
his madness.

On his way back through the motor room Tom looked to the
machinery, and adjusted some of the auxiliary oil feeders. The
various pieces of apparatus were working well, though the engine
had not yet been speeded up to its limit. Tom wanted it to "warm-up"
first.

"Everything all right?" asked Mr. Damon, as Tom rejoined them
in the pilot house, which was just forward of the living room in
the main cabin.

"Yes, I can't imagine what made Rad act that way. But I'll set
the automatic steering gear now, Mr. Damon, and then you will be
relieved."

Mr. Jenks was gazing off toward the west--to where he hoped to
discover the secret of Phantom Mountain.

"How do you like it?" asked Tom.

"It's great," replied the diamond man. "I've never been in an
airship before, and it's different than what I expected; but it's
great! It's the only craft that will serve our purpose among the
towering mountain peaks, where the diamond makers are hidden. I
hope we can find them."

In a little while the Red Cloud was skimming along at faster
speed, guided by the automatic rudders, so that no one was needed
in the pilot house, since there was no danger of collisions.
Airships are not quite numerous enough for that, yet, though they
may soon become so.

Tom and the others devoted several hours to arranging their
staterooms and bunks, and getting their clothing stowed away, and
when this was done Mr. Parker and Mr. Jenks sat gazing off into
space.

"It's hard to realize that we are really in an airship,"
observed the diamond man. "At first I thought I would be
frightened, but I'm not a bit. It doesn't seem as if anything
could happen."

"Something is likely to happen soon," said Mr. Parker,
suddenly, as he gazed at some weather instruments on the cabin
wall.

"Bless my soul! Don't say that!" cried Mr. Damon. "What is it?"

"I think, from my observations, that we will soon have a
hurricane," said the scientific man. "There is every indication
of it"'; and he seemed quite delighted at the prospect of his
prediction coming true.

"A hurricane!" cried Mr. Damon. "I hope it isn't like the one
that blew us to Earthquake Island."

"Oh, I think there will be no danger," spoke Tom. "If it comes
on to blow we will ascend or descend out of the path of the
storm. This craft is not like the ill-fated Whizzer. I can more
easily handle the Red Cloud; even in a bad storm."

"I'm glad to hear that," remarked Mr. Jenks. "It would be too
bad to be wrecked before we got to Phantom Mountain."

"Well, I predict that we will have a bad storm," insisted Mr.
Parker, and Tom could not help wishing that the scientist would
keep his gloomy forebodings to himself.

However the storm had not developed up to noon, when Tom, with
Mr. Damon's help, served a fine meal in the dining-room. In the
afternoon the speed of the ship was increased, and by night they
had covered several hundred miles. Through the darkness the Red
Cloud kept on, making good time. Tom got up, occasionally, to
look to the machinery, but it was all automatically controlled,
and an alarm bell would sound in his stateroom when anything went
wrong.

"Bless my napkin!" exclaimed Mr. Damon the next morning, as
they sat down to a breakfast of fruit, ham and eggs and fragrant
coffee, "this is living as well as in a hotel, and yet we are--how
far are we above the earth, Tom?" he asked, turning to the
young inventor.

"About two miles now. I just sent her up, as I thought I
detected that storm Mr. Parker spoke of."

"I told you it would come," declared the scientist, and there
was a small hurricane below them that morning, but only the lower
edge of it caught the Red Cloud, and when Tom sent her up still
higher she found a comparatively quiet zone, where she slid along
at good speed.

That afternoon Tom busied himself about some wires and a number
of complicated pieces of apparatus which were in one corner of
the main cabin.

"What are you doing now?" asked Mr. Jenks, who had been talking
with Mr. Parker, and showing that scientist some of the
manufactured diamonds.

"Getting our wireless apparatus in shape," answered the lad. "I
should have done it before, but I had so much to do that I
couldn't get at it. I'm going to send off some messages. Dad will
want to know how we are doing."

As he worked away, he also made up his mind to send another
message, in care of his father, for there was a receiving station
in the Swift home. And to whom this message was addressed Tom did
not say, but we fancy some of our readers can guess.

Finally, after several hours of work, the wireless was in shape
to send and receive messages. Tom pulled over the lever, and a
crackling sound was heard, as the electricity leaped from the
transmitters into space. Then he clamped the receiver on his ear.

"All ready," he announced. "Has anybody any messages they wish
sent?" For, with the courtesy of a true host he was ready to
serve his guests before he forwarded his own wireless notes.

"Just tell my wife that I'm enjoying myself," requested Mr.
Damon. "Bless my footstool! But this is great! We're off the
earth yet, connected with it."

Mr. Jenks had no one to whom he wanted to send any word, but
Mr. Parker wish to wire to a fellow scientist the result of some
observations made in the upper air.

Tom noted all the messages down, and then, when all was in
readiness he began to call his home station. He knew that either
his father or Mr. Jackson, the engineer, could receive the
wireless.

But, no sooner had the young inventor sent off the first few
dots and dashes representing "S. I."--his home station call--than
he started and a look of surprise came over his face.

"They're calling us!" he exclaimed.

"Who is?" asked Mr. Jenks.

"My house--my father. He--he's been trying to get us ever since
we started, but I didn't have the wireless in shape to receive
messages. Oh, I hope it's not too late!"

"Too late! Bless my soul, too late for what?" gasped Mr. Damon,
somewhat alarmed by Tom's manner.

The lad did not answer at once. He was intently listening to a
series of dots and dashes that clicked in the telephone receiver
clamped to his left ear. On his face there was a look of
worriment.

"Father has just sent me a message," he said. "It's a warning
flashed through space! He's been trying to get it to me since
yesterday!"

"What is it?" asked Mr. Jenks, rising from his seat.

"The mysterious man is aboard the airship--hidden away!" cried
Tom. "That's what Eradicate was trying to call to our attention
as we started off. Eradicate saw his face at a rear window, and
tried to warn us! The mysterious man is a stowaway on board!"




CHAPTER X--DROPPING THE STOWAWAY


Tom's excited announcement startled Mr. Damon and the others as
much as if the young inventor had informed them that the airship
had exploded and was about to dash with them to the earth. The
men leaped to their feet, and stared at the lad.

"A stowaway on board!" cried Mr. Damon.
"Bless my soul! How did he--"

"Are you sure that message is straight?" asked Mr. Jenks. "Did
Eradicate see the man?"

"He says he did," answered Tom. "The man is hidden away on
board now--probably among the stores and supplies."

"Bless my tomato sauce!" exploded Mr. Damon. "I hope he doesn't
eat them all up!"

"We must get him out at once!" declared Mr. Jenks.

"I knew something would happen on this voyage," came from Mr.
Parker. "I predicted it from the first!"

Tom thought considerable, but he did not answer the scientist
just then. Another communication was coming to him by wireless.
He listened intently.

"Father says," the lad told his companions "that Eradicate only
had a glimpse of the man at the last moment. He was looking from
the rear storeroom window--he's the same man who called on me
that time--Rad remembers him very well."

"Bless my shoes! What's to be done?" inquired Mr. Damon,
looking around helplessly.

"We must get him out, that's all," decided Mr. Jenks; with
vigor. "Get him out and drop him overboard!"

"Drop him overboard!" cried Mr. Parker, in horror.

"Not exactly, but get rid of him," proceeded the diamond
seeker. "That man is one of my enemies. He has been sent by the
band of diamond makers hidden among the mountains, to spy on me,
and, if possible, prevent me from seeking to discover their
secret. He tried to work on Tom's Swift's fears, and frighten him
from using his airship on this quest. Then, when he failed, the
man must have sneaked into the shed, and hidden himself in the
ship. We must get rid of him, or he may wreck the Red Cloud!"

"That's so!" cried Tom. "We must try to capture him. I think we
had better--" the lad paused, and again listened to the wireless
message. "Father says Eradicate saw the man have a gun, so we
must be careful," the young inventor translated the dots and
dashes.

"Bless my powder horn!" exploded Mr. Damon.

"We shall have to proceed cautiously then," spoke Mr. Jenks.
"If he is like any others in the gang he is a desperate man."

"Better sneak up on him then, if we can," proposed Mr. Parker.
"There are enough of us to cope with one man, even if he is
armed. You have weapons aboard, haven't you?" he inquired of Tom.

"Yes," was the hesitating answer, "but I don't want to use them
if I can help it. Not only because of the danger, and a dislike
of shedding blood, but because a stray bullet might pierce the
gas bag and damage the ship."

"That's so," agreed Mr. Jenks. "Well, I guess if we go at it
the right way we can capture him without any shooting. But we
must talk more quietly--we ought to have whispered--he may have
heard us."

"I don't think so," replied Tom. "The storeroom is far enough
off so that he couldn't hear us. Besides, the motor makes such a
racket that he couldn't distinguish what we were talking about,
even if he heard our voices. So, unless he heard the wireless
working, and suspects something from that, he probably doesn't
know that we are aware of his presence aboard."

"But why do you think he has remained quiet all this while,
Tom?" asked Mr. Damon.

"Probably he wants to wait until the ship is farther out west,"
suggested Mr. Jenks. "Then he will be nearer his friends, and can
get help, if he needs it."

"And do you really believe he would destroy the Red Cloud?"
asked Mr. Parker.

"I think that all he is waiting for is a favorable chance,"
declared the diamond seeker. "He would destroy the craft, and us
too, if he could prevent us from discovering the secret of
Phantom Mountain, I believe."

"Then we must get ahead of him," decided Tom, quietly. "I have
just flashed to dad a message, telling him that we will heed his
warning. Now to capture the stowaway!"

"And while we're about it, give him a good scare when we do get
him," suggested Mr. Jenks.

"How?" asked Tom.

"Threaten to drop him overboard. Perhaps that will make him
tell how he happened to get in our ship, and what are the plans
of the gang of diamond makers. We may get valuable information
that way."

"I don't believe you can scare such fellows much," was Tom's
opinion, but it was agreed to try.

"How are you going to capture him?" asked Mr. Parker. "If he
has a gun it won't be any too easy to go in the storeroom, and
drag him out."

"We'll have to use a little strategy," decided Tom, and then they
discussed several plans. The one finally adopted was that Tom and Mr.
Damon should enter the storeroom, casually, as if in search of food to
cook for supper. They would discuss various dishes, and Mr. Damon was
to express a preference for something in the food line, the box
containing which, was well hack in the room. This would give the two a
chance to penetrate to the far end of the apartment, without arousing
the suspicions of the hidden man, who, doubtless, would be listening
to the conversation.

"And as soon as we get sight of him, you and I will jump right
at him, Mr. Damon," said Tom. "Jump before he has a chance to use
his gun. Mr. Jenks and Mr. Parker will be waiting outside the
room, to catch him if he gets away from us. I'll have some ropes
ready, and we'll tie him up, and--well, we'll decide later what
to do with him."

"All right. I'm ready as soon as you are, Tom," said the
eccentric man. "Come ahead."

They went softly to the storeroom, and listened at the door.
There was no sound heard save that made by the machinery.

"I wonder if he's really here?" whispered Mr. Damon.

"We'll soon find out," answered Tom. "Let's go in."

They entered, and, in pursuance of their plan, Tom and his
friend talked of various foods.

"I think I'd like some of that canned lobster, with French
dressing on," spoke the eccentric man.

"That's away in the back end of the room," said Tom, in a loud
voice. "It's under a lot of boxes."

"Then I'll help you get it out! Bless my frying pan! but I am
very fond of lobster!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, in as natural tones
as was possible under the circumstances.

He and Tom moved cautiously back among the boxes and barrels.
They were glancing about with eager eyes. Tom switched on an
electric light, and, the instant he did so, he was aware of a
movement in a little space formed by one box which was placed on
top, of two others. The lad saw a dark figure moving, as if to
get farther out of sight.

"I've got him!" cried Tom, making a dive for the shadow.

A moment later the young inventor was bowled over, as a dark
figure leaped over his head.

"Catch him, Mr. Damon!" he cried.

"Bless my hatband! I--I--" Mr. Damon's voice ended in a grunt.
He, too, had been knocked down by the fleeing man.

"Look out, Mr. Jenks!" cried Tom, to warn those on guard at the
door of the storeroom.

There was the report of a gun, some excited shouts, and when
Tom could scramble to his feet, and rush out, he beheld Mr.
Parker calmly sitting on a struggling man, while Mr. Jenks held a
gun, that was still smoking.

"We caught him!" cried the scientist.

"Anybody hurt?" asked Tom, anxiously.

"No, I knocked up his gun as he fired," explained Mr. Jenks.
"Where are the ropes, Tom?"

The cords were produced and the man, who had now ceased to
struggle, was tightly bound. He uttered not a word, but he smiled
grimly when Mr. Damon remarked:

"I guess I'll go back in the storeroom, Tom, and see how much
food he ate."

"Oh, I guess he didn't take much," declared the lad. "He wasn't
there long enough."

"Well, Farley Munson, so it's you, is it?" asked Mr. Jenks, as
he surveyed the prisoner.

"Do you know him?" asked Tom, in some surprise.

"He was in with the diamond makers," said Mr. Jenks. "He was
one of those who took me to the secret cave. But it will be the
last time he ever goes there. How high up are we, Tom?"

"About two miles. Why?"

"I guess that will be far enough to let him fall," went on the
diamond seeker. "Come on, Mr. Damon, help me throw him overboard!"

"You--you're not going to throw me over--with the airship two
miles high; are you?" gasped the man.

"Will you tell us what we want to know, if we don't?" asked Mr.
Jenks.

"What do you want to know?"

"How you got aboard, and what your object was in coming."

"That's easy enough. I had been hanging around the shed for
several days, watching a chance to get in. Finally I saw it, when
that colored man went to feed his mule, and I slipped in, and
hid in the airship. The stores were all in then, and I stowed
myself away among the boxes. I had food and water, so I didn't
touch any of yours," and he looked at Mr. Damon, who seemed much
relieved.

"And what was your object?" demanded Mr. Jenks.

"I wanted to prevent you from going to Phantom Mountain."

"How?"

"By destroying the airship if need be. But I hoped to
accomplish it by other means. I would have stopped at nothing,
though, to prevent you. You must keep away from there!"

"And if we refuse?" asked Tom.

"Then you'll have to take what comes!"

"But not from you!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks. "We're going to get
rid of you."

The man's face showed the alarm he felt.

"Oh, don't worry," said Mr. Jenks, quickly, "we're not going to
toss you overboard. We're not as desperate as your crowd. But
we're going to get rid of you, and then go on before you can send
any word to your confederates. We'll put you off in the most
lonesome spot we can find, and I guess you'll be some time
getting back to civilization. By that time we'll have the secret
of the diamonds."

"You never will!" declared the man, firmly. And he would say
nothing more, though by threats and promises Mr. Jenks tried to
get from him something about the men in with him, and where the
cave of the diamonds was located.

Heavily bound with ropes the man was locked in a small closet,
to be kept there until a favorable spot was reached for letting
him go. Mr. Jenks' plan, of dropping him down in some place where
he would have difficulty in sending on word to his confederates
was considered a good one.

Three days later, in crossing over a lonely region, near the
Nebraska National Forest, Farley Munson, which was one of the
names the spy went by, was dropped off the airship, when it was
sent down to within a few feet of the earth.

"It will take you some time to get to a telegraph office," said
Mr. Jenks, as a package of food, and a flask of water was tossed
down to the stowaway. He shook his fist at those in the airship,
and shouted after them:

"You'll never discover the secret of Phantom Mountain!"

"Yes, we will," declared Tom, as he sent the Red Cloud high
into the air again.



CHAPTER XI--A WEARY SEARCH


During the three days when the stowaway had been kept a
prisoner, the Red Cloud had made good time on her western trip.
She was now about two hundred and fifty miles from Leadville,
Colorado, and Tom knew he could accomplish that distance in a
short time. It was necessary, therefore, since they were so close
to the place where the real search would begin, to make some more
definite plans.

"We will need to replenish our supply of gasoline," said Tom,
shortly after the stowaway had been dropped, and when the young
inventor had made a general inspection of the airship.

"Is it all gone?" inquired Mr. Damon.

"Not all, but we will soon be in the wildest part of the Rocky
Mountains, and gasoline is difficult to procure there. So I want
to fill all our reserve tanks. But I would rather do that before
we get far into Colorado."

"Why?" inquired Mr. Parker.

"Because airships are not so common but what the appearance of
one attracts attention. Ours is sure to be talked about, and
commented on. In that case, in spite of our precaution in putting
Munson off in this lonely place, word of the Red Cloud being in
the vicinity of Leadville may reach the diamond makers, and put
them on their guard. We want to take them unawares if we can."

"That's so," agreed Mr. Jenks. "We had better get our gasoline
at the first stopping place, then, and proceed with our search.
Our first object ought to be to look for the landmark--the head
of stone. Then we can begin to prospect about a bit."

"My idea, exactly," declared Tom. "Well, then, I'll go down at
the first place we cross, where we can get gasoline, and then
we'll be in a position to hover in the air for a long time,
without descending."

The airship kept on her way, traveling slowly the remainder of
that day, and at dusk, when there was less chance of big crowds
seeing them, the Red Cloud was sent down on the outskirts of a
large village. Tom and Mr. Damon went to a supply store, and
arranged to have a sufficient quantity of the gasoline taken out
to the airship. It was delivered after dark, and little talk was
occasioned by the few who were aware of the presence of the
craft. Then, once more, they went aloft, and Tom sent several
wireless messages to Shopton, including one to Miss Nestor.

"Please tell my wife that I am well, and that I have a good
appetite," said Mr. Damon.

Mr. Parker also sent a message to a scientific friend of his, stating
that he made some observations among the mountains, of the region in
which the airship then was, and that the indications were that a great
landslide would soon take place.

"That won't worry us," spoke Tom, "for we'll be far above it."

"I hope we will be near enough to enable me to observe it, and
make some scientific notes," came from Mr. Parker. "I am positive
that one of these mountain peaks that we saw to-day will
disappear in a landslide within a few days. I have an instrument
somewhat like the one that records earthquakes, and it has been
acting strangely of late."

Tom wondered what enjoyment Mr. Parker got out of life, when he
was always looking for some calamity to happen, but the scientist
seemed to take as much pleasure in his gloomy forebodings now, as
he had on Earthquake Island.

They reached the vicinity of Leadville the next day, but took
care to keep high above the city, so that the airship could not
be observed. With powerful glasses they examined the mountainous
country, looking for the little settlement of Indian Ridge.

"There it is!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks, just as dusk was settling
down. I can make out the hotel I stopped at. Now we can really
begin our search. The next thing is to find the stone head, and
then, I think, I will have my bearings."

"We'll begin the hunt for that landmark in the morning," said
Tom.

High in the air hovered the Red Cloud. At that distance above
the earth she must have looked like some great bird, and the
adventurers thought it unlikely that any one in the vicinity of
Leadville would observe them.

The quest for the great mountain peak, that looked like a stone
head, was under way. Back and forth sailed the airship. Sometimes
she was enveloped in fog, and no sight could be had of the earth
below. At other times there were rain storms, which likewise
prevented a view. Mr. Parker was on the lookout for his predicted
mountain landslide, but it did not occur, and he was much
disappointed.

"It's queer I can't pick out that landmark," said Mr. Jenks
after two days of weary searching, when their eyes were strained
from long peering through telescopes. "I'm sure it was around
Indian Ridge, yet we've covered almost all the ground in this
neighborhood, and I haven't had a glimpse of it."

"Perhaps it was destroyed in a landslide, or some cataclysm of
nature," suggested Mr. Parker. "That is very possible."

"If that's the case we're going to have a hard time to locate
the cave of the diamond makers," answered Mr. Jenks, "but I hope
it isn't so."

They continued the search for another day, and then Tom, as
they sat in the comfortable cabin of the airship that night,
hovering almost motionless (for the motor had been shut down)
made a proposition.

"Why not descend in some secluded place," he suggested, "and
wander around on foot, making inquiries of the miners. They may
know where the stone head is, or they may even know about Phantom
Mountain."

"Good idea," spoke Mr. Jenks. "We'll do it."

Accordingly, the next morning, the Red Cloud was lowered in a
good but lonely landing place, and securely moored. It was in a
valley, well screened from observation, and the craft was not
likely to be seen, but, to guard against any damage being done to
it by passing hunters or miners, Mr. Parker and Mr. Damon agreed
to remain on guard in it, while Tom and Mr. Jenks spent a day or
two traveling around, making inquiries.

The young inventor and his companion proceeded on foot to a
small settlement, where they hired horses on which to make their
way about. They were to be gone two days, and in that time they
hoped to get on the right trail.




CHAPTER XII--THE GREAT STONE HEAD


It was a wild and desolate country in which Tom Swift and Mr.
Jenks were traveling. Villages were far apart, and they were at
best but small settlements. In their journeys from place to place
they met few travelers.

But of these few they made cautious inquiries as to the
location of Phantom Mountain, or the landmark known as the great
stone head. Prospectors, miners and hunters, whom they asked,
shook their heads.

"I've heard of Phantom Mountain," said one grizzled miner, "but
I couldn't say where it is. Maybe it's only a fish story--the
place may not even exist."

"Oh, it does, for I've been there!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks.

"Then why don't you go back to it?" asked the miner.

"Because I can't locate it again," was the reply.

"Humph! Mighty queer if you've seen a place once, and can't get
to it again," and the man looked as if he thought there was
something strange about Tom and his companion. Mr. Jenks did not
want to say that he had been taken to the mountain blindfolded,
for that would have caused too much talk.

"I think if we spent to-night in a place where the miners
congregate, listened to their talk, and put a few casual
questions to them, more as if we were only asking out of idle
curiosity, we might learn something," suggested Tom.

"Very well, we'll try that scheme."

Accordingly, after they had left the suspicious miner the two
proceeded to a small milling town, not far from Indian Ridge.
There they engaged rooms for the night at the only hotel, and,
after supper they sat around the combined dance hall and gambling
place.

There were wild, rough scenes, which were distasteful to Tom,
and to Mr. Jenks, but they felt that this was their only chance
to get on the right trail, and so they stayed. As strangers in a
western mining settlement they were made roughly welcome, and in
response to their inquiries about the country, they were told
many tales, some of which were evidently gotten up for the
benefit of the "tenderfeet."

"Is there a place around here called Phantom Mountain?" asked
Tom, at length, as quietly as he could.

"Never heard of it, stranger," replied a miner who had done
most of the talking. "I never heard of it, and what Bill
Slatterly don't know ain't worth knowin'. I'm Bill Slatterly," he
added, lest there be some doubt on that score.

"Isn't there some sort of a landmark around here shaped like a
great stone head?" went on Tom, after some unimportant questions.
"Seems to me I've heard of that."

"Nary a one," answered Mr. Slatterly. "No stone heads, and no
Phantom Mountains--nary a one.

"Who says there ain't no Phantom Mountains?" demanded an
elderly miner, who had been dozing in one corner of the room, but
who was awakened by Slatterly's loud voice. "Who says so?"

"I do," answered the one who claimed to know everything.

"Then you're wrong!" Tom's heart commenced beating faster than
usual.

"Do you mean to say you've seen Phantom Mountain, Jed Nugg?"
demanded Slatterly.

"No, I ain't exactly seen it, an' I don't want to, but there is
such a place, about sixty mile from here. Folks says it's
haunted, and them sort of places I steer clear from."

"Can you tell me about it?" asked Mr. Jenks, eagerly. "I am
interested in such things."

"I can't tell you much about it," was the reply, "and I
wouldn't git too interested, if I was you. It might not be
healthy. All I know is that one time my partner and I were in
hard luck. We got grub-staked, and went out prospectin'. We
strayed into a wild part of the country about sixty mile from
here, and one night we camped on a mountain--a wild, desolate
place it was too."

The miner stopped, and began leisurely filling his pipe.

"Well?" asked Tom, trying not to let his voice sound too eager.

"Well, that was Phantom Mountain."

The miner seemed to have finished his story.

"Is that all?" asked Mr. Jenks. "How did you know it was
Phantom Mountain?"

"'Cause we seen the ghost--my partner and I--that's why!"
exclaimed the man, puffing on his pipe. "As I said, we was
campin' there, and 'long about midnight we seen somethin' tall
and white, and all shimmerin', with a sort of yellow fire,
slidin' down the side of the mountain It made straight for our
camp."

"Huh! Guess you run, didn't you, Jed?" asked Bill Slatterly.

"Course we did. You'd a run too, if you seen a ghost comm' at
you, an' firm' a gun."

"Ghosts can't fire guns!" declared Bill. "I guess you dreamed
it, Jed."

"Ghosts can't fire guns, eh? That's all you know about it. This
one did, and to prove I didn't dream it, there was a bullet hole
in my hat next mornin'. I could prove it, too, only I ain't got
that hat any more. But that was Phantom Mountain, strangers, an'
my advice to you is to keep away from it. I was on it but I
didn't exactly see it, 'cause it was dark at the time."

"Was it near a peak that looked like a stone
head?" asked Tom.

"It were, stranger, but I didn't take much notice of it. Me and
my partner got out of them diggin's next day, and I never went
back. I ain't never said much about this place, but it's called
Phantom Mountain all right, and I ain't the only one that's seen
a ghost there. Other grub-stakers has had the same experience."

"Why ain't I never heard about it?" demanded Bill,
suspiciously.

"'Cause as why you're allers so busy talkin' that you don't
never listen to nothin' I reckon," was Jed's answer, amid
laughter.

"Can you tell us what trail to take to get there?" asked Tom,
of the miner.

"Yes, it's called the old silver trail, and you strike it by
goin' to a place called Black Gulch, about forty mile from here.
Then it's twenty mile farther on. But take my advice and don't
go."

"Can it be reached by way of Indian Ridge?" asked Mr. Jenks,
wondering how he had been taken to the cave of the diamond
makers. He did not remember Black Gulch.

"Yes, you can git there by Indian Ridge way, but it's more
dangerous. You're likely to lose your way, for that's a trail
that's seldom traveled." Mr. Jenks thought that, perhaps, was the
reason the gang had taken him that way. "It's easier to get to
the stone head and Phantom Mountain by Black Gulch, but it ain't
healthy to go there, strangers, take my advice on that,"
concluded the miner, as he prepared to go to sleep again.

Tom could scarcely contain the exultation he felt. At last, it
seemed, they were on the trail. He motioned to Mr. Jenks, and
they slipped quietly from the place, just as another dance was
beginning.

"Now for Black Gulch!" cried Tom. "We must hurry back to the
airship, and tell the good news.

"It's too late to-night," decided Mr. Jenks, and so they waited
until morning, when they made an early start.

They found Mr. Damon and Mr. Parker anxiously awaiting their
return. Mr. Damon blessed so many things that he was nearly out
of breath, and Mr. Parker related something of the observations
he had made.

"I think I have discovered traces of a dormant volcano," he
said. "I am in hopes that it will have an eruption while we are
here."

"I'm not," spoke Tom, decidedly. "We'll start for Black Gulch
as soon as possible."

The airship once more rose in the air, and, following the
directions the miner had given him, Tom pointed his craft for the
depression in the mountains which had been given the name Black
Gulch. It was reached in a short time, and then, making a turn up
a long valley the airship proceeded at reduced speed.

"We ought to see that stone head soon now," spoke Tom, as he
peered from the windows of the pilot house.

"It's queer we didn't notice it when we were up in the air,"
remarked Mr. Jenks. "We've been over this place before, I'm sure
of it."

The next moment Mr. Damon uttered a cry. "Bless my watch-chain!"
he exclaimed. "Look at that!"

He pointed off to the left. There, jutting out from the side of
a steep mountain peak was a mass of stone--black stone--which, as
the airship slowly approached, took the form and shape of a
giant's head.

"That's it! That's it!" cried Tom. "The great stone head!"

"And now for Phantom Mountain and the diamonds!" shouted Mr.
Jenks, as Tom let the airship slowly settle to the bottom of the
valley.




CHAPTER XIII--ON PHANTOM MOUNTAIN


Out from the Red Cloud piled Tom and the others. They made a
rush for the irregular mass of rock which bore so strong a
resemblance to the head of some gigantic man.

"That's the one! That's the thing I saw when they were taking
me along here blindfolded!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks. "I'm sure we're
on the right trail, now!"

"But what gets me, though," remarked Mr. Damon, "is why we
couldn't see that landmark when we were up in the air. We had a
fine view, and ought to have been able to pick it out with the
telescopes."

The adventurers saw the reason a few seconds later. The image
was visible only from one place, and that was directly looking up
the valley. If one went too far to the right or left the head
disappeared from view behind jutting crags, and it was impossible
to see it from overhead, because the head was almost under a
great spur of a mighty mountain.

"We might have hunted for it a week in the airship, and been
directly over it," said Tom, "and yet we would never have seen
it."

"Yes, but we never would have gotten here in such good shape if
it hadn't been for your wonderful craft," declared Mr. Jenks. "It
brought us here safely and quickly, and enabled us to elude the
men who tried to keep us back. We're here in spite of them. If we
had traveled by train they might have interfered with us in a
dozen ways."

"That's so," agreed Mr. Damon. "Well, now we're here, what's to
be done? Which way do we start to reach the cave where the
diamonds are manufactured, Mr. Jenks?"

"That I can't say. As you know, I only had a momentary glimpse
of this stone head as they wore taking me along the trail. Then
one the men noticed that the bandage had slipped and he pulled it
into place. So I really can't say which direction to take now, in
order to discover the secret."

"How long after you saw the head before you reached the cave?"
asked Tom. "In that way we may be able to tell how far away it
is."

"Well, I should say it was about two or three hours after I saw
the head, before we got to the halting place, and I was carried
into the cave. That would make it several miles from here, for we
went in a wagon."

"Yes, and they might have driven in a round-about way, in order
to deceive you," suggested Mr. Damon. "At best we have but a
faint idea where the diamond cave is, but we must search for it;
eh, Tom?"

"Certainly. We'll start right in. And as the airship will be of
but little service to us now, I suggest that we leave it in this
valley. It is very much secluded, and no one will harm it, I
think. We can then start off prospecting, for I have a large
portable tent, and we can carry enough food with us, with what
game we can shoot, to enable us to live. I have a regular camping
outfit on board."

"Fine!" cried Mr. Parker, "and that will give me a chance to
make some observations among the mountains, and perhaps I can
predict when a landslide, or an eruption of some dormant volcano,
may occur."

"Bless my stars!" cried Mr. Damon. "I don't wish you any bad
luck, Mr. Parker, but I sincerely hope nothing of the sort
happens! We had enough of that on Earthquake Island!"

"One can not halt the forces of nature," said the scientist,
solemnly. "There are many towering peaks around here which may
contain old volcanoes. And I notice the presence of iron ore all
about. This must be a wonderful place in a thunder and lightning
storm."

"Why?" asked Tom, curiously.

"Because lightning would be powerfully attracted here by the
presence of the metal. In fact there is evidence that many of the
peaks have been struck by lightning," and the scientist showed
curious, livid scars on the stone faces of the peaks within
sight.

"Then this is a good place to stay away from in a storm,"
observed Mr. Damon. "However, we won't worry about that now. If
this is the landmark Mr. Jenks was searching for, then we must be
in the vicinity of Phantom Mountain."

"I think we are," declared the diamond seeker. "Probably it is
within sight now, but there are so many peaks, and this is such a
wild and desolate part of the country that we may have trouble in
locating it."

"We've got to make a beginning, anyhow," decided Tom, "and the
sooner the better. Come, we'll make up our camping kits, and
start out."

It was something to know that they were on the right trail, and
it was a relief to be able to busy oneself, and not be aimlessly
searching for a mysterious landmark. They all felt this, and soon
the airship was taken to a secluded part of the valley, where it
was well hidden from sight in a grove of trees.

Tom and Mr. Damon then served a good meal, and preparations
were made to start on their search among the mountains--a search
which they hoped would lead them to Phantom Mountain, and the
cave of the diamond makers.

The tent which would afford them shelter was in sections, and
could be laced together. They carried food, compressed into small
packages, coffee, a few cooking utensils; and each one had a gun,
Tom carrying a combination rifle and shotgun, for game.

"We can't live very high while we're on the trail," said the
young inventor, "but it won't be much worse than it was on
Earthquake Island. Are we all ready?"

"I guess so," answered Mr. Damon. "How long are we going to be
away?"

"Until we find the diamond makers!" declared Tom, firmly.

Shouldering their packs, the adventurers started off. Tom
turned for a last look at his airship, dimly seen amid the trees.
Would he ever come back to the Red Cloud? Would she be there when
he did return? Would their quest be successful? These questions
the lad asked himself, as he followed his companions along the
rocky trail.

"Perhaps we can find the road by which these men go in and out
of the cave," suggested Mr. Damon, when they had gone on for
several miles.

"I fancy not," replied Mr. Jenks. "They probably take great
pains to hide it. I think though, that our best plan will be to
go here and there, looking for the entrance to the cave. I
believe I would remember the place."

"But why can't you follow the directions given by the miner who
told you about Phantom Mountain?" asked Mr. Damon.

"Because his talk was too indefinite," answered Mr. Jenks. "He
was so frightened by seeing what he believed to be a ghost, that
he didn't take much notice of the location of the place. All he
knows is that Phantom Mountain is somewhere around here."

"And we've got to hunt until we find it; is that the idea?"
asked Mr. Parker.

"Or until we see the phantom" added Tom, in a low voice.

"Bless my topknot!" exclaimed Mr. Damon. "You don't mean to say
you expect to see that ghost; do you Tom?"

"Perhaps," answered the young inventor, and he did not add
something else of which he was thinking. For Tom had a curious
theory regarding the phantom.

They tramped about the remainder of that day. Toward evening
Tom shot some birds, which made a welcome addition to their
supper. Then the tent was put together, some spruce and hemlock
boughs were cut to make a soft bed, and on these, while the light
of a campfire gleamed in on them, the adventurers slept.

Their experience the following day was similar to the first.
They saw no evidence of a large cave such as Mr. Jenks had
described, nor were there any traces of men having gone back and
forth among the mountains, as might have been expected of the
diamond makers, for, as Mr. Jenks had said, they made frequent
journeys to the settlement for food, and other supplies.

"Well, I haven't begun to give up yet," announced Tom, on the
third day, when their quest was still unsuccessful. "But I think
we are making one mistake."

"What is that?" inquired Mr. Jenks.

"I think we should go up higher. In my opinion the cave is near
the top of some peak; isn't it, Mr. Jenks?"

"I have that impression, though, as you know, I never saw the
outside of it. Still, it might not be a bad idea to ascend some
of these peaks."

Following this suggestion, they laid their trail more toward
the sky, and that night found them encamped several thousand feet
above the sea-level. It was quite cool, and the campfire was a
big one about which they sat after supper, talking of many
things.

Tom did not sleep well that night. He tossed from side to side
on the bed of boughs, and once or twice got up to replenish the
fire, which had burned low. His companions were in deep slumber.

"I wonder what time it is?" mused Tom, when he had been up the
third time to throw wood on the blaze. "Must be near morning." He
looked at his watch, and was somewhat startled to see that it was
only a little after twelve. Somehow it seemed much later.

As he was putting the timepiece back into his pocket the lad
looked around at the dark and gloomy mountains, amid which they
were encamped. As his gaze wandered toward the peak of the one on
the side of which the tent was pitched, he gave a start of
surprise.

For, coming down a place where, that afternoon, Tom had noticed
a sort of indefinite trail was a figure in white. A tall, waving
figure, which swayed this way and that--a figure which halted and
then came on again.

"I wonder--I wonder if that can be a wisp of fog?" mused the
young inventor. He rubbed his eyes, thinking it might be a
swirling of the night mist or a defect of vision. Then, as he saw
more plainly, he noticed the thing in white rushing toward him.

"It's the phantom--the phantom!" cried Tom, aloud. "It's the
thing the miner saw! We're on Phantom Mountain now!"




CHAPTER XIV--WARNED BACK


Tom's cries awakened the sleepers in the tent. Mr. Damon was
the first to rush out.

"Bless my nightcap, Tom!" he cried. "What is it? What has
happened? Are we attacked by a mountain lion?"

For answer the young inventor pointed up the mountain, to
where, in the dim light from a crescent moon, there stood boldly
revealed, the figure in white.

"Bless--bless my very existence!" cried the odd man. "What is
it, Tom?"

"The phantom," was the quiet answer. "Watch it, and see what it
does."

By this time Mr. Jenks and Mr. Parker had joined Tom and Mr.
Damon. The four diamond seekers stood gazing at the apparition.
And, as they looked, the thing in white, seemingly too tall for
any human being, slid slowly forward, with a gliding motion. Then
it raised its long, white arms, and waved them threateningly at
the adventurers.

"It's motioning us to go back," said Mr. Parker in an awed
whisper. "It doesn't want us to go any farther."

"Very likely," agreed Tom, coolly. "But we're not going to be
frightened by anything like that; are we?"

"Not much!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks. "I expected this. A ghost
can't drive me back from getting my rights from those scoundrels!"

"Suppose it uses a revolver to back up its demand?" asked the
scientist.

"Wait until it does," answered Mr. Jenks. But the figure in
white evidently had no such intentions. It came on a little
distance farther, still waving the long arms threateningly, and
then it suddenly disappeared, seeming to dissolve in the misty
shadows of the night.

"Bless my suspenders!" cried Mr. Damon. "That's a very
strange proceeding! Very strange! What do you make of it, Tom?"

"It is evidently some man dressed up in a sheet," declared Mr.
Jenks. "I expected as much."

"The work of those diamond makers; do you think?" continued Mr.
Damon.

"I believe so," answered Tom, slowly, for he was trying to
think it out. "I believe they are the cause of the phantom,
though I don't know that it's a man dressed in a sheet."

"Why isn't it?" demanded Mr. Jenks.

"Because it was too tall for a man, unless he's a giant."

"He may have been on stilts," suggested Mr. Parker.

"No man on stilts could walk along that way," declared Tom,
confidently. "He glided along too easily. I am inclined to think
it may be some sort of a light."

"A light?" queried Mr. Damon.

"Yes, the diamond makers may be hidden in some small cave near
here, and they may have some sort of a magic lantern or a similar
arrangement, for throwing a shadow picture. They could arrange it
to move as they liked, and could cause it to disappear at will.
That, I think, is the ghost we have just seen."

"But the diamond makers have only been in this mountain
recently," objected Mr. Jenks, "and the phantom was here before
them. In fact, that was what gave the place its name."

"That may be," admitted the lad. "There are many places that
have the name of being haunted, but no one ever sees the ghost.
It is always some one else, who has heard of some one who has
seen it. That may have been the case here. I grant that this
place may have been called 'Phantom Mountain' for a number of
years, due to the superstitious tales of miners. The diamond
makers came along, found the conditions just right for their
work, and adopted the ghost, so to speak. As there wasn't any
real spirit they made one, and they use it to scare people away.
I think that's what we've just seen, though I may be wrong in my
theory as to what the phantom is."

"Well, it's gone now, at any rate," said Mr. Jenks, "and I
think we'd better get back inside the tent. It's cold out here."

"Aren't some of us going to stand guard?" demanded Mr. Damon.

"What for?" asked Mr. Jenks.

"Why--er--bless my key-ring! Suppose that ghost takes a notion
to come down here, and use his gun, as he did on the miners?"

"I don't believe that will happen," remarked Tom. "The diamond
makers, if the white thing had anything to do with them, have
given us a warning, and I think they'll at least wait until
morning to see how we heed it."

"We aren't going to heed it!" burst out Mr. Jenks. "I'm going
to go right ahead and find that cave where they make diamonds!"

"And we're with you!" exclaimed Tom. "We'll have a good fire
going the rest of the night, and that may keep intruders away. In
the morning we'll begin our search, and we'll go up the trail
where we saw the white figure."

A big pile of wood had been collected for the fire, and Tom now
piled some logs and branches on the blaze. It would last for some
time now, and the adventurers, still talking of the "ghost" went
back into the tent. It was over an hour before they all got to
sleep again, and Mr. Jenks and Mr. Damon took turns in getting up
once or twice during the remainder of the night to replenish the
fire.

Morning dawned without anything further having occurred to
disturb them, and, after a hearty breakfast, to which Tom added
some fish he caught in a nearby mountain stream, they set off up
the trail on Phantom Mountain.

They had left their tent standing, as they proposed making that
spot their headquarters until they located the cave they were
seeking. What their course would be after that would depend on
the circumstances.

If they had expected to have an easy task locating the cavern
in which Mr. Jenks had seen diamonds made, the adventurers were
disappointed. All that day they tramped up and down the mountain,
looking for some secret entrance, but none was disclosed. The
higher they went up the great peak, the fainter became the trail,
until, at length it vanished completely.

But this was not to be wondered at, since it was on solid rock,
in which no footsteps would leave an impression.

"They never brought you up here in a wagon, Mr. Jenks," decided
Tom, when he saw how steep the place was.

"I'm inclined to think so myself," admitted the diamond man.
"They must have reached the cave from some other way. As a matter
of fact, I walked some distance after getting out of the vehicle,
before we got to the cavern. But, even at that, I don't believe
we came this way."

"Yet the phantom was here," persisted Tom, "and I'm convinced
that the cave is in this neighborhood. It's up to us to find it!"

But they searched the remainder of that day in vain, and as
night was coming on, they made their way back to the camp. As
Tom, who was in the lead, approached the tent, he saw something
black fastened to the entrance.

"Hello!" he cried. "Some one's been here. That wasn't on the
tent when he left this morning."

"What is it?" asked Mr. Damon.

"A black piece of paper, written on with white ink," replied
the lad. He was reading it, and, as he perused it a look of
surprise came over his face.

"Listen to this!" called Tom. "It's evidently from the diamond
makers."

Holding up the black paper, on which the white writing stood
out in bold relief Tom read aloud:


"Be warned in time! Go back before it is too late! You are near
to death! Go back!"


"Bless my shoelaces!" cried Mr. Damon. "This is getting
serious."




CHAPTER XV--THE LANDSLIDE


Gathered about the young inventor, the three men looked at the
warning. The writing was poor, and it was evident that an attempt
had been made to disguise it. But there was no misspelling of
words, and there were no rudely drawn daggers, or bloody hands or
anything of that sort. In fact, it was a very business-like sort
of warning.

"Rather odd," commented Mr. Jenks. "Black paper and white ink."

"White ink is easy enough to make," stated Mr. Parker. "I fancy
they wanted it as conspicuous as possible."

"Yes," agreed Tom, "and this warning, together with the antics
of the thing in white last night, shows that they are aware of
our presence here, and perhaps know who we are. We will have to
be on our guard."

"Do you think that fellow Munson, whom we left in the forest,
could have gotten here and warned them?" asked Mr. Damon.

"It's possible," admitted Tom, "but now let's see if the person
who pinned this warning on our tent took any of our things."

A hasty examination, however, showed that nothing had been
disturbed, and Tom and Mr. Damon were soon getting supper ready,
everyone talking, during the progress of the meal, about the
events of the day, and the rather weird culmination of it.

"Well, we haven't had a great deal of success--so far,"
admitted Tom, as they sat about the fire, in the fast gathering
dusk. "I think, perhaps, we'd better try on the other side of the
mountain to-morrow. We've explored this side pretty thoroughly."

"Good idea," commented Mr. Jenks. "We'll do it, and move our
camp. I only hope those fellows don't find our airship and
destroy it. We'll have a hard time getting back to civilization
again, if we have to walk all the way."

This contingency caused Tom some uneasiness. He did not like to
think that the unscrupulous men might damage the Red Cloud, that
had been built only after hard labor. But he knew he could
accomplish nothing by worrying, and he tried to dismiss the
matter from his mind.

They rather expected to see the thing in white again that
night, but it did not appear, and morning came without anything
having disturbed their heavy sleep, for they were tired from the
day's tramp.

It took them the greater part of the day to make a circuit of
the base of Phantom Mountain in order to get to a place where a
sort of trail led upward.

"It's too late to do anything to-night," decided Tom, as they
set up the tent. "We'll rest, and start the first thing in the
morning."

"And the ghost isn't likely to find us here," added Mr. Damon.
"Where are you going, Mr. Parker?" he asked, as he saw the
scientist tramping a little way up the side of the mountain.

"I am going to make some observations," was the answer, and no
one paid any more attention to him for some time. Supper was
nearly ready when Mr. Parker returned. His face wore a rather
serious air, and Mr. Damon, noting it, asked laughingly:

"Well, did you discover any volcanoes, that may erupt during
the night, and scare us to death?"

"No," replied Mr. Parker, calmly, "but there is every
indication that we will soon have a terrific electrical storm.
From a high peak I caught a glimpse of one working this way
across the mountains."

"Then we'd better fasten the tent well down," called Tom. "We
don't want it to blow away."

"There will not be much danger from wind," was Mr. Parker's
opinion.

"From what then?" asked Mr. Jenks.

"From the discharges of lightning among these mountain peaks,
which contain so much iron ore. We will be in grave danger."

The fact that the scientist had not always made correct
predictions was not now considered by his hearers, and Tom and
the two men gazed at Mr. Parker in some alarm.

"Is there anything we can do to avoid it?" asked Mr. Jenks.

"The only thing to do would be to leave the mountain," was the
answer, "and, as the iron ore extends for miles, we can not get
out of the danger zone before the storm will reach us. It will be
here in less than half an hour."

"Then we'd better have supper," remarked Tom, practically, "and
get ready for it. Perhaps it may not be as bad as Mr. Parker
fears."

"It will be bad enough," declared the gloomy scientist, and he
seemed to find pleasure in his announcement.

The meal was soon over, and Tom busied himself in looking to
the guy ropes of the tent, for he feared lest there might be wind
with the storm. That it was coming was evident, for now low
mutterings of thunder could be heard off toward the west.

Black clouds rapidly obscured the heavens, and the sound of
thunder increased. Fitful flashes of lightning could be seen
forking across the sky in jagged chains of purple light.

"It's going to be a heavy storm," Tom admitted to himself. "I
hope lightning doesn't strike around here."

The storm came on rapidly, but there was a curious quietness in
the air that was more alarming than if a wind had blown. The
campfire burned steadily, and there was a certain oppressiveness
in the atmosphere.

It was now quite dark, save when the fitful lightning flashes
came, and they illuminated the scene brilliantly for a few
seconds. Then, by contrast, it was blacker than ever.

Suddenly, as Tom was gazing up toward the peak of Phantom
Mountain, he saw something that caused him to cry out in alarm.
He pointed upward, and whispered hoarsely:

"The ghost again! There's our friend in white!"

The others looked, and saw the same weird figure that had
menaced them when they were encamped on the other side of the
peak.

"They must have followed us," said Mr. Jenks, in a low voice.

Slowly the figure advanced, It waved the long white arms, as if
in warning. At times it would be only dimly visible in the
blackness, then, suddenly it would stand out in bold relief as a
great flash of fire split the clouds.

The thunder, meanwhile, had been growing louder and sharper,
indicating the nearer approach of the storm. Each lightning flash
was followed in a second or two, by a terrific clap. Still there
was no wind nor rain, and the campfire burned steadily.

All at once there was a crash as if the very mountain had split
asunder, and the adventurers saw a great ball of purple-bluish
fire shoot down, as if from some cloud, and strike against the
side of the crag, not a hundred feet from where stood the ghostly
figure in white.

"That was a bad one," cried Mr. Damon, shouting so as to be
heard above the echoes of the thunderclap.

Almost as he spoke there came another explosion, even louder
than the one preceding. A great ball of fire, pear shaped, leaped
for the same spot in the mountain.

"There's a mass of iron ore there!" yelled Mr. Parker. "The
lightning is attracted to it!"

His voice was swallowed up in the terrific crash that followed,
and, as there came another flash of the celestial fire, the
figure in white could be seen hurrying back up the mountain
trail. Evidently the electrical storm, with lightning bolts
discharging so close, was too much for the "ghost."

In another instant it looked as if the whole place about where
the diamond seekers stood, was a mass of fire. Great forked
tongues of lightning leaped from the clouds, and seemed to lick
the ground. There was a rattle and bang of thunder, like the
firing of a battery of guns. Tom and the others felt themselves
tingling all over, as if they had hold of an electrical battery,
and there was a strong smell of sulphur in the air.

"We are in the midst of the storm!" cried Mr. Parker. "We are
standing on a mass of iron ore! Any minute may be our last!"

But fate had not intended the adventurers for death by
lightning. Almost as suddenly as it had begun, the discharge of
the tongues of fire ceased in the immediate vicinity of our
friends. They stood still--awed--not knowing what to do.

Then, once more, came a terrific clap! A great mass of fire,
like some red-hot ingot from a foundry, was hurled through the
air, straight at the face of the mountain, and at the spot where
the figure in white had stood but a few minutes before.

Instantly the earth trembled, as it had at Earthquake Island,
but it was not the same. It was over in a few seconds. Then, as
the diamond seekers looked, they saw in the glare of a score of
lightning flashes that followed the one great clap, the whole
side of the mountain slip away, and go crashing into the valley
below.

"A landslide!" cried Mr. Parker. "That is the landslide which I
predicted! The lightning bolt has split Phantom Mountain!"




CHAPTER XVI--THE VAST CAVERN


For a time the roiling, slipping, sliding and tumbling of the
mass of earth and stones, down the side of the mountain,
effectually drowned all other sounds. Even the thunder was
stilled, and though Tom and his companions called to one another
in terror, their voices could not rise above that terrific
tumult.

Finally, when they found that the direction of the slide was
away from their tent, and that they were not likely to be
engulfed, they grew more calm.

Gradually the noise subsided. The great boulders had rolled to
the bottom of the valley, and now only a mass of earth and stones
was sliding down. Even this stopped in about five minutes, and,
as though satisfied with what it had done, the electrical storm
passed. Not a drop of rain had fallen.

"Bless my shirt studs!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, who was the first
to speak after the din had quieted. "Bless my soul! But that was
awful!"

"It was just what I expected," said Mr. Parker, calmly. "I
knew, from my observations, that we were in a region where
landslides and terrific electrical storms may be expected at any
time. I fully looked for this."

"Well," remarked Mr. Jenks, rather sarcastically, "I hope it
came up to your expectations, Mr. Parker."

"Oh, fully," was the answer, "though I wish it could have
happened in daylight, so that I could better have observed
certain phenomena regarding the landslide. They are very
interesting."

"At a distance," admitted Tom, with a laugh of relief. "Well,
I'm glad it's over, though we'll have to wait until morning to
see what damage has been done. Lucky we weren't struck by
lightning. I never saw such bolts!"

"Me, either!" declared Mr. Damon. "This mountain seems to
attract them."

"It is like a magnet," said Mr. Parker. "I think I shall be
able to make some fine observations here."

"If we live through it," murmured Mr. Jenks.

They watched the play of lightning about a distant bank of
clouds, but the storm was now far away, only a faint rumbling of
thunder being heard.

"I'm wondering what happened to the phantom," said Tom, after a
pause. "Seems to me he was right in that track of the storm."

"Do you think it was a 'he'?" asked Mr. Jenks.

"I think we'll find that it's some sort of a man," answered the
young inventor. "We may find out very soon, now. I've changed my
theory about the ghost being reflections of light."

"How's that?" Mr. Damon wanted to know.

"Well, I think we are on the side of Phantom Mountain where the
diamond cave is," went on the lad. "The fact that the phantom
appeared here, soon after we arrived, shows that the men kept
close track of our movements. It also shows, I think, that the
phantom did not have to travel far to be on the spot, whereas we
had to make quite a trip to get around the base of the mountain.
I think the cave is up there," and Tom pointed toward the spot
where the weird figure had been last seen, before the storm drove
it back.

"There may be two phantoms," suggested Mr. Jenks. "They may
keep one on this side of the mountain, and one on the other, to
warn intruders away.

"It's possible," admitted Tom. "Well, we'll see how things look
in the morning, when we'll take up our march again, and go up the
mountain. We'll reach the top, if possible, which we couldn't do
from the other side, as it was too steep."

"I hope we shall be able to go forward in the morning," came
from Mr. Jenks.

"What do you mean?" asked the lad, struck by a peculiar
significance in the diamond man's tones.

"Why, that landslide may have opened a great gully in the side
of Phantom Mountain, which will prevent us from passing. It was a
terrific lot of earth and stones that slid away," answered Mr.
Jenks.

"It certainly was," agreed Mr. Parker. "I would not be
surprised if the mountain was half destroyed, and it may be that
the diamond cave no longer exists."

"Not very cheerful, to say the least," murmured Mr. Jenks to
Tom, and, as it was getting quite chilly, following the storm,
they went inside the tent.

Tom could hardly wait for daylight, to get up and see what
havoc the landslide had wrought. As soon as the first faint flush
of dawn showed over the eastern peaks, he hurried from the tent.
Mr. Damon heard him arise, and followed.

A curious scene met their eyes. All about were great rocks rent
and torn by the awful power of the lightning. The fronts of the
stone cliffs were scarred and burned by the electrical fire, and
fantastic markings, grotesque faces, and leering animals seemed
to have been drawn by some gigantic artist who used a bolt from
heaven for his brush.

But the eyes of Tom and Mr. Damon took all this in at a glance,
and then their gaze went forward to where the avalanche had torn
away a great part of the mountain.

"Whew! I should say it was a landslide!" cried Tom.

"Bless my wishbone, yes!" agreed Mr. Damon.

Below them, in the valley, lay piled immense masses of earth
and stones. Boulders were heaped up on boulders, and rocks upon
rocks, being tossed about in heaps, strung about in long ridges,
and swirled about in curves, as though some cyclone had toyed
with them after the lightning flash had tossed them there.

"But the mountain isn't half gone," said Tom, as his eyes took
in what was left of the phantom berg. "I guess it will take a few
more bolts like that one, to put this hill out of business."

Though the landslide had been a great one, the larger part of
the mountain still stood. An immense slice had been taken from
one side, but the summit was untouched.

"And there's where the diamond cave is!" cried Tom, pointing to
it.

"I think so myself," agreed Mr. Jenks, who came from the tent
at that moment, and joined the lad and Mr. Damon. "I think we
shall find the cave somewhere up there. We must start for it, as
soon as we have eaten, and we may reach it by night."

The three stood gazing up toward the summit of the great
mountain. Suddenly, as the sun rose higher in the heavens, it
sent a shaft of rosy light on the face of the berg that had been
scarred by the landslide. Tom Swift uttered an exclamation, and
pointed at something.

"See!" he cried. "Look where the trail is--the trail down which
the phantom must have come. It is on the edge of a cliff now!"

They looked, and saw that this was so. The increasing light had
just revealed it to them. When the lightning bolt had torn away a
great portion of the mountain it had cut sheer down for a great
depth and when the earth and stones fell away they left a narrow
pathway, winding around the mountain, but so near the edge of a
great chasm, that there was room but for one person at a time to
walk on that footway. The uncertain trail up Phantom Mountain had
all but been destroyed.

"The way up to the peak is by that path, now," spoke Tom, in a
low voice.

"Bless my soul!" cried Mr. Damon. "It's as much as a man's life
is worth to attempt it. If he got dizzy, he'd topple over, and
fall a thousand feet. Dare we risk it?"

"It's the only way to get up," went on Tom. "It's either that
way, or not at all. We've tried the other side without success.
We must go up this way--or turn back."

"Then we'll go up!" cried Mr. Jenks. "It may not be as
dangerous as it looks from here."

But it was even more dangerous than it appeared, when they went
part way up it after a hasty breakfast. The trail was a mere
ledge of rock now, and in some places, to get around a projecting
edge of the mountain, they had to stand with their backs to the
dizzy depths at their feet, and with both arms outstretched work
their way around to where the trail was wider.

"Shall we risk it?" asked Tom, when they had tried the way, and
found it so dangerous. "We can't take anything with us--even our
guns, for we couldn't carry them, and if we reach the month of
the cave, and find those men there--"

He paused significantly. The adventurers looked at one another.
The search for the diamond makers was becoming more and more
dangerous.

"I say let's go on!" decided Mr. Damon, suddenly. "We want to
locate that cave, first of all. Perhaps, when we do find it, we
may see some easier way of getting to it than this. And if those
diamond makers do attack us--well, I don't believe they'll shoot
defenseless men, and they may listen to reason, and give Mr.
Jenks his rights--tell him how to make diamonds in return for the
money he gave them."

"I don't believe those scoundrels will listen to reason,"
replied the diamond man, "but I agree with Mr. Damon that we
ought to go on. We may find some other means of reaching the
cave--if we can discover it, and we'll take a chance with the
men."

"Forward it is, then!" cried Tom. "I have a revolver, and I can
supply one of you gentlemen with another. They may come in useful
in an emergency. Let's go back to camp, take a little lunch in
our pockets, and try to scale the mountain."

They were soon on their way up the dizzy path once more, and,
as they advanced, they found it growing more and more dangerous.
In some places they found it almost impossible to get around
certain corners, where there was barely room for their feet. As
Tom remarked grimly, a fat man never could have done it.
Fortunately they were all comparatively thin, for their hard
work, and not too abundant food, since they had left the airship,
had reduced their weight.

Up and up they went, higher and higher, sometimes finding the
path wide enough for two to walk abreast, and again seeing it
narrow almost to a ribbon. They hardly dared look down into the
chasm at their left--a chasm filled, in part, with the rocks and
boulders tossed into it by the lightning bolt.

Tom was in the lead, and had just made a dangerous turn around
a shoulder of rock--one of those places where he had to extend
both arms, and fairly hug the cliff before he could get around.

But, when he had made it, and found himself on a broad pathway,
cut in the living rock, he gave a great shout--a shout that
caused his companions to hasten to his side. They found the young
inventor pointing to a clump of bushes and small trees.

But it was not the shrubbery that Tom desired to call to their
attention. They saw that in an instant, for, dimly seen through
the leaves, was something black, and, as they looked more
closely, they saw that it was a great hole in the side of the
mountain--a vast cavern, opening like a tunnel.

"The cave! The cave!" cried Tom. "The diamond makers' cave!"

Hardly had he spoken than two men, each one carrying a gun,
showed themselves in the mouth of the cavern, and, instant later
they both ran toward the little party of adventurers.




CHAPTER XVII--THE PHANTOM CAPTURED


Surprise held Tom and his friends almost spellbound for the
moment. The young inventor's hand went toward the pocket where he
carried his revolver. Mr. Jenks, who had the only other weapon,
sought to draw it, but he was stopped by a gesture of one of the
two men with guns.

"Hold on, strangers!" the man cried. "I know what you're up to!
Better not try to draw anything--it might not be healthy. Now,
then, who are you, and what do you want?"

The question came rather as a surprise, at least to Tom and Mr.
Jenks. They had taken it for granted that these men--if they were
the diamond makers--would know Mr. Jenks, and guess at his errand
in coming back to Phantom Mountain. But, it seemed, that they
took them all for casual strangers.

No one answered for a moment. Tom caught the eye of Mr. Jenks,
and there was a look of hope in it. If ever there was a time for
strategy, it was now. Evidently Munson, the stowaway on the
airship, had not yet been able to send a warning to his
confederates. And neither of the two men recognized Mr. Jenks as
the man who had been defrauded of his rights. It might be
possible to conceal the real object of the adventurers until they
had time to formulate a plan of action.

"Well," exclaimed the man with the gun, impatiently, "I ask you
folks a question. What do you want?"

Fortunately, neither Mr. Damon nor Mr. Parker replied. The
former because he deferred to Tom and Mr. Jenks, and the
scientist because he was busy inspecting some curious rocks he
picked up. As it turned out this was the luckiest thing he could
have done. It lent color to what Mr. Jenks said a moment later.

"What are you doing up here?" demanded the man again. "Don't
you know this is private property?"

"We--we were just looking around," answered Mr. Jenks, which
was true enough; as far as it went.

"Prospecting," added Tom.

"After gold?" demanded the second man, suspiciously.

"We'd be glad to find some," retorted the lad. At that moment
Mr. Parker began breaking off bits of rock with a small
geologist's hammer which he carried. The men with the guns looked
at him.

"So you think you'll find gold up here?" asked the one who had
first spoken.

"Is there any?" inquired Tom, trying to make his voice sound
eager.

"Nary a bit, strangers," was the answer, and the two men
laughed heartily. "Now, we don't want to seem harsh," went on the
man who seemed to be the spokesman, "but you'd better get away
from here. This is private ground, and dangerous too--how'd you
ever get up the trail--we heard it was destroyed."

"There is still a narrow path," said Mr. Jenks. "We came up
that--the lightning and landslide haven't left much of it,
though."

Mr. Parker looked quickly up from the rocks at which he was
tapping with his small hammer. "You have terrific lightning up
here," he said. "I am much interested in it, from a scientific
standpoint. I predict that some day the entire mountain will be
destroyed by a blast from the sky."

"I hope it won't be right away," spoke one of the men. "Now I
guess you folks had better be leaving while there's a path left
to go down by."

"Might I ask," broke in Mr. Parker, as calmly as though he was
lecturing to a class of students, "might I ask if you have
noticed any peculiar effect of the lightning up here on the
summit of the mountain? Does it fuse and melt rocks, so to
speak?"

"What's that?" cried the spokesman, with a sudden flash of
anger. The two men looked at each other.

"I wanted to know, merely for scientific reasons, whether the
lightning up here ever melted rocks?" repeated Mr. Jenks.

"Well, whether it's for scientific reasons or for any other,
I'm not going to answer you!" snapped the man. "It's none of your
affair what the lightning does up here. Now you'd all better
'vamoose'--clear out!"

"All right--we'll go," said Tom, quickly, at the same time
motioning to Mr. Jenks to agree with him. The eyes of the young
inventor were roving about. He saw what looked like a second
trail, leading down the mountain, from the far side of the cave.
He was convinced now that there was another way to get to it.
Possibly they might find it. At any rate nothing more could be
done now. They must go back, for the cavern was too well guarded
to attempt to enter it by force--at least just yet.

"Yes, we'll go back," assented Mr. Jenks.

Mr. Parker was tapping away at the rocks. He looked toward the
black mouth of the big cave. On what corresponded to the roof of
it, some distance back from the entrance, he saw a slender metal
rod sticking up into the air.

"May I ask if that's a lightning rod?" he inquired innocently.
"If it is, I should like to ask about its action in a mountain
that is so impregnated with iron ore.

"You may ask until you get tired!" cried the spokesman, again
showing unreasoning anger, "but you'll get no answer from us. Now
get away from here before we do something desperate. You're on
private ground and you're not wanted. Clear out while you have
the chance."

There was no help for it. Slowly our friends turned and began
to go down the dangerous trail. They were soon out of sight of
the two men who stood before the cave, with their guns ready, but
neither Tom nor any of his companions spoke for some time.

When they had rounded one of the most dangerous turns the young
inventor sat down to rest, an example followed by the others.

"Well," asked Tom, "do you think those are some of the diamond
makers, Mr. Jenks?"

"I certainly do, though I never saw those two men before. If I
could once get inside the cave, I could tell whether or not it
was the one where I was practically held a prisoner. But I'm sure
it is. I know some of the men used to go off every day with guns,
and not come back until night. I have no doubt they were on
guard, just as these two are. And, also, I think I heard them
speak of a second entrance to the cavern. The one we just saw may
not be the main one, through which I was taken."

"I believe we are on the right track," ventured Mr. Damon, "but
we will either have to go up there after dark, which will be
risky, on account of the narrow trail, or else we will have to
find some other path."

"The last would be better," spoke Tom.

"That rod of metal sticking up on top of the cave interested
me," said the scientist. "Did you hear anything of that when you
were here before, Mr. Jenks?"

"No. Probably that is only a lightning rod, or it may be a
staff for a signal flag. But what surprises me is that those men
didn't suspect that we were seeking to discover their secret.
They took us for ordinary prospectors."

"So much the better," remarked Tom. "We have a chance now of
getting inside that cave. But we will have to go back to camp,
and make other plans. And we must hurry, or it will be dark
before we get there."

They hastened their steps, pausing only briefly to eat some of
the lunch they had brought along, and to drink from a spring that
bubbled from the side of the mountain. It was getting dusk when
they got back to their tent. They found nothing disturbed.

"I wonder if we'll see that phantom again to-night?" ventured
Tom, as they were sitting about the campfire a little later.

"Probably not," remarked Mr. Jenks. "I don't believe the ghost
will venture down the dangerous trail after dark, and the gang
may think that the warning given us by the two men on guard at
the cave will be sufficient. But if we don't leave here by
to-morrow I think we will have another visit from the thing in
white."

It was about an hour after this when Tom was collecting some
wood in a pile nearer the fire, so as to have it ready to throw
on, in case there was any alarm in the night, that he happened to
look up toward the summit of the mountain. A slight noise, as of
loose stones rolling down, attracted his attention, and, at
first, he feared lest another landslide was beginning, but a
moment later he saw what caused it.

There, advancing down the steep and dangerous trail was the
figure in white--the phantom. Instantly a daring plan came into
Tom's head. Dropping the wood softly, he moved back out of the
glare of the fire.

"Mr. Jenks!" he called in a whisper.

The diamond man, who was behind the tent, came toward Tom.

"What is it?" he asked. Then, as he saw the ghostly visitor, he
added: "Oh--the phantom again! What's it up to?"

"The same thing," replied Tom, "but it won't do it long, if my
plan succeeds."

"What plan is that, Tom?"

"I'm going to try to capture that--that man--or whatever it is.
Will you help?"

"Surely!"

"Then let's work around behind it, while Mr. Damon and Mr.
Parker come up from in front. We'll solve this part of the
mystery, anyhow, if it's possible!"

The two other men were soon told of the plan. Meanwhile the
thing in white had advanced slowly, until within a few hundred
feet of the camp. They could see now that it was no shaft of
light, but some white body, shaped like a tall, thin man, draped
in a white garment. The long arms waved to and fro. There was no
semblance of a head.

"You and Mr. Parker go right toward it, slowly, Mr. Damon,"
advised Tom. "Mr. Jenks and I will make a circle, and get in
back. Then, if it's anything alive we'll have it."

The "ghost" continued to advance. Tom and the diamond man stole
off to one side, their buckskin moccasins making no sound. Mr.
Damon and the scientist went boldly forward.

This movement appeared to disconcert the spirit. It halted,
waved the arms with greater vigor than before, and seemed to
indicate to the adventurers that it was dangerous to advance. But
Mr. Damon and Mr. Parker kept on. They wanted to give Tom and Mr.
Jenks time enough to make the circuit.

Suddenly the stillness of the night was broken by a low
whistle. It was Tom's signal that he and Mr. Jenks were ready.

"Come on! Run!" cried Mr. Damon.

The scientist and the eccentric man leaped forward.

The "ghost" heard the whistle, and heard the spoken words. The
thing in white hesitated a moment, and then raised one arm. There
was a flash of lire, and a loud report.

"He's firing in the air!" cried Tom. "Come on, we have him
now!"

Undaunted by the display of firearms, Mr. Damon and Mr. Parker
kept on. They could hear Tom and Mr. Jenks running up in back of
the figure. The latter also heard this, and suddenly turned.
Caught between the two forces of our friends, the "ghost" was at
a loss what to do.

The next instant Tom, who had distanced Mr. Jenks, made a
flying tackle for the figure in white, and caught it around the
legs. Very substantial legs they were, too, Tom felt--the legs of
a man.

"Wow!" yelled the "ghost," as he went down in a heap, the
revolver falling from his hand.

"Come on!" cried Tom. "I have him!"

His friends rushed to his aid. There was a confused mass of
dark bodies, arms and legs mingled with something tall and thin,
all in white. Suddenly the moon came from behind a cloud and they
could see what they had captured--for captured the phantom was.

It proved to be a rather small man, who wore upon his shoulders
a framework of wood, over which some white cloth was draped. It
had fallen off him when Tom made that tackle.

"Well," remarked the young inventor, as he sat on the
struggling man's chest. "I guess we've got you."

"I rather guess you have, stranger," was the cool reply.




CHAPTER XVIII--BILL RENSHAW WILL HELP


They were all panting from the exertion of the run up the
mountain and the contest with the phantom--a phantom no longer--though,
truth to tell, the struggle was not nearly so fierce as
Tom had expected. He thought the "ghost" would put up a stiff
fight.

"Got any ropes to tie him with?" asked Mr. Damon, who was
helping Tom hold the man down.

"Ropes? You aren't going to tie me up are you, strangers?"
asked the captive.

"That's what we are!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks. "We've had trouble
enough in this matter, and if I've got one of the gang, perhaps I
can get some of the others, and have my rights. So tie him up,
Tom, and we'll take him to camp.

"Oh, you needn't go to all that trouble, strangers," went on
the man, calmly. "If one of you will get off my chest, and the
other gentleman ease up on my stomach a bit, I'll walk wherever
you want me, and not make any trouble. I haven't got a gun."

"Bless my gloves! But you're a cool one," commented Mr. Damon,
as he complied with the man's request, and got up from his
stomach. "But look out for him, Tom. He had a gun, for he fired
it in the air."

"He hasn't it now," answered the young inventor. "I knocked it
from his hand when I leaped for him."

"That's what you did," assented the man, as he got up, while
Tom kept a tight hold of him, as did Mr. Jenks. "What kind of a
grizzly bear hug do you call that, anyhow, that you gave me?"

"That was a football tackle," explained Tom.

"I allers heard that was a dangerous game!" remarked the former
phantom simply. "Well, now you've got me, what are you going to
do with me?"

"Take you where we can have a good look at you," replied Mr.
Jenks, as he kicked aside the wooden framework, and the sheet
which had made the "ghost" appear so tall. "So this is how you
worked it; eh?"

"Yep. That was the 'haunt' stranger. I made it myself, and it
worked all right until you folks come along. I rather suspicioned
from the first, when I played the trick over on 'tother side of
the mountain, that you wouldn't be so easy to fool as most
prospectors are."

"Oh, so you're the only ghost then?" asked Tom.

"I'm the only one."

By this time they had reached the camp. Tom threw some light
logs on the fire, which blazed up brightly. As the flames
illuminated the face of their captive, Mr. Jenks looked at him,
and cried out:

"Why it's Bill Renshaw!"

"That's me," admitted the man who had played the part of the
phantom, "and thunder-turtles! if it ain't Mr. Jenks who was once
in the diamond cave with us. Whatever happened to you? I never
heard. The others said you got tired and went away."

"They took me away--defrauded me of my rights!" declared Mr.
Jenks, bitterly. "But I'll get them back! To think of Bill
Renshaw playing the part of a ghost!"

"They made me do it," went on the man, somewhat dejectedly. "I
wanted to be at work in the cave, but they wouldn't let me."

"Is this man one of the diamond makers?" asked Tom, in great
surprise.

"He is--one of the helpers, though I don't believe he knows the
secret of making the gems," explained Mr. Jenks. "He was one of
the men in the cave when I was there before, and he and I struck
up quite a friendship; didn't we, Renshaw?"

"That's what, and there ain't no reason why we can't be friends
now; that is unless you hold a grudge against me for firing at
you. But I only shot in the air, to scare you away. Them's my
instructions. I'm supposed to be on guard, and scare away
strangers. I'm tired of the work, too, for I don't get my share,
and those other fellows, in the cave, get all the money from the
diamonds."

Tom Swift uttered an exclamation. A sudden plan had come to
him. Quickly he whispered to Mr. Jenks:

"Make a friend of this man if possible. He evidently is
dissatisfied. Offer him a sum to show us another way into the
cave, and we may yet discover the secret of the diamond makers."

"I will," declared Mr. Jenks, quietly. Then, turning to
Renshaw, he added:

"Bill, come over here. I want to have a talk with you. Perhaps
it will be to our mutual advantage."

He led the former phantom to one side, and for some time
conversed earnestly with him. Mr. Jenks told the story of how he
had been deceived by Folwell and the others who were at the head
of the gang of diamond makers. The rich man related how they had
taken his money, and, after promising to disclose the secret
process to him, had broken faith, and had drugged him, afterward
taking him out of the cave.

"I want only my rights, and that for which I paid," concluded
Mr. Jenks. "Now, I gather that these men haven't treated you
altogether fairly, Bill."

"Indeed they haven't. I helped 'em to the best of my ability,
and all I get out of it is to stay out on this lonely side of the
mountain, and play ghost. They owe me money, too, and they won't
pay me, either, though they have lots, for they sold some
diamonds lately."

"Then they are still making diamonds?" asked Mr. Jenks,
eagerly. "Have you seen them? Do you know the secret?"

"No, I don't know it, for they won't let me in on it. I'm
always sent out of the cave just before they make the gems. But I
know they've made some lately, and have sold 'em. I want my
share."

"Look here!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks, quickly, wishing to strike
while the iron was hot. "I'll make you a proposition. Show us how
to get into that cave, unknown to the diamond makers, and I'll
pay you twice what they agreed to. Is it a bargain?"

Bill Renshaw considered a moment. Then he thrust out his hand,
clasped that of Mr. Jenks, and exclaimed:

"It is. I'll take you into the cave by an entrance that's
seldom used. There are four ways to get in. The one where the two
men drove you back is the rear one. The front one is on the other
side of the mountain, but it's so well concealed that you'd never
find it. But I can take you to one where you can get in, and
those fellows will never know it. And, what's more, I'll help you
if it comes to a fight!"

"Good!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks. "I think we'll discover the secret
of the diamond makers this time," and he went to tell the others
of the success of his talk. Bill Renshaw had been converted from
an enemy into a friend, and the former phantom was now ready to
lead Tom and the others into the secret cave.

"We'll start in the morning," decided Mr. Jenks, who, after
many disappointments, at last saw success ahead of him.




CHAPTER XIX--IN THE SECRET CAVE


Tom Swift was up at break of day, and the others were not far
behind him.

"Now for the secret cave!" cried the young inventor as he gazed
up the mountain, in the interior of which the mysterious band of
men were making the diamonds.

"Have you made any plans, Bill?" asked Mr. Jenks of the former
phantom, who had cast his lot in with the adventurers. "What will
be the best course for us to follow?"

"You just leave it to me, Mr. Jenks," was the answer. "I'll get
you into the cave, and those fellows, who, I believe, are trying
to do me out of my rights, as they did you out of yours, will
never know a thing about it."

"Bless my finger-nails!" cried Mr. Damon. "That will be great!"
We can get in the cave, and watch them make the diamonds at our
leisure."

"They don't make them every day," explained Renshaw. "It seems
they have to wait for certain occasions. Mostly they make the
diamonds when there's a big storm."

"A big storm" asked the scientist with a sudden show of
interest. "Do you mean one of those electrical storms, such as we
had the other night?"

"That's it, Mr. Parker, though why they wait until there's a
storm is more than I can tell."

"Perhaps they know that on such occasions no one will venture
up the mountain," spoke Mr. Damon.

"No, it isn't that," declared the scientist. "I think I am on
the track of a great scientific discovery, and I will soon be
able to make observations that will confirm it."

"Well, I'm going to make an observation right now," said Tom,
with a laugh. "I'm going to see what there is for breakfast."

"And that reminds me," came from Mr. Jenks, "shall we move our
camp, Bill, and take the tent with us to the cave?"

"I hardly think so," was the answer. "I think the best plan
would be to conceal the tent somewhere around here, in case you
might need it again. You can also store what food you have left."

"But, bless my appetite, we don't want to starve in that
diamond cave!" objected Mr. Damon.

"I'll see that you don't," declared Bill Renshaw. "I'll take
you in there, unbeknownst to those fellows, and I'll provide you
with plenty of food and water. You see the cave is so big that
there are some parts they never visit."

"And we can stay in one of those parts, and eat?" asked Tom.

"Sure," answered Bill.

"And watch the diamond makers at work?" asked Mr. Jenks.

"That's it," replied the former phantom.

"Then the sooner we get started the better," remarked Mr.
Damon. Mr. Parker said nothing. He appeared to be thinking
deeply, and was tapping at some rocks with his little hammer.

The advice of Bill Renshaw was followed, and the tent, and what
food remained, was concealed in the bushes, with rocks piled over
to keep away prowling animals. Then they started for the secret
cave.

The man who played the part of a ghost picked up the framework
and white cloth that had formed his disguise.

"I'll still have to use this," he explained, "for I don't want
those fellows to know that I'm helping you. I'll continue to play
the spirit of the mountain, but there won't be much need of it. I
don't think any more people will come prospecting out here."

"Have you heard of the arrival of Farley Munson?" asked Tom, as
he related the facts about the stowaway.

"He hadn't arrived up to a day or so ago," answered Bill. "I
guess he's still traveling. Farley is one of the heads of the
gang," he added, "and a dangerous man."

As Bill led the way toward the cave, taking a route that the
adventurers had never suspected led to it, he explained that the
cavern was a large one, capable of holding an army.

"But there's only a small part of it used by the diamond
makers," he added. "They work in a small recess, near the summit
of the mountain. The little cave, where I'm going to take you,
opens off from it by a long passage. And, except that you'll be
pretty much in the dark, you'll be quite comfortable. There are
tables, chairs, and some bunks in the place. I can get you some
lights, and plenty of food."

"But, if you are seen taking away food, won't the others
suspect something?" asked Tom.

"I do pretty much as I please," said Bill. "I go and come when
I like. All I'm supposed to do is to watch my two sides of the
mountain, play the ghost, and give warning when any one is
coming. Sometimes I leave black and white messages, like the one
I put on your tent. Those fellows fix 'em up for me. I've told
'em about you, though I didn't know who you were, and they think
you have gone, for the two men on guard at the rear entrance so
reported. Sometimes I stay out on the mountain for a couple of
days at a time, when the weather's good, and don't go back to the
cave. Those times I take food with me, and so if they see me
making off with some supplies they'll think I'm going to camp
out."

"It doesn't look as though we'd ever get into a cave near the
top of the mountain, going this way," said Tom, as they marched
along. "We're going down, instead of up."

"That's the secret of this trail," explained Bill. "We go down
in a sort of valley, and then go up a pretty stiff place, and
then we're on a direct trail to the entrance I told you about.
It's a steep road to climb, but I guess we can manage it."

And a hard climb the adventurers did find it. The road was
almost as bad as the one along the edge of the chasm, but they
managed to negotiate it, and finally found themselves on a fairly
good trail.

"We'll soon be there," Bill assured them. "After you get in the
little cave, where I'm going to hide you, I'll have to leave you
for a spell, until I get my ghost rigging fixed up again. But
I'll see that you have plenty of food and drink."

A little later their guide came to a sudden halt, and peered
around anxiously.

"What's the matter?" asked Tom.

"I was just looking to see if any of the men were about," he
answered. "But I guess not--it looks all right. The entrance is
right here."

They were on a side of the mountain, near the summit. Below
stretched a magnificent scene. A great valley lay at their feet,
and they could look off to many distant peaks. The main trail to
Leadville, and the one to the settlement of Indian Ridge, was in
sight.

Suddenly Tom, who had been using a small but powerful
telescope, uttered an exclamation, and focussed the instrument on
a speck that seemed moving along on the trail below.

"A man--coming up the mountain," cried Tom. "And--it can't be--yet
it is--it's Farley Munson--the stowaway!" he cried. "He's coming here!"

"Let me look!" begged Mr. Jenks, taking the glass from Tom. An
instant later the diamond man exclaimed: "Yes, it's Munson!"

"Then in here with you--quick!" cried Renshaw. "He can't see us
yet, and we'll be out of sight in another minute."

The former spirit pulled aside some thick bushes, and pointed
to a hole which was disclosed.

"The entrance to the secret cave," he announced. "Slip in all
of you."

Tom, after another glance at the man toiling his way up the
mountain, entered the cavern. He was followed by the others. Bill
was the last to enter, and he replaced the bushes over the
entrance.

"At last!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks, as he gazed up at the roof of
the dimly-lighted vault in which they found themselves.

"Yes, we're in the diamond makers' secret cave," added Tom.
"Now to catch them at work!"

"Come on," advised Bill, in a low tone, "We're not safe yet,"
and he produced a lantern from some hidden recess, lighted the
wick, and led the way. As the others followed they were aware of
a subdued noise in the great cavern.




CHAPTER XX--MAKING THE DIAMONDS


"What's that noise?" asked Tom, as their guide flashed the
lantern to show them the way.

"That's the men getting ready to make diamonds, I guess," was
the answer. "You see it takes quite a while to get the stuff
ready. I don't know what they use--they never tell me any of
their secrets."

"Oh, I know the ingredients well enough," said Mr. Jenks, "but
I don't know the secret of how they apply the terrific heat and
pressure necessary to fuse the materials into diamonds."

"Well, you'll soon know," declared Bill Renshaw. "Of course it
isn't always successful. I've known 'em to try half a dozen times
before they got any diamonds big enough to satisfy 'em. They gave
me some of the small ones when I asked for my wages.

"How did you come to get in with these men?" asked Tom, curious
to understand how a person seemingly as honest as Renshaw
appeared to be had cast his lot in with the men who had broken
faith with Mr. Jenks.

"Oh, I've lived around these parts all my life," was the
answer. "I knew of this cave before these diamond fellers came to
it. In fact, I showed it to 'em. It was several years ago that a
party of men who were prospecting around here came to me and
asked if I knew of a small cave near the top of a high mountain,
where lightning storms were frequent. I told them about Phantom
Mountain, as it was called then, and also of this cave. If
there's any place where they have worse lightning storms than
here, I'd like to know it. They scare me, sometimes, like the
night when that landslide happened, and I'm sort of used to 'em.

"Well, I took these men to the cave, and they hired me as a
sort of lookout. Then they began their work, and at first I
didn't know what they were up to, but finally I caught on. Then
Mr. Jenks came, and disappeared mysteriously, though then I
didn't know that they had played a trick on him. I was outside
most of the time, pretending I was the ghost. So that's how I
came to get in with 'em, and I wish I was out."

"You soon will be, I think," declared Mr. Jenks. "But won't our
talking be heard by the men?"

"No danger. There is a thick wall between this part of the
cave, and the part where they live and work. I'll soon have you
well hid, and then you wait until I come back."

"What about Munson?" asked Tom. "He is evidently on his way
here to tell his confederates about us."

"He won't know what has happened to us," said Mr. Jenks, "and
he won't see anything of us. I guess we're safe enough."

Through the dark passage they followed Bill Renshaw until he
came to a halt in a place that suddenly widened and broadened
into a good-sized cave.

"Here's your stopping place," said the former ghost. "Now if
you follow that passage, off to the left," and he pointed to it,
"you'll come to the larger part of the cave where the diamond
makers are. But go cautiously, and don't make any noise. I won't
be responsible for what happens."

"We'll take all the risk," interrupted Tom.

"All right. Now there's a couple of lanterns around here. I'll
light them, and leave you for a while until I can get some grub.
I'll be back as soon as I can."

He glided away, after lighting two lanterns, by the gleams of
which the adventurers could see that they were in a vaulted
cavern that had evidently been fitted up as a living apartment.
The sides, roof and floor were of stone. It was clean, and the
air was fresh. There were some chairs, a table, and several cots,
with pieces of bagging for bedding, though it was warm in the
place.

"I guess we can stay here until we discover the secret," spoke
Tom.

"Bless my watch! We can if we have something to eat," came from
Mr. Damon, with something like a sigh. "I'm hungry!"

"And I want to make some observations," said Mr. Parker. "From
what I have seen of this mountain, I would not be surprised if
this cave was to be suddenly destroyed by a landslide or a
lightning bolt. I will make some further investigations."

"Well, if it's going to cause you to make such gloomy
prophecies as that, I'd just as soon you wouldn't look any
further," spoke Tom, in a low voice. But Mr. Parker, taking one
of the lanterns, set about examining the rock of which the cave
consisted.

In a short time Bill Renshaw returned with enough food to last
for two days. He said he was going out on the mountain once more
to act the part of a lookout, and would visit the adventurers
again the next day.

"In the meanwhile you can do just as you please," he said.
"Nobody is likely to disturb you here, and you can sneak up and
take a look at the men in the other cave whenever you're ready.
Only be careful--that's all I've got to say. They're desperate
men."

It was not very pleasant, eating in the gloomy cavern, but they
made the best of it. They cooked on a small oil-stove they found
in the place, and after some hot coffee they felt much better.

"Well," remarked Tom, after a while, "shall we take a chance,
and go look at the men at work?"

"I think so," answered Mr. Jenks. "The sooner we discover this
mystery, the better. Then we can go back home."

"And recover my airship," added Tom, who was a bit uneasy
regarding the safety of the Red Cloud.

"Then, bless my finger-rings! let's go and see if we can find
the big cave your friend the ghost told us of," suggested Mr.
Damon.

Cautiously they made their way along the passage Bill had
pointed out. As they went forward the subdued noise became
louder, and finally they could feel the vibration of machinery.

"This is the place," whispered Mr. Jenks. "That sound we hear
is one of the mixing machines, for grinding the materials--carbon
and the other substances--which go to make up the diamonds. I
remember hearing that when I was in the cave before."

"Then we must be near the place," observed Tom.

"Yes, but I didn't have much chance to look around when I was
here before. They wouldn't let me. I never even knew of the small
cave Bill took us to."

"Well, if we're close to it, we'd better go cautiously, and not
talk any more than we're obliged to," suggested Mr. Parker, and
they agreed that this was good advice.

They walked on softly. Suddenly Tom, who was in the lead, saw a
gleam of light.

"We're here," he whispered. "I'll put out our lantern, now,"
which he did. Then, stealing forward he and the others beheld a
curious sight. The tunnel they were in ended at a small hole
which opened into a large cavern, and, fortunately, this opening
was concealed from the view of those in the main place.

"The diamond makers!" whispered Tom, hoarsely, pointing to
several men grouped about a number of strange machines.

"Yes--the very place where I was," answered Mr. Jenks, "and
there is the apparatus--the steel box--from which the diamonds
are taken--now to see how they make them."

Fascinated, the adventurers looked into the cave. The men there
were unaware of the presence of our friends, and were busily
engaged. Some attended to the grinding machine, the roar and
clatter of which made it possible for Tom and the others to talk
and move about without being overheard. Into this machine certain
ingredients were put, and they were then pulverized, and taken
out in powdery form.

The power to run the mixing machine was a gasoline motor, which
chug-chugged away in one corner of the cave.

As the powder was taken out, other men fashioned it into small
balls, which were put on pan, and into a sort of oven, that was
heated by a gasoline stove.

"Is that how they make the diamonds?" asked Mr. Damon.

"That is evidently the first step," said Mr. Jenks. "Those
balls of powdered chemicals are partly baked, and then they are
put into the steel box. In some way terrific heat and pressure
are applied, and the diamonds are made. But how the heat and
pressure are obtained is what we have yet to learn."

He paused to watch the men at work. They were all busy, some
attending to the machines, and others coming and going in and out
of the cave. In one part a man was apparently getting ready a
meal.

Suddenly there rushed into the cave a man who seemed much
excited.

"Are you nearly ready with that stuff?" he cried. "There's a
good storm gathering on the mountain!"

"Yes, we'll be ready in half an hour," answered one of the men
at the mixing machine.

"Good. It will be flashing lightning bolts then, and we can see
what luck we have. The last batch was a failure." The man hurried
out again. Mr. Parker touched Tom and Mr. Jenks on their
shoulders.

"What is it?" asked Tom.

"I know the secret of making the diamonds," said the scientist.

"What?" cried Mr. Jenks.

"It is by the awful power of the lightning bolts!" whispered
Mr. Parker. "Everything is explained now--the reason why they
make diamonds in this lonely place, near the top of the mountain.
They need a place where the lightning is powerful. I can
understand it now--I suspected it before. They make diamonds by
lightning!"

"Are you sure?" cried Mr. Jenks.

"Positive."

"I agree with you," said Tom Swift. "I was just getting on that
track myself, when I saw the electric wires running to the steel
box. That explains the upright rod on the top of the mountain.
The man says a storm is coming--very well; we'll stay here and
watch them make diamonds!"

As he spoke there came the mutter of thunder, and the mountain
vibrated slightly. The men in the cave redoubled their activity.
Tom and his friends felt that the secret process they had so long
sought was about to be demonstrated before their eyes.



CHAPTER XXI--FLASHING GEMS


Eagerly the adventurers looked through the opening at the end
of the passage into the larger cave. The men opened the small
oven in which the balls of white chemicals and carbon mixed, had
been baked, and a pile of things, that looked like irregularly-shaped
marbles, were placed in the steel box.

This box, which was about the size of a trunk, was of massive
metal. It was placed in a recess in the solid rock, and all about
were layers of asbestos and other substances that were nonconductors
of heat.

"That box becomes red hot," exclaimed Mr. Jenks, in a whisper.
"When things are in readiness, that lever is pulled and the
diamonds are made. I pulled it once, but I did not then know the
process involved. I supposed that the lightning had nothing to do
with making the diamonds."

"It has--a most important part," said Mr. Parker. The hidden
adventurers could talk in perfect safety now, for the men in the
large cave were too excited to pay much attention to them. The
muttering of the thunder grew louder, and at times a particularly
loud crash told that a bolt had struck somewhere in the vicinity
of the cave.

"But, bless my watch-charm!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, "I didn't
know lightning made diamonds."

"It does not--always," went on the scientist. "But great heat
and pressure are necessary to create the gems. In nature this was
probably obtained by prehistoric volcanic fires, and by the
terrific pressure of immense rocks. It is possible to make
diamonds in the laboratory of the chemist, but they are so minute
as to be practically valueless.

"However, these men seem to have hit upon a new plan. They
utilize the terrific heat of lightning, and the pressure which is
instantaneously obtained when the bolt strikes. I am anxious to
see how it is done. Look, I think they are getting ready to make
the gems."

Indeed there seemed to be an air of expectancy among the
diamond makers. The mixing machine had now been stopped, and, as
it was more quiet in the cave, our friends, in their hiding-place,
had to speak in mere whispers. All the men were now gathered
about the great steel box.

This receptacle had been closed by a solid metal door, which
was screwed and clamped tight. Then one of the men examined a
number of heavily insulated electric wires that extended from the
box off into the darkness where Tom and his companions could not
discern them.

"That's Folwell--the man I befriended, and who got me into this
game," whispered Mr. Jenks. "He was also one of the first to turn
against me. I think he's one of the leaders."

Folwell came back, after having gone into a dark part of the
cave. He went over to an electrical switch on one of the stone
walls.

"It's almost time," Tom heard him say to his confederates. "The
storm is coming up rapidly."

"Will it be severe enough?" asked one of the helpers. "We had
all our work for nothing last time. The flashes weren't heavy
enough."

"These will be," asserted Folwell. "The indicator shows nearly
a million volts now, and it's increasing."

"A million volts!" exclaimed Tom. "I hope it doesn't strike
anywhere around here."

"Oh, it will probably be harmlessly conducted down on the heavy
wires," said Mr. Parker. "We are in no danger, at present, though
ultimately I expect to see the whole mountain shattered by a
lightning bolt."

"Cheerful prospect," murmured Tom.

There was a terrific crash outside. The rocky floor of the cave
trembled.

"Here she comes!" cried Folwell. "Get back, everybody! I'm
going to throw over the switch now!"

The men retreated well away from the steel box. Folwell threw
over the lever--the same one Mr. Jenks remembered pulling. Then
the man ran to the electric switch on the wall, and snapped that
into place, establishing a connection.

There was a moment's pause, as Folwell ran to join the others
in their place of safety. Then from without there came a most
nerve-racking and terrifying crash. It seemed as if the very
mountain would be rent into fragments.

Watching with eager eyes, the adventurers saw sparks flash from
the steel box. Instantly it became red hot, and then glowed white
and incandescent. It was almost at the melting point.

Then came comparative quiet, as the echoes of the thunder died
away amid the mountain peaks.

"I guess that did the trick!" cried Folwell. "It was a terrific
crash all right!"

He and the others ran forward. The steel box was now a cherry
red, for it was cooling. Folwell threw back the lever, and
another man disconnected the switch. There was a period of
waiting until the box was cool enough to open. Then the heavy
door was swung back.

With a long iron rod Folwell drew something from the retort. It
was the tray which had held the white balls. But they were white
no longer, for they had been turned into diamonds. From their
hiding-place Tom and the others could see the flashing gems, for,
in spite of the fact that the diamonds were uncut, some of them
sparkled most brilliantly, due to the peculiar manner in which
they were made.

"We have the secret of the diamonds!" whispered Mr. Jenks.
"There must be a quart of the gems there!"

The men gathered about Folwell, uttering exclamations of
delight. The diamonds were too hot to handle yet.

"That's going some!" exclaimed the chief of the diamond makers.
"We have a small fortune here."

The was a sudden commotion at one end of the cave. A man rushed
in. At the sight of him Tom stared and uttered an exclamation.

"Munson--the stowaway!" he whispered.

"Hello!" cried Folwell, as he saw his confederate. "I thought
you were East, keeping Jenks away from here."

"He got the best of me!" cried Munson, "he and that Tom Swift!
I stowed away on their airship, but they found me out by a
wireless message, and marooned me in the woods. I've been trying
to get here ever since! Didn't you get my messages of warning?"

"No--what warnings ?" cried Folwell.

"About Jenks, Tom Swift and the others. They're here--they must
be on Phantom Mountain now. In fact, I shouldn't be surprised if
they were in this cave. I traced them to their camp, but they're
gone. They may be among us now--in some of the secret recesses!"

For an instant Folwell stared at the bearer of these tidings.
Then he cried out:

"Scatter men, and find these fellows! We must get them before
they discover our secret!"

"It's too late--we know it!" exulted Tom Swift. Then he
whispered to the others to hurry to the part of the cave where
Bill Renshaw had first hidden them.




CHAPTER XXII--PRISONERS


"Do you think there is any danger of them finding us?" asked
Mr. Damon, as he hurried along beside Tom.

"I'm afraid so," was the answer. "I've been worried ever since
we saw Munson heading this way. But we couldn't do any differently."

"Perhaps Bill Renshaw may be able to conceal us," suggested Mr.
Jenks. "Very likely he knows that Munson is on hand. Perhaps we
will be safe for a while. I want to make a few more observations
as to how they manufacture the diamonds, and then, with what I
already know, I'll have the secret."

"And I'd like to make some scientific tests of the sides and
bottom rocks of the cave," spoke Mr. Parker. "I think it will
bear out my theory that the mountain will soon be destroyed."

"Well, you were right about Earthquake Island, and you may be
right about this mountain," said Tom, "but if it is going to be
annihilated I hope we get far enough away from it."

"We can keep our presence here a secret for a few more days, I
think that will be long enough," proceeded Mr. Jenks. "Then we
will leave."

"And, in the meanwhile, they'll be searching for us," objected
Mr. Damon. "I wish that ghost-chap would come back and tell us
what to do. Bless my liver-pin, but we are going to be in
considerable danger, I'm afraid! Those men may capture us, and
decide to make diamond dust from us."

"Come on--hurry to the little cave," urged Tom. "Then we'll get
ready to defend ourselves."

"The main cave is a large one," said Mr. Jenks, "and there are
many hiding places in it. In fact, it is so large that it will
take those fellows several days to complete a circuit of it. By
that time Bill Renshaw may come back, and take us to some place
in which they have already searched for us. Then we'll be
comparatively safe."

This thought was some consolation to them, as they made their
way through the dark passage, dimly illuminated by the lantern
they had rekindled, to the place where Bill had hidden them. They
found things as they had left them, and proceeded to get a meal,
though Tom said it would be best not to cook anything, or even to
make coffee, for fear the odors would enable the searchers to
trail them.

So they ate cold food, glad to get that. Silently they sat
about the dimly-lighted cavern, and discussed the situation. True
they might even now retreat, going out of the entrance Bill had
showed them, and so escape. But Mr. Jenks felt that his mission
was not completed yet, and they all agreed to stay with him.

"For there are several points about making diamonds that are
not quite clear to me," he said. "I need to know how that steel
box is constructed, how the electrical switches are arranged,
what kind of lightning rods they use, and how they regulate the
pressure. The other things, and how to mix the ingredients, I
already know."

"Then we'll do our best to help you," promised Tom. "But now I
think we had better see what sort of a defense we can put up. We
have our guns and revolvers, and with these chairs and tables we
can build a sort of barricade behind which we can take refuge if
those fellows do discover our hiding place."

This was conceded to be a good idea, and soon a rude sort of
fort was made, behind which the adventurers could take their
stand and fight, if necessary, though they hoped this would not
come to pass.

They remained quietly in the cave the remainder of that day,
and, when it was night, as they could tell by their timepieces--there
was no daylight--they divided the hours into watches, taking turns
standing guard.

Morning, at least in point of time, came without any
disturbance, and they made a cold breakfast. They hoped that Bill
Renshaw would come, but he did not appear.

After sitting in the dark cave until afternoon, Tom said:

"I think we might as well go and take another observation of
the big cave. We can tell what the men are doing, then, for they
don't seem to have been near us. Maybe they have given up the
search for us, and we can see them at work, and Mr. Jenks can
gain what further knowledge he needs."

"That will be a good plan," agreed the diamond man. "It's
maddening to sit here, doing nothing."

"And it will be comparatively safe to go from here to our
former post of observation," added Tom, "for there doesn't seem
to be any opening along the tunnel, into the larger cave, except
the place where we were."

Accordingly they started off. Cautiously they looked through
the opening into the apartment where they had seen the diamonds
made.

"There's not a soul here!" exclaimed Tom, in a whisper. The
others looked. The place was deserted--the machinery silent. Mr.
Jenks peered in for a moment, and then exclaimed:

"I'm going in! Now's my chance to find out all that I wish to
know! It may never come again, and then we can soon leave Phantom
Mountain!"

It was a daring plan, but it seemed to be the best one to
follow. They were all tired of inactivity. Mr. Jenks managed to
get through the opening, and dropped into the big cave. The
others followed. Mr. Jenks hurried over to the steel box, and
began an examination of it. Tom Swift was looking at the
electrical switch. He saw how it was constructed. Mr. Damon and
Mr. Parker were peering interestedly about.

Suddenly the sound of voices was heard, and the echo of
footsteps. Mr. Jenks started.

"They're coming back!" he whispered hoarsely. "Run!"

They all turned and sped toward their hiding place. But they
were too late. An instant later Folwell, Munson and the other
diamond makers confronted them. Our friends made a bold rush, but
were caught before they could go ten feet.

"We have them!" cried Munson. "They walked right into our
hands!"

It was true. Tom Swift and the others were the prisoners of the
diamond makers.



CHAPTER XXIII--BROKEN BONDS


"Well," remarked Tom Swift, in mournful tones, "this looks as
if we were up against it; doesn't it?"

"Bless my umbrella, it certainly does," agreed Mr. Damon.

"And it's all my fault," said Mr. Jenks. "I shouldn't have gone
into the big cave. I might have known those men would come back
any time."

The above conversation took place as our friends lay securely
bound in a small cave, or recess, opening from the larger cavern,
where, about an hour before, they had been captured and made
prisoners by the diamond makers. Despite their struggles they had
been overpowered and bound, being carried to the cave, where they
were laid in a row on some old bags.

"It certainly is a most unpleasant situation, to say the
least," observed Mr. Parker.

"And all my fault," repeated Mr. Jenks.

"Oh, no it isn't," declared Tom Swift, quickly. "We were just
as ready to follow you into that cave as you were to go. No one
could tell that the men would return so soon. It's nobody's
fault. It's just our bad luck."

From where he lay, tied hand and foot, the young inventor could
look out into the cave where he and the others had been caught.
The diamond makers were busily engaged, apparently in getting
ready to manufacture another batch of the precious stones. They
paid little attention to their captives, save to warn them, when
they had first been taken into the little cave, that it was
useless to try to escape.

"They needn't have told us that," observed Tom, as he and the
others were talking over their situation in low voices. "I don't
believe any one could loosen these ropes."

"They certainly are pretty tight," agreed Mr. Damon. "I've been
tugging and straining at mine for the last half hour, and all
I've succeeded in doing is to make the cords cut into my flesh."

"Better give it up," advised Mr. Jenks.

"We'll just have to wait."

"For what?" the scientist wanted to know.

"To see what they'll do with us. They can't keep us here
forever. They'll have to let us go some time." Following their
capture, Folwell and Munson, the latter the stowaway of the
airship, had been in earnest conversation regarding our friends,
but what conclusion they had reached the adventurers could only
guess.

"And we didn't have time to examine the diamond-making
machinery close enough so that we could duplicate it if
necessary," complained Tom, a little later.

"No," agreed Mr. Jenks. "There are certain things about it that
are not clear to me. Well, I don't believe I'll have another
chance to inspect it. They'll take good care of that, though they
seem to be getting ready to make more diamonds."

"Perhaps they're going to manufacture a big batch, and then
leave this place," suggested Mr. Damon. "They will probably go to
some other secret cave, and leave us here."

"I hope they untie us before they leave, and give us something
to eat," remarked the young inventor.

For two hours longer the captives lay there, in most
uncomfortable positions. Then Folwell and Munson, leaving the
group of diamond makers who were grouped about the machinery,
approached the captives.

"Well," remarked Munson, "we got ahead of you after all; didn't
we. You thought you had our secret, but it will be a long while
before you ever make diamonds."

"What are you going to do with us?" asked Tom.

"Never mind. You came where you had no right to, and you must
take the consequences."

"We did have a right to come here!" exclaimed Mr. Jenks. "I am
entitled to know how the diamonds are made. I paid for the
information, and you tricked me. If ever it's possible I'll have
the whole gang arrested for swindling."

"You'll never get the chance!" declared Folwell. "You were
given some diamonds for the money you invested, and that makes us
square."

"No, it doesn't!" declared Mr. Jenks. "I invested the money to
learn how to make diamonds, and you know it! You tricked me, and
I had a right to try to discover your secret! I nearly have it,
too, and I'll get it completely before I'm done with you!"

"No, you won't!" boasted Folwell. "But we didn't come here to
tell you that. We came to give you something to eat. We're not
savages and we'll treat you as well as we can in spite of the
fact that you are trespassers. We're going to give you some grub,
but I warn you that any attempt to escape will mean that some of
you will get hurt."

He signalled to some of his confederates. These men unbound the
captives' arms, and stood over them while they ate some coarse
food that was brought into the small cave. They were given coffee
to drink, and then, when the simple meal was over, they were
securely bound again, and left to themselves, while the diamond
makers went back to their machinery.

It was evident that they were going to attempt a big operation,
for an unusually large quantity of the white stuff was prepared.
The prisoners watched them idly. They could see some but not all
of the operations. In this way several hours passed.

Gloom possessed the hearts of Tom and his friends. Not only had
their expedition been almost a failure so far, but the young
inventor was worried lest the gang might discover and wreck his
airship. This would prove a serious loss. Lying there in the
semi-darkness the lad imagined all sorts of unpleasant happenings.

At times he dozed off, as did the others. They had become
somewhat used to the pain caused by the bonds, for their nerves
were numb from the strain and pressure.

Once, as he was lightly sleeping, Tom was awakened by hearing
loud voices in the main cave. He looked out, rolling over
slightly to get a better view. He saw the man who, once before
had run in to give news of an approaching electrical storm.

"Are you fellows all ready?" asked this same man again.

"Yes. Is there another storm coming?"

"Yes, and it's going to be a corker!" was the reply. "It's one
of the worst I've ever seen. It's sweeping right up the valley.
It'll be here in an hour."

"That's good. We need a big flash to make all the material we
have prepared into diamonds. It's the biggest batch we ever
tried. I hope it succeeds, for we're going to leave--" The rest
was in so low a tone that Tom could not catch it.

The storm messenger departed. Folwell and Munson busied
themselves about the machinery. Tom dozed off again, dimly
wondering what had become of Bill Renshaw, and whether the former
ghost knew of their plight. The others were asleep, as the young
inventor saw by the dim light of a lantern in the cave. Then, he
too, shut his eyes.

Tom was suddenly awakened by feeling some one's hands moving
about his clothing. At first he thought it was one of the
diamond-making gang, who had sneaked in to rob him. "Here! What
are you up to?" exclaimed Tom.

"Quiet!" cautioned a voice. "Are you all here?"

"All of us--yes. But who are you?"

"Easy--keep quiet, Tom Swift! I'm Bill Renshaw! I've been
searching all over for you, since I got back to your cave and
found it empty. Now I'm going to free you. I got in here by a
secret entrance. Wait, I'll cut your ropes." There was a slight
sound, and an instant later Tom was freed from his bonds.




CHAPTER XXIV--IN GREAT PERIL


The young inventor could scarcely believe the good luck that
had so unexpectedly come to him and his companions. No sooner was
Tom able to move freely about than Bill Renshaw performed the
same service for Mr. Jenks and the others, cautioning them to be
quiet as he awakened them, and cut the ropes.

"Bless my circulation!" exclaimed Mr. Damon, in a hoarse
whisper. "How did you ever get here. I'd given ourselves up for
lost."

"Oh, I came in off the mountain, as there's a big storm due,"
explained the man. "There was no need of me playing the haunt in
daytime, anyhow. I went to the cave, found you and your things
gone, and I surmised that you might have walked into some trap."

"We did," admitted Mr. Jenks, grimly.

"Well, I hunted around until I found you," went on Bill. "This
mountain is honeycombed with caves, all opening from the large
one, I know them better than these fellows do, so I could explore
freely, and keep out of their sight. They didn't know that there
was a second entrance to this place, but I did, and I made for
it, when I couldn't find you in some of the other caves where I
looked. And, sure enough, here you were."

"Well, we can't thank you enough," said Mr. Parker. "But you
say there is a big storm coming?"

"One of the biggest that's been around these parts in some
time," replied Bill.

"Then perhaps the mountain will be destroyed," went on the
scientist, as calmly as if he had remarked that it might rain.

"I hope nothing like that happens until we get away," spoke Mr.
Damon, fervently.

"What had we better do?" inquired Tom.

"Get away, unless you want to discover some more of their
secrets," advised Bill. "Those fellows are planning something,
but I can't find out what it is. They are suspicious of me, I
think. But they are up to something, and I believe, it would be
best for you to leave while you have the chance. It may not be
healthy to stay. That's why I did my best to untie you."

"We appreciate what you have done," declared Mr. Jenks, "but I
want my rights. I must learn a few more facts about how to make
diamonds from lightning flashes, and then I will have the same
secret they cheated me out of. I think if we wait a while we may
be able to see the parts of the process that are not quite clear
to us. What do you say, Tom Swift?"

"Well, I would like to learn the secret," replied the lad, "and
if Bill thinks it's safe to stay here a while longer--"

"Oh, I guess it will be safe enough," was the reply. "Those
fellows won't bother about you now that they are about to make
some more diamonds. Besides, they think you're all tied up. Yes,
you can stay here and watch, I reckon. I've got a couple of guns,
and--"

"Then we'll stay," decided Tom. "We can put up a better fight
now."

Silently, in their prison, but which they could now leave
whenever they pleased, the adventurers watched the diamond makers
once more. The same process they had witnessed before was gone
through with. The white balls were put inside the steel box and
sealed up. Then they waited for the storm to reach its height.

That this would not be long was evidenced by the mutterings of
thunder which every moment grew louder. The outburst of
electrical fury was likely to take place momentarily, and that it
would be unusually severe was shown by the precautions taken by
the diamond makers. They attached a number of extra wires, and
brought out some insulated, hard rubber platforms, on which they
themselves stood. Tom and Mr. Jenks were much interested in
watching this detail of the work, and sought to learn how each
part of the process was done.

"I almost think we can make diamonds, Tom, when we get back to
civilization," whispered Mr. Jenks.

"I hope we can," answered Tom, "and we can't get back any too
soon to suit me. I want to be in my airship again."

"I don't blame you. But look, they are getting ready to adjust
the switch."

The adventurers ceased their whispered talk, and eagerly
watched the diamond makers. Folwell and Munson were hurrying to
and fro in the big cave, attending to the adjustments of the
machinery.

"On your insulated plates--all of you," Folwell gave the order.
"This is going to be a terrific storm. The gage shows twice the
power we have ever used, and it's creeping up every minute! We'll
have more diamonds than ever had before!"

"Yes, if the mountain isn't destroyed," added Mr. Parker, in a
low voice. "I predict that it will be split from top to bottom!"

"Comforting," thought Tom, grimly.

"I guess we're all ready," said Folwell, in a low tone to
Munson. "We'd better get insulated ourselves. I'm going to throw
the switch."

He did so. A moment later the man who had before given warning
of the storm came dashing in. He was very much excited.

"It's awful!" he cried. "The lightning is striking all over!
Big rocks are being split like logs of wood!"

"Well, it can't do any damage in here," said Munson. "We are
well protected. Get on one of the plates," and he motioned to one
of the hard-rubber platforms that was not occupied. The roar and
rumble of the storm outside had given place to short terrific
crashes. In their small cave the adventurers could feel the solid
ground shake.

A bluish light began dancing about the electrical wires. There
was a smell of sulphur in the air. Crash after crash resounded
outside. A flash of flame lit up the whole interior of the cave.
It came from the copper switch.

"Something's wrong with the insulation!" cried Munson.

"Don't go near it!" yelled Folwell. "If you value your life,
stand still!"

Hardly had he spoken than inside the cavern there sounded a
report like that of a small cannon. A big ball of fire danced
about the middle of the cave and then leaped on top of the steel
box.

"This is a fearful storm," cried Munson.

The adventurers in the cave did not know what to say or do.
They were in deadly peril.

Suddenly there came a crash louder than any that had preceded
it. The whole side of the cave where the switches were was a mass
of bluish flame. Then came a ripping, tearing sound, and a tangle
of wires and copper connections were thrown to the floor. At the
same time the steel box, containing the materials from which
diamonds were made, turned blue, and flames shot from it.

"It's all up with us!" cried Munson. "Run for it, everybody!
The wires are down, and this place will be an electric furnace in
another minute!"

He leaped toward the exit from the cave.

"What about those fellows?" asked Folwell, indicating the place
where Tom and the others had been tied.

"They'll have to do the best they can! It's every man for
himself, now!" yelled Munson. There was a wild scramble from the
cavern.

"Come on!" cried Tom. "We must escape! It's our only chance!"

He leaped into the big cave, followed by the others. Already
long tongues of electrical fire were shooting out from the walls
and roof as Tom Swift and his companions, evading them as best
they could, sought safety in flight.



CHAPTER XXV--THE MOUNTAIN SHATTERED--CONCLUSION


"Can't we get some of the diamonds?" cried Mr. Damon, as he
raced along behind Tom. "Now's our chance. Those fellows have all
gone!" The odd man made a grab for something as he ran.

"It's as much as our lives are worth," declared the young
inventor. "We dare not stop! Come on!"

"I'd like to investigate some of the machinery," spoke Mr.
Jenks, "but I wouldn't stop, even for that."

"The storm is too dangerous," called Bill Renshaw. "I can show
you a shorter way out than the one those fellows have taken.
Follow me."

"No way can be too short," said Mr. Parker, solemnly. "This
mountain will go to pieces shortly, I think!"

Tom shuddered. He remembered how narrow had been their escape
when Earthquake Island sank into the sea. And that some terrific
upheaval was now imminent might be judged from the awful reports
that sounded more plainly as the adventurers raced toward the
opening of the cave. It was like the bombardment of some doomed
city.

Mr. Jenks and Tom cast one longing look behind at the
complicated and expensive machinery that had been installed in
the cave by the diamond makers. They had abandoned it, and in it
lay the secret of making precious gems. But there was no time to
stop now, and investigate.

"This way," urged Bill Renshaw. "We'll soon be out."

"But won't it be dangerous to go outside?" asked Mr. Damon.
"Shan't we be struck by lightning? There is some protection in
here."

"None at all," said Mr. Parker, quickly. "This mountain is a
natural lightning rod. To stay here in this cave will be sure
death when the storm gets directly over it. And that will be very
soon. We must get on insulated ground. Is there any part of this
mountain that does not contain iron ore?" the scientist asked of
the former spirit.

"Yes; the way out by which we are going lands on a dirt hill."

"That's good; then we may be saved."

On they ran. They had no lanterns, but the blue light of the
electricity, as it leaped from point to point inside the cave,
where there were outcroppings of iron ore, made the place bright
enough to see.

"Here we are!" cried Bill Renshaw at length. "Here's the way
out!"

Making a sudden turn in the winding passage he showed the
adventurers a small opening in the side of the crag. In an
instant they had passed through, and found themselves in daylight
once more. The sudden glare almost blinded them, for, though the
sky was overcast by clouds, from which jagged tongues of
lightning played, the outside was much lighter than the dark
cave.

"I should say it was a storm!" cried Tom Swift. "See, it is
striking every minute, and all around us!"

In fact, lightning bolts were falling on every side of the
adventurers. Every time the balls of fire struck, they burst open
great stones, or seared a livid scar on the face of some cliff.
As for Tom and the others, they stood on a dry dirt hill, in
which, fortunately, there was no iron ore. To this fact they
undoubtedly owed their lives, though had there been rain, to
moisten the ground and make the earth a good conductor of
electricity, they probably would have been badly shocked. But the
electrical outburst was not accompanied by rain.

Tom looked up. He saw a compact mass of cloud moving toward the
summit of the mountain on the slope of which they stood. From
this cloud there played shafts of reddish-green fire.

"Look!" called the young inventor to Mr. Parker. The instant
the latter saw the cloud, he cried:

"We must get away from here by all means! That is the center of
the storm. As soon as it gets over the mountain, where that
lightning rod is, all the electrical fluid will be discharged in
one bolt at the mountain, and it will be destroyed! We must run,
but keep on the dirt places! Run for your lives!"

They needed no second warning. Turning, they fled down the
steep side of the mountain, slipping and stumbling, but taking
care not to step on any iron ore. Behind them flashed the
lightning bolts.

Suddenly there was a most awful crash. It seemed as if the end
of the world had come, and the ear drums of Tom and his
companion almost burst with the fearful report. The concussion
knocked them down, and they lay stunned for a moment.

Following the terrible report there was a low, rumbling sound.
Hardly knowing whether he was dead or alive, Tom opened his eyes
and looked about him. What he saw caused him to cry out in
terror.

The whole mountain seemed bathed in fire. Great blue, red and
green flashes played around it. Then the towering cliff seemed to
melt and crumble up, and the great peak, the top of it containing
the diamond makers' cave, from which they had fled but a few
minutes before, the entire summit was toppled over into the
valley on the other side, and in the direction opposite to that
where the adventurers stood.

Then came a profound silence, and the lightning ceased. The
storm was over, and only the rattle of stones and boulders, as
they came to rest in the valley below, reached the ears of our
friends.

"Phantom Mountain has been destroyed, just as I said it would
be," spoke Mr. Parker, solemnly. Once more he had prophesied
correctly.

For a few minutes the adventurers hardly knew what to say. They
arose awkwardly from the ground where the shock had tossed them.
Then Tom remarked, as calmly as possible:

"Well, it's all over. I guess we may as well get back to our
airship."

"What became of Munson and the others?" asked Mr. Damon.

Mr. Jenks pointed to the trail, far below. The figures of some
men, running madly, could be seen.

"There they go," he said; "I fancy we have seen the last of
them." And they had, for some time at least.

There was little use lingering any longer on Phantom Mountain--indeed
little of it was left on which to remain. Looking back
toward the place where the cave had been, Tom and the others
started forward again. The diamond-making machinery had all been
destroyed. So, also, had the finished diamonds stored in the
cavern and the large supply which had probably been made by the
last terrific crash. No one would ever have them now. Tom and Mr.
Jenks felt a sense of disappointment, but they were glad to have
escaped with their lives. They sought their former camp, but the
tent and all their food was buried under tons of earth and rocks.

Three days later, after rather severe hardships, they were near
the place where they had left the Red Cloud. They had suffered
cold and hunger, for they had no food supplies, and, had it not
been that Bill Renshaw knew the haunts of some game, of which
they managed to snare some, they would have fared badly, for they
had left their guns in the cave.

"Well, there are the trees behind which I hope my airship is
hidden," announced Tom, as they came to the spot. "Good old Red
Cloud! Maybe we won't do some eating when we get aboard, eh?"

"Bless my appetite! but we certainly will!" cried Mr. Damon.

"There's somebody walking around the place," spoke Mr. Jenks.

"I hope it's no one who has damaged the ship," came from Tom,
apprehensively. He broke into a run, and soon confronted an aged
miner, who seemed to have established a rude sort of camp near
the airship.

"Is anything the matter?" asked Tom, breathlessly. "Is my
airship all right?"

"I guess she's all right, stranger," was the reply. "I don't
know much about these contraptions, but I haven't touched her. I
knowed she was an airship, for I've seen pictures of 'em, and
I've been waiting until the owner came along."

"Why?" asked Tom, wonderingly.

"Because I've got a proposition to make to you," went on the
miner, who said his name was Abe Abercrombie. "I've been a miner
for a good many years, and I'm just back from Alaska, prospecting
around here. I haven't had any luck, but I know of a gold mine
in Alaska that will make us all rich. Only it needs an airship to
get to it, and I've been figuring how to hire one. Then I comes
along, and I sees this big one, and I makes up my mind to stay
here until the owners come back. That's what I've done. Now, if I
prove that I'm telling the truth, will you go to Alaska--to the
valley of gold with me?"

"I don't know," answered Tom, to whom the proposition was
rather sudden. "We've just had some pretty startling adventures,
and we're almost starved. Wait until we get something to eat, and
we'll talk. Come aboard the Red Cloud," and the lad led the way
to his craft which was in as good condition as when he left it to
go to the diamond cave. Later he listened to the miner's story.

Tom Swift did go to the valley of gold in Alaska, and what
happened to him and his companions there will be told of in the
next volume of this series, to be called "Tom Swift in the Caves
of Ice; or, the Wreck of the Airship."

It did not take our friends long, after they had eaten a hearty
meal, to generate some fresh gas, and start the Red Cloud oh her
homeward way. Tom wanted to take Bill Renshaw with him, but the
old man said he would rather remain among the mountains where he
had been born. So, after paying him well for his services, they
said good-by to him. Abercrombie, the miner, also remained
behind, but promised to call and see Tom in a few months.

"Well, we didn't make any money out of this trip," observed Mr.
Jenks, rather dubiously, as they were nearing Shopton, after an
uneventful trip. "I guess I owe you considerable, Tom Swift. I
promised to get you a lot of diamonds, but all I have are those I
had from my first visit to the cave."

"Oh, that's all right," spoke Tom, easily. "The experience was
worth all the trip cost."

"Speaking of diamonds, look here!" exclaimed Mr. Damon,
suddenly, and he pulled out a double handful.

"Where did you get them?" cried the others in astonishment.

"I grabbed them up, as we ran from the cave," said the
eccentric man; "but, bless my gaiters! I forgot all about them
until you spoke. We'll share them."

These diamonds, some of which were large, proved very valuable,
though the total sum was far below what Mr. Jenks hoped to make
when he started on the remarkable trip. Tom gave Mary Nestor a
very fine stone, and it was set in a ring, instead of a pin, this
time.

On their arrival in Shopton, where Mr. Swift, the housekeeper,
Mr. Jackson and Eradicate Sampson were much alarmed for Tom's
safety, an attempt was made to manufacture diamonds, using a
powerful electric current instead of lightning. But it was not a
success, and so Mr. Jenks concluded to give up his search for the
secret which was lost on Phantom Mountain.

And now we will take leave of Tom Swift, to meet him again soon
in other adventures he is destined to have in the caves of ice
and the valley of gold.




THE END




THE TOM SWIFT SERIES

By VICTOR APPLETON


TOM SWIFT AND HIS MOTOR CYCLE
Or Fun and Adventure on the Road
TOM SWIFT AND HIS MOTOR BOAT
Or The Rivals of Lake Carlopa
TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIRSHIP
Or The Stirring Cruise of the Red Cloud
TOM SWIFT AND HIS SUBMARINE BOAT
Or Under the Ocean for Sunken Treasure
TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC RUNABOUT
Or The Speediest Car on the Road
TOM SWIFT AND HIS WIRELESS MESSAGE
Or The Castaways of Earthquake Island
TOM SWIFT AMONG THE DIAMOND MAKERS
Or The Secret of Phantom Mountain
TOM SWIFT IN THE CAVES OF ICE
Or The wreck of the Airship
TOM SWIFT AND HIS SKY RACER
Or The Quickest Flight on Record
TOM SWIFT AND HIS ELECTRIC RIFLE
Or Daring Adventures In Elephant Land
TOM SWIFT IN THE CITY OF GOLD
Or Marvelous Adventures Underground
TOM SWIFT AND HIS AIR GLIDER
Or seeking the Platinum Treasure
TOM SWIFT IN CAPTIVITY
Or A Daring Escape by Airship
TOM SWIFT AND HIS WIZARD CAMERA
Or The Perils of Moving Picture Taking
TOM SWIFT AND HIS GREAT SEARCHLIGHT
Or On the Border for Uncle Sam
TOM SWIFT AND HIS GIANT CANNON
Or The Longest Shots on Record
TOM SWIFT AND HIS PHOTO TELEPHONE
Or The Picture that Saved a Fortune
TOM SWIFT AND HIS AERIAL WARSHIP
Or The Naval Terror of the Seas
TOM SWIFT AND HIS BIG TUNNEL
Or The Hidden City of the Andes




THE MOTION PICTURE CHUMS SERIES

By VICTOR APPLETON


In these stories we follow the adventures of three boys, who,
after purchasing at auction the contents of a moving picture
house, open a theatre of their own. Their many trials and
tribulations, leading up to the final success of their venture,
make very entertaining stories.

THE MOTION PICTURE CHUMS' FIRST VENTURE

Or Opening a Photo Playhouse in Fairlands.

The adventures of Frank, Randy and Pep in running a Motion
Picture show. They had trials and tribulations but finally
succeed.

THE MOTION PICTURE CHUMS AT SEASIDE PARK

Or The Rival Photo Theatres of the Boardwalk.

Their success at Fairlands encourages the boys to open their
show at Seaside Park, where they have exciting adventures--also a
profitable season.

THE MOTION PICTURE CHUMS ON BROADWAY

Or The Mystery of the Missing Cash Box.

Backed by a rich western friend the chums established a photo
playhouse in the  great metropolis, where new adventures await
them.

THE MOTION PICTURE CHUMS' OUTDOOR EXHIBITION

Or The Film that Solved a Mystery.

This time the playhouse was in a big summer park. How a
film that was shown gave a clew to an important mystery
is interestingly related.

THE MOTION PICTURE CHUMS' NEW IDEA

Or The First Educational Photo Playhouse.

In this book the scene is shifted to Boston, and there is
intense rivalry in the establishment of photo playhouses of
educational value.

THE MOTION PICTURE CHUMS AT THE FAIR

Or The Greatest Film Ever Exhibited.

The chums go to San Francisco, where they have some trials
but finally meet with great success.

THE MOTION PICTURE CHUMS' WAR SPECTACLE

Or The Film that Won the Prize.

Through being of service to the writer of a great scenario, the
chums are enabled to produce it and win a prize.




THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH SERIES

By GRAHAM B. FORBES


Never was there a cleaner, brighter, more manly boy than Frank
Allen, the hero of this series of boys tales, and never was there
a better crowd of lads to associate with than the students of the
School. All boys will read these stories with deep interest. The
rivalry between the towns along the river was of the keenest, and
plots and counterplots to win the champions, at baseball, at
football, at boat racing, at track athletics, and at ice hockey,
were without number. Any lad reading one volume of this series
will surely want the others.

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH
Or The All Around Rivals of the School

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE DIAMOND
Or Winning Out by Pluck

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE RIVER
Or The Boat Race Plot that Failed

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE GRIDIRON
Or The Struggle for the Silver Cup

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH ON THE ICE
Or Out for the Hockey Championship

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH IN TRACK ATHLETICS
Or A Long Run that Won

THE BOYS OF COLUMBIA HIGH IN WINTER SPORTS
Or Stirring Doings on Skates and Iceboats


12mo. Illustrated. Handsomely bound in cloth, with cover design
and wrappers in colors.

GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK




THE OUTDOOR CHUMS SERIES

By CAPTAIN QUINCY ALLEN


The outdoor chums are four wide-awake lads, Sons of wealthy men
of a small city located on a lake. The boys love outdoor life,
and are greatly interested in hunting, fishing, and picture
taking. They have motor cycles, motor boats, canoes, etc., and
during their vacations go everywhere and have all sorts of
thrilling adventures. The stories give full directions for
camping out, how to fish, how to hunt wild animals and prepare
the skins for stuffing, how to manage a canoe, how to swim, etc.
Full of the spirit of outdoor life.

THE OUTDOOR CHUMS
Or The First Tour of the Rod, Gun and Camera Club.

THE OUTDOOR CHUMS ON THE LAKE
Or Lively Adventures on Wildcat Island.

THE OUTDOOR CHUMS IN THE FOREST
Or Laying the Ghost of Oak Ridge.

THE OUTDOOR CHUMS ON THE GULF
Or Rescuing the Lost Balloonists.

THE OUTDOOR CHUMS AFTER BIG GAME
Or Perilous Adventures in the Wilderness.

THE OUTDOOR CHUMS ON A HOUSEBOAT
Or The Rivals of the Mississippi.

THE OUTDOOR CHUMS IN THE BIG WOODS
Or The Rival Hunters at Lumber Run.

THE OUTDOOR CHUMS AT CABIN POINT
Or The Golden Cup Mystery.





End of Project Gutenberg's Etext of Tom Swift Among the Diamond Makers

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