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was aloft in his balloon again, taking
observations as keenly as ever.
The car of the balloon was ar
mored and bullet-proof. It was shrapnel-proof
also; the only thing that
could destroy it -was a direct hit by a
concussion shell, and that was the
last thing that was wanted. Hart
man dead was' as much to be depre-
9 cated as Hartman alive in the bal
That same night the aviators drove
their machine, above the sausage
again. This time they dropped a
bomb. It did not fall particularly
near it, but then it is" difficult to fling
a'bomfi with accuracy from a mov
ing airship. Cordial greetings were
shouted, but they were unfortunately
drowned by the hum of the motor.
Having this thrown Hartman oft
the scent by pretended attacks, Lar
ry laid his plans for the fifth night
He took with him a double-length
lariat One end of- this was fastened
to the stand of a maxim, which had
The noise' of the approaching bir
plane was the occasion for a star
shell, which revealed the giant bird,
with winps spread wide against the
sky. Two searchlights played upon
it, and a salvo of shell-fire opened.
Bue neither Larry nor Francois
thought of the danger. As the aero
plane whizzed past the captive bal
loon, which, with her gun trained up
ward, was expecting her above, in
repetition of earlier visits, , Larry
stood up in his seat and cast the
loose end of the rope, which he had
coiled into a slip knot.
The aeroplane flew on at top
speed. Presently.it staggered and a
.' dangerous tilting pf the wings told
Francois tnat nis companion naa
Larry swore. He had lassooed
steers on the plains for 15 years; still,
he had never attempted the feat by
night, and then, again, he recognized
that he was out of practice. They
turned and shot past again, now dip
- ping into the glare of the search
light, now in profound darkness. All
about them she shells were playing,
hissing and hurtling through the air.
Fragments of shrapnel fell through
the planes. One cut Larry's cheek
as he stood on the dipping airship,
the lariat colled in his hand.
But this time his aim was true.
The aeroplane shot forward, stopped
dead as the noose tightened about
the car, and began to topple sidewisc.
Francois pulled the lever f rantical
lyv She mounted upon one wing, and
began to race round and round the
car at the end of the rope, like some
giant moth about a ' candle-flame.
Round and round she went, acceler
ating speed each time, till the world
seemed a mad whirl about them, and
there were a dozen moons in the sky.
Then Francois turned the airship's
nose upward. She wrenched at the
lariat, trying to free herself. But it '
held fast, and the car, held by the
ropes which tied it to the. ground,
held also. Something must give; but
upon what depended the issue.
It was said afterward that the air
ship, fevolving at that height in the
searchlight, made a continuous ring.
From both lines men watched amaz
ed and wondering at the issue.
The issue was being decided, even
with the aviators' knowledge. For
as the aeroplane spun round, the
rope contracted and tightened.
Francois perceived that the aero
plane was slowly dreawing nearer to
the balloon. And in the whirling car
he saw the grotesque outline of
Hartman, aiming his maxim into
every corner of space at the same
With a sudden thought he shut off
the motor. The speed of the revolv
ing aeroplane slackened. He made,
the volplane, but, being tied tothe
car, the aeroplane only hung, a3 it
were, below the balloon, and con
tinued her slowing gyrations. There
was not a slack of rope. Swiftly
Francois shot outward, inward, and
begun to turn the biplane in the op