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A BOY, A MAD BULL AND THE FLIGHT OF "THE COMET" R. HARDING, the Jovial editor of •; the • Prairieville^ Clarion, . was a great -"lover of ,a ; good ' joke. ; So when Paulhan, the' French aviator, won.. the. $50,000 prize offered by a British news paper'for a (Successful flight from Lon don . ; to Manchester . the editor got an idea. \u25a0 -. Mr. Harding, 1 who 'had long en- Joyed', the Prairieville "aero club's ad ventures, immediately took the hint and offered a prize of $50. for. the round trip from^ Prairieville to' Manchester, that could be -made In the fewest "number, of fligtits,by a model ."heavier than airY machine; or ;aeroplane. ;,; > rjM ' T, ../ . ' •Maybe the ." aeronautical section* of juvenile Prairieville didn't go into coh vulsions! -A^committee on rules, eligi bilityand right of ..way was immediate ly .incorporated, .with- Frank Williams as chairman. Its duties were easy until it came to picking, out the^most feasible route ; between- Prairieville and Man chester, the point of destination, a little hamlet about two miles Inland; Many a good natured farmer, grinned at the right, of way committee. "and laughingly, granted its request Finally all owners 'of - the property to be traversed gave permission t0..; trespass except one man, who absolutely refused. By. looking* at the map. you can see what a disastrous effect this refusal had upon the selection of the route. John Turner the boys' arch en emy. - Ever since the race for the Wil liams trophy resulted in tho smashing of 'his, greenhouse last winter he and Frank's crowd. had been at war and un der^the circumstances It was only, nat ural, that ; he would . not lei them cross his narrow field," as -shown by. the 'dash lines, -and thus save a third of the dis tance, linger the rules any route could be taken, but it wus thought beat to travel as much together as possible, and thus, "make it a ruce." , Finally .the inotnentous Saturday morning of the start arrived, and the first of the 30 contestants was sent away from the starting point (also fin ish), in front of the Clarion office, while the dense crowd cheered itself hoarse. \u25a0.Frank Williams' Comet, soared away in" fine style, followed by v Jim Bpencer's Sliver Flash, | wltli which he won the great aerial steeplechase last spring, Jim: wan content; to enter tho Silver Flash, which wus still unbeaten, and everybody conceded the beautiful Bler iot model the winner, except Frank. Frank had named his new red Wright model after that great aerial flier, Hal M THE SAN FRANCISCO CALL, SUNDAY, JULY 24, 1910.— THE JUNIOR CALL* ley's comet, and her initial flight of 196 feet greatly, encouraged him. ' Each flight was consecutively num bered on, paper, by the attendant measA urers.one being appointed' for each 'con testant. I'They also, saw, there, was "no inchin' \u25a0 up.—th at- is, .'each ; new .flight must be, started from the spot of the " preceding; landing. , ' i^ ' / -' -When .John ' ; ..Turner's",'.:"-.- farm was reached; Frank; and: his rivals looked wistfully across . the ! narrow field, that. .would save go .many extra flights by , its crossings; but no one dared ! to risk an 'attempt, 'particularly '\u25a0.' Frank,':, who' wore a red sweater as wellfaa having a red : Turner, had * given"; his vicious bull, " Tosser, the \u25a0 run of | the field,' which: was: too wide to I*3 crossed in .a \ single} flight. .So they had to fly' along, the /'outside: boundary.. Now .who ever 'heard of ;a. boy's fly ing machine behaving just right! Per " haps "\u25a0.it was ' Prank's fault, £ or . the Comet's, or the rising breeze's— but the Comet made her first * bad break as theC Tamarack swamp was reached, •after the* long detour around Turner's .farm' had been \u25a0 flown. . She flew into the swamp and got badly. tangled in the undergrowth; ' When Frank had finally extricated* the ;• Comet her ' mechanism was disarranged; one of I the main planes had a large tear-in its varnished silk surface and the rudder was badly twisted. The ," boy aviator" worked "feverishly, over, his damaged aeroplane, using the kit of tools his brother Bill parried, and after half an hour's labor repaired the airship after a fashion, wound up the rubber band motor, and made his next flight. The Comet flew less. than- SO fuet. The following dozen attempts were little better and Frank had the bitter mortification of seeing that proud first division which he had led forge far to front, while the novices and freaks caught up. . Matters became worse when Jim . Spencer's Silver Flash passed him on her return trip, while Jim gloated over Frank's predicament and exultingly -informed him the Silver Flash had made the distance from Prairievllle to Manchester in 64 flights. It was long after, lunch when Frank struggled into the little public square at Manchester and rounded the Soldiers' and Sailors' monument, the turning point, in 07 flights. Then came the return trip— but not before Frank had made one morn at' tempt to restore the Comet, and with better results at last, for she began to fly In hw old form again — too late! - Yet Frank kept doggedly on the re turn couruu, in spite of odds that would havtt caused most boys to glva up the race. The Comet never acted better, and even Frank's official measurer, Tom. Kennedy, marveled at some of the fig ures he recorded, as, for example, flight No. 105, 254 feet 2 inches! However, A Loud Hurrah Caused Him to LookOut of the Trcaancl Just Catch a Glirap^ of the Conict as She Glided to Earth the /leaders were.; too far- ahead! . and when Frank arrived "at that aggravat ing long,. narr»w field, on Turner's farm ; he could j see Jim, "Ned" and Greggy on the other side, just striking across ; country; 'on the last leg of v the race homeward, after having; made the long flight around the field. \u25a0"-''\u25a0. ;.:\u25a0',. ' • Flight 110 brought Frank to the spot where he must turn up the side of the -field. He paused while he did ~ a bit :'6f>. figuring. By, dashing across the yfleld he-could save- at least 35 fllghtH— if he succeeded. But already old Tosser had : spied his red sweater and came snorting up to .the barb wire fence. '; .. It was a desperate decision " fo# any boy to make. .Tosser was noted, for his wickedness, and Had, nearly killed Turner's hired man' two summers ago. But the thought of, those 3T> flights nerved Frank on." "I'll do it!" he cried, shaking his fist at the bull. Then he instructed Bill to run down the field and try the ancient trick of drawing the bull off while ho made the attempt. Tom Kennedy , attempted to dissuade Frank from his reckless plan, but .Frank only told him to watch sharp, and be ready, to measure the flight. "I'm not going to follow you Into the field and get killed too!!' objected Tom. 1 "No, but you can watch where No. 11l strikes and take the measure after ward," explained Frank, unshaken by Tom's fears. Bill l\ad arrived at his station way down the field, and at Frank's signal set up an awful yell, pretending to run across. This drow Tosser away at a gallop, and Frank's chance found him ready. "Here goes!" he cried, as he released the Comet's propellers. She "took the air," sailed over the fence, and, describ ing a beautiful upward. curve, traveled ut high speed across the field. Frank expected tho Comet to alight about the middle of the pasture, but to tils sur prise she kept right on' until nearly two-thirds was traversed before she grounded. - And then another unexpected thing happened. The minute he uturted the Comet Frank was after her. climbing, the fence to follow, making the most of the few minutes' precious leeway Bill's diversion allowed him. But (n his huato, Frank caught his foot in the barb wlra and tumbled heavily to the grass. He managed to Jump up, but Tom, now thoroughly nlnrmed, Haw he limped, and Implored him to climb back to safe ty, as the distant bull had already spied the foolhardy aviator. But Frank was "game," and, blind tn every danger, even the pain from his twisted ankle could not stop his limp ing run toward the Comet. It Frank could have foreseen what was now about to happen he would never have started. "Look out! Here ho ' comcsl screamed Tom. as Frank reached the Comet. Frank picked up tho aeroplane, whilo at the same Instant he realized his dangerous Bltuatlon. The "raging bull was charging down the field at a pace that cut off all hope for Frank to regain the fence. Still If ho dropped the aeroplane right now he would have time enough to reach a small, tree about 10 yards away. And here came the test of Frank's nerve! He gritted his teeth and stood stock still on tho spot where the Comet had lit, as he hastily wound the propeller round and round, twisting tight the rubber bands. It usually took 100 revo lutions to Insure power enough for a good flight. Frank silently counted and watched Tosser come on. At tho seventy-fifth revolution tho bull was within 500 feet. Frank dared wait no longer. He quickly turned the Comet toward the other side of tho field about 200 feet away, and released the pro pellers. Flight No. 112 began. The Comet fluttered out of. his hand and. Frank turned and ran toward the tree as fast as his injured ankle would let him.'' \u25a0" \u25a0« ;.'; .' '\u25a0 x '. * -\u25a0 . . Seeing this sudden separation of the two red objects of his wrath, Tosser came to a puzzled halt, and that one lit tle pause allowed Frank Just enough time to swung himself Into the tree out of the maddened J animal's reach. The dazed young, air pilot had hardly straddled that limb of safety when a loud hurrah caused him to look out of the tree and just catch a glimpse of the Comet as it glided to earth like a gi gantic red bird, safe on the other side of the dreaded field. , He had accomplished the feat he set Diagram of the tons Distant* Plight Contest out to achieve, but at what a cost! Ho found himself a' prisoner and he found his ankle was sprained, but it, didn't matter, and the thought that under the rules he still had a chance quickly gal vanized Frank's scattered wits into ac-. tion. He shouted to Bill. -who had now rejoined Tom, and some of the "rear ; guard" in the race that had'just arrived to witness the last. extraordinary scene. "I can't finish this race in person, 'cause the bull says no, and besides that I've sprained my ankle. For these good .reasons I hereby . appoint ray. brother Bill as my substitute. Beat It around the field, Billf and take It in!" : Bill lost no time In obeying and also promised to try -to help Frank out In some way. It pained Frank more than his sprained ankle to think what would happen If Turner captured him, and he begged Bill to try and fix up a plan to rescue him quick.. ' Bill did not return until after sun down, and here Is what the rescuing party found: Frank was mounted on the upmost branch of the little tree, trying to dodge the long poles with which Turner and his hired man cruelly tried to dislodge him. "Stop, you old scoundrel!" shouted a voice that caused Turner to suddenly desist. It was no less than Mr. Hard ing. "If you don't drop those poles and let . that boy go instantly I'll "brand you through my paper as tho meanest, cruelest old coward In Prairie county!" This stern threat had its effect, for Turner stepped sullenly aside and made no attempt to touch Frank aa he slowly descended from the tree and lay down on the grass. His ankle was so swollen and he was so stiff with hla long im- ' prisoninent that he could not walk. And then Mr. Harding jumped over tho fence and nmld the frantic cheering of the accompanying throng he pressed a crisp yellow $50 bill into Frank's hand and said: "I congratulate you on William's Comet. Manned by your brilliant young 'sub,' William's Comet won the race by three flights leas than the Sil ver Flush, which was second!" And while Frank listened to tho praise his daring called forth ho looked at acid faced old Turner and grinned, for after all it was his overreaching meuniii;«s that wan primarily respon sible for the great triumph!