"I'll take her up if you don't mind hi, you!" he called a mechanic, "start her up ready contact! Z-r-r-r !" The little bird skimmed the smooth floor of the aerodrome and dived upward in a wide circle. "She's all right," said Thornycroft, shading his eyes; "what's wrong with Tam, I wonder?" "Tam doesn't funk a thing," protested Blackie, "I've never known him my God!"
At the rear was the lunch counter where two Chinamen were serving soup and stew and coffee to half a dozen men. Thornton, with one of his quick, sharp glances which missed nothing in the room, went to the bar. "Hello, Blackie," he said quietly. The bartender, who in a leisure moment had been bending in deep absorption over an illustrated pink sheet spread on the bar, looked up quickly.
There is in him an uncanny wisdom which only the streets can teach. He is one of those born newspaper men who could not live out of sight of the ticker-tape, and the copy-hook and the proof-sheet. "Y' see, girl, it's like this here," Blackie explained one day. "W're all workin' for some good reason.
"Whoom!" The sound of the bursting bomb was nearer. "'Tis safer in the air," said Tam as he swung into his fuselage. "Contact!" A few seconds later, with a roar, the machine disappeared into the black wall of darkness. It came back in less than a minute well overhead and Blackie, straining his eyes upward, followed its progress against the stars until it melted into the sky. "Whoom!"
And he cursed the fair Pandora, But he cursed in vain; Still, to fools, the fleeting pleasure Buys the lasting pain! PROFESSOR BLACKIE says, regarding Prometheus, that the common conception of him is, that he was the representative of freedom in contest with despotism.
The weather was now delightful, and although in full retreat, had there been no gloom upon our feelings, had we had any good food to eat, with such fine horses as Banks, and Diaway, W.A., Trew, Blackie, etc. to ride, and a line of well-watered country before us for hundreds of miles, we might have considered our return a pleasure trip; but gloom covered our retreat, and we travelled along almost in silence.
"Rover, you may as well admit it," came from Professor Blackie. "It is a sad state of affairs." "But I haven't been drinking." "We know better. Look at the evidence!" roared Abner Sharp, pointing to the bottles. "Why, your very clothing smells of rum!" he added, smelling of Dick's shoulder. "Sam has told you the truth. We haven't been drinking," said Dick.
When the fire began to run up the roof, Mistress Conal broke from him, and darted to the door. Every one rushed to seize her, Mr. Palmer with the rest. "Blackie! Blackie! Blackie!" she shrieked like a madwoman.
Travelling on, we came to a large swamp, and had either to wade through or go six miles round. We decided on the former plan, and soon were up to our waists in water. It was early in May and the nights were still very cold, and the water was like ice; but there was nothing to do but go through, now that we were wet, and as Blackie said, "It was bad luck to turn back."
"I want to have some fun by myself first." "Well, I must be going," said Blackie after a bit, when she had talked a little further with Nero. "If ever you're around my house, stop in and see me. It's right over there, across the hill," and she pointed to it with her paw. "I will, thank you," said Nero, switching his tail from side to side.