« PreviousContinue »
certain time, and if that boy, by getting into that worked by horses, however rough it might be, tricycle, and working it with his legs, can propel would show at once what could actually be done. it at a far greater rate of speed and can keep up Having received his father's consent and the the exercise for a much longer time than when he promise of a moderate amount of money for his was pulling it-then it must follow that if a horse, expenses,- for Mr. Humphreys was a rich man, and which pulls a vehicle of any kind, could get inside very generous toward his son,– Fred went to work that vehicle and work it with its legs, it could upon the machine, which was intended to show the propel it at a much higher rate of speed than principle of his invention. It would be a rough when it was dragging it along the ground. And affair, but if it worked properly, its crudity would if one horse, why not two, or four? Why should not matter; all he wished was to show that the there not be a great tally-ho coach, with six horses thing could be done. For the building of his maworking tread-mills on the lower story, while chine Fred employed a man who was both a car- . crowds of passengers sat above enjoying the rapid penter and a blacksmith; and as he himself was and exhilarating excursion? This last idea came very handy with tools, and this was summer holiday into Fred's mind as a picture of the Great Tricycle time, he worked nearly all day and was of great of the Future. How proud and happy he would help in finishing the thing. be to build and own a machine of this kind ! When all was done, the new vehicle was indeed He would sit in front with his hand upon the a curious affair, and attracted a great deal of attensteering gear, while six fine horses steadily trod tion, especially from Fred's boy friends. It conthe propelling arrangement behind him, eating, as sisted of a strong frame-work, or floor, at the back they worked, from mangers under their noses; of which was a pair of enormous wheels, which had while the ladies and gentlemen who used to crowd
been made for a truck used for hauling great the old “tally-hos” would sit comfortably on the stones and slabs of marble. These were the drivsecond story, and never tire of telling one another ing-wheels, and in front was a small but strong how much better this was than the comparatively wheel, which was turned by a tiller, like the helm slow trips they used to take in the ordinary coaches of a ship; and with this the vehicle was steered. and carriages.
Between the driving-wheels was set up a machine After thinking over this matter for about a week, known in some parts of the country as a “double and making a good many plans and drawings, Fred horse-power,” and which is used by many farmers determined to try to carry out his invention. He to give motive power to various kinds of agricultdid not set out to build at first a machine for six ural machines. It consists, in the first place, of an horses and two or three coach-loads of passengers; inclined floor of slats which moves like an endless but he would attempt to make something much chain; and when a horse walks on this the animal remore modest, although constructed upon the great mains where he is, but the foor moves, and continprinciple that it would be better for the horse to ually passing from under him and going down to the be inside the vehicle and propel both it and him- lower part of the machine, comes up again in front self than to stay outside and pull it. If the com- of him. This motion of the floor turns various cogparatively simple contrivance which he proposed wheels under it, and a very rapid motion is commuto make should work satisfactorily, then it would nicated from them to the machine which is to be be easy enough to get sufficient capital to build the worked. The horses are penned in by a low grand machine (with driving-wheels twenty feet fence, and all they have to do is to walk or tread high and a six-horse team to work it), which, steadily on, along the moving floor. Some of these in his mind, he called the Tricycle of the Future. “horse-powers” are for one horse and some for
When he laid his plans and his schemes before two; and Fred had hired a double one from a his father, Mr. Humphreys considered them very farmer who lived not far away. This machine was carefully. He had not much faith in Fred's grand connected with the driving-wheels of his tricycle, scheme of the two-storied tricycle with six horses, and, when horses were put into it and started, the but he thought that something on a smaller scale great wheels would be turned, the vehicle would might succeed. He agreed with his son that ex- move forward, and the Tricyclism of the Future periments with dogs or goats, which Fred had first would begin. thought of, would be a loss of time and labor, be- There were no accommodations for passengers; cause it would be so much trouble to teach these all that could come afterward. What Fred wanted animals to act properly; whereas, an ordinary horse to show was that a tricycle could be run by horsewas already trained sufficiently for the purpose. power as well as by man or boy power, the horses Besides, a dog or goat machine, in Fred's eyes, being carried along just as the man or boy is carwould appear like a mere plaything, and would ried along. In front was a seat for the steersman, not attract the attention of capitalists; but one who was to be Fred himself, and in the extreme
rear was a small platform for his assistant, whose "I don't want with me any boy who is a pessiduty it would be to attend to the brakes and to mist,” continued Fred. stop the “horse-power,” when necessary, so that “What 's that?” asked Putty. the floor on which the horses stood should become “Why, that 's a fellow who 's always thinking immovable.
that everything is certain to go wrong. Now, I like A great many opinions were expressed in regard optimists, who believe that things are sure to go to this new vehicle. Men generally laughed at it; right; that is, as long as there's any chance for 'em. some of the boys thought it would work, while Everybody who ever did anything great in this others thought it would not. Among the latter world was an optimist ; for, of course, he would n't was one, small for his age but old for his years, keep hammering at, or fighting out anything if who was generally known as “Putty” Morris, – he did n't think it would succeed. Don't you see this name having been given to him by his com- that?” panions on account of his having a complexion the “Of course,” said Putty, “if a fellow really color of which was not unlike that of ordinary putty. thought a thing would work, and wanted it to work,
This youth did not believe in the new tricycle at he'd better be an optimist; but if he thought all. Everything was too heavy and lumbering, he the other way about it, why, I think the more he said, and if Fred ever did succeed in setting it pessimed the better.” going, it would be a very difficult machine to con- “Goodness !” said Fred, laughing. “If you trol, and there was certain to be some sort of a twisted my machinery as badly as you twist the smash-up.
English language, you 'd spoil everything for me “Now, look here, Putty,” said Fred, taking him very soon.” to one side and speaking to him in a manner A boy who believed in the new machine, and which he intended should be of service to the who was willing to act in the position of brakeyoungster, “I've been thinking of asking you to man and general assistant, was found in the person be my assistant; but I wish you to know that I of Johnny Hammond, a stout fellow of sixteen, am not going to do it now.”
who was always ready for anything of a novel or “All right!” said Putty.
Nothing now remained but to secure the work- gate, and the tricycle was on the hard, smooth road, ing power, that is to say, the horses. Fred had it began to go along much more easily. Mr. hoped that his father would let him have the car- Humphreys and the man walked by the side of it, riage-horses, but to this Mr. Humphreys objected; greatly pleased with the success of the experiment, he did not wish them used for that sort of work. while the boys surrounded it on all sides, some He had, however, a steady brown mare, named cheering and some chaffing; for, although it Jenny, who was often employed in farm-work, and moved along very well, it certainly was an odd afwas accustomed to a “horse-power,” and he told fair to look at. They were in the suburbs of the Fred that he was welcome to use this animal for his town, but a great many people stopped to gaze at experiment. After some trouble, for horses were the horse tricycle, and very soon Fred determined much needed by their owners at that time of the to let every one see that his new vehicle could go year, Fred hired from a farmer an elderly animal at a much faster speed than a walk. The machine known as Glaucus, which had once been, according was a heavy one, and rather awkward and clumsy to tradition, a very fine and spirited horse, but had in its appearance, but the wheels turned easily on now settled down into the soberness and placidity their axles, which were well oiled, while the machin
Glaucus was tall and bony and not anx- ery which connected the “horse-power” with the ious to work, but he had weight and strength, and driving-wheels was simple and worked smoothly. these are important points in a beast which is to Therefore, although he could make no such speed work a “horse-power.” These two horses did not as he expected to give to the great Tricycle of the make quite so good a team as Fred had hoped to Future, Fred felt sure he could go along at a pretty have, but, as he said, they did very well to begin with. fair rate, and ordered Johnny Hammond to make
It was determined that the trial trip should take the horses trot. Johnny therefore touched up place early in the forenoon, before there were Jenny and Glaucus, and, after some unwillingmany carriages and vehicles on the road, and they ness, they broke into a trot, and the tricycle began did not make any general announcement of the mat- to move over the road at a very creditable speed. ter, as both Fred and his father thought it would be Mr. Humphreys and the mechanic soon ceased to better to have as few spectators as possible at this follow; and although the boys ran after the machine first experiment of the running of the machine. for some distance, they dropped off, one by one. If it succeeded, then every one who chose could A few of them tried to climb up behind and enjoy see it work.
a free ride, but this the sturdy Johnny Hammond In spite of their precautions, however, quite would not allow. a crowd of boys assembled to see the horse- Fred steered his tricycle into a wide and handtricycle start, and Mr. Humphreys and the man some road which led to a much-frequented hotel who made the machine were also there. Heavy standing on the shore of the lake, about four miles planks with cross-slats nailed on them were laid from town. The boy was flushed and happy. from the back of the vehicle to the ground, and The experiment was a success, and he was going up these the horses were led, and placed in the along as fast as a horse at an ordinary trot. If he two divisions of the “horse-power.” The bars could do so much with a home-made affair like were put up behind them, and each horse was tied this, what could not be accomplished with a vast by its halter to the front rails. The gate of the yard machine for six horses, which should be as light and in which the machine had been built was opened; strong and as perfect in all its parts as the finest Fred climbed up in front and took the tiller, Johnny bicycle or tricycle in the world ? Johnny HamHammond mounted the rear platform, and all mond, too, was in high spirits, and he continually was ready.
shouted to Fred his approbation of the working of “ Take off the brakes, and start the horses !” his “ gay old machine.” The only individual on cried Fred.
the big tricycle that seemed to be discontented was Whereupon, Johnny released the big wheels Glaucus. He had never been in the habit of from the pressure of the brakes, and then moved going so fast on the “ horse-power,” and besides, the lever which gave play to the machinery of the there was something in the manner of his progres“horse-power,” at the same time starting the sion along the road which seemed to disturb his horses into a walk. Around went the moving mind. He tossed up his head, the fire of his floor on which the horses stood; around and youth came into his eyes, and from trotting he bearound went the two driving-wheels, and the gan to canter. Johnny's shouts did not moderate tricycle was off!
his pace, and Jenny, feeling that she must do as At first it moved very slowly, as was to have been Glaucus did, also broke into a canter. Fred shouted expected, for the ground in the yard was rough; to put on the brakes and stop the horses; but this but when Fred had safely steered through the Johnny found to be no easy job. The “horsepower” was going with such force and rapidity lake, and on its edge, directly in front of him, was that the regulating apparatus could not work, and a row of sheds for the accommodation of the horses the brakes seemed to take but little hold upon the and carriages of the visitors to the hotel. Fred's driving-wheels. Then he climbed up by the side first thought was to steer directly into these sheds, of Glaucus, and, seizing him by the halter, tried and so stop the mad career of his tricycle; but this to moderate his speed; but he found that the would result in a general smash-up, and, as he was horse was thoroughly frightened and that he could in front of everything, he would probably be killed. do nothing with him. The spirit of Jenny, too, He did not dare to jump off, as he would have to was now aroused, and she seemed to be trying to jump directly in front of the big driving-wheels. get out of this scrape by running as fast as she There seemed nothing for him to do but to steer could. Fred could do nothing to help, for, if he into the lake. If this had to be done, the deeper let go of the tiller for a moment, the steering- the water into which he plunged the better; and wheel would turn round, and the great tricycle with this idea in his mind, he deftly guided his would be dashed to one side and be upset and machine past the sheds, and toward a pier which wrecked in an instant.
extended a short distance into the lake. ThunderFred mentally noted the fact that in a properlying upon the plank floor came the great tricycle, constructed machine of this sort, there would need and in the next instant it had gone off the end of to be some way of throwing the driving-wheels the pier and down into the water. “out of gear," so that there would be no connec- There was a huge splash; there were shouts tion between them and the “horse-power." In from the hotel and from the road; a fountain of that case the vehicle could be stopped, no matter spray shot high into the air, and then a foaming, how fast the horses were going.
whirling, gurgling pool closed over the spot where Johnny now again put his whole weight on the great dive had been made. Down to the botthe brakes of the driving-wheels, but he found this tom of the lake sank, not only Fred's Tricycle of was of no use.
the Present, but his great Tricycle of the Future, The fact that the road began to slope gently with its two stories, its beautifully working machinbefore them, so that they were really going down- ery, its crowds of passengers, and its wonderful hill, made matters all the worse, and the panic achievements. There was nothing of the kind now which seemed to possess the two horses now for Fred but a wrecked and sunken Tricycle of extended to Johnny Hammond, who, shouting the Past. to Fred to save himself while he could, promptly At the moment the steering wheel left the edge jumped off behind.
of the pier, Fred made a wild spring into the Fred was pale and frightened, but he did not water, and so went down by himself, off at one jump off. He knew that if he did, the tricycle side of the descending machine. As he sank, would upset, and the horses would probably be thoughts and ideas passed through Fred's mind as killed ; and, besides, he knew well that it would be rapidly as if they were being telegraphed on a wire. a very dangerous thing to jump off in front of One of these was that all he had been working for those great driving-wheels. All that he could do so hard had now come to a disastrous end; for his was to stay at his post, and hope that the horses father would never more allow him to have anywould soon tire themselves out.
thing to do with such an unmanageable machine The two animals were now working the “horse- as a horse-tricycle. But the thought that overpower” at a furious rate; the few people in the shadowed everything else was the fate of those poor road stood in amazement or ran after the machine horses! They were tied to the “horse-power" by as it passed, while carriages and wagons gave the their halters, and would, therefore, be kept down on-coming tricycle, with its rattling and its bang- at the bottom of the lake, and be drowned. There ing and its bounding horses, a wide berth.
was so much heavy iron-work about the machinery, Fred was now nearing the hotel by the lake. The it would certainly hold them there like an anbroad road led directly to the water, but on one chor. Fred had no fears in regard to himself. side it branched off into a narrower drive which ran No thought of sorrow-stricken parents or weeping along the shore. It was Fred's intention to turn into friends passed through his mind; he had been this road, because his only safety seemed to be to down to the bottom of the lake before, and although go as far as he could, and so tire out the horses. he was encumbered with clothing, his coat was But he was dashing on so fast that he made a mis- thin, his shoes were light, and he knew that he calculation ; when he reached the turning-point, could swim to shore. he did not move his tiller quickly enough, and so In a very short time he rose to the top of the lost his chance of running upon the lake road. water and began to strike out for the pier. Then Now, before him, at a very short distance, lay the some distance behind him came up the head of a horse, and Jenny, with a little snort, went swim- something was the matter. Before the thing was ming landward. Now appeared another horse's up to me I knew that the horses were running head, and Glaucus, with wildly staring eyes, came away, or trying to, and that you were hanging on floundering up, and, after gazing about in much to your steering gear with a rather pessimy look amazement, made for a distant point along the on your face, and that you could n't let go to do shore, as if he did not wish to land at a place anything with the horses. So I ran after you, and where he had come to such grief. Last of all, up climbed up behind, and I had to be a pretty lively came Putty Morris, his hair dripping with water, hoptimist to do it, I can tell you. All I could and his mouth spluttering vigorously as he slowly try to do was to get you rid of your horses, swam shoreward !
and I thought that if I untied their halters and When Fred reached the pier and had taken one took down their bars they 'd slide out behind, and of the dozen hands which were extended to him then you 'd stop. I did n't say anything to you, from the little crowd of people who had hurried for there was such a noise I did n't suppose you ’d there, he was quickly pulled up, and whatever he hear me; and just as I unfastened the second had intended to say was cut short by his astonish- halter we were out on the pier, and before I had ment at seeing Jenny just coming to land. Then, time to jump, down we all went together!” turning around, his amazement was increased by the sight of Glaucus, still making for his distant “FRED,” said Putty Morris to his friend a few point. But when he beheld Putty Morris, spluttering days after these events, “are you going to make and paddling steadily for the pier, Fred's hair, wet any more of your big machines?” as it was, felt as if it would like to stand on end. “Well, no,” said Fred, “ not at present. These
“Do you live down there?” he said to Putty, things can't be done without money, and father is a moment later, when that dripping boy was hauled rather touchy on that subject just now. He has upon the pier.
had to pay for that double “horse-power,” and “Not exactly,” was the answer, after several everything else is a dead loss; and besides that, vigorous shakes and puffs ; “and if I 'd known old Glaucus scraped his leg in the scrimmage and that you were going to take me down there, you he 'll not be fit to be used for a month. I am going may be sure I'd never have jumped aboard your to begin again at the very bottom round, and if I crazy old machine.”
run anything else of the kind this summer, I shall “How did you come to do it?” asked Fred. get a unicycle." “I did n't know you were there.”
“A unicycle !” exclaimed Putty; “what is “Well,” said Putty, “I was up the road there, that?" and saw you coming like a lot of wild Indians. I “Why, don't you know?” said Fred. “There saw Johnny Hammond jump off, and guessed goes a fellow with one now.”