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The Thunder Bird   By: (1874-1940)

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E text prepared by Al Haines

THE THUNDER BIRD

by

B. M. BOWER

Author of Chip of The Flying U , Starr of the Desert , Skyrider , etc.

Frontispiece by Anton Otto Fischer

Grosset & Dunlap Publishers New York

1919,

[Frontispiece: Still Schwab hung back. "I'll wait until he can come. I I can't leave."]

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

I JOHNNY ASSUMES A DEBT OF HONOR II AND THE CAT CAME BACK III JOHNNY WOULD DO STUNTS IV MARY V TO THE RESCUE V GODS OR SOMETHING VI FAME WAITS UPON JOHNNY VII MERELY TWO POINTS OF VIEW VIII SUDDEN MUST DO SOMETHING IX GIVING THE COLT HIS HEAD X LOCHINVAR UP TO DATE XI JOHNNY WILL NOT BE A NICE BOY XII THE THUNDER BIRD TAKES WING XIII THE HEGIRA OF JOHN IVAN JEWEL XIV FATE MEETS JOHNNY SMILING XV ONE MORE PLUNGE FOR JOHNNY XVI WITH HIS HANDS FULL OF MONEY AND HIS EYES SHUT XVII "MY JOB'S FLYING" XVIII INTO MEXICO AND RETURN XIX BUT JOHNNY WAS NEITHER FOOL NOR KNAVE XX MARY V TAKES THE TRAIL XXI JOHNNY IS NOT PAID TO THINK XXII JOHNNY MAKES UP HIS MIND XXIII JOHNNY ACTS BOLDLY XXIV THE THUNDER BIRD'S LAST FLIGHT FOR JOHNNY XXV OVER THE TELEPHONE

CHAPTER ONE

JOHNNY ASSUMES A DEBT OF HONOR

Since Life is no more than a series of achievements and failures, this story is going to begin exactly where the teller of tales usually stops. It is going to begin with Johnny Jewel an accepted lover and with one of his dearest ambitions realized. It is going to begin there because Johnny himself was just beginning to climb, and the top of his desires was still a long way off, and the higher you go the harder is the climbing. Even love does not rest at peace with the slipping on of the engagement ring. I leave it to Life, the supreme judge, to bear me out in the statement that Love must straightway gird himself for a life struggle when he has passed the flowered gateway of a woman's tremulous yes.

To Johnny Jewel the achievement of possessing himself of so coveted a piece of mechanism as an airplane, and of flying it with rapidly increasing skill, began to lose a little of its power to thrill. The getting had filled his thoughts waking and sleeping, had brought him some danger, many thrills, a good deal of reproach and much self condemnation. Now he had it that episode was diminishing rapidly in importance as it slid into the past, and Johnny was facing a problem quite as great, was harboring ambitions quite as dazzling, as when he rode a sweaty horse across the barren stretches of the Rolling R Ranch and dreamed the while of soaring far above the barrenness.

Well, he had soared high above many miles of barrenness. That dream could be dreamed no more, since its magic vapors had been dissipated in the bright sun of reality. He could no longer dream of flying, any more than he could build air castles over riding a horse. Neither could he rack his soul with thoughts of Mary V Selmer, wondering whether she would ever get to caring much for a fellow. Mary V had demonstrated with much frankness that she cared. He knew the feel of her arms around his neck, the look of her face close to his own, the sweet thrill of her warm young lips against his. He had bought her a modest little ring, and had watched the shine of it on the third finger of her tanned left hand when she left him going gloveless that the ring might shine up at her.

The first episode of her life thus happily finished, Johnny was looking with round, boyish, troubled eyes upon the second.

"Long distance call for you, Mr. Jewel," the clerk announced, when Johnny strolled into the Argonaut hotel in Tucson for his mail. "Just came in. The girl at the switchboard will connect you with the party."

Johnny glanced into his empty key box and went on to the telephone desk. It was Mary V, he guessed. He had promised to call her up, but there hadn't been any news to tell, nothing but the flat monotony of inaction, which meant failure, and Johnny Jewel never liked talking of his failures, even to Mary V... Continue reading book >>




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