B.M. Bower


The Project Gutenberg eBook, Skyrider, by B. M. Bower, Illustrated by Anton Otto Fischer
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Title: Skyrider
Author: B. M. Bower

Release Date: October 14, 2005 [eBook #16871]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
E-text prepared by Suzanne Shell, Mary Meehan, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team (

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with frontispiece by Anton Otto Fischer

[Illustration: Johnny dared a volplane, slanting steeply down at the herd.]

Boston Little, Brown, and Company

A Poet without Honor
II One Fight, Two Quarrels, and a Riddle
III Johnny Goes Gaily Enough to Sinkhole
IV A Thing that Sets like a Hawk
V Desert Glimpses
VI Salvage
VII Finder, Keeper
VIII Over the Telephone
IX A Midnight Ride
X Signs, and No One to Read Them
XI Thieves Ride Boldly
XII Johnny's Amazing Run of Luck Still Holds its Pace
XIII Mary V Confronts Johnny
XIV Johnny Would Serve Two Masters
XV The Fire that Made the Smoke
XVI Let's Go
XVII A Rider of the Sky
XVIII Flying Comes High
XIX "We Fly South"
XX Men Are Stupid
XXI Mary V Will not be Bluffed
XXII Luck Turns Traitor
XXIII Dreams and Darkness
XXIV Johnny's Dilemma
XXV Skyrider "Has Flew"!

Before I die, I'll ride the sky; I'll part the clouds like foam. I'll brand each star with the Rolling R, And lead the Great Bear home.
I'll circle Mars to beat the cars, On Venus I will call. If she greets me fair as I ride the air, To meet her I will stall.
I'll circle high--as if passing by-- Then volplane, bank, and land. Then if she'll smile I'll stop awhile, And kiss her snow-white hand.
To toast her health and wish her wealth I'll drink the Dipper dry. Then say, "Hop in, and we'll take a spin, For I'm a rider of the sky."
Through the clouds we'll float in my airplane boat--
Mary V flipped the rough paper over with so little tenderness that a corner tore in her fingers, but the next page was blank. She made a sound suspiciously like a snort, and threw the tablet down on the littered table of the bunk house. After all, what did she care where they floated--Venus and Johnny Jewel? Riding the sky with Venus when he knew very well that his place was out in the big corral, riding some of those broom-tail bronks that he was being paid a salary--a good salary--for breaking! Mary V thought that her father ought to be told about the way Johnny was spending all his time--writing silly poetry about Venus. It was the first she had ever known about his being a poet. Though it was pretty punk, in Mary V's opinion. She was glad and thankful that Johnny had refrained from writing any such doggerel about her. That would have been perfectly intolerable. That he should write poetry at all was intolerable. The more she thought of it, the more intolerable it became.
Just for punishment, and as a subtle way of letting him know what she thought of him and his idiotic jingle, she picked up the tablet, found the pencil Johnny had used, and did a little poetizing herself. She could have rhymed it much better, of course, if she had condescended to give any thought whatever to the matter, which she did not. Condescension went far enough when she stooped to reprove the idiot by finishing the verse that he had failed to finish, because he had already overtaxed his poor little brain.
Stooping, then, to reprove, and flout, and ridicule, Mary V finished the verse so that it read thus:
"Through the clouds we'll float in my airplane boat-- For Venus I am truly sorry! All the stars you sight, you witless wight, You'll see when you and Venus light! But then--I'm sure that I should worry!"
Mary V was tempted to write more. She rather fancied that term "witless wight" as applied to Johnny Jewel. It had a classical dignity which atoned for the slang made necessary by her instant need of a rhyme for sorry.
But there was the danger of being caught in the act by some meddlesome fellow who loved to come snooping around where he had no business, so Mary V placed the tablet open on the table just as she had found it, and left the bunk house without deigning to fulfill the errand of mercy that had taken her there. Why should she trouble to sew the lining in a coat sleeve for a fellow who pined for a silly flirtation with Venus? Let Johnny Jewel paw and
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