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A classic action and adventure western written for young readers, but thoroughly enjoyable by all.
I The Squad Call 11
II A Running Battle 23
III Talking in the Dark 37
IV Johnny Calls the Squads 48
V Mysterious Violence 56
VI Who? and Why? 65
VII In Court 70
VIII Prisoners at the Bar 77
IX Clues 86
X A Royal Feast 94
XI Sworn to Stand By 101
XII From Out the Shadows 110
XIII A Marked Man 120
XIV Johnny Scores a Knockdown 128
XV Johnny Finds a Man 137
XVI The Face That Seemed a Mask 147
XVII The Sergeant’s Story 155
XVIII A Scream—A Shot 165
XIX A Bullet 175
XX A Card from the Underworld 184
XXI The Secret Number 194
XXII Startling Transformations 202
XXIII Many Bullets 207
XXIV Not on the Program 214
XXV A Wolf Seeks Culture 222
XXVI These Are the Guns 230
XXVII An Arrow Speeds to Its Mark 240
XXVIII Taken for a Ride 248
XXIX The Night Ride 255
XXX Many Perils 260
XXXI The Creeping Spot 267
XXXII Sky High 272
XXXIII The Show-Down 279
THE SQUAD CALL
It was midnight. The waters of Lake Michigan were like glass, smooth glass, miles of it, blue-black. There was no moon. The stars burned queer bright holes in the blue-black glass. The long, low craft that glided through the water caused scarce a ripple.
At the prow of this Great Lakes’ freighter stood Johnny Thompson. He was gazing at the skyline of his own beloved city. Three years had passed since last he had caught the rumble of that great metropolis and had seen her lights gleaming out into the night. Now he was gliding slowly, surely forward—to what? His city, to be sure. But after that? Mystery? Romance? Fresh adventure? Who could say?
In his three years of wandering Johnny had known mystery, romance, and adventure aplenty. He had glided up dark mangrove-bordered streams at the heart of tropical America. He had crept into dungeons in the haunted castle of Haiti. He had felt the call of the barren tundras and smoking mountains of British Columbia and Alaska. He had faced the savage, hungry wolf pack, and had matched power and prowess with the Kadiak bear.
Ah yes, mystery, romance, adventure, had been his.
And yet, as he stood there watching the skyline of the city he had known so well as a boy, as her massive buildings bulked larger and larger before him, as he saw the spire-like structures that had reared themselves skyward in his absence, as he thought of the dark, little known streets, of the hidden cellars, the underground tunnels, of the wealth, the misery, the power, the intrigue, the crime of this, his native city, he could not but feel that after all he had wandered far in vain, that even here at his own doorstep was to be found romance, thrills, adventure such as he had not known in strange lands. Was he right? Only time could tell.
So he stood there dreaming until he felt the boat bump against the massive cement finger that is the city’s Municipal Pier, and knew it was time to go ashore.
“Where’d you come from?”
A well set up young man, some years his senior, asked him this question the moment his feet were on the pier.
He wanted to tell the fellow it was none of his business. But he had learned caution. He looked the questioner over from head to toe.
“Some college fellow,” was his mental comment as he took in the other’s spick-and-span appearance. Dressed to the minute, that’s what he was. “May be a young reporter.”
“Just came down from the North,” he said quietly. “Been hunting with bow and arrow.” He whirled his leather cased bow about as evidence. “Caught this boat at Two Harbors.”
“Yeah? Do you always travel that way?”
“Freight? Why, anyway, I’ve never waited for a fancy boat. Take the first one that will bring me where I want to go.”