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The Vanished Hero

From the Evening Star, July 7, 1915. By Philander Johnson.

Jack Harkaway! Jack Harkaway! Companion of my youth,
How often we have wandered from the beaten path of truth,
And reveled in adventure such as none could hope to know
Save those who sought your guidance for a reckless hour or so!
You were the hero of my dreams, with strong and ready arm
To punish the unrighteous and to shield the weak from harm.
With you the age of chivalry once more was in its prime;
And your acquaintance only cost a paltry silver dime.

How warily we tracked the skulking villain to his lair!
How cleverly we laid for him the unsuspected snare!
When luck was all against us, as it was through many a page,
You cheered me with your jolly quips or observations sage.
We roamed through distant countries and the savages we met
We conquered with a boldness that I never shall forget.
There’s nothing that you couldn’t do, when you applied your skill
To tasks that must have baffled ordinary strength or will.

There were no movies then and magazines were grimly wise.
You lived before the aeroplane went flashing through the skies.
The telephone was but a dream; the motor car a myth.
All crude was the material that they equipped you with.
And yet no hero since your time has shown the buoyant grace
Which you displayed in meeting every peril face to face.
And it’s many a time I’m longing on an idle summer day
To sail the seas and roam the woods with you, Jack Harkaway.

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