If you felt you had nothing to live for,
would you be willing to die for others?
The story of two who learned the way to freedom
by Mae Noble Rineman
"YOU'VE A PECULIAR FORM OF MENTAL TORTURE FOR YOUR WIFE, BROOKS”
JtAN nau never acquirea ner nusoanos love
for the high air spaces. There was an ever
present tight, terrified dread in her heart
whenever he stepped into the Blue Bird.
Always it was with a keen sense of relief that
she saw him come down to solid earth again.
But if Harry should know of her terror, she
felt that he would stop loving her right then.
His love would turn to pity, perhaps tinged
with contempt; for anyone who did not love
to fly, said he, was not quite normal.
He was annoyed when she did not stand
outside their bungalow and watch him do dar
ing stunts above the port of which he was so
proud. Built on a little island set like an ex
quisite emerald in the dull waters of Wide
River of the Northwest Coast timber country,
it served as a school for pilots as well as a
regular stopping point for numerous planes. To
please her husband, Jean went through the
agonizing performance of being in evidence be
low whenever he stunted. He could not see
that her eyes were closed, that sometimes tears
streamed down her cheeks.
But Cal Brant knew. One day he said to
Harry, “You’ve a peculiar form of mental tor
ture for your wife, haven’t you, Brooks?"
Harry stared at his friend in amazed re
sentment. “What in thunder do you mean?”
“A devoted wife ran hardly watch her hus
band risking his life, with entire equanimity.”
“JUST THE SAME. HONEY.
YOU'RE GOING TO LEARN
TO FLY THE OLD GIRL ALL
BY YOUR LONESOME”
“Brant! Jean’s not like that! Why, she's an
aviator’s wife, and a regular sport. She’s ready
to solo! ’' Harry's indignation was sincere. Brant
caught a glimpse of Jean’s starkly white face
at the open door of the hangar; then she fled,
and he knew she had heard.
She came in nonchalantly a few moments
later, however. j
“What do you think of Brant’s trying to tell
me that you are afraid of your husband's stunt -
ing?” Harry asked her. He turned to Brant.
“Why, she loves it as 1 do, don't you, Jean?”
His arm went about the girl's slender shoulders
in a quick affectionate grip. “You’re not afraid,
Jean forced a convincing laugh. “Afraid? ,
Absurd! Are the birds afraid? Now wash up
and come to lunch. It’s about time for the
passenger-feed, and you’ll fare slim if they get
here first." j
"I’m going to test out the new cabin plane
that Brant bought," Harry said after lunch.
“You may watch me if you're not afraid,”1
jeering of course at Brant. ]
He took off in the big new plane. Brant stood
in the kitchen door as Jean called to him. In
the sunny room, she said: “Brant, I'm sorry!
You’re a brick, but don't you see? I’d lose
Harry in a minute if he knew the truth. I know *
it's silly to be afraid. Why, look at the hun- •*
dreds killed in autos, and at the few in com
parison who are killed in planes.” A terrible
whine of speeding wires and groaning motor
caused her face to blanch.
A groan burst from Brant’s set lips as he
leaped through the doorway. Jean followed on
unsteady feet. Harry was zooming up from the
screaming descent they had heard. He pun
ished the new machine. Sick with fear, Jean
leaned against the door, watching.
Brant looked at her, and then swiftly strode
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