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Arthur Chapman's Introduction to
Jack Bell's 'Hooded Messengers'

Oakland Tribune, January 14, 1923, page 38

Arthur Chapman, noted western writer, author of "Out Where the West Begins," has written the following tribute to Jack Bell, author of the article on this page today, the first of a series describing the thrilling heroism of the drivers of the air lanes.

JACK BELL belongs to the West. He would not fit into any other background. As a prospector and miner he has roamed the hills and the desert, and has pitched his tent in the deep snows above timberline and in the shadeless sands below sea-level. He has mushed over the far Northern tundra and has tramped the sterile plateaus of the Southwest. He has known the solitude of the wilds and the greater solitude of the mine depths. He has been in at the christening of mining camps, big and little. Some of them have been his own discoveries.

Through all these things, Jack Bell has walked with seeing eyes. From his own observation he has learned more of all phases of Western life than any other man I have ever. Nothing on the trail escapes his attention. He is a thorough-going naturalist, and knows animal life, not from what he has read but from what he has observed. He is a lover of the primal who has never been too keen after the Mother Lode to forget to bake an extra pancake in the morning for the birds and chipmunks about his camp. That sometimes harsh parent, Mother Nature, has talked to him fondly and indulgently. She has told him things about the birds and animals and the trees and streams and rocks, as well as about human beings that have given the old West its fascinating distinction from any other place on earth. Jack Bell's diaries, which he has kept faithfully these many years, tell the natural bent of the man for outdoor things. In them he has written more fully when alone in the solitudes in the midst of some mining camp hurly-burly.

I hope Jack Bell will be spared to get what he knows of the West into print. I know of no other man with anything like his store of valuable first-hand information, when it comes to things Western, animate or inanimate


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