Part 4 out of 4
"Because, should the President fall before any hand--yours, mine, Duval's
or another's--we should still meet the same fate; for the city would be
dragged by the troops and police and not an Apache left alive. No, the
President must be warned."
"But that is treachery!" cried the little man.
"Is it treachery to save the President of your country from the hands of
an assassin?" demanded Chester, and answered his own question: "No!"
The two paused on a street corner, and there, for perhaps ten minutes,
Jean stood wrapped in thought. Finally he spoke, and there was a
different tone in his voice.
"I believe," he said quietly, "that we have both learned a lesson. There
must be in us, after all, a spark of loyalty. No! We cannot assassinate
the President, nor can we stand idly by while he is shot down. He must
Chester grasped the little Apache by the hand.
"I knew I could make you see it that way!" he exclaimed. "Good! Now, come
with me, and we shall give the warning at once."
"Where to?" demanded Jean.
Chester looked at him carefully a single moment, and a doubt of the man's
sincerity came to him. Therefore he replied cautiously:
"Never mind. Just follow me; and if you mean what you say, warning shall
be given at once."
For a moment Jean hesitated, then followed Chester down the street.
Chester's sense of direction now stood him in good stead. Not once in all
his wandering about had he lost a general idea of where lay the Hotel de
Ville, and he now steered a course in that direction. He finally came
into view of the building, and here Jean hung back.
"What's the matter?" demanded Chester, as the little man stopped.
"We can't go in there," was the reply. "They won't let us speak. We'll be
thrown into jail and kept there."
"Oh, no, we won't," said Chester. "Leave it to me. Come on."
A sudden suspicion struck Jean.
"Tell me," he cried, and grasped the lad fiercely by the arm, "are you a
"No," replied Chester calmly. "What made you think that?"
"I don't know," was the reply, "but the suspicion came to me and I could
not down it. I will have nothing to do with a detective."
"Well," said Chester, "I am no detective; but"--he paused and laid his
hand on Jean's arm--"I am a French army officer!"
"A spy!" cried Jean, and freed his arm.
"A spy, if you choose to call me one," said Chester, "but still your
friend, for I believe you have come to your senses."
"I know," cried Jean, "you want to get me locked up!"
He stepped quickly backward, turned, took to his heels and ran.
Chester was after him like a flash, and as he ran he muttered to himself:
"Great Scott! I can't let him get away. He is sure to believe he has been
imposed upon, and undoubtedly will warn the others!"
The little Apache was fleet of foot, but still not so fleet as was
Chester. Within the block the lad overtook the fugitive and his hand
grasped the other by the collar.
"Now," he said quietly, "you shall come with me, whether you will or not.
I mean you no harm, and, if you do as I say, you will be all right."
Jean was not convinced, however, and continued his desperate
struggles to free himself. But Chester was too strong for him, and
with some difficulty he succeeded in dragging the little man back to
the Hotel de Ville, and inside, where both were seized by half a
dozen French troopers.
"Call General Gallieni at once," demanded Chester.
The officer in command laughed at him.
"Ha! Ha! Ha!" he laughed. "Look who wants to see the general."
He motioned to two of his men, who started to drag the prisoners toward
an open door, beyond which, as Chester surmised, lay cells.
Chester shook himself free with a single movement and turned upon the
"I am an army officer," he said quietly, "and am engaged in a piece of
work at General Gallieni's own suggestion. You will summon him
The French officer was somewhat surprised at this, but he was not quite
"How am I to know that you speak the truth?" he asked skeptically.
"Because I say so," replied Chester quietly, taking a step forward.
The French officer also advanced a step.
"It is my belief that you seek the general for some ulterior purpose," he
said with a sneer, and, before Chester realized what he was about to do,
the officer raised his hand and slapped him soundly across the face.
"Take them away," he ordered his men.
The blow in the face stung Chester to action.
With a quick spring he avoided the soldiers who would have seized him and
leaped upon the French officer, whom he sent to the floor with a single
blow of his fist. The officer rose slowly to his feet, drawing his
revolver as he did so.
"You dog!" he cried, and raised his weapon.
But he did not fire, for at that moment there came from directly behind
him the command in a ringing voice:
"Put down that weapon! What's the meaning of this?"
General Gallieni stood in the doorway. The officer turned and saluted.
"These dogs," he said, indicating Chester and Jean, who were now held by
the soldiers, "insulted me. I refused to allow them to see you, and one
of them struck me. I believe they came to assassinate you."
The general took a step back, for he had not recognized Chester.
"To assassinate me?" he exclaimed.
"You are wrong, General," said Chester quietly, "I have returned with
information that will prevent the assassination of the President."
"Lieutenant Crawford!" ejaculated the general. "The President is to be
assassinated, you say?"
"At noon to-morrow, when he speaks on the Palace steps."
"And perhaps you know who has been selected to kill him?"
"Yes, sir; I do," replied Chester quietly. "I have, sir!"
THE PLOT FOILED.
General Gallieni started back in great surprise.
"You to be the assassin?" he exclaimed.
"Yes, sir," replied the lad, "I was fortunate enough to draw the red ball
in the den of the Apaches, sir."
The general advanced and took him by the arm.
"Come with me," he said, and led the way toward his private office.
Chester motioned for Jean to follow, and the little man did so, though
plainly not without some trepidation.
"Who is that?" asked General Gallieni, pointing to Jean.
"He is the man who is to shoot me in case I fail to shoot the President,"
said Chester cheerfully.
"Hadn't we better have him thrown into a cell?"
"No, sir. We have agreed that it is not right to shoot the President, and
I am sure that we can count on his help should we need it. It is likely
to be valuable."
"Well," said the general, sinking into a chair and motioning the others
to seats, "tell me all about it; and where, by the way, is your friend?"
"He is trailing Duval, sir."
"Good! Now, let's have the story."
Chester put the facts before the military governor as clearly and
concisely as possible, and when he had concluded General Gallieni jumped
to his feet.
"We must act at once!" he exclaimed, and pulled the telephone toward him.
"But not with too great haste, General," protested Chester, also rising.
"We must first decide upon a plan."
"What do you mean?" asked the general.
"Why," said Chester, "if we hope to capture Duval--who will be on hand
to-morrow, and who is likely to shoot the President himself--we must
figure out the best means of doing so."
"I shall have the President cancel his engagement."
"That," said Chester, "might only delay the assassination."
"What would you suggest?"
Chester was silent for some minutes before he replied:
"If the President doesn't make his address to-morrow, his life probably
will be attempted the next day or the next. If he does speak, Duval is
sure to be on hand. Jean and I must be in the crowd, so that Duval may
see us; for, if we are not there, Duval may suspect treachery and shoot
the President himself.
"Seeing us there, however, Duval will take no action himself. As the
President's speech progresses, Duval will be waiting for me to fire. He
will be continually thinking that I will do so in another moment.
"Now, I should say that this is the best way: Let the President cut his
speech short, say to three minutes. The moment he ceases speaking, rush a
heavy guard between him and the crowd and have him stoop immediately
behind them. Realizing that the plot has failed, Duval may not fire; but,
in the event that he does, we shall probably be able to spot him and get
him before he can escape."
General Gallieni spent some minutes considering the feasibility of this
plan. Finally he said:
"If we only knew Duval by sight, we could avoid all this by seizing him
there before the Palace."
"The trouble is we don't," replied Chester dryly.
General Gallieni turned to Jean.
"Do you know Duval by sight?" he asked.
"I have never seen his face, sir," was the reply. "He has never appeared
before us without his mask."
"Well, then," said General Gallieni, "we shall have to do the best we
can. Now, you two go into the next room and get some sleep. I'll get the
Prime Minister and explain the matter to him and to the President, that
we may all act in accord."
Chester saluted the general, and, followed by Jean, made his way into the
adjoining room, while the general proceeded to get busy on the telephone.
Chester turned to Jean and clapped him heartily on the back.
"Isn't this better than attempting to assassinate the President?" he
Jean smiled back at him.
"It is," he said quietly. "And you may count upon me to the limit."
"Good!" exclaimed Chester. "I knew it."
He threw himself upon a little cot and was soon fast asleep. Jean
followed his example.
Daylight was streaming into the room through the large French windows
when Chester was aroused by a hand on his arm. The lad was upon his feet
in an instant and faced General Gallieni. Immediately he turned and
aroused Jean, who was still sleeping heavily.
"All is in readiness," said General Gallieni. "The President and the
Prime Minister have been apprised of the plan, and it is to be acted upon
as you suggested."
Chester produced his watch and glanced at it.
"Half-past ten," he said. He turned to the general. "Have you had any
word from Hal?"
"By Jove!" said Chester. "I hope he hasn't gotten into any trouble."
Eleven o'clock came, and still no word from Hal.
At 11:15 Chester and Jean left the Hotel de Ville and made their way
toward the Palace. A great crowd had already assembled when they arrived,
and they had some difficulty in pushing their way through, so that they
might get as close as possible to the spot where the President was to
stand while delivering his address.
By the dint of hard shoving and pushing, and the use of their elbows,
however, they were finally successful, and came to a pause near the
foot of the steps, in the very first line of spectators. Beyond was
drawn up an armed guard of perhaps a hundred soldiers. No one could
Chester turned and surveyed the crowd. He thought it possible that Hal
might be there some place, but, scan the faces as he would, he could see
no sign of his chum.
The crowd was good-natured, and the people jostled and pushed and shoved
each other jokingly.
Chester scanned the crowd once more, seeking to determine the figure of
Duval, the Apache chief. Several times he thought he recognized the man
by his peculiar build, but in each case he soon found another that looked
just the same in the crowd.
Jean also, at Chester's request, had put his keen eyes to the test; but
he was no more fortunate. However, both realized that, some place in that
crowd Duval had his eyes on them.
In the distance came the faint sound of a bell, as a clock chimed the
first stroke of the hour of noon; and, with the last stroke, the
President of France appeared upon the steps of the palace.
A great roar of applause went up from the crowd and continued for fully
five minutes; nor did it cease at once as the President advanced to the
very edge of the uppermost step and raised a hand for silence.
Then, gradually, the sounds of tumult died down, and President Poincare
opened his mouth and began to speak.
One, two, three minutes the President spoke, while all about reigned the
silence of death; then, suddenly, at the expiration of the third minute,
he stepped back suddenly, while at the same moment a long line of French
soldiers stepped into place in front of him.
From the edge of the crowd, at the side nearest Chester and Jean, the
stillness was suddenly shattered by the sharp crack of an automatic, and
a soldier who stood before the President of France toppled in his tracks.
Another stepped into his place, and the President was safe.
But, with the crack of the revolver the great crowd became a wild,
howling mob. Shrieks, screams and cries of anger filled the air, and as a
single man the crowd swooped upon the spot where a tall man with a
smoking revolver in his hand was attempting to make his escape.
Chester, who had been prepared for the shot, sprang forward upon the
instant, with Jean but a step behind him. Through the crowd they were
forced to fight their way, but eventually they came to the edge of it,
only to find that Duval, for such they were sure the would-be assassin
was, had fought his way out and fled.
But, as the Apache chief ran, the crowd dashed after him. Chester now
had his school days to thank for the fact that he was more fleet of
foot than the others of the crowd. He passed them rapidly, as he ran
after the flying figure of Duval, now at least 200 yards ahead of him
down the street.
The lad raised his revolver as he ran and fired. But Duval did not halt.
Chester had missed.
With the howling pack at his heels, and Chester gradually closing up the
gap between them, Duval exerted himself to the utmost. Suddenly he
turned into a narrow alley, where he halted. Chester, who was nearer
than any of the others, dashed into the alley without slackening his
speed, and, as he did so, Duval struck him a heavy blow in the face with
the butt of his revolver.
Immediately he turned and dashed forward again.
Chester was not knocked unconscious by the force of the blow, but he
reeled and fell to the ground. He was up in a moment, however, and with
blood streaming from an ugly gash in his head, dashed after the fugitive
Gradually Duval and his pursuer outdistanced the rest of the crowd.
Chester was near enough not to be thrown off the track, as Duval rounded
corner after corner; and, try as he would to shake off his pursuer, Duval
was unable to do so.
At the next corner Duval darted into a little store, and out the other
side, upsetting a group of men as he did so. Chester dashed in after him.
But here he encountered an obstacle. The group of men upset by Duval rose
to their feet, very angry. At the sight of a second running man, not
realizing the seriousness of the chase, they lined up and stopped the
Realizing it was no time for talk, Chester struck out right and left, and
men dropped. But the rest closed in, and Chester went down. A heavy
wrench was raised over his head and would have fallen on it.
But a newcomer caught the upraised arm. Chester looked up. It was Hal.
HAL IN PERIL.
Hal was unable to tell just what caused the great crash as, after
releasing his hold on the window in the cellar of the house to which he
had followed Duval he went down into space. His feet struck a projection
of some kind, and the crash followed.
The lad struck the floor in a heap. Although he felt sure that the crash
must have aroused everyone in the house, he lay perfectly still,
listening. Above he could hear the sounds of footsteps, and directly a
door, which he judged to be the door into the cellar from above, opened.
The head of Duval appeared in the doorway. In his hand he held a
flashlight, and Hal could make him out plainly. A second face peered over
his shoulder, and Hal recognized it instantly as that of the Apache's
chief lieutenant, who had accosted them in the den.
"What was it?" asked the lieutenant.
"I don't see anything," was the reply.
At that moment a furry shape calmly ascended the stairs and stopped at
Duval's feet. It was a black cat, which stopped to lick his right paw.
Duval stooped down and examined him. Then he arose with a laugh.
"_Mon Dieu_!" he exclaimed. "It was the cat. He must have upset the jars
of jelly and preserves. See, he is covered with it."
"By Jove! This is luck," muttered Hal to himself. "The cat must have been
sleeping among them when I knocked them down."
He made no move, and directly the two men and the cat disappeared and the
door closed with a bang.
Hal waited a few minutes, and then arose slowly to his feet. While Duval
had held the flashlight, the lad had taken in his surroundings, and now
he cautiously approached where he knew the stairway to be. His
outstretched hand touched the rail and his foot found the lowest step. He
The knob turned under his hand, and the door swung back without even a
creak. Inside was perfect blackness.
Hal closed the door softly behind him and stole along what seemed to be a
long hall. He went very slowly, and finally his outstretched hand touched
an obstruction. He felt it over carefully, and his hand touched a knob.
It was another door.
Hal placed his ear to the floor and listened. There was no sound from
beyond. He arose and tried the knob. The door opened and the light
flashed into the lad's eyes, almost blinding him.
He paused uncertainly, and then, not being accosted, stepped in and
closed the door behind him. His eyes were used to the light by this time,
and he looked quickly about him. He was in a bedroom.
The sound of voices came from the room beyond and approaching
footsteps. The lad looked quickly about for a place of concealment, and
the best that offered itself was the bed. Under this he dived swiftly
And none too soon. Duval and his lieutenant, followed by the black cat,
came into the room, and sat down. Hal breathed silently.
"Well," said Duval, "everything is fixed. The money will be paid to us
to-morrow night. Then we can take a ship for America, where we can enjoy
the luxuries it will bring us."
"I'll be glad when it's all over," said his lieutenant. "This is ticklish
business. You were lucky to get in with the Apaches."
"Rather," drawled his chief. "My height and general appearance, together
with the fact that the former chief always wore a mask, have served us
well. I wonder what the Apaches would do to us if they knew how I
disposed of their real chief?"
His lieutenant laughed heartily.
"It would be no laughing matter if they were to find it out," said Duval.
"Perhaps not; still it is funny," was the reply.
The black cat jumped into Duval's lap, and he stroked it and talked to
it. Then the animal began to claw at him.
"What's the matter, kitty?" asked Duval.
The animal cried and continued to claw at him.
"He wants to get down," said the other.
Duval released his hold on the cat, which immediately jumped to the floor
and walked under the bed, to where Hal lay. The lad saw the animal
coming, and reached out a friendly hand, thinking to keep it quiet.
But the cat's back bristled. Its tail grew to huge proportions, and it
snarled and spat at him angrily.
"What do you suppose is the matter with the cat?" asked Duval.
"Sounds like he had found a dog under the bed," was the reply.
The hissing and snarling continued.
"Something wrong," said Duval. "Might as well have a look."
He dropped to his knees and peered under the bed, to where Hal was now
defending himself against the attacks of the cat, which was striking at
him with his sharp claws.
"See anything?" asked Duval's lieutenant.
"Man under the bed," replied Duval quietly. "Get out your gun and get on
the other side of the bed."
His lieutenant obeyed with alacrity, and each, with a revolver in his
hand, looked cautiously under the bed. Then Duval stretched forth a hand
and, seizing the cat by the tail, dragged it forth. At the same time he
"Come out from under there!"
Hal saw that resistance, between two fires as he was, would be useless.
"All right," he called back.
He crawled forth slowly, but before he emerged he drew his two revolvers
from his pocket and dropped them beneath the bed. He was thoughtful
enough to realize that, should he manage to regain his freedom, the guns
under the bed would come in handy.
The lad got slowly to his feet and faced the two criminals.
Both started back in surprise at sight of his face. They recognized him
"Choteau!" cried Duval.
His lieutenant also exclaimed aloud.
"What are you doing here?" demanded the Apache chief sternly.
"I just wanted to see where you lived," replied Hal quietly.
"Well, there has been so much talk about you, your being a gentleman, and
all that, that I wanted to satisfy my curiosity."
"Well, your curiosity is satisfied. What now?"
"Nothing," said Hal briefly.
"I suppose you know," said Duval, "that now you have seen me without my
mask you will never leave this house alive."
"I suppose that is your idea," said Hal.
"You'll find that I have the right idea."
"Tell us your real object in coming here," said Duval's lieutenant.
"I have told you," replied Hal.
"That," said the lieutenant, "is a lie. It's too absurd. I guess I'll
He proceeded to do so while Duval kept Hal covered. There was not much to
be found--but one thing that Hal feared he would discover and which he
realized he should have dropped with the revolvers under the bed.
His searcher found it, drew it forth, and, with an exclamation of
triumph, held it up for Duval to see.
It was the police whistle General Gallieni had given him.
"So!" he exclaimed. "A police spy, eh! I thought so."
Hal shrugged his shoulders.
"Well, you have me," he said. "What are you going to do with me?"
The two men laughed.
"I guess you won't be as much surprised at what we are going to do as the
manner in which we are going to do it," replied Duval, with an evil leer.
"How?" asked his lieutenant. "Water?"
"Right," was his chief's reply. He turned to Hal. "This house," he
explained, "is on the very bank of the River Seine. Perhaps you have
skirmished about in the rear?"
Hal shook his head negatively.
"Well, such is the case. In the cellar is a neat little room of four
solid walls--no windows. There is a slight crack at the bottom, and
through this, by a contrivance of my own, I can let in the waters of
the river. The door is solid, and, once locked in, you cannot get
out. I believe that this is a fitting death for a police spy. What do
Again Hal shrugged his shoulders.
"One way is as good as another," he said briefly. Duval turned to his
companion with a laugh.
"Quite a brave man we have here, eh?"
"Quite," returned the other. "However, I guess he'll change his tune when
the water gets up to his neck."
"Right you are," was the reply. "But what do you say? Shall he not sup
with us first?"
"A good idea!" exclaimed his lieutenant.
Hal had been thinking rapidly. The men still held their revolvers in
their hands, but they no longer covered him. Taking advantage of this
fact, Hal suddenly dived under the bed and his two automatics were once
more in his hand.
But the two men were after him in an instant. Before he could turn and
bring his weapons to bear they had him covered, while Duval cried out:
"Come out from there, or I'll put a hole through you."
Hal realized that he could not hope to dispose of his two enemies, so
quickly shoving the two revolvers into his clothes, he once more emerged
and got to his feet.
"What are you, an ostrich?" demanded Duval, with a slight smile. "Think
if you get your head out of sight you are safe?"
Hal made no reply, but he felt considerably more comfortable with his two
automatics reposing safely at hand.
"Well, we might as well give the doomed a little bite to hold him up,"
said Duval, with a smirk. "You guard him now while I see what the pantry
has to offer. Keep him covered with your gun, for he is desperate and may
"I'll guard him, all right," was the reply.
"Good! Of course, it is easy enough to shoot him, but I would rather have
him swim a while first."
FIGHT AND ESCAPE.
Duval returned a few moments later with sandwiches and milk, which he
placed upon a table at one side of the room. He drew up three chairs and
motioned the other two to seats. Then, with his revolver upon the table
near him, he sat down himself.
"Don't stand on ceremony," he said to Hal. "This will be your last meal
on earth, so you may as well make the most of it. Pitch in."
"Thanks," replied Hal, showing no sign of fear.
He picked up a sandwich and proceeded to eat it with apparent relish.
Light now filtered through a window at the far end of the room. Duval
glanced at his watch.
"Mon Dieu!" he exclaimed. "I had no idea it was so late."
"What time is it?" asked Hal calmly.
"I can't see as it makes any difference to you," said Duval, with an evil
leer. "You are not going any place. However, I'll tell you. It is now
just ten minutes past eight."
Hal did not reply, and proceeded to finish his sandwich.
Finally, all the food having disappeared, Duval pushed back his chair and
produced three cigars, one of which he offered to Hal and the other to
"I don't smoke," said Hal; "thanks all the same."
"Suit yourself," replied Duval. "However, you may as well make yourself
comfortable while we enjoy our cigars."
He puffed luxuriously, as did the other.
Hal also leaned back in his chair. He chafed under this restraint, but he
realized that it would be foolish to make an effort to escape under the
very mouths of his two captors' guns. Nevertheless, he was ready to take
advantage of the first opportunity that should offer itself.
But none came.
Duval and his lieutenant, having disposed of their cigars, arose.
The former, poking the muzzle of his revolver close to Hal's head,
"Get up, now, and walk ahead of us. No tricks!"
Hal did as ordered, and, with the Apache chief's revolver prodding him
in the back, left the room. At a command he went down the stairs to
"Turn to the right," instructed Duval.
Hal obeyed. At the far end of the cellar they came to a little room.
Duval motioned Hal into it and followed himself, as did his lieutenant.
The latter now kept Hal covered, while Duval tapped the walls with the
butt of his revolver.
"Perfectly solid, you see," he said to Hal.
"I see," replied Hal.
Duval struck the open door several resounding blows.
"Also perfectly solid," he remarked. "If you had a gun now you
might possibly blow the lock off, but, as you haven't, you will be
He turned to his aide.
"You are sure he was not armed?"
"Sure. I searched him carefully."
"All right. Then there is no need to search him again."
With his revolver he covered the lad while he backed from the
"Good-by," he said, and jumping out quickly, slammed the door closed.
"Good-by," Hal called after him, without a tremor.
"When the water begins to rise," shouted Duval, through the door, "you
may lose some of your nerve. I'd like to stay and hear you cry for mercy,
but I have other work to do. However, my friend here will stay in the
house, and I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't hear you upstairs."
To this Hal made no reply.
He now turned his attention to an examination of the room in which he
was confined. The walls rose on all sides to a height of perhaps
fifteen feet. This he had perceived while the door stood open, but
inside now it was perfectly dark, except for a tiny stream of light
that filtered in from below the walls, which failed to reach the floor
by less than an inch.
The lad felt the walls carefully with his hands. They were perfectly
smooth. He placed his fingers on the floor. It was dry.
He stood silent for some moments and then, becoming conscious of a
strange sound, he again touched the floor with his fingers. They came
away wet. Water was slowly trickling into the room.
The room was very small, and Hal realized that it would not take it long
to fill. Therefore he decided on instant action.
When Duval, before leaving the lad to his fate, had mentioned revolvers,
Hal had feared for the moment that he might be searched anew; but, when
Duval had said a second search was not necessary, the lad breathed
easier. His reference to blowing away the lock had not been lost on Hal,
but the lad had already thought of that.
"Well," he said to himself, "the sooner I act the better. If Duval has
left the house already I shall have but one to deal with. If I wait until
I am sure he has gone, I shall probably be drowned. Here goes!"
Quickly he produced his pair of automatics, and, running his hand over
the door, found the lock. He placed the muzzle of one automatic right up
against it, and holding the other in his other hand, ready for instant
use should he encounter a foe on the opposite side, fired.
In the narrow room the shot sounded like an explosion of a cannon, and
the force of it shook the lad from head to toe. Smoke filled the little
aperture, strangling him. He pressed his weight against the door. It did
not yield. Something had gone wrong.
Again he placed his revolver against the lock, and fired quickly twice,
and then hurled his weight against the door. It gave way before him, and
the lad staggered from the smoke into the damp but fresher air of the
There, inhaling great breaths of air the while, he listened for the sound
of his enemies. Not a sound was to be heard. The lad reasoned this out
"The shots were probably muffled within," he said. "I doubt if they could
have been heard very far. Now to get out!"
He made his way to the end of the cellar where he had entered in the
night, and finally came upon the little window. Then he gave vent to an
exclamation of dismay.
"Great Scott!" he cried. "I can't reach it!"
It was true. The window was so high above the ground that there was no
way in which the lad could secure so much as a finger-hold. He looked
around for some object upon which to stand, but he could find none.
"Well, I'll have to go out through the house," he told himself. "There is
no help for it."
Slowly and silently he climbed the steps once more, and as silently
opened the door. There was light in the hall, and the boy could make out
which way to go. He turned toward the room in which he had been taken
prisoner and entered softly.
There, stretched out on the bed, was the Apache chief's lieutenant. Duval
himself was not to be seen.
Hal, with revolver ready, tiptoed into the room. He saw a revolver on the
little table, and muttered to himself:
"Careless of him."
At that moment the man on the bed turned and slowly opened his eyes. A
cry of terror escaped him, as his gaze rested upon Hal, whom he was
morally certain was in a living tomb in the cellar.
"Ghost, go away!" he exclaimed.
Hal laughed loudly, and it was no ghost laugh, either. The man in the
bed sat up.
"How did you get out of there?" he demanded, as if it were the most
momentous question in the world.
"I blew the lock off the door," replied Hal calmly.
"But your gun? You had no gun."
"Oh, yes, I had," smiled Hal. "I had two of 'em, and I've got 'em
He pointed both straight at the head of his late captor.
"Now," he said quietly, "get up and get out of there."
"What are you going to do with me?" asked the man in alarm.
"Deliver you into the care of General Gallieni."
The Apache lieutenant slowly moved toward the edge of the bed and Hal
lowered his weapons. This act almost proved the lad's undoing.
A second revolver suddenly flashed in the hand of the man in the bed, and
he cried in a stern voice:
Hal, taken absolutely by surprise, could do nothing but obey.
"You see the tables are turned again," said the man in the bed
pleasantly. "You should always remember that a man may keep one of his
revolvers under his pillow."
Hal was crestfallen, and he showed it plainly. However, he still held his
own weapons in his upraised hands, and he had no mind to release the
weapons if there was any way in which he could avoid it.
"Put those guns on the table, and be quick about it," ordered his enemy
and slipped from the bed to the floor.
Hal advanced slowly toward the table, and laid down the revolver he held
in his right hand. The man in the bed took a step toward him. It was the
moment for which the lad had been waiting and he acted instantly.
Slowly his weapon came down, and then it suddenly flashed in the Apache's
face as the lad's hand pressed the trigger.
A miss was impossible. Hal had made up his mind that he would trifle with
his opponent no longer. He realized fully that his own life depended upon
his getting the upper hand and that it was no time to be squeamish.
Accordingly, when the opportunity presented itself, he fired pointblank
in his opponent's face. The latter threw up his hands, gave out a single
loud scream of pain, and toppled backward to the floor in a heap.
Hal bent over him. "Dead," he said simply. "Now to get out of this."
He left the house and made his way with all speed toward the Hotel de
Ville. But he had not gone a block when he beheld, in a little store he
was passing, a scene of confusion. The lad stopped and peered in. He made
out Chester's figure and, instantly realizing his danger, dashed forward.
He arrived just in time to catch an uplifted arm that would have crushed
Chester's head with a heavy wrench.
THE DEATH OF DUVAL.
"What's going on here?" cried Hal angrily, as he twisted sharply on the
The man who held the wrench writhed in pain beneath the lad's strong
fingers and he dropped the wrench and turned on Hal angrily.
"What business is it of yours?" he demanded.
"I've made it my business," said Hal. "He is a friend of mine."
Unmindful of the threatening gestures of the others, he stooped and
gently lifted Chester's head. The latter was not badly hurt, and he was
soon upon his feet.
"Where did he go?" he cried excitedly.
"Where did who go?" asked Hal.
"Duval--the man I was chasing. He attempted to assassinate the
A cry of surprise went up from those surrounding the two lads, and they
pressed forward with eager questions. No longer were they enemies of the
two lads. Word that an attempt had been made on the life of the President
caused them to forget other troubles.
"He went that way," said one of them, pointing.
"After him," cried another, and the crowd dashed forward. Others of
the mob that had given chase arrived by this time and also continued
"There is no use running after him," said Hal, as Chester also would have
continued the pursuit.
"But we must get him!"
"I have an idea that I shall be able to find him," said Hal quietly.
"You know where he is?"
"I think I know where he will seek refuge."
Quickly he related his experiences to Chester.
"Come on, then," cried the latter eagerly. "Let's get away before he gets
back, finds his friend dead and leaves the house."
The lads hurried forward and, by going directly toward the house, arrived
there before the first of the crowd came into view.
Even as Hal had expected, Duval, believing that he had eluded his
pursuers, made a detour and entered his home from a side entrance. From
an upper window, a few moments later, he saw the first of the crowd. They
had no idea he was in the house and went dashing by. He did not see the
forms of the two lads across the street.
"I guess I'm safe enough for a while," he said to himself.
He made his way toward the bedroom, where he surmised his lieutenant
would be sleeping. He entered the room, took a single look and
His eyes had fallen upon the inert body of his aide.
Quickly he bent over him and felt his pulse.
"Dead!" he exclaimed.
He stood silent, struck by a sudden thought. Quickly he descended the
steps into the cellar and approached the room where Hal had been left to
die. The door was open and water trickled from within.
Duval uttered no word but, turning quickly, dashed up the steps. Once
more he looked from the window, and the first figures upon which his eyes
rested were Hal and Chester.
The boys, in the meantime, had halted the mad crowd and briefly explained
that the object of their search was in the house. They were engaged in
this occupation when Duval peered from the window the second time.
The Apache chief smiled grimly to himself. He produced his automatic and
aimed at the two lads. His finger tightened on the trigger.
Hal's cap seemed to leap from his head, and instinctively all of the
crowd ducked. Then, with a terrible roar, they charged straight at
But Duval, standing in an upper window, emptied one automatic into the
howling mob and then another.
The crowd drew back.
While all this was going on, Hal had led Chester to the window leading
into the basement, and silently the lads lowered themselves through it.
Then, as the mob raged without, they made their way up the steps, through
the hall, and up a second flight.
There, at the head of the stairs, they paused. Before them were two
rooms, and they were not certain in which the Apache chief had
"You take the one on the right, Chester," whispered Hal.
Chester nodded and they advanced, Chester toward the door on the right
and Hal toward the one on the left. They opened the doors upon the
But Duval had heard sounds in the hall, and his quick wit had detected
the ruse. Therefore, when the lads flung open the doors, there was no one
to be seen in either room. They turned and stared at each other blankly,
and as they did so a bullet whistled between them.
Duval, stepping from behind the door where he had been concealed, had
opened fire on them.
"Down!" cried Chester, and dropped to the floor.
Hal followed suit.
Both raised their weapons, but Duval was not in sight, so they did not
fire. Slowly they got to their feet again, and dashed into the room where
they now knew the Apache chief to be.
Hal went first. As he cleared the doorway, he was met by Duval himself,
who, with the butt of his revolver, dealt the lad a heavy blow on the
head. Hal fell like a log.
But Chester had been right at Hal's heels and before Duval could raise
his weapon to fire, or bring it down on the lad's head, Chester had
clinched with him.
With his two arms beneath those of the Apache chief, Chester brought them
up, and, reaching over his shoulder, clasped hands under Duval's chin.
But Duval was a powerful man, and broke this hold with ease, even as the
lad exerted his utmost strength in an attempt to strangle his opponent.
Chester staggered back, but rushed into another clinch as Duval raised
his revolver. Ducking, Chester drove his fist to his opponent's chin,
even as the latter pressed the trigger. The bullet whistled harmlessly
over his head.
With a quick, upward stroke of his left arm, Chester sent his enemy's
revolver spinning through the air. Deprived of this weapon, Duval sought
to bring his greater strength to bear and overpower the lad.
Chester realized that in strength he was no match for Duval, and
knew that what he lacked in this respect he must make up in agility
Therefore, he slipped from his opponent's grasp, and, sidestepping,
struck Duval a stinging blow just above the right ear. Duval staggered
back, then came forward with a cry of rage.
The Apache chief realized the need of haste, for he could already
distinguish the sound of heavy footsteps in the hall below. He hoped, by
freeing himself from Chester, who had now grappled with him again, that
he could gain a moment's advantage, jump into the next room, dash through
the hall and descend by the rear before the crowd came upon him.
Accordingly, he exerted himself to his utmost, and Chester gave ground.
Then the lad stepped suddenly backward, and Duval staggered headlong.
Before he could recover his balance, Chester, getting a good start,
hurled himself forward as he had been wont to do on the football
field--but not in a tackle--and Duval, unable to entirely recover
himself, found himself being pushed rapidly across the room.
In vain did he strike out at the lad with his one free arm. His blows
fell short. Chester, with lowered head, continued to push, and Duval was
unable to check this impetus.
Straight back and back the Apache chief was forced. Then his legs came
into contact with something that caused him to cry out in despair. This
something was the edge of the low window, and Duval realized in an
instant that he was on the threshold of death.
But his cry came too late, and it is doubtful if Chester, thoroughly
aroused as he was, would have released his victim anyhow. There was a
sound of cracking glass, as Duval's head was forced against the
window pane, and Chester, hearing it, released his hold and stepped
And the lad stepped back none too soon. Another foot forward, and he,
too, would have gone hurtling through the window to the street.
There was a screeching cry as Duval crashed head foremost through the
window and went tumbling to the street below. He struck head first upon
the hard sidewalk, crushing his skull; while a shower of glass crashed
tinkling about him.
Immediately the crowd below surged about him, striking with weapons of
all kinds at his defenseless body. Some even jumped and trampled upon it.
At this moment, from around a corner came a troop of cavalry, attracted
by the news that the would-be assassin of the President had been
cornered--for news of this kind travels swiftly--and now they rushed to
the body of Duval, as eager to protect him as a moment ago they would
have been to slay him.
The crowd, with growls and shouted threats, drew off.
Upstairs Chester bent over the prostrate form of Hal and gently raised
his chum's head to his knee. Slowly the lad opened his eyes.
"How do you feel, old man?" asked Chester.
Hal passed his hand over his head.
"Somewhat dizzy," he replied, "but where is Duval?"
"Dead, I guess," said Chester, "I tumbled him out the window on
"Good! Am I hurt much?"
"No; the blow didn't even break the skin, but it has raised a pretty
sizable bump on your head."
"All right, then. Help me up."
Chester lent a supporting arm, and Hal scrambled to his feet, where he
swayed dizzily for a few seconds. Then the dizziness passed, and he
walked toward the door with Chester.
Just as they were about to leave the room they stepped back to allow a
newcomer to enter. The newcomer was General Gallieni, and he advanced
with outstretched hands.
"You lads have proved your worth," he said, seizing each warmly by the
hand. "And now, if you will lead us to the den of the Apache
conspirators, your work will be finished."
"All right, General, follow us," said Chester.
He led the way downstairs.
THE END OF THE TRAIL.
Hal, still somewhat dizzy, followed close upon the heels of his friend,
and behind him came General Gallieni. In the street, at a command from
the general, the lads halted, and the military governor dispatched an
aide to summon a squad of cavalry.
"We might as well do this right," he remarked to the lads.
Ten minutes later the squad appeared, and the general, mounting his own
horse, which had been standing by, placed himself at their head. Then he
motioned the lads to climb up before two of the soldiers and point out
the way to the den.
This the lads did, and soon the squad was trotting briskly along
Some distance from the rendezvous Hal called a halt, and jumped lightly
to the ground. Chester and General Gallieni also dismounted.
"I believe it would be a good idea for my friend and I to go first," said
Hal to the general. "We are still in our Apache togs. One of your men can
come with us, so as to be able to point out the way. Then he can return
and bring you. In the meantime we can see that the door is left open."
General Gallieni assented to this plan, and Hal, Chester and one soldier
made their way forward.
Hal recognized the little frame house at once, but just as he was
about to enter a figure stole softly across the street and took
Chester by the arm.
It was Jean.
"You won't be able to open the door in the passageway," he said in
a low tone.
"Great Scott!" exclaimed Chester. "How do you happen to be here?"
"I expected that there would be a raid," was the reply, "and I came to
help you. You had better let me take the lead."
"All right," said Chester, and he explained the situation to Hal.
Jean now took the lead, and they entered the house. Once more they
traversed the dark passageway, and Jean opened the door in the dark and
led the way to the room beyond. Here Hal motioned for the soldier to
return and bring the others--the door had been left open--and the trooper
Hal approached the room and knocked sharply on the door--three light
taps, followed by one loud tap. There came to their ears the sound of a
scraping chair, the door was unbarred and unbolted, and Georges peered
through. He recognized the three figures in the passageway, and threw
wide the door.
"Successful?" he asked eagerly as the three entered.
"Yes," said Chester briefly.
The others in the room, of whom there were perhaps fifty, also crowded
around and patted Chester and Jean on the back, profuse in their
The three sat down at the table, where Chester, in response to Georges'
request, began an account of the supposed assassination.
"I suppose the chief will soon be here," he broke off to say.
"And then," said Georges, rubbing his hands, "we shall receive our gold.
Did you see the chief in the crowd?"
"Yes; he was there, all right," said Chester.
Now came to Chester's ears the sound of stealthy footsteps in the
passageway beyond the door, which Georges had barred and bolted
immediately they had entered. The lad got nonchalantly to his feet and
walked slowly toward the door.
Hal and Jean also had heard the sound of footsteps, and they now ranged
themselves on either side of Chester.
Suddenly the revolvers of all three flashed out and covered the crowd of
Apaches, as Chester's voice rang out sternly:
"Throw up your hands, all of you!"
Taken completely by surprise, the Apaches obeyed.
Without lowering his weapons, Chester called to Jean:
"Open the door!"
Jean sprang to obey, and as he did so the Apaches, realizing that they
were trapped, sprang toward the two lads with cries of rage. Right in the
face of the muzzles of the four automatics they came on.
"Halt, or we fire!" cried Chester.
Jean was struggling nervously with the door.
The Apaches paid no heed to the lad's cry.
"Crack! Crack! Crack! Crack!"
The automatics of both lads spoke four times in rapid succession, and as
many men fell to the floor. For a moment the Apaches fell back. In this
moment Jean swung wide the door, and, picking up his revolver, rushed to
the side of the two lads, while through the door streamed, one after
another, the squad of French cavalrymen.
Some of the Apaches now produced revolvers and fired wildly at the
approaching soldiers, and these, leveling their rifles, returned the
Immediately the den became a scene of tumult. Wounded men screamed and
others gave vent to their rage with fierce cries. Revolvers and rifles
flashed on all sides.
Hal and Chester, immediately the firing had begun, had dropped to their
knees, and so, as they still poured lead into the Apaches, the bullets of
the latter went over their heads. Jean, however, was not so fortunate.
Realizing that there must have been treachery some place, Georges had
naturally come to the conclusion that Jean was responsible for it, and
had singled the little man out as his own particular mark. Paying no heed
to the fighting that raged about him, he took careful aim and fired.
Jean gave a single cry, threw up his hands and fell squarely between Hal
But the fight could have but one outcome. Outnumbered two to one, the
Apaches were fighting a losing struggle. Half of their number lay dead on
the floor, and many others were nursing serious wounds. As suddenly as it
had begun, the fighting ceased, and the Apaches still on their feet
raised their hands in the air.
Immediately the soldiers advanced on them and made them prisoners. Each
was bound securely and hustled out of the door.
Chester and Hal were not wounded. The former now bent over the body
of Jean, in whom he saw there was still a spark of life. He lifted
the little man's head gently, and, as he did so, Jean looked at him
"Well, they got me," he said quietly. "I thought they would."
"You will be all right in a day or two, Jean," said Chester.
"You can't fool me," was the reply. "I know when I am done for. But I am
glad that, before my time came, you were able to put me on the right
path. It is better to die thus."
Chester did not reply. There was nothing he could say.
Jean looked at him and smiled, then reached out his hand and clasped
"It's all right," he said, pressing the lad's hand; "but let me give you
a word of warning. Do not let any of these Apaches know your real
identity. Their arm is long and they never forgive. Good-by."
He pressed the lad's hand, gave a single shudder and his grasp relaxed.
Chester rose to his feet and turned to Hal.
"He is dead," he said quietly.
Leaving the body of Jean to be disposed of with the others, the lads made
their way outside, to where General Gallieni stood. The latter greeted
them with a smile.
"Well, we have finished it up," he said cheerfully, "and thanks to you
two lads. I can see now why General Joffre has such confidence in you."
The lads flushed with pleasure at this compliment, but neither replied.
They merely bowed.
"Now," said General Gallieni, "you shall come with me."
"Where to, sir?" asked Chester.
"Never mind," was the laughing rejoinder. "Mount two of those horses and
Without further questions the lads obeyed, and, after half an hour's
ride, found themselves before the Palace where so recently the attempt on
the life of the President of France had been foiled.
General Gallieni dismounted and motioned the lads to follow him, which
they did, going up the steps and entering the Palace itself. Here General
Gallieni gave his name to an attendant. The latter disappeared, but
returned a few moments later and bowed.
General Gallieni, closely followed by Hal and Chester, passed within the
next room. There a man in civilian attire, bearded and with flashing eye,
advanced to meet them.
"Allow me to present to you, sir," said General Gallieni, with a
flourish, "Lieutenants Paine and Crawford, sir."
Both lads bowed low, for the man who advanced toward them with
outstretched hand was Raymond Poincare, President of France.
"I am greatly indebted to you boys," said the President, "for the aid you
have rendered me; but I am still more indebted for the service you have
He spoke at length to the two lads, and finally informed them that
they might withdraw, as he had matters of importance to discuss with
"Well," said Hal to Chester, when they were again on the outside, "what
shall we do now?"
"I guess we might as well hunt up our mothers," was Chester's reply.
Accordingly they turned and hurried in the direction of the hotel where,
the evening before, they had outwitted Uncle John.
Uncle John was standing just inside the entrance of the hotel. He glanced
at the lads as they entered, but, as they were still in their Apache
togs, and were ragged and dirty, he did not recognize them. Chester
approached him, and in a wheedling voice said:
"Will you give a poor orphan lad a small piece of money, sir?"
The hand of Uncle John, ever generous, immediately went into his pocket,
and he placed a franc in the boy's hand.
At that moment one of the hotel officials, perceiving the two dirty lads,
and mistaking them for street urchins, approached.
"Were these little beggars annoying you, sir?" he said to Uncle John.
"I'll have them kicked into the street."
"Oh, let them alone," said Uncle John, but the official, mumbling that it
was against the rules of the hotel, summoned a porter and ordered him to
throw the lads out.
"Are you going to let them kick us out, Uncle John?" asked Chester,
Uncle John turned quickly, and walked straight up to him. Stooping he
gazed searchingly into his face and then turned to Hal. With an
exclamation he waved aside the porter and grasped each lad by the arm.
"You young rascals!" he said. "Don't you know you have worried your
mothers nearly to death. You'll come with me now."
He led them to the elevator, and soon the two lads were once more in
their mothers' arms.
"Well," said Uncle John, when the greetings were over, "I don't think you
will get away from us again. We'll sail for America at once."
"I am afraid," said Chester slowly, "that we cannot go."
"Cannot go? And why not, sir?"
"Because," replied Chester, "I believe that Hal and I shall return
immediately to the front, and rejoin General French and his heroic
Both Mrs. Paine and Mrs. Crawford cried out in alarm, and Uncle John
looked at the two lads with disappointment when Hal said:
"Chester is right."
But Uncle John was nothing if not a diplomat.
"We won't discuss it now," he said, with a wave of his hand. "To-morrow
we will talk the matter over."
This suited all concerned.
"And that decision having been reached," continued Uncle John, "let's all
go down to dinner!"