Part 1 out of 4
This eBook was produced by Sean Pobuda.
THE BOY ALLIES WITH HAIG IN FLANDERS
Or The Fighting Canadians of Vimy Ridge
By Clair W. Hayes
A NEW USE FOR A DICTAPHONE
The rain fell in torrents over the great battlefield, as Hal Paine and
Chester Crawford, taking advantage of the inky blackness of the night,
crept from the shelter of the American trenches that faced the enemy
across "No Man's Land."
In the trenches themselves all was silence. To a spectator it would
have seemed that the occupants were, either dead or asleep; yet such
was not the case.
It is true that most of the men had "turned in" for the night, sleeping
on their arms, for there was no means of telling at what moment the
enemy might issue from his trenches in another of the night raids that
had marked this particular sector for the last few weeks; but the ever
vigilant sentinels stood watch over the sleeping men. They would sound
an alarm, should occasion demand, in ample time to arouse the sleepers
if an enemy's head appeared in the darkness.
Hal and Chester, of course, left the American trenches with full
knowledge of these sentinels; otherwise they might have been shot.
Once beyond the protecting walls of earth, they moved swiftly and
silently toward the German trenches less than a hundred feet away --
just the distance from the home plate to first base on a baseball
diamond, as Hal put it -- ninety feet.
These two lads, who now advanced directly toward the foe, were
lieutenants in the first American expeditionary force to reach France
to lend a hand in driving back the legions of the German Emperor, who
still clung tenaciously to territory he had conquered in the early
stages of the great war. These boys had, at one time, been captains in
the British army, and had had three years of strenuous times and
exciting adventures in the greatest of all wars.
Their captaincies they'd won through gallant action upon the field of
battle. American lads, they had been left in Berlin at the outbreak of
hostilities, when they were separated from Hal's mother. They made
their way to Belgium, where, for a time, they saw service, with King
Albert's troops. Later they fought under the tricolor, with the
Russians and the British and Canadians.
When the United 'States declared war on Germany, Hal and Chester, with
others, were sent to America, where they were of great assistance in
training men Uncle Sam had selected to officer his troops. They had
relinquished their rank in the British army to be able to do this. Now
they found themselves again on French soil, but fighting under the
Stars and Stripes.
On this particular night they advanced toward tile German lines soon
after an audience with General John J. Pershing, commander-in-chief of
the American expeditionary forces . In one hand Chester carried a
little hardwood box, to which were attached coils of wire. In the
other hand the lad held a revolver. Hal, likewise, carried his
automatic in his hand. Each was determined to give a good account of
himself should his presence be discovered.
It was unusually quiet along the front this night. It was too dark for
opposing "snipers" -- sharpshooters -- to get in their work, and the
voices of the big guns, which, almost incessantly for the last few
weeks, had hurled shells across the intervening distance between the
two lines of trenches, were stilled.
Hal pressed close to Chester.
"Rather creepy out here," he said.
"Right," returned Chester in a whisper. "I've the same feeling
myself. It forebodes, trouble, this silence, to my way of thinking.
The Huns are probably hatching up some devilment."
"Well, we may be able to get the drift of it, with that thing you have
under your arm," was the other's reply.
"Sh-h!" was Chester's reply, and he added: "We're getting pretty
They continued their way without further words.
Hal, slightly in advance, suddenly uttered a stifled exclamation.
Instantly Chester touched his arm.
"What's the matter?" he asked in a whisper.
"Matter is," Hal whispered back, "that we have come to a barbed-wire
entanglement. I had forgotten about those things."
"Well, that's why you brought your 'nippers' along," said Chester. "Cut
Hal produced his "nippers." It was but the work of a moment to nip the
wires, and again the lads advanced cautiously.
A moment later there loomed up before them the German trenches. Hal
stood back a few feet while Chester advanced and placed the little
hardwood box upon the top of the trench, and scraped over it several
handfuls of earth. The lad now took the coil of wire in his hand, and
stepped down and back. The lads retraced their steps toward their own
lines, Chester the while unrolling the coil of wire.
The return was made without incident. Before their own trenches the
boys were challenged by a sentinel.
"Halt!" came the command. "Who goes there?"
"Friends," returned Hal.
The sentinel recognized the lad's voice.
"Advance," he said with a breath of relief.
A moment later the boys were safe back among their own men.
"If the Germans had been as watchful as our own sentries, we would have
had more trouble," said Hal.
"Oh, I don't know," was Chester's reply. "I saw a German sentinel, but
he didn't see me in the darkness."
"It was his business to see, however," declared Hal.
"Well, that's true. But now let's listen and seen if we can overhear
anything of importance."
Chester clapped the little receiver to his ear. Hal became silent.
Ten minutes later Chester removed the receiver from his ear.
"Nothing doing," he said. "I can hear some of the men talking, but
they are evidently playing cards."
"Let me listen a while," said Hal.
Chester passed the receiver to his chum, and the latter listened
intently. For some moments he heard nothing save the jabbering jargon
of German troopers apparently interested in a card game. He was about
to take the receiver from his ear, however, when another voice caught
He held up a hand, which told Chester that something of importance was
"All right, general," said a voice in the German trenches, which was
carried plainly to Hal's ear by the Dictaphone.
"Stay!" came another voice. "You will also order Colonel Blucher to
open with all his guns at the moment that General Schmidt's men advance
to the attack."
"At midnight, sir," was the reply.
"That is all."
The voices became silent.
Quickly Hal reported to Chester what he had overheard.
"It's up to us to arouse Captain O'Neill," said Chester. He hurried
Hal glanced at his watch.
It was 10 o'clock.
"Two hours," the lad muttered. "Well, I guess we'll be ready for
A few moments later Captain O'Neill appeared. He was in command of the
Americans in the first line trenches. These troops were in their
present positions for "seasoning" purposes. They had been the first to
be given this post of honor. They had held it for several days, and
then had been relieved only to be returned to the front within ten
At command from Captain O'Neill, Hal made his way to the, south along
the line of trenches, and approached the quarters of General Dupres.
To an, orderly he announced that he bore a communication from Captain
"Mon Dieu!" exclaimed the French commander, when Hal had delivered his
message. "So they will attack us in the night, eh? Well, we shall
receive them right warmly."
He thought a moment. Then he said:
"You will tell Captain O'Neill to move from the trenches with his
entire strength. He will advance ten yards and then move one hundred
yards north. You may tell him that I will post a force of equal
strength to the south. He will not fire until my French troops open on
Hal returned and reported to Captain O'Neill.
It was plain that the American officer didn't understand the situation
fully. However, he simply shrugged his shoulders.
"General Dupres is in command," he said. "I guess he knows what he's
doing or he wouldn't be here."
Captain O'Neill gave the necessary commands. The American troops moved
from the trenches in silence. There was a suppressed air of
excitement, however, for each man was eager for the coming of he knew
At the point decided upon for the American troops to take their stand
was a collection of shell holes. In order that the attack upon the
Germans might have all the elements of surprise when it came, Captain
O'Neill ordered his men into these holes to guard against any
possibility of surprise.
Now, it is an undoubted fact that when a man curls himself up with two
or three preliminary twists, after the fashion of a dog going to bed,
in a perfectly circular shell hole on a night as black as this, he is
extremely likely to lose his sense of direction.
That is what happened to Private Briggs, of the American forces.
The Americans lay in silence, awaiting the moment of the surprise.
Suddenly it came. From the position held by the French broke out a
fusillade. The Germans had approached closer.
Captain O'Neill and his followers got to their feet and dashed upon the
enemy -- all but Private Briggs.
Besides his rifle, each man was armed with hand grenades - bombs --
which he carried in his pockets.
When Private Briggs sprang to his feet, it took him so long to untangle
himself that the others had gone on ahead of him.
He could see no one.
However, want of courage was not one of his failings. He determined
upon a plan of his own. While the other combatants were locked in a
death grapple, he would advance by himself to the German trenches and
hurl his grenade.
To think with Private Briggs was to act. He advanced at a run.
Suddenly a parapet loomed up before him. In this same parapet, low
down, Briggs beheld a black and gaping aperture -- plainly a loophole
of some kind. Without a moment's hesitation, Briggs hurled a Mills
grenade straight through the loophole, and, forgetting for the moment
that others of his troop were not with him, uttered a wild screech!
"Come on, boys!"
He leaped to the top of the trench by himself, and jumped from the
parapet -- into his own trenches. Having lost his sense of direction,
he had charged the wrong way.
As the bomb exploded in the French trenches, men rushed toward him.
Still grasping several bombs, Briggs stared at them in wide-eyed
surprise. An officer rushed up to him.
Briggs explained the situation. Fortunately, no one had been wounded
by the bomb.
"You Americans! You Americans!" exclaimed the French officer. "But
go!" he commanded. "Your men are out there," pointing; "do you not
hear the sounds of conflict? If you charge there with the courage with
which you have charged here, you may be of some use after all."
Briggs wasted no time. With a flush on his face, he again leaped to
the parapet, and, a moment later, disappeared in the darkness, running
as swiftly as he could to where firing indicated that the battle
Meanwhile, what of Hal and Chester, and the American troops?
As the Americans poured from their shell holes after the first outburst
of firing, they dashed toward where they could make out the forms of
German infantry close at hand.
From beyond, the French, who had taken up a position as the French
commander had outlined to Hal, poured a withering fire into the foe.
The German officer in command immediately halted his advance, wheeled
his men, and gave battle to the French.
At almost the same moment the Americans dashed upon his men from the
rear. One volley the Americans poured into the Germans, then their
arms drew back and an avalanche of hand grenades sped on their mission
of death. The execution was terrific.
In vain the German officers attempted to hold their men to the work in
hand. Teuton ranks lost formation, and, as the Americans advanced with
the bayonet, the enemy broke and fled.
The German surprise had failed; it had been on the other hand.
As the Germans retreated, the Americans pursued. A body of troops, led
by Hal, came, upon an isolated group of the enemy.
"Surrender!" cried Hal.
The Germans needed no second offer. Their guns went to the ground at
the lad's words, and they raised their hands in the air. They were
made prisoners and sent to the rear. There was one officer among them
-- a captain.
At the command from the French general, pursuit of the enemy was
abandoned, much to the disgust of the American troops, who were for
pursuing the Germans clear to their trenches, and beyond, if possible.
Hal and Chester, however, realized the wisdom of the French commander's
order, for there was a possibility, should the French and Americans
advance too close, of their being set upon by overwhelming numbers from
the German trenches, or of their being caught by batteries of
rapid-firers, which most likely would have meant extermination.
As the French and Americans moved back toward their trenches -- the
engagement had consumed only it few minutes -- Hal and Chester saw a
man come flying toward them. This, although the lads did not know it
at the time, was Briggs.
Straight past the American troops Briggs sped, and disappeared in the
"Hello!" said Hal, "that man is an American. Wonder where he's going?"
"It's Briggs, sir," said a man in the ranks. "He has queer spells some
times. Can we go after him, sir?"
Hal put the question up to Captain O'Neill. The captain hesitated.
"My friend and I will go," said Hal. "We've been in this fighting game
too long to take unnecessary chances, sir, but I don't like to see the
man get into trouble when we can save him."
'Very well," said the captain; "you have my permission, but don't go
"I'd like another man, sir."
"Take your choice."
Hal glanced at the men, and called:
A soldier stepped forward. This man, at one time, had been a top
sergeant in the British army. He had served through the Boer war in
South Africa. Hal had met him at the Fort Niagara training camp a few
months before, and, while the man had failed to obtain a commission
there, Hal had been able to have him enlisted in the regular army.
"Will you go with us, McKenzie?" asked the lad. McKenzie saluted.
"Glad to, sir," he replied.
"Good! Then come on," said Hal. "We are wasting time here."
Hal led the way at a rapid trot. He feared that Briggs had already
approached too close to the German trenches, and the distance was so
short that there was little likelihood of overtaking the man before he
reached the trenches. The only salvation was, so far as Hal could see,
that Briggs might have stopped before he reached the trenches.
As the three pushed forward, there came a sudden explosion ahead,
followed closely by a second blast. The three redoubled their speed,
and, a moment later, came in sight of the German trenches.
A strange sight met their eyes.
There, upon the top of the German parapet, stood Briggs. His right arm
was raised and in it the lads could see a bomb. Apparently the
explosions a moment before had come from the same source.
As the three looked on, Briggs sent another bomb hurling down into the
German lines. There was a third blast.
"Great Scott!" cried Chester. "How can he get away with that? Why
don't they shoot him?"
"They're trying," said Hal. "You can hear the bullets. They are
flying over his head!" The lad raised his voice in a shout: "Briggs!
Come down here!"
Briggs glanced down. Hal, Chester, and McKenzie had approached close
now, and Briggs made out their features as he gazed down.
"One moment, sir," he said, "and I'll be with you."
Deliberately he drew back his arm again, and, a moment later his last
bomb was hurled into the foe. As the explosion resounded from the
German trenches, Briggs leaped down lightly, approached Hal and
Chester, and saluted.
"I'm ready now, sir," he said.
"Then run!" cried Hal.
The four suited the action to the word, and dashed back toward the
American trenches. From behind a volley a rifle fire crackled after
"Anybody hit?" cried Hal, as they dashed along.
There were four negative answers.
Five minutes later the four were safe in the American trenches.
A DANGEROUS MISSION
It was noon of the following day. Hal and Chester stood at attention
before General Pershing, the American commander-in-chief. The latter
gazed at them long and earnestly. With a half shrug he muttered, as he
turned to his desk:
"But they are so young."
The words were not meant for the lads' ears, but Hal and Chester
overheard them. Hal spoke:
"If you please, Sir," he said quietly, "we are not so young as you seem
to believe. To me, Sir, our experience seems very old."
General Pershing glanced up from a pile of papers he was perusing.
Again he looked at the two lads in silence. The two boys bore the
close scrutiny unflinchingly. At length General Pershing got to his
feet, and, approaching Hal and Chester, laid a. hand on the shoulder of
"You are brave youngsters," he said quietly. "From what you have done
since the American troops reached France, I know that Marshal Joffre
and General Haig have not spoken too highly of you; and yet," here the
American commander hesitated a moment before continuing; "and yet the
piece of work I have in sight will entail, perhaps, more danger, more
finesse, and more resourcefulness than any mission you have ever
"You will find that we shall not be found wanting, sir," said Chester
"I am sure of that," was General Pershing's response. "It isn't that I
question your courage or your resourcefulness; but, because of your
youth, in this particular business, I question your wisdom. It is a
task for older and wiser heads, but --"
General Pershing broke off and became silent. Hal and Chester did not
interrupt his meditations. At length the general continued:
"I wish to say before going any further that this mission, if you
undertake it, in all probabilities, will mean death for one of you. It
is for this reason that the task in hand requires the services of at
least two men. One to go and come back, and the other to go -- and
come back if he can. It may be that neither will return, and yet one
must return if the safety of his country is to be maintained."
"We shall do our best, sir, if we are entrusted with the mission," said
Again General Pershing hesitated. Then he took his decision.
"Draw up stools here," he said, and made room at his desk.
The lads did so. General Pershing spoke in a low voice.
"You both undoubtedly know," he said, "that since the American
declaration of war on Germany, the activity of German agents and spies
in the United States has grown to startling dimensions?" The lads
nodded and General Pershing continued: "Very good. Now, I have before
me a cable, in code, from the state department, which advises me that
the department of state must have, at all hazards, a list of the most
important German agents in America. It is essential. Here," the
general pushed a slip of paper in front of the lads, "is the
translation of the code message."
Hal and Chester glanced at the paper. It read:
"German prime minister has lists of agents and spies in United States.
Realize it is not in your province to get list, but would enlist your
aid, because our diplomatic agents have all left Germany. List is
essential to safeguarding coast defenses and munitions plants. Do what
The message was signed by the secretary of state.
Hal passed the paper back to General Pershing. The latter eyed him
"'You realize the dangerous nature of the work?" he questioned.
"Perfectly, sir; also its importance. We shall be glad to undertake
"Very well. Now I have a little information that may be of value. In
another code message from the state department I am advised that
efforts are being made to get a member of the diplomatic staff back
into Berlin. There is one person in the German capital whom you may
trust." General Pershing lowered his voice. "That person," he said,
"is the wife of the German undersecretary for foreign affairs. She is
an American woman, and upon several occasions has been of service to
her own country. Her name is Schweiring."
"We shall remember, sir," said Chester.
"Now," said General Pershing, "I have no advice to offer as to how you
shall reach Berlin, nor how you shall go about your work. Once in
Berlin, however, you will have to be governed by circumstances. You
speak German, I am told?"
"Like natives, sir," said Hal with a grin.
"Very well. I shall see that you are granted indefinite leave of
absence. There is just one thing more. I want to say that I do not
like to ask my men to become spies."
"Why, sir," said Chester gravely, "it's all for our country; and the
day when a spy was looked down upon has gone. It is just another way
of serving ones country, sir."
"Nevertheless," said General Pershing, "the punishment is the same as
it has been down the ages: death."
"If caught," Hal added with a smile.
"True," was his commander's response, and a slight smile lighted, up
his own features.
He arose and extended his hand. Both lads shook it heartily.
"I hope," said General Pershing, "that you may both come through
safely. But if you don't -- well, good-bye. I don't need to tell you
that if one can get through with the list that, from the nation's
standpoint, what happens to the other is insignificant."
"I have a request to make, sir," said Hal, as they turned to go.
"Consider it granted," replied his commander.
"It is this," said Hal. "I believe that it would be well for us to
take a third man along. It may be that he will never reach the German
lines, but he should prove of help for the other two."
"Have you the man in mind?" asked General Pershing.
"Yes, sir. A man named McKenzie, a private in our troop. He's a
Canadian, and has seen years of active service. Also, as I happen to
know, he speaks German fluently."
"I shall give you a paper authorizing his indefinite leave of absence,"
said General Pershing.
He scribbled a few words on a piece of paper, and passed it to the
lad. The boys drew themselves to attention, saluted, and left.
"A pretty ticklish piece of business," said Chester quietly, as they
made their way to their own quarters.
"Rather," said Hal dryly; "and still it must be done. The safety of
America depends upon the success of our mission. It may be well that
it has been entrusted to us rather than to older men. We are less
likely to be suspected if we reach Berlin safely. Besides, we have
been there before, and are somewhat familiar with the city."
"Yes," said Chester grimly, "we've been there several times before. I
recall that we went there once very much against our will --
"Well, we didn't stay very long," said Hal.
"Let's hope we don't stay for keeps this time either," said Chester.
"To tell the truth, I don't think much of this spy business myself."
"Somebody has to do it," Hal declared.
"Of course, but I am not very fond of that sort of work."
"If you don't want to go -" Hal began, but Chester interrupted.
"Of course, I want to go if it must be. I am ready to do what I can
for my country in whatever way I may."
"I knew it," said Hal; "I was only fooling. Come, we will acquaint
McKenzie with his work. And if he comes safely through this, I feel
confident he will not remain long in the ranks."
The found McKenzie, the erstwhile Canadian sergeant, in his tent.
"McKenzie," said Hal, "you are about to take a trip, I see."
"That so, sir? I hadn't heard of it."
"Yes," Hal continued. "I heard a man say you were about to go to
"And the man," said McKenzie, "was --"
"General Pershing, McKenzie."
"Very well, sir," said McKenzie, to whom the few words told the story
of important work to be done.
"In that event, I presume that General Pershing has seen fit to allow
me leave of absence."
"He has, McKenzie. I shall present the order to Captain O'Neill at
once. In the meantime, see that your guns are cleaned, and that you
have an extra supply of cartridges. We may need them. Also, leave any
papers or other marks of identification behind. When you are ready,
come to my quarters."
"I shall be there in half an hour, sir."
Hal and Chester made their way to Captain O'Neill's quarters. Hal
presented the papers, granting leaves of absence to the three.
"Hm-m," muttered Captain O'Neill. "Something up, eh? Well, I wish I
were going with you." He extended a hand.
"Good luck," he said quietly."
"We'll have to have a leader for this party," said Hal, "one whose word
shall be law. I'm agreeable to Chester."
"I'd rather have you," said Chester.
McKenzie also voted for Hal, who already had done him some service.
This agreement, stood.
"All right," said Hal. "Now that I'm in command, I'll outline the
course of procedure. We'll go from here to the Dutch border."
"How about passports?" Chester wanted to know.
"That's simple enough. You remember the time when we drew up a set of
fake passports representing ourselves to be correspondents of the New
York Gazette? We'll follow the same plan, except that we each will be
represented as correspondents of different papers. See, I've already
"I see," said Chester, "but American passports won't be honored in
"But they will be in Holland," said Hal. "We'll see what can be done
about having them changed there. Now, let's see if we know who we
He passed the fake passports to the others.
"I'm Barney McCann, eh?" said McKenzie, gazing at the paper he held in
his hand. "Oh, well, I guess I can talk Irish as well as German if I
have to. And I represent the Chicago Mail."
"I'm still Chester Crawford," said Chester, "and I represent the New
"I'm Hal Paine, and I represent the Philadelphia Globe," said Hal.
"We'll probably have to change our names when we go over the German
border, but these should answer their purposes in Holland.
Fortunately, we have learned a few things from Stubbs, so we are not
unfamiliar with the workings of a newspaper."
"Guess we had better get out of these uniforms," said Chester.
"Right. We'll don suits of plain khaki, such as Stubbs wears, and
we'll equip ourselves with the necessary paraphernalia."
This was a simple task, and several hours later, horseback, the lads
made their way toward where British troops, supported by French, were
close to, the border of The Netherlands.
They showed their passports, prepared by Hal, to the British military
authorities, and were permitted to pass.
Holland, although not a participant in the great war, nevertheless,
soon after the outbreak of hostilities, had felt herself called upon to
mobilize her military forces that she might protect her borders should
one of the belligerents attempt to overrun her, as the Germans had
overrun Belgium at the outbreak of the war. Therefore, when the three
travelers reached the border, they were held up by the military.
Hal presented his fake American passport, and Chester and McKenzie did
likewise. The officer who had accosted them turned them over to his
"Your intentions," said the officer, "I hope are such as not to break
"We're perfectly peaceable, sir," returned Hal with a smile.
"Very well. This is a neutral country, and you are, of course, free to
travel about it at your leisure so long as you conduct yourselves
properly. Of course, were you American soldiers it would be necessary
for me to place you under arrest, and YOU would be interned until the
end of the war."
"I understand that, sir," said Hal.
"By the way," said the Dutch officer, "there is a Dutch newspaperman
here at this moment. Perhaps you would like to meet him. He is Herr
Heindrick Block, of the Amsterdamer."
"We shall be pleased," said Hal quietly.
The Dutch officer excused himself, and returned a moment later with a
young Dutchman, whom he introduced to the three friends. They shook
hands all around.
"I've already met a compatriot of yours," said the young Dutchman,
smiling, "a Herr Stubbs. He is with one of the New York papers -- I
Hal and Chester gave a start of surprise, but quickly recovered
"He is with my paper, The Gazette, sir," returned Chester. "Is he in
"He was yesterday," replied Block. "I do not know where he is now."
The three friends took an instant liking to the young Dutch newspaper
man. He led the three to where he was temporarily quartered.
"We can have a little chat here," he said.
During the course of the conversation Hal asked:
"And what is the sentiment in Holland regarding the war?"
The young Dutchman hesitated a moment, and then turned and gazed around
"The sentiment," he said at last, "is that Germany must be crushed. Of
course, at this moment Holland cannot afford to enter the arena.
Germany has massed thousands of troops upon our border. An unneutral
act would be dangerous. Nevertheless, Holland's sympathies are with
the Allies -- have been from the start. There is another factor
besides Holland's natural gratitude to England -- that makes for this.
Germany has overrun Holland, as well as the rest of the world with
spies. Holland is offended, but cannot afford to show it -- now. But
while we are kept quiet, there are few of us who would not do much to
help the Allied cause."
Hal thought quickly. He glanced at the young Dutchman shrewdly. He
felt he could be trusted.
"Then," said the lad quietly, "can you conceive of any way by which we
can get passports from the Dutch government that will pass us into
The young Dutchman manifested no surprise.
"Have no fear," he said, as Chester and McKenzie manifested some
anxiety at Hal's words. "I shall not betray you. Only yesterday I was
able to get a passport for your friend Herr Stubbs."
"What?" cried Hal. "Stubbs gone into Germany?"
"I supposed you knew that," said Block. "I supposed he was one of
"No," said Chester, "Stubbs is what he represents himself to be -- a
"Nevertheless," said Block, "he has gone into Germany as Herr
Klepstein, a Dutch newspaperman."
"That means," said Hal, "that it will be hard work getting passports
"Not at all," said Block. "I can do that with ease. There are many
Dutch correspondents in Germany. Two or three more won't matter. One
of you can take my passport." He looked at Hal. "You and I look
something alike, anyhow," he said.
"So we do," Hal agreed. "But can you get passports for my friends
"I can manufacture them myself, the same as I did for your friend
Stubbs," said the Dutchman quietly, "I need not tell you, however, that
should I be discovered I would probably be shot. But why shouldn't I
do it? My mother was an English Woman."
"We shall be greatly obliged," said Hal.
Block led the way from the tent.
"Mount your horses," he said. "We'll go to the railroad station and
catch a train for Amsterdam. You shall be my guests until the
passports are prepared."
Hal was nothing loath. He realized that they had encountered good
fortune in the person of Herr Block. He placed implicit confidence in
the man, for it was perfectly plain that Block was telling the truth
when he said his sympathies were with the Allies."
For two days the three friends were the guests of the young Dutchman at
his bachelor apartments in Amsterdam. Upon the morning of the third
day, Block presented them with passports properly vised by the Dutch
"These will get you through," he said quietly.
"We can never thank you enough," declared Hal, quietly. "Some day you
will realize what a great thing you have done for the world."
"I realize it now," was the young Dutchman's reply. "I wish I were
going with you, but it may be that I can be of more service here."
"Undoubtedly," said Hal, "if this is an example."
"Now don't forget who you are," enjoined Block. "You," to Hal, "are
Herr Block, of The Amsterdamer." To Chester, "You are Herr Amusdem"
To McKenzie: "You are Herr Spidle, both of The Nederlander. Do not
forget. Should you encounter other Dutch correspondents, it will be
well for you to stand on your dignity, and to talk to them as little as
possible. Now, have you any idea how you are to go about the
accomplishment of your mission, whatever it is?"
"No," said Hal, "I haven't. We shall act in accordance with
"Well," said Block, "you may as well be going. The sooner you get
there the better. I shall go with you to your train. You will have to
show no passports until you get to the frontier."
At the station, Block saw them comfortably installed in a car that
would carry them across the border. He shook hands with them.
"Good luck," he said quietly; and added: "Should you, by any chance,
come out of Germany a jump ahead of a bayonet, remember you will find
temporary, safety in my quarters. Good-bye."
THE GAME OPENS
"You may pass, gentlemen."
The speaker was a German officer. Upon the arrival of the three
friends at the railroad terminus just across the German border the
officer had made a tour of the train, examining the passports of the
passengers. Hal, Chester and McKenzie had extended their passports
along with the other passengers, and the German officer had found
nothing wrong with them.
As the German took his leave, McKenzie breathed a sigh of relief.
"I was sure he was going to nab us," he said.
"Careful," whispered Hal. "We must do all our talking in German, and
we must do very little of that concerning our private affairs.
Remember, walls have ears, and I guess that will apply to a railroad
car as well as a house."
"Right, Herr Block," said Chester with a smile.
The lads found that by remaining upon their car they would go straight
through to Berlin. The train was called the Amsterdam-Berlin express,
and, while at the border, it was crowded with troops, there was still a
fair sprinkling of passengers bound for the German capital.
It was after dark when the train pulled into Berlin and Hal, Chester,
and McKenzie prepared to disembark. As the train stopped, Hal made
sure that his revolver was loose in his pocket, settled his hat firmly
on his head, and led the way from the car.
As with most travelers in that part of the world at that time, neither
was burdened with baggage. Each carried a small portfolio, much used
at that time by war correspondents, but they had no other luggage.
"We'll go to the Hotel Bismarck," said Hal.
Although it had been years since either Hal or Chester had been in
Berlin, Hal's sense of direction now stood him in good stead. He
remembered where the Hotel Bismarck stood as well as though he had been
At the hotel the three registered under their assumed names, and paid a
month in advance for a small suite of two rooms.
"We expect to study the internal situation of the city for some time,"
Hal explained to the clerk, "and we want to feel sure that we shall
have a place to stay while we are here."
The three made themselves comfortable in their apartments, and for some
time talked quietly. At last Hal gave the word for bed.
"We don't know just how we shall proceed," he said, "but we must be
fresh and ready for any eventuality in the morning."
Morning came and with it the three friends were astir. They had an
early breakfast, and then Hal announced that he would fare forth
"I'll tell you where I'm going," he said, "so that if anything happens
to me you will go ahead with the work, regardless. Remember this.
Even though I may get in trouble, your duty will be to get the list,
irrespective of what my fate may be. America comes first, you know,
"Of course," was the latter's quiet reply.
"Well," said Hal, "I am going to the home of the German undersecretary
of foreign affairs. I am going to see Mrs. Schweiring."
"Then we shall stay here until you return," he said.
"Very well," Hal agreed. "But if I have not returned by noon, you will
know something has happened, and you will proceed about the work with
no further thought of me."
He left the room quickly.
He made inquiries at the hotel office, and half an hour later found
himself before the residence of the German undersecretary of foreign
affairs. He rang the doorbell. A footman answered the ring. Hal
announced that he would like to see Mrs. Schweiring.
"Your card," said the footman, allowing him to enter.
"I have no card," said Hal. "You will tell her that Herr Block, of the
Dutch newspaper, The Amsterdamer, desires to see her."
The footman bowed and departed. A few moments later he returned,
followed by a young woman -- she could not have been more than 18, Hal
decided. The young woman approached, and spoke to Hal.
"My mother is unable to see you at this moment, Herr Block," she said.
"She has sent me to learn the nature of your business with her."
"I am sorry, fraulein," said Hal gravely, "but my business is with your
mother. I cannot confide it to you."
The footman, meantime, had left the room.
The girl stamped her foot a little angrily.
"But mother has no secrets from me," she declared.
"That's the American blood talking now," said Hal to himself. Aloud he
replied: "Nevertheless, fraulein, I must again ask to be permitted to
speak to your mother."
The girl glanced at him sharply. Then she exclaimed in a low voice:
"You are no Dutchman, mynheer."
Hal started a trifle in spite of himself; then, realizing that this
must have betrayed him, he dropped his hand to his pocket, where
reposed his revolver.
The girl smiled.
"Have no fear," she said. "I shall say nothing. Can it be you are the
one whom mother expects?"
"The best way to find that out," said Hal, "is to summon your mother."
The girl hesitated no longer. She fairly flew from the room. She
reappeared a moment later, followed by an older woman.
"This is Herr Block, Mother," she said.
"Very well, Gladys," replied her mother. "Now, if you will leave us
alone, and make sure that we are not disturbed."
"I shall stand guard myself," replied the daughter.
She disappeared into the long hall.
"Now, Herr Block," said Mrs. Schweiring, "you may tell me the nature of
Hal glanced sharply about the room. Then he leaned close.
"I come from the American expeditionary forces in France," he said
Mrs. Schweiring manifested no surprise.
"I had surmised as much," she returned, "I had looked, however, for a
man in civil life rather than a military man; also, I had looked for
one farther along in years."
"I am sure you will find that my youth may work to our advantage," said
"Perhaps. Now tell me in what way I may help."
"Well," said Hal, "I have come, two friends and myself, in an effort to
lay hands upon the list of German spies in America -- the list kept by
the German prime minister."
Mrs. Schweiring nodded.
"I had supposed as much. It was I who informed the department of state
in Washington that such a list exists; but without help and without
laying myself open to suspicion, I dared not try to get it. It is
desperate work, but we shall see what can be done. Gladys!"
Her daughter re-entered the room in response to this summons.
"Gladys," said her mother, "Herr Block is the man we have been
expecting; but he has not come alone. His companions are at the Hotel
Bismarck, registered as Herr Spidle and Herr Amusdem. You will have
their belongings moved here. They are friends whom you met in
Switzerland and who will share our hospitality while here. Do you
"But we have no belongings," said Hal quietly. "We could not be
bothered with excess baggage."
"Then I shall see that you are supplied with necessary articles," said
his hostess. "The success of your mission will necessitate it. At any
rate," she said, turning again to her daughter, "you will send a car
for Herr Block's friends."
The girl nodded and left the room.
"I need not caution you," said Mrs. Schweiring, as she led the way
upstairs -- and showed to Hal a suite of three comfortably furnished
rooms. "A little slip will spoil all. I shall introduce you to my
friends as a Dutch war correspondent who, nevertheless, has in him a
strain of German, with a little American blood. I shall represent that
you have lived several years in America, but that your heart is with
"And my friends?" questioned Hal.
"They shall be just what they represent themselves to be."
"Very well," said Hal. "You perhaps know best. But I must, as soon as
possible, be introduced either to the prime minister or to one of his
"I will tell you something," said his hostess. "The list which you
seek is no longer in the hands of the prime minister. It is now in
possession of General Rentzel, chief of the secret service; and the son
of the general comes frequently to see my daughter, Gladys. But we
shall talk more later. I will leave you now and see that sufficient
wardrobes are procured for you and your friends."
She left the room.
THE BOYS MAKE PROGRESS
It was a merry party that gathered around the dinner table in the home
of the German undersecretary of foreign affairs two nights later. But
beneath the smiling faces of five members of the party was a suppressed
excitement, for this dinner had been given by Mrs. Schweiring for a
purpose. The purpose was to introduce Hal, Chester and McKenzie to
General Rentzel, chief of the secret service, and his son, Frederick.
Besides these two guests of honor there were present the German
minister of foreign affairs and one or two other high diplomats. The
boys were in distinguished company and they knew it.
True to her word, Mrs. Schweiring had provided the three friends with
an abundant wardrobe, which included evening clothes. Dinner over,
Mrs. Schweiring, her daughter Gladys, and the wife of General Rentzel,
the only women present, retired while the men produced cigars and
Neither Hal nor Chester smoked, but they felt called upon to accept a
cigarette each. McKenzie, however, had no such scruples, and accepted
a fat cigar without hesitation.
Hal found himself in conversation with young Captain Rentzel, son of
the chief of the secret service.
"I understand you have spent some years in America?" he questioned.
"Why, yes," returned Hal.
"Do you like the country?"
"Not overly much," replied Hal with a shrug. "There are some very nice
people there, but they are mostly boors."
"My idea exactly," returned the young German officer, "although I have
never been there. Do you think America can do much harm to Germany in
"Well," said Hal, "given time, yes; but the American people are
notoriously slow in such matters. Besides, I understand that there are
quite a few German agents at work there now. With enough of them,
irreparable injury could be done to the foe before they could prevent
"I notice you say foe," said the young German; "Yet you have American
blood in your veins."
"A trifle," returned Hal quietly; "not enough to make me lose sight of
justice and right."
"Good!" cried the young German. "Listen. It's true that we have many
agents abroad, but some of them have fallen under suspicion and
consequently will be of no further value. We need more such men who
have lived in America and know the customs, and also will not be
suspected. By the way, have you an appointment for 10 o'clock?"
"Why, no," said Hal. "Why?"
"Will you go with me at that hour?"
"To my father's quarters. He, as you know, is the chief of the secret
service. As such, he has charge of the agents abroad. I thought he
might make you a proposition."
"There will be no harm if I am unable to accept, will there?" asked
"Not a bit," replied the German heartily.
"Then I'll go."
The next hour was spent in general conversation, after which Captain
Rentzel arose to take his leave.
"I'm going to run off with one of your friends, Miss Schweiring," he
said, indicating Hal.
The others laughed, "Oh, take him and show him about a bit, Frederick,"
laughed Mrs. Schweiring's husband. "Only be sure that you return him
Hal followed the young captain from the house.
Half an hour later he found himself in the palatial office of the chief
of the German secret service.
Hal looked carefully about the room. A long table stood in the
center. This apparently was the personal property of General Rentzel.
Great easy chairs were scattered about the room. There was a window at
the south side, and back, in the center, against the wall, was a large
"Pretty comfortable place," said Hal aloud.
"Rather," agreed the young German. "Father believes in making himself
General Rentzel had not arrived yet, but he put in an appearance a few
moments later. He manifested no surprise at sight of his son, but he
eyed Hal askance.
"I thought you young fellows had gone to look about the city," he
"No, sir," replied his son. "I invited. Herr Block here to see you,
"You did? Why?"
The son explained as quickly as. possible.
"Hm-m," muttered the general when his son had concluded, eying Hal
sharply. "How do I know you are what you represent yourself to be,
sir?" he demanded.
"I'm not applying for a job, sir," he replied. "I came here at your
son's suggestion. He said you might have a proposition to make, and if
I can be of service without taking too great risk, I am willing, sir."
Again the general meditated. At last he said:
"It's true that we have need of men for the work my son mentions. To
my mind, your youth would be in favor, rather than against, the success
of the undertaking. Would you be willing to go back to America?"
"Well, I don't care particularly about going right now," said Hal
"But there is nothing to prevent your going?"
."Well, no. But I would know the nature of my work first. I would not like to
become a spy, sir. It seems to me that spies are not made of manly
"You are wrong," was the quiet response. "Why, I can show you the
names of men whom you would not think of suspecting, and yet who are
acting for the German government in America."
"Is that so, sir?"
"It is indeed. Wait." General Rentzel arose, approached the big safe
in the rear of the room, unlocked it and took there from a small
paper-bound book. He returned to his seat at the table.
"In this little book," he said, tapping the table gently with it, "are
the names of our agents in America. See, I'll show you a name, of
worldwide importance, who is acting for us."
General Rentzel exposed a name. Hal glanced at it and then gave a long
"It's no wonder you are surprised," said the general, smiling.
"Neither is it any wonder that our agents have been so successful in
America, considering names like that."
"I should say not, sir," returned Hal grim.
General Rentzel returned the book to his safe, closed the heavy iron
door and twirled the knob.
"What do you say, sir?" he demanded, as he resumed his seat.
For a moment Hal seemed to hesitate. Then he said:
"I accept on one condition, sir."
"And that?" asked the general.
"That," said Hal, "is that I may have the week in which to put my
affairs in shape. I shall have to resign my position with my paper and
attend to a few other matters, sir."
"Very good, sir. You need not call here again. It would be unwise. I
shall see you at the Swiss ambassador's ball, which will be held four
nights from tonight. There I will give you what passports you need and
other instructions. Until then, sir, auf Wiedersehen."
Captain Rentzel accompanied Hal from his father's office.
"You are in luck," said that worthy, "and the pay is big. In a year or
two you will be a wealthy man."
Hal thanked the captain, and made his way home alone.
As he moved up the steps he was startled to see a shadowy figure
lurking in the doorway. His hand dropped to his pocket, and he
"Don't be afraid. Take your hand away from that revolver," came the
voice of Gladys Schweiring.
"Miss Gladys!" exclaimed Hal in surprise. "What are you doing here?
It is almost midnight."
"I was waiting for you," was the low response. "I was afraid something
might have happened."
"It has," replied Hal, "but it is good news and not bad. Where is your
"In the drawing-room."
"Are the others there?"
"Just your friends. The guests have gone, and father has retired."
"Good . I have important information for them,"
Hal followed the young girl into the drawing room. Chester rose to his
"By George! I'm glad to see you back safely," he said. "I was afraid
something had happened."
Others echoed his words.
"Folks," said Hal, "I've news for you -- good news."
"What is it?" demanded Chester eagerly.
"Well," said Hal very quietly. "I've seen the list!"
THE MINISTER'S BALL
It was a gay assemblage that thronged the home of the Swiss minister
four nights after Hal's interview with the chief of the German secret
service. Elegantly dressed women and well groomed and handsome
officers danced and sang, and from the general tone of the evening it
would have been hard to believe that Germany was engaged in a war that
threatened her very existence.
Hal, Chester and McKenzie went to the ball accompanied by Mrs.
Schweiring and her daughter. Mrs. Schweiring's husband announced that
he would appear later, as he had matters of importance to transact at
This was the night that Hal had decided upon to make an effort to get
the list of names for which the three friends were risking so much. He
had a well- conceived plan in mind. The details he had worked out in
the days following his interview with the German chief of secret
service and his preparations had been careful and thorough. Now he was
anxious for action.
General Rentzel reached the ball late in the evening. He paid his
respects to the Swiss minister and to the latter's wife. A few moments
later he encountered Hal, and escorted the lad to a secluded nook,
where he presented the lad with several documents.
"This," he said, indicating one, "is your passport into Switzerland.
From there you will travel as a Swiss subject. You will present that
paper," and he indicated a second, "to Herr Baumgartner in Washington.
You will find him still at the Austrian embassy. He will give you
other instructions. Also, you will receive your pay through him, and
whatever other money is necessary."
"Very well, sir," he said.
"I don't know that there is anything further," said General Rentzel,
"except to warn you that treachery means death."
"I am aware of that, sir," returned Hal quietly.
"Very good, then. Good luck to you."
The general moved away.
Hal sought Chester instantly, glancing at his watch as he passed along
slowly and without apparent haste. It was 10:30 o'clock.
"It's time to get busy, Chester," he said quietly. "It's half-past
ten, and I may require an hour and a half. You get word to Gladys and
her mother to keep General Rentzel here under some pretext until
midnight. I'm off."
"Am I not going with you?" demanded Chester.
"No," said Hal. "I don't have time to wait, and the message must be
delivered to Mrs. Schweiring or her daughter at once. I'll pick
McKenzie up on the way. Good-bye."
"Good luck," said Chester simply.
Hal left the room quietly. In the hall he found McKenzie, whom he
motioned to follow him. McKenzie did so quietly.
Outside Hal found the automobile which had brought them to the ball.
He leaped in and McKenzie followed. Hal gave quick directions to the
chauffeur to drive them home. The latter asked no questions.
At the home of Mrs. Schweiring Hal ordered McKenzie to remain in the
car while the lad hurried into the house. He returned a moment later,
carrying a small grip. This he threw into the car and climbed in after
"We have important business with General Rentzel," he told the
chauffeur. "You will drive us there and then return to the ball for
The chauffeur asked no questions. There were so many queer things
going on in Berlin that he was not even greatly interested.
General Rentzel's office was in darkness when the car pulled up before
it. Motioning McKenzie to follow him, Hal hastened up the steps. The
chauffeur, in accordance with Hal's instructions, immediately
disappeared down the street with the car.
In the darkness of the vestibule, Hal tried the door.
"Locked," he said. "Lucky we came prepared."
He opened the little grip he carried.
Meanwhile, Chester had carried Hal's message to Gladys. The latter had
repeated it to her mother, and these two now shadowed General Rentzel
every place he moved, for they were fearful that he might decide at any
moment to leave the house. Chester kept his eyes on all three.
Chester was plainly nervous. Had he been in the danger himself his
nerves would have been as hard as steel, but the inaction while someone
else was doing the work made him impatient and fanciful.
Finally General Rentzel approached the Swiss minister and paid his
adieus. Then he moved toward the cloakroom.
Halfway there he was intercepted by Mrs. Schweiring and Gladys.
"You are not going so soon, your excellency?" questioned Mrs.
"I must," was the reply. "I have work to do at my office that will
keep me until far into the night."
"I'm sorry," was the reply. "Have you seen my husband?"
"I understood him to say that he had some business with you; perhaps I
was mistaken, however."
Twice now the general had attempted to move on, but Mrs. Schweiring had
prevented it. He tried again, and she asked:
"What time have you, your excellency?"
General Rentzel glanced at his watch.
"Half-past eleven," he said.
"Surely, it is not that late," said Mrs. Schweiring. "Why, we have
only been here a short time."
"Madame," said General Rentzel at this juncture, "I must ask you to
excuse me. I must be going."
There was no reply the other could make to this without laying herself
open to suspicion. She stepped back, and the German secret service
chief passed on.
Behind him the woman and her daughter wrung their hands. They had been
unsuccessful. In their minds they could see General Rentzel bursting
in upon Hal and McKenzie in the middle of their work.
"What are we going to do?" cried the mother.
"They must be warned!' cried the daughter.
"I will warn them myself. It is a long ways to the general's
quarters. He will be in no hurry. I can get there ahead of him."
"But if you should be discovered?"
Gladys shrugged her shoulders and was gone before her mother could
Outside she dashed up to the Schweiring automobile and cried to the
"To General Rentzel's quarters! Quick!"
The machine sprang forward with a lurch.
Two minutes later, Gladys, peering from the car, made out as they
passed what she took to be General, Rentzel's machine. She urged the
chauffeur on even faster.
Half a block from the general's quarters, she ordered her driver to
stop and then to take up position down a side street, where it was
dark, and wait for her. These instructions were obeyed without
Gladys hurried toward the house.
There was no light to be seen as she ascended the steps and laid a hand
on the door knob. Nevertheless the girl moved silently, for she did
not know what servants might be in the house.
The door opened without a sound. Gladys advanced into the darkness.
From time to time she stopped as she moved along, but she was so afraid
that General Rentzel might arrive before she could warn Hal and
McKenzie that she wasted little time.
She came to a door, which opened noiselessly. She peered into the
darkness, and in what appeared to be another room she saw what looked
like a star.
The girl breathed a cry of thankfulness. She knew that she had found
what she sought. She moved forward more rapidly.
As she walked along toward the light, she suddenly tripped over an
obstacle hidden by the mantle of darkness and fell to the floor.
There was a crash that resounded throughout the house.
HAL GETS THE LIST
When Hal and McKenzie stopped in the entrance way upon finding that the
door was locked, Hal took from the little grip he carried a long
skeleton key. This had been procured for him by Mrs. Schweiring, and
Hal knew that it would unlock almost any door.
To gain entrance to the house, therefore, was but the matter of an
From his grip again Hal produced a small flashlight, with which he
lighted their way. Thanks to the lad's previous visit to the house, he
knew right where he was going, so there was no time lost in search.
Straight to the large safe in the general's private office Hal led the
way. There he passed the light to McKenzie and placed the grip on the
"No chance it has been left unlocked, I guess," the lad muttered.
"However, I'll try it."
He shook the handle. The safe was locked.
"As I thought," said Hal. "Well, the rest will take time. Turn the
light on the lock, McKenzie."
From his grip Hal took an ordinary cake of soap. This he proceeded to
rub around the lock and stuff into the cracks. This done to his
satisfaction, he stepped back and surveyed his work.
"All right, I guess," he said. "I never tackled anything like this
before, but I think I know how it's done."
The next article he produced from the grip was a small vial. One look
told McKenzie what it was. It contained nitroglycerine. This Hal
poured under the edge of the safe. Then he attached a fuse and lighted
it. Immediately he threw a heavy blanket, which was the last article
the grip contained, over the safe to muffle the sound of the explosion
that would occur in a few moments.
"Get back in the corner and crouch down, McKenzie," said Hal, and did
the same thing himself.
At that moment there was a crash in the adjoining room. Hal's revolver
leaped out, as did McKenzie's, and both dashed into the room. McKenzie
flashed the light across the floor, and there, just getting to her
feet, was Gladys.
"Quick! You must fly!" she cried. "General Rentzel is on his way and
will be here at any moment."
The fuse in the other room was burning fast, as Hal knew. The lad
determined, in that instant, that he would not leave the house without
getting the list for which he had come.
He pulled Gladys back into the room where the fuse was fast burning to
the safe. McKenzie followed, and the three crouched down.
A moment and there was a muffled explosion, followed by a flash of
fire. Smoke filled the room. With a cry to the others to stay where
they were, Hal dashed to the safe. It was as he hoped. The door had
been blown clear.
Quickly Hal explored the contents of the safe. Then he gave a cry of
delight. His hand encountered what he felt sure was the book he
sought. He ran across the room with it to where McKenzie held the
flashlight and by its glow examined his prize.
It was the list he sought.
Hal hesitated one moment, and then he pressed the book into the hands
"Quick!" he said. "Out the window with you. Give this to Chester and
tell him to get out of Berlin at once. Tell him he will be followed
but that he must get through."
"But you -"' protested Gladys.
There came the sound of rapid footsteps in the next room. Hal picked
Gladys up in his arms, carried her to the window, and dropped her to
the ground as he said in a low voice:
"To hesitate means failure. Do as I say and quickly."
He returned to McKenzie's side. When he reached there McKenzie
extinguished his light.
"Well, we've got the list," he said quietly.
"We have," Hal agreed, "but our lives probably will pay the forfeit.
We must stay here until we are discovered. To follow Gladys would mean
"We won't have to wait long," said McKenzie grimly. "Here they come."
It was true.
Footsteps came toward them. Suddenly the room burst into light as
someone pressed an electric, light button. General Rentzel strode into
His eyes fell upon Hal and McKenzie immediately. He said nothing, but
gazed about. Then he saw the shattered safe. He dashed forward with a
cry and examined the interior, carefully. Then his face turned white
as he faced Hal.
"The list," he said in a hoarse voice, "where is it?"
"Where you will never get it, I hope," he replied quietly.
General Rentzel strode forward with a shout.
"They are spies! Seize them, men!" he cried.
Hal's right arm shot out and the chief of the German secret service
sprawled on the floor.
"To the stairs!" Hal cried to McKenzie.
The Canadian needed no urging. Two German soldiers fell to the floor
under his quick blows and then McKenzie joined Hal on the steps which
fled upward from the rear of the room.
Hall produced a revolver. McKenzie did likewise.
"The first man who moves dies!" cried Hal, as he moved his revolver
from side to side.
The men below, of whom there were perhaps a dozen, stood still.
Apparently each was afraid to make the first move.
General Rentzel sat up and wiped his face with a handkerchief.
"Shoot them!" he cried.
From the rear of the crowd there was a flash of fire and a report. A
bullet sped over Hal's head. McKenzie's revolver flashed and a German
fell to rise no more.
At this moment McKenzie took command.
"Up the steps!" he cried.
Hal realized that to hesitate meant instant death. He was, perhaps,
two steps above McKenzie, and he covered the rest in two leaps. There
he stopped and covered the room. He was in position to protect
McKenzie also leaped to the top step, and there, for a moment, they
were out of the line of fire. To reach them it was necessary for the
Germans to stand directly in front of the steps, and there was no man
below who felt called upon to face this certain death, in spite of the
hoarse commands of General Rentzel.
But in a situation like this could not last long. Other officers and
soldiers, aroused by the explosion appeared on the scene. Hal realized
that their predicament was desperate. With a cry to McKenzie, Hal
darted back along the hall, turned into the first room he saw, flung
open the window and leaped to the ground.
McKenzie was close behind him.
Hal led the way along the street at a rapid walk, with McKenzie at his
heels. The lad turned down several side streets, doubling occasionally
on his tracks in an effort to throw off possible pursuers. As they
drew farther away from the house where they had been discovered they
encountered fewer and fewer people. Apparently the sound of the
explosion had not reached here.
They were safe for the moment and Hal breathed easier.
"Hope Chester has a good start," he said to McKenzie in a low voice.
"He should have by this time," was the reply. "They figure, of course,
that we have the list."
Hal would have replied, but as they passed a house at that moment a man
stepped from the door. Hal uttered an exclamation of pure amazement.
The newcomer was dressed in costume that he had worn since the war
began. He looked much as upon the night that Hal first saw him. He
paid no attention to Hal and McKenzie at first, but Hal brought him
about with a word.
It was indeed the little war correspondent of whose presence in Germany
Herr Block had told the three friends before they left Holland.
Stubbs wheeled sharply. He saw Hal and turned pale.
"Hello -- hello, Hal," he gasped. "Wh -- what are you doing here?"
"Is that your house?" demanded Hal, indicating the one from which
Stubbs had just emerged.
"Then we'll go in with you," said Hal quietly.
"But I don't want to go in," declared Stubbs.
"But we do," said Hal. "Meet my friend, McKenzie, Stubbs."
"I don't want to meet him," declared Stubbs. "I tell you I'm in danger
"So are we," said Hal. "That's the reason we're going to take
advantage of your hospitality. Come on in, Stubbs. We've got to get
out of this country."
"I'll never get out alive now that you've showed up," Stubbs mumbled.
But he led the way inside.
STUBBS IS CRESTFALLEN
Inside, Stubbs struck a match.
"I say! Hold up, there!" Hal exclaimed, and grasped the hand that held
the match and extinguished the flame. "We don't want any light in
here," he added.
In vain Stubbs tried to pierce the darkness with his eyes to make out
the lad's features.
"Humph!" muttered the little man. "What have you been up to now?"
"Stubbs," said Hal, "the whole of Germany will be scouring the city for
us before long. We've got to get away from here."
"Well," said Stubbs, "the whole of Germany is already looking for me,
but they haven't found me yet."
"What are they hunting you for?" demanded Hal. "Surely, you haven't
"Maybe not; but they've discovered who I am."
"That you're an American war correspondent, eh?"
"Why, no," said Stubbs quietly, "they've discovered that I'm here at
command of the American state department searching for a certain list
It was Hal's turn to be surprised and be started back.
"What's that?" he cried, believing that he could not have heard
Stubbs repeated his statement.
"But I thought --" began Hal.
"And what business have you to think!" demanded Stubbs with sudden
anger. "Haven't I the same, right as you to do something for my
"Of course, Mr. Stubbs, and I think all more of you for it, but at the
same time I never dreamed --"
"Of course you didn't. Neither did anyone else, which is the reason my
services were accepted. That is, no one knew it outside of Germany,
but they seem to have spotted me here soon enough."
"I see," said Hal. "Then you must have made an effort to get the list
of German agents in the United States."
Stubbs gave an exclamation of amazement.
"Who said anything about spies?" he asked.
"Well, you didn't, to be sure," said Hal, "But as I happened to have
the list in my hands a few moments ago, I didn't need to be told."
"You had it?" cried Stubbs, unconsciously raising his voice.
"'Where is it now?" demanded Stubbs eagerly.
"Safe, I hope," replied Hal quietly, "but don't talk so loud, Stubbs.
I sent the list to Chester by a trusted aide, and I have no doubt he is
on his way out of the country with it now."
"How'd you get it?" inquired Stubbs.
"By George!" said Stubbs. "You fellows have all the luck. I tried and
"Maybe you didn't know where it was," said Hal.
"Didn't, eh? Say, let me ask you something. Didn't you think it was
rather strange when you approached General Rentzel's place that there
was no one around, eh?"
"Well, such a thought had occurred to me," Hal admitted, "but I
supposed no one was on guard through overconfidence."
"Do you want me to tell you where the guards were?"
"Why, yes, if you know."
"Well, I know all right. They were chasing me around the highways and
byways, if you want to know," Stubbs exploded. "They discovered me
trying to get into the house and I ran for my life. Well, this beats
the Dutch! I cleared the road for you and you grabbed the list!"
Stubbs became silent.
"At all events," said Hal, "we got the list -- and that is what counts,
"True," said Stubbs, and extended a hand in the darkness, which Hal
grasped warmly. "Well," he said, "we're all tarred with the same
brush, and it will give these Huns great delight to stand us all up
before a wall or with ropes around our necks in a bunch. The sooner we
get back to our lines the better for all our families."
"But the question is, how?" said Hal quietly.
"I've got a big automobile waiting for me about a mile from here," said
Stubbs. "If we can get into it we can go a long ways without
"They'll wire ahead," said Hal
"So they will," Stubbs agreed, but I've also got a pocket full of the
prettiest passports and other credentials you ever saw. I didn't chop
down my bridges behind me, as you seem to have done. Once in my car,
as I say, and we'll move away from here."
"Then we may as well be moving," said McKenzie, who had not spoken
until that moment.
"Right," Hal agreed. "But we must be careful. No telling how many
Germans are nearby, scouring the streets for us. Lead the way,
"That's right," said Stubbs, "pick me for the easy work."
"I'll lead the way if the little man is afraid," growled McKenzie.
Stubbs whirled on him in the darkness.
"Look here!" he exclaimed, "I allow no man to talk to me like that.
McKenzie was somewhat taken aback, but he growled again:
"Then lead on and don't talk so much."
Stubbs would have made " another angry retort, but Hal nudged him to
Muttering to himself, Stubbs led the way to the street again.
There was no one in sight as they emerged from the darkened house, and
they moved off down the street with rapid strides. Occasionally they
saw passing civilians, with now and then an officer or trooper or so,
but Berlin seemed to be sleeping securely in the knowledge that the
enemy was far from its door.
Hal gazed at his watch by the glare of a street light. It was almost 4
"Two hours to daylight," he muttered. "We shall have to hurry."
Fifteen minutes later Stubbs slowed down.
"My automobile is in a small garage around the next corner," he said,
and added significantly, "if nothing has happened to it."
"Let's get it then," said Hal. "We don't want to stand here."
Stubbs moved on again and Hal and McKenzie followed him closely.
There was no sign of a living person near the little garage. Stubbs
approached and attempted to throw back the closed door. It would not
"Let me try, Stubbs," said Hal, pushing forward.
He took from his pocket a short but well tempered piece of steel. He
found that the door was held by a padlock. He inserted the piece of
steel in the top, and, putting forth all his strength, broke the lock.
There was a sharp report as the lock fell to pieces.
"Quick, Stubbs!" Hal cried. "That noise will have aroused every sleepy
policeman within a mile."
McKenzie lent a hand and the door was thrown back. Stubbs gave a gasp
of relief. The automobile was there.
"You do the driving, Hal," cried Stubbs. "Pile in here, man," this to
McKenzie. "She's all ready to start. Come on."
The others wasted no time in words. McKenzie scrambled in the back
seat alongside Stubbs, while Hal sprang to the wheel. A moment later
the automobile moved slowly from the garage.
As the big machine came clear into the street, a bright light suddenly
flashed around the next comer and headed toward them. Hal knew in a
moment what it was. It was a motorcycle, bearing a policeman. There
was but one course to pursue, and Hal acted without hesitation. He
threw the machine into high and it dashed directly toward the
The man saved his life by swerving swiftly to one side. His machine
bumped the curb and threw the rider off. When he picked himself up the
automobile bearing the three friends was turning a corner, apparently
on one wheel for Hal had scarcely diminished the speed.
The German drew his revolver and fired a shot ill the air. He was
sounding the alarm and summoning assistance at the same time.
Quickly he righted his motorcycle, mounted, and made off in pursuit of
the high- powered automobile.
At the sound of the German's shot, Hal increased the speed of the
"McKenzie!" he cried.
McKenzie leaned forward so as to catch the words the lad shouted back
"Get your guns ready!" cried Hal. "Don't let anyone come at us from
McKenzie understood. He repeated Hal's words to Stubbs, shouting to
make himself heard.
"Can't anyone catch us from behind," Stubbs shouted back. "This car
will outrun anything in Germany."
McKenzie made no reply, but looked to his guns. He knew that it was
not pursuing automobiles that Hal was afraid of; but high-powered
motorcycles in use in Germany would probably be able to overtake the
car no matter what its speed.
So far, however, the road behind was clear.
TOWARD THE FRONTIER
Hal set his course by instinct and the glow of the disappearing moon,
and a few moments after their swift departure, it seemed, they were
beyond the city itself, headed straight for the Dutch frontier.
There was no pursuit, and Hal rightly judged the reason to be because
he had thrown pursuers off the track by several sharp turns before
leaving the city proper.
After an hour's riding, Hal made out specks ahead that he took to be