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The Boy Scouts in Front of Warsaw by Colonel George Durston

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"A soldier on a motorcycle. Make the first turn you can."

Warren whipped the little racer round one curve and then another. He
was thinking deeply.

Elinor commenced to cry.

"Don't let them get me, Warry!" she begged.

"You are all right, dear," he answered. Then to Ivan:

"I have it. Didn't you say you knew that Princess what-is-her-name
that owns this car?"

"Yes, a little," said Ivan.

"Well, you could make her recognize whose son you are, couldn't you?"

"Of course!" said Ivan.

"Well," said Warren, "we can't get anywhere with the car, and the only
thing for us to do is to go to the hospital as quickly as we can, and
you get hold of that Princess, and do some explaining. You see she
stands in with both sides because of the hospital. It's her own
sister's house, isn't it?"

"Yes," said Ivan, "and that's the only thing to do. This is a Red
Cross car now, and there will be a big fuss about it."

"Where are we, anyway?" said Warren, slowing down to regulation speed.

"Turn to your left and ahead for three blocks, then once to the right,
and you will see the palace in the distance," said Ivan.

They swept on, reached the marble steps of the building, stopped the
car, and Warren leaped to the ground.

He looked at his little sister. He could not speak, but held out his
arms, and she sprang into them. She clung to him trembling, and
calling his name over and over while he pressed kisses on her pale
little cheeks. With Ivan still holding Rika, they hurried up the steps
just as the soldier on the motorcycle whirled to the curb.

He leaped from his seat and followed them, talking furiously in German,
but the boys were so close to the open door that they slipped inside
before the man could lay a hand on them. A nurse came up and a doctor,
and the boys commenced, both at once, one in Polish and the other in
English, to explain matters. The doctor looked grave. No one would
dream that the two thin, pale, ragged little girls were anything but
the beggars they looked to be, and the doctor shook his head.

Ivan stamped his foot. "I want the Princess!" he said. "She will
straighten this out. Send someone for the Princess!" he demanded.

"I think she is out," said the nurse; "but I will send." She gave a
message to an assistant, and they waited in silence while the girl was
gone. She returned in a moment.

"The Princess is not here," she said, "but Madame, her sister, is
coming." As she spoke, the door opened, and the lovely face of Princess
Olga appeared.

"What is the trouble?" she asked of the doctor, and glanced at the
group before her.

One low cry she gave; one spring, and little Rika was folded to her
breast. The baby arms were close around her neck, the little face
hidden while the Princess murmured loving names and strained the little
form close to her heart.

Warren was the first to speak. He turned to Ivan.

"Well, what do you know about that?" he said solemnly in English.

The doctor turned to Ivan and plied him with questions.

Presently the Princess looked up.

"Who are you?" she asked, noting the pale child at his side.

"My name is Morris, Warren Morris," said Warren. He would have
explained farther, but the Princess, rising, lifted her head and
looking reverently up, said simply, "God is good! Come with me!"
Imperiously she led the way down the great hall, now full of cots, and
to a narrow door. She opened this and pushed Warren through ahead of

And Evelyn, poor heart-broken Evelyn, saw him as he came. Then she had
him in her arms; and for once Warren could not kiss her enough or hug
her hard enough. But he had to be shared with Elinor who commenced to
look happy once more.

"Where is father?" asked Warren doubtfully, when Evelyn seemed assured
that he was real, and that she actually had Elinor back again.

"Out with the Princess," said Evelyn. Then for the first time she
noticed that the Princess was gone, and the door shut, and they were

"Warren, you must be very good to father," said Evelyn gently. "He has
suffered more than I ever knew anyone could. He takes all the blame
for everything."

"Well, --" said Warren stubbornly, "a lot of it has been his fault."

"That doesn't matter now," said Evelyn. "Father is not to blame for
the forgetfulness and selfishness in his work that we find so hard to
bear. His parents are the ones to blame. They thought because he was
such a bright child that everything should be made secondary to his
needs. And then our dear mother went right on spoiling him. So now
we, who are his children, can't expect to make him over. We have just
got to remember that he is a truly great man -- in his own line, and we
are very proud of him. We are older now, and things won't be so hard
for us."

"You bet we are older!" said Warren. "I don't expect to feel any older
when I am ninety than I do now. But you are right about father. I
have felt pretty sore, sis, I confess, and when I thought you were
dead, and Elinor lost for good, it didn't seem as though I could
forgive him. You are right about his people. Folks have no right to
let a kid run the whole place like that, even if it is to develop his
brain. I'll tell you one thing, if ever I have any kids of my own, I'm
going to bring them up after a plan of my own."

Evelyn smiled. "I hope it will work, Warry," she said.

Warren looked savage. "It will, you can bet," he said. "I will make
them go to school, of course, but they will begin to qualify for the
Boy Scouts when they are about three years old; and they will learn to
shoot, and know first aid when they are about four, and a lot of other
things when they are five or so."

Evelyn groaned. "I'm sorry for those children, Warren," she laughed.

"Well, perhaps I will give them a little more time, but they have got
to understand that efficiency is as necessary when they are sixteen as
when they are sixty. Do you remember those chaps we saw in
Switzerland? They were way up in their studies. You know I went to
school with a fellow one day, but when school was out they were doing
things worth while. And the fellow I knew had the dandiest rifle I
ever saw. He said it was a prize from the government for target
shooting. And he knew how to handle that gun, too. He said there was
a fine for carelessness with firearms.

"Then these Germans. I've seen dozens of fellows no older than I am.
They are hard as nails and fit every minute. Say, what's father going
to do?" he demanded. "Are we going to spend our lives here, or are we
going home?"

"Father does not know yet that you are here, you know," Evelyn reminded
him. "He ought to be here soon now."

"Let's get him to go home as soon as we can," said Warren.

"I've seen about all I can stand of these horrors." He put his arm
around Evelyn's shoulders and embraced both dear sisters.

"Evelyn, we will never be the same children again," he said sadly.
"Oh, I'm homesick for America! I want to go home to Princeton. I want
to have it come Fourth of July and hear the crackers go off and see the
flag hanging out of store windows, and upside down and wrong side to on
people's lawns the way they most always hang it. I want to hooray for
'Mericky.' I am dead, dead sick of this, sissy. I want to go where I

"Poor old Warren!" said Evelyn. "I know how you feel. I want to go,
too. But you can't shake the dust of Europe off like that, you know.
We have made friends, good friends here, and you will have to keep in
touch with the Polish Boy Scouts. You can't shirk that, you know."

"No, of course not," agreed Warren. "I just want to go home and soak
up on America for awhile. I've got a lot of things to tell those
fellows, too!" he said solemnly.

"Well, we could go right away if father is willing, and if we could get
passports and transportation," said Evelyn. "Only I've got to go back
and get the baby."

"The WHAT!" shouted Warren.

"Why, the baby," said Evelyn. "The baby you brought me; the one you
brought me from its dead mother."

"Sure enough!" said Warren. "Well, where is it, anyway?"

"Back in Warsaw," said Evelyn. "I left it with the woman who lived in
the corner house. When the soldiers took us away, she came out to see
what the disturbance was, and she offered to keep the baby."

"A baby!" said Warren. "So you are going to take it home! Well, that
does seem almost the last straw! You don't suppose your friend in
Warsaw would like to keep it?"

"No, I don't," said Evelyn firmly. "That woman has six, and her
husband was killed, and she is ruined. She will have hard enough work
feeding her own. She is an angel to keep it so, long. We have dozens
of relatives over home, and they are all going to have the privilege of
helping to care for our little war baby. I shall name her for the

"All right," said Warren. He went to the window and looked out. "I
wish father would come," he said. "Is Jack with him? Suppose I go and
look for them?"

"You will stay right here," said Evelyn. "I don't want one of you out
of my sight from now on. Jack is with father. They went out to go to
the market. Father has been helping a lot here. He has given the
hospital all sorts of things that were badly needed. The Princess will
send him in as soon as she comes. Isn't it like a fairy tale to think
that we had little Rika all the time?"

"I wish you would begin at the beginning and tell me all that happened
after you were arrested," said Warren. "I have had such a lot of

"All right," said Evelyn. She looked down at the little sister in her
arms. "See," she said, "she has gone to sleep. The darling is

Warren looked grave. "She has had the worst experience of all," he
said. "We won't know for a good while just what she has undergone. I
would not want to question her. It will have to come out in bits. And
I think the baby will be a good thing after all. It will help occupy
Elinor's attention and make her forget. Yes, we have got to get out of
here as soon as we can on her account. Now go on."

Evelyn cuddled the sleeping child more closely, and commencing at the
moment when the soldiers broke down the door, she told her brother the
thrilling and almost unbelievable story of their adventure. Finally
she reached the end. Warren had made no comments, but the stern and
anxious expression of his face betrayed his feelings. Evelyn paused.

"And to think that I was right on the other side of that door when you
were crying yesterday! Poor little sister, I hope you will never,
never have to cry for me again."

There was a sound of rapid steps at the door. It was flung open and
Jack rushed in, closely followed by the Professor.

Trouble and danger and separation change our viewpoint. There had been
a time not long past when Warren regarded any demonstration of
affection as unmanly, but now he found himself in his father's arms and
only too glad to be there.



Evelyn had told the truth. Professor Morris was a changed man. For
the first time in all his orderly humdrum student existence, he had had
to face war and death and murder, and all the crimes that stalk through
a land at such times.

It had accomplished what all the arguments, all the lecturing, all the
entreaties in the world would never have accomplished. Professor
Morris had been shaken out of himself. There had been sleepless nights
when his life had looked very poor and thin and useless. What was his
book, a dry thing of many pages, when he compared it to the needs of
the dear children who had been so loyal and so true to him? It came to
him that culture may be made as selfish and as harmful as any vice
there is.

But Benjamin Morris was, after all, a man; and late as it was, it was
not too late for him to humbly resolve to be a better father, and a
more valuable citizen. And he kept his word.

Presently Ivan returned. The boy had purposely kept away until the
reunited family had had time to talk everything all over. When he
entered, Professor Morris sat looking at him, with his eyes narrowed
and a puzzled look on his face. Evelyn knew that look, and wondered
what was passing in her father's mind. He sat quite silent, and after
a little left the room. When he returned, he brought the Princess
Olga, who was leading the little Rika as though she dared not leave her
out of her sight.

"We have been talking things over," said Princess Olga. "Of course the
only reasonable thing for Professor Morris to do is to return to
America without delay. He has no right to remain here and possibly
endanger the lives of so many young people, and there is nothing that
he can do for us. Some day we will want help, and then we know that
yon will all come to our aid. Ivan, we have been talking it all over
with my husband, the Prince, and we have decided that the best thing
for you to do is to go also. Wait," she said as Ivan shook his head.
"My boy, our country is in ruins. Your father is at the front, we know
not where. You can not serve him by remaining here where you are,
every moment in danger of being arrested and held as a prisoner or
worse. Your estates are in ruins; but not withstanding, you are, after
your father, the head of your house. You owe to Poland the one thing
you can now do for her. You must preserve and safeguard your life. And
you must go to the University where Professor Morris is such an eminent
instructor. You must learn statesmanship. Some day, Ivan, Poland will
need you. What chance have you here now in this stricken land?

"I want you to go, Ivan. We will take the responsibility. And I want
you to take these jewels, and use them for your expenses and
education!" She held out a glittering handful of priceless gems.

"No," said Professor Morris firmly. "Princess, you will need all you
have. It happens that I have plenty of money, and we live very simply,
so there is enough and to spare for the two children we hope to take
with us."

"Two?" said the Princess.

"The baby, " said the Professor. "I confess the needs of an infant
seem too complex and difficult for me to cope with, but my daughter
entertains no fears, and insists upon taking the little fellow with

"It's a girl, father," corrected Evelyn.

"Ah, yes," said the Professor, bowing. "I believe you did say that he
is a girl."

"I have told him at least a dozen times," said Evelyn in a whisper to

"I suppose we have got to take her along, no matter what he is," Warren
whispered back.

"However," said the Professor, glancing reprovingly at the children,
"there is plenty of money, in reason, and if Ivan prefers, we will keep
an account of his educational expenses, and at some future date he can
repay what I shall deem necessary to expend for him."

"That is better," said the Princess. She turned to Ivan

"You will go, Ivan."

"Yes," said Ivan. Then sadly, "But I wish I could see my father."

"It is indeed hard," said the Princess. "We feel that he must be
unhurt however, and I know that he will be so relieved, and glad to
know that you are in a place of safety. So that is settled." She

"Now there is one more thing to be done. I have here a permit from the
General in charge of the city. It gives us safe conduct on the roads
to Warsaw and return, to get the baby. I have arranged for one of the
nurses to go with the new chauffeur and Warren. I will take part of
her duties, and Evelyn may assist me. She will get the baby and bring
it here to us. They can go tonight, and return tomorrow. All will
then be ready for your departure, if in the meantime Professor Morris
can arrange to get your passports and your sailing privileges."

"It sounds easy," said Warren to Evelyn. "When do you suppose we will

"As soon as the car is ready," said the Princess. "Get wraps for
yourself, Warren. The nurse is ready, and she has everything needful
for the baby."

"Oh, Warren, be careful, begged Evelyn. I declare I have half a mind
to go with you!"

Warren laughed. "I have a whole mind that you will not!" he said,
patting her shoulder. "You stay right here and don't go out of the
place, and keep father and Ivan and Elinor where you can see them all
the time. And if we are not back by noon tomorrow, don't begin to
worry. Just lay our delay to a puncture or something of that sort. We
won't be molested. The paper from the General is as good as a regiment
of men. You had better believe that no one would dare hurt us, or even
detain us while I have that to show them."

"Well, be careful just the same," begged Evelyn.

"I surely will," promised Warren.

Everything went as smoothly as Warren had anticipated. The trip to
Warsaw was without a hitch. Again and again they were stopped by
soldiers, and each time the paper from the Commanding General acted
like magic. Indeed, they were more than once assisted on their way, or
directed to short cuts. In Warsaw it was the same. Warren, however,
avoided that part of the city where he thought he might come in contact
with Captain Handel, and driving by another route, approached the house
of the neighbor who had so kindly taken care of the homeless little
waif. The child was safe and well, having suffered less than they had
feared from its terrible experience. With a thousand thanks and
promises to write, Warren left the good, motherly woman and started on
the return trip.

They slept at an obscure little village that night in peace. The town
had been overlooked in the tempest of war, and was untouched.

At the inn they found good food and plenty of it. In the morning, when
they started, they found every available part of the car crammed with
offerings for the wounded soldiers. The chauffeur had spent a busy
evening talking to the horrified villagers and it is to be believed
that the terrors he had witnessed in Lodz and elsewhere did not lose in
the telling. So there were all sorts of offerings for the wounded;
bread and dried fish and cheese; and money, sometimes gold, sometimes a
single kopek wrapped in scraps of paper, written over with heartfelt
prayers of pity. There was scarcely room for the passengers to crowd
in the car.

Warren took the wheel, and the chauffeur, still the hero of the
occasion, stood on the running board and waved his cap and called his
farewells as long as they were in sight.

The baby slept most of the time. It was a good baby, and Warren began
to regard it with less distrust. They reached Lodz without accident
and as they drew up at the palace, now only a hospital, Warren's watch
stood at twelve. It had been a wonderful trip.

Everything was going well. The Prince was stronger, and his wife, the
beautiful Princess, was smiling happily.

All that day and the next the Professor and the three boys went from
office to office and back again to the army headquarters, getting the
necessary papers.

It was a difficult matter to get everything adjusted, but finally it
was done, and there was no longer any reason for them to remain.

They said good-bye to the Princess and her children, and at last
started on the journey home.

It was a time to be remembered as long as they lived. All of Europe
was plunged in gloom. Even the neutral countries they touched or
crossed in their roundabout way were oppressed by such sorrow that it
was almost as bad as war.

Reaching a seaport at last, they secured passage on a slow American
boat, and it was not until they watched the shore receding from their
view that they actually believed that they were on the way home.

"Just the things we have seen coming over from Lodz would fill a book,"
said Warren to the group at the rail.

"I wouldn't want to read it," said Jack, shuddering.

"Nor I!" said Evelyn. "Oh, boys, you don't know how funny you look in
the clothes you have on!"

"What's the matter with my clothes?" said Warren, looking down at the
very short trousers and very long coat he was wearing. "I don't see
but what I am all right, but doesn't Jack look cuty-cute? Kind of Lord
Fauntleroy effect!"

Everyone stared at Jack, who looked himself over in surprise. "It is
all they had at that store we went to that would fit me. I try to turn
those pants up, but they keep coming down." Everyone laughed as Jack
stooped and once more tried to turn up the loose trousers which
enveloped his slim legs. Left to themselves, they reached half way to
his ankles, so Jack, who was used to knickerbockers, had carefully
rolled them to his knee. The result was that most of the time one leg
or the other hung dismally down its full length. His jacket was a
short roundabout, something like an Eton jacket, and his shirt was soft
and frilled.

"I don't see why we didn't just wear the things we had on," he

"I guess not!" said Warren. "Those work clothes? Why, Jack, see how
dressy we are now! We look like somebody; a bunch of 'em! We have
got sample clothes from half the countries in Europe. See how neutral
that makes us! Take yourself, Jack. Your feet are Polish, and your
pants are German, and the top of you looks Dutch. Is it?"

"My cap came from home," said Jack furiously, "and so did my face! The
minute we get out here a way, I am going to yell Hurrah for America as
loud as ever I can."

"Wow!" said Warren. "Excuse me, Jack, old fellow, I didn't mean to be
disrespectful. We are all in the same fix as far as clothes go. Even
Evelyn looks a little queer. 'All the world is a little queer,' he
quoted, 'and thee is a little queer.'"

Safe on board ship, our party found that they were utterly tired out.
They slept hour after hour; they were furiously hungry. The days went
swiftly, without accident. Professor Morris, true to his new
resolutions, spent a great part of each day with his children, and they
found him a most delightful and amusing companion. He developed an
alarming fondness for the baby, which he persisted in calling "him."
He was fond of holding the quiet little creature, but after one of his
lapses into the forgetfulness of the past, he happened to think of
something he wanted to do so he laid his newspaper in Evelyn's lap, and
before she could stop him placed the baby firmly in a waste paper box
head down.

After that Evelyn watched him. They had brought a young refugee with
them as nurse for the baby, so Evelyn was not burdened with too much

The boys played games and made plans and wrote letters. Ivan commenced
a diary. He said he would never be able to remember every single thing
that was happening, and going to happen, and he didn't want to forget
it. Warren planned to have an evening with the home Scouts and tell
them all that had occurred.

"And you will be Exhibit A," he declared, clapping Ivan on the

The voyage drew to an end, as all fortunate voyages will. The last
night came clear and fine. There was a stir of joyful anticipation on
the great ship. Everybody packed up what trifles they had been able to
bring away with them. Everybody talked and exchanged addresses and
said good-bye. The day of landing is always too, full and confused for
anything of that sort. Once more the Professor's manuscript seemed to
him to be a thing of value. He picked it up and put it down a thousand
times. It was a relief to everyone when the hour grew so late that
even the most restless turned in, and went to sleep or at least tried

At gray dawn Ivan was aroused by Warren shaking him.

"Get up, Ivan, get up!" he cried. "I can see it!" The boy was shaking
violently, and his teeth chattered.

"What ails you?" said Ivan, speaking in Polish. "See what?"

Warren answered in English. "America. Home, the little old United
States!" A dry sob choked him. "Oh!" he said, "I didn't know I felt
like this! Hurry up, old Scout! Dress and let's get out!"

Voices sounded through the ship; people stirred and hurried with their
dressing. It was as though a shock of electricity had stirred them.
Certainly there had been no spoken call.

As the boys hurried to the deck, the risen sun, a ball of gold, blazed
like a celestial blessing, a flood of glory on the marvelous shore line
ahead. Warren rushed forward.

But Ivan, without a look, turned and made his solitary way to the stern
of the ship, and there, all alone, looked away over the empty sea.

For long he gazed. His eyes were filled with tears.

"Good-bye, my father," he said. "Good-bye, my country. I will come
back to you." He flung his hand out in a passionate gesture of
farewell. Then with a last look, Prince Ivan, homeless, countryless,
and fatherless, slowly turned, and, the boy Ivan went soberly to join
Warren, who, crazy with joy, hung yelling over the rail at the prow.

Before them, like the vision of an enchanted land, rose the wonderful
shore line of the harbor; and before them, nearer and nearer, clearer
and clearer, the Statue of Liberty, wise, strong, majestic, with the
only true majesty of earth on her beautiful brow, the majesty of
Freedom and of Truth.

They had reached America.


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