Part 3 out of 3
One after another the German machines were sent down, though at a
price, for three Frenchmen were killed and another American went to
his death. But he had paved the way with two Hun craft to his credit.
"Now it's over--all but the shouting!" cried Roger, and he was
capering about in an improvised dance of joy when Bob cried:
"Look! Look! Here comes a German machine down, and it's going to land
right about here! Oh, boy! This is bringing 'em down for keeps!"
His chums looked to where he pointed. A German craft was coming down,
but in such fashion that showed it was in volplane control, at least.
Swiftly it came down, headed for a field not far from the woods, in
the edge of which were the five Brothers.
Swiftly as falls a bird with a broken wing, down came the German
aeroplane. It was now within plain sight of the Americans stationed
in the woods, and, as it happened, a squad, of which our five Brothers
formed the major part, were nearer than anyone else.
"I can see their faces!" cried Bob. "They look worried all right!"
And well the Germans might, for they were being forced to land within
the enemy's lines.
"Guess their gasolene tank was shot to pieces," commented Roger. "The
plane doesn't seem to be damaged much."
And this, later, they learned was the case. A bullet had pierced the
petrol tank of the Boche craft, and the pilot and gunner had been
forced to land.
Down shot the craft, and, a moment later, it made a good landing in
a field. The machine ran along over the rough ground for a little
distance and then two figures, clad in regulation flying costumes,
were seen to leap out. They paused for a moment, trying to set fire to
their machine, so that it might not fall, comparatively undamaged as
it was, into the hands of the Americans. But this was not to be.
"Don't let them get away with that!" cried an officer, quickly. "Pick
off those two men, boys!"
Instantly rifles began to crack, and as the bullets sang about the
ears of the Huns they stopped their incendiary operations and began
to run. How they thought they could escape is inexplainable. They were
surrounded by Americans, and were some distance away from their own
"Come on, fellows!" cried Jimmy to his chums. "Don't let 'em get away.
We can head 'em off!"
"You said something!" yelled Bob. "Oh, boy! That was some fight!"
The battle in the air was over now, and though there had been a lull
in the contest in the immediate vicinity of our heroes, the firing was
going on in both wings of the American army.
Emerging from their shelter in the woods, so as to intercept at an
angle the fleeing Germans, Jimmy and his four Brothers ran hotfoot
over the open ground. Then the Huns saw the five lads coming, and
turned, as though to go in another direction.
"No you don't!" shouted Bob, as he sent a well-aimed bullet over
the head of the foremost German. He did not intend to hit the
fellow--merely to scare him. And it had that effect.
The man stopped suddenly, and raised his hands in the air.
"_Kamerad_!" he bellowed.
His companion was seen to be fumbling in his belt, as though trying
to get a hand grenade or lose his revolver. But the man who had
surrendered, realizing what would happen if any resistance were shown,
gave his companion a kick that sent him sprawling.
"_Kamerad_!" cried the kicker. And his companion, struggling to rise,
"You'd better surrender!" grimly observed Jimmy, as he and his chums
Quickly the Germans were disarmed, and then they were marched back,
ahead of their captors, to where stood the captain of the company of
which the five Brothers formed so active a part.
"Good work, Sergeant," complimented the captain, when Jimmy, as a
ranking non-com. over his companions, came back with the two German
aviators. "Good work! And you may have the pleasure of taking the
prisoners to the rear. We'll be held up here some time, I fancy.
Report to me when you return. And don't let those fellows get away!"
he added significantly.
"We'll take care of that, sir," said Jimmy grimly.
"Come on, you fellows! Hike!" ordered Roger to the captured airmen.
And a little later they were turned over to the proper authorities
in the rear. Some valuable plans and information concerning German
movements were found on the prisoners, and their capture was regarded
as important. Jimmy and his chums received commendation, and were
mentioned in the official reports of the day's grim doings.
"And now we'd better be getting back," suggested Jimmy, who was
in charge of the prisoner squad. "The fighting may start again any
minute, and we don't want to miss it."
"I should say not!" cried Bob. "Now that we can have a show for our
white agate there'll be some fun in it. But to have to crouch down in
a wood and let some one take pot shots at you from overhead isn't my
idea of a war at all."
They were marching along a camouflaged road when they saw an American
and a French machine coming down together on a level spot not far
"Wonder if they're in trouble?" asked Roger.
"Doesn't seem so," answered Bob. "They seem to have the planes under
control. But let's go and see. Maybe we can help. They'll surely need
some attention after that fierce fighting."
The two machines, one a single seater and the other a double, came
to earth at the same time, and not far apart. And at the sight of
two aviators getting out of the American craft Jimmy gave a yell and
"Well, if it isn't the Twinkle Twins! Good enough! What do you know
about that, fellows? The Twinkle Twins were among those who saved our
bacon this day!"
And it was, indeed, John and Gerald Twinkleton, otherwise known
as Jack and Jerry, or the Twinkle Twins, who had emerged from the
"Well, of all good things! Look, Jerry!" dried Jack. "It's the five
"Sure enough! Oh, say, what are you fellows doing here?" asked Jerry.
"Same as you were--disposing of some Boches," answered Jimmy. "Are you
"Not a scratch, though our plane was hit a lot," said Jack. "But we
ran out of gas, and had to come down here. Glad we did, too, or we'd
have missed seeing you. Cousin Emile is in the same boat as ourselves.
Here he comes! He'll be glad to see you."
And from the smaller plane there emerged an aviator whose very stride
across the field told what he was--a brave, intrepid man. Such was
Emile Voissard, cousin of the Twinkle Twins, and right well had he
earned the title, "Flying Terror of France."
"Ah, my American friends!" exclaimed Voissard, as he came over,
acknowledging the greetings he received. "I am glad to see you again.
It is good--_tres bien_!" and he smiled.
"Well, say, it was good to see you and the other Frenchmen go at those
Huns!" exclaimed Bob. "If we had known the Twinkle Twins were up there
among the Americans we'd have been worse scared than we were, when we
saw the Germans getting the best of it."
"Ah, it is nothing. _Voila_! What would you have?" and Voissard
shrugged his shoulders. "They are but beasts and they fight as the
beasts--they run, too, as the beasts! _n'est ce pas_?"
"Well, two of 'em tried to run, but we landed 'em!" exclaimed Roger,
with a laugh. "We just took 'em to the rear. Their petrol tank was
shot full of holes."
"Was it a machine with a sort of double iron cross on it?" asked Jack.
"That was it," said Roger.
"That's the one we couldn't seem to get," went on Jack. "She was a bit
too speedy for us. But it seems we got her after all."
"Or Jimmy and his bunch did", commented Jerry.
"Oh, well, it's all the same as long as they were 'got'!" and Jack
clapped Jimmy on the back.
"You are keeping up your good work, I see," commented Voissard.
"France shall soon be free of the mark of the beast!"
"Well, you're doing your share, sir!" commented Roger.
"It is nothing! If I could only do a thousand times as much!" and the
man who had earned such an enviable rating shook his head. "There are
so many of the Huns! So many! But we shall never give up! Never!" and
he drew himself up determinedly.
"But, my friends, we must not linger here," he went on. "The battle
will soon start again, and the fortunes of war may turn against us. We
should go and telephone for petrol, that we may take our machines back
behind the lines, to safety."
"Yes, we'll have to do that," declared one of the Twinkle Twins. "See
you again, boys!" and with waves of their hands they set off to find
the nearest telephone, that they might send word of their plight to
"Well, good luck!" called Jimmy and his chums to the brave Frenchman
and his no less brave cousins.
"That was some coincidence--that the Twinkles and their cousin Emile
should be fighting for us and we not know it," commented Roger, as the
five Khaki Boys trudged back. "I should say so," agreed Bob. "Say, we'd
better hurry!" he went on. "Sounds as if they were starting the game
The noise of the big and little guns was beginning again, and hardly
had our heroes reached their command in the woods than the order came
to go forward.
With yells of savage delight it was received, and then there came a
desperate dash that carried Jimmy and his friends, as well as those
with him, well up toward the German lines.
Fierce and bloody was the fighting, and there was death in it, too,
for many. But ever did the Americans press on, slowly but steadily
driving back the Germans. On all sides great guns roared, and ears
were nearly split with the riot of sound.
When night came it found our five Brothers occupying some of the
trenches so long held by the Huns, who had been driven out. It was the
start of the movement that was to clean the Boches from France.
Tired, weary, blood-stained, dirty, hungry and thirsty--that was the
condition of all the fighters. And yet they would be ready to do it
all over again the next day, after a little rest and food. And food
they had, though not of the best.
"Sergeant Barlow and Corporal Dalton take listening post number
seven," the sergeant-major ordered two of the Brothers, after what
passed for supper. "Be on the alert. The Germans will very likely try
Bob and Roger prepared for their dismal night trick. Franz and Iggy
were sent to another part of the line, and Jimmy was on duty in the
dugout, assisting the telephone operator.
The night settled down. It was comparatively quiet now in the
trenches, in front of which barbed-wire entanglements had been hastily
put up. The Germans had done the same, and between the stretches of
wire another No Man's Land had been established.
Worn and weary, Roger and Bob waited for what they feared might
happen. But as the hours passed, and there was no sign nor movement
from the German lines, they began to think there would be no fighting.
Suddenly, however, the blackness of the night was broken by the red
glare of a rocket.
"What's that?" cried Bob.
"Signal of some sort," replied Roger. "Guess we'd better get on our
feet. The attack may be coming."
"Shall we go back and report this?"
"No, they must have seen it as soon as we did. We're only to report if
we see any of the enemy approaching this post."
They waited. Another rocket--a green one this time--soared aloft. And
then with a suddenness that was startling, a terrific firing broke out
from the German lines. "Here it comes--the counter-attack!" cried Bob.
As he spoke he and his companion saw a dark, massed body moving toward
"Come on!" cried Bob. "We've got to report this!"
But before they had time to run back more than a few paces they were
surrounded by an attacking party of Germans. On either side of Bob
and Roger there was fierce fighting now going on. The two lads who had
been on duty in the listening post felt themselves caught and their
rifles wrested away before they had a chance to use them, and then
they were dragged over toward the German trenches.
"What's it all mean?" gasped Bob.
"We're captured!" said Roger. "Keep still! Don't give any information
no matter what they do! Keep still!"
"I will!" said Bob grimly.
One of the Germans dragging him along cried out an insulting epithet
and struck Bob across the mouth.
And then the captives were dragged away in the darkness.
The two Khaki Boys who had been on listening post duty were at once
disarmed by the Huns, and fairly dragged along in the darkness over
rough ground and among strands of barbed wire that scratched them, and
over stones that bruised them.
Bob had received a cut on the forehead, either from a blow or from a
glancing bullet, and the blood, running down into his eyes, blinded
"Are you here, Roger?" he managed to gasp, as two burly Germans pulled
"Yes, old man, I'm here! Say, but this is tough luck!"
Again he was struck and ordered to keep silent.
Back they were hurried toward the German lines, whence had issued the
raiding party that had had such luck as to defeat a small and very
much surprised body of Americans. Perhaps it is not to their credit
to say they were surprised, but the truth must be told. Some one was
negligent, and failed to give the alarm in time.
Mackson and Jones, privates, who had been in the listening post next
to the one where Roger and Bob were stationed, had escaped in the
confusion. Amid the attack and counter-attack, and while the firing
and throwing of hand grenades was hottest, they ran back to the
trenches, calling out word of what had happened.
Jimmy was just coming on duty when the attack of the Germans took
place, and, hearing what Mackson gasped out, cried to him:
"Did you see anything of Bob and Roger?"
"Yes, they're gone!" was the answer.
"Gone? You mean killed?" and Jimmy felt as though his heart would stop
"No. They put up a good fight, but the Huns were too many for 'em.
Roger and Bob were taken off by the Boches!"
"Captured! Prisoners!" cried Jimmy. For an instant he hardly knew what
to do. The confusion was at its height, and there seemed to be some
demoralization among the Americans at this particular post. But order
was gradually coming out of it. A captain and two lieutenants hurried
up and took charge of matters. A brisk artillery fire was ordered to
sweep the German lines, to prevent, if possible, any further advance
in force. At the same time up and down the trenches and from dugouts
the gallant doughboys poured, ready to take revenge for the attack of
"Come on! Come on!" cried the captain, and with wild cheers and yells
his men followed him. Jimmy had a sudden thought. Rushing up to the
captain, who was listening to a report from a corporal who had been
wounded, and who had escaped after being captured, Jimmy cried:
"Two of my friends have been caught--Sergeant Barlow and Corporal
Dalton. May I take a relief party out, sir, and rescue them?"
"Yes, Sergeant Blaise! Take six men with you, and good luck! Keep in
touch with us, though. We don't want to be separated at a time like
"Yes, sir!" cried Jimmy, his heart now on fire with a desperate
resolve. He wished Franz and Iggy could be of the rescue party, but
they were already out of the trench, under the leadership of one of
the lieutenants, making a fierce counter-attack.
Quickly Jimmy picked out six privates, and rapidly explained what
he wanted. They ran forward in the darkness. Shells were exploding
overhead, there were flashes of rifle fire on every side, and a more
continuous stream of wicked spurts from machine guns. Rockets were
being sent up from the German lines, together with star-shells, and
these made the scene of the fight brilliantly light with, now and
then, recurrent periods of intense blackness.
"Barlow and Dalton captured?" cried one of the privates whom Jimmy had
selected. "That's tough!"
"We'll bring 'em back, or go over with 'em!" added another.
"Come on!" cried Jimmy, and he led the way.
He had only a vague notion of where to look for Bob and Roger. But he
and his companions in arms saw immediately ahead of them a dark mass
of fighting men. And they judged this to be the attacking party of
Germans, taking away prisoners, and fighting off the attacks of those
Americans who had hurried to the rescue.
"Come on! Let's get in on that!" cried Jimmy. "Forward!"
"Forward she is!" came the grim answer from one of the lads he was
There came a fierce burst of machine-gun fire from the German line to
the left of that fighting, struggling bunch of forms. It was followed
by yells of rage, mingled with pain, and then deep groans.
"Anyone here hit?" asked Jimmy.
"I think Jepson has gone out," some one answered. Jimmy hesitated. He
was between two duties--that toward one of his immediate force, and
the desire to rescue his chums. But he knew his duty as an officer
required him to look after his command first. He ran back to where two
of the privates were bending over Jepson. A look and a touch convinced
Jimmy that the man was past all aid.
"We'll carry him back later," he said. Then, stifling his own feelings
he cried: "Come on!"
Grimly his men followed.
On in the darkness they stumbled, now scarcely seeing where they were
going, and again blinded by fierce lights. Their ears were deafened by
the rattle and bang and roar of big and little guns.
"Why don't you call out?" suggested one of the remaining men in
Jimmy's small command. "Maybe Bob and Roger could hear you and answer.
Then you'd know where they are."
"Good idea! I will!" shouted Jimmy. He had to yell just then, for a
burst of artillery fire from the German lines, answering the guns of
the Americans, drowned all ordinary talk.
Then, when it was comparatively quiet again, Jimmy cried:
"Bob! Roger! Where are you? We're coming to the rescue!"
"Americans over this way!" was shouted in answer. "Over to your
Whether or not this was either Bob or Roger, Jimmy could not tell. But
the words were English, though immediately afterward could be heard
guttural German voices.
"That's funny!" said one of Jimmy's men. "I thought the main fighting
was over to our left. Now they tell us to go to our right."
"Well, we'll take a chance," said Jimmy.
He turned and was about to lead his small command in that direction
when they were subjected to a fierce burst of fire. There was no time
to drop and escape it, though Jimmy called to the men to lie flat as
soon as he realized that a machine gun was aimed in their direction.
For two of his men there was never any more need of orders. They were
instantly killed, and one was so wounded that he could not move.
This only left Jimmy and two men. But the sergeant had no thought of
"Will you stick?" he asked, when the sudden spurt of machine bullets
"Go ahead!" was the grim reply.
They had hardly taken a dozen paces when from the ground all about
them dark forms suddenly arose, and from what were afterward found to
be shell holes, and the remains of trenches, other forms leaped. There
were commands in German, and, in less time than it takes to tell it,
Jimmy and his two companions were seized by several German soldiers,
their arms taken away, and, after being beaten and kicked, they were
rushed over toward the Hun lines. Dazed, wounded and sick at heart,
Jimmy could hardly understand what had happened. Then it was borne to
him that he and his rescue party--or what was left of it--had been the
victim of a trick. They had run into an ambuscade of Germans who
were hidden among the holes and ruined trenches, and had risen up to
capture more prisoners.
Rousing himself, and determining to find out how many of his fellow
soldiers were in the same disastrous position as himself, Jimmy cried:
"Any of the Five Hundred and Ninth here? I'm Sergeant Blaise and--"
"Great guns!" cried a voice Jimmy well knew. "It's Blazes! We're
here, Jimmy!" went on the voice in a half sob. "Bob and I are
"Then we're in the same boat!" answered Jimmy, who had recognized
Roger's voice. "I'll try and get to you, and then--"
"Shut up--American pig!" cried a Hun in fairly good English as he
struck Jimmy in the face. And then the Sergeant knew how he had been
betrayed. It was by a German who spoke English.
THE CAPTAIN AGAIN
Worried over the possible fate in store for them, sick at heart,
smarting with wounds and bruises, and with Jimmy regretting the deaths
of the men he had led out to help rescue Bob and Roger, it is no
wonder that the three Brothers hardly knew what happened in the next
hour. All they remembered was that they were pushed, dragged and
fairly punched along in the darkness that was, every now and then,
lighted by gun flashes or the star-shells. The fighting was still
going on, though it was growing less intense, and it seemed evident
that the attacking party of raiding Germans had been beaten back.
But it was at a heavy cost, for many Americans had been killed or
wounded, and several taken prisoners, including our three friends.
Later, however, they learned that the losses of the Huns had been
heavier, except in the matter of prisoners. Only two had been captured
as against perhaps a score of Americans. The raid had been a surprise,
and this quality of it led to its success.
For a time, after he had learned of the presence of his two chums
in the raiding party of Huns, Jimmy was separated from them in the
darkness and confusion. He could not locate them by calling their
names, for each time he tried this he was struck by one of his
captors, which led him, finally, to desist. He realized that if he
exasperated the Germans too much they would not hesitate to kill him,
even though he was a prisoner.
But later on, when it seemed as though he had been pulled and dragged
over miles and miles of rough country, Jimmy was aware that the party
of men who had him in charge had been joined by another squad of the
Boches. And to his delight he heard some one say:
"Wonder what became of Blazes?"
It was Bob's voice, and Jimmy at once answered:
"Here I am! Is Roger there?"
"Yes," came a voice out of the darkness, and it ended in a gasp of
pain, as if the words had been stopped by a blow.
Jimmy felt as though he could tear himself loose and hurl himself on
the cruel captors, but he was held fast.
There was rapid talk in German among the members of the raiding party,
and it could not be doubted that they were exulting over the success
of the sortie, such as it had been.
A little later Jimmy was prodded forward again by the butts of German
guns, and he was aware that Roger and Bob were advancing along with
him. Whether there were any other Americans in that party Jimmy could
not tell, as it was dark now, since the "fireworks" had ceased.
"Tough luck!" murmured Bob, as he limped along beside Roger.
"You said it," answered Jimmy. They spoke in low voices so as not to
incur the further enmity of their captors.
"What do you think they'll do with us?" asked Roger.
"Try to get information," was Jimmy's answer. "But don't give them
any! Keep stiff upper lips and let 'em ask all they want to. Don't
"We won't!" murmured Roger and Bob, but they did not realize how hard
it was going to be to keep that resolve.
Forward in the darkness they stumbled, being pushed and shoved when
they were not roughly seized and dragged, and at last they seemed to
have been brought to a place where they were to be detained for some
time. They were led down into a trench and along this in single file,
a German preceding and following each of the three captives, so they
were thus separated. They discovered that the German trenches were not
much better as regarded mud and water than their own, and they did not
have the protection of "duck boards" except in a few places. So that
the progress of Bob, Roger and Jimmy was through mud that came nearly
to the knees.
Suddenly their captors halted. They had reached a wider part of
the trench, and in the dim light from a small electric bulb, which
indicated this place to be one of the more permanent German positions,
the three Brothers saw a concrete dugout.
The door of this was kicked open, and after the three Khaki Boys had
been hurriedly searched, and all their personal belongings taken from
them, they were thrust inside in the darkness and the door was closed.
And then, clinging together in their pain and woeful state, they told
each other what had happened--Roger and Bob relating how they had
been cut off and captured, and Jimmy telling of his leading the rescue
party, only to be betrayed into going in the wrong direction, deceived
by the call of some Hun whose English was good enough to do the trick.
"And now we're here," sighed Bob. "What's to become of us?"
"I think they'll take us before some officer and question us," said
Jimmy. "They'll wait until morning, though, to give us a longer taste
"Morning!" gasped Roger. "Will morning ever come to a hole like this?"
and his eyes tried to pierce the blackness.
"There may be a window to it, or some way of letting light in, unless
it's away down underground," Jimmy went on. "I couldn't tell what it
was from the outside."
"Me, either," admitted Bob. "Well, this sure is tough luck!"
"Don't be downhearted!" advised Roger. "Our boys may attack in a few
hours and rescue us."
"Yes, they may," assented Jimmy, and this cheered them up for a time.
How long the hours seemed! Would morning ever come, and would they see
a gleam of light when it did? Or would they still be in blackness?
This question was answered for them some time later, when, after being
sunk in painful silence, they were aroused by a faint gleam coming in
through what proved to be a small opening in the roof of the dugout.
It was a little gleam of sunshine, and it cheered the boys almost as
much as if it had been news from home.
"We're not in an underground dungeon, anyhow," said Jimmy.
The light grew stronger, and presently the door of their prison was
opened. "I hope it's breakfast," gasped Bob. "Even if it's only a
glass of water."
But it was not even that. Several burly, brutal Germans leered in the
faces of the boys, and one, who spoke fairly good English, ordered
them to come out.
"Where are you taking us?" demanded Jimmy.
"You'll see," was the enigmatical answer.
They did not have long to wait, for, presently, they were taken before
a German officer, whose rank they were unable to determine, though he
seemed to wield considerable authority.
He was seated at a table in a dugout most comfortably fitted up.
Before him was a mass of papers, and at his side stood a bottle of
wine from which he poured a glass now and then, as he puffed at a
pipe. There were several others in the room, some officers and others,
clerks or secretaries.
I shall not relate what followed. Suffice it to say that the reason
for the night of misery inflicted on the boys, and the failure to give
them breakfast, was soon evident. It was to break their spirits,
and cause them to answer and give information as to their own forces
opposed to the Huns.
Every device of refined and barbarous cruelty was practiced as well
as every trick of cunning. But the three remained steadfast, and
even laughed in the faces of their captors. But not a jot of vital
information did they give, though they boasted in exaggerated terms of
the strength of the commands to which they were attached, and told of
countless armies on the way over to wipe the Huns from the face of the
At last the German officer, in a burst of rage, ordered the three
prisoners taken away, and this was done with great roughness. This
coupled with their terrible night and the mental and physical torture
inflicted at the inquisition, made the young soldiers sick at heart
and body. Once more they were thrust into their horrible prison, and
not until nearly noon was any food given them.
Then it was only some greasy, slimy water, probably intended for soup,
together with some chunks of mouldy bread.
"But we've got to eat it, boys!" said Jimmy. "We've got to keep up our
"What's the good of it!" sighed Bob, with a half cry of anguish.
"So we can escape, of course!" said Jimmy with more fierceness and
energy than he really felt. "Think I'm going to stay in this hole?"
"How are you going to get out?" Roger wanted to know.
"I'll show you!" went on Jimmy, and by his strength of character, and
by his forced spirits he bolstered up the courage of his companions.
They managed to choke down the food, vile as it was, and seemed to
feel a little better for it.
Their miseries of the next few days I will not detail. In fact, the
boys themselves could not remember all of them, horrible as they
were. Again and again they were questioned, but always they remained
steadfast, and gave no information that could be of any value to the
Then they were taken from their horrible prison and removed to a camp,
some distance in the rear, where there were a number of other Allied
captives, in as miserable a condition as that to which the three Khaki
Boys were now reduced.
"Well, we've got a better chance now," said Jimmy, with an assumption
of cheerfulness, when they were thrust into the barbed wire enclosure.
"A better chance for what?" asked Bob.
"To escape," was the answer, "It's a common occurrence for prisoners
to get out of German prison camps, though I won't say that they all
get back to their friends. Anyhow, we'll try the first chance we get."
There was one advantage of being in the prison camp, and away from the
dungeon that was partly underground. The air and light were better,
and the food was somewhat improved, though it was far from being good,
satisfying, or even decent.
But the natural healthfulness of the boys kept them up, and they
soon recovered from the slight wounds and bruises caused by the fight
during which they were captured.
"Heard of any chance to escape?" asked Roger, when they had been in
the camp about two weeks.
"No, though there is talk of digging under the barbed wire and a lot
of the men going out," Jimmy answered. "You want to hold out and hide
all the food you can. Well need it if we do get away."
His advice was followed, and, though the prisoners did not get much
more than enough to keep them alive, the three boys managed to hide
some scraps of bread and a bit of what was called "sausage," though it
was made mostly from the meal of peas and beans.
As Jimmy had said, there was a plot, hatched among some of the English
prisoners, to break out of the prison camp. But before there was a
chance to put it into operation Fate stepped in and gave her aid--that
is, it was aid for some, and death for others.
Not far from the German prison camp was a German ammunition dump, and
one night there passed over it a raiding squadron, though whether of
French, American or English airmen could not be learned by our heroes.
At any rate several bombs were dropped and one, either more accurately
placed than the others, or falling more luckily, fell on the dump and
it went up in a terrible and fearful burst of powder and shell.
The concussion caused several of the prison camp buildings to
collapse, and a number of Russians were killed. The barbed and charged
wires about the camp were torn loose and then it was that Jimmy saw
his chance--a chance taken by many of the captives.
"Come on!" he shouted to Roger and Bob, as they awoke in the darkness
and confusion, hardly knowing what had happened. It seemed like the
end of the world.
Out rushed the three Brothers, catching up their few belongings and
the precious packets of food they had hoarded against just such a
chance as this, though they had not hoped for it so soon.
The Germans were in such confusion, and such havoc had been caused
among them when the ammunition dump went up, that they had no time,
then, to look to their prisoners. Consequently the unfortunate men who
had been kept in the horrible camp scattered to the four winds, eager
to make their way back to their own lines.
Jimmy, Bob and Roger formed a little party among themselves. They
had only a general notion of which direction to take, but again Fate
seemed to help them, for they were not stopped all that night. They
tramped on, taking the most unfrequented ways, stumbling on in the
darkness and on the alert for a sight of German soldiers. But the
attack of the Allied airships, and the consequent destruction of a
great pile of German shells, had caused such havoc back of the Hun
lines that for several hours all was in confusion.
"It's getting daylight," murmured Bob, as he and his two chums were
limping down a road. Limping is the correct term, for their own good
army shoes had been taken from them and replaced by German apologies,
with paper soles, which now were all but gone.
"What shall we do?" asked Roger.
"Keep on until we see something to stop us," advised Jimmy. "We are
going toward our own lines, I think, or where our lines used to be,
though there may have been a lot of changes since we were caught."
"Can't we stop and get a drink?" panted Bob. "My tongue is like a
piece of that leathery stuff the Germans gave us and called meat. I've
got to drink!"
It was light enough now to disclose a small stream not far away.
Looking about to make sure no Germans were in the vicinity, Jimmy led
the way toward it. A drink of water and the eating of some of their
scanty stock of food would put new life in them.
They reached the water safely, near a small clump of trees. They
drank, and though the fluid seemed half mud never was there a sweeter
draught to parched throats and dry mouths. Then, as they were about to
open their rude packets of food. Bob clutched Jimmy's arm.
"Look!" he exclaimed, pointing off to the left.
"A searching party!" gasped Jimmy. Then Roger saw at what his chums
were gazing--a squad of German soldiers under the command of an
officer, and they were marching straight toward the clump of trees
where our heroes hoped to stay and eat!
"Quick!" cried Jimmy. "Burrow down in the leaves and dirt! If they
see us we'll be shot on sight as escaping prisoners! No chance for
quarter! Burrow down!"
And amid the dirt and dead leaves of the little patch of woods the
boys scratched shallow hiding places for themselves, stuffing their
food inside their shirts.
They were only just in time, for no sooner were they as well covered
as they could manage in the hurry than the Germans came tramping into
the little grove.
However, they did not seem to be acting on any precise information,
as presently, after a cursory search in the grove, they left, and the
boys breathed easier again.
"Shall we chance it now?" whispered Bob to Jimmy, cautiously raising
his head from the hole amid the leaves.
"Wait a bit," advised his chum. And, in ten minutes more, when it
seemed that the party of Huns must be far enough away, the lads emerged.
"Close call!" murmured Bob, brushing off some of the dirt. "But I
guess we can eat now--such stuff as we have! Say, Roger, did you--"
He paused, to gaze in the direction where Roger was looking. And
Jimmy, attracted by the attitude, gazed also. And they saw a strange
Marching away, for which the three Brothers felt great relief, was the
searching part of Germans. But this was not at what Roger was looking.
It was the sight of a man, in a German uniform, seated on a fallen
log at the edge of the clump of trees. The man was looking over some
papers, and he must have been there when the searching party passed.
Perhaps he had been with them.
"Look! Look!" murmured Roger. "It's the captain again. Captain Frank
Dickerson--the officer who saved our lives at the red mill; and he's
in a German uniform!"
BACK WITH FRIENDS
There was no doubt of it. So dramatic had been the circumstances under
which they had first seen this strange man that the boys would never
forget his face. He was dressed differently now--in an unmistakable
uniform of the Germans--but it was the same man.
"What in the world is he doing here?" demanded Bob.
"There can be only one answer to that question," said Jimmy, and his
voice was low and intense.
"And what is the answer?" Roger wanted to know.
"He's a German spy!" was the declaration.
"When he saved us at the burning mill he was in an American uniform.
And now he is in German uniform. He's a spy!"
"He's in German uniform all right, there's no question of that"
declared Bob. "But what makes you think he is a spy--I mean a German
"Because he was within our lines, or close to them, in a uniform that
was calculated to appear like one of ours. And, instead of going back
with us to help us find our own command, he hiked off in the direction
of the Huns. And now he's here again."
"But maybe he's a regular German, though he didn't talk much like
one," suggested Bob. "I mean the time he saved us at the mill. He
might be a decent, human sort of German--and he couldn't bear to
see us roasted to death. Maybe that's why he saved us. Of course, I
remember he acted queerly, and--"
"I don't know why he saved us," declared Jimmy. "But I believe he's
a German spy, and he was close to, if not actually within, our lines,
trying to get information. And if he's a spy he ought to be hanged for
it--that's the punishment of all spies."
"Yes, hanging isn't any too good, for a German spy," agreed Roger.
"And if we ever get the chance we'll denounce this fellow," went on
Jimmy. "We can tell how we saw him in an American uniform, or part of
it, near the red mill, and now he wears a German outfit. Hanging won't
match his crime."
"And yet," said Bob slowly, "it would be sort of hard to denounce
him." "Why?" asked Jimmy quickly.
"Because he saved our lives," was the quick answer. "Of course, we'll
have to denounce him, fellows, if we get the chance. But it will go
hard. He saved our lives!"
Jimmy was silent a moment, as he gazed out amid the trees in the
direction of the German searching party and the officer seated,
looking over some papers. Then Jimmy said, slowly:
"Yes, he saved our lives!"
The three hardly knew what to do. And yet, now, there seemed to be but
one thing--they must make all haste in the direction of the American
lines. At any moment the searching squad might come back, or another
might make its appearance, for the Germans would not let the inmates
of the prison camp get away without an effort to bring them back.
"Well, this Captain Dickerson has an American name all right, and
he may be a German spy," said Bob. "But he isn't within the American
lines just at present, so he has a right to wear a German uniform I
suppose. Remember how he hesitated about giving his name? Maybe he
made one up."
"He won't wear that uniform long if any of our boys catch him!"
declared Jimmy. "Look here, fellows. His saving of our lives was a fine
thing, and we can never forget it. But, at the same time, duty is duty,
and our highest duty is not to the man toward whom we feel so grateful,
but toward our own army and the boys of the Five Hundred and Ninth.
If we ever get back to our friends we'll have to denounce Captain Frank
Dickerson, or whoever that fellow it. That's all there is to it"
"I--I guess you're right," agreed Bob, slowly. "It's tough, but it has
to be done!"
"If we get the chance!" added Roger.
"Of course! If we get the chance," agreed Jimmy. "Mind, I don't say
that we actually have to give him up, or capture him," he added. "That
would be too much. But it's our duty to tell what we have seen."
The others nodded their heads.
"We haven't a chance to capture him now." Jimmy resumed. "He's armed,
and we're not. Besides, even if we three could overpower him, he might
signal to the Germans who were just here. No, all we can do is to wait
and see what happens. And the first thing we'd better do is to get out
of this neighborhood. It isn't healthy!"
They looked once more in the direction of "Captain Frank Dickerson,"
as he had called himself. He had folded up his papers and was about to
rise from the log.
"Duck, fellows! He's looking this way!" hoarsely whispered Bob, and
the boys dropped behind a fallen tree.
The officer in the German uniform did, indeed, look toward the woods,
but he made no advance that way, and presently walked off in the
direction taken by the searching party which had been so close to the
three former captives, evidently without knowing it.
"And now we'll make tracks the other way," decided Jimmy, and they
put some distance between themselves and the man they believed a spy
before they halted to eat.
"I'm glad I didn't have my five thousand francs with me when we fell
into the hands of the Germans," said Sergeant Jimmy, as they sat and
rested after the rather meager meal.
"Why?" asked Bob. "Maybe you could have bought some food, by bribing a
"Not a chance!" was the answer. "The Huns would have taken every cent.
No, I don't mind Maxwell having it--even if he's skipped with it,
or if he's missing with it in his pockets. That's better than having
German jailers take it. But I guess we'll never see the sergeant or
the money again."
"It doesn't look so," agreed Roger. "Well, it's the fortune of war, I
reckon. But have we any chance of seeing our friends again?"
"We'll make a big try," declared Jimmy.
Of the miseries of the next two days the Khaki Boys never like to
talk afterward. They ate all their food, and were still hungry. They
managed to find some raw turnips which they devoured, declaring,
in their hunger, that they were the best meal they had ever eaten.
Fortunately they managed to find water, though they had to drink it by
stealth for they were like hunted animals, making their way through a
country held and devastated by a cruel foe. They hid most of the day
and traveled by night, not knowing whether or not they were going in
the right direction.
But they kept moving, though, at times, Bob, who seemed worse off than
either of his chums, said he must give up. But Jimmy and Roger fairly
dragged him on.
One day, when it seemed that they must lie down in a field and give
up, they saw, coming over the top of the hill, a party of soldiers. It
was getting dusk, and they could hardly distinguish the uniforms.
"If it's Germans I'm too tired to run," said Bob, weakly. "Let 'em
"I will not!" declared Jimmy fiercely. "I'll fight 'em with stones,
and die fighting, rather than go back to a prison camp!"
"I'm with you!" cried Roger, and this attitude on the part of his
chums seemed to rouse Bob.
Each one selected a large stone, though whether they really would have
used them in their desperation I can not say. But in a moment all was
The three figures, standing together in the field, attracted the
attention of the officer leading the party of soldiers. He gave a
sharp command, and at the sound of the words Jimmy cried:
"They're English! They're English! Hurrah, fellows! We're with friends
once more!" And he ran forward followed by his chums.
It was true. A party of English soldiers, sent out to get some
information, had come upon the three escaping prisoners, and, a little
later, Bob, Roger and Jimmy were being well cared for while they told
their story of what had happened.
"And so we blew their nasty dump to bits; eh, lad?" asked an English
lieutenant, or "leftenant," as they are called.
"Yes," assented Jimmy.
"A little bit of hall right, I call that!" commented a cockney
So weak and exhausted were our friends that they had to stay in the
English billets several days before they could be sent under escort to
their own command. And you may imagine better than I can describe it
the joy of Franz and Iggy when they welcomed their Brothers once more.
"It's like having you back from the dead," declared Franz, with tears
in his eyes as he held the hands of the three friends.
"Better even, for alife they is!" exclaimed Iggy. "I home a letter
will write saying not to read the other what I sent."
"What other?" asked Bob.
"Oh, he wrote one saying you had been captured and that he was going
to hike into German territory and find you the first chance he had,"
"Sure I would go, but now not," declared Iggy. "I home write annudder
"It was good of you to think of us," said Jimmy. "And now tell us
about yourselves. Are you all right? Have you done any fighting, and
have you heard anything of Maxwell and our missing money?"
"Oh, have a heart!" laughed Franz. "You're worse than an intelligence
officer wanting to know the results of a trench raid. But we're all
right, as far as that goes."
"Except we wos of broken hearted yes for fears of you," put in Iggy.
"Sure we were worried to death," agreed Franz. "There didn't seem
to be a chance for you. As for fighting, well we haven't done much,
though I hear there's a big battle about to come off. And as for
Maxwell, we haven't heard a word."
It was one afternoon when the five Brothers were in a dugout, awaiting
orders to go on duty for the night, that Jimmy bethought himself of
the sight they had had of the mysterious captain.
"We didn't tell Franz and Iggy about him," he remarked to Roger and
"No. Go ahead with the story," said Bob. "Maybe they can throw some
light on it."
But Franz and Iggy--though the latter did not say much--could offer no
explanation save that put forth by Jimmy and the two lads who had seen
what he had seen--that Captain Frank Dickerson was a German spy.
The night passed without incident of moment, except for two false
alarms that the Germans were starting a general engagement. And in the
morning, after breakfast, the long-looked-for word came.
"It's the advance!" was the general cry. "We're going forward and
pinch out the German salient!"
There was one on this sector--a salient, or wedge, driven into the
American line, or, rather, one that had existed since the Americans
had taken over this particular part of the country.
"Now for the big battle!" cried Bob.
"And may it soon bring the end of the war!" added Roger.
Jimmy marched along with his chums, going to take charge of a squad
that would be among the leaders of the advance. And, as he passed a
group of American officers, saluting as he did so, his heart almost
stopped beating. For standing in their midst, and conversing earnestly
with them, was Captain Frank Dickerson, and this time he wore the
uniform of an American officer, with the two bars denoting his
Jimmy's astonishment at seeing the man they had called a German spy
was duplicated by his companions. With one accord they halted and
stood staring at the captain who had saved their lives. On his part
he did not see them, apparently. He stood there talking with other
officers as calmly and coolly as though nothing worried him.
"There he is!" exclaimed Bob.
"No question about it!" said Roger.
"The dog!" fairly hissed Franz. "And to think he's going to betray our
secrets to the Huns!"
"Not if I can help it!" declared Jimmy, and there was firm resolve in
"What are you going to do?" asked Roger, though he could almost guess
the answer of his chum.
"Come over here," said Jimmy Blaise to the otter Brothers. It was time
they should be marching up on their way to the front to take part in
the big advance. But there was also vital necessity of action at this
juncture. And so many soldiers and officers were hurrying along that
the temporary halt of Jimmy and his bunkies would not be noticed.
"Don't we to fight go?" asked Iggy, somewhat puzzled by the halt. "I
mine gun haf und many bullets. To fight it is my idea, yes."
"You've got the right idea!" declared Bob. "We'll be fighting soon
enough. But Iggy, do you see that fellow over there?" and he pointed
to Captain Dickerson.
"Sure I see him. Him was the man what saved us at the fire."
"Exactly. And he went over toward the Germans, didn't he?"
"I thinks me he did," admitted Iggy.
"When did you see him last?" asked Franz, as if this was a trial and
he had the examination of witnesses in hand.
"We saw him between our lines and the German forces, and he wore a
German uniform," declared Bob.
"And now he wears an American outfit," added Roger.
"That settles it!" declared Roger. "The verdict is unanimous. Captain
Dickerson, as he calls himself, is a spy, and it's our duty to
"Yes," said Sergeant Jimmy, "he saved our lives--there's no doubt
about it. But he's a spy. It breaks my heart to do it, but duty is
duty! We'll have to expose him!"
He looked at Roger and Bob. Solemnly and mournfully they nodded their
heads in assent.
"I don't know as much about it as you three fellows do," said Franz,
"but it sounds as though you'd have to. Tough luck, but it's got to be
"How about you, Iggy?" asked Bob.
"I fights mit youse," said the Polish lad simply, "and what you says I
"That ends it!" went on Jimmy. "I'd rather lose ten times five
thousand francs than do this, but--well, let's get it over with, and
then we'll jump into the fight and try to forget it."
He walked up to the group of officers, in the midst of which still
stood the captain. Jimmy saluted Major Wrightson, the senior officer
then present, and when the latter looked at the lad, seeing that he
had something to say, Jimmy spoke:
"My comrades and I," he said, indicating his four Brothers, "wish to
denounce that man as a German spy!" He spoke quietly, and pointed an
accusing finger at Captain Dickerson.
"What's that?" cried the major, in great surprise.
Jimmy repeated his statement, and as he did so he kept his eyes on the
face of the accused. The latter smiled faintly, but did not seem at
"Have you any evidence to support this amazing statement?" asked the
"Plenty," answered Jimmy, and then, briefly, he told what he and his
chums had seen. During the dramatic recital, which was corroborated
at several points by Roger and Bob, as well as Franz and Iggy, the
captain never said a word. He continued calmly smoking a cigarette he
"Can this be possible?" exclaimed a lieutenant, and he seemed to
shrink away from Captain Dickerson.
"Have you anything to say regarding the accusation of these lads,
Captain Dickerson?" asked the major, at length.
The accused flicked away the end of his cigarette. He looked at the
boys, smiling cynically, and then answered calmly:
"No, I have nothing to say!"
"It is my duty--my painful duty--to order you under arrest then,"
said the major. "And it breaks my heart to do it. You were once my
Emotion overcame him, but he signaled to a captain, who summoned two
orderlies, and in charge of these Captain Dickerson was led away under
"This matter will be taken up later, Sergeant Blaise," said the major.
"It will have to wait until after the battle. He might better have
been killed in action a dozen times than have this happen," he added
rather ambiguously. "This is terrible!"
"It was hard to do this, after he had saved our lives," said Jimmy,
"but it had to be."
"Yes," assented the major brokenly, "it had to be. And now let's
forget it in giving battle to the Huns! It's up to us to redeem
whatever wrong he may have done," and he nodded in the direction of
the captain, who had been led away under arrest.
"He took it calmly enough," remarked Bob, as the five Brothers marched
"Never turned a hair," added Roger. "But you've got to have nerve to
be a spy."
"I suppose they'll shoot him," observed Franz. "They don't have time
for hanging any more. He'll face a firing squad all right."
"It's too bad!" declared Jimmy. "But it had to be. I'll say this for
him--he's a brave man to venture back here, when he might be sure he'd
be exposed--if not by us by some one else. Yes, he's a brave man!"
It was with no very light hearts, at first, that Jimmy and his chums
marched on toward the front lines where they had been ordered to take
their places for the general advance. The scene of the last half-hour
preyed on their minds. But they were satisfied that they had done
"What's the program, sir!" asked Jimmy, as he reported to his second
"Well, we're going forward just as soon as our barrage gets in working
order," was the answer. "I expect that will be any minute, now. See to
it that every man in your squad has his gas mask, his pick and shovel,
his canteen and mess gear. We may be several days under fire, and the
supply wagons won't be able to get up if the Huns start shelling the
roads, as they're likely to."
"Yes, sir," answered Jimmy, saluting. Then he and his chums put in
several busy minutes.
Jimmy, Roger and Franz, as sergeants, would each have charge of a
squad to lead into the fight, and in Jimmy's squad were Bob and Iggy,
"Everything in readiness here?" asked the young lieutenant who had
given Jimmy, Roger and Franz their orders. He came along the trench,
glancing now and then at his wrist watch to note the approach of the
hour set for the beginning of the barrage.
"Everything ready, sir," reported Jimmy, and Roger and Franz repeated
"Very good. You won't have long to wait now."
The lieutenant passed on, making his observations. The five Brothers
were talking in low tones, speculating on many things. They talked
of what they had gone through in the past, for each one realized that
there might be no future for him after this great battle that was
pending. And they talked of the spy captain, of the missing Sergeant
Maxwell, and other matters.
"If we live through this," Jimmy was saying, "I'm going to get leave
and see if I can't find Maxwell. It isn't so much for the sake of the
money as it is for him. He was a good friend to me."
"To all of us," declared Bob.
"Well, I can't imagine what has become of him," said Roger. "If he--"
There was no chance for further words, for at that moment it seemed
as if all the thunderstorms from the beginning of the world to the
present time had broken loose at once.
"It's our barrage!" cried Jimmy. "Get ready to go over and fight!"
And ten minutes later the five Brothers were in the midst of the most
desperate struggle in which they had had a part since the start of the
THE LONELY HUT
And now it was that Jimmy and his chums were advancing across a
dangerous stretch, protected by their own barrage. They rushed forward
shouting, though it was hard for any one to hear his own voice, so
terrific was the din.
There was little use in firing rifles now. The shrapnel from the
American guns would take care of any Germans among which it fell. But
when the barrage ceased, and the infantry would rush forward to try to
take the Hun positions--then would come the most deadly fighting.
Forward, foot by foot, rushed the Khaki Boys, and on either side of
them their bunkies also advanced. They were to go forward until their
But it was not easy going after the first rush, for the Germans had
awakened to the importance of the pending battle and they were now
sending over a counter-barrage. With a roar that matched the opening
chorus of the American guns, those of the Boche sent out their
missiles of death.
And many of the shrapnel bullets, or pieces of exploding shells, found
their marks. The ground was strewn with dead and dying, for the German
barrage was meeting with and passing through that of the Americans.
Yet the advance never stopped. Company after company of khaki-clad
youths and men rushed from the trenches and started across that
vale of death. They advanced in battle formation--not too close
together--for that offered too good a target for the machine-guns, and
though many nests had been wiped out, many still remained.
Suddenly the awful ear-rending chorus on the American side died away
as if by magic. The silence was almost as appalling as had been the
terrific noise, for it portended more.
"Come, on!" cried the officers to their men. "Come on! Wipe out the
And the men followed them to victory or death.
Jimmy found himself yelling and firing his rifle as rapidly as he
could pull the trigger. For a moment the five Brothers, all together,
seemed to be in comparative safety. But then bullets began to sing
about their heads like angry wasps.
"Come on! Come on!" cried Jimmy, and no one faltered.
Suddenly, from a little mound of earth in front of the five, there
came a sound as of some one tearing stiff cloth, or beating a drum
more rapidly than one was ever beaten before. The Khaki Boys knew what
it meant--a machine-gun nest.
Instinctively they dropped to earth, and the bullets flew over their
heads. If they found living targets farther on the lads did not turn
"We've got to wipe that out!" cried Jimmy.
"We're with you!" shouted Bob.
Franz, looking forward from between two little hummocks of earth,
suddenly fired his rifle.
"There goes one Hun!" he exulted.
"And I got a second!" exclaimed Roger.
They were both good shots and each had gotten his enemy.
"Come on--rush 'em!" yelled Jimmy, jumping up. Bob attempted to pull
his chum back, for it was almost certain death to stand up in front
of a machine-gun emplacement. But it was too late. Jimmy had taken his
chance, and he lived through it.
For a brief instant there was no firing from where the machine-gun was
hidden and this was Jimmy's opportunity and that of his chums. With
wild yells they leaped up and followed his lead.
A moment later they were fighting fiercely with half a dozen Germans
who composed what was left of the automatic gun squad. The weapon
appeared to be jammed, for one of the Huns was frantically working
at the firing mechanism. And it was this same jamming, as was learned
later, that, undoubtedly, saved the lives of Jimmy and his chums.
Roger shot pointblank at one Boche and Bob bayoneted another. Then the
remainder raised their hands and cried: "_Kamerad_!"
"We haven't any time to take prisoners!" yelled Franz.
But they did not get the chance. The Germans left alive leaped out of
the shallow pit in which the gun had been hidden, and ran toward
the rear. But they had not gone far before they were wiped out of
existence by the explosion of a shell which fell right on top of them.
"Come on! Come on!" cried Jimmy, when it was seen that the machine-gun
was of no further use, since the weapon was damaged. Besides, the
American advance would soon be up to this point and it would be within
the Allied lines.
Forward leaped the five Brothers, into the midst of the fighting
again. And it was hot and heavy. They would advance a little, firing
as they went, and then would drop as they realized that they were
getting too close to danger. After a moment's rest they would rush on
And these tactics were slowly but surely driving the Germans back.
True, now and again the Huns rallied, and beat back their foes, but
this was not for long. The overwhelming rush of the Americans kept up.
Once, after the battle had been raging with unabated fury for
two hours, Jimmy and his chums, with some other brave lads, found
themselves cut off in a sort of pocket, surrounded on three sides by
With exultant yells a squad of Boches rushed up to capture the hated
Americans, but the five Brothers never quailed. They fired their
rifles straight into the faces of their enemies, killing several, and
then a counter-attack by a large number of Uncle Sam's boys turned
the tide of the fighting at that particular place, and our heroes were
With rattle and roar, with sweat and blood, the big battle raged. At
one time it seemed as if the American advance would be held up because
of determined resistance of the Germans on the crest of a certain
hill. This was stormed again and again without result. But at last the
position was flanked, and the Huns wiped out. Then the American line
was made straighter and the battle began to lull. The foe was in
"Dig in! Dig in!" came the command.
With their picks and shovels Jimmy and his chums, as well as the
other fighters, began to scoop out for themselves shallow holes in the
ground. And when these had been made as deep as was desired the five
Brothers, who had come through the fierce fighting with but minor
scratches, had a chance to look about them.
They were down in a little valley, the heights of which were held
by their comrades, and so they were comparatively safe, for a while.
Realizing this they began to think of food and water. They had very
little left in their canteens, and as there was a stream, not far away
Jimmy and his chums received permission to go to fill their canteens
and bring some to the wounded.
As they finished this work of mercy, and had taken some water
themselves, Jimmy saw, through an opening among the trees, a lonely
hut not far from the bank of the little brook.
"Wonder if anyone is in there?" he said. "It might have been a German
machine-gun nest--just the place for one."
"There may be one there yet," suggested Bob. "Let's take a look. We've
The idea appealed to all, and, a few minutes later, secure in the
knowledge that the Germans were on the retreat, our heroes entered the
lonely shack. It appeared to have been the home of some French farmer,
though now everything about the place was laid waste.
"Nobody at home, I guess," commented Jimmy, as he went from one room
"No machine-gun been here," declared Bob.
At that instant an unmistakable groan was heard. The boys fairly
"Some one's here now, that's evident!" declared Jimmy, starting toward
a small bedroom, whence, it was evident, the groan had sounded.
"Look out for a trick!" cried Roger. "The place may be mined!"
But Jimmy kept on. A second later his chums heard him shout from the
inner room, and rushing to his side they saw him gazing at a figure
huddled on a small cot bed.
"There he is!" cried Jimmy, pointing. "There he is! We've found him at
"Who?" asked Franz.
"Sergeant Maxwell!" was the startling answer. "There he is!"
And as the others looked more closely they saw that Jimmy was right.
A GLORIOUS VICTORY
"How did he get here?"
"What happened to him?"
"Is he wounded?"
These were some of the questions that were, literally, fired at Jimmy
as he stood over the cot on which reposed the wasted and scarcely
recognizable form of Sergeant Maxwell. Jimmy's chums asked these
questions of him because, I suppose, they thought he ought to know the
"I don't know any more how poor Max got here, or what happened to him,
than you fellows do," said Jimmy.
"Is he hurt?" asked Bob.
"I'll ask him," said Jimmy. Bending over the form of the sergeant, who
was now tossing restlessly to and fro, Jimmy inquired: "Do you know
us, Max? Are you hurt? What happened to you?" An incoherent murmur was
the only answer.
"He's in a fever," said Roger, as he held his hand against the flushed
face. "He ought to be taken to the hospital!"
"Give him some water," suggested Franz, holding out his full canteen.
Jimmy raised his friend's head and Bob managed to get a little water
between the parched lips.
"Good! Good! I wanted water!" murmured the man somewhat indistinctly.
"I've wanted water a long time."
"Do you know us? I'm Jimmy Blazes, and here's Bob, Roger, Iggy and
Franz," said Jimmy. "Do you know us! Can you tell us where you've been
all this while, and what happened to you!"
"Good water! Good water!" was all the reply that came from poor
"He's out of his head," said Bob.
"We'd better send a doctor if we can find one, or get him to a
hospital," suggested Roger.
"You go see if you can find any stretcher bearers, or a doctor or
anyone like that," suggested Jimmy to Franz and Iggy. "We'll stay with
him. Or Bob and I will. You'd better go report to the captain where we
are, Roger. He might think we've deserted."
Bob and Jimmy, left with Maxwell, made him as comfortable as they
could, washing his face and giving him more water to drink. But he
answered none of their questions, murmuring only about the cool water.
He was in a delirium of fever.
Of course Jimmy did not ask about the missing money. It would have
been useless at this time. But, naturally, he wondered if the sergeant
knew where it was.
Franz and Iggy came back with a doctor who, after a brief examination,
said the sergeant was suffering from bad treatment and lack of food
and water more than anything else. He did not seem to be wounded, but,
of course, there might be some internal hurt which did not show at the
"Hospital's the place for him," decided the doctor. "Ill have him sent
back with the first batch of wounded."
And so poor Maxwell was rescued from the oblivion of "missing," and
again put on his company's rolls. But the mystery about him was not
solved, and over it Jimmy and his chums wondered much.
"Well, things have certainly turned out queerly!" remarked Jimmy, when
he and his chums were back once more in their "holes," eating their
emergency rations, and wondering when the real "chow" would come up.
"To thing of finding Max like that!"
"That place was held by the Germans before we rushed them back,"
declared Bob. "They might have kept him a prisoner."
"That's very possible," admitted Jimmy. "I'd like to know the whole
story, but we'll have to wait."
"And a long time, I'm afraid," added Roger.
"Why, do you think Max will die?" asked Franz.
"No, but this fight has only just started. We've got to go forward,
and land knows when we'll ever get back where we can see Max again."
"Oh, well, it isn't as hopeless as it was at first," remarked Jimmy.
"I'm not worrying about the thousand dollars--only I'd like to know
what he did with it."
As Roger had said, the fighting was not over. Before an order came to
turn the "holes" into trenches, another advance was ordered, so that
the Germans might be driven, if possible, from the vicinity of the
hills dominating the valley in which was located the hut where Maxwell
had been found.
"Forward!" came the battle cry again, and once more our heroes joined
This time, however, the fighting was not quite so fierce. The Germans
had had a taste of the kind of medicine dealt out by the Americans, and
the Huns had no liking for it.
True, they did not give up without a struggle, and many a poor lad
went to his death, or came back from the front with a leg or arm
missing, as a result of the renewal of hostilities. But it had to be.
It would not have been safe to allow the Germans to have a chance to
get back the dominating hills won at such cost.
And there the storm of blood and steel was renewed with fiercer
energy, until at last, just as night was settling down, the German
flank was turned, and they began to retreat in what ultimately was a
"A glorious victory! A glorious victory!" was shouted from all sides
in the American ranks.
It was not the end of the war, by any means, but a dangerous salient
had been wiped out, and the American line was straightened, so that
now the fighting could go along on more even terms.
"Oh, but I am tired!" sighed Jimmy, as he flung himself full length
down on the ground when the signal came to cease firing.
"I'm all in, too," added Bob.
"But we're none of us hurt to any extent," said Franz, binding up a
place on his leg where a bit of shrapnel had grazed him. "Won't even
get a wound stripe for this," he said, grimly.
It was next morning, when the supply wagons had come up with more
substantial food, and hot rations, that the good news circulated
"We're due for a rest billet! Hurray!"
"And then I'll have a chance to see about Sergeant Maxwell!" exclaimed
That same day, following the one of such fierce fighting, the
battalion in which Jimmy and his chums served was ordered to the rear.
They would have a week's rest before going into the terrible game
Jimmy's first action, once he had been relieved from active duty for
the time being, was to seek out the hospital whither Sergeant Maxwell
had been removed. He went alone, for he did not want to excite the
patient by taking in too many chums, should it prove that the man
who had held the five thousand francs was in a dangerous physical or
But, to Jimmy's relief, the doctor's and nurse's reports were
favorable. It was more a case of exhaustion than anything else, though
the sergeant had been wounded.
"Did he tell where he had been ever since he has been missing?" asked
Jimmy of a hospital attendant before going in himself to see his
"Well he remembered some of it. It seems he was captured while out
on a listening post one night, and taken away a prisoner. Instead of
sending him to a camp, as the Huns do with most of our poor chaps they
get, the Boches kept the sergeant with them, taking him from place to
place. It was their idea, I believe, to either force him to desert and
join them, or use him as a decoy--or perhaps make him a spy.
"Anyhow they kept him with them, and once he was struck and wounded by
a beast of a German officer. After that they neglected him and he got
terribly run down, though his wound healed. Then, just before the
last big fight--the one you say you were in--the sergeant was held
a prisoner in the hut where you found him. He was in a bad way and I
suppose the Germans thought he'd die when they left him--which they
did when our boys knocked the spots off 'em, if you'll excuse my
"Oh, I'll excuse it all right!" laughed Jimmy. "It isn't any too
"Well, I guess you may see the sergeant now," said the orderly. "Only
don't talk to him too much. He doesn't like to dwell on what happened
to him. They must have treated him worse than they would a beast!"
"It's awful!" declared Jimmy. "But they'll be made to pay for it! No,
I won't tax him with any talk of the past. I just want to see if he
knows me and remembers a certain matter."
"Oh, he'll know you all right," returned the orderly. "As a matter of
fact, he has been asking for you."
"That's a good sign!" thought Jimmy.
Sergeant Maxwell held out a wan hand to his friend. "I can't begin to
thank you for what you and the other boys did for me," he said, weakly.
"If you hadn't discovered me in that lonely hut I wouldn't be alive now."
"Oh, maybe someone else would have found you," said Jimmy, cheerfully.
"But we're glad we did."
"I've been wishing you'd come in," went on the sick sergeant. "There's
something that's been worrying me. It's about that five thousand
francs you gave me to keep for you."
"Well, don't worry about it," and Jimmy tried to keep his voice up to
the cheerful mark. "Have you got it?"
"No," said the sergeant, "I haven't. But--"
He paused to take a drink of water, and Jimmy's feelings went down to
about the zero position.
"But I know where it is," added the sergeant.
"I suppose the Germans took it off you."
"Indeed they didn't!" was the rather vigorous answer. "I didn't have
it on me. It's back in the dugout!"
"The dugout!" cried Jimmy, his spirits once more soaring.
"Yes, the one where I was quartered when you gave it to me. I knew we
were in for some hard fighting, so before I went out on listening post
I hid the franc notes in an old tin can and stuck it up under the roof
beams. It's right under where a picture of President Wilson is tacked
up. And if the dugout isn't destroyed the money is there yet."
"Well, the dugout can't be destroyed, for there haven't been any
Germans there in some time," said Jimmy. "And I do hope you're right
about the money being there. Not so much for my sake," he added
quickly, "but because I promised to whack up with my bunkies, and I
want to keep my word."
"Well, you send a message there and see if I'm not right," concluded
Maxwell, and then, being rather weak, he was ordered by the nurse to
take a rest.
Elated, but hardly believing the good news, Jimmy received permission
not only to send a message, but to go back in a motor truck to the
place where the headquarters of the 509th Infantry had been just
before the big advance.
Jimmy did not get back to his chums until late that night, for his
leave covered him up to midnight, and he was not on duty. He found
Iggy, Franz, Bob and Roger in a Y.M.C.A. hut, writing letters, and
from the labor Iggy was undergoing, his tongue sticking out and
following every movement of his pen, it was evident that the Polish
lad was not finding English correspondence any easier as the war
"Where have you been, Blazes? Back home?" asked Bob a bit
sarcastically at Jimmy's absence.
"Sort of," was the answer. "That looks like stuff from home; doesn't
it!" and he threw on the table some crumpled and rather stained
thousand franc notes.
"Suffering shrapnel!" cried Bob. "The prize money!"
"Where'd you get it?"
"Did Max have it?"
"How'd you get it away from him?"
"How is he?"
"One at a time, please!" laughed Jimmy. "But first I'll tell you good
news--Max is going to get well," and he related the story he had heard
about the sergeant.
"Well, that's quite a yarn!" exclaimed Roger.
"However, that hasn't anything on what we're going to tell you, Jimmy
Blazes!" cried Bob Dalton excitedly.
"Have we all won the _croix de guerre_?" asked Jimmy, smiling.
"No, but here's a note from the 'spy' we denounced," and Jimmy, as
he accepted a paper Bob held out, wondered at the happy looks on the
faces of his chums.
It was explained, however, when he read the note. A glance at the
signature told him it was from "Captain Frank Dickerson."
"Boys, you only did your duty in exposing me, as you thought you did,"
wrote the officer. "I congratulate you on your nerve, and on doing
what you so plainly disliked to do, after I had saved your lives, as I
may flatter myself I did.
"So don't worry about me. I was only doing my duty, too, for Uncle Sam
when I was within the German lines and in a German uniform. And I
was also doing my duty when I was within your lines in an American
uniform. My superior officers know all about it. That is all I can
say now, except to add that I was not under arrest very long. But that
action had to be taken to keep my plans from becoming known, even to
the major. I hope to meet you all again."
"Say, what does it all mean?" asked Jimmy, to whom so many things
had happened in the last few hours that it was no wonder he was a bit
dazed. "What's all this talk about the government knowing he was in
German uniform and all that?"
"Don't you understand?" inquired Bob, with a smile. "He was a spy."
"Of course he was a spy!" asserted Jimmy. "I sized that up all right.
He was a spy inside our lines and--"
"Yes, but he was also a spy inside the German lines," put in Roger.
"Don't you understand, Blazes! Captain Dickerson wore the German
uniform to get possession of some of their secrets. He's in the United
States Secret Service."
Jimmy looked first at one and then at the other of his chums, until he
had faced them all in turn.
"Gee!" he exclaimed at length. "What a chump I was not to guess that,
when he acted so coolly after I denounced him! What a chump I was!"
"Oh, well, we couldn't guess everything," said Franz, "And he
certainly acted suspiciously at times."
"Yes, so I dinks myself," agreed Iggy, who had not spoken for some
"Well, it's all over--at least we've cleared up two mysteries,"
observed Bob. "I wonder what will happen next?"
"Well, there's going to be more fighting; that's sure," declared
Jimmy, "and I want to do my share!"
"Same here!" echoed his chums.
And whether they did or not will be told in our next volume, entitled,
"The Khaki Boys Fighting to Win; or, Smashing the German Lines."